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 10:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Nika turned, lingering in the hall just outside the entrance to the kitchens.

He crossed his arms with a slight frown, eyes seeking the floor briefly, then casting to the side.

"Comrade, I don't know how much you already know. I don't even know who you are, but I've seen you interact with Sanya over the years, and I know it's not Ministry business."

Nika lifted his gaze to the man's with flawless certitude.

"What I do know is that it's none of my business."

The man's dark-eyed expression was focused, almost keen, belying the casual set of his shoulders and the slight backwards lean of his posture.

"Normally I wouldn't talk out of turn like this, or divulge family secrets to any guy who showed up at the door in mourning black, claiming to be a friend of the Major. But in this circumstance, in your case, I'm going to assume that any man who works in a personal, clandestine capacity for Sanya Isaev probably knows far more damaging facts than I could relate."

Nika's eyes loitered for a moment, for emphasis, then drifted toward the doorway to the kitchen, where Lasha sat having tea and calmly waiting for his father to either stop being mad or stay that way.

"What I can tell you that the papers can't is that Avadya's death was suicide."

He paused.

"And that Lasha was the one who found her."


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February 2010

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