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No More Need For Sunrises

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The snow fell in soft, intricate snowflakes to cover the ground with a fresh quilt of pure white. The winter hues of white, silver and blue shaded the world in a subdued, slightly sparkling magic. No early birds in winter. No warmth except that which can be produced from the inside or from some other source other than the natural elements.

Eugene wondered if his heart had become an icicle. It was just as cold, just as beautifully dead as the winter landscape. A surreal beauty with no greenery or warmth, no visible life. He wondered if it had frozen over the past six years, a slow painful process, his self-imposed exile the perfect environment to grow such an abomination. Or had his heart frozen in that one moment? In that second when he realized that there was no more heartbeat, no more breath. The moment when he realized that he had just killed his own soul on a whim, in an instant of cold-blooded abstraction. Had one second so changed his very essence which just hours before had thrived, burned, expanded with the most tender feelings for the one who mattered the most, the one he loved and the one he killed.

*******

"Lensky, what are you doing?"

"Hmm? Oh. Writing." The boy looks up and smiles sheepishly at him.

Onegin shakes his head in bemusement. "Don't you ever get tired of it?" He sits down beside the boy in from of the fire, the only source of light in the room, and opens the bottle of wine he'd been cradling.

"Not really," Vladimir replies, looking up into the fire, thinking, his quill tittering just centimeters above the page. "I can't really imagine not writing."

Eugene leans over and plucks the writing pad from the boy's hands. "Enough for tonight. It drives me crazy, you know."

There's no use to protest, Vladimir knows. Onegin will never back down from something he'd decided on. And tonight he seems to have decided on...wine? Vladimir looks over the bottle skeptically. "Glasses?" He looks up to meets Eugene's eyes. Mischievous, grey-blue eyes that are laughing at him and admiring him at the same time. "What?"

"We don't need glasses," Onegin insists and takes a drink from the bottle, them passes it on to the boy with a smirk.

In the light of the fire, the red of the wine looks crimson and supernatural. Vladimir takes the bottle and drinks deeply, allowing the heat of the alcohol to fill him to the brim, before letting go. "It's good," he admits smiling warmly at Eugene.

"I told you I have good taste," Eugene smirks in reply. The fire leaves soft shadows on Vladimir's face and his eyes seem even brighter than usual. The bright flush on his cheeks from the heat of the fire brings out the fairness of his skin. Soft, dark curls frame his face and fall over his eyes. Eugene reaches over and gently pushes a strand of curls behind the boy's ear.

The touch is electric. Vladimir shivers and Eugene can't help but notice it. He slides closer to the boy and puts an arm around his shoulders, taking another drink of wine. "Chilly?"

"No." The embrace feels too natural to be uncomfortable and Vladimir relaxes instantly, laying his head on Eugene's shoulder. Onegin passes his young friend the wine and Vladimir takes another full drink.

"Have you and Olga decided on a wedding date yet?"

Shake of the head. "No. We haven't talked much about us at all, to be honest."

"Why not?"

A shrug. "I always get embarrassed and she's no help in being serious about anything." Sigh. "Sometimes I don't think she takes me seriously at all." Pause. "Unlike you."

Onegin smirks. "That's because I'm not a silly little girl."

"Hmm. She's beautiful though. So full of life. How can you blame me for loving her?"

Eugene stares into the fire, choosing the right words and failing. "I don't." He really doesn't. Or so he tells himself. He will be fine. Fine with these brief moments of sitting on the floor by the fire while the snow falls outside, passing a bottle of wine between them, Vladimir's head on his shoulder, the warmth of their bodies in such uncustomary proximity, the soft lull of a lazy, trusting conversation... What else could he ask for?

Vladimir is to pure, too innocent... He couldn't take advantage of that and still live with himself. It is this very innocents, this very boyish tenderness and trust that he loves so much. Those bright eyes, that warm smile, those pathetically poetic words and notions... Vladimir is his perfect opposite; an opposite that has broken down every wall he'd built because they were not meant to hold back his sort of invasion. A subtle, unintentional one, that creeps up and melts every defense with the simplest "hello."

*******

The dense fog, that is typical for early crisp mornings, hangs over him. His legs are heavy, his arms dropping with some strange wait as though they are bound by chains. His right hand clutches the handle of something cold and rough, almost like the handle of a pistol. He runs his hand over its smooth surface and nudges the trigger gingerly. A cool breath blows through his hair, the wind whistling a mournful tune in his ears. Iti is cold and he feels lost, the surreal feel of the world frightens him, though few things do, and certainly nothing this simple. He takes a reluctant step forward, feeling something crunch under his heal. He looks down and sees the white blanket he is standing on - an inch or so of snow. It sparkles up at him, laughing at his bewilderment. Its brightness blinds him and he looks up at the fog, looking for the sun that could give the snowy blanket its shine, but there is none there.

There are softly crunching footsteps coming toward him and he strains to see through the vale of the mist. After several steps a silhouette outlines itself behind the misty curtain, it is that of a young man. In moments the boy emerges into sight, now standing only a few feet from him. He has dark bright eyes, and brunette curls that cascade to his shoulders in silky ringlets. The boy is handsome, his featured soft, almost delicate, infinitely boyish and yet not deprived of gallant maturity. The boy smiles at him softly. He reaches out toward the boy, reached for his hand on an unreasonable impulse, compelled by some force to touch this angelic boy, to be a part of his existence because maybe if he is close enough to this boy he could himself be better, more like him.

His hand brushes gingerly against the boy's and a spark springs between them sputtering and exploding into a brilliant flash of light. His hand burns and he snatched it away. The blinding bright light makes his head spin wildly. When the light fades and the intense heat bleeds away, he blinks rapidly squinting to seek out the boy. The boy is still in front of him. But something is gone out of the boy's eyes. They are dimmed, misted. The boy raises a hand silently to his chest, gazes fixedly at him. The boy's hand flattens over his heart and then he falls backwards into the snow and lies there motionless. He gasps and tries to run to the boy's side, tries to call out to him. But some invisible force is holding him, rooting him to the spot. He can't speak, couldn't move. He is utterly paralyzed. Then, in front of his eyes, the boy begins to fade away into the snow, dissipate within the white mist. He tries to scream, to do something but can'tt. The boy is gone.

He looks down at his pistol and, though there are no external signs of it, some part of him know that it is unloaded. Just like the same feeling that had told him, when he had first felt it in his hand, that it was loaded.

In the snow, only a few feet away, is a small, sparkling bullet, smeared with crimson.

*******

Gene remembered waking with a start from that dream to find himself in the very same sitting room in which he and Vladimir had shared the wine the night before. He had looked down at the boy who had fallen asleep on the couch next to him at some point in the middle of the night. The morning sun had fallen in a single ray over Vladimir's face, a peace of heaven marking its own. He had shaken his head then and kissing the boy's forehead told himself that the dream meant nothing. He would never lose his little angel.

How wrong he had been. Eugene knew that now. But now it was too late. There was no way to bring back what he had himself destroyed. No tears, no regrets, no revelations could resurrect the dead. He leaned down and picked up a handful of snow, letting it gently slip away through his fingers and fall softly back to the frozen ground. Then, turning his back to the rising sun, he began to walk away, toward his new - old? - life. He had no more need for the dawn. His sun had set six years ago to never rise again.