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 08:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
"I wouldn't worry about that," intoned Nika. An ironic smile betrayed itself at the corners of his mouth.

This Uncle Slava would probably not appreciate their idea of leisure, if he knew what it was they often did.

By his definition, it would probably be "not too good".

Nika gave a clipped nod and slid his hands into his pockets as Lasha gathered his keys.

"You ready," he said in a low voice, not really a question.

Lasha had planted a boot onto a nearby chair and was inspecting the shine with keen attention. Frowning, he pulled a folded handkerchief out of his pocket and gave it a brisk rub up and down the last, finishing with a flourish.

"Da," he said, belatedly. "I'm ready.

Nika nodded, unruffled.

"Let's go. Take care," he added, mildly, in the foreboding man's general direction.

Ilarion sauntered after him, close at the shoulder.

"What do you think? The Evroperiskaya?"

"Sure," Nika replied. "It's as good as anywhere else."

Which was true universally, provided they were both there.

Ilarion paused at the entryway, hand on the jamb, gaze piercing.

"Hey Cheslav. It was good of you to come," he said, after a moment.

He paused, and his eyes narrowed, not in anger but in significance.

"I won't forget it."


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February 2010

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