Dmitry Grigoriev winced at the loud hum of the crowded mess hall, gritting his teeth against the throb in his head. He still had a headache, but he wasn’t entirely certain if it was a product of all the pertsovka he drank the night before, or the empty vodka bottle that his commander smashed over his head.
The aspirin and black coffee of the morning had taken most of the edge off, making the dull thump at his temples bearable.
It was a fucking stupid idea to go after the Fury with a knife anyway, but it seemed like a good idea at the time he found his Iosef sucking their commander off in the hovercraft hangar.
Dima limped along gingerly as he took his tray and started toward the table where the flame unit was usually quarantined. None of his own were there -- the table was deserted, excusing a stray napkin that lay in a crumpled heap at the edge.
He did not realize that he had stopped until a GRU grunt bumped into him and scurried off with a shrill apology.
Deimos did not want to sit alone, and he was suddenly aware of his disappointment that none of his unit mates were there waiting for him. It would have been nice to sit in the company of warm comradeship after the turbulence of the last few days.
Somehow, they reached an awkward, fumbling agreement, he, Iosef, and their commander. Everything, the Fury explained, was supposed to be shared equally between comrades, like good pertsovka, and by the end of the night they were drunk as hell and laughing like nothing was ever wrong to begin with, and thinking kalinka, kalinka, kalinka, moya was a wonderful song to serenade the night patrol with on the way back to their barracks.
Normalcy had returned like the first spring buds blossoming on a birch tree after a harsh winter, only to be frostbitten when Iosef suggested he should fuck Deimos while their commander watched.
He was smiling now, as he stood there in the shaft of sunlight pouring in from the window, and the GRU soldiers sitting at the nearest table began to murmur among themselves, stare, and scoot toward the other end of the bench.
It was amazing, the things pertsovka made men agree to.
The memory of the night drinking with Katerina flickered across his mind, chased by the meeting with the black-haired boy-sniper in the yard and the words spoken against the cold night air: “Maybe you should try something new…find someone to talk to, or do something else.”
Deimos’ depraved smirk faded as impulse inspired him suddenly; he turned on his heels and he made his way between the tables, wordlessly sitting down at a table near the center of the room occupied by a gaggle of Ocelot Unit soldiers.
He nodded to them even as they glared and their conversations fell silent, and self-consciously tugged at the sleeve of his jumpsuit, until the marbled scaring on the back of his hand was covered again. Deimos decided they would just have to deal with the faded blue letters on each finger above the first knuckle, because he wasn’t wearing his fireproof gloves in the chow hall.
Dima cleared his throat and picked up his spoon even though he didn’t have much of an appetite and it was unbearably hot in the mess hall all of a sudden.
“So... how's the borscht today?"