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Traps

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At one point in their friendship Razumikhin noticed that no one liked Raskolnikov. He decided it was not a good thing. It was just unfair, he claimed, because Rodya was such a great person, and he was so smart, and his ideas needed to be shared with the world.

Raskolnikov himself didn't have a problem with not being liked. People were absorbing, and he had other things to concentrate on, like staying alive in spite of his rapidly melting funds and deteriorating health. And that was when he still had exams to study for on top of everything. When talking to other people, you had to constantly pay attention, and be mindful of their easily hurt feelings, and listen to them, and nine out of ten times - get drunk. Not that this part was particularly unpleasant; drinking just wasn't one of his greatest talents. Drinking usually ended with waking up in a completely unknown location, with no recollection of the evening's events whatsoever. And laundry. Which cost money. And even when he took special attention not to go overboard, shameful consequences always seemed to await him like angered furies. Now that was just unfair – Razumikhin never seemed to declare his love for historical figures under the influence of alcohol. He just beat people up. Which, for some reason, was a lot more acceptable. (Sometimes he also wrapped his arms around Rodion's neck and told him how great he was and how lucky he was to have him as a friend. Which wasn't as bad as Raskolnikov's complaining would make you think.)

Anyway, Razumikhin decided that not being appreciated by fellow students was a bad thing and that something had to be done. "Something" included dragging Raskolnikov from flat to flat, desperate attempts at convincing his friends that Rodya was actually really cool, just shy, forcefully pulling him out from the comfortable corners he would find for himself, hiding all books in his eyeshot and, of course, getting him as drunk as possible in order to make him talk. Which worked. Sober Raskolnikov was content with keeping his inner monologues to himself. Drunk Raskolnikov had a lot of opinions and the world needed to hear all of them. Unfortunately, he also had big problems with vowels, and these opinions just didn't sound very convincing vithout vowels. Most people actually (oh, the horror!) found them funny. Raskolnikov stormed out of many flats and slammed many doors during that time. (A few times they did both got thrown out because Razumikhin hit someone for being stupid, to be completely fair.)

Once or twice they stayed for the entire meeting without any complications, though, and only went back home as the night was coming to an end and birds started to sing. It was one of these rare occasions that something took place. Raskolnikov remembered about it around four months later, when it didn't matter anymore, and wasn't even completely sure whether it really had happened or if it was just a dream, or even something he made up, because last days his brain didn't operate exactly the way it was supposed to. He obsessed about the memory for a while and it left him with a certain regret, and guilt, like many other things which joined the neverending list of "what ifs" in his head. Everything would probably end in some terrible disaster, and he wasn't even sure if he wanted it and if he could do it at all, because it definitely wasn't his biggest, most secret desire. But he still couldn't get rid of a sense that he did something very stupid, missed a good opportunity, because even if nothing good came out of it, it could serve as... a distraction. Raskolnikov needed a lot of distractions. Watching the wallpaper peel off the wall led to dangerous places.

Walking was difficult that night. It was the thing he remembered with most clarity. They had to lean on each other. It was still dark, but the sky was turning from black to blue in some places, and the stars were already fading. He wasn't thinking about anything, or at least he didn't remember thinking about anything. Maybe that they were really close. And that he wished Razumikhin's nose wasn't in his ear. Razumikhin always seemed to be touching him, or anybody else, really. That's just how he was and Rodion was willing to put up with that as long as he had someone to listen attentively to his monologues without frowning.

Walking was difficult. Putting one foot in front of the other one in something that at least vaguely resembled a straight line was absorbing enough without avoiding lanterns and, occassionally, other lost souls in a similar state. But the road in the park was smooth and straight and he had no idea by what unexplainable turn of events they ended up in these bushes. (Actually, it wasn't that unexplainable; one of them must've tripped and pulled the other one along into the inviting green. It happens, even to perfectly sober people who aren't leaning on each other or holding hands. That's what he told himself.)

The stars were spinning and blurring when he landed flat on his back. They would be beautiful if it didn't make him nauseuous. That is, more nauseous than he already was. He felt that it was somehow metaphorical, but didn't feel like going into that. All he could think about was that this was a one uncomfortable bush, and his own social exclusion. Despite many efforts (to be honest, mostly Razumikhin's efforts) he never seemed to get along with anyone who wasn't Razumikhin or his own mother. Even Dunya rolled her eyes at him too often for it to be considered a functional relationship.

He usually explained this situation with his superiority over plain and uneducated masses, repeating thougtlessy whatever they read in a newspaper. Sometimes it got a bit too strange, though. It was like all their acquaintances expected him to say something selfish, vain, something that put him above them and would be a good enough reason to dislike him. There was something about him that seemingly gave everyone a certain impression that they could never completely shake off, that followed him into every room, among every company.

- Traps – he stated, not fully realising he was saying it out loud. It happened to him often and probably didn't work in his favor.

- What?

He remembered that he wasn't alone. Razumikhin made himself comfortable, lying right next to him on his side, with a hand under his head, like it was the most natural thing in the world. Maybe to him it was. Interesting things happened to people who left their houses to meet other people, especially if said meeting included alcoholic beverage.

- Traps – Raskolnikov repeated, since now he had to provide some explanation. And besides, Razumikhin liked to listen to him, always looking at him like he was some kind of a miracle sent from heaven which could teach him the meaning of life. Raskolnikov wasn't complaining. And deifinitely has never had found an excuse to leave the room whenever his friend looked this way at anyone else. - A triviality, an unimportant, silly thing, something in the way you look or the way you talk. - He found it a bit hard to speak. Vowels escaped him, and rustling sounds became really long. Razumikhin gaped at him as if he were a double rainbow. - You meet someone, and they notice that silly thing, and it gives them that whole idea of who you are, a convenient little drawer to put you in, and you know that they know. And from that point always, whenever you see that someone, you'll think: they know. They have that little drawer with you inside, and you will try to prove that you are or aren't the person they think you to be. Everything you do, everything you say will push you further into that little drawer. Oh, it can be completely wrong. They might not be thinking anything about you at all. You know that, too, and think you can break free from their fictitious opinion of you. But then you meet another person, and everything begins from the start, because it's a trap, do you understand?

Razumikhin probably did, if that content smile was an indication of anything. Raskolnikov thought that perhaps he wasn't listening at all, just thinking about a girl he had seen a week ago in a bar, but apparently that's wasn't the case.

- Is that how you feel, Rodya? That everyone's putting you in a little drawer?

Rodya scoffed and turned his gaze back to the sky. At least the stars weren't clingy. There were four or five of them still shining that he could see, and they didn't blur or dance in front of his eyes anymore. The vision of Razumikhin having to hold his hair while he threw up was luckily getting further and further away. Not that it would be the first time, but it was always humiliating.

- What does how I feel have to do with anything?

- Nothing. I just wanted to know. Why else would you come up with all that? Nevermind. Who knows what's going on in that pretty head of yours. Go on, friend.

"Pretty head" was emphasized by a pat on said head, and any other person would get their hand bitten off for that, but, as already stated, Razumikhin was just prone to touching people and Raskolnikov could either come to terms with it or monologue at the stars. And it really wasn't like being constantly touched was some sort of unbearable torture. There were worse things out there. Actually, most things were worse than that.

- So you think you're free, but then you meet another person, and they notice another unimportant thing, and from then on, you'll do everything with the thought of them having another little drawer. – He has probably already said that, but it didn't matter. He was a little proud of being to form full sentences, even if they consisted mostly of the rustling sounds. - How do you break free from this cycle? Everything begins with that one insignificant detail. How do you get rid of that?

- Well – Razumikhin managed to shift even closer. - You would have to do something that would define you instead. So that no matter what the others thought, you'd know what you are.

- To do something great...

- Well, not necessarily...

- Something that few dare to do – he was already too deep in his thoughts to care about what his friend had to say. All those months later, he wondered if all of this had started that night. The more he thought about this, the further back he wandered into his own memories, going all the way back to his childhood, but that night was probably the first time he dared to put the monster into words. Was that what Razumikhin did as well? Allowed his monster to see the light of day? - An act of great kindness, or great vileness.... Or both at the same time. Something not natural, something against human nature... Or maybe actually very human. Something forbidden.

 - Rodya.

For a good while he wondered why Razumikhin considered him a forbidden thing, then realised he was just trying to get his attention. He turned around to face his companion.

- What?

Lips moving against his had to suffice as an answer. He went completely still, but not from shock. He wasn't surprised at all, to be honest. He remembered thinking "oh, so that's how it is" and feeling disappointed, because suddenly every moment they've ever spent together had a completely different meaning whatsoever; all that friendliness, all that understanding, all that love was a means to an end. It was justified. Maybe he would've done the same. Maybe at least at the beginning it wasn't about luring him into a bush in an isolated part of the park. He still felt like crying his eyes out onto this beautiful, nicely kept lawn.

After a good minute Razumikhin finally realised that kissing someone who wasn't moving at all wasn't nice. He moved away and they looked each other in the eye, two disappointments opposite one another, and they felt very wrong and sad. All of Raskolnikov's relations seemed to end this way, with wrong and sad, all of them.

- Why did you do that? - he asked, trying to buy himself some time, frantically wondering which mistake would be the worse one. He really wanted to stand up, run back home and never see Razumikhin again. On the other hand, throwing himself into his arms, kissing him and never letting go seemed just as appealing. There was no good way out. A trap, he found himself in a trap, the cruelest one he's encountered.

There was an infinite sadness in Razumikhin's eyes, who looked like he wanted to become one with the grass and spend the rest of his life right here in this bush. At least Raskolnikov wasn't alone in his desires.

- Because I like you, my friend.

That was not how one kissed a friend. They both knew it. Razumikhin probably didn't even hope for one second that "my friend" would make everything go back to square one.

- Too much, I'm afraid – Raskolnikov got up, swaying, ultimately deciding on the same mistake he always seemed to make. The memory of leaning on Razumikhin hit him so hard he had to close his eyes for a second. Enough time to hope that his friend – former friend? - would yell at him to wait and grab him by the hand, and calm him down with a lot of quick words and lay with him... He almost ran back home, without looking back.

They both had these monsters, it appeared. These dark thoughts that they never thought they could actually act on. This, that. When I do this. If I ever find the courage to do that. Thoughts that came when it was dark and they were lying in their beds. Everything will change after this. After that, my life will never be the same. He was the monster inside Razumikhin's head.

Maybe that was his problem. When others thought about love, he thought about killing people.