Midmorning

Apr. 8th, 2009 11:47 pm
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Taras Oleksei stood in the hallway outside his room, listening at the door.

There had been no Lasha at the mess hall for breakfast, and no Lasha in the office. Anya had brought Taras tea for one. He'd sipped distractedly, making notes on the pathologist's notes.

It was unlike Lasha to be late to anything, and it was unlike him to sleep in. Taras hadn't seen him since that morning, when he'd left his own bed, with Lasha in it.

Lasha had still been asleep next to him when Taras woke up. Taras' first thought was that what had happened before with Lasha had happened again, somehow, without him knowing it.

It had not, he'd determined, after a few moments, but just the same, he'd thought it best to take a quick shower and shave, and get out of the room before Lasha stirred.

He'd brushed his teeth with his own toothbrush, and then done just that.

Now he needed to find out where Lasha was, and Taras' room was the last place he'd seen him.

He unlocked the door.

Still dim inside, curtains drawn, but enough light to see a vaguely Lasha-shaped lump in the bed.

Taras' chest clenched for a terrible moment, until he saw the covers rise and fall. He closed and locked the door behind him.

"Lasha?"

Short platinum hair on the pillow, bare neck and shoulders. Lasha curled on his side, eyes shut, still out.

Taras frowned, and sat down on the bed. He pulled off his glove and laid his hand carefully against Ilarion's forehead, which felt overly hot, and slightly damp. His cheeks were flushed.

"Lasha?" he tried, again. "You okei? What's wrong?"

Date: 2009-04-09 06:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion opened his eyes blearily.

"Oleksei," he muttered.

Oleksei's hand felt cool and heavy against his brow, and his weight dragged the mattress down slightly where he sat on the edge.

"I think I'm ill. I feel ill."

It was not a familiar feeling to him. Apart from the odd and short-lived cold once in a blue moon, Ilarion did not get sick. He recalled a few isolated bouts of flu from childhood, and an episode of food poisoning.

"This is what sick feels like, isn't it?"

He groaned and rolled over, remembering the night before.

"Taras," he reinitiated abruptly, before Oleksei could respond. "Taras, I need you to do something. Christ, he'll be livid. I..."

Lasha felt a shiver go through him, then a flush.

"I was supposed to meet with Major Liadov this morning. He was adamant about it, and I agreed. We were going to sit down and talk. About last night, about..."

He felt a dull pulse of pain at the thought of last night, the accusations hurled, the threats, the inexorable Nikanor, narrow-eyed, calmly invoking their brotherly vow like a soothsayer who knows where the line lies that the summoned demon is powerless to cross.

Ilarion's body ached all over, now, along with his chest. It had nothing to do with Liadov, unless Nika had somehow ordered up a plague just for him.

There were times, Lasha allowed, that Liadov probably wished for just such a thing.

At the moment, Ilarion wished for nothing but blissful, mindless slumber, and his mother's hand at the back of his neck...

He shook himself, hard, grimacing and pressing his palms against his eyes.

"Oleksei," he managed to drawl, "I need you to go find Liadov. I need you to tell him I'm...incapacitated. Contagious. Tell him I meant to be there, I had every intention of following through. I don't make idle threats, he knows that..."

He broke off, feeling feverish, raising his eyes to Oleksei plaintively.

"Can you do that much for me?" he whispered.

Date: 2009-04-09 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Of course," Taras said immediately, soothingly.

He had never seen Lasha so miserable, too bleary and fevered to compose his face or his words.

Taras nodded.

"Of course, Lasha, you know that. There's nothing I wouldn't do for you."

There was actually one thing, but Taras didn't think this was the time to mention it.

"I'll take care of things for you. You don't have to worry. I'll make him understand."

Lasha's face contorted, almost reflexively, but if it was from the fever or what Taras had just said, he couldn't tell.

Taras paused, and reconsidered.

"I'll make sure he understands," he amended, carefully, holding Lasha's gaze for a moment, so Lasha knew he would. "Don't worry."

He got up.

"Hang on a minute."

Taras went to the bathroom, and ran cold water over a washcloth, then filled a glass. He came back to the bed and sat the glass on the bedside table and pressed the washcloth to Ilarion's forehead.

He remembered when he had been sick in Magadan. A cold compress had been one of the few comforts he'd had.

Taras leaned forward.

"Okei, I'll go tell him. And then I'll come back and bring you something, maybe some crackers or bread or juice."

He let the cloth rest against Lasha's flushed skin.

"Do you need me to get you anything else?"

Date: 2009-04-09 09:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha shook his head, closing his eyes.

"No, I'm fine. It's nothing, I..."

He frowned like a small boy, looking up at Taras.

"I just don't feel very good."

The wet cloth on his brow felt nice, however, and he relaxed slightly, settling into the bed.

"Spasiba, Oleksei. You're a good man."

He paused, reaching for Taras's hand, finding his coordination weak and inaccurate.

"Tell him I'm sorry," he said, faintly.

Then suddenly his eyes narrowed, bright and hectic.

"No, what the fuck am I saying. Don't tell him that."

He snorted.

"It's not as if I'm dying."

Date: 2009-04-09 10:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"No, you're not," Taras said firmly.

That sounded like the Lasha he knew, faintly contemptuous about everything.

"You're going to be all right. You just need a little rest, and you'll be fine."

He wondered, for a few moments, what Liadov would say, if he would believe Taras or would be quicker to dismiss the explanation. Taras thought he would probably be skeptical, judging from what he knew of the man, and the way Lasha reacted. Lasha probably knew him better than anyone.

Taras frowned, smoothing the cloth on Lasha's forehead again.

"I'll take care of it for you. That's what I do, remember?"

He almost said Liadov's not unreasonable, but he didn't think Ilarion would see it that way.

"He'll understand. You do what you say you're going to do. He knows that. Everyone does."

Date: 2009-04-09 11:02 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Da," mumbled Ilarion, almost petulantly, nestling into the blankets.

It was all right, then.

Oleksei would handle it.

After a moment of rest, he frowned.

"I hope you don't catch this sickness, Taras, whatever it is."

Date: 2009-04-10 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Thanks. I'll be all right. I don't get sick much."

Taras frowned.

"I don't ever remember you getting sick. You must not get sick much either. You'll be over it quick."

He tugged the blankets more snugly around Ilarion before he stood up.

Taras looked down at him for a moment. Ilarion's normally-luminous skin looked ashen against the grey pillow.

"All right. You get some sleep. I'll be back."

August 2010

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