eyes_adrift: (long hair)
[personal profile] eyes_adrift
Wow.

A lot happened last night.

I still can't quite believe it. It seems...surreal, like it happened in a dream. I can't quite say a nightmare, because there were some good things about last night. Really good, if you know what I mean.

...Lynx is really nice.

I've never met anyone like him before.

He went to talk to Leshovik. I wasn't sure about that. Leshovik and I had a pretty bad fight, and we said some pretty harsh things to each other. But it gave me a chance to say things I'd never had the guts to say before, to call him on his bullshit. I think I surprised Leshovik.

I know I surprised myself.

I tried to stay up and wait for Lynx to come back. But it seemed like it was taking a long time, and there wasn't any shouting. So I just took off my clothes and got in his bed, and then I guess I fell asleep.

I was so tired that I barely even remember him coming back, but at some point in the night I sort of half woke up, and I could tell I wasn't alone, so I just went back to sleep.

It's my job to see things coming, and to know where everyone stands in relation to me.

I guess it just took me a little longer than usual to call this one.

Not that I'm complaining, given the way it turned out.

*grin*

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol woke slowly, to a heartbeat.

Warmth.

The steady rise and fall of breath against his side.

Instinctively, he nestled closer.

Details began to filter through his consciousness as he dozed. The broadness of the chest he lay against. The freedom of movement when he stretched. The subtly piquant, masculine scent of the man who slept next to him.

Aryol opened his eyes, and remembered.

Lynx.

He'd been with Lynx last night.

Lynx had made love to him, claimed him with words and marked him with seed shot deep inside him.

And then Aryol had gone to Leshovik and told him...

...that Aryol wasn't his anymore.

It seemed surreal, waking up in another man's arms. On any other day, he'd be in Leshovik's hammock, pressed close, and comfortable.

Leshovik was nice when he was sleeping, after all.

But now, everything would be different. Lynx would be different.

Aryol shifted, moving closer, but then froze as he realized it wasn't just him and Lynx nestled together in the bedrolls.

Leshovik was here too.

Carefully, Aryol sat up.

Leshovik slept on the other side of Lynx, curled at the larger man's side. It made him look strangely young. Somehow innocent, and vulnerable.

And clearly naked under the blankets that covered all three of them.

Aryol blinked, uncertainly, and wondered what the hell had happened.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei was awake before his eyes were open, and he lay quietly, listening to Aryol's stirring beside him.

There was silence, but he had the distinct feeling he was being observed.

"Not bad," he said, lightly, his lips parting.

His eyes stayed closed.

"You woke up before I did. That's pretty much unheard of."

Lynx reached out and opened his eyes, a bolt of blue in the scarce early morning light.

His hand brushed the tousled spurs and burls of Aryol's softly coarse, dark hair.

"Sleep well, bratanka?" he asked, his voice softening. "I think you did. You sleep like an angel on morphine."

A quiet laugh, as Lynx's eyes sought the younger soldier's, reading them compassionately.

"...Feeling better this morning?"

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Lynx's low, resonant voice lulled him, and Aryol flashed a small grin.

"I am," he said, and meant it.

Everything that had happened last night seemed somehow more distant, events that had to be brought back to mind, instead of echoes that wouldn't quiet.

He watched Lynx with dark, warm eyes for a moment, but then deliberately shifted his gaze.

"What's he doing here?" Aryol asked, tilting his chin in Leshovik's direction, but Leshovik was already stirring.

It was rare when Leshovik slept longer than Aryol did.

Aryol frowned slightly then, conflicted.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei smiled, slightly, shaking his head.

"I told you I'd take care of it," he said. He raised a wry eyebrow. "He's not angry anymore."

Lynx hesitated, lifting his jaw, rubbing his broad hand slowly up and down the midline of Leshovik's naked back.

"He came around to our point of view after a little gentle persuasion."

This last, he said quietly, as he could feel the sniper rousing beside him.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol found something almost hypnotic about watching Lynx touch Leshovik with such a possessive, intimate hand, and he caught himself thinking he'd like to see more of that.

"You fucked him," he said, not a question, brows drawing together more sharply.

He didn't bother to keep his voice low as he watched Leshovik stir.

Aryol wasn't sure what he thought, aside from the idea of Lynx topping Leshovik making him a little hard. He pulled up the blankets closer around his lap.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Lynx shrugged, and a private smile graced his lips, aimed at Aryol.

"Just fulfilling a bet," he said. "I'm an honorable man."

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol looked at Lynx, mouth compressing, then quirking sideways.

His eyes sparked, and drew warmth again.

"I didn't get to watch," he replied, nearly without sound.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei laughed out loud, unexpectedly.

"Neither did he," he reminded Aryol, meeting his gaze with a smile that was slow to burn and quick to fade.

He turned and looked at Leshovik, briefly, then looked back at the dark-eyed soldier.

"Why?" he asked, teasingly. "Do you want to?"

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol laughed, but then cocked his head, looking at Lynx curiously for a moment.

"Maybe," he said, still smiling, but searching Lynx's gaze.

"You seem..."

He paused. Lighter. Happier. Not that Lynx had been wholly somber before, but he had always seemed to wear an air of solemnity like a dress uniform, even last night.

But now, something had changed. Lynx almost seemed...younger.

Aryol's smile softened, and he glanced at Leshovik.

"You seem like you had a good time," he finished.

At Lynx's side, Leshovik stirred, but didn't raise his head. "Are you guys talking about me?"

Leshovik's voice was muffled, but not quite grumpy, as if he couldn't summon up the effort.

That made Aryol smile, too.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei shrugged.

"Maybe," he said.

He eased up, onto his hands, feeling the slight tautness of a fresh new tan across his shoulders from the day before, when he'd been traversing the pass and idly scouting the rocks for any sign of Lemsky.

He rubbed his shoulder, frowning, blinking, eyes upcast at Leshovik with artless expectation. His gaze was compassionate and contemplative in nature, a trait reinforced by the shape of his eyes, which sloped downward gently at each almond's end.

Lynx wasn't sure what to expect from the man. He knew what he hoped. He hoped Leshovik's good humor had extended through the quiet, restful night.

Aryol looked unconcerned, almost cheerful, and the junior sniper knew his teammate better than Lynx, so that was a good sign.

He wasn't able to read much of his mood from the set of Leshovik's back, as the sniper pushed his torso up from the blankets on lean and sculpted arms.

But it did look awfully pretty, and Alexei was reminded in visceral flashes of how they had come to be here.

"Good morning," he ventured steadily, after a moment. His voice was quiet but resonant.

He paused.

"Not a bad way to wake up," he remarked, obliquely, letting a faint smile crease his face.

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: "Morning," Leshovik murmured as he pushed himself up far enough to roll over and onto his back, sprawling next to Lynx.

His eyes remained closed and he yawned, stretching, wincing slightly as he felt muscles pull sore.

No sharp pain, though, and when he relaxed, his body flooded with warm, opiate relief.

"Well, I'm not complaining," Leshovik said, opening his eyes to look up at Lynx with a half-lidded, indolent gaze, the normally crisp line of his mouth smoothing into a still-drowsy smile.

He felt too good to complain, too well relaxed and thoroughly fucked to summon up the effort it would take to get annoyed about anything.

"Yet," Aryol commented, dryly.

Leshovik laughed and craned his head to look at Aryol, who was sitting up just on the other side of Lynx.

The spotter was watching him, dark eyes almost tenative, though not hostile and fllinty, the way they'd been last night.

"I don't complain that much," Leshovik said.

Aryol rolled his eyes, though it looked like he was fighting a smile.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Despite his veneer of measured calm, Alexei's face flushed at the audacity of Leshovik's wanton sprawl, and the implications leveled at him by the sniper's languidly sated eyes.

He fought the impulse to efface himself in the light of day, to withdraw to a safe distance, reserved and benevolent.

"Not as awkward as I thought it would be," he remarked, after a moment.

He glanced between the two men who flanked him in this rough bed, each naked and uninhibited in the other's presence as lovers came to be, even in war. They retained that much, despite the unceremonious severing, despite the slight and unspoken distance in their new dynamic.

He raised an eyebrow.

"I was ready to turn the hose on you two this morning," he said, unsmiling but amused. "I was prepared for a real dogfight."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Leshovik gave a soft laugh, not quite bitter, but unsweetened.

"I'm not mad. Maybe at myself but not..."

He paused to push himself up to a sitting position, wincing again, but the discomfort was tolerable.

Leshovik felt like he should meet Aryol's eyes with a leveled gaze, and not just lay back, lounging, careless and apathetic.

"I'm not mad at you," he said to Aryol. "I deserved everything you said."

It was slightly awkward, to have this conversation with Lynx between them, he thought. Not that Lynx's presence was unwelcome, but they were talking around him, ignoring him, albeit temporarily.

He reached out, and laid his arm loosely against Lynx in apology. Gripping slightly, asking him to stay.

Aryol looked at him, then glanced down.

He sat silently for a few moments, and Leshovik waited, knowing not to rush him. Aryol took time to consider things, examined them with keen, careful eyes. It was one of the things that made him a good spotter.

"I guess I'm not mad at you either. Though you still can be a real dick sometimes," Aryol finally said.

Leshovik drew in a slow breath.

"I'll try to do better," he said, quiet and solemn, like a promise, holding Aryol's gaze for a long moment, then turning to meet Lynx's eyes as well.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei still reclined back on his hands. He was looking down, trying not to intrude on their necessary interlude.

"I believe him," he said quietly, at last, when Leshovik had finished speaking. "Give him another chance, Aryosha."

The man he'd seen last night was not the embittered, sharp-tongued and raw-tempered Leshovik he'd come to know peripherally and tolerate professionally.

He raised his eyes and looked at Leshovik.

"Show him you're sincere, if you are. Seal it with a kiss."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Leshovik looked down. Emotion tightened his throat, and it look a couple of seconds for him to speak.

"I'm sincere," he said, quietly, then looked up at Aryol again, who watched him with a slow, hooded gaze.

Leshovik shifted to lean across Lynx, planting one hand gently atop the blanket over Lynx's muscular leg to give him enough leverage to move close enough, though he paused halfway.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol watched Leshovik, but then glanced at Lynx as well.

Lynx waited quietly, but not expectantly. Aside from the words of encouragement, he didn't seem to be inclined to press Aryol to make up his mind.

He liked that about Lynx, the natural, unstudied respect so genuine, it was like he didn't know how to be rude.

Aryol turned back to Leshovik, considering. Leshovik seemed subdued, perhaps moreso than he'd ever seen. It was easy to believe he was sincere, but Aryol also knew how Leshovik's best intentions could fall by the wayside.

He hesitated, but Leshovik just waited, leaning forward, shoulders slightly hunched, almost as if expecting Aryol to turn away. His eyes were dark, though, and quietly steady.

Finally, Aryol sighed and reached out a hand, bringing it to rest at the back of Leshovik's neck.

"If you're sorry, I'm sorry, too," Aryol said, then leaned forward to complete the kiss, bringing his lips to Leshovik's.

They kissed, more slowly than Aryol had intended, lingering, touching tongues. He felt a little breathless by the time they broke it off, but he sat back, licking his lips.

"I didn't call the shot wrong," Aryol said, meeting Leshovik's eyes again.

Leshovik brow creased sharply, and for a moment, it seemed like he was going to say something, but then he nodded, quietly.

"Da. You didn't call it wrong. That was me."

Aryol's mouth twitched, and he had to press his lips together.

Leshovik was silent for all of a few seconds, then his shoulders twitched. "But you called the target wrong," he said, but when he looked up at Aryol, he was smiling slightly, gaze unweighted by anger.

Teasing, Aryol thought, incredulously. He laughed.

"Christ," Aryol said, but softly, with gentle affection.

He shook his head, and turned to Lynx. "You were right," Aryol said, feeling a rush of gratitude, implusively leaning up to bring his lips to the older man's, kissing him boldly.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei frowned, bemused, as he accepted Aryol's gesture and returned it absently, stroking the young soldier's hair.

"Right about what?" he asked, brows furrowing.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol laughed again, and sat back.

"Last night. When you said not to worry. That everything was going to be fine."

He glanced at Leshovik, who watched them both, almost carefully, as if he didn't quite want to bring the full weight of his gaze to bear.

It made him look younger too, Aryol thought.

He looked back at Lynx.

"See? You were right."

Aryol flopped back on the bedrolls, then stretched, and sighed.

"Is it going to be like this every night? All of us sleeping here?"

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Lynx was taken aback, but only raised an eyebrow, smiling, rubbing his sable crop slowly with his hand.

"Well, we never-" he paused, gaze flicking to Leshovik and back. "That is, you're together again. A team, and that's good, that's...how it should be. Right?"

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Leshovik looked at Aryol, who was already nodding.

"Right, sure. I mean, as far as I'm concerned," Aryol said.

The spotter seemed to have thrown off any lingering resentment like a heavy winter coat tossed in the bottom of a footlocker come spring, caution abandoned in anticipation of easier weather.

Aryol could do that; he was resilient. Leshovik thought it had something to do with his age.

After a moment, Leshovik nodded, too.

"Right," he said, quietly. "That's how it should be."

He couldn't shake the sense that Aryol had changed somehow, grown up all of a sudden, and when he wasn't looking.

Or maybe it had been this way for a while, but Leshovik hadn't bothered to notice, before.

It made him glad at the same time he felt a raw and almost-distant ache, though he wasn't sure why.

He turned a slow, shaded gaze toward Lynx.

"I wouldn't mind it. The three of us, like this every night, comrade. Unless..."

Leshovik trailed off, and searched Lynx's gaze.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei looked up at them, measuring, assessing.

"...I have no objections," he said, at last. "I think it's best to encourage interdependency and devotion between men. But I don't want to cause any more dissention in the ranks."

He tilted his gaze.

"I'd say it's your call." He paused. "I'm the intercessor, after all."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: "No," Leshovik said, softly. "No dissention."

He held Lynx's clear gaze and wanted to kiss him, the way they had kissed last night, so slow and deep it made his chest feel like it could cave in, if he wasn't careful.

But in spite of everything, he found himself reluctant to do it in front of Aryol, so after a moment, he dropped his eyes, though he reached out to run a hand down the line of Lynx's arm instead.

"Good," Aryol said, on the other side of Lynx. "Then it's settled."

He sounded pleased, both with the situation, and with himself, Leshovik thought, wondering when Aryol had gotten so smug, and who had taught it to him, but he decided he could probably guess.

Leshovik nodded. "So it is," he said.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: The sniper's light touch on his arm evoked a deep ache, from out of nowhere.

Alexei raised his eyes to Leshovik's, slowly, and let them linger.

He saw something there, something strangely repressed, and it struck a chord in him.

"Viktor," he mouthed, obliquely, with full and sensual lips. Just to let the sniper know he remembered.

Somehow, he felt the need to obscure it from Aryol.

Despite the fact that he was deeply endeared to the young spotter, whatever had happened with Leshovik was something else entirely, and he couldn't even reconcile the two.

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: He saw the shape of his name on Lynx's lips, and it was like an intimate kiss, one that struck him deep, and lingered.

He shivered.

His mouth parted, and he replied in kind, speaking the name of Lynx's old self slowly, without sound: Alexei.

Leshovik had meant not to kiss him, but he found himself leaning closer and tilting his head, pausing before their mouths made contact.

"Alexei," he said again, inaudibly, though now he leaned close enough so that his breath warmed the bold arc of Lynx's lips.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Lynx closed his eyes and surged forward, meeting the sniper's mouth, kissing him with stoically shaking lips.

His hand fumbled free from the blankets, seeking forward, grasping at Leshovik's solidly domed shoulder.

Too incautious. He was conscious of how it must look to Aryol. But it felt so right. And he strongly wanted to do what was right. Even if it was wrong.

"Viktor," he intoned, silently on his breath, against the cruel mouth remade, as he broke the kiss but not the contact of lips.

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: He drew in a unsteady breath, and the man who was once called Viktor trembled.

Leshovik's hand had gone to Lynx's waist, automatically, to steady himself. The muscle felt warm and hard and the contact, achingly intimate.

He left his hand there, even now, though he managed to keep it from roaming.

His mouth knew no such stricture. His lips moved against Lynx's, speaking noiseless words, unintelligible hushed endearments, confessions of desire, and fear.

They were almost kisses, but not quite, more fleeting brushes and traces that ignited his need resonantly.

One last secret divulged, and Leshovik pulled back, though he was shaking as he did it.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei lowered his eyes quickly as Leshovik left his lips.

"Yes," he said, evenly, for Aryol's benefit. "We'll...sleep here. That will be best under the circumstances."

The circumstances, odd as they were. Unforeseeable, but now, so undeniably sensible.

He shook his head, and when he looked at Leshovik, he couldn't stop himself from marveling.

"How could I not have known?" he murmured under his breath. "Why didn't I see how well..."

He broke off, suddenly self-conscious.

"We should combine the bivouacs," he said. "Increase space and conserve heat."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: It took a few moments before Leshovik could reply, though he could feel Aryol's gaze on him. He drew in a breath - deep, steadying - and gave a short nod.

"Good idea," he said. "We can...work on that after breakfast."

His body sang with a hunger he honestly didn't know if it was truly in any shape to consummate. Perhaps it was better, this way, at least right now, but he knew that soon this need would spark again, and in Aryol's presence.

He didn't know why he felt the impulse to keep this from the man who knew him better than anyone. Perhaps because it was still so new, and he didn't have a name to call it, and didn't know why Lynx seemed to permeate him so deeply.

Leshovik drew his gaze away, and glanced up at Lynx's tent. It wouldn't be difficult to turn two shelters into one, especially since they didn't have to worry about keeping out the rain.

He had the feeling that integrating their external living arrangements would be easier than adapting to the three of them sharing the space, though it still felt right in every way he knew it.

He licked his lips. "I need to get cleaned up. Christ, sometimes I miss being able to take a shower."

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei pushed himself reluctantly to his feet, sensing that if he stayed where he was, the kid would either be all over them trying to buck for round two, or looking at Leshovik without knowing what to say in front of Aryol would drive him to distraction.

He reached for his fatigues and pulled them on, then something occurred to him.

"Hey, ...Leshovik," he said. "It's not exactly a shower, but the other day when I was out prowling the topography, I did find something that might fit the bill a little better than potable water-"

He grinned.

"There's a thermal pool, about a quarter mile from here. You know, a hot spring."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Leshovik looked up.

"Oh? That sounds good, actually. As long as it's hot. Might be nice to soak for a while, too."

He thought he could probably use it, for more reasons than one.

Leshovik watched Lynx fasten his pants, noticing for the first time how broad yet elegant his hands were, how the strength flexed in fingers and tendons, even with such a casual motion.

Carefully, he averted his eyes before he let them linger too long.

Instead, he got up, and wrapped one of the blankets around him. "I'm going to go get dressed," he said, with short glances to both men before he ducked out.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: After Leshovik left, Aryol got up and moved over to his kit to look for his fatigues.

"He likes you, you know," he said quietly, to Lynx.

He turned to look over his shoulder at the older man, grinning.

"I can tell, by the way he looks at you."

Aryol's eyes were shining like river stones polished by water and the passage of just enough time to smooth them.

After a moment, Aryol's smile softened, and turned more fond.

"And you know, he doesn't really like a lot of people."

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: "And I like him," said Alexei, without looking at Aryol, as he ducked his head into a black Spetsnaz pullover, easing it over his strapping chest and straightening the square, monochrome shoulder patches absently.

He cocked his head, smiling lightly.

"Say, he ever tell you about anyone from his past? I mean, we're not supposed to, but hell, people do, on those long nights in the field."

Lynx raised an eyebrow.

"He ever mention a former flame? Maybe say that you reminded him of...someone?"

Alexei wasn't sure why he asked, except for idle curiosity about the man, and not wanting to press Leshovik on the issue.

But he wondered if the sniper had ever mentioned it to Aryol, or if the younger man was in the dark about why he'd been selected and seduced quite so forcefully.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol shook his head as he stepped into his camouflage pants.

"No, he doesn't like to talk about anything that happened before. Except - "

He broke off, frowning.

"Well, okay, this was weird. This actually happened last night, when we were fighting. He called me someone else's name and once he realized it..."

Aryol paused, thinking back to the way Leshovik's face had crumpled and his shoulders had sank, like someone had opened up a spigot and drained all the blood out of him, just at that moment.

"He looked like he was going to be sick. And then he let me go and didn't want to fight anymore."

Aryol shrugged a little. Given everything else that had happened, he'd actually forgotten, but now that he looked back, it made him feel strange.

"Yeah." His brows drew sharp, and he looked down to fasten the tabs on his fly. "That was weird. Nothing like that ever happened before."

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei cringed, feeling a pang of empathy for Leshovik, short and sharp.

"What did he call you?" he asked, pausing, boots in hand.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol turned to look at Lynx again.

"'Kasya,'" he said, quietly. "But I never heard that name before. Do you think - "

Aryol hesitated, pressing his lips together, looking at Lynx more closely.

"Did he tell you about...someone?"

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Lynx sighed, and rubbed his hand slowly over his head.

The soft sable hairs never ruffled, no matter how hard he tried, but lay sleek as a cap of hawkfeathers, crowning his skull like a roman.

"He said that he chose you, that day at the range, because you reminded him of someone. Said he knew it right away, that you were the one."

Kasya.

A diminutive, for a friend, for a lover. It followed that this was the man whose memory Leshovik carried, but never spoke of. But he had told Alexei some of it, hadn't he- the breaking of their bond, the nature of the man.

"He said he was a humble man, with a huge kill tally," he added. "I suppose that's a compliment."

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: "He was a sniper."

It was not quite a question, the way Aryol said it, more at thinking aloud, and putting the pieces together. There were few other specialties that bothered to track kills.

"He was Leshovik's spotter?" Aryol didn't know how that made him feel. "I guess that would - "

His eyes widened suddenly, though he was careful to keep his voice down. "No, Leshovik was his spotter!"

It was strange to think about, the idea of Leshovik being a spotter, but no man with a huge kill tally would spot regularly for someone else.

On the few occasions that they'd switched so Aryol could take the kill, Leshovik had performed adequately enough, except for the fact that he simply took too damn long to call, well, everything.

Aryol fell silent, gray tank still in hand, staring at it unseeing for a few moments before he pulled it over his head absently.

Something in his stomach twisted.

"So that's all it was, huh? Just that I reminded him of this...Kasya? Christ. I can still remember that day, perfectly. It was the best day of my life."

Aryol laughed, once, and bitterly.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei shook his head.

"No, Aryol, I don't think that's all it is. Not now. It's been three years, after all. He's stayed with you, and he knows you're not his old lover, by now. No one can pretend that long. He knows who you're not...but I don't think he knows who you are."

He paused, drawing his knee up, lacing his boot slowly.

"I think he's finally admitting to himself that you're a man, with his own heart and ambition. A stranger to him, because he's had his eyes closed while you changed."

He tied off the lace, frowning.

"He'll need to get to know you all over, now. Give him time."

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol let out a deep sigh, but nodded.

He walked over to the camp chair and cleared off his gear, then sat down so he could put on his boots, one at a time.

A part of him felt lighter than it had before, like one of the best parts of him had grown too ripe and fallen away.

One boot half-tied, he looked up at Lynx, mouth tugging sideways.

"It's not easy, is it?" he asked quietly.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: "No," said Lynx, knowing that was the answer no matter what Aryol was talking about. "But nothing good ever is. Platitude, maybe, but...true."

He stroked the young sniper's hair back from his brow and tilted his chin up.

"You still love him?" he asked, quietly.

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol looked up at Lynx, then smiled, lopsidedly.

"Yeah," he said, with a small sigh, and a shake of his head.

"Yeah, I guess I do. In spite of..."

He made an inarticulate, encompassing gesture.

"You know. Everything. But he'd better not be an ass anymore. I'm not going to put up with it."

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: "I'm glad," Alexei said.

He looked at Aryol for another moment, and took his hand away gently.

"Don't expect him to be perfect overnight," he said, more casually, as he took a drink of water from his canteen. "He's only a man."

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: "Okay," Aryol said.

He paused, and grinned suddenly.

"Remind me when I forget, okay? I'm not perfect either."

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei paused.

"I think he could use some time to think. And we still could stand to sort out where we stand. Things have changed a lot overnight."

And not just between you and him, baby snaiper, he thought, ruefully.

"Would you mind if I took him to the spring? Give us a chance to settle everything." He paused. "There are some things I think he'd have trouble admitting in front of you."

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol smiled, gently.

"That's fine. I think it'll be good for him."

He got up from the camp chair so he could reach out, and laid his hand on Lynx's thickly muscled arm.

"You're good for him," he said, more softly, and looked up at Lynx with dark and steady eyes.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: "I hope so," said Alexei, catching Aryol's jaw in his hand, briefly, sweeping his eyes over the younger man's face.

He leaned in to kiss him, sweetly, lingering.

"Last night meant a great deal to me," he said. "Thank you."

[livejournal.com profile] eyes_adrift: Aryol shivered, and looked up at Lynx, a soft smile curving his lips upward.

"Me too," he said, then his mouth broadened to a grin.

"And I'm sure we can do it again sometime soon."

But he knew Lynx meant more than just the sex, so he squeezed Lynx's arm, warmly.

"I'm really glad...well. I'm just really glad it worked out like this. I can't think of anything more perfect."

Aryol leaned up to kiss Lynx again, playfully, grinning against the older man's lips, teasing briefly with his tongue before he pulled away.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Lynx smiled, and let it ghost from his lips before leaving the bivouac.

It was good that the spotter was so adaptable.

Leshovik was right, he thought, shaking his head. Aryol was a sunny plant on a windowsill, able to grow in solid rock if need be.

He checked Leshovik's tent, but didn't see him there, so he made his way toward the mouth of the cave, lighting a cigarette and peering ahead.

Alexei ducked the net of camo, and came out onto the slight plateau, into the bright, warm winter sunlight.

The air was cool, but the sun was high and adoring in the sky.

He spied Leshovik to the side of the cave, leaning back against the wall of rock with his eyes closed, letting the sun beat down on his face.

He looked vaguely blissful.

Alexei leaned against the wall beside him, casually, taking a drag.

"What do you think?' he asked, mildly.

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: "I think it's a nice day," Leshovik said, slowly, without opening his eyes.

He drew in a deep breath and let it out, taking in the bittersweet aroma of Lynx's cigarette and the even deeper, headier musk of the man himself, a scent that was starting to become familiar.

He turned his head, then, and opened his eyes, meeting Lynx's gaze.

Briefly, his eyes flicked to the cigarette pressed between the other man's lips.

"That smells good," he murmured.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei's lips curved into a smile around the cigarette.

He took it from his lips and put it to Leshovik's, slipping it between them.

"All yours," he intoned.

He cast his gaze around the mountain range. Force of habit, scanning his environs for intruders or scouts. But there was nothing. No movement, no sound.

Just the calling of a hawk, and Leshovik's low, steady breathing.

"You want to go?" he asked, after a moment. "It's not far."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Leshovik's lips closed around the cigarette tenderly, like a kiss. He tilted back his head and took in a deep drag, holding it for as long as he could, letting the narotic effect suffuse him.

He breathed out, slowly, but then pulled the cigarette from his mouth and offered it to Lynx again.

"Let's share. And yeah. You have me curious about this spring of yours now. Let's go."

He pushed away from the wall, but paused to survey their surroundings with a professional gaze, just as Lynx had earlier.

Not that he didn't trust the other man. Far from it. But that was why snipers and spotters worked together. Redundancy was safer.

Eventually he came to the same conclusion Lynx had. No threats. Nothing but a strangely serene stillness.

Sometime in the night the storm had passed, and left cleansed earth in its wake, sun-drenched and fragrant.

[livejournal.com profile] snow_death: Alexei nodded to the left, with a smile, and gave Leshovik a quick clap on the back.

"Khorosho," he said, easily, as they started down the narrow path among the rocks.

It wasn't far to the spring he had in mind. He'd actually noticed a fair amount of them in his sojourn. But this one in particular had caught his attention, steaming gently in the cold. A larger pool inset in the rock, like a roman bath, on a slight plateau and hidden by from all but aerial sight.

It had been snowing when Lynx first stripped off his gear and waded in to test its depth and heat. The juxtaposition of heat and snow was a pleasant one.

He'd filed it away in his mind as something to enjoy privately. But now, unexpectedly, he had company in his visit, and that didn't displease him at all.

They didn't speak over much, but it wasn't out of any discomfort.

Leshovik seemed so relaxed as to be almost boneless. He had a leisurely saunter that Lynx enjoyed.

The sun glinted off his blond hair and his occasional sidewise glances were sly and lit with joy de vivre.

"It's just up there. Around the bend of that boulder. There's a slight incline, and the terra climbs gently upward. Spirals you right onto the plateau, and that's where the spring is."

[livejournal.com profile] leshovik: Leshovik followed Lynx's gesture, nodding as he absorbed the directions, then glancing behind them to frame the location in his mind, just in case he needed it, for later.

"Nice," he murmured.

Lynx was a man who clearly enjoyed the simple pleasures in life, something that Leshovik rarely felt he had time to do, irregardless of the tasks before him or their relative complexity.

But this felt good. Easy. It would probably do him good to slow down, once in a while.

Maybe it was the cigarette that relaxed him, or maybe the sex, last night. Or maybe he just felt unrushed, and simply glad for the company.

Leshovik didn't know, but didn't much care, right then. He kept apace of Lynx as their footsteps covered the ground noiselessly, by instinct, without really having to try.

February 2009

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