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Volgin popped the last chocolate in his mouth and closed the box.

He felt better.

It had been a long, stressful day. Every time he'd walked unthinkingly past a window, realizing only as he'd passed that he shouldn't have done that, Volgin had nearly flinched, and Colonel Yevgeny Borisovitch Volgin did not flinch.

Ocelot had been scowling, even more than usual, as he saw to various security precautions: extra patrols, guards posted on rooftops, a stuffed effigy wearing one of Volgin's uniforms left to sit behind his desk. Ocelot was looking even for another decoy, but there were few men who even approached Volgin's size.

That made Volgin think of Alexei, who actually did approach his size. Alexei, who'd appeared out of the ether and back from the dead to warn him, who cautioned him to move from his regular quarters in the Main Wing to his secondary quarters bunkered below, and just in time, too.

Like he'd known there would be an attempt on Volgin's life. He must have.

Volgin wanted to talk to Alexei now. He wanted answers, but more than that, he wanted to feel Alexei's ruthless mouth and unyielding arms, to have Alexei take him, possess him the way only Alexei ever had.

He sighed.

But there was no Alexei. Not last night, not all day.

His monthly shipment of imported Belgian chocolates had arrived earlier in the day, and it had been like a godsend. Exactly what he needed. He'd even put off eating them until he was alone in his quarters, and could really enjoy them.

He'd eaten every delectable piece in the span of mere minutes.

Carefully, Volgin hid the empty box in the trash, making sure to get every wrapper. It wouldn't do for Ivan to find out. Ivan disapproved of the chocolates, especially when Volgin ate too much in one sitting. "You'll ruin your teeth, Zhenya, or you'll get fat," he would chide, and then take them away, just like Volgin's mother had done, all those years ago.

Volgin loved Ivan, but he also loved chocolates.

Ivan didn't have to know about this.

Volgin got up, restless. Too early to go to bed, too late to be stalking around the base, especially with a sniper on the loose.

Maybe he should go find Ivan. Maybe he should find Ocelot, so they could have that talk. Maybe he should find someone hapless to terrorize, one of Ivan's men, perhaps, someone dispensable, whose smoking corpse wouldn't be particularly missed the next day. There had to be some sort of discipline problem that could use his assistance.

Hmm. Yes. That sounded like a good idea, actually.

Volgin turned to the door, then frowned. His stomach hurt. Maybe he shouldn't have eaten all those chocolates at once, after all.

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The Groznyj Grad Living Novel

December 2010

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