The Visit

Feb. 18th, 2010 12:31 pm
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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: 2010-02-20 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cheslav-oleksei.livejournal.com
Cheslav stared at him.

He felt something twinge in his chest, tightening and loosening at once.

"Every father needs a good son," he said, his voice hushed.

He looked the young MENT in the eyes as he said it, held his gaze with penetrating intent, searching. Affirming. The young MENT stared back, unblinking, holding his own.

Cheslav imagined that Aleksandr loved this boy just like a son, in turn.

He reached out and clasped the young MENT on the shoulder firmly, a little too hard for someone he didn't know, but then again, that was how it was with the Isaevs.

Once a person had been drawn into their inner circle, he became so familiar with the anatomy of their dealings that he could recognize how all the parts must fit together, even if he had never laid eyes on a particular part before.

That was how the young blond MENT had known him. And now, Cheslav knew him in turn.

"Listen...your Sanya's my friend, and has been for quite a while. I'll go up to talk to him. I'll take care of him. I'll get him straightened out."

It was funny to hear the name 'Sanya' pass his own lips. Cheslav called Aleksandr 'Shurik' because no one else did.

He paused, squeezing the young man's shoulder before releasing him. Cheslav reached into his pocket and pulled out a heavy fold of bills.

"Let me talk to Ilarion now. I'll tell him you boys need a break. You need to get out of this house. I want you to take him to a hotel, get him drunk or buy him a whore."

He held out several neatly folded bills.

Cheslav wondered for a moment if the boy would be insulted to take money from a lower class man, as if the implication was that he couldn't pay for things himself. But that was another thing that Cheslav had learned from his years in Aleksandr's employ: that the rich did not so much buy things as acquire them, and they saw no need to carry vulgar amounts of money around.

"Take care of him. Whatever he needs right now."

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February 2010

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