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DISCLAIMER: If I owned the rights, it’d sodding well be out on DVD,
            wouldn’t it? Cretolo.

TITLE:      Volition
AUTHOR:     kel
PAIRING:    Fyodor/Daniel, in a way...

RATING:     PG13

SPOILERS:   For ep 2

SUMMARY:    //We have always soothed ourselves with an anodyne lie//

CHRONOLOGY: Day 2, evening, while Emma meets with Siltz.
<lj-cut text="COMMENTS:   It’s always puzzled me that absolutely nobody in Porlock’s
            team notices the discrepancies in the recordings"> COMMENTS:   It’s always puzzled me that absolutely nobody in Porlock’s
            team notices the discrepancies in the recordings;  well,   
            Fyodor in particular – he’s so conscientious and attentive
            to detail, never mind his moral qualms about Lazarus.
            What with one thing and another he misses out on several
            of the key memory segments, and, it seems, never catches
            up. If he had, he’d surely have noticed the irregularities
            so easily spotted by the ICB techs.  Plot requirements
            aside, it’s not in character for him not to have at least
            *tried* to stay on top of it, surely?  In which case...</lj-cut>

FEEDBACK:   Of any and all stripes welcome – to

by kel

Fyodor won't tie his hair back. Heavy and long, it's an affront to
common sense, never mind fashion. He hates it, is perversely proud.
It obstructs fluorocode readers and pisses the Poliz off.

Ludicrous. As if covering the corporate brand makes one free. But the
boy he once was finds in pretending a savage, desperate joy.

More in confession.

"I, too, always wanted to be an obstruction."

His voice, deeply accented and increasingly alien to him, tries and
fails to echo in the darkened lab. Suffocated by that constant,
patient burbling. The bubble hum, that sparkling, gelid substitute for
breath pervades his dreams.

What once was Daniel says nothing. Its - *his* - eyes are closed. He
- it - looks peaceful. A calm and quiet lie.

Daniel, this... specimen, this remnant of a vibrant and desirable man,
someone Fyodor could have drunk and sung with, in another world...
Daniel bears no Masdon mark. Scars, yes, and other things. But Daniel
would have died rather than submit to this cataloguing. This
*definition*. It shames Fyodor that he has not.

Daniel died in a great deal of pain, half a millennia ago. Tortured
and unafraid. Fyodor is very much afraid; for what if Daniel is not

"Rephrase, Doctor Glazunov," he mutters. "For Daniel is not yet dead.
And Fyodor is very much afraid."

He calls up the day's recording, then changes his mind. Pretends his
racing heart is the result of walking around the room rather than
sitting in the autochairs, as he otherwise must. Nobody *stands* at

He asks instead, damp-palmed, for Day One. It obsesses him, the last
time Daniel was touched. The way those around him reach out, without
thought or caution. He knew, they *all* knew, theoretically, that life
was once so but to *see* it...

There. And there. Constant and metafunctional. His wonderment, at
least, is genuine. The freedom of those who cared for the dying man!
Who spoke their minds, their sorrow; and, no less marvellous, the
uniformed strangers who passed without counting or taking names.

It is clear that Daniel loved, *was* loved, yet engineered a robust
isolation. Perhaps it was involuntary; the flower of abuse. Emma
seems to think so. *Hope* so, perhaps; she is for all her years an
innocent. Fyodor is not so sure, conscious of his own determination.
He has sworn to live and die alone. Because, precisely and only
because, a Masdon chattel is permitted not to. Because the brand on
his cheek entitles him to approved, complaisant companions.

Daniel would have understood.

Fyodor turns off the tape, bends to study the disembodied head. A worn
and lived-in face; pallid and slack, the last, tiny vestiges of
comeliness lost to pain and four hundred years of sleep.

Would Daniel forgive the grim and guilty pleasure he takes in their
connection? It feels right that this ...closeness, for that is what it
is, rests upon mutual violation. The limbless and the soulless, those
without choice. While the cruelty of Lazarus continues, while Fyodor
stays his sabotaging hand, he cannot be considered human.

Fyodor presses his hand to the glass, where Daniel's shoulder would be,
if he had one. To feel the cold; to feel real.

Rape in this world is an obscure, mythical thing. It never happens to
anyone you know, anyone *employed*. Unless and until, of course, in
which event there'll be *something*, delicately worded, in the
contract. It's a convenience of the diaspora; the cross of those born
amid the death throes of the East. Millions of them. Educated.
Skilful. Poor.

It took Fyodor

...all the little Fyodors...

a long, long time to find work.

Suddenly, explosively furious, he calls up Day Two, after all. And
makes himself watch. Makes himself a witness, for Daniel.

He hadn't needed to be told of the assault; he'd seen it, in Kaya's
horrified eyes. In Watson and Blinda's prurient, unconcealed glee. And
he had touched Kaya, comforted her, as she cried. Without thinking.
Without *conversation*, as Andrew put it.

Perhaps he is still human after all.

//Reality Or Nothing//. The glibness of his creed, the ease with which
the citizenry miss the point, sicken him. It's an imperative,
not an ideal. One cannot, must not, pick and choose; better to die
than look away. Truth is ... sacred. Terminally, poisonously, sacred.

Touch, too, to the RON. Binding and grimly ritual; the myriad
saccharine substitutes forsworn. All engage, all endure; to reject
each other physically is to embrace the oppressor. Says Andrew.
Fyodor has learned, with his Section Leader's help, to suppress the
panic it engenders. The desire to serve, to obey, to do anything asked
of him if only the touching will *stop*

- or, rarely, *not* -

is another matter.

He hides it expertly. The MSC Poliz are bored and inept. And yet it
had come to him, violently, during the afternoon's interrogation, that
Andrew had seen precisely this in him. That this, more than Fyodor's
fervent, ill-hidden convictions, had prompted his seduction.

As the broken boy on the plasma screen stumbles into the arms of those
whose touch he can no longer bear, Fyodor admits the worst. That he in
turn has sought this weakness in recruits.

Neither the thought or the attendant nausea is new. But *consequence*,
Jesolo. His direct culpability, his obscene co-authorship of Kaya's
death, forces him to focus.

//She was unhappy, Fyodor.

You should not have brought her in to see me.

There is nothing we can do about it.

No-one is safe.//

Fyodor stops the tape; rests his forehead on the glass, and waits for
words. For an apology - no, an excuse. For the pathetic, self-serving
justification of a murderer. A *torturer*. He can be nothing more.
The realisation slips from him with tears; words fall with them, in

A language, a story unspoken for years. He speaks them now, speaks
true, for Kaya. For Daniel. For Emma, selling herself to Siltz, and a
barefoot boy hiding biochemistry texts in the rubble of Donetsk.

Nothing helps.

Curfew sounds, strident and final. He leaves raging, impotent, and
real; tears blinding him to those on Daniel's cheek.

==== © arjuna 2007 ====