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[personal profile] capt_kasya
[Warning: NC-17 m/m Isaev/Irinarhov interaction]

[ profile] capt_kasya: It took Kassian a few moments to realize that Isaev could actually mean that literally, but even then, he went back and forth on it, questioning what he'd heard.

It had to be a metaphor for something, he thought, but it felt more like he was trying to refute a near-unfathomable truth.

It made him shiver, too.

Isaev's kinks were more twisted than his own, he realized. The faultlines through his soul ran deeper. Kassian didn't know how that could happen to someone so young, someone who hadn't been through the war. But a different sort of conflict had left its own schrapnel marks across Isaev's psyche.

"You sick fuck," he whispered, breathlessly, admiringly.

It was hard for Kassian to wrap his mind around how fucked up that was, but even so, it made his loins twinge, made him thrust harder. That was fucked up, too, but he couldn't help himself.

"What you do to me..." he muttered. Something like that would be the most extreme test of trust, and love, he could think of. Truthfully, part of him recoiled. The idea of going to such extremes to get off seemed wholly unecessary.

Isaev got him off just fine the way things were, and he didn't feel the excitement lacking.

Kassian had a large and healthy respect for guns, due to his experience and training. He didn't take their power lightly. The thought of using them for sex games was well and thoroughly shocking.

At the same time, the request spoke to that damaged part of Isaev, the one that raised a fiercely protective instinct in Kassian and made him want zero a bullet to the temple of the person who had done this to him.



No, not Imaov, Kassian thought. At least he didn't think so. But Lasha...

No. A brother wouldn't do that, put his own brother's life at risk, would he? Maybe this was something that Isaev had come up with all on his own.

It made him love Isaev all the more, regardless. His chest cramped, vehemently.

Kassian thrust upward, hard, grunting with the effort.

"Wouldn't work," he said finally, gruffly, between breaths as he thrust again. "Barrel's too long."

[ profile] andrei_isaev: "Your Makarov, then," Andrei insisted, hissing softly as Irinarhov's force shifted slightly, increasing, and he knew he was turning some dark crank deep inside the sniper. "We all have to carry one- even you, Kestrel."

He widened the set of his boots, as far as his uniform would allow, inviting the sniper to thrust deeper.

"I need to tell you something," muttered Isaev, "and I want your gun trained at my head when I do."

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian's eyes narrowed. If this wasn't a sick sex game, then what was it? He drove his hips harder, pushed deeper inside, ground in a little more savagely.

"I don't care what it is," Kassian growled. "There's nothing I need to kill you for."

He pumped hard, viciously now, to underscore his point.

"What are you going to tell me? That it was you who killed Molokov? Even that wouldn't make me change my mind about you, comrade."

His arm tightened around Isaev's chest, pressing their bodies closer.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: "I know you won't kill me, Kasya," said Isaev, with a soft laugh that became a harshly sipped inhalation. "If I thought you would, I'd never let you have me like this."
But as Irinarhov struck into his core, he was forced to admit he might have done just that.

"The reason I need you to do this for me..." A shudder, a slight, rough moan and a smile. "Is because-"

He paused, stricken, suddenly realizing what Irinarhov had said.


The words struck him, pained him oddly.

They'd said a lot of things after Tourangeau.

He clenched his teeth, hiding his expression.

"Did Liadov tell you that?"

[ profile] capt_kasya: "No," Kassian said, sharply. "He didn't tell me that. He asked me. I told him it was impossible."

He had to pause and swallow, catching his breath. He was building now, getting closer, even though he thought that he'd be slow.

"I know you didn't kill him. I was just trying to make a point, think of the worst things I could think of, even though I knew it wasn't true."

That probably hadn't been the best thing to say, Kassian decided.

"What is it you want to tell me?" he insisted. "If you want me to hold a gun to your head while I'm fucking you, I sure as hell need to know why."

He grunted. "Fuck. This is crazy. And I might come before we work this out, anyway."

[ profile] andrei_isaev Andrei clenched his teeth, realizing he was hardening again, willing himself not to.

"Because I need a gun to my head," he hissed, "If I'm going to tell you. Otherwise I won't. I need the motivation."

Even if it was ersatz, the cold steel against his temple would make him sober, and confess.

"I want to be completely at your mercy," he whispered.

[ profile] capt_kasya: That was it.

Without another word, Kassian took his arm away, and reached behind him to pull his Makarov.

He carried it as an afterthought. He rarely used it, or practiced with it. In the field, he'd only had a few occasions he'd even had to fire it, though there were two times that he could remember when his sidearm had saved his life.

He clicked off the safety and pressed the gun to the side of Isaev's head.

His index finger was absolutely steady.

"You are completely at my mercy," he said, voice low, grinding into Isaev once more.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei closed his eyes, exhaling in a shudder.

Kasya was fucking him without a hitch, having drawn the gun so fluidly, one-handed, that he hadn't even interrupted his rhythm.

That was the kind of control that killed.

"Good," he whispered. "Feels good."

He paused, sensing the intrusion of cold steel on his temple like a freeze brand.

"Your other hand," Andrei said, turning his eyes as much as he could. "Put it in my pocket."

"...right. No. No, left."

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian shifted his balance to let his weight rest on the point of his hips, which were pressed up against Isaev.

"What is it? You said you wanted to tell me something, not show me something," he hissed, but reached around and slipped his hand into Isaev's jodhpur pocket.

Isaev had turned his head to catch Kassian's eye. Kassian met his gaze briefly, but then pressed his gun into Isaev's temple in lieu of thrusting harder.

With both hands busy, he didn't have the leverage.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei knew that Kasya's hand did not slip.

Any motion of that muzzle came from the man himself, making a point.

The tip of the barrel pressed in closer, suddenly, forcing his eyes away.

Kassian had been so sure of himself as to unlatch the safety lever on the gun. That was enough for Isaev, and he never doubted the professionalism of his comrade. Nor the intent.

Still, the shift of the weapon made him utter a soft noise.

"Did you find it?" he murmured, through taut, tense lips. "Field jacket. Lower hip pocket." He paused. "Buttoned in, because it's special."

He pressed back against the sniper's cock, pushing with domed shoulders, shoving him deeper, exercising the only power left to him.

"Round," he said, perfunctorily, gritting his teeth.

[ profile] capt_kasya: "No, I didn't," Kassian said, removing his hand from Isaev's pants pocket to feel around for the edge of his field jacket instead.

If he hadn't been holding a gun to Isaev's head, he would have made a comment about Isaev just wanting to be groped, but now wasn't the time, for certain.

"What am I going to find?" he asked, even as he searched. "If you have something in here that makes me pull the trigger accidentally, I'm going to turn the gun on myself afterward."

He wasn't usually impatient, but this arrangement set him on edge. Damn Isaev's fucked-up, kinked-up, roundabout way of telling him something that was apparently important, instead of just saying it, like a normal person.

Isaev contracted around him and Kassian let out an involuntary grunt, jerking his hips a little in response.

Not like any of this was normal.

He scowled, but then his fingers encountered a small, hard round shape through the pocket material. Too small to be a bullet, and the contours were all wrong. Carefully, he undid the pocket fastening and pulled the tiny item free.

It glimmered like metal, he could see, and felt heavy for its size, but was ridged on one side and more flat on the other, with a small tab...

"What's this? A...button?"

[ profile] andrei_isaev: "If you pull the trigger accidentally, you're not the best," intoned Andrei, coolly. "And we both know you are. Say it for me, Kasya. Tell me how good you are with a gun. Or am I overstating your ability?"

Andrei shuddered as Kassian's hand withdrew.

His words were uncertain, suspicious. Excruciatingly slow.

But of course Kassian would be confused.

"The metal," he said, closing his eyes. "That was worked in by hand. Do you know it?"

He swallowed, knowing that he was playing a game with an unknown commodity. He trusted Kasya, with everything he knew about him so far.

"Turn it over."

He ground the words out, unwillingly.

"..the craftsman's initials are there."
His shoulders shook, not out of fear, but out of unburdening.

[ profile] capt_kasya: "I'm not the best," he muttered as he turned the button between his fingers.

He really wasn't, even though he felt briefly flattered that Isaev thought so.

The button had a design on the front, but Isaev had told him to look at the back. There, two letters were engraved in Cyrillic, etched with a careful hand: D.I.

He frowned, and turned the button over again.

In his other hand, the gun felt heavy.

The design looked like the traditional Soviet hammer and sickle at first glance, carved in miniscule, loving detail. But it wasn't traditional at all, upon closer inspection. Instead, the etched line art portrayed a dove with spread wings escaping two outstretched hands.

He felt a chill.

Kassian remembered, suddenly, when he'd first realized the lie behind the camouflage that was hiding in plain sight.

He'd been packing the coat away when his gaze had caught a gap on the front where a button should have been placed, but was missing instead.

Not that he ever planned to wear the coat, but he'd looked at the remaining buttons carefully to see if he could perhaps get something to match. His eye had passed over the hammer and sickle design once before catching the outline of the dove and hands the second time.

It had given him a chill then too, to realize that the etched symbology meant something else entirely.

He'd hid the jacket in the bottom of his trunk, as if it were contraband, and hadn't bothered with it since, except to haul it around with him to every assignment.

Occasionally, it had occurred to him that he should have disposed of the jacket a long time ago, but he never did.

And now...

"Where'd you get this?" he asked Isaev, frowning even more heavily.

His rhythm had stilled several moments before. He hadn't been paying attention.

This button was an artifact from nearly twenty years gone. "Were you...going through my things?"

It didn't make any sense, but Isaev had spent enough time in Kasian's barrack to make it logistically possible, at least.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei snorted.

"And why would I do that?" he said, sharply. "Trophy hunting?"


"No, Kasya."

He laughed, but there was no humor in it.

"I've carried that button around since I was five years old. In a multitude of coats, in innumerable pockets."

He paused.

"But you know it- don't you. I'm not wrong."

The words were soft, but they carried. Winging off the metal walls and returning to him like an indictment.

Isaev breathed in raggedly, and steeled himself.

"...I saw your father dead, Kasya."

[ profile] capt_kasya: "My - " Kassian broke off.

He remembered what Liadov had told him. Dmitri Irinarhov had tried to climb the perimeter fence of the camp where he was incarcerated. The fence had been electrified, apparently, and he had ended up shorting out he prison, but the warden apparently saw it fit to leave him there, up on the fence, as a warning to other prisoners.

For two weeks.

Kassian went still, but he was still hard and flush inside Isaev, aching with the need to either release, or disengage.

He did neither.

Instead, his mind raced. He believed the reality of Isaev's stark words, but didn't know how it could be. It was a long time ago, twenty years. Had Isaev even been born yet?

Yes, he recalled, after a moment. Isaev was twenty-three. The same age Kassian had been on the very day he'd found out that his father was dead.

Still, it meant Isaev had to have been a child at the time -

"Tell me," Kassian said with sudden vehemence, and pulled his gun away from Isaev's temple. He flipped the safety back and returned it to its holster.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei exhaled, feeling the loss of the gun's weight on his conscience, but rather that than Kassian's presence against him and his cock, sullenly rigid inside him.

His hair hid his eyes, but his lips moved freely beneath.

"I was a child."

He kept his tone utterly straight and emotionless.

"My father was called up to Magadan for some official purpose. I didn't know what it was at the time, but a man had died in the colony, and my father..."

He paused, not wanting to force the unpalatable words.

"...was the head of the sentencing tryptych who had convicted him."

[ profile] capt_kasya: "Go on," Kassian said, quietly.

He found himself momentarily at a loss with what to do with his free hand. In his other, he held the button, pressed it into his palm.

Kassian shifted. It was starting to get uncomfortable, like this, his already abraded cock turning more sensitive with inaction.

He gritted his teeth and ignored it. Somehow, it didn't seem right to start fucking Isaev again during this...


He didn't return his free hand around Isaev's chest, but instead settled it on his hip.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei shuddered, feeling empty the of inner motion that bespoke life and human contact.

Still, like this, Irinarhov felt like a hard object of punishment, a baton of judgment, still and silent but still taunting him with throbs of the hot blood that pulsed within.

"God damn you, Kasya. Pull out or fuck me."

[ profile] capt_kasya: "Fine."

Kassian started to pull out, but halfway there he changed his mind and shoved forward once more.

He pumped Isaev hard, and almost perfunctorily.

He hadn't wanted to do either, really, but Isaev had been right. Staying inside him would have grown unbearable for both of them, but pulling out would be torture for Kassian.

Even so, Kassian hadn't wanted to fuck Isaev angry, either. It felt like -

It felt like the way it had been with Vitya, at least when things were bad.

And maybe Kassian didn't want to climax because then he would no longer have an excuse to be close to Isaev.

Not that he needed one, he reminded himself, belatedly.

His breath came in harsh gasps and he thrust violently. Maybe not as hard as Isaev had used him, but pretty damn close.

It didn't take long. He came with a growled cry and violent spasm. His body arched against Isaev's, posture held rigid for long moments before he let out his breath and pulled out a little too soon.

It fucking hurt like hell.

Kassian stumbled back two steps and collapsed against the wall, breathing hard.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: The sniper had been holding back, but now he broke free of his conscience, and took him like a morning drink- hard, fast and without remorse, not hoping for pleasure, just desperate to dull the ringing of the night before.

He came so hard Andrei felt his cock jerking, independent of his body, which hardened against him in a kind of igneous rigor, and flooded him with liquid fury.

Andrei felt the surge of heat inside him, and it seemed to blunt the pain of the onslaught. But he felt raw in other places.

Kassian shoved away, reeling, still drunk on adrenalin and release.

Andrei's breath warred with his in the small space. The echoes tangled and struggled in midair.

He turned swiftly, instinct telling him not to leave his back exposed with a man behind him at shooting or knifing distance, the impulse too ingrained, and his id too exposed to mediate the reaction for his company.
Cooling liquid trailed down and around the twined muscles of his thighs in slow, colorless rivulets.

He ignored them, drawing his jodhpurs up around his obstinately stiff cock and fastening them once more.

"That's better," he said, darkly. "I imagine that's how it feels to take a prisoner in wartime. But you'd remember that, wouldn't you- having been at Stalingrad. You took captives, didn't you? Took them, after that? There are no men who are always good, Irinarhov. Tell me you were, and I won't believe you. You were all mad from that war. That war made my grandfather into glass, and my father into diamond."

Andrei paused, tossing his hair out of his face, his breath still audible, but slowing, growing steadier.

"How about it, Kasya? Any memories of giving it to the Germans?"

His smirk was hard, and he knew he was the man Irinarhov had thought he was, that first day in the showers. The man he'd hated on sight, and turned those dark eyes on in contempt.

The idea made him love the sniper all the more. Fierce, vengeful love.

How dare you hate me. I'll make you invert that emotion.

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian recoiled, horror catching in his throat.

He looked up at Isaev, face gone white, absolutely striken. His heart thundered like a klaxon and his eyes suddenly burned.

Kassian turned his face away, trying to control himself, but the raw emotion roiled within him and made his hands tremble.

Struck down like a man with a bullet in his head, he sank along the wall and crumpled to the floor, nerveless.

"Is..." His voice broke. Kassian cleared his throat, harshly. "Is that what you - "

He felt nauseous. Sick, that Isaev would say such a thing. Sicker that he had -

No. No, it wasn't the same.

It wasn't.

Angrily, he wiped at his face and turned his gaze back to Isaev. "I was in Berlin," he snarled, as if that explained everything.

He didn't even know if Isaev understood the signficance, had ever heard about what had happened there. Maybe not. It wasn't something Russians tended to acknowledge, but right then Kassian didn't care.

His limbs were still shaking, but with a more livid emotion.

He'd been angry at Isaev earlier, when he was fucking him, but now Kassian was furious.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: "Berlin," echoed Isaev, quietly.

He'd known that. It was his father who had been at Stalingrad.

"War is war. No matter what the front."

He let himself sink down to the floor, slowly, until he sat against the wall, forearms coming to rest on his knees. There was a dull pain in sitting on the hard flooring. Irinarhov's cock was not small, and he was unusually rigid when erect. He'd done him well, just like Andrei deserved for having given him the same.

There was no resentment for that.

He felt the emotion being pulled away from his face, like blood pulls away from the extremities in cold weather. A survival adaptation, indigneous to his people. His eyes calcified.

Lifting his chin, he let his gaze fall on the sniper dispassionately.

He studied Kassian's eyes, his face, the seizure along his muscles.

"You look ready to kill," he hissed, after a moment. "I must have struck a nerve in the good Stakhanovite."

He paused, tilting his head back, a small, cold smile edging his full mouth.

"Or is that just our new foreplay?"

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian twitched, a nerve impulse he couldn't control.

Out of nowhere, he felt a rash of gratitude that he'd put his gun away when he did.

He drew in a breath. It was not steady, and his throat felt chafed. He still felt sick.

Kassian wiped at his mouth, then raked his hand through his hair.

It took time to get to the point where he speak again. Kassian just sat there against the wall, studying Isaev's boots, eyes lowered, dark hollows in a slack face.

"Do you have a cigarette?" he asked, finally, voice low and rough. "Comrade."

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev's brows raised slightly.

He reached into his pocket, and pulled out his battered cigarette tin, the contraband saint smiling beautifically on the lid.

He held it out for a moment's inspection, then flipped the lid up and offered the contents.

"Real cigarettes," he said. "Made by factory girls in Spain. Help yourself, comrade."

He didn't know why he had suddenly gone cold. Part of him ached to crawl, hated the pain in Kassian's eyes, hated himself for bringing it to the surface like dredging for a corpse, and stirring up all the emotions that came with it.

But the other part was inexorable, like steel in his spine. They were lovers. He'd admitted that now.

Could Kassian admit his hate?

Or had Isaev read too much into those dark eyes? No, he thought, only black, rich hate could bring forth green tendrils of devotion like this.

"Do you want me to finish telling you about your father?" He paused. "Or is there something else that needs to be said?"

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian reached over to take a cigarette and stuck it in his mouth. He hated smoking, hated the smell and taste of cigarettes. He hated the way they made him feel, and the fact that he needed to smoke in order to calm himself now.

He wouldn't be able to talk about this - to focus on anything - unless he exorcised the lingering revulsion that still twinged in his gut.

"Do you have a light?" he asked. He didn't carry one, himself.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev leaned over, pulling out his lighter.

The space was just enough that he needed to roll onto his hip and extend his arm.

The flame was small and flickering, vibrant orange, but blue and white at the core.

He wondered if that was an accurate description of himself. Inferno-like warmth, deep and drawing, but something else inside.
"Anything for you," Andrei said, cryptically.

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian leaned forward to bring the cigarette in his mouth to the proximity of the flame, waiting until the tip flared before pulling back.

He took a long pull. It made him cough, and it made his eyes water, but he forced himself to take the smoke in his lungs, and then breathe it out.

Kassian sat there for a few minutes, eyes closed, head laid back against the wall, doing nothing but smoking.

Eventually, he felt the cigarette's tranquilizing effect. Opening his eyes, he looked down at himself and realized his pants were still rucked around his thighs, and his ass felt cold and numb.

He leaned back to pull up his jodhpurs, wincing as he inadvertently rubbed the heavy fabric against his thoroughly abused prick. As carefully as he could, he tucked it back inside and fastened his pants.

"Fuck," he muttered, but blew out more smoke.

When he could meet Isaev's eyes again, he plucked the cigarette from his lips and ground it out on the floor.

"After Stalingrad, I was reassigned to the eastern front," he told Isaev, his voice quiet and toneless. "I was there just in time for the push into Berlin. It was the end of the war. We had finally won, but the Germans...weren't prepared. They were still working in their offices. Living in their homes. We swept in like the furies. They couldn't even run."

He paused, directing his gaze outside. His voice became quieter, hushed and solemn. "There were many angry men there, comrade. Many angry Russians. They hated the Germans with all their hearts for everything that had happened to us, to the motherland. So they shot every man they could find, and they raped all the women."

Kassian leaned his head back against the wall again, closing his eyes once more.

"In the streets, up against the walls. They screamed for help, the begged for mercy, but the men just laughed. It went on all night, that first night, then it continued for days. Even weeks afterward, the women who survived it had become less than whores."

He fell silent then, and drew in a slow breath tinted only by cool night air. Finally, he opened his eyes and regarded Isaev slowly, his gaze weary.

"But you were going to finish telling me about my father," he said, shrugging.

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei was given pause.

The story had a visceral impact that made his stomach curl into a cold little core of obsidian. Immediately, like most men, he thought of his sister.

A shudder passed through him.

"We're worse than animals, when we do that to women. Women don't begin these games. Why should they pay?"

He tilted his head, and gentled his tone in deference.

"When I spoke of forcing captives...I was referring to what all soldiers do to other soldiers, comrade. Not innocents. Men, who were prisoners of other men."

Isaev glanced down at his tin, pulled a cigarette out for himself and lit it.

"As a matter of course. Nothing like sodomy to humble an enemy. And if he succumbs to his natural responses....if he enjoys much the better."

He drew in, cringing, but fought his revulsion until the first exhale.

There. Now he could smoke the rest. He'd taken the worst in.

He steadied his voice, almost to a stenographic tone.

"I'm sorry to bring that back, Captain. It must have been soul-crushing to fight against that, knowing the futility."

Inhaling, pushing blue smoke from his lips like psychic surgery.

"...I'm surprised you survived."

[ profile] capt_kasya: "I know," Kassian said, slowly, frowning. "I know that's what you meant."

Rape almost didn't sound so bad, the way Isaev talked about it. It made Kassian wonder if Isaev had ever done anything like that. He could see it, actually, Isaev with that cruel twist of a smile curling his lip, breathing taunts into an enemy soldier's ear as he pumped him ruthlessly, the same way he'd taken Kassian.

The way Kassian had taken him in turn, he had to remind himself.

He rubbed at his face, drew in a breath.

"I always survive, Isaev."

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei nodded decorously.

"Oh, I know you do, Kasya. I know you do." His voice flattened to an edge. "That's what losing everything will do to a man."

He extended his long legs, almost encroaching on the sniper's personal space.

"Your father," he said, decisively. He studied the cigarette in his hand. "Those Spanish whores roll a good cigarette. I bet I'd say that if I didn't hate the fucking things."

He sighed, rolling his head to one side, letting his overlong hair sweep over the side of his neck, his face. The soft weight was cold comfort.

"I was maybe five. I don't know. Probably five. And like I began to tell you, one of my father's convictions managed too get himself dead. So, never one to be content with lemons as such..."

He drew and exhaled, gesturing vaguely, fingers coming to rest at his temple.

"My father, Aleksandr, deemed it a perfect time for a scenic drive. He and mother should have been at the Black Sea coast. Would have been, in fact, had the inconvenience of this ill-timed and pyrotechnic departure not disrupted the power all around the camp."

He glanced up, looking into silence.

Kassian's eyes looked haunted and hollow, and he wanted to drink his suffering in and lick his wounds. But he stayed still and composed, mere feet away.

He cleared his throat softly, tapping ash.

"My father," he said, "at the time functioned as something like what L- Liadov is now, only not a detective. More of an...inspector. An investigator. My brother was there, and my mother. And I. My sister had yet to be born."

Andrei drew one knee in, so he could rest his arm over it, and then he rested his chin as well, gazing past Irinarhov, into the past for a brief moment.

"I don't want to leave anything out," he whispered.

He remembered Lasha, standing in the field of winter wheat.

Barbed wire like a halo behind his head, and behind his shoulders like great, thorned wings.

"We took a black raven, and my father's driver. It was a beautiful day. I slept much of the way in my mother's lap. The roads to the colony were desolate and beautiful. Had it not been early autumn I doubt we would have undertaken the trip. Siberian not for children and women."

He paused, reflecting.

"The prison MENTs were a friendly bunch. Ruffling my hair, giving me chocolate. They showed great deference to Isaeva, and offered her tea. But my father wasn't in the mood to socialize.

'Show me the Zek who shorted out this pit', he said, and so we strolled into the Yard. And my father stood, ten feet from a barbed-wire fence, looking up, his arms crossed, as a MENT pointed and gestured, and my mother said something to Lasha under her breath.

He was stroking my hair, keeping his hands over my ears. "Nye slushyne," he told her, with that casual amusement he reserved solely for her hysterics.
Andrei paused.

"But father called him over, and he let me go, reluctantly, pushing me toward my mother. She began a game of distraction, but my eyes followed Lasha, always."

[ profile] andrei_isaev: "Lasha was standing by my father, looking up. My eyes followed him, and then, his gaze. Mother caught me up in her arms, distracted me once more, and more handily this time.... But not before I had seen him."

His eyes leveled, centered on Kassian.

"...your father, Irinarhov. Like a blackbird tangled in a kite."

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian watched Isaev for a few moments.

He tried to imagine a tiny Isaev, a little Andrei held tight by his mother, eyes pale and wide as he looked up at what must have been a gruesome sight.

Two weeks, Liadov had said. They'd left his father's body up on the fence for two weeks, solid. Kassian had seen the ruin of bodies left to rot before, left to be picked at by birds. He didn't have to guess much to know what his father had looked like.

"Were you scared?" he asked, tilting his head, wondering what kind of people brought their young son to see such a thing. Was that MVD protocol, to expose a boy to such horrors early? To build his tolerance for atrocity through desensitization?

Kassian shifted to try to get more comfortable, but that was mostly futile. He drew in his legs and arched his back, planting his elbows on his knees, but that only put more pressure on his backside.

He shifted again.

"What did you think? Had you ever seen a body before?"

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei's features shifted.

"...And you're thinking of me again," he remarked, frowning.

His face was wryed slightly, like a movie star's grimace of celluloid anguish, as he took a drag from his cigarette.

"I tell you that I saw your father, your essence, I saw them destroyed. And you're worried about my formative years."

He exhaled.

"Explain the rationale behind that. A moment ago you looked vexed enough I might have regretted my bravado in putting that gun in your hand, comrade."

His eyes narrowed.

"Why would you care about Andrushka the cub, when your own father's body blotted out the goddamned sun that day?"

His voice dropped and became intense, accusatory, demanding.

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian held Isaev's gaze, unflinching and absolutely calm.

Balance had returned to him, almost without effort. Somewhere between the nicotine and Isaev's story about Dmitri Irinarhov's body, Kassian had regained equilibrium.

When his anger came, it flared white-hot and burned indiscriminately. But those times were few and far between. He felt more wrung-out now than anything, too physically and emotionally exhausted to fight anymore.

Isaev was younger. Maybe even more angry.

In contrast, Kassian had made peace with a lot of things in his life. And now, perhaps another.

"You know why I care about you," he said, simply.

His gaze lifted and he looked to the ceiling as if he could see the heavens beyond it. "And I think I realized something about my father."

He pictured his father up on that fence, blotting out the sun.

Kassian's mouth twitched. "He wasn't trying to climb that fence to escape, comrade. At least, not to escape the camp."

He rolled his shoulders. Even they felt bruised, though he wasn't sure how or when that had happened. "He was the sort of man who wanted to live on his own terms. He didn't want to be told what to do or be told what to think, especially. I never understood him. I never wanted to. It was easier to hate."

Kassian unclenched his hand and looked down at the button, wondering for a moment at the intricate, artistic detailing. It was a work of art. A work of love.

" I can see it. It would have pleased him, to know that he shorted out the prison. He would have considered the spectacle a triumph. A fuck-you to everyone and everything he despised. Especially to MVD inspectors who had to interrupt their vacations."

His lips curved into a fleeting smirk.

After a moment, he held up the button. "You got this that day? How? You said it was special."

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei's lips thinned at the slight against his father. It was an ingrained response, though he couldn't fault Kassian for taking the jab.

"I don't think there was ever any question that it was a suicide," he said, coolly. "Some people die as selfishly as they live."

Isaev tilted his head, allowing a tint of contempt to color his eyes.

"His morals, his terms. Fuck his wife, and fuck his son. And how did that serve your mother, Irinarhov? And you? How did it serve Kasya?"

He snorted softly.

"How many years did he have on article 58? Ten? Fifteen? What kind of man wouldn't grit his teeth and survive for the ones he loved?"

Andrei shook his head, then he remembered that what Kassian had asked him.

He cast a glance at the button.

"A kitten," he said, tonelessly. "A kitten had it. On the frozen ground. She'd made it a toy."

He scratched his head, further rumpling his passion-tossed hair, unthinking.

"It didn't occur to me at that age what it was, where it had come from. We took the kitten home for my mother. It was a silverbacked persian. I kept the button, because it was unique, a trinket."

He snorted out a short, soft laugh.

"The initials, I didn't connect to the man on the fence for a long time."

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian nodded.

"He put his ideals before the ones he loved. That's why I hated him. But if he wasn't a selfish bastard, he never would have started copying those books in the first place. The risk wasn't his alone. I guess..."

He paused, thinking. "I guess I just understand, now, and I never did before."

Kassian looked down at the button again, tracing the pattern of etching with his thumb.

"Here," he said, and held it out, offering it back to Isaev. "So what did you think? Was it frightening, to see a dead man?"

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei shrugged.

"What I saw...I didn't see for long. Kittens and buttons, comrade, were more at the level of my comprehension."

He paused.

"He looked no worse than the folk tales in my picture books at home."

His eyes traveled up the wall.

"...And Ilarion wasn't afraid. I saw him, standing there in his grey beside father and knew it was all right. If he wasn't upset, why should I be?"

[ profile] capt_kasya: Kassian nodded again, but then slowly frowned, the lines in his face deepening.

He was quiet. Lost in thought. Eyes flicking back and forth, considering. Remembering.

Finally, he just rubbed his face. It had been a long night. Now wasn't the time for more heavy thought, more memories raised to the surface like nicks along a rifle stock, each one with its own story.

Kassian closed his hand around the button once more. Isaev hadn't taken it. This time, he pushed away from the wall, moving along the rooftop slowly, and stiffly, until he sat closer to Isaev. He reached out and slipped his hand in Isaev's, pressing the button to his palm.

"Here," he said, gently. "Put this back in your pocket. Then let's go take a shower, and go to bed."

[ profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei glanced at his hand.

"Whatever you say, Kasya," he replied, pocketing the button without looking at it.

It seemed a little macabre, now, holding onto a vestige like that, knowing from whence it came.

Andrei pushed to his feet, buttoning his coat. His brows lay low over his eyes, absorbed in thought.

A shower would be good.

He was surprised by Kassian's stalwart acceptance of everything he'd said. He almost mistrusted a man who could take the news that his lover had been a child playing in the literal shadow of his dead father as easily as that.

"What then? Shall we fuck a little more? In our loving way?"

He snorted.

"Come on, I'm getting claustrophobic."

He pulled on his ushanka and resituated his gloves.
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September 2009


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