There’s nowhere to hide in this great big apartment but Freddie doesn’t hide, anyways. Freddie always chooses fight over flight, and it’s always been a problem for him.
He’s not even fazed, really, when he ends up gasping and spitting blood on the floor. It’s not the first time his mouth has landed him in this position.
It’s not the first time Anatoly’s been the one throwing punches, either. Everybody thinks that he’s so calm and cool and collected - the “nice guy”, the respectable, respectful Russian challenger. Freddie wonders if the media are really that stupid, or if they’re purposely covering things up.
There’s nothing nice about what’s going on in Russia right now, from what little Anatoly has been willing to tell him. One look at Molokov could have told him that but one look at the inside of Anatoly’s head was infinitely more comprehensive.
They all think he’s so nice.
Freddie just wishes he were a little bit faster.
The door slams and he knows that Anatoly will be back before long. He apologizes; Freddie doesn’t. It doesn’t matter. It will happen again by the time his nose has healed, crookeder and crookeder each time. A week at most and they’ll be at it again. It will start over an empty milk carton in the fridge or Freddie’s obnoxious comments, or a chess match, or some stupid thing and before he knows it he’ll be right up in Anatoly’s face and-
Well. He’ll end up here, again. Swearing, groaning through gobs of blood and tears streaming and he’s glad Florence moved out when Anatoly moved in, because she’d tell him to get out while he still could.
But, of course, Freddie doesn’t run.
He doesn’t run when Anatoly starts to match each mean word with something deeper, darker, louder. He doesn’t run when he gets that glint in his eyes- when he grabs him and shoves him against things, shoves him down. He doesn’t run when the sex gets angrier, violent - he likes it, for a while, and tells himself that he likes it even when his head cracks against the headboard so hard he gives himself a concussion and Anatoly doesn’t stop.
And even when he’s got a hand wrapped so tightly around his throat that black creeps into the edges of his vision, and his retaliation grows weaker and weaker, Freddie still hangs on.
He didn’t get the bastard out of Russia for nothing. He wants to play rough? Freddie can take it. Freddie loves the fuck out of him, Freddie’s all talk, all “I swear to fucking god, I’ll punch you out.”
And then he’s bleeding on the floor, and Anatoly is gone, and he wonders in the haze where Florence is now, and whether or not Anatoly will be back tonight.
He’s not sure if he even wants him to be.