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Aryol woke up happy.

He felt a lingering contentment, a sensation of safety and warmth, a knowledge that the major lay close to him. They slept in a tangle of supple limbs, twined together in the rumpled bed.

Liadov was stirring as well. Drowsily, Kirill realized something had woken them.

A sharp noise, a knock at the door.

It reminded him of that late night when Viktor had interrupted their post-coital lounging with a rap at Liadov's door, followed up by a punch to his face. The knock sounded so much the same, forceful and authoritative, that Kirill almost wondered if he were dreaming of that moment again.

It had been a little traumatic, at the time. A little less so now, to remember it.

The knock sounded again, louder. More insistent.

Against him, the major sighed, quiet and long-suffering. He shifted, moving as if to get up, but Kirill reached out and laid a staying hand on his chest.

"I think I should get it. You never know, maybe it's Viktor again."

Grinning, he left the major with a kiss and gently pulled away.

He glanced back at Liadov, who had settled back in bed, looking wryly amused.

"...or maybe it's your captain friend," Kirill added.

Aryol did not bother with clothing. He figured that anyone knocking on the major's door in the middle of the night should already know what he might be in for.

He opened the door, and there was Viktor.

Kirill stared for a moment, struck by the unreality of the moment.

Viktor, as if he'd stepped from a dream, though this was Viktor without his rifle, Viktor wearing a tank and workout pants, Viktor somehow looking strangely out of place.

They stared at each other. After a few seconds, Viktor glanced down.

"Christ, is that how you answer the door?"

Aryol stared at him pointedly.

"I'm not going to let you hit him again. You can try to hit me if you want."

Viktor scowled, but then exhaled sharply, shaking his head.

"No. No. It's not that. It's actually important. Urgent. I need to see Liadov. And...sorry for waking you," Viktor said. The last was more of a mumble.

"Who said we were sleeping?"

Viktor looked at him, his eyes deep and unfathomable cerulean. "Please."

Kirill frowned.

"What is it, another body?" he asked, more softly now.

Viktor grimaced.


It was enough for Aryol. He recognized the seriousness of Viktor's tone. He nodded and turned back toward the bed, where the major waited, head tilted and eyes narrowed with interest.

Kirill flashed him a small smile, curved slightly with irony.

"It's for you," he said.
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February 2009

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