May. 3rd, 2009 08:25 pm
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[personal profile] taras_oleksei
Paper rustled against the crook of his arm as Taras unlocked the door to his room. He adjusted the heft of the bag he carried carefully, pausing before stepping inside.

It was dim, the way he'd left it. He could see Lasha in the bed, stirring.


Taras set down lunch on the narrow side table near the door. He was hungry, mildly ravenous. Lunch and a nap sounded perfect, after he made sure Lasha was all right.

Ilarion lay back in the bed like an ailing tsar, somehow still regal in spite of his illness. He was like that. Even when Lasha had been dead drunk after the Winter Ball, he had still managed a little poise. At least until he'd passed out.

"I brought you something to eat."

It had been a few hours. A little longer than he'd intended, though maybe not, if he was honest about it.

It bothered him that what he had done with Liadov did not bother him too much.

Taras sat down next to Lasha.

"You feeling any better?"

Date: 2009-05-04 04:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Did you find him?" said Lasha, opening his eyes slowly.

He reached for Oleksei's hand. It felt cooling as lavender under his burning palm.


Date: 2009-05-04 04:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Yeah, of course. Don't worry."

Ilarion's fingers clutched at his with a fair bit of grip strength. He was relieved to feel it.

Taras pressed his other hand against Lasha's forehead, frowning. That part wasn't as encouraging. Taras wasn't sure, but he thought Lasha's skin felt hotter than it had earlier.

"He understood when I explained it to him. He wasn't mad."

Taras smoothed his fingers across Ilarion's brow, the motion careful and soothing.

"He told me to take your temperature. He said it's not good if it gets too high."

Date: 2009-05-04 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha's mouth twisted.

"Is that all he said."

The words were weak and bitter, and he hated them for passing his lips.

His body ached, and his brow burned like leaves. The laurel crown on fire.

Oleksei's broad hand was smooth and felt like milk against his skin, restoring the sensory temperance of its ivory color.

"Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's," he whispered. "Is that what he said, in so many words? Leave him to it?"

He closed his eyes, laying his other hand over Oleksei's, pressing it against his forehead, reinforcing it.

"But not you, Brutus. You're right here at my side."

Date: 2009-05-04 08:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras felt something shiver low in his stomach.

The press of Ilarion's hand was unexpectedly intimate, given the circumstances. Taras felt his heartrate pick up.

"Brutus was that guy who fucked Caesar up, Lasha," Taras whispered. "You know I'd never hurt you."

He caressed Lasha's fevered skin.

"You know I'm here for you, no matter what."

Ilarion almost looked peaceful, in spite of the fever, as if Taras' mere presence could lull him to sleep, if Taras said nothing to rouse him.

He frowned.

"He wanted to see you," Taras said, finally. Almost reluctantly. "I didn't think it would be a good idea."

Date: 2009-05-04 08:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"He wanted to come?"

Ilarion's voice was wistful, soft. He felt rather removed, like a cloud. Wandering, lonely.

Oleksei's touch suddenly felt distant, and he strove toward it instinctively, wanting to feel it. Wanting to be comforted, like a boy.

"He would have come."

Emotional pain faltered and rebrightened.

Ilarion's brows knit like a pained stitch, brief and sharp.

"But he let you stop him."

The realization stung worse than anything else.

Date: 2009-05-04 08:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Come on, Lasha, give me some credit," Taras said.

Ilarion's face had crumpled in a small seizure of pain. Taras was used to that look by now, but it never stopped affecting him. He wondered how it could be that one person hurt merely because another did.

He brought his other hand up, cradling both sides of Lasha's face.

"It's me. He didn't have much of a choice."

He leaned down and pressed a kiss against Lasha's temple, vehement and almost rough.

"Izvint, Lasha. You can blame me for him not being here. I didn't want you to say anything to him you'd regret later."

Date: 2009-05-04 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"No," Lasha whispered.

He knew it was only glad-handing on Oleksei's part; a loyal attempt to shield him from the truth in his stricken state. Oleksei was not allowed to throw his weight around with Nika, per Ilarion's specific request, so his only weapons of dissuasion had been words.

And Liadov was never at odds with or at a loss for words.

His eyes opened, glazed with fever, and he stared dispiritedly at the spartan wall.

His lips faltered slightly, parting and touching once more.

"I'll call Aleksandr tomorrow and have him rescind the order."

A pause as he closed his eyes, hard.

Heat thrummed behind them and felt his vigor leave him all at once.

His fingers slipped from Oleksei's hand.

"Now the only shadow here is mine. And I'm too tired to chase it."

A small shudder passed through him as he felt a passing chill.

"Taras, please. I'm freezing."

Date: 2009-05-04 05:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"But you're burning up," Taras protested, softly.

He cradled Ilarion's head. Lasha's skin felt damp with lingering sweat. He wondered if that meant Lasha was getting worse.

"Come here."

Taras crawled into bed with Lasha, boots and all. It was a strange echo of the earlier situation with Liadov, only now reversed. Taras was the one fully clothed while the person in bed with him was naked. Or nearly so. Lasha still had on his shorts.

He wriggled in the bed for a moment, getting comfortable, then gathered Isaev's unresisting form against him, holding him close to his chest. Taras wrapped his muscular arms around Lasha's back.

"How's that? Okei?"

Taras held on to Ilarion carefully, careful not to squeeze too tight. He pulled the covers around them.

"You're going to be okei," he murmured. "I'll make sure of it."

Date: 2009-05-04 07:46 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Ya snayu," mumbled Lasha, keeping his eyes closed, spilling bonelessly back into the woolen wall of Oleksei's strapping chest.

He was faintly surprised at Taras' initiative but unable to protest it or wave it off as superfluous. Had he been less ill, he might have declared it excessive, would certainly have said he was fine. But Oleksei was a loyal subordinate, despite his rough edges and dubious pedigree; the kind of man who inflicted your best interests upon you as he saw them.

Ilarion usually didn't mind. Oleksei might be reactionary and impulsive, but is intentions were good.

He drifted, slightly, feeling a little line of chilly fire sear along his chest, making him shiver. He could envision it, follow it, in his mind's eye- a blue and orange flame along a poured gasoline line dancing like neon lace against the blackness behind his lids.

Deliberately set.


Trying to burn him alive.

He laughed aloud, a short caustic burst of sound.

"And why not," his lips slurred. "You already burned the boat."

Lasha's chest rose and fell, halting, labored like the strenuous pumping of newborn wings. Heavy, the act of breathing. Being.

He remembered that he hated being sick. He remembered being sick like this once before, and only once, when he was nine years old.

Taras was silent behind him.

Ilarion thought he might be listening.

Lasha listened too, but didn't hear anything.

He smiled. Oleksei was paranoid sometimes.

He drifted some more, like a finger passing through a candleflame, shifting between extremes.

"My mother came to see me while you were gone," Lasha murmured.

Date: 2009-05-04 09:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras' eyes went wide.

He shifted, tightening his arms, looking down at Lasha slowly.

He felt vaguely unsettled. For Lasha to mention his mother at all was unusual enough. He had not wanted to divulge much when Taras had asked, and had even seemed offended that Taras had dared to mention it. But to hear Ilarion talk about his mother like she was alive, or worse yet, a ghost, sent a ripple of unease through him.

Ilarion had already been saying strange things. Maybe Liadov was right about the brain damage.

Taras rubbed Lasha's chest, lightly and carefully, letting his hand linger over his heart.

Lasha's skin felt humid, and reminded him of a banya. Otherwise, he was still reassuringly solid in Taras' arms.

"What'd she say?" he asked, casually.

Date: 2009-05-04 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"She came out of the closet and sat down on the bed."

Ilarion's brow was smooth as he recalled it, his voice languorous.

"Touched my face. She kissed it. Her lips were cold."

Lasha frowned, slightly, a tiny crease forming between his eyes.

"She whispered. Whispered right into my ear."

It was only half an hour ago that she'd been here. Her presence lingered.

"Can't you smell her perfume?"

Ilarion's eyes had been hazy as he looked at her, but there was no mistaking Avdotia. Not her face, not her voice.

"She sang to me."

Lasha shivered.

"She said so many things I don't understand. There's a spot on the wall across the room. It started bleeding. I watched that for a long time while she sat with me."

Date: 2009-05-04 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras tightened his arms around Lasha convulsively, holding him closer.

The shiver that had run though Lasha seemed to light and catch inside Taras, and his pulse stalled then surged, in the space between moments.

Taras had heard people talk about ghosts before. There were people who swore they had seen them.

The fact that Lasha was feverish made it no more or less believable. Taras recalled a childhood memory, dimly-lit. An old baba huddling in a ruined tenement during the Siege. She had been thin, obviously starving. Seemingly delirious, she had muttered about ghosts. She had said only people who were close to death could see them.

Taras didn't know what to think. He had never seen one. But he knew there were enough things he never would have imagined until he'd experienced them directly, that he could not fairly dismiss everything out of hand.

He shivered again.

"Your mother loves you," he whispered.

It was a different word, when used for family, instead of between men. Easier and more benign.

"She loves you, Lasha. Maybe she just wanted you to know that."

That Lasha seemed almost lucid had made the confession ache strangely of intimacy.

Taras leaned close, and pressed his lips against the too-warm skin at the back of Lasha's neck.

"Do you remember anything she said?"

Date: 2009-05-05 05:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha was silent for a moment.

"Da. Pieces."

He paused, his lip shuddering, unsure whether he was freezing or burning.

"She told me to tread water for all I was worth."

He paused and heard the soft rasp of his own breath.

"She said that nearby...a saint and a demon were meeting on the head of a pin."

Ilarion opened his eyes and gazed at the lambent glow of the amberglass lamp.

"...And that I looked like my father."

The words ended in a soft death.

Date: 2009-05-05 08:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com

Taras frowned, heavy brow pulling low as he mulled over what Lasha reported his mother had said. The part about the saint and the demon was a little unnerving, but still, nothing that couldn't have come out of Lasha's own feverish head.

Maybe the question was, would it have.

Taras wondered if he should be insulted that even Ilarion's mother thought he was a demon.

He rubbed Ilarion's chest again, more slowly.

"Maybe she just...wanted to help you. Make you feel better. That's what mothers do."

Taras raised his hand to Ilarion's brow, caressing it with careful fingertips. His gaze sought the opposite wall, looking for the spot that Lasha had said was bleeding. Taras wasn't sure where it was.

"And that was it?" he asked, after a few moments. "And then she left?"

Date: 2009-05-05 08:39 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion shook his head, violently.

"No," he said. "That wasn't all."

He turned, listlessly, shifting, meeting Oleksei's mismatched eyes in the dark with his glazed own.

"I can't remember it all," he said in a dark whisper. "She was wearing her best silk gown. She told me to lower my head. Bend my knee. Swallow my pride."

Lasha shuddered.

"She told me to beg."

He pressed his face against Oleksei's uniformed chest. The metal buttons felt like little cubes of ice.

Date: 2009-05-05 04:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras cradled Lasha's head against him, gently stroking his damp hair.

It hurt him inside to think about Lasha begging for anything. That was not what a krysha did. That was not what an Isaev did.

That was not what Taras' Lasha did.

"To get Nika back."

Taras grimaced.

"Liadov," he corrected.

He thought it actually might work. If Liadov's Lasha begged, then maybe Liadov would crumble a little, too.

Taras leaned his cheek against the top of Ilarion's head, tucking him close to his chest.

"You think she was telling you to do anything you can to get him back?"

Date: 2009-05-05 09:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion grasped Oleksei's face between hot and forceful palms, raising his own to meet it, inches away.

His eyes were pale and hectically bright.

"Is that what you think she meant?" he demanded, his gaze wild. "I thought perhaps at first she was asking me to beg for her forgiveness, for betraying her so long ago, but..."

His lips shook fiercely and he stilled them with a violent compression.

"I tried, Taras, christ above, I tried to tell her, but she covered my mouth."

That is not yours to atone for, moyo Zolotse. Ask yourself, what debts do you owe your soul?

Lasha's eyes shifted ruthlessly to the side, as if seeking an adversary.

"When she comes home again, Father will apologize. I know he will."

Date: 2009-05-05 10:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"I - "

Taras stopped and started, at a loss. The conversation had gone a little over his head. Not to mention Ilarion seemed to be getting agitated, and at least partially delusional. Taras still wasn't sure how much, but he knew it wasn't good for Lasha to get excited.

He reached up to cover one of Lasha's hands with his own, petting it like an animal, careful and soothing.

"Lashka, listen to me. She's your mother, da? She's not mad at you. That's why she didn't want you to apologize to her. That's why she sang to you."

Taras couldn't help but think about his own mother. She had died not long before Lasha's, but Taras had never seen her in a dream.

He took hold of Ilarion's face, tilting his head, gently forcing Ilarion to look at him.

Taras felt like he was talking about things he didn't fully understand. But then again, there were a lot of things like that.

"It's going to be okei," he murmured. "Next time you see her, you can tell her."

Date: 2009-05-05 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"She was here when you came in," murmured Lasha, falling back, exhausted.

His eyes rolled upward toward Oleksei, vacant and wide.

"I wonder where she went," he whispered.

His eyes closed.

Ilarion struggled for a moment, uncertain, then increasingly alarmed.

His hand shot out and seized Oleksei's wrist with a clipped impact.

"What am I saying," he barked sharply, suddenly, gritting his teeth. "This is crazy. I'm not well. Don't let me speak."

He chased his breath, softly.

"I don't know what I'm saying."

Lasha closed his eyes tightly, pressing his lids together, and falling back into the bedclothes.

"I'm so tired, Oleksei. So fucking tired. And that paper clip says I promised to teach it how to ride a horse. You know I can't do that."

His mouth wryed sullenly.

"Not in these clothes."

Date: 2009-05-05 11:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"What?" Taras asked, bewildered.

He shook himself.

Taras supposed it had all just be a strange, fevered dream of Lasha's. Taras was no stranger to those. He wondered what it meant that Taras dreamed about fucking men and Lasha dreamed about his mother.

He tucked the covers around Lasha's chest.

"Okei, you need to sleep. Real bad."

Carefully, he pulled away, and went to the bag he'd brought with him, rummaging through it briefly. The smell of lunch wafted up, but he ignored it for the time being. He could eat later, after he had taken care of Lasha.

"I'm going to take your temperature now, all right? Liadov said to."

Date: 2009-05-05 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Da, all right Oleksei," Ilarion conceded imperiously. "I'll allow it. But don't expect me to juggle all those hedgehogs, with or without a pitcher of milk to make it all look very official."

His lips thinned, and he tilted his head in manner that was classically Isaev.

"I am quite done with pineapples."

He narrowed his eyes.

"Do you understand?"

Lasha's lip curled.

"Tell Liadov that."

Date: 2009-05-06 06:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras turned around and stared at Ilarion, frowning slowly.

"Are you fucking with me?"

Lasha had on his faintly contemptuous expression, the one Taras knew well. He looked like he was actually trying to throw his weight around, and expected Taras to take him seriously.

"If I didn't know better, I'd think you're fucking with me, Isaev."

He stepped forward, staring hard into Lasha's glinting gaze.

"You'd better not be messing around," he growled. "I'm really worried about you."

Taras reached out and put his hand on Ilarion's forehead. His skin was still hot to the touch.

He pressed his lips together, leaning close.

"So how do you want it? In the mouth or up the ass?"

Date: 2009-05-06 08:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"So you want to fuck me?" Lasha intoned, with a low and throaty laugh.

Then he lay back, amused, gaze glazed and hedonist.

"Why not. Fuck me, Captain. Fuck this devil right out of me."

With a careless fling of his arm, he threw off the covers, exposing his body.

"I'm burning up," he declared, sultry with fatigue. "Touch me and you'll see."

Date: 2009-05-06 04:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras felt a reaction, deep and visceral, immediate.

He exhaled through gritted teeth.

"Stop messing around."

Lasha's body was lean and strong, the planes of his chest and shadow of muscle at his abdomen unmistakably masculine. His ivory-toned skin was lightly sheened to a low, humid luster. The delicate hollows of his collarbone glistened.

Taras' loins twinged. It was instinct, he realized. Not something he could have controlled even had he wanted to. Liadov was right.

He leaned forward, eyes hot and predatory, bracing himself over Ilarion, making the bed creak.

"I'm not going to fuck you when you're sick, Lasha. Your mom would get mad."

Date: 2009-05-06 07:10 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"My body aches all over," muttered Lasha, closing his eyes and tossing his head from side to side, trying to find a cool spot on his pillow.

His hand grasped at Oleksei's tie, seizing it in clumsy fingers.

"This is unacceptable."

Date: 2009-05-06 09:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras' face knotted up in a halfhearted scowl.

"You are frustrating sometimes, Lashka."

He leaned back and carefully peeled Ilarion's fingers off his tie, then grabbed the thermometer.

"Here. Suck it."

Taras stuck it between Lasha's lips.

"And don't talk while I'm taking your temperature. I'll go get something to cool you off."

He went to the lavatory and got a small towel, wetting it in cold water and wringing it out. Taras came back and pressed the compress against Lasha's chest, his neck, his face and forehead.

Finally, he pulled out the thermometer and stared at it for a few moments, until it made sense.

"Huh. I guess you're going to be okay."

Taras put the thermometer aside, then pressed the cloth to Lasha's forehead again.

"Maybe you should try to get some sleep now. I'll be right here."

Date: 2009-05-07 07:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha nodded blearily.


Beneath Taras' heavy hand the cold cloth mitigated the temperature of his brow and he felt his body relax at last.

Several moments passed. Oleksei stood by in silence, stoic and devoted.

Ilarion exhaled deeply.

"Oleksei..." he murmured, "did I just say some questionable things?"

Date: 2009-05-07 04:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras smoothed back Ilarion's hair.

"You always say questionable things, Isaev."

He sat down on the bed and fixed the sheets and covers, arranging them carefully around Isaev, pulling only the lightest over him, leaving the rest in easy reach.

"But you don't have to worry. I won't tell anyone."

Taras hesitated.

"Do you remember what you were talking about?"

Date: 2009-05-07 06:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Njiet," Ilarion responded slowly. "Not so much."

He sighed.

"Do you?"

Date: 2009-05-07 07:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras fell silent for a moment.

He rubbed the sheets between his fingers, absently noting the smooth texture.

"Your mother," he said, finally, quietly.

Taras looked up again.

"You were talking about your mother. You said...she came to visit you."

Date: 2009-05-07 08:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion shuddered.

"Christ," he muttered. "Just what I need."

He kept his eyes closed.

"My fever is high enough to be having delusions, then."

His lips pressed together.

"...I'm lucid now. I know that."

Date: 2009-05-07 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Da, you are."

Taras glanced to the side. He wondered if he should tell Ilarion more about what he'd said about his mother. Probably not. It had seemed strangely significant at the time, but he knew Lasha was touchy about that.

"It's nothing to worry about now."

He looked back at Lasha. His eyes were closed and his skin, normally luminous and fine-pored, looked dull and ashen.

Taras laid the damp cloth carefully across Ilarion's brow.

"You just need sleep now, to get the rest of the sick out of you. Then you can have a nice banya, and something to eat."

Date: 2009-05-08 05:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Da," murmured Ilarion. "Banya would be good. You'll join me, won't you?"

He was tired. He could sleep. Fever be damned.

"You like to look at me," he said with a little smile.

Date: 2009-05-08 08:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"I didn't - "

Taras broke off, pressing his lips together.

After a few moments, he exhaled.

"Da," he said, sighing.

He rubbed his head, thinking about what he and Liadov had discussed. Somehow he thought Lasha would not like it.

"You're not bad to look at."

He frowned.

"I mean, you know, you're in good shape."

Date: 2009-05-08 08:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Don't apologize," said Ilarion, drowsily.

His vision was warm and black, eyes closed beneath the cloth.

His mouth was imbued with an innate lack of mercy, a cruel edge that no expression could efface, but the tiny smile on his lips remained, amused and unconscious.

"I like the way you look at me."

Date: 2009-05-08 09:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras was silent for a moment.

He glanced over at Isaev, eyes following the relaxed curve of his mouth. Lasha had features that were finely-drawn, like art. His body was the same way. That was one of the reasons why Taras liked looking.

"Okei," he said softly. "You too."

Taras fixed Lasha's covers again.

"We'll have a banya as soon as you're better. It'll be good."

He thought about Ilarion's body, stretched out on a bench, skin damp and slick with clean sweat, the black lines of his tattoo gleaming like onyx.

Taras licked his lips.

"We haven't been to the banya in a long time. Remember the Evropeiskaya?"

Date: 2009-05-08 09:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion chuckled.

"Oh yes, I remember the Evropeiskaya, Oleksei. How I do remember it."

He paused, pacing his words, staggering his efforts.

"The whores. The caviar."

He laughed.

"I made you angry."

Date: 2009-05-08 09:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Did you?"

Taras frowned, and had to think about it. He thought he remembered getting mad, vaguely, when he was fucking one of the whores, but he was fuzzy on what had prompted it, exactly. His anger usually lit easily and burned hot, leaving little in its wake.

He grunted softly.

"I guess you did. What I remember is you jerking off in the banya. You were lucky I'd fucked two whores before that."

Date: 2009-05-08 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion made a soft noise.

"Lucky, was I."

He laughed quietly. The world felt amorphous and warm. Everything was gently blurred.

He was still too hot, but like a reptile he basked unrepentantly in hothouse delirium.

"Maybe it was the whores who were lucky."

Lasha yawned, slightly.

"What were their names? Proserpine and Nitocris? Bellona and Cassiopeia?"

After a moment he shrugged.

"No matter. They served their purpose."

Date: 2009-05-08 05:19 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"I don't remember."

Taras didn't remember that the whores had given their names, much the less what they were.

After a moment he got up and crossed to the other side of the bed. He lay down on top of the covers, next to Ilarion.

"Those aren't Russian names," he said, closing his eyes.

Taras recalled what Liadov had told him, about how Lasha went through a period of fucking whores and drinking. It was still hard to imagine.

A faint frown crossed his brow.

"I think I'm getting tired of whores."

Date: 2009-05-08 06:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Mm," responded Lasha, noncommittal.

The weight of Oleksei's physique was much less cataclysmic to bed integrity than one might expect, especially when he spread out.

Still, Ilarion could feel him get onto the bed.

"That's only natural. There's a limit to their appeal."

He shivered a little, as he shifted between extremes of hot and cold for a moment.

"They should be taken in moderation, if you want to keep your interest in them."

Date: 2009-05-08 06:56 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Eh." Taras made a disagreeable noise. "I don't care. I think I'm done for a while."

He opened his eyes, and stared up at the ceiling.

"I'll manage."

Taras turned his head toward Lasha. Ilarion still seemed feverish, restless in the bed, though at the same time, his movements were sluggish. Taras thought he must be exhausted.

He reached out to adjust the cloth on Lasha's forehead.

"I called your place, yesterday. Talked to Khartov and Barshai. Everything's fine there, just so you know."

Date: 2009-05-08 07:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha smiled, in spite of his discomfort.

"Da, that's good. I expected nothing less."

He paused.

"Merkurii has a way of ingratiating himself without any effort at all. Even Khartov would come to respect him, given time in his company."

Ilarion sighed.

"You'd like him."

Date: 2009-05-08 10:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
"Yeah, he seems..."

Taras trailed off, searching for the word. A few seconds went by.

"Polite," he finished. "Asking how you are, how things are going here. He said it was raining in Leningrad."

He stretched on the bed, careful not to jostle Ilarion.

"He said his leg his better and the bruises are gone. We talked a little bit. You're right. He's easy to talk to."

Taras settled, sighing, quietly content.

"And he's a good comrade to you. That's what's important."

Date: 2009-05-09 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion laughed.

"A good comrade. I suppose he is, if you want to put a fine point on it. He's good to me in many ways."

Lasha's lips drew upward at the corners, sly.

"How about you? Are you a good comrade?"

Date: 2009-05-09 04:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras narrowed his eyes a little.

"Depends on how you mean that, Isaev."

He stared hard at Lasha for a few moments, then snorted, laying back.

Taras tucked one hand behind his head scratched at his stomach through the wool uniform.

His lip curled.

"...just how good of a comrade do you want me to be right now?"

Date: 2009-05-11 10:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha watched him through slatted eyes.

"Don't mind me, Oleksei. You're a good comrade."

He paused.

"You're part of the avtorityety, moyo muzhik."

A smile graced his lips. Cool.

"You're mine," he whispered, reaching out a long hand to grasp Oleksei's tie. "Embrace it."

His eyes closed.

"Embrace me."

Date: 2009-05-11 10:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com
Taras felt a shiver run deep inside him.

"Da. Da, krysha. Okei."

He turned toward Lasha and drew him up in his thick arms, holding him close against his chest, shifting until he was comfortable.

"There," he murmured. "You can sleep now, da? I'm here to make sure you'll be all right."

Taras stroked Ilarion's hair.

"You won't even have any bad dreams."

Date: 2009-05-12 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"I never do," Ilarion tossed off, liltingly.

He closed his eyes.

"But neither will you. Just hold on to me. I'm your talisman."

Fatigue overcame him soon after the words left his lips.

August 2010

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