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Yellow grass and twyre are brittle underfoot. For a region so cold as the Steppe, the chances of a fire are quite high.

Yellow, brown. Yellow, brown. Yellow, yellow, yellow.

Daniil is quite sick of it, and he does not hold any qualms about letting everybody know. The grass, the twyre, the limestone buildings, the bleached wood. Jaundiced eyes, wan skin, sores leaking pus, halogen and kerosene smoke tinging the sky the same ugly color.

The Haruspex' leather ensemble.

"I had thought that this would have been a most satisfying conclusion. The curtains being drawn on this macabre version of La Boheme should be giving me closure. Yet I am still fraught with anger." says Daniil. He can feel the Haruspex eye him and he breathes through his teeth. A puff of silver mist determines the place of his exhalation.

"You're not angry," says the Haruspex. Know it alls, the both of them. Klara had said it before, said it'd get them killed. Well it very nearly had, hadn't it?

"Oh, do tell." spits Daniil, bristling.

"You're overworked. Sleepy. Hungry. Have a cigarette." A gloved hand proffers one.

"I don't want a cigarette," snaps Daniil. He sounds like a twelve year old, and winces. He takes the cigarette. The Haruspex leans down to light it on his own, and the ember is a spot of red on this flaxen scape. Their faces are close. Daniil can feel the heat of the Haruspex' breath on his cheeks. A small exhale makes his eyes water with the bull's smoke. He is reminded of bullfighting tales, the challenging snort of dust. Daniil glowers. Of all times, now is not one to challenge him.

But the Haruspex looks nonplussed. Amused.

"What are you so smug about?" He accuses. The great bull cocks his head like a dog, blonde hair going askew.

Moses, if Daniil doesn't hate yellow.

"I'm not smug. Of course you'd read it that way." A smile tugs at his lips, but to Daniil this motion is inscrutable in its purpose.

"Then what are you? You ought to be triumphant. You won, Haruspex. And what prize would you claim?"

"I'm fond," says the Haruspex, voice soft like a murmur, faded by cigarette smoke. He's looking at Daniil like he's a cut of steak. What prize would he claim, indeed.

A gloved hand reaches up, adjusts the lapel of Daniil's jacket. There's want to do more in the action, and the hand lingers, but it does not move from its spot.

"Your gloves are filthy." Says Daniil, but his voice is also softened by smoke and proximity, and his words carry little meaning. He simply cannot allow himself to become voiceless at the hands of this bovine surgeon.

"Yes," Haruspex agrees, "but that's a sign they're well-worn, isn't it?" He leans in closer. Daniil doesn't stop him. The glow of cigarettes are dangerously close to each other's cheek, the only thing preventing something more. It's distracting.

"You're distracting." he says.

"Yes," the Haruspex agrees again. The cigarette falls from his mouth and he puts it out under his boot before the twyre can ignite. And more's the pity; Daniil would like to see this place go red. Truly red, not the red of the flesh and tendon. Scarlet, vermillion. He vaguely entertains the idea of the military having the right idea, in that regard.

Daniil closes his eyes, sighs. Lips, chilled, a bit chapped, a hasty kiss to the corner of his mouth not sporting a cancer.

"Was that distracting?" The Haruspex murmurs. There's amusement in his voice.

Daniil reaches a hand up, bound in a black leather glove so pristine compared to his counterpart's work gloves. He takes the Haruspex' scarf and tugs it, considers it a noose, brings him so they are inseparably close.


And he returns the favor.