The Visit

Feb. 18th, 2010 12:31 pm
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[personal profile] cheslav_oleksei
Later, Cheslav would always remember it was winter when Avdotia Isaeva died.

Cheslav Oleksei remembered the Siege as an eternal winter, even though he knew intellectually that the seasons must have changed during those two and a half years. Yet when he caressed the place in his memories that knew starvation and fear and aching desperation, squatting in bombed-out buildings and eating stringy meat nearly raw, taking his knife to the veins of a man for the first time and finding fleeting solace in the slow grind of hard flesh, that place, those memories, were grey and tinged with frost.

Now, there was real snow on the ground in front of the Isaev estate.

The estate stood as always, imposing and elegant, a tall historic townhouse facing the wide road. The snow around the curb been recently plowed but was blackened with mud from the tires of many recent visitors, like the first shadow of tarnish on silver.

Cheslav drove himself, and parked his white Moskvitch in front, instead of going around to the back like usual.

The night air felt crisp, and very heavy.

His breath streamed between his lips like smoke. Seeing it made him want for a cigarette.

There were few things Cheslav Oleksei denied himself, but he denied himself a cigarette now. Instead, his hand went absently to his pocket, and felt the weight of the bottle within.

Cheslav wore a black wool coat that spanned his broad shoulders and swirled around his boots as he walked up to the townhouse's front door. Above him, most windows were darkened save for a couple that were faintly backlit with the softest of warm glows.

No other signs of life.

He allowed it was possible that no one was home.

His heavy brow knit low over his dark eyes.

Cheslav had even features, for the most part, a straight Greek nose and squared-off chin, and a long, angular jaw. It was the thick brow that glided his face with a touch of menace, and betrayed his coarse birth.

Rather, both his jaw and his massive form, tall and thick with muscle like the butcher he'd once been, and Cheslav knew it mattered as much where you'd been as where you were.

He reached for the wrought iron knocker, but then changed his mind and rang the bell, instead.

Date: 2010-02-19 09:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cheslav waited outside, feeling the chill at the back of his neck.

Time passed. He began to wonder if no one was home to hear the doorbell, or everyone who was home had retired early for the evening. Either would be unusual, especially if there were no maid or butler or some domestic on duty to see to such chores. The Isaevs were that way.

He was reaching for his lockpicks when he finally heard footsteps, quiet bootstrikes on a wood floor.

A light flickered to life above the door, then Cheslav heard the turn of a deadbolt.

The door opened inward to reveal a young man in Ministry uniform.

Cheslav studied him. This was not Aleksandr's oldest boy, he saw. Aleksandr's son favored his father, with the same pale hair and lean, refined features.

This boy was blond, but any resemblance ended there. His hair was gold, rather than the Isaev platinum, worn long and lush, not cropped sleekly against his skull.

His eyes had a low-lidded, almost drowsy cast, and his mouth curved generously even when he was not smiling. His tie was loosened and he wore no cap, though his uniform was neat and presentable. Most likely a lower-ranking junior officer tasked with keeping an eye on the estate for the evening.

Some might think the boy too young to be wearing Ministry grey, but Cheslav approved.

The boy studied Cheslav in turn, his expression polite and composed. Chelsav thought he looked familiar.

Cheslav nodded to him, politely enough.

"I'm here to see Aleksandr," he said in a low rumbling tone, after a pause. "I'm...a friend."


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February 2010

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