[identity profile] andrei-isaev.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] groznyj_grad
Andrei sat back in his chair, and regarded Lieutenant Rakitin.

Rakitin's oddly dark eyes were plaintive and accusatory- not in a hostile way, but more a quiet disbelief, informed by an awareness he probably didn't even apprehend at this point.

Isaev admired that on some level, but on another level, it irked him. He hadn't killed anyone, not this time, and this frosty little prick looked at him like he was a man-eating tiger that citizens had allowed to roam free, blithely strolling the sidewalks.

"I think we are all aware," he began, slowly, "of the kind of ethics Captain Irinarhov espouses. Most, myself included, would even count them excessive."

He let his chin tilt up, snorting slightly.

"This is a man who insists upon verbally correcting his own documented kill-count, any time the matter comes up, because he maintains that the accurate tally is actual one less than the official."

Isaev laughed, shaking his head.

"This is a man who has suffered for his morality and integrity, as I'm sure Major Liadov could attest. Out of deference and respect for that unique conscience, I omitted him from our plans concerning Borishnakov, and have no qualms about having done so. I did this, because he is a true friend, in the most classical sense- like Orestes was to Pylades."

He paused.

"He is also my superior."

Isaev's grey eyes passed over Liadov briefly, noting the studied and downcast impassivity of his face, before fixing on Rakitin once more.

"And he is telling the truth. Moreover, I do not believe that he would lie. So by conjecture, I must agree. We played cards, we drank a little, we traded stories and we bunked for the night. As is our friendly custom."

Andrei leaned forward, letting his voice go quiet, directing it at Rakitin particularly.

"You know, comrade Lieutenant, there are other reasons a man may be loath to give an alibi, despite its veracity. One of them might be trepidation of being misunderstood- that admitting to a harmless social liaison with a comrade might result in unwarranted accusations of criminal affection. One might reasonably want to shield a beloved comrade from such...tarring. Especially in the face of an MVD inquest."

Date: 2007-12-17 12:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hajimenoippolit.livejournal.com
Isaev's steady voice and gaze pushed Ippolit back like a hand to the collarbone. Steps backward, to watching from the shadows as the clumsy puppeteer, fumbling with tangled strings.

What was he thinking?

Beloved comrade.

Exactly the kind of unfounded conclusion Rakitin had jumped to, though Isaev couldn't know that, unless it were written on the parchment of his skin in inept thought's flowing ink.

He was right. Perfectly reasonable. There was no reason to assume Irinarhov would lie. No reason for reflexive doubt. No reason.

His hands were steady. That was something. Only a mistake. He could see no flaw in Isaev's logic. Liadov's judgement was right. Obviously. A feeling was nothing to go on. Had he forgotten?

Ippolit shouldn't be here. Not with the living.

"...right," he said, and heard from a distance. "The accusation was...unreasonable."

Date: 2007-12-17 01:27 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian had lowered his eyes partway through Isaev's speech.

It gave off the impression of a reticent man, perhaps one who was demure by nature, self conscious and embarrassed to hear the measure of his character spoken of so highly.

And perhaps he was, but that was not why he looked away.

Kassian knew that if he let his gaze go to Isaev, devotion would be written across on his features, the depth of his emotion plain for all to see.

There was no other way he could look at Isaev right now.

After a few moments, he glanced up, and turned to Lieutenant Rakitin instead.

Rakitin looked almost stricken, remorseful for his words, uncertain and uncomfortable.

"It's all right, Lieutenant Rakitin," he said, gently. "It's understandable. I think we're all on edge."

He paused a moment.

"But for now...since it's clear my fellow Ocelot didn't do this, it has to be someone else...someone unknown. Maybe you can find something, Lieutenant, some bit of evidence that could lead you to the killer."

Date: 2007-12-17 08:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Liadov glanced at Rakitin, raising an eyebrow.

"Are you satisfied with that, Lieutenant?"

Nika closed his notebook.

"I am, for the moment."

He hesitated.

"You understand that as of yet, no marks have been found on the body. I'm sure the possible implications of that aren't lost on you, Isaev. Keep your fingers clean, officer. You're not out of the woods yet."

A pause, as Liadov shifted his gaze to Irinarhov.

"I'm in the business of finding evidence, Captain. Lieutenant Rakitin and I will be doing nothing else. We still have other tests to perform, surfaces to dust."

Date: 2007-12-17 10:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hajimenoippolit.livejournal.com
Ippolit nodded his assent to Liadov's dry inquiry, taking refuge in mute confusion.

When Irinarhov's modestly lowered eyes raised, Rakitin was taken aback.

Irinarhov, who by all logic should loathe him for rejecting the alibi he had offered for his comrade, was forgiving him.

Hatred he could have understood.

Date: 2007-12-17 06:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian nodded.

"Of course, Major."

He lingered in place, waiting to be dismissed. His dark eyes went to Isaev, briefly, risked a moment of contact. Isaev's face was composed. Open, but neutral. No sign of relief or deception.

Rakitin had actually done them a favor, Kassian thought.

It would take a lot, now, to challenge Isaev's alibi. To challenge Kassian's integrity. The irony of that was not lost on him.

In the meantime, the investigation could be refocused. Maybe they would find something this time. That was all they needed. Some proof of Isaev's innocence, or someone else's guilt.

Date: 2007-12-17 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"I think we're done here, Major Ocelot," Liadov said, smiling graciously. "Feel free to remove your men."

He rose from the table, tipping his pen into his pocket.

"I hope you all have a pleasant evening, comrades, despite the unpleasant circumstances."

He exhaled imperceptibly, tacitly gratified at a crisis averted.

No, they hadn't caught the killer, but he hadn't caught the wrath of Leningrad, either, which would make his job a hundred times more difficult.

"Well done, Lieutenant Rakitin," he added, aside, as the men saluted and filed out, with a spirited rustle of uniforms and artillery. "Not bad at all. If he had been lying, a short contradiction like that might well have shocked him into stumbling."

Yes, Irinarhov, perhaps. The steadfast and stoic, out of his element with treachery and perfidy. He might have flinched.

But Isaev was a commodity unknown to Polya.

Such a trick would have been rote cradle play to the son of Alexander, refuted and rebutted with the indolent ease of a lazy cat slapping a dandelion . Not that Rakitin could have known that.

Then again, thought Nika, Irinarhov might have surprised him and mustered all that impenetrable steel, amassing a blank, insistent wall.

Obviously the sniper was capable of doing surprising things in the moment, even if he hated himself for them later.

For the moment, there was nothing else to be said, and evening mess would be in session.

Liadov checked his watch.

"Shall we go grab some dinner and take the night off? Begin in the morning with a fresh perspective?"

Date: 2007-12-18 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] hajimenoippolit.livejournal.com
"That's a good idea," Ippolit said, gathering his papers with an automaton's exactitude.

The lines of the mystery had been set, a few aspects revealed, a few cast into deeper obscurity.

The intensity of Isaev's gaze lingered, embedded like shrapnel, nameless dread solidified by how easily he had been brushed aside.

"What a terrifying man," he murmured.

Mess would be a good place to recover, among jostle and noise, Ippolit safely fading into the background, routine and unremarkable as a bit of loose wallpaper.

"Let's go, then."


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