Date: 2010-02-21 12:41 am (UTC)
Cheslav smiled, slowly but warmly.

"Lieutenant Liadov. It's good to finally meet you."

He saw now that there had been a Lieutenant Liadov-sized gap in his understanding of the family politic.

If the Lieutenant had been younger, still a boy instead of a man, Cheslav would have had the impulse to tousle his thick, springy hair with rough affection. Instead he squeezed Liadov on the shoulder briefly, once more.

His gaze shifted toward the kitchen.

"They're not so different, Ilarion and Aleksandr. Neither are you and I, I think."

Outward appearance, age and education aside.

His eyes returned to Liadov's, just for a moment, then he stepped forward, into the kitchen, and let Liadov walk behind him.

It was warmer inside, more lived-in than what he'd glimpsed of the rest of the house. Heat and humidity from the samovar on the stove lingered. He saw teacups on the counter and used dishes neatly stacked by the sink, waiting for a domestic to clean them.

And here was Ilarion Isaev.

Like the young lieutenant, Ilarion wore his uniform neatly tucked and pressed. His hair was cropped smoothly against his skull, like well-manicured snow, but in spite of his neat appearance, there was a understated weariness in the way he held himself, his shoulders too straight under his lapels.

"Ilarion Aleksandrovich," Cheslav said.

He smiled, very slightly, more a relaxing of his features than anything, and crossed his hands casually in front of him.

"I'm here for your father."
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February 2010

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