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[personal profile] capt_kasya
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.

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: Kassian paused outside the door to the Captains' barracks, even though he was cold and shivering.

He could have made it back from Liadov's quarters in the Main Wing to the Ocelot barracks in just a few minutes, but he detoured to the showers first.

His skin had crawled at the thought of joining Isaev in bed with semen on his hands and sweat at the back of his neck.

All of it his, but still.

What had happened in Liadov's quarters still resonated with him like a hangover, persistent and dully thudding.

He'd taken a hot shower, as if he could wash away all traces of sin, soaping down thoroughly then scrubbing, rinsing away sweat and seed and alcohol, purging them from his skin.

Then Kassian had turned the water to cold.

It was a little self-inflicted punishment, but it had sharpened his focus and cleared his head. He hadn't been able to endure it long before he'd had to turn off the water and rub himself down.

He'd dressed quickly in a spare uniform, feeling vaguely guilty about going to such lengths to hide what had happened, though it was a better than Isaev noticing the stains on his jodhpurs before he had a chance to explain. And confess.

Kassian leaned his head against the barracks room door and took a deep breath. He was still drunk, but felt better for being clean.

He pushed the door open quietly, not knowing if Isaev was asleep yet, but the lights were still on.

Silently, he recited what he was going to say as he slipped inside, but Isaev wasn't in their bunk. Motion above it caught his eye, though, and he came to an abrupt halt.

Isaev was in the upper bunk, but with someone else, and from their positioning, it looked like they were kissing.

Kassian stared in utter shock, the sight so surreal his mind rejected it.

Isaev above the other man, head tilted, kissing him slowly, warmly. The other man's hands were in Isaev's hair. It looked intimate, but at least they had their clothes on.

A second later, Kassian realized who Isaev's partner was.

Vitya.

The unreality of the moment expanded, and he could only stare, uncomprehending. What he was seeing was so impossible he had to be hallucinating, or dreaming.

Kassian actually hoped he was. Maybe he'd hallucinated the whole night.

He unslung his rifle, thinking to put it away because that made sense to him, but he paused as the pair came up for air just then.

Kassian looked between them for a moment.

"I'm home," he said, weakly.

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei's mouth parted, wordless.

He was conscious of the gentle flush that stained it, lips like carmine and carnuba wax, sculpted and smooth. Well and softly kissed.

Conscious of Viktor's sharp inhalation, even in his inebriated state, reacting to the sight of Kasya like he'd tread on a viper.

Yet neither of them seemed able to stir from the deep hedonist torpor that hung over them, locked in their sensual tableau.

Isaev's eyes raised, slowly, inexorably, meeting Kassian's. They seethed with confusion, dark and shifting like waves at midnight.

"Kassian," he murmured, the word tumbling past his lips, like a latch had released. Lips that still tingled with the brush of another man's kiss. "Where-"

His hair was dishevelled, tousled from the twist and caress of Viktor's fine, musical hands, and he pushed and flicked it from his eyes, intense and trying to focus.

Irinarhov stood struck in a stance like shell-shock, almost wan, but somehow drained.

Even intoxicated as he was, Isaev felt a stab of unease and concern.

It occurred to him that what to him were innocent pleasures might well be deal-breakers in Irinarhov's old-world manifesto.

His abdomen pulsed with shuddering.

"Where have you been?" he whispered.

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: Out of nowhere, Kassian felt a stab of guilt, as if this whole thing was somehow his fault, if he hadn't gone to Liadov's then Isaev wouldn't have...

His mind stumbled to fill the gap. Wouldn't have appropriated Vitya for the night? Kassian still couldn't comprehend how such a thing could have happened, that Vitya would find his way into Isaev's bed.

He was peripherally aware that Vitya was looking at him, gaze intent and burning, but it was Isaev he stared at, wordlessly. Isaev who stared back wide-eyed and breathless. Anxious, Kassian thought, though not exactly guilty.

Slowly, he wet his lips.

"Liadov's," he said. "Liadov invited me to have a drink with him."

He hesitated on the edge of saying more.

It occurred to him that he could probably say nothing about what he'd done there, and get away with it, save for the fact that the unspent confession would haunt his conscience.

"It was awful. He tried to seduce me again."

Kassian shivered, still cold. His dark hair was thick and held moisture, especially in the night air, and even a brisk walk from the showers to the barracks had chilled him.

Isaev and Vitya looked nice and warm, he thought, vaguely.

"What...are you doing?" he asked, figuring it was probably his turn to ask.

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Andrei blinked, violently. He was drunk, but not insensate, and the words that came from Irinarhov's lips were so non sequitur and inane he could hardly fit them into the context of their current reality.

He struggled with many skeins, but paused, to pull this one thread out of the tapestry, smoothing it over his thigh, because it did not match.

"Seduce you?" he brooked, purely taken aback. "Grigorich?"

Then his mouth wryed and unwound, bewildered.

"...again? When was the first time?"

He couldn't imagine the polished hand of Nikanor chasing the untumbled granite of his lover, it had never even occurred.

Andrei wondered briefly if Kasya could have misunderstood his gregarious nature, because there was no doubt that Nika was socially supple-

Isaev stilled himself, holding up a hand, regathering his thoughts like wayward birds, driving them back toward the aviary to reflock and amass into cohesion.

"What am I doing," he repeated, his voice quiet, modulated. "Why, Viktor here...was just telling me a story."

He paused, eyes grey and slated like frost.

"Sentimental'no," he said. "It hurt my soul. And one thing...became another."

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: "Oh," Kassian said, frowning.

His gaze went to Vitya, who looked back at him warily. Vitya's hands had fallen from Isaev's hair, but one still rested lightly against Isaev's arm. It looked familiar and companionable.

Kassian wondered when the hell that had happened.

But as he turned his gaze back to Isaev's, he saw that cool and distant look that Isaev got sometimes, usually when they were about to argue.

"The first time was the night Gurlukovich died," he said.

The night you spent with Imanov, he thought, but didn't say aloud.

It occurred to Kassian that the fact that it was Vitya, of all people, that he'd caught in bed kissing Isaev somehow made it better. As if there were some invisible thread of fate that ran from Vitya to Kassian to Isaev.

It was strange to see the only two men he'd slept with in bed together, but he realized he'd rather it be Vitya than Imanov, if it was going to be anyone at all, though he didn't understand how that worked.

"What kind of story?" Kassian asked abruptly, turning away to secure his rifle in the weapons locker, as if everything were normal.

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev was struggling with the idea that a man who was for all intents and purposes his brother, for fuck's sake, would be mounting a campaign of seduction for his lover, out of all the men on base-

And any other time, he would have laughed, humored it, even found it amusing- but at this moment he could only manage to tighten his mouth, and all the soft sensuality left him, leaving him flocked in fresh snow, treacherous like a January road shining with black ice.

"He's married, Captain Irinarhov," he stated flatly. "To a woman."

Andrei began to doubt Viktor's reasons for entwining him quite so closely, as his reticence steeped and his fist tightened unwittingly by his thigh. Was it all to get back at Irinarhov?

But the story, the story of that night-

That had the unmistakable bittersweet tang of anguish, and Andrei had tasted it from Viktor's mouth, the veracity undoubted to him.

And now, Kassian was putting away his fucking weapon. Just like a mindless drone.

"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."

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: "I know," Kassian said as he carefully set his rifle in the locker. "Nina."

He actually knew more about Liadov than Isaev did, even if he didn't know Liadov as well as Isaev did.

Kassian thought about all the things that Liadov had shared with him, and wondered if he was being too harsh, if Liadov was just like that, and couldn't help goading him. Kassian didn't know. Maybe it was better to think about it again, tomorrow, when he wasn't drunk.

He closed the locker and turned around.

"Never mind about Liadov," he said.

He paused and looked between Isaev and Vitya again. Vitya's gaze was shadowed and dark, and he held onto Isaev as if drawing strength from his touch.

It made Kassian feel strangely shut out, like it was Isaev and Vitya who were lovers, and he some kind of interloper in his own barrack.

A thin spike of anger pierced him, and warmed his chilled skin.

He met Isaev's eyes, his own gaze starting to smolder.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, jaw tightening.

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev held his gaze.

"Nothing," he said.

Andrei lowered his eyes, as he shifted them obscurely to the man at his side.

"I think you should go, comrade," he said, quietly, touching Viktor's hand glancingly. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't have brought you here."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Viktor pulled his gaze away from Kasya and looked back at Niotkuda. His gaze softened, and he wanted to reach up and push the errant strands of hair out of Niotkuda's face, but he knew that would be far too incendiary with Kasya standing right there.

Instead, he offered a brief and rueful smile.

"It's all right," he murmured, so soft it was only for Niotkuda's ears. "I won't regret anything if you won't."

He turned away so as to not to place on him with the burden of having to answer, and started to push himself up and slip out of Niotkuda's embrace.

Kasya stirred then, and glowered at him.

"No. You stay right there, Vitya. I want to hear this."

Viktor stopped, tensing. He wondered how fucking Kasya could act like he didn't know what Niotkuda was talking about, as if none of it sounded familiar at all. It made his chest ache anew.

He looked back at Niotkuda.

"Tell him," he whispered.

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: "What the fuck am I supposed to tell him?"

Rheotorical muttering.

Isaev shoved himself upright, and snatched one of the loose cigarettes from the bedspread. They lay around them like petals, tossed on waves of grey blanket.

He stuck it between his lips and fished his lighter out of his pocket, but flicked it several times before the flint wheel caught and sparked, and he bought himself time lighting it.

When it was smoldering like a cherry rose, he passed it off to Viktor without looking at him. His eyes raised and riveted on Irinarhov, dispassionately.

"Here," he said, succinctly, addressing his strange bedfellow. "Suck on that."

His eyes narrowed.

"Mommy and daddy need to have a little talk."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Viktor's brow sharpened into a frown, but he plucked the cigarette from Niotkuda's fingers deftly, then stuck it in his mouth.

He took in a long and immediate drag, letting the nicotine brace him, shore up his reserves. It flowed through his bloodstream like valor.

He held it clenched between his lips while he pushed himself up so he could sit back against the wall, the way he'd been sitting originally.

Viktor figured he might as well be comfortable. Sounded like he was going to be here a while.

"No problem," he muttered.

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: Kassian looked from Vitya to Isaev, and folded his arms.

He wondered what the hell Vitya had been telling Isaev while they were up there smoking and drinking together. He could imagine Vitya had told Isaev some story about their relationship that made Isaev feel sorry for him. Like how all of the arguing and competition was Kassian's fault.

Conveniently skipping over Vitya's own contributions, Kassian was sure.

"All right," he said, pointedly, holding Isaev's gaze. "I'm listening."

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev took a breath.

"You know this isn't my territory," he said, softly.

Parsing the words with tension, shrugged off broad shoulders like shaken water.

"But I can't be silent. You hypocrite."

He broke off, lips twitching with disbelief and disappointment. Somewhere, somewhere internally dark and warm, it had chilled him to learn of Irinarhov's thoughtless victimization toward his former lover.

"You told me about your Vitya. Your first love. Your first cock."

He snorted, softly, tossing his hair back, out of his eyes.

"You spoke fondly enough of him, when you thought he was dead."

Kassian's gaze was black with unshed, unvoiced rage. It could gather and disperse, Andrei knew, as quickly as a murder of crows.

"And you spoke so eloquently of loss, Dmitrich. Why did you never tell me how it ended?"

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: "I told you," Kassian growled.

He thought back to that night, that first night, when they'd stood on the landing clad only in towels and watched the new recruit struggle to retrieve the pieces of gear which were scattered across the snowy grounds. Isaev had put an arm around him, and, after a moment, Kassian had done the same.

They'd talked about several things, that night, but even though he'd been drunk, Kassian remembered telling Isaev about Vitya.

"I told you he was transferred to another unit, but it was over before then."

Kassian frowned more heavily, and his gaze went back to Vitya, who was smoking and scowling at him from the top bunk.

"Why? What has he been telling you?"

Kassian turned away from Vitya, and met Isaev's frost-tipped gaze.

"We fought, and we both said some shitty things to each other. I won't deny that. But it was Vitya who told me to get the hell out of his bed and his life. And by that time, the thought of him leaving was a relief."

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev stared.

"It was over, you said, and that was all you said. This is the first you've ever said about who ended it."

He paused, moving forward, slipping out of Viktor's touch, and swinging down onto the floor.

"What about after that, Kasya? What about the last night?"

Andrei's lip shook with conflicted emotion. For Viktor, for himself, and even for Kassian. The urge, despite his revulsion at the tale Leshovik had told, to fling himself toward his comrade's embrace and crush him to his chest. To let themselves beat their heads and will against each other, rage until they reconciled out of exhaustion.

Collapsed once more, together.

"The night before Viktor left for his transfer."

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: "What about it?" Kassian snapped, and up on the bunk, Vitya drew in breath with a sharp and audible hiss.

Kassian glared up at him.

"What did you tell him?" he asked.

Vitya was hunched and staring, sucking on his cigarette like it contained fresh air. He shook his head with a quick violent motion, but didn't speak.

Kassian looked back at Isaev, who had apparently become Vitya's champion, fighting battles in his stead. In ancient times, entire wars were averted on the blades of two men who stood toe to toe and fought to the death while carrying the fate of nations on their shoulders.

"We were together that last night," Kassian said, evenly, "but I left before he woke up. I didn't say goodbye."

He paused then, but didn't look at Vitya, even though he could feel Viktor's gaze burning through him, as if goading him to turn his head.

Kassian kept his eyes on Isaev.

When he spoke, though, it was half to Vitya, his voice pitched to include both men.

"I didn't have the courage," he said, flatly. "I thought if I did, I'd change my mind and offer to go with him."

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: "You loved him, is that what you told him? Loved him, but not enough to lower yourself. Not enough to swallow your pride. No matter that you'd killed ten times your share of men, and had nothing left to prove."

Andrei moved closer, eyes white with condemnation, voice pitched low and accusatory.

It was his voice, but not only his. He had heard that voice fall upon his own ears, from another's mouth. He had heard that voice from his cradle, singing lullabies in a sonorous Russian baritone.

"Then there was that night. The night before he embarked on a new life. The life you wanted no part of. The night he lay in bed learning to forget you. You came out of nowhere. You demanded what he didn't want to give but couldn't refuse. You fucked him. You raped his emotions. You drained him of passion and left him cold. You took everything he had and abandoned him."

Irinarhov watched him, gaze roiling and briny as the black sea, unreadable and locked to Andrei's storm-white.

"You victimized him. You fucking Ukraine barbarian."

His shoulders shook, his fury building, inextricable from the rush of helpless love and adoration he felt watching the sniper's molten, wrathful gaze unfurl its reaction.

"And all because you wanted a fucking souvenir."

Isaev turned, without warning and punched the wall- with drunken overreaction but brutal precision. Plaster crumbled, but not the brick beneath, and his knuckles bled like a fountain.

Unwitting, he clenched his fist for another strike, holding it in a pugilist's ready stance.

"What about me, you bastard? Will you do the same to me?"

His eyes narrowed.

"I dare you to abuse my devotion."

The words were soft and deadly as the rustle of an adder in dry summer grass.

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: Kassian recoiled, and his eyes went sharp and wide with horror. He stared at Isaev's hand for a moment, at the dark blood that ran down his fingers, already dripping and pooling on the floor.

He started forward, then stopped, then moved forward again, stalking to Isaev's side and grabbing his arm, roughly.

"What are you doing?" he bit out, and though his fingers dug hard into Isaev's arm, his hand was shaking.

"God, Andrei, you fucking idiot. You're going to break your hand, if you haven't already."

Slowly and painfully, he lifted his gaze to Isaev's face.

Kassian's cheekbones were white, and his face leached of color. He felt shaky and sick, like he might vomit, but his eyes were fierce, feverish and burning.

"If you're that angry, hit me, you bastard. Crush my skull like you just crushed your hand. Make me pay for what I did to him and make sure I can never to it to you."

He let Isaev's arm go, abruptly, but faced him, his entire body shaking with unspent rage and adrenaline and the sick dread that had come at the sight of Isaev's spilled blood.

Kassian raised his chin, held his gaze hard on Isaev's.

"Do it," he snarled.

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: "I'd fuck your mother first!" spat Isaev, vitriolic. "I'd never strike you, you fucking- why do you think I punched the-"

Andrei looked down at his hand, slowly, flexing it, testing the digitation absently.

His voice curled in on itself, low in his throat, guttural.

"You fucking gun-loving misanthrope. Fucking butterfly collector."

They were inches apart, and the still air fairly vibrated with tension. Ever muscle in his face felt taut with marionette wire. The puppeteer was his own unwrangled Id.

"You," he said, darkly. "You'd take your cold, old gun over a man of hard flesh and warm hands. How long do I have, Kasya? Postal'gha? Before you betray me and drag me over the rocks? Am I young enough to merit more time than Viktor here?"

Blood had stained the sleeve of his tel'nik, blooming red like a funeral rose behind the reliable stripes.

He should take it off, he thought, vaguely, fleetingly, in the detached place that watched the vicious tableau from a distance. Rinse it in cold water, so the stain wouldn't set. Blood came out better than people thought, with just a little cold water.

And a bandage. He blinked at the rivulets of crimson that streamed between his knuckles like ink.

Ilarion had tended him, after the fights, wordless and careful. The comforting constriction of a bandage always evoked Lasha to him.

But his wounds were unbound now, and they ached open.

"My brother was right," he said, thickly, the words black and unreflective. "Blood stains. Water evaporates."

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: Kassian's gaze boiled the air between them and he shook, still sick and in turmoil, both angry and disoriented, though the pulse of his will pounded.

"You can't hit me, but you think I'd hurt you."

He was aware, vaguely, that Vitya was still in the room, just like he was still in Kassian's life, but that had faded in the bloody wake of Isaev's rage.

Kassian didn't look at Vitya now, but only at Isaev, who was drunk not only on liquor but on his own anger, and weaved slightly, unsteady with untempered emotion.

"I didn't go there to hurt him. I didn't even go there to fuck him. I went to his barrack that night to apologize, and to tell him that even though things had turned between us, that I couldn't regret it, because of the good things we'd shared."

Kassian reached out, and took hold of Isaev's arm again, only this time his grip was firm, but unpunishing.

"I went there to tell him I loved him, because I'd never said it to him. Not once. I went there to see if we could learn to be friends again."

He hesitated then, as he remembered, and his gaze banked with shame.

"But when I got there, he was beating off. And he looked at me like - I don't know."

Kassian shook his head, and felt his chest cave in.

"Like he was scared," he finished, finally. "Afraid of being alone. And so I couldn't turn away from that. I had to give him...something, and that was all I knew. But I ran away because I was scared, too. Because I realized that I wanted to give up everything for him, even though he hurt me just about on a daily basis."

He looked down at Isaev's wounded hand, and the blood that still flowed and dripped onto the barrack room floor.

"You think a man can't make mistakes and have eight years to think about what he did and tell himself if he's ever fortunate enough to love someone again, he'll do the right thing."

His voice dropped, turned into a strained and roughened whisper.

"You know," he said, "Liadov asked me tonight about you and me. He asked me if I could see myself living without you. He asked me if you were replaceable in my mind. I said no, and no. I told him - "

Kassian broke off and raised his eyes to Isaev's, though they were burning so badly he could barely see.

"I told him I'd lay down my rifle for you."

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: The stillness would choke him, Isaev thought, facing Irinarhov seeing the pain writ in the lines of his expression.

Nothing from behind him; Viktor, as yet, was silent in the wake of his eruption, and the subsequent slinging of heavy words, whose impact was more staggering than the fist, and drew invisible blood that you couldn't even see to staunch.

Kasya.

Andrei regarded him, exhaling roughly, as if he'd been slapped.

"Liadov," he demanded. "He asked you this, because he wanted to fuck you? To know if he could? If you'd take him over me?"

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: "He asked me that, because he wanted me to understand why it hurt him that I rejected him," Kassian said, voice still rough and quiet. He could not by force of will raise it above a whisper.

"He said he didn't know what he was looking for, but resented the fact that I had found exactly what I'd been wanting."

He paused, reflective, searching Isaev's eyes.

"You," he said. "It's you. There's nothing more important to me."

Kassian let go of Isaev's arm and knelt briefly by the weapons locker. He look out his Mosin-Nagant and straightened, holding it out balanced in both palms, offering it to Isaev, unhesitatingly.

"Take it," he said. "I want you, not this rifle. I want you, not Vitya or Liadov or anyone else. Take it, because it's more than my life. It's who I am. And that's what's yours. And no one else's."

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: Isaev watched him, silently.

After a moment he made a move to seize it, abrupt and directed. Irinarhov did not flinch or withdraw.

He paused, with his hand curled around the stock, then released it.

"You know I won't ever take that thing out of your hand."

It was a poignant gesture, and he had no doubt the sniper meant it. It shook him profoundly that this was Irinarhov's sole possession of any intrinisic value, and he was willing to offer it up like Iphigenia.

Sacrifice always knocked his heart hard.

He held Kassian's eyes for a moment, until it got to be too much, then broke his gaze away, grasping his tel'nik over the shoulder with one hand and pulling it off.

"I can't shoot for shit in the first place."

He wrapped the telnyashka around his fist, absently, but keeping his eyes trained on the task.

A snort.

"I'd get blood on it, anyway."

He shook his head, and walked over to the bunk, bracing his forearm against the side-rail and laying his forehead against it, conscious of Viktor sitting just above him.

As if Viktor was buddha, and he was novice. Or maybe more like a caesar in the stands, and he the centurion that held the token of his favor, down in the ring.

The immovable Ukranian minotaur. Not as famous as the kraken, or the gorgon, or the chimera, or the basilisk.

Isaev pushed back, turned once more.

"I don't care what happened with Liadov. I don't care if you got in a full-orgasm dickslapping match, I don't care if you wore a harness with sleighbells and he called you Natasha. I don't care if you had your dick up his ass along with Major Ocelot himself."

Andrei smiled bitterly.

"But I do care about what you did to Viktor. Not with him, comrade. But to him."

He exhaled, heavily, beginning to feel the throb in his hand. Luckily, the pain seemed superficial.

"Liadov might seem like a velvet glove at first brush, but he's the very definition of an iron fist. Nothing you say will harm him. His will is both god and good. On the other hand, your Viktor, here..."

Andrei shook his head.

"It's not what you think. Men who ache don't wear it on their sleeves, Irinarhov. They're your Pagliaccis, your villains."

He ran his undamaged hand back through his hair and looked up with weary eyes.

"Your comedians. Your tyrants."

Isaev sank down into a wooden chair, feeling his liquor thoroughly now, and how it had permeated his body. Thinned his blood, he thought, as he automatically put pressure on the split knuckles.

"Viktor was going to put a bullet in your head, Kassian," Andrei said, after a second. His tone was mild, informative, and studiously avoided being inflammatory. "Did you know that?"

He glanced up, belatedly.

The look on Irinarhov's face plainly replied that no, he had not known that. Probably could have happily lived out the rest of his days without knowing it.

"Funny how I always laugh at you for never walking by windows, and playing games with your barrack lights at night. And yet, he nearly had you in his crosshairs."

He paused.

"Me too, actually."

Isaev sat back, crossing his boot over his knee, keeping a hand clamped on his swaddled fist. His bare chest should have been cold, exposed in the evening barrack air, but adrenalin had suffused him with heat that even now was only just dissipating.

"Do either of you have anything to say? You might not get another moment this awkward ever again."

The quip was dry, but pointed.

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: After a moment, Kassian lifted his gaze to Vitya.

And Vitya sat there looking down at him, and in that moment, Kassian could see it.

Vitya's vitriolic gaze and curled lip bespoke not a man who shed anger indiscriminately because of some desire to harm, but rather, because he desperately did not wish to be harmed.

A man who hurt more deeply than Kassian could ever comprehend.

He understood it, but was at a loss to know what he was supposed to do about what had passed between them eight years ago.

Kassian looked down, then he looked up again. He was not as drunk as he would have liked to be, to be able to claim his failing on alcohol. Somewhere between the walk in the cold and the shower and weathering the storm of Isaev's accusatory words, he'd sobered and now felt dry and raw inside.

"Vitya," he said, the wavered, his voice dying a little.

Viktor's face had an expression he knew well, curled like a bulldog's, pugnacious, ready to pick a fight, or end one.

"I never meant to hurt you," Kassian said quietly, "even though I did. And I should have done things differently, but I didn't."

He paused, and looked down at the rifle in his hands.

"Words don't cover it, but what I mean to say is that I'm sorry. For everything. I can't change what I did or even make it up to you, but if I can make it better, tell me what to do."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: "You're right," Viktor said.

His voice sounded surprisingly normal in the face of the sickening turmoil he felt inside, like he'd poured ground glass into his mouth and swallowed it.

Kasya and Niotkuda's argument had rained like multiple killshots, each zeroed with perfect trajectory.

To hear Kasya's version of that last night was particularly hard, to hear such noble intent from the man he'd vilified for eight years. He wanted to call Kasya a liar, but at the same time, he could see it.

Viktor stared at Kasya, face was unmoving, carved from granite.

"Words don't cover it," he said.

Viktor took in a long drag from Niotkuda's cigarette, then blew smoke out of the side of his mouth.

The idea of polluting the barrack with the smoke Kasya never liked or approved of gratified him in a dull and distant way.

"There's nothing you can do and nothing I can take that will make it better. That's why I didn't kill you."

Viktor thought about taking Kasya's rifle. He even thought about hurting Niotkuda, since Kasya's devotion to him was achingly evident.

But as soon as the thought surfaced, it withered like a poisoned weed.

He didn't want to hurt Niotkuda, who had touched him in brotherly solicitude, laughed with him and passed him cigarettes with a sly and conspiratorial grin.

Viktor felt himself crumble a little then.

He wanted to say something else that was cold and cruel and sharp, but instead the ground glass in his gut tore the rest of the fight out of him.

He shuddered.

"I don't know what I want, Kasya," he whispered.

[livejournal.com profile] capt_kasya: "I don't know either," Kassian said.

He looked between the two of them - old and new, past and present - and still found it surreal. That somehow the wrongs he'd caused to Vitya back in Hungary lived again now as wounds between him and Isaev.

Kassian sat his rifle down carefully then approached the bunk where Vitya sat. He could see Viktor tense almost infintesimally, as if he expected Kassian to hit him.

Kassian stopped and held his ground, moving no closer.

His eyes softened to the luster of polished stone.

"Vitya," he said quietly, "after you died, what I regretted the most was that I never told you how I felt. So if it matters now, I loved you then. I just couldn't say it."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Viktor's frowned deepened as he stared at Kasya, at those dark expressive eyes that were rich and liquid.

He realized with a sudden sharp horror that it was exactly the way that Aryol looked at him.

"Fuck," he bit out, "don't look at me like that, Kasya."

Viktor looked across the room to where Niotkuda sat in a chair, nursing the wounded hand he'd split open when he'd punched the wall.

Viktor wouldn't have been surprised if Niotkuda had broken the concrete, but he supposed even a man with Lynx's training still had the frailties of flesh and bone to consider.

"How can you stand it? Those eyes. I feel like I just kicked a puppy," he muttered.

He realized his cigarette was burning precariously low. Viktor picked up another one from the coverlet then pressed the tips together while inhaling.

He stuck the fresh cigarette in his mouth, and rubbed out the old one.

Over the cigarette, he glared at Kasya.

"You'd better goddamn well appreciate what you have now, you fucking prick. You hurt him like you hurt me, and I will shoot you in the head."

Kasya was frowning and squaring his shoulders, like he was going to spit out sharp words, but after a few seconds, he dropped his gaze and just nodded.

"Good," Viktor said.

He took in a long drag and tilted his head back, letting the smoke sear him and burn out the rawness that ran through him throat to gut.

"All right," he finally said. "Well, don't leave it like this. He's still pissed at you."

Viktor paused, considering, staring up at the ceiling.

"Make it up to him or something, Kasya. Actually..."

He smirked then, and waved the cigarette in a lazy arc.

"I know what I want. I wouldn't mind watching the two of you fuck again. And I'm going to get off while you do it. How does that grab you?"

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: "A puppy will bite your lip if you let it," countered Isaev, dryly.

But he raised his head sharply at Viktor's last words.

"No," he said, in immediate dread. "I'm in no frame of mind to be doing that. I...I don't feel kind. I would be too rough. It would be wrong."

He shuddered, knowing that his body would want it, even so.

"You, Viktor. You should give what you got. I won't interfere. It's not about me, this unfinished business. Fuck him and walk away. He'll let you. It's the least he can do."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Viktor looked at Kasya, who only lowered his gaze again.

He knew Niotkuda was right, and Kasya would let him do anything he wanted, bear whatever he dished out with stoic fortitude.

But the thought left Viktor cold, and he shook his head.

"That's not what I want," he said, quietly. "I'm through hurting other people."

He paused.

"Or at least I'm working at it."

He wondered then, with a clarity that resolved like a zeroed scope, if that was the real reason why he wanted to break things off with Aryol, not being able to trust himself not to hurt him. Maybe.

Or maybe he just needed to break old habits and start anew with everything old, but as if from scratch.

Viktor considered Niotkuda for a few moments.

"It is about you too, now," he said, slowly, realizing it was true. "I don't know why. But there's something..."

He shrugged then, and trailed off. Viktor left his cigarette clenched between his lips and ran his hands over the fine bristle of pale cropped hair, rubbing his fingers into his scalp. The friction focused him.

"All right," he muttered around the cigarette. "I'm not going to make you do anything that's wrong. How about he gets on his knees and sucks you off? Can you handle that, Niotkuda?"

[livejournal.com profile] andrei_isaev: "I can handle anything," Andrei said, quietly. "But I don't know what good that will do you, Leshovik."

He glanced at Irinarhov.

"Don't do anything you don't want to do."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Viktor was silent for a moment.

"I want to watch him love you," he said, and his voice was softer than he'd meant it to be.

He averted his gaze so he didn't have to look at either of them and took a vigorous drag from his cigarette.

"I want to see something...good," he added, after another moment.
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