Memento

Sep. 20th, 2009 03:04 pm
capt_kasya: (Default)
Kassian left Liadov's quarters with a sense of surreality, the feeling he had just been witness to something bizarre. He was still not sure exactly what had possessed Rakitin to act as he had, but Kassian supposed it was not for him to know. Everyone's demons were their own.

The door swung in silently, and he slipped into the Captains' barracks without turning on the light.

It was late. Kassian suspected Andrei had gone to bed long before, and was undoubtedly sleeping. Though Kassian felt fully awake, mind humming with the events of the evening, he saw no reason to wake Andrei over it.

He could tell him in the morning, if they were still talking. He wondered if Andrei was still sleeping in the same bunk, and if he were, if Kassian should choose another.

He pushed the door shut behind him with a soft click.

It was cold in the room.

Kassian moved to the weapons locker to put away his rifle, pausing to glance toward their bunk.

There was no telltale shape outlined in the darkness; his gaze automatically went to the others.

Empty. Empty, and empty.

He stepped forward, then turned in place slowly, scanning the room, his rifle still looped around his shoulder, bumping carelessly against his back.

The stove had burned down to a cold husk, and Isaev's boots were no longer in their usual corner.

Kassian knew that sometimes Andrei left the barracks at night, when he felt restless. Off to the gym, or wherever else it was Andrei went. But something felt off, to his instinct. His eyes narrowed.

The blankets had been thrown over the bunk, instead of just pushed to the side. And Isaev's drawer next to the bed lay open, rifled and ransacked.

Kassian unslung his rifle and sat down abruptly.

He sat for a while, in the quiet, cold room, eventually sinking down to the coverlet. He drew his rifle to him, clutching it against his chest, the way he had during the war. Supplies had always been short and he had never let his rifle out of his grasp, lest he find it missing its custom scope in the morning.

The rifle felt cold and hard against his elbow.

Kassian closed his eyes and breathed in, flinching as he recognized Andrei's scent, heavy on the sheets, mingled with his own.

After a few seconds he rose and ripped off the bedsheets. He threw them in the laundry and replaced them with a fresh set, tucking the corners viciously under the thin mattress.

When he collapsed into the bedding again, it smelled of soap and cedar.

He lay for a time, wide awake, rifle pressed against his arm, equipment digging into his back. Eventually he shed his boots and took off his belt, but when he shifted again he felt a sharp point of pressure against his thigh.

Kassian dug into his pocket, fingers closing around around a bit of warm metal, drawing it out slowly.

It was a lighter. Isaev's.

It felt heavy in his palm, probably solid silver. Ornate, probably foreign, contraband. Kassian had borrowed it that night, and never returned it, he realized.

It had been sitting in his pocket for as long as he had been wearing this particular set of fatigues, which by his reckoning was two days now, going on three.

He flicked it, experimentally, and found that it responded immediately with a small bloom of flame that wavered in the darkness.

Kassian watched for a few seconds, long enough to spoil his night vision, then he flicked the lighter closed again.

He lay back in the bunk, stretching out experimentally.

He recalled what Andrei had told him, and realized it was true.

Alone in the bunk, Kassian had much more room.

Aegis

Mar. 10th, 2009 10:39 am
capt_kasya: (Default)
(Continued from here and then here.)

Kassian stared at Andrei for a moment.

His pulse had picked up for no good reason he could name, other than watching Ilarion kiss Andrei. It had occurred to Kassian that he should avert his gaze, but instead, he'd found himself watching.

Ilarion had moved in like Russian winter, sudden and intense, but the kiss had hardly been cold.

Andrei had told Kassian about his relationship with his brother from early on. Kassian had conceptualized it well enough then, but had never understood it viscerally.

Andrei's mouth was full and still slightly parted, the corners curved up faintly.

Kassian licked his lips.

"Sorry to come after you like that," he said, glancing around them. "It's not that I don't trust you, or think you can't handle yourself."

They lingered in the hall, near the exit. They would have to go outside, and cross the cold and windy yard in order to get back to the captains' barracks.

"It's just..."

He paused, and met Andrei's eyes with quiet intensity.

"Even though your brother's here now, there's enough room for both of us to watch out for you."

Legwork

Feb. 11th, 2009 10:31 am
capt_kasya: (Default)
Kassian leaned close to the door, listening.

He heard quiet beyond, no sound in particular. Not that it necessarily meant no one was inside. It was the middle of the night, and most people would be asleep.

Or they should have been.

He'd woken up feeling a lingering chill on his back, and far too much room in the bunk. A few minutes later, he'd realized that Andrei had not gone to the barracks lavatory at all, but rather seemed to have slipped out of the room. Kassian had thought to wait for a while, in case Andrei had gone to the gym and would be returning shortly.

He hadn't been able to wait long.

He'd dressed quickly in his black uniform, complete with its smart red gloves and scarf, donning the balaclava so that no one would know who he was. It also meant leaving his rifle in the barracks, but that was better than getting caught roaming the base Isaev-less, when he was supposed to be keeping track of Andrei's every move.

The gym had been empty. No luck. Kassian had thought for a few moments, wondering where else Andrei could have possibly gotten to, and then it had hit him, almost like relief.

Almost.

Kassian glanced both ways down the hall before he pulled off his balaclava, pausing for a moment to push back his hair, black and thick and willful.

He sighed, then raised his fist to the door, wondering if he was going to regret this.
capt_kasya: (Default)
Well. Things turned out all right.

That's starting to surprise me less, actually, when they do.

I don't know what this means for Vitya and me, if maybe someday we can be friends again. He and Isaev are friends.

...obviously.

Guess I'll find out, as time goes on.

But as far as me and Isaev go, things are good. Better than good. And I wouldn't trade that for anything.

'Then I'll take you, in front of him and god.' )
capt_kasya: (Default)
It still feels surreal, what happened in Liadov's room.

I can't believe I did that.

Guess I'm not too old to learn something new after all.

What did Liadov say to me the first time he hit me up? Oh, yeah: "You might surprise yourself, old man."

Well, I did. Not in the best way. All I wanted to do was get home and see Isaev, tell him what happened.

But I wasn't exactly expecting what I found when I got there.

In more ways than one.

'An ugly story,' Andrei said, coolly, and his own icy tone resonated in his ear, thawed crystals of memory in the loam of his mind. 'About a man who carved out another man's heart and shoved it in a box.'  )
capt_kasya: (animated 2 sniper)
I'm still not quite sure what to think about the fact I'm a father now.

I guess technically, I've been one for a while, though I didn't know it. But it seems to me that being a father transcends biology, and is - or should be - about...

Well, that's my problem, I suppose.

I don't know how a real father is supposed to act. I can't judge by my own father, and no one else I know had a real father in their lives. Not Isaev. Liadov told me he never knew his father. The girl in Flame Patrol only talks about her mother and grandmother.

Except...

Now that I think about it, I remember Vitya telling me about his father. He died in the war, a hero.

But I don't want to ask Vitya about this. Not when it's about Aryol.

In a way it doesn't matter if it's true or not, if I'm really Aryol's father or if this is just a coincidence that we've taken too far.

A bullseye could just mean that you're lucky, after all.

Even if it can't ever been proven, it doesn't matter, because both he and I believe it, and that, more than anything else, makes it true.

I still don't know what I'm going to do about this.

Back at the spring, I told Isaev about love, and how I see it. At how having a comrade at your side gives you strength.

In the Symposium, Plato says:

And if there were only some way of contriving that a state or an army should be made up of lovers and their loves, they would be the very best governors of their own city, abstaining from all dishonour, and emulating one another in honour; and when fighting at each other's side, although a mere handful, they would overcome the world. For what lover would not choose rather to be seen by all mankind than by his beloved, either when abandoning his post or throwing away his arms? He would be ready to die a thousand deaths rather than endure this. Or who would desert his beloved or fail him in the hour of danger?

Plutarch said this quote was the inspiration behind the Theban Band, the ancient Greek army that was comprised of men and their lovers.

It's said they fought the Spartans, and won.

I believe in that ideal. Maybe it's antiquated, but I believe in it anyway, and that's what gives it power.

That's why I'm fortunate I met Isaev when I did. All of this would be a lot harder to get through otherwise, but even so, it's not going to be easy trying to figure out what to do about the fact I'm the father of my ex-lover's lover.

...when I put it that way, it sounds even more twisted.

...

I'm glad Isaev's at my side.

'You should have been careful who you bumped into in the dark, comrade.' )
capt_kasya: (Default)
And distractions aside, we ended up finding a hell of a lot more than we bargained for.

It was impossible, but maybe it wasn't. )
capt_kasya: (Default)
Major Ocelot ordered me to take out the sniper that killed Colonel Volgin's double.

I thought the sniper might be hiding somewhere up near the cliffs and cave systems that surround Groznyj Grad, so I asked if Isaev could accompany me. He'd gone on a survey of the caves earlier, and already knew his way around up there.

Isaev's a good guide, and we work well together.

...even when we get a little distracted.

'If he was up here, we'd already be dead,' he muttered to Isaev, continuing to look around. )
capt_kasya: (Default)
For some reason, I find myself thinking about Vitya.

Actually, I know what the reason is. Budapest. The Hungarian Revolution.

Protesting students had started it when their anti-Communist demonstration turned into a riot that had spread like gangrene through an infected wound, and ended up turning into a spontaneous armed revolt across the entire country. The government had fallen quickly to their makeshift militia forces.

We were sent there with the Soviet army to put it down, to quell the revolt and return order to the country, by force. Thousands of civilians were killed.

Vitya and I were lucky. We didn't have to fire a single shot while we were there. I don't think I would have felt right about killing civilians.

But Vitya took it a step further. He said we shouldn't have been there at all, that the Hungarians should have been allowed to govern themselves.

I didn't want to hear it. I didn't care about politics.

Still don't.

But Vitya did. He cared a lot. He saw the big picture, the larger morality. What use was it to live by a personal code when you ignored it when it counted the most, he asked me.

The situation is far greater than us, I told him. One man, or two, can't make a difference, and would only get swallowed by the tide if they tried to stand against it.

You can still care, Vitya said.

I didn't understand that, at the time. Caring wasn't my job. My job was to do my job, and nothing more. Caring about something I couldn't personally change would only lead to needless heartache.

But now...

I find myself thinking about what Ocelot just told me, about Colonel Volgin's plans.

Volgin wants to rule the world.

It's absurd. Hitler couldn't do it.

Alexander couldn't do it.

The Persians, the Mauryans, the Romans, none of them conquered, and managed to hold their power. I know it'll be the same with the Colonel, especially in this modern world.

But the thing is, all of the people who tried left footprints as deep as the Black Sea. Ripples that washed over the shores of history, changed the course of nations, left millions dead, and made the world irrevocably different.

Is that what I'm looking at, right here, and right now?

Is that what's in store for the future?

Am I standing at the brink of another sea change, but this time, I'm on the wrong side of the larger morality?

Perhaps the most pertinent question of all is, can I stop myself from caring?

It never used to be an issue, before.

Damn you, Vitya.
capt_kasya: (kasya color)
When I woke up this morning, I regretted it.

Waking up, that is. Not sure about the thing with Liadov.

Bad hangover, stiff neck, and I had to piss so bad it hurt to sit up. It would have been easier to still be asleep, but I managed to get out of his bed and get my boots and gear on quick enough.

Otherwise, I was still fully dressed. I checked. Just in case. You never know.

It was easy to mumble excuses about having to get a shower and a change of uniform before roll call. Liadov wasn't feeling so great either, but he was too hungover not to be polite about it.

It's been a long time since I've gotten that drunk. Not since I had any sense, at least. You'd think I'd have sense now, but...

Well, special circumstances I guess. Two dead bodies in one night, one of them an Ocelot. Liadov going into shock, nearly dying. Isaev and Imanov skipping off to do who knows what. Together.

Strange. The thought of it doesn't bother me as much as it did last night. I guess after hearing Liadov's story, I realized I wasn't so bad off. That's the big picture. Perspective. I needed some last night, and he gave it to me.

...

He needed something I didn't give him. Not sure if that makes me a bastard or not, but I'm relieved I didn't do anything.

Not that I really wanted to, but I'm glad he didn't push harder, either.

I guess whatever he does works for him, but...

Actually, I'm not so sure about that. I remember him admitting to me during my interview that he wasn't happy, not in so many words, but that's what he implied. I think he doesn't want to let himself be happy, because he thinks...

Huh. I don't know. He never did answer my question, about exactly what happened between him and Ilarion. I know Lasha slept with his wife, but it didn't sound like Liadov would have really minded that. More to the story, there, things he didn't get to because we were too drunk and he had already said too much.

Still. I might ask him again, someday, and try to figure it out.

Not right now though. I need distance, and I'd rather spend some time with Isaev.

I don't know why what happened between Liadov and Ilarion matters to me, but I guess it does for some reason. Seems like I've gotten myself in the middle of this whole thing somehow, so I might as well know what I'm dealing with.
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