[identity profile] taras-oleksei.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] groznyj_grad
"We're here," the army pilot called back to them, yelling over the rumble of the helicopter's rotors.

Taras Cheslavovich Oleksei raised his head, blearily.

"Khorosho," he muttered.

He sat between Ilarion and Anya, hunched over, broad uniformed shoulders curled inward, arms folded in front of him and pressed against his stomach.

It had been a very long flight.

They'd arrived at the army base outside of Leningrad just before nine in the morning and boarded the military helicopter. It had clamshell rear loading doors that opened into a cargo area large enough to hold a MVD sedan with room to spare, though it was empty. Apparently, they were the cargo.

The hold was clearly not meant for passenger comfort, or for long trips, for that matter. They sat on a thin metal bench that folded down in the front of the cargo area, which was unheated.

Taras had never been in a helicopter before. He hadn't been prepared for the sensation of flight, which had seemed to vibrate straight through him, shaking him to his core.

He'd spent the first hour of the flight puking into a bucket in the back of the hold.

The second hour, he'd spent dry heaving until he was exhausted. Taras had rinsed his mouth out with vodka and went back to the bench to sit down. Anya had rubbed his back and murmured comforting words, then gave him some hard candy from her purse, like a mother.

After that, he hadn't puked any more, which he considered a point of pride.

Taras knew you had to take it where you could get it.

Ten more hours and four stops to refuel later, he still felt like he'd been beaten from the inside out with brass knuckles.

Conversation had been sparse. Ilarion had seemed preoccupied, while Anya read a pocketbook novel with a small flashlight she had in her purse. Taras thought he might have dozed fitfully, waking up disoriented.

Ahead and below, he could see a few scattered lights through the darkness through the canopy windows in the cockpit, faint signs of what passed for civilization. They circled the base once.

He wondered whose brilliant idea was it, to put a military base out in the middle of the Urals.

Taras straightened in his seat, squaring his shoulders, tugging his MVD cap down low on his brow, shading his mismatched mongrel eyes.

The helicopter hovered, then started to descend.

"All right," Taras said, breaking the silence. He had to speak loudly to be heard, and his voice sounded a little raw.

He turned to look at Ilarion.

"How are we going to play this?"

Date: 2008-07-19 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion Isaev was deep in thought as the helicopter began to cannily negotiate its night landing.

"I don't follow," he remarked, coolly.

He turned his head, glancing at Oleksei.

"The pilot will radio our arrival to the tower," he drawled. "We'll land. We'll be quartered for the night."

He allowed that Oleksei might be experiencing some dehydrative dementia, considering he had spent a third of the trip purging everything but his eternal soul.

Isaev wasn't even sure he had one of those.

Lasha pushed back his cuff and glanced at his watch, then straightened his sleeve absently.

"No one but night sentries will be stirring, anyway."

He glanced out the window as the bird settled into a final descent, blades hacking the freezing, thin mountain air like machetes, rails threatening the tarmac on the elevated helipad.

Anya was putting away her book and taking out her compact, despite all that he'd just said. Ilarion smirked transiently, with a slight shake of his head.

He paused, eyeing Taras, obliquely amused.

The thug's brawny frame was coved in on itself in uncharacteristic misery.

"...You've never flown before, have you, Oleksei?"

Date: 2008-07-20 06:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"All mod cons," Ilarion assured him, with a faint, wintry smile.

He unbelted himself and rose, smoothing the front of his grey coat.

He gathered his pair of black valises from the bare bones netting and rack that served as a light cargo hold.

"Andrei seems to like it here. But then, he's always loved to play with soldiers."

Ilarion moved toward the open door, nicking his head in that direction to urge Taras and Anya on.

He disembarked into the cold night, feeling the chill wind hit his wool coat and go no further. His gloved hands regripped the luggage and he stepped down onto the tarmac, looking around with a sweeping gaze.

Date: 2008-07-20 08:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
Two figures stood at the edge of the tarmac, dressed in black and red.

Senior Lieutenants Semeyonev and Kolyin wore the colors of Ocelot squad, black fatigues and boots, black balaclavas, red gloves and berets. Kalashnikovs were slung at their backs, tactical knives and handguns at their hips. The only thing that differentiated them was that Semeyonev was taller, broader of shoulder and chest.

"...did we really need more of them?" Kolyin was saying as they started forward, speaking loudly over the rotor wash.

Semeyonev raised a hand to flag down the MENT - no, MENTs, he saw, there was a second one - who had disembarked from the helicopter. A moment later, a third joined them, a woman, though she wasn't dressed in a uniform.

"They're not so bad," Semeyonev said, with a low chuckle. "You complain too much. I like them."

"You like everybody."

They had been notified by the GRU officers on duty that a helicopter had radioed in its approach, unscheduled, but with proper Soviet army codes. The pilot said they were carrying Ministry officials. As the ranking officers on duty, Semeyonev and Kolyin had to check it out.

Semeyonev took the lead, motioning the MENTs forward. They met halfway.

"Senior Lieutenants Semeyonev and Kolyin, Ocelot Squad."

He paused for the briefest of moments, looking between the Ministry officers. They both looked intimidating, each in his own way.

Savva started to wonder if maybe Kolyin was right.

"Welcome to Groznyj Grad. We...weren't expecting your arrival," he said, carefully.

Date: 2008-07-20 08:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"You should have been."

Ilarion turned his eyes to the anonymous Spetsnaz soldier, who wore a uniform he recognized.

This then, was one of Andrei's unit mates- though neither of the masked men was Andrei, he could swear to that at a glance- and of course, had it been his brother, he would have been embraced at once.

Ilarion reached into his coat and pulled out a slim packet containing their orders, and the leather billetfold that housed his credentials, handing them to the sentry.

"Major Ilarion Aleksandrovich Ee-SYE-yev," he said. "Of the Ministry of Internal Service, Leningrad."

He tipped his jaw up, obliquely, a slight motion.

"...My associate, Taras Oleksei."

He paused.

"We have orders from Moscow, on a strict non-interference clause in regard to GRU operations, to observe and assess the competence of MVD action as pertains to the open murder investigation here at Groznyj Grad."

Date: 2008-07-20 07:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
"It's not a problem," Semeyonev said, "Major Isaev."

He put a slight emphasis on the name, giving it significance.

Major Ilarion Aleksandrovich Isaev was a tall man, well built without being overly muscular. Handsome and wolfish, arctic blond. Somewhere in his thirties. The angular cut of his cheekbones and the arch of his brows, the intent gaze, those seemed familiar.

He examined the major's paperwork.

Savva Semeyonev had learned long ago that there was a trick to how long he should look over an incoming visitor's credentials. Too short of a time, and it appeared sloppy, as if security was taken lightly, but spending too long made it seem as if he was being overly suspicious.

After a brief pause, Savva handed the credentials and orders back to the MVD major.

"You must have had a long flight, sir. We'll get you to the visitors' quarters right away. Please come with us. It's not far."

They led the way from the helipad, three visitors in tow. They did not offer to carry the officers' luggage, or even the woman's, but their charges did not seem to expect them to, either.

Savva paused, glancing back as they were buzzed through the gate.

The other MVD officer had not said a word, but instead lurked close like a watchdog, glaring as if ready to attack anything that made the wrong move. Savva guessed he was the muscle. He looked it. With his build, he could easily be Spetsnaz.

Semeyonev's interest earned him a glare, narrow and foreboding under the low visored cap.

Savva smiled faintly, then politely averted his attention back to the major.

"Major Ilarion Aleksandrovich Isaev," he said, thoughtfully, and out of the corner of his eye, he saw Kolyin look at him as if to say, keep your mouth shut, Savva, but keeping his mouth shut was one thing Savva had never been good at.

"We have a rankmate named Isaev. Andrei Aleksandrovich."

He said this casually, conversationally.

"He's a good officer, and a good comrade."

Date: 2008-07-21 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion turned his head and fixed his gaze on the one who introduced himself as Semeyonev.

A little pulse began in his chest, warm and contained. His heart was beating in its ransom sack.

A slow smile bloomed, subtle and hardy like taiga flowers. Some things could grow even in snow.

"If you know Andrei Aleksandrovich, then you know my brother, soratnik."

Anya was having a little trouble keeping up in her high heels, so he deliberately slowed his pace, glancing behind him.

He glanced at Oleksei, and though no real communication passed, they must have noticed the same thing. Taras took her small valise without comment, adding it to his burden.

"Thank you, Captain," she whispered, wincing, putting a hand on his arm.

Bored, Ilarion returned his gaze to the hall ahead.

Date: 2008-07-21 04:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
"The brother who writes to him."

Semeyonev nodded, gesturing to the large building ahead.

"There it is. The Main Wing. We'll head up to the second floor, where the visitors' quarters are. In the morning, we'll make sure you get a tour, so you know your way around."

There were steps that led up to the double-doored entrance. He took them slowly, conscious that he had been setting a soldier's pace and the group had started to lag. Kolyin moved ahead to open the door and they ushered their charges inside.

The Main Wing lobby was comparatively warmer than it had been outside. The hall was on night lighting, the illumination gentle and inoffensive to the eyes. Savva hit the elevator call button. The doors opened immediately.

Semeyonev glanced to Major Isaev.

"I've known your brother for a while. We shared our previous assignment as well as this one."

The elevator whisked them up a floor, and they got out.

"We used to tease him about getting so many letters," he continued. "Told him that he must have a woman back home. But no, he just laughed and told us it was his brother."

Under the mask, Savva grinned.

He left out the part about how they had teased Isaev that he had a man back home, instead.

"I'm sure he'll be grateful to that you're here, especially under the circumstances. Well, here we are."

Savva came to a stop, gesturing to the doors on either side of the hall.

"Those three at the end on this side are occupied, and the two on the end opposite. Other than that, you're free to choose."

Date: 2008-07-21 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion stopped, eyes narrowing slightly, holding his hand up to still Taras, who was assessing the available rooms.

"Circumstances," he repeated, intently.

He was fatigued from the unpleasant flight, and he might have been a little less than favorable, but his mind caught phraseology like a fox snapping birds out of the sky.

It was instinct, not design.

He drew much closer to Semeyonev, gazing him in the eyes and tilting his head.

"What exactly do you mean, Lieutenant?"

Lasha smiled, faintly, and raised a brow, putting a hand on the soldier's arm.

He leaned in, closer still.

"Is there a circumstance that I should be aware of?"

Date: 2008-07-21 05:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
"I...thought that's why you were here, Major Isaev," Semeyonev said, slowly, frowning.

It occurred to Savva that maybe the major hadn't heard the latest development.

Kolyin was giving him a death glare right about now, he knew, without having to look.

Savva noticed that the other MVD officer had turned and was now watching them with a sudden intensity.

Instinctively, Semeyonev leaned closer to Isaev's brother, to speak to him confidentially, unfazed by his proximity, or the hand on his arm.

"About the murders," he murmured, meeting the major's gaze directly.

Ilarion Isaev's eyes were sharp and clear grey, like a winter morning. Not unlike his brother's.

"There's an...official question...about your brother's possible involvement with the case."

Savva paused.

"He's under 24 hour watch while it's being investigated, though all of us believe in him."

It was close enough to the truth. The ones that didn't thought that Isaev had done Ocelot Squad, and the world, a favor.

Date: 2008-07-21 06:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
"Son of a bitch," whispered Ilarion.

Why hadn't Liadov called him?

Anger was one thing, but-

Lasha's eyes widened, and he felt a stab somewhere low, lower than his heart. The visceral place that Nika had always owned and tended for him.

Liadov wasn't lying. His love had worn out.

Ilarion took hold of Semeyonev's other arm, centering his regard, cooling his gaze with practiced haste, and tempering the flame of pain in his eyes.



There it was.

A soundless exhale.

"Is he under arrest?" he demanded, searching the lieutenant's eyes, which were warm and sentient behind the balaclava. Lips too full for a soldier. Lips like a fresh whore from rural Hungary. "Is my brother in a cell?"

Date: 2008-07-21 06:50 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
"Major, it's all right," Semeyonev said, urgently, reassuringly.

He gripped Isaev's brother's arms in turn, his touch firm and familiar, as if he were Andrusha.

"Your brother is fine. He's not in a cell. He's in his quarters, resting comfortably. He has a man on him - "

Savva broke off.

That was an unfortunate choice of words.

"Ah, he has an escort, but it's one of us, an Ocelot. They wanted someone to be with him constantly, to account for his every action."

He was impressed by the major's concern for his brother, but it made sense. Any man who wrote to his brother that often clearly loved him.

Savva pressed into Major Isaev's forearms gently with his thumbs, massaging the median nerves, to soothe him.

"You have my word he's all right, sir. Especially now that you're here."

Date: 2008-07-21 07:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Ilarion nodded, slowly.

"Khorosho," he said, releasing the Ocelot's arms.

His lips curved into a taut, guarded smile.

"I'm sorry, Lieutenant, for my reaction just then," he said, smoothly. "I very nearly raised Andrei myself. Our mother died young, and he became a man in my arms."

He paused.

Andrei was no doubt fine. He was an Isaev, after all.

"I trust I'll be able to see him tomorrow."

Date: 2008-07-21 08:09 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
"Of course you will. First thing. I'll make sure he knows you're here."

Savva nodded confidently.

"Your concern is understandable, Major. Andrei is very fortunate to have a brother like you."

He held the major's gaze steadily for another long moment, eyes warm and tropical blue.

Semeyonev turned again, gesturing.

"I'm sure you're all tired. There's a bed, as well as a private bath facility in each of the rooms."

He looked between the three of them, to include them all.

"The mess hall is located outside the building, but if you like, I can have some food brought to you - "

"No," the other MVD officer growled suddenly, the first he'd spoken.

Savva's pause was nearly unnoticeable.

"...or not, as the case may be. But anyway, feel free to..."

There was a sound from one of the doors at the end of the hall, the turn of a latch, the creak of an opening door.

Savva paused to look. That was Major Liadov's room.

Date: 2008-07-21 08:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eyes-adrift.livejournal.com
Aryol slipped out of the major's room, freezing as he realized there were people in standing in the hall. Three men, and a woman.

Very unusual, at this time of night.

They all turned to look at him, then stared.

He supposed they had a good reason. He was naked as the day he'd been born.

Except for his jackboots.

Casually, he shut the door behind him, then offered a brilliant smile.

Aryol noticed that of the group of men, one was wearing the same uniform as Niotkuda and Kasya, and the other two were dressed in the same Ministry uniform that Liadov wore. That interested him, but he decided it was rude to gawk.

"Sorry, I just need to get my..."

He waved his hand vaguely as he moved forward, crossing the hall to the room opposite, disappearing inside.

Date: 2008-07-21 09:11 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha paused, unsuccessfully attempting to look disaffected.

"It's a military base," he remarked, vaguely. "Soldiers evolve their own...informalities."

He turned away.

"We aren't authorized to interfere with GRU logistics, and in any case, there's no evidence of sodomy that I was able to ascertain."

He smirked, raising an eyebrow at Taras.

"Feel free to examine him yourself, Oleksei, if it keeps you up at night."

Date: 2008-07-21 06:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha nodded.

"Fine, then. Anya, take the room beside it, and I'll take next one down."

He picked up his valises again, settling into cold mode, the one that cared for nothing outside of strictest preservation- that of himself, and his own.

His eyes narrowed.

"That way you'll be between us. A military base is not the safest place for a pretty young woman. Captain Oleksei and I want to keep an eye on you."

Date: 2008-07-21 10:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com

Savva cut in, looking at the MVD captain.

"I don't think it'll be a problem. Just an informality, like Major Isaev said."

Semeyonev turned to Andrei's brother, nodding.

"Though it doesn't hurt to be careful. I'll make sure that an extra patrol or two comes through here at night."

Savva pulled off his beret and balaclava, exposing brashly handsome features. His hair, dark gold blond, fell over his forehead, slightly damp and tousled.

His full lips curved into an intent smile.

"If you need...anything, sir, please let me know. I'll be around."

Date: 2008-07-22 02:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ilarion-isaev.livejournal.com
Lasha blinked.

While he was not the pure spitting image of Andrei, some things about the soldier evoked him, all the same. The height, the width of his shoulders, the breadth of his chest- these things were close indeed- and his coloring, as well.

"Of course," he said, belatedly.

He paused.

"You're on duty all night, I assume."

Lasha eyed him for a moment.

"Thank you, Lieutenant. That's good to know."

He wasn't sure exactly why. Something about the soldier's eyes suggested he saw himself as useful.

Isaev appreciated a useful man. Danil Khartov was useful. Lasha knew that from experience with the driver- and Khartov sometimes gave him the same veiled look, like he knew he was useful, and wanted to offer himself for use.

Oleksei was useful, but it was different somehow. Probably because Oleksei was a friend, not simply an associate.

Date: 2008-07-22 04:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ocelottery.livejournal.com
"Yes, sir."

Savva nodded smartly.

Kolyin returned with the set of keys for the unused rooms. Semeyonev pointed out the ones that the major and his associates had chosen, and Kolyin pulled those off the keyring, handing them to each person in turn.

"Your rooms have telephones that call out to the operator, as well as other amenities."

Savva saw that Kolyin was giving him the evil eye again, probably because he had taken off his balaclava. Savva just smiled.

Isaev's brother was a handsome devil, if a bit intense. Not as outgoing as Andrei, though Savva would expect that from an MVD major. Still, Savva had liked him immediately.

They turned to go.

"We'll get everything straightened out in the morning. Good night, Major. Captain. Gaspazha."


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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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