[identity profile] hajimenoippolit.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] groznyj_grad
They said a new day was a clean slate.

It might even be true, if you could move all the other ones piled on top to see.

As luck would have it, it was Captain Irinarhov watchfully trailing Rakitin through the courtyard to the lab this morning. Rain was falling, making visibility poor, and he was sticking close. He hadn't said a word.

Not that that was unusual. It was one of the characteristics that, in any other situation, would have tempted Polya to keep a close watch for raindrops to pass through him.

He had to accept that Irinarhov was a solid and living man, whatever might suggest otherwise.

However much easier it might have been, otherwise.

Entering the outbuilding was the sudden cessation of the pressure of rain, and the withdrawal of its noise to the distance of roof and walls. Rakitin remained by the door, shaking droplets from his hat, until it closed and dampened the rest of the sussurrus.

"Captain," Rakitin said, as the newborn silence was drawing breath. "May I have a word with you?"

Date: 2008-02-13 07:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian glanced up from his rifle.

He had started attending to the Mosin-Nagant as soon as they'd stepped out of the rain, shaking off the water, drying off the exposed wood and metal with a soft cloth from his kit. His rifle was hardly fragile, but it was old, and he still disliked exposing it to the elements needlessly.

Rakitin was looking at him with a sort of earnest intensity Kassian found slightly disconcerting. Usually the pathologist kept his head down and avoided eye contact, but now he actively sought Kassian's gaze.

Something about Isaev, Kassian thought, instinctively. Maybe Rakitin had uncovered more evidence, something that would exonerate Andrei.

Or condemn him, a dark voice whispered at the back of his mind.

Kassian did not frown, but instead kept his expression steady, and neutral.

He nodded.

"Yes, Lieutenant?" he asked.

Date: 2008-02-13 10:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian frowned, hesitating, feeling instantly guilty.

It had been bad enough the first time that Rakitin had apologized, but the pathologist's more formal words made Kassian want to wince.

If he had to do it again, Kassian knew he would do the same thing anyway, give Isaev an alibi because Isaev wasn't alibing himself. There were some things that Kassian had to hold above his own integrity, and Isaev's well-being was one of them.

It didn't change the fact he had lied in a formal MVD inquest, and in so doing, made Isaev have to lie, as well.

Kassian shook his head, slightly, managing not to glance away.

"I don't think my integrity is as sterling as Lieutenant Isaev makes it sound," he told Rakitin, quietly. "Please don't worry about it, Lieutenant."

Date: 2008-02-14 04:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
After a moment, Kassian nodded.

He realized that anything he would say now to deny Rakitin's words would only make the situation worse.

If he protested too vehemently, Rakitin would grow suspicious, and unlike Liadov, the pathologist didn't have Isaev's best interests at heart.

"Thank you, Lieutenant," Kassian said, instead.

His gaze was dark, and serious.

He accepted the words with a quiet gravity, feeling a lingering stab of guilt as he did.

"I appreciate you saying that."

Kassian nodded then, with an air of finality, and turned his attention back to his rifle.

Date: 2008-02-14 07:31 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"I sleep better on the cold side of the pillow."

Nika looked up, blank-faced, and then broke a wry smile, pushing back the sheaf of hair that had tumbled over his eyes while he studied his notes.

A cup of chai steamed contentedly at his elbow.

"How about you, Lieutenant Rakitin?"

Date: 2008-02-14 11:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"The flame-retards, again?"

Liadov frowned, yawning slightly, and taking a sip of tea.

"What do they want with you?"

He was hard-pressed to imagine how meek, pleasantly self-effacing Polya could have run afoul of the flame patrol.

Nika sighed, raising one brow in universal resignation.

"...Anyone I know and love?"

Date: 2008-02-14 10:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika's expression remained blank and motionless.

"I'm touched," he drawled, after a moment, going back to his paperwork.

No visible significant marks on Borishnakov, once all the blood was washed off. At least, nothing that could constitute a fatality. The Ocelots had been fairly forthcoming about the fact that he'd been roughed up and put through the wringer, but there weren't even any major contusions from trauma.

Lividity consistent with how he'd been lying, blood pooling in the face, arms and knees.

Blood alcohol could be assumed to be exceedingly high.

What else could be assumed?

Nika paused.

"Polya, it wasn't noted in the prelim- are there any petichiae in the eye whites? Anything consistent with suffocation?"

There was no sign of strangulation- no handmade bruises or ligature marks, but that didn't preclude smothering.

Date: 2008-02-18 09:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"I assume there were no toxins in the blood, then," said Liadov, softly, watching him begin the bisection. "No poisons, no heavy metals, no sedatives but alcohol."

It was somewhat obvious, if Polya was beginning the physical examination, that he'd gleaned all he could from bloodwork.

Nika sighed, rubbing his brow and throwing down his pen.

"Of course we couldn't get that lucky. No rest for the wicked."

Date: 2008-02-18 10:40 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Liadov snorted. In all his time in the Ministry, he had never gotten used to the smells that were contained on inside of a body.

"Christ above, spritz him with cologne or something. He smells like an unwashed foreskin."

Date: 2008-02-18 11:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
Parka hood pulled low over his face, Aryol darted into outbuilding anteroom, chased by a swirl of wind and rain.

He adjusted his burden so he could shut the door behind him quickly. The carefully-wrapped package was heavy and still warm, and he'd shielded it from the worst of the weather by holding it close to him.

It had been raining all morning, with no signs of letting up. Kind of miserable to be out in it, really, the type of rain that wanted to be snow, but just couldn't. Aryol knew that his major friend wouldn't be going out in it any more than he had to.

He turned, pushing off his hood, and saw Kasya standing behind him.

Aryol froze.

His mind balked for a moment as he stared at his father.

Aryol hadn't realized someone else was in the anteroom immediately, not with his hood obscuring his vision, and Kasya was always quiet.

The feeling of guilt that he'd been struggling with all morning came back to him now, fresh and sharp, like a sting from a razor, but as the seconds passed, he realized that if he didn't say anything, Kasya would realize something was wrong.

"Hi," Aryol said, suddenly. "It's raining outside."

Kasya's gaze flicked to the rain-spattered floor for a moment, then he nodded.

"I know."

He paused then, looking back at Aryol. He was quiet, as if he expected Aryol to say something.

Aryol hesitated, frowning. "What are you doing here?"

"Guard duty," Kasya said.

"Guard duty? Why?"

Kasya pressed his lips together, his brow furrowing slightly, but more like he was troubled, and not like he was angry at Aryol for asking.

"There's been some threats against the MENTs. They have a guard detail to make sure nothing happens."

"Threats?" Aryol repeated, then remembered the murderer from the other night, the one that had surprised them when he and the major had been behind the tanks. "Ohhh, righ- "

He broke off.

"I see."

Kasya frowned, more deeply this time, and his gaze fell to the package in Aryol's arms.

"What are you doing here?" he asked.

Aryol realized then, with sudden and dawning horror, that he had no good excuse for bringing lunch to people he wasn't supposed to know, and if he said a word about the major, Kasya would figure it out, who the masked man in Liadov's bed had been the other night.

He had told the major he would tell Kasya the truth, but right now, looking his father in the eye, he couldn't think of anything he would rather not do.

"Uh," he said, and searched for something to say.

Um, well, you see, I'm bringing lunch to my lover, you know, your drinking buddy, Major Liadov, since I know he'll probably won't get the chance to eat, and because I'm feeling kind of guilty because he's mad at me since I sort of tricked him into having kinky sex while we made you watch, but we sort of took it one step further and made you tie me up. And then you jerked off while you watched us fuck, and you ended up coming all over my back, which was actually sort of hot but I'm not supposed to think that since you're my father.

Aryol cleared his throat, and words burst from it.

"The other night at mess, Lieutenant Rakitin invited me to come and see a dead body, and I thought...maybe I should bring lunch."

Kasya looked at him for a moment.

"Oh," he said, and was silent then, gaze dark and unreadable. "Why would you want to do that?"

Aryol licked his lips.

"Well, you know...dead bodies are kind of my job."

"Once they're dead, your job is over."

Aryol smiled, weakly.

"It's...kind of a hobby."

He looked down at his bag, and the back up at Kasya.

"Would you like something to eat?" he offered.

Date: 2008-02-18 11:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"I take it back," remonstrated Liadov, nose wrinkling in Patrician distaste as Polya began to dig, and the bog gases began to emerge.

"He smells like a whole bouquet of unwashed foreskins."

Date: 2008-02-18 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian frowned.

"All right," he said, slowly. "Thank you."

He knew he wouldn't get lunch unless the MENTs decided to go to the mess hall, which probably wouldn't happen, not with the urgency surrounding Borishnakov's death.

Kassian didn't mind not eating, if it would exonerate Isaev faster, but since lunch was right in front of him, he might as well accept it.

Kassian watched Aryol dig through his bag.

Something seemed strange about Aryol's behavior, like he was uncomfortable, Kassian thought. But then again, was the first time they had spent time together alone. He supposed it would take some getting used to.

"Is...everything all right?" he asked.

Aryol paused, looking up, and Kassian saw him hesitate, as if trying to decide something.

"Well...Leshovik and I had a fight, this morning," Aryol said, glancing away.

Kassian felt a faint spike of anger, directed whatever direction Vitya happened to be in. He knew all too well exactly what that it was like, to have those kinds of arguments.

"What did he do?"

"Oh, it was stupid." Aryol was frowning. "And I guess I...said things that I shouldn't have."

Kassian reached out, and put his hand on Aryol's shoulder.

"It's not your fault," he said, and Aryol looked up at him suddenly with wide dark eyes, staring, as if stricken.

Kassian wondered if he had said the wrong thing, but before he could say anything, Aryol thrust a bundle at him.

It was small, wrapped in white paper.

"Here's your lunch," Aryol whispered, then turned away.

"Than - " Kassian started, but Aryol pushed open the door to the lab, and was gone.

Date: 2008-02-18 12:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
Aryol was pale when he stumbled into the lab, the guilt pressing heavy across his shoulders.

He didn't know why it felt so bad to be forgiven by Kasya. Maybe it was because Kasya didn't really understand what it was Aryol had done.

Aryol clutched the bag of food tightly against his body, but even the spicy aromas of food right under his nose were not enough to cut the stench that permeated the room.

He blinked, suddenly distracted, and looked across to the table where the major and Lieutenant Rakitin were.

"What's that smell?" he said, wrinkling his nose.

Date: 2008-02-18 08:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"That's Eau de Vladislaus, a compendium of the finest in decellularizing proteins," drawled Liadov, without looking up from his work.

Kasya's voice, medium deep. So their guard detail was hovering nearby after all.

"Rakitin could probably regale you with the many rare and intercavital ingredients."

He knew that Kasya had a way of asking a general question and wanting specifics, assuming that the obvious was already self-evident. For instance, that a morgue might house a body, and that bodies tended to reek spectacularly.

Especially sizeable ones like Borishnakov.

"There's some corpse smear by the door, Irinarhov," he directed, idly, still intent on his work. "You spread it under your nose to mitigate the stench."

Silence, as he might have expected.

"Find it, Kasya? In the unmarked jar. Not the one with the skull insignia...I wouldn't suggest topical use for that."

Date: 2008-02-19 12:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
Aryol couldn't answer, and nor could he move, but after a few moments, he shifted the bag in his arms.

He felt at a loss, like all his words had dried up in his throat.

The major had called him Irinarhov, like he'd thought Aryol was Kasya.

Aryol didn't know if that made him feel worse, or somehow better.

His eyes went to the shelf by the door, picking out the bottle the major had mentioned, but he made no motion to retrieve it. Instead, he looked back in the major's direction. Both he and Lieutenant Rakitin looked fully absorbed in their work.

"No," he said, tentatively.

He wondered if he should come back later, or if anyone was even in the mood to eat, with the stench.

Aryol cleared his throat.

"It's me. I brought lunch."

Date: 2008-02-19 07:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika looked up, slowly.

"Comrade," he said, surprised.

He laid down his pen and smiled.

"I'm sorry- you sounded like-"

He broke off, pausing, seeing the casual anguish behind his friend's dark eyes. He looked young and miserable.

Nika flicked his eyes down for a moment, then raised them, regarding Aryol warmly.

"Lunch, indeed. You're too good to me, Specialist."

Date: 2008-02-19 09:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
Aryol glanced down for a moment, but when he looked up, he flashed a small but heartfelt smile, the expression almost-shy and lopsided.

It was funny, he thought, what a simple thing like a word or a look could do.

"Well," he said, with a shrug toward the door. "It's still raining, and I thought you might be hungry."

He turned to look at Lieutenant Rakitin.

"I brought some for you, too, Lieutenant. I thought maybe you guys could use a break."

Aryol wrinkled his nose as the still-pervasive smell, which seemed so thick and cloying it felt like it must be clinging to his skin. He set down his bag on a countertop well away from anything questionable, then went to retrieve the bottle that the major had indicated earlier.

There was no label, but he took the lid off the bottle and looked inside. There was a thick, lotion-like substance, pale and almost translucent. It smelled sharp and made his eyes water. Aryol paused to strip off one of his gloves, then carefully applied some of the lotion under his nose. It made his sinuses burn in a way that was not entirely unpleasant, and he could smell nothing else.

Aryol put the bottle back, wandering a little closer, eyeing the split-open body on the table before turning back to the major and Rakitin.

He hesitated.

"If this is a good time, that is."

Date: 2008-02-21 04:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
"I believe it," Aryol said, shrugging.

He had no reason not to. It seemed reasonable to him, and the guy wasn't getting any deader, after all.

Aryol unpacked the lunch he'd brought. He tended to err on the side of bringing too much food, rather than too little, which actually was good, considering he'd given some away to Kasya.

He laid out wrapped piroshki, bread, apples and cheese, shredded cabbage, laying them out on the countertop, gesturing the major and Lieutenant Rakitin closer.

"They didn't have and sashlik and caviar. Maybe next time."

Aryol shot the major a small smile.

"Well, let's eat. How's the the investigation going?"

Date: 2008-02-21 05:48 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika just stared.

The MVD had pretty strict standard rules about health and contamination issues. Their scientists weren't even allowed to bring food into the general lab, much less a cadaver lab or morgue.

Apparently the KGB was a little more cavalier about sterility and a little less stringent about ensuring uncorrupted test results.

From the looks of it, Rakitin was ready to tuck into chow without a qualm, as was Aryol, apparently.

Liadov shook his head.

"You go ahead," he said, trying not to grimace. "I find myself reluctant to eat savory meat-stuffed kulebiaka when a comparably sized and shaped liver is exposed in a nearby body cavity."

He smiled wanly at the sniper.

"But please...by all means...eat up."

Rakitin looked as if he didn't know what all the fuss was about.

Date: 2008-02-21 07:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
"Sure," Aryol said with an affable shrug.

He began to tuck everything away in his bag again.

Aryol wasn't sure if Lieutenant Rakitin meant crumbs from the meal dropping into the body, or...

He grimaced at the next thought. Maybe it hadn't been such a good idea, after all.

Aryol hefted his bag.

"All right. Lunch will be out in the anteroom, when you're ready."

Kasya was out there, too, but hopefully it would be all right, Aryol thought. He could be casual.

He went to the door.

"I'll see you out there."

Date: 2008-02-21 08:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika frowned, bemusedly.

"Yes, all right," he said.

Apparently Polya was no more eager to invalidate his results than the scientists Liadov had known.

For Nika's part, he was beginning to wonder about the young man he'd so enjoyed the company for the past few nights.

Indifference to death, lack of empathetic morality, inability to distinguish arousal between repellant stimuli and appropriate stimuli...

Not to mention his rather manipulated, checkered- and chessed- past. The kind of things that could leave invisible cracks in a psyche. His tastes ran toward the sexually macabre, to be sure, which Nika had found more or less agreeable.

And while Liadov was inclined to let that aspect slide a little more, wary of his own hypocrisy in the matter, the rest was beginning to make him uneasy.

How long had the killer caressed his victims before the final night arrived? Had he lain with them, skin against skin, and brought them breakfast?

His very blond victims.

The sniper had started young, killing other men, and seemed to have no qualms about wetwork whatsoever. None of the standard solemn gravity that assassins often carried, as if every kill cost them a little treasured humanity, and they could only see a finite amount of capital to pay for all their sins.

And now, the way he'd blithely walked into an active autopsy and laid out a picnic beside an open cadaver, as if it didn't even register as unhealthy behavior.

Maybe he just wasn't impressed, Liadov thought darkly. Maybe dead, meat-puppet Vladya was old hat to the kid. Maybe he'd seen him before.

He didn't voice any of it.

He gave Rakitin a confratory nod.

"I'll save you a seat," he quipped, dryly.

Liadov set his cap on his head, and went outside to join Aryol, his face a slate with neutrality writ in flawless script.

Date: 2008-02-21 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
Kasya was finishing up his piroshki when Aryol stepped into the anteroom.

Snipers tended to eat fast, Aryol knew, just because they had to be mindful of time even when they were waiting, and had nothing but. An opportunity to take a shot could come at any moment, and a distraction could cost seconds that could have been spent lining up the shot.

"Thanks for the lunch," Kasya told him, and Aryol was just nodding as the door opened behind him and the major came out.

Aryol turned to him.

He was aware of Kasya's eyes on them and he realized this was going to be harder than he'd thought, to act normally and yet hold back. But it was better to tell Kasya, or not tell him, than have him figure it out on his own.

"Sorry," Aryol said to the major, with a bit of chagrin. "I didn't mean to..."

He gestured, apologetically.

"That wasn't exactly...appetizing."

Date: 2008-02-21 10:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika blinked with studious mildness.

"It's nothing," he said. "You're inured to carnage, I expect."

Then he smiled.

"The thought still counts."

He made a slight move, intending to touch the sniper's arm or his shoulder, but checked himself almost at once.

He glanced to the side and realized Kasya was standing there, silent as the grave and the graven image both.

"Captain," he said, in a voice of slight surprise. "Shto eta?"

Yesterday's interrogation, following hard upon the heels of the previous night's debauchery, made him hesitate before addressing Kassian as a familiar, a man he'd drunk with more than once.

Date: 2008-02-21 11:03 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
"Guard duty," Kassian said.

He paused, looking between Liadov and Aryol for a moment.

Something unspoken seemed to hang in the air, like the trajectory of a bullet just before gravity caught it.

Aryol was smiling but seemed almost hesitant. Liadov...

Liadov had always been harder for Kassian to read. His mind turned in ways that Kassian never expected.

Kassian's brow furrowed, and he adjusted the lay of his rifle against his shoulder.

"Is...everything all right?"

Date: 2008-02-22 01:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika's brows vaulted, almost too affably.

"Corpses and lunch. What could be better?"

He leaned against the wall and slid down, sitting casually on the linotile, arms resting on raised knees.

"Everything's fine, Captain," Nika said, reasonably, looking up with his languid gaze. "I'm just a little worn out."

He paused.

"That interrogation wasn't easy for me."

Date: 2008-02-22 04:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
Kassian felt something twist inside him as he watched Liadov slide down the wall, and he flashed back to that night, a week ago.

They had found Gurlukovich dead in the showers, and Liadov, exhausted from the earlier search, had sunk back against the tile in exactly the same manner, murmuring something vague about being all right.

He'd started going into diabetic shock a few moments later.

Kassian stared for a moment, jaw taut, eyes black and piercing.

"Major?" he asked.

Kassian's voice was pitched low, carefully controlled, but with a note commanded attention.

He almost went to Liadov's side but held back, hesitating. Kassian didn't want to embarrass Liadov in front of Aryol.

Liadov's speech sounded crisper than Kassian remembered it being right before he'd collapsed, but at the same time, Kassian couldn't tell if the MENT was looking paler than normal, either.

Date: 2008-02-22 08:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"Not at all," said Liadov. "Have a seat. Let's eat something, since the sniper was kind enough to bring lunch."

Everyone looked bizarrely out of sorts, for some reason.

Nika grinned, then, a rare expression. His teeth were pretty, but only saw the light of day once a year or so.

"What's with you bastards? Is there a white elephant in here that I can't see?"

His grin melted back into a wry, restrained smile.

"Step around him and sit down. It's rustic and soldierly to eat on the ground."

Date: 2008-02-22 09:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
The sheer brilliance of the major's grin made Aryol want to grin in turn, but he had to catch and school his expression, instead glancing down a moment before anyone else noticed.

If he was honest about it, before Kasya noticed. Aryol still didn't know what he was going to do about that.

He leaned his rifle against the wall, then sat down on the floor easily, crossing his legs. Aryol then began to distribute the lunch he'd brought: piroshki, bread, apples and cheese, shredded cabbage, chai in a thermos.

Lieutenant Rakitin sat down too, but after a moment, Aryol realized that Kasya was the only one still standing, and looked up at him.

Kasya looked almost surprised, as if he hadn't been aware that he was invited too, but adjusted his rifle and sat down with it balanced on his lap.

Aryol made sure that all the food was passed around.

"So," he said, when everyone had something to eat. "Do you guys want to talk shop, or about something other than the investigation?"

Date: 2008-02-22 06:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika sighed, pulling apart his kulebiak' with absent fingers, eating each piece as an afterthought.

"He's cooling off again," he said, after a moment.

Then he shook his head.

"Unfortunately..." he broke off, hesitant. "I think the cycle will be much more rapid this time."

He ate another piece, distracted by his own dark thoughts.

"Borishnakov was already incapacitated, laid out and vulnerable. Fish in a barrel."

The chai was still warm, and he sipped it gratefully, shooting a quick nod of appreciation at Aryol.

"He was denied the challenge, which means he was denied full satiation."

Date: 2008-02-22 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] capt-kasya.livejournal.com
"Then why did he do it?" Kassian asked.

He had been watching Liadov carefully for any sign of the affliction that had come over him the week before, but the MENT seemed coherent and clear-headed. Just tired, Kassian thought.

"Just...because the opportunity was there, and he couldn't resist it?"

Kassian took a bite of the shredded cabbage, more to be polite than because he was hungry. Aryol had turned to watch him when he started speaking.

Liadov had explained the cycle of killing to Kassian earlier, during his interview, and it had lingered in the back of his mind. The idea that a person could make sense of what should be unknowable to the healthy mind had disturbed him, but at the same time, he hadn't been able to stop thinking about it.

The idea of the killer brushing shadows with Isaev left him cold.

"Did he know it wouldn't satisfy him when he did it, or...is he frustrated now, more likely to make a mistake next time?" Kassian asked.

Date: 2008-02-23 07:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
"You can't rationalize the impulse. He doesn't care how many lives he takes, sniper. Unlike you."

Nika smiled wanly.

"You may try to minimize your losses. Do as little as it takes to get the job done."

A shake of his blond head, as he popped the last of the kulebiak in his mouth.

"He's different. He saw someone who fit his modus, all laid out like an Easter Feast. He doesn't care if the thrill wears off faster, if he has to do it again."

His gaze sought Aryol's, deliberately, and held it.

"Do you think an alcoholic is going to disdain a quarter of a bottle? Even knowing he'll be sober soon enough?"

Date: 2008-02-24 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
A furrow creased Aryol's smooth brow.

He held the major's gaze, uncertain. It seemed like Major Liadov was asking him a question and actually wanting a response, the way instructors did.

Aryol paused to wipe his mouth.

"Well...I think an alcoholic wouldn't even notice," he said, after a moment.

He glanced to Kasya, and Lieutenant Rakitin, to include them, though he returned his gaze to the major.

"I guess he'd just keep drinking and not realize it was gone. He would get mad later, but right then?"

Aryol shrugged.

"He wouldn't be thinking about that."

He leaned forward then, resting his elbows on his knees, eyes dark and serious.

"You talk about him like you know him. Can you really figure out what he's thinking, just from what he does?"

Date: 2008-02-24 01:55 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nikanor-liadov.livejournal.com
Nika turned his face toward Polya, then back to Aryol, whose gaze had not shifted.

So dark, those eyes. Seemingly unreadable, here, in the light of day.

Liadov wondered if he'd been projecting, reading what he wanted to see into those eyes.

"I do my best to know him," Nika said, intently. "From what his actions teach me."

He paused.

"It's worse than an addiction, Rakitin," he added. "It's a compulsion."

He searched the young sniper's face obscurely.

"He's sick."


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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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