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All this aggravation ain't satisfactioning me [Part III]

But after that...ouch.

Talk about difficult conversations.

eyes_adrift: It was dark in the cave, and Aryol paused outside Lynx's tent to let his eyes adjust, but it only took moments. He had good night vision and the cave had some illumination coming from a lamp turned down low by the cookstove.

In spite of everything, Aryol approached Leshovik's tent as silently as he knew how, with carefully-placed steps that scraped no gravel against quiet rubber soles.

He paused outside and leaned close to the flap to listen.

After a moment, he heard it: even, regular breathing.

Leshovik had been sleeping, then, and slept through the past half hour, when Aryol and Lynx had been having sex and he'd been a little noisy.

He couldn't imagine Leshovik sitting back and doing nothing if he'd heard him earlier, so sleep explained it.

Aryol hesitated even longer, beginning to feel doubt. This had seemed like a good idea in the brazen warmth of Lynx's company, but now...

...he'd rather be curled up against Lynx's broad chest, drifting off to sleep, lulled by the rhythm of the older man's heartbeat.

But he'd come to do this now, to make a clean, sharp break.

Aryol supposed he could have simply done nothing and let Lynx handle it when Leshovik came charging into their tent in the morning.

But Aryol knew he couldn't do that. He had to stand up to Leshovik on his own, and handle this himself.

Quietly, he pulled the tent flap back and stepped inside the bivouac. The lamp inside was still burning, but Leshovik lay in their hammock, sleeping, blankets twisted around him, brow furrowed and grumpy.

Leshovik looked younger when he slept for some reason. Maybe it was because his eyes were closed and it was easier to see his long, gently curling lashes, almost incongruous on a man who usually wore such a hard expression. Likewise, in slumber, Leshovik's wide and generous mouth often relaxed into a smile, instead of being twisted into its customary sneer.

He'd watched Leshovik sleep sometimes, wondering how a man who could be so stridently offensive when he wanted could also be so expressive.

Aryol frowned. He hadn't meant to come here and remember what was good. He just wanted to pack his things and then tell Leshovik off.

Leshovik's pale crop lay smooth and sleek against his scalp like the plumage of a tawny hawk.

Aryol remembered how it had felt to run his fingers through it.

Frowning, he turned away.

He just needed to pack before he woke up Leshovik in order to have that talk, he told himself, and Leshovik threw him out on his ass afterward, whether he was done or not.

"Took you long enough," Leshovik murmured from the hammock, then, making Aryol jump.

Aryol went very still, and then he swallowed.

His first impulse was to lie, and to make up some excuse - he'd sat by the cave lip and watched the rain, or he'd borrowed Lemsky's tent for a while.

But that was not what he'd come here to do.

His eyes swept the tent, seeking out his belongings, but they were intermingled liberally with Leshovik's. It would take him a while to gather everything.

"I was with Lynx," he said, without turning around.

Leshovik was silent behind him for a moment. "What you do mean, you were with Lynx?"

Leshovik had always been jealous of anyone Aryol spoke to outside of professional parameters. He'd accused Aryol of fucking other men before, but it had never been true.

Until now.

"I was with him. You know. Fucking."


Aryol drew in a breath, long and purposeful, then turned around to face Leshovik, who had half-risen from the hammock and stared at him with wide eyes that held a mixture of incredulity and...

...hurt, Aryol thought.

Aryol steeled his jaw and raised his chin. "You heard me. I fucked him. And I liked it."

Leshovik's gaze flickered, but he did not move, just breathing, shoulders peaking then falling sharply.

Aryol noticed that Leshovik's hand was trembling.

"You fucking little fucking cocksucker prick!" Leshovik snarled, abruptly.

His eyes flew to Aryol's, wide and nearly frenzied.

"I fucking knew it! You weren't playing chess in there all those times! I knew it!"

Aryol let out a sudden laugh, not meaning to, but suddenly finding that funny.

"Actually, we were playing chess. But afterwards, we gave each other blowjobs."

He was grinning, heart soaring with adrenaline, making him feel entirely reckless and vindictive.

"And he's really nice to me. Nicer than you ever were. I'm taking all my stuff, and I'm going to be with him now."

"What?" Leshovik asked again, his expression turning even more incredulous.

"I'm leaving," Aryol said, evenly. "And there's nothing you can do about it."

With a quick, spare motion, Leshovik rose from the hammock, closing on him, pushing into his personal space.

Aryol took a step back.

There was little room. Aryol's head brushed the bivouac's slanted side.

His heart pounded, and he wondered what Leshovik would do.

Leshovik had hit him before, once, over a missed shot.

Aryol had recoiled then, in pain and shock and hurt, just staring at Leshovik with widened eyes.

And he'd seen the horror that had flashed across Leshovik's face, and the sniper had immediately backed away and averted his gaze.

Afterward, when they'd returned to their quarters, Leshovik had approached him tenatively, brushed his arm with the back of his hand and mumbled an apology.

And Aryol had let him, then held still as Leshovik kissed him like he'd never kissed him before, with gentle deliberation.

They'd made love that night, silent and slow, and Aryol had trembled and nearly cried in wonder.

It came back to him now, as he held his ground, watching Leshovik's shoulders quiver with imminent violence, his gaze boiling.

Leshovik's hand shot out, and he grabbed Aryol's wrist, fingers clamping hard around fine bones, making Aryol gasp.

Leshovik was wearing only his shorts and tank, and Aryol glanced down to see the thin material tenting outward, bulging with his erection.

But then the hand around Aryol's wrist squeezed tighter, and drew his gaze back up.

"You are fucking stupid if you want to throw away three years over some fucking asshole," Leshovik snarled. "Did he tell you to come in here and say this? Did he think it would be funny? You go back to him and tell him I'll use his medulla oblongata to paint the walls."

Aryol tried to jerk his hand away, but Leshovik's grip held fast.

He snarled back in Leshovik's face. "You're the one who's fucking stupid, if you think he made me do anything. You're the one who made me do this, by treating me like shit! You don't thank me for anything, you don't appreciate me, and you blame me for everything you do wrong!"

Leshovik's face flushed red. "That's because it's your fault!" he shouted back.

Aryol remembered now, what had happened back then, that time when Leshovik had hit him. After that deliriously passionate night, Leshovik had been quietly attentive for nearly a week, before things had returned to normal.

Aryol's eyes were burning, and he just shook his head, feeling a slow burn ignite his chest. "Christ, Viktor, you are so completely fucked up."

"Fuck you, Kasya. You are such a fucking prick. I can't believe I wasted so much time on you."

Aryol frowned, then, and stared into Leshovik's pyrexic gaze. "What?"

"Are you fucking deaf? I said I can't believe I wasted so much time on you!" Leshovik snarled.

"No. What did you call me?" Aryol stared at him, chest cramping for a reason he couldn't even begin to understand.

"I said - "

Leshovik broke off, cheekbones turning white. He stood there a moment, staring at Aryol with widened eyes, just like the time he'd hit him.

Abruptly, Leshovik released Aryol's wrist with a violent thrust, as if he'd just been burned.


Leshovik's gaze shot into the tent's dark corner. "That was...nothing. I meant, Aryol."

"Kirill," he added, after a moment.

Aryol stood there watching him, but Leshovik did not look up. Slowly, Aryol rubbed his bruised wrist.

He didn't know what to say in the lengthening silence. It seemed like not everything had been said, but too much had, as well.

It was Leshovik who spoke first, his voice low now, quiet. "What does he have that I don't?"

Aryol looked down a moment, feeling his throat tighten, but then his jaw clenched, and he looked up.

"A really big dick," Aryol said.

Leshovik's shoulders tremored.

"All right. Fine. I hope you enjoy it."

He turned away and stepped back to the hammock.

Aryol watched him get in. Part of him wanted to say...something, but he didn't know what. Apologize, maybe, but that was stupid. But the rest of him just wanted to get out of here as quickly as possible, and leave this all behind him.

He turned and grabbed his kit, then began packing.

Aryol grabbed the important things - clothing, ammo, case with tools for rifle maintenance, extra field gear - and tossed them in the bag all together. He could sort it out later. He took his rifle and slung it around his shoulder, then shoved his balaclava in his pocket. He had a small box of personal items, which he also stowed. Anything else, he could come back for later, when Leshovik wasn't here.

Aryol slung his bag around his other shoulder, then walked to the tent flap, but for some reason, he paused.

He looked back at Leshovik, who was still sitting on the hammock, swinging back and forth slightly, his gaze directed at the ground below him.

Aryol hesitated, swallowing, and he had the strange impulse to race back to Leshovik and throw his arms around him.

But he didn't.

Leshovik cleared his throat. "How's this supposed to work?" he said, voice rough, unsteady. "In the field. Are you still going to be my - "

Leshovik broke off.

"Are we still going to work together? Are you going to call my shots?"

Aryol swallowed and stayed silent, having to clear his throat before he could answer.

"I don't know," he said. "But we can figure it out later."

"Da." Slowly, Leshovik nodded.

It seemed like the conversation was over. Aryol turned to go, pushing the tent flap open, shivering as chill air wafted in from the cave.

He moved forward, starting to duck underneath the flap.

"You'll never be a sniper, you know," Leshovik called after him, voice cracking like a dry branch underfoot.

"At least, not a good one. You don't have what it takes to deal with the responsiblity of taking lives. You'll always be a spotter."

Aryol paused, halfway in, and halfway out of the bivouac. Across the cave, he could see Lynx's tent.

Slowly turning his gaze away, Aryol stepped back inside.

His shoulders rose and fell as he let out a deep sigh. "That's the difference between you and me, Viktor. I don't care. You're the one who doesn't know how to shoot without someone telling you what to do."

He didn't wait to see Leshovik's reaction, but instead turned away immediately.

Aryol left the tent then and walked back to Lynx's bivuoac, fairly bursting inside, trembling so hard he could barely keep ahold of his gear.


I'm handling it, Aryosha. Don't worry. Everything will be good again.

...Better, even.
...I think I'd like that.
long hair

February 2009

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