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: 2010-02-21 05:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ilarion's narrowed eyes rose, seeking Oleksei's.

His face wore the tolerant look of a benevolent watchdog, part bodyguard and part overseer. Indulgent, firmly convinced of what lay in the bests interests of all. He was waiting, affably, patiently, for Ilarion to relent, somehow knowing Lasha's investment in the matter was superficial.

Lasha gazed at him with eyes that were innately wintry.

"You have no idea what you've walked into," he said, in a crystalline undertone.

Nika was frowning, eyes on the floor.

"I told him, Lasha," he said, raising his voice.

Ilarion's lips parted slightly.

There was no way Liadov could have told him everything. Nika didn't know. No one did. No one but Aleksandr and two of his Ministry buddies.

"Of course," Ilarion said automatically. "Well in that case, there's no more to say."

Liadov's brow creased with faint incredulity and just a touch of well-disguised suspicion.

He eyed Ilarion skeptically for a moment, before speaking.

"I'm going out, Lasha," he said. "Come with me."

Nika indicated Cheslav with a flick of his eyes.

"...Let him do what he can. At least let him try."

Ilarion stared at Liadov's face, stymied by his quiet entreaty.

His lips pressed together, briefly.

"Da, kanyeshna, Nika."

Slowly, he turned his attention back to Oleksei.

Lasha smiled, in a deflective, disarming manner, but a touch of guarded crispness lingered in his tone and around his eyes.

"...You really want him, Cheslav, be my guest. He's all yours. But don't say I didn't warn you."


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February 2010

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