Date: 2010-02-20 01:17 pm (UTC)
"I didn't understand before now, not really," Nika said soberly. "Not the extent, or the depth. In a way, that was the real surprise. That he could...feel. Like that."

He wasn't sure why he was standing midway in the Isaev's corridor off the foyer, conversing in low and pleasant tones with an unknown associate of Aleksandr's without preamble and on such an intimate level.

Something about the surreality of the entire experience, the elastic nightmare of last few days, rendered nothing out of line.

Nika cast a furtive glance up, toward the grand staircase.

"It's been...unsettling. He's nearly catatonic. Won't eat, won't sleep, has barely stirred from his armchair in three days. He just holds onto her winter coat and buries his face in the collar. Sometimes he raves and weeps, and sometimes he curses and rants. That was the last three days. This carried on literally until he was hoarse."

Nika shook his head, eyes defocused somewhere to the left of the man's broad shoulder.

"Lasha tried to ply him with wine, then cognac...finally sedatives. Anything to calm him, ease him. Make him sleep."

He shook his head.

"Nothing. He wouldn't have any of it. He threw every glass against the wall, and knocked the barbituates out of Lasha's hand and onto the floor, until Ilarion got fed up and left him to it."

Fuck your pills. I won't be numb. I'll take what's mine. Get out. Leave me. Leave me alone. I only want what's coming to me: everything.

Nika could feel the quiet upstairs like a weight upon his chest and brow. Impending, unsure. A dangling sword of indeterminate shelf life.

"Last I checked on him, he was sitting in utter silence, like the chain around one of his gears had broken from pure abuse. Eyes on the wall, distant, and water glistening in tracks down his face."

He ran a hand slowly back through his hair.

"I was worried, since he'd gone quiet for the first time in three days. I'll admit, I was afraid he meant to follow her. Lasha told me to leave him be, but...I know how these things can play out in the blink of an eye."

Nika's lips formed a conflicted line.

"He isn't safe with himself. He hasn't done anything yet, but in my experience that precludes nothing."

His pale green eyes sought the dark eyes of the stranger, with quiet conviction.

"Decorum is one thing, necessity another. If he doesn't improve soon, I'll break out of line, apart from Ilarion, and have the whitecoats called in myself. No matter if it ricochets back at me in the end; the man is all the father I ever had, and I won't lose him."
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February 2010

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