Date: 2010-02-21 04:00 am (UTC)
"As his friend, I have to insist on staying."

Cheslav said it plainly, without an edge to his tone or challenge in his eyes. He held his pose, watching Isaev the younger.

How much like his father this one was, both in appearance and bearing.

Yet he could just hear it, a brittle tension in Ilarion's words. It bordered on spite though Cheslav sensed the emotion behind it was not petty.

His lips compressed briefly.

"I'm not here to kill him, or to coddle him. I'm here to do what's necessary."

Whatever that was.

Cheslav glanced around them. He remembered the kitchen. It stood contrast to the rest of the house, older-looking and rustic with its one brick wall and wood-beamed ceiling, the other walls plain plaster and the counter a slab of raw marble. He knew it was deliberate, that the lack of refinement was its own form of elegance.

He turned back to Ilarion and shrugged.

"You might be right. Maybe nothing I say or do will make a difference. But that's not enough to make me walk away."

Cheslav paused, cocking his head slightly, falling silent for a moment.

The house was quiet.

"Your brother and the baby, they're with the nanny now, da? Leave your father with me and go someplace with your friend, take the night off."

Cheslav began to pull off his gloves. His hands were large and nicked with many pale scars across the heavy knuckles, but as Liadov had noted earlier, not unskilled or crude.

"I'll see to Aleksandr."
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February 2010

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