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After Midnight

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“You’re either with him or you’re with me,” Nikolai says. His lips so close to Kirill’s face, that the crying, trembling man can practically taste the the long finished cigarette on his friend’s breath. “You’re either with him or you’re with me,” Nikolai repeats.

Kirill thinks of Papa. His fists, almost as beloved as his borshch, since he couldn’t really imagine his life without either. They hit because they care. It’s just the Motherland’s way. It’s not like Papa takes pleasure in it. No. He simply shrugs and administers the beatings like that’s what’s expected from him. Because if I don’t hit you, who will? If I don’t tell you, who will? Because you have to be a man, Kirill. Take your cock in hand, don’t just stand there like some pidar gnoyniy.

He thinks of Soyka too. Frozen like holodetz, yeah exactly like that - meat jello, in the freezer. He spat at him then and called him a pidarast. It was the least he could do, all things considered. You don’t just go around calling a Vor a faggot behind his back and expect to keep your teeth and fingers. It’s hard to find friends, he thinks, true friends. The kind who won’t just drink your vodka then turn around and stab you in the asshole while you’re looking the other way.

And then he’s back, and Nikolai is there, his friend, his Kolya, his faithful starik, whom he came so damn close to losing. So close he could practically still taste his own tears and blood (from when Papa punched him and he cut his lip on his own teeth) of a few nights ago when he found out about the Banya Incident.

And the baby, his little sister, and the shlyuha holding her with her very British face and proper British grammar, and her fucking tea that she puts bloody cream in. They can all go to hell. What kind of pussies put cream in their tea anyways? He’d show her some cream and then some.

Nu ladno. He digresses. Nikolai is saying more words, but all Kirill can hear is “I’m alive, I’m here, and I’ll take care of you.” He hears, “You’re smart, you’re beautiful, I love you.” All the words Papa would never say. It wouldn’t be manly. Wouldn’t be Russian. Wouldn’t do for a Vor.

He watches Nikolai kissing the shlyuha but it doesn’t phase him. He’s coming home with Kirill tonight, his star-spangled old volk, not a cowering puppy like himself, a wolf. A Siberian wolf. Kirill is already panning out the outlines of those tattoos in his mind, mapping them with his tongue, because he’s going to lick and kiss and bite every single one of them. Each star, each scar, each bruise. His fingers will press in and leave new bruises there, because Nikolai belongs to him. Or vice versa. It doesn’t matter, not anymore, because they’re both alive and Kirill wants and he’s on fire.

Kirill stumbles, but it’s not from being drunk. He’s giddy with glee, like some kid in a candy store. And Nikolai gives him that look, that look that silently calls him an osyol, an ass, like he’s mildly tolerating him, like he’s humoring him. Like Kirill is some dumb fuck who can’t tell the difference between genuine desire and that face that a whore makes at you. But he sees something else there. A softness around Nikolai’s eyes when he steers him carefully around the deleterious corners of his own apartment (what asshole put that wall there, anyways?), the merest hint of a smile around the hard-set outline of his mouth, so cruel and stern most of the time, but so generous at other times. Like now. Like when he’s pulling Kirill into a kiss so searing that it feels like his brain is about to melt and come dripping out of his zhopa. He wants something else to be dripping out of his ass. And he doesn’t even care if he has to beg for it.

They didn’t drink that much. Besides, there was the zakuson, it’s not like they drank on an empty stomach like amateurs. But Kirill still feels like he’s floating. Nikolai’s clever fingers are so strong and agile, and make quick work of both their sets of clothing, and before he knows it, Kirill is pushed onto his own bed, and his thighs are spread, and he’s shaking like a goddamn leaf because it’s cold and… and…

“I chose you,” he whispers the reminder in Nikolai’s ear. “I chose you.” He can’t say the rest. It wouldn’t do. It isn’t done. But his eyes are begging, “Don’t go. Don’t leave me.”

And Nikolai says, “Ya znayu. I know, Kirill.”

And that’s all they have to say on that subject.

He knows Nikolai won’t take him in the ass tonight, because neither one of them is a pidar, after all, but that’s fine. He just wants to feel the warmth of that skin against his body, to be allowed to run his fingers over the outlines of those prison-broken muscles, to feel this pleasant floating sensation a while longer, mouth to mouth, cock to cock, hands clutching flesh, straining. Then, maybe some other night in the future… yes, maybe then.

His own hand is wrapped around both of their velvety shafts as they slide with growing determination against one another. And for just the briefest moment, Kirill tries to remember who he really is, that he is the Prince, and the man rutting above him the chauffeur, and he wants him to come, to fall apart, to come undone right in his hand, right that instant, because that is Kirill’s will, and he tells him so too. “Eto moy prikaz,” he repeats the foolish words from the alley. “It’s my order.” And then he laughs, tongue sneaking out to lick the evidence of Nikolai’s pleasure off his hand, because it’s bullshit, all of it. And he belongs to Nikolai just as much as the chauffeur belongs to him, if not more, and both of them know it.

It’s New Year’s Eve, Novogodnyaya Noch’. He lies underneath Nikolai’s spent frame, caked in remnants of both their juices, listening to the steady beat of the other man’s heart, and he doesn’t think about Papa at all.