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: 2010-02-21 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"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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