Banya

Feb. 21st, 2008 02:08 pm
taras_oleksei: (Default)
Taras drew in a deep, slow breath as he entered the banya.

The air hit him immediately, hot and thick with moisture, suffusing his skin. He could feel the heat sink into his muscles and invigorate his blood.

Steam came from the brick oven that sat to one side of the wall, and benches squared off the rest of the space.

Taras walked over to the benches, feeling sweat already starting to bead on his brow and the back of his neck. It felt cleansing, like all the evening's impurities could simply be rinsed away by hot steam.

He sat down, and settled back on the bench. It was impossible not to relax.

Taras breathed out, his gaze going to Ilarion, who had walked in more slowly. He didn't think he had ever seen Isaev hurry anywhere. The world either moved at his pace, or had to wait for him.

"It's been a while," he said, offhand, aware a moment after he said it that it could apply to more than one thing.
taras_oleksei: (Default)
Taras smiled to himself as he leaned against the long black car, watching uniformed MVD officers drag the moaning, bleeding killer away.

It was night outside, Leningrad winter, but he wasn't cold.

Maksim Koslov, 48, father of two, Red Army veteran, had beaten his girlfriend with the wooden leg of a chair in a domestic dispute and fled when neighbors called the police. The woman died in the hospital seven hours later, and the case had fallen to Taras and Ilarion.

Lasha had sighed, and called the case 'hopelessly prosaic', but they'd gone out anyway, following a lead.

They tracked Koslov to a part of Leningrad that time had forgotten.

The neighborhood was in one of the shunned and ruined parts of the city so far removed from the living heart of the Leningrad it should have been amputated like a gangrened limb long ago. Damaged by the Nazi invasion during the war, never restored, the neighborhood still had buildings with crumbling facades and empty lots, streets and sidewalks pitted by landmines left behind after the Siege.

People still lived here, though, went about their daily lives undaunted by the decades-old decay around them. That was the Russian spirit, steadfast and fierce past the point of bullheaded obstinance.

That was like Taras' father, who had refused to leave Leningrad during the Siege. Cheslav Oleksei let his wife and daughters be evacuated, but kept his then-only son with him.

Taras had been nine, old enough to remember it now.

Koslov was stamped from the same mold, stubborn and traditional, though to the point of foolishness. He'd thought he could evade the MVD by hiding in his old neighborhood.

He'd been wrong.

Koslov was a big man, half a head taller than Taras, thick around the middle. Still strong enough to resist arrest, and drunk and desperate enough to try, when Taras moved in to handcuff him.

Lasha had shot him in the kneecaps, but not before the man had lashed out and caught Taras in a glancing blow across the jaw.

The violence had been brief, but gratifying.

Adrenaline still invigorated Taras' senses, turning the scent of the rain-slicked streets into an acrid tang, sharpening the taste of blood in his mouth. His jaw throbbed, but only in a distant way.

Taras pushed experimentally at the side of his jaw with his tongue, finding a few loose teeth. Taras knew from experience that they would tighten up again, after a couple of days.

He turned to see Isaev approaching, walking briskly, brushing his gloves together as if getting rid of something distasteful.

"You were right," Taras said, smirking as Ilarion drew near. "The violent crimes division is...more interesting."
taras_oleksei: (Default)
Opulence amused Taras Oleksei.

The Dvoryanskoe Gnezdo bled opulence, from the gold walls and plush Persian rugs and the crystal chandeliers. It glittered in the center of Leningrad, the kind of restaurant where people went to see and be seen, the women dressed in silk and furs and jewels and the men wearing the finest winter weight wool suits.

They were slender and soft, those people, complacent in their finery, as if money and material possessions and influence raised them so far above the masses they were untouchable.

That amused Taras, too.

His walk was a saunter and his smile was a smirk as the maitre d’ led him upstairs to the private dining rooms on the second floor. Those rooms were for private matters, dealings not spoken of, nor recorded.

For the occasion, he’d dressed up. Nice suit. Nicer watch. Camouflage, though not much of a disguise.

In face and form, he was hopelessly working class, coarse and pugnacious, thick of jaw and wide of brow, chin slanted and cleft, mismatched eyes and dark hair cropped as close as a convict’s. The suit didn’t hide that he was built like a slaughterhouse butcher, thick chest hard and solid with muscle.

None of that mattered, though, given whose company he was keeping tonight.

Taras had only needed to drop a single name and the maitre d' had whisked him away without question. That was power that had nothing to do with accident of birth, and everything to do with ambition.

He liked the taste of it, as hot and vital as blood.

They stopped at a door.

"Sir," the maitre d' said, knocking once, and upon hearing an answer, opened the door to let Taras in, then closed it behind him.

Inside, the private room was just that, plush, well-appointed, intimately lit, somehow comfortable in spite of the elegance.

A man sat at a rounded table across from the door.

Dark and light, this one, a fine suit and hair of white gold, his features sculpted in ice by the hand of an artist, handsome and refined. As elegant as any other diner, though Taras knew the savage disposition that pulsed under the veneer of aristocracy.

Taras smiled, mildly.

“Nice place,” he remarked.

August 2010

S M T W T F S
1 234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Sep. 25th, 2017 09:37 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios