Title: Pigeon's Blood
Author: J. C. Sun
Rating: R for violence and language
Summary: A flat in Paris on a winter afternoon.
Te's FormerRentboy!Alex is so. damn. hot.
A flat in Paris on a winter afternoon:
Cold, dismal, all one billion and two shades of gray lingering
over expensive Regency furniture, fitted into the pattern of mother-and-pearl
on the writing desk, palling the tapestry of a dying unicorn.
Canopy bed, too, the hangings coming down low over the rumpled
blankets--pearl pink and stuffed with silk in the Chinese fashion,
embroidered with raging phoenixes and rearing dragons that has
golden thread around the eyes.
Alex decides it's nice in a very overdone, very ostentatious,
very Illya sort of way. Turkish carpets, a silk-and-rosewood screen,
Hermes underneath Delacroix, marble-and-gilt boudoir table littered
with a set of silver-backed hairbrushes.
Utterly spurious for a man with close-cropped blonde hair.
Alex knocks a slim cigarette out of the silver casing.
"I thought you quit." Yawn, click of neat teeth, then
a smooth flow of arm and muscle to proffer an ivory-and-abalone
lighter, flick of thumb and spontaneous rise of dark yellow flame.
"Nasty habit, that."
"You never minded before." Alex lights his cigarette.
His mouth purses around the smooth, gold-banded paper, and then
he shrugs as he resettles against the stacked pillows. "Besides.
I've had other things on my mind."
Illya tilts his head and says nothing, just fingers a silk tassel
between indolent fingers.
Alex refuses to look at him.
In the fireplace, a log rolls over, delivering a shower of sparks
into the chimney and illuminating a pear, an apple, a smoothly
elliptical mango, each with a single bite taken out of it, along
with most of a roast pheasant. Two mostly empty bottles of fine
wine, two thirds of a baguette, untouched plate of expensive petit
fours. Alex distinctly remembers one time--one of the early times,
one of their first jobs, when they were still perpetually hungry--he
and Illya went to a French restaurant, and Illya ate so much he
ended up puking in the taxi on the way back home.
Suddenly, breaking into the smooth calm: "It's a dangerous
crowd you run with these days."
"And the ones we used to run with weren't?" Alex finds
himself amused, ready to reminisce. "Murder a contrary businessmen,
beat his wife into unconsciousness, smash his computer, make off
with the hard-drive and burn the whole building down--all before
"Like your current friends are nice either." Illya touches
the new wound at the top of the shoulder, then moves down to the
stub of a left arm. Biting down on his lip, Alex stops himself
from jerking the arm away while Illya inspects the puckered rim
with the edge of a nail.
Illya, rather mournfully. "I guess the tattoo is gone."
"Well, they did sort of chop the whole fucking arm off."
The bitterness makes Illya raise pale, pale eyes, makes those
dainty lips shudder in empathy and touch the perfect shoulder
above, run mouth gently across bone.
Then, "Remember when you got it?" A snigger, curl of
thin lip and gleam of dishwater-pale eyes. I had to hold your
hand, and you were squirming around so much they had to strap
you down, you were nearly crying when they were done. Nearly pissed
your pants too, you were so scared."
"I was all of nineteen. And I was drunk."
"You'd slit a man's throat with a pen knife three hours before."
"That was how we had enough money to get that tattoo, to
get drunk remember?" Laughter. "Rotgut potato vodka."
"We would have had enough to get decent stuff if you hadn't
tossed most of it at some rentboy we didn't even fuck." Pout.
"He was hungry, and he wasn't going to get a hire with those
marks on his face. I remembered what it was like to be young and
hungry--hell, when things get bad, I *still* remember what it
"I try to forget." Illya's voice is so flippant, so
flagrantly careless that Alex risks a small touch to Illya's smooth
hand, all laden with opals and white gold and the slow glitter
of a pigeon's blood in diamonds and platinum.
Alex smiles, gestures towards the tapestries, the fine moldings,
the heavy velvet upholstery with his free hand. "I can tell."
A smile, forced smile across Illya's face. He leans into Alex's
good shoulder. "Money was made to be spent."
"I can tell that too." Alex shifts, enjoying the warmth
of Illya draped all over his torso, the lazy finger stroking his
ribs. "How much did *this* all cost?"
"More than you'll ever be willing to spend." A snort
as Illya rolls off, then flops back onto the pillows. "The
only money you ever spent was on guns. We'd be living in Five
Star Lucky Motel and eating once a day, and you'd be going to
the gun motels buying every piece of crap in sight. We had more
guns than food."
"I wasn't *that* bad." Careful, comedic, self-mocking
pause. "Was I?" Illya laughs and runs an affectionate
caress down the side of Alex's face, and Alex turns his head and
kisses the fingers, the soft tips, the slashed joints, and the
cold hard bands at the base.
A slight chuckle when Illya catches him looking at the pigeons
blood, and Illya strokes Alex's mouth once, moving across the
upper, lingering along the bottom. "It rather reminded me
of you." Illya's voice is dreamy as he lays a small, discreet
kiss at the corner of Alex's mouth. "Year, year and a half
ago, I was at this dinner party, and some rich pretty boy's mistress
was wearing it. He'd bought it at Sotheby's estate sale--his wife
got a Sheffield tea set, and his Mistress got several million
dollars of irreplaceable family heirlooms. Later, we played baccarat
for it. I lost, but I fucked both of them to get it."
Alex's eyebrow hitches. "Really?"
"No." Illya grins, all mischief, dancing grey eyes and
puckish smile. "I saw it in Cartier's, and the opal I wanted
"Lying little son of a bitch."
"Said the kettle to the stovepot." After he says it,
though, Illya tenses, rather aware that once again, he's said
the wrong thing at the wrong time. However, Alex's only verbal
response was a little reflective noise coupled by a tight smile
and he slides an arm around Illya's smooth shoulders.
But the mood has been broken by the second reminder of the present,
and so, soon after, Alex slides out of Illya's loose arms and
starts gathering his clothes off the floor. Illya hands him his
shirt, his underwear, his pants, which Alex struggles into with
as much grace as a one-armed, aging assassin can manage.
Illya yawns once in the grey half-light. He says nothing, offers
no help when Alex has trouble buttoning his jeans.
"You won't think of staying a-while?" Illya's not petulant,
just a little wistful. Draw of those soft, fine fingers across
his bare back. The old calluses are a bit faded, but Alex can
feel them on the edge of the index finger, a little roughness
of the palm. "Not even a little while longer?"
Alex stands up, shakes his head, and pulls his gun in one long,
tired sigh. The old maneuvers are a little strange now without
the balance of another hand, but they are good enough, proven
enough, that they could be adapted for the crippled. So the flow
is off, but Alex manages to get the gun into his hand and planted
against Illya's forehead allright.
"Alex?" Illya's voice trails off into wondering. It's
not fear, just a general sort of half-quivering wondering.
"Hey, old boy." Alex grins, just a little edgy. He reshifts
the gun, allows it to resettle in a more natural postion. "You
let me in here. You knew I was going to kill you, you knew I had
a gun on me."
Illya says nothing, just keeps that limpid smile on his face and
looks at Alex with blandly friendly eyes.
"Why'd you take me in? You just saw me on the street and
picked me up--you knew what I was here for."
Moonstone paradigm shift. Illya turns his head from Alex's face
so that his eyes run perpendicular to the barrel of the gun. "I
still remember what it was like to be hungry." Illya makes
a small, derisive snort of laughter and a lazy flick of the hand
towards the scars on his back.
Alex's breath catches for a moment, and then he's over the memory.
Then, from Illya, a plea, but with a little more steel in the
voice than usual. "Let me do it myself."
"I'm supposed to make it look like murder."
"Alex, darling." Illya is pleading, yes, but with his
eyes half-lidded, those fine pale lashes and just the edge of
a smile on his mouth. It reminds him of the way he used to get
before a really good job, all dreamy and smiling, long, languid
gestures. "Alyosha? Darling?"
Krycek closes his eyes against the invocation of their old pet
Illya shifts in the bed sheets, arranges himself fetchingly. "There's
no serial number on that gun, you bought it locally from some
punk dealer. My servants know I brought someone home--the police
will think it was some cheap rentboy. Rifle through the chests,
my jewelry box is in the dresser --if it's scandal that your friends
are after, that'll be even better."
Alex shakes his head but said nothing.
"Here. Take these." Illya yanks the rings off his fingers
and proffers them in a cupped hand. "You can sell them, get
properly fucked." There's even a little wink in Illya's eye.
The humor seals it. Alex hands Illya the gun, pockets the gems,
then lets Illya calmly shoot himself. Illya spasms once in the
sheets, heels drumming hard against the springs and hand dropping
the gun with a clatter, but then all's still in the grey light
and Alex regains his composure, shakes it back into place, then
slides the pigeon's blood onto his finger and marvels at the slow,
warm glitter, dilute in the washed Paris light, but still--very
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