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He expected anybody else. Every human on Earth was more likely to knock on his door at this hour. He wasn't even surprised when he heard somebody knocking; his flat was open to all of his friends, even in the late night hours (or maybe especially in the late night hours). He was almost done with his work for the night and ready to go to bed, and was actually glad that someone has interrupted his solitude, hopefully carrying a bottle under their coat. Probably another poor fool got their heart broken when yet another fiancee decided to marry money instead of... whatever positive trait he possesed.

But it was not a heartbroken colleague.

The thing with Rodya was, he never visited anyone. You had to visit him, and wouldn't always be let inside. Forcing him to leave his obscure little cabin took a whole different kind of special effort, but Razumikhin kept doing it anyway, because nine out of ten times it was worth it. (The tenth was the time when Razumikhin found him passed out on the floor. That time was scary and they didn't talk about it.) At least until few months ago, when Raskolnikov made it clear that he never wanted to see anyone again and Razumikhin finally became fed up with constantly trying to turn that timid animal of a man into an actual functioning member of society.

And yet there he was, glaring up at him and looking like misery personified. A handsome misery. A misery he could stare at for eternity. A misery he was still happy to see, even though they haven't talked in months, but misery nevertheless. Not that he normally looked better. This time, however, aside from the usual poverty and malnourishment he radiated complete, utter despair.

"I was thrown out of my flat," he declared before Razumikhin had a chance to ask, sparing him the guessing. "I don't have anyone else to turn to. I can't afford to go back to my mother. Please, let me stay for just one night."

It sounded like he had learned this whole speech by heart, which was probably the case, as well as wandering around the streets for hours before swallowing his pride and coming to ask for help. Razumikhin looked at him from head to toe. And then he did it again. And once more. He had missed him. Even the part with getting lost twice before making a decision.

"Brother," he finally choked out, slightly overwhelmed by how beautiful some people managed to be in the worst situation possible, and how much he adored said people. "You can stay however many nights you want. "

That sounded way too eager for an old colleague. He tried to convince himself that Raskolnikov was too preoccupied with his housing situation to notice some excessive enthusiasm in his voice. He looked so tired, and so nervous; he kept shooting glances in various directions and couldn't stand still, restless, anxious. Razumikhin could only imagine how it felt like, having nowhere to go. The last few hours, or maybe more, must've been hell.

Raskolnikov raised his eyes at him, eyes filled with torture, eyes like two round ambers, the most beautiful eyes in the world, and that was when Razumikhin realised he might've made a mistake.


Raskolnikov had all his belongings wrapped in a bundle. He reluctantly placed it on the floor, stood right in front of the only candle in the room (probably so he would be more illuminated and could torture Razumikhin more efficiently) and looked around the tiny flat. He was probably wondering where the both of them would fit in for a longer time period. It was bigger than Raskolnikov's, but still painfully meant for one person. And not a very big person, too. Razumikhin took pride in being able to stuff ten people in there, but that was for a limited time. And there was usually alcohol involved. And he spoke to these people on a daily basis, which made things less awkward.

Not being in love with them probably helped, too. He liked to look at some of his fellow students, he couldn't deny that. But Rodya belonged to a whole different category of people in his life. A category labeled "Rodya".

"I can sleep on the floor." Raskolnikov said after a while of awkward silence, when Razumikhin was frantically searching for something to say that wasn't "I love you" or "take off your clothes". "And I won't stay for long."

He radiated hurt pride through his skin and his every move expressed nothing but humiliation. Razumikhin thought that Rodya probably would rather sleep under the bridge, but some higher power had convinced him that he wouldn't survive very long that way. He would die if he were not to have roof over his head. He was so weak, and sickly. He needed someone to look after him and that someone should be Razumikhin.

"Don't be stupid," Razumikhin replied, not really sure whether to Raskolnikov or his own thoughts. "You look like something found while sweeping under the bed. You haven't been eating properly for months, have you? How much debt are we talking about here? Because you got thrown out for the debt, right? Are you doing anything at all? Because you know, I've been doing these translations..."

Raskolnikow shook his head angrily and grit his teeth in an obvious demonstration of "I'm not talking to you about that." He looked ready to leave, slam the door and never come back. It was his style. Keeping this idiot in one place was going to be quite a challenge. Razumikhin regretted not having waited a bit longer with the avalanche of questions. He was supposed to help Rodya, not make him want to drown himself. Contrary to a popular opinion, that didn't solve any problems; in fact, it generated even more of them. Somebody would have to pay for the funeral, and he would have to either bring Rodya's mother to Saint Petersburg, or send his body to whatever province he came from...

"Do you want tea? The landlady will kill me if I wake her up at this hour, but I'll sneak to the kitchen and make some.You'll feel better, you'll see. " Razumikhin strongly doubted that tea was going to affect the state of Rodya's finances or his hurt pride, but he couldn't think of anything else to keep him inside and he really wanted to avoid the "sending the coffin into the depths of the country on the early train" situation. Besides, even if it didn't help, it definitely wouldn't hurt. "Sit down, don't stand around like a...." He caught Raskolnikov's threatening glance and decided to drop the colorful metaphor he had in mind. "Just, sit down. The couch isn't here for decoration only. In fact, it's a very poor decoration and serves much better as a seat."

He lead his friend to the couch that has seen better days, careful not to touch him too much. They were going to brush against each other enough times during the next... who knows how many days. There was no need to start tormenting himself this early on. He didn't even dare to think about the sleeping arrangment. His brain stubbornly refused to provide him with any solution except one that was not acceptable under any circumstances.

Raskolnikov sat down and proceeded to contemplate a hole in the floor. Razumikhin loved to watch him think back when they still met regularly. His face looked so nice when he was lost in thoughts, like he was about to smile and say something kind. He usually came up with strange things, some of which Razumikhin didn't agree with. But they always had a brilliance to them, or at least some solid logic. Or maybe Razumikhin just loved the way he talked.

"I think I'm going to leave after all", Raskolnikov said right when Razumikhin thought that they were all good and he could leave him alone for two minutes to get the tea. And some fresh air. Apparently the hole in the floor was filled with bad advice.

Raskolnikov quietly stared at the hole in the floor. Maybe he heard voices from inside, or something like that. Sometimes Razumikhin really had no idea what was going on inside of his head. There were moments when he thought that Raskolnikov was too weird to be just... well, weird. But insanity? No, there was just no way. His thoughts were too clear for that. Then again, he hasn't seen him in months. The last time they passed each other on the street, Raskolnikov crossed the road to avoid him (which definitely didn't hurt his feelings, not at all, and he didn't spend the rest of the day trying to drink himself to death. Now that would have been stupid.) Perhaps he's changed during that time.

"I can", Rodya mumbled after a while, leaning back on the couch and staring at the ceiling for a change. Razumikhin smiled at him, as if it would affect him in the slightest, pat his shoulder and left.

He locked the door just in case and wondered what was one supposed to do when his dreams came true. Of course, that was just the opening part of the dream, and most details weren't quite like he imagined. There was not nearly as much crying and throwing himself into his arms as expected. "I got thrown out of my flat because I don't have money to pay the rent" wasn't exactly "I can't hide my love for you any longer". It was enough for his heart to do weird things and to make him worry what'll happen with him until they find Rodya another place to stay.

Making tea. He should concentrate on making tea. Samovars didn't have stupid pretty faces with stupid pretty eyes.


It took him a while, because waking up the whole house is something to avoid if you have an illegal flatmate upstairs. Waking up the whole house is generally not something to do more often than twice a month. He had already exceeded that limit. When you invite over more than five people you just can't control all of them, and is it really your fault if one of said people discovers a passion for acrobatics in the middle of the staircase.

He couldn't even control one person, but that was a different case. He wondered how he'd explain Rodya's constant presence without word getting out that there was a new inhabitant in the house and he's there to stay until he regains his solvency.

Or forever – suggested the idiotic, dreamy part of his mind which he's been trying to murder for years and which was now having its reneissance. Its first golden age was right after they met for the first time and every day Razumikhin convinced himself that he was at most three days away from dragging Rodya to bed with him. Very soon it had become clear that even a normal conversation with him required titanic effort and dragging him anywhere with a purpose different than getting drunk was simply impossible. Razumikhin had drank, cried and at last come to terms with his new Only Friend status.

And now this happened. He had to pull himself together. He was too old for this and should be thinking about getting married, not his little... imperfection. That thing had to be left behind. He hasn't been with a man for so long now. No point in ruining it now.

When he opened the door Rodya wasn't where he left him. He had just enough time to panic and visualise his friend lying dead under the window before his brain processed the human-shaped bundle of blankets on the couch.

He was asleep. He was asleep, the bastard, facing the backrest of the couch, with a hand under his head and hair everywhere. He was frowning, but his breathing was calm and steady, and his lips slightly parted. It was like he did this on purpose. Rodya awake was bad enough, but Rodya asleep always got to him the most. Whenever he would find him sleeping the dreamy part of his mind unexpectedly revealed its teeth, and didn't really want to discuss literature together any longer.

Razumikhin had never let it have its way. These weren't his thoughts. He looked at the fading candle, as if expecting it to save his sinful soul. There was no salvation. He had to take his soul and make it slightly less sinful, even forcefully.

Raskolnikov shifted. He slowly raised his head and looked at Razumikhin with fear. Were his thoughts this obvious? Did the unwanted desire to hurt show on his face?

"Excuse me", he muttered. "I'll get up now."

"Lay there." He placed the tray with the teacups on his desk and sat down on his only chair, trying to appear calming and trustworthy. Raskolnikov sat up. "I said lay there, do I need the couch for something right now? Sleep, maybe you won't feel like going for walks anymore. But first drink the tea. I made it with my own delicate white hands, don't let it go to waste."

Fear in Raskolnikov's eyes turned into terrible sadness. For a second Razumikhin was terrified that either he really could read his mind or during his absence he got more bad news. Then he remembered that first, neither of these things were possible, and second, he looked like that most of the time. Sometimes he also looked he wanted to kill somebody, and that was when he slammed doors and wandered around streets for hours on end, so the sad option was probably better.

"Cheer up. We'll think of something." He passed him the teacup. Rodya took it hesitatingly and turned his head to look out the window. His hands were shaking. It was July, for God's sake. Either he was sick or still shattered from losing a place to live.

"Maybe I don't want tea."

Then you should've said so earlier, Razumikhin thought. I risked the housekeeper's wrath for this. He didn't have much of an idea of what his friend could have possibly meant by that and the (clearly untrue) suspicion of insanity raised its ugly head once again.

"You don't have to drink it. Just put it away, I'll have it, you can never have enough tea. Or drink it later. Do what you want, really. My house is your house. I just want to help."

"That's what I'm talking about." Raskolnikov put the teacup away. His thin, trembling hands were hard to look at.

"What is? Because I only heard a protest against the tea and I don't see a problem. Would you prefer coffee? Or you know what's best for this kind of situations? Cognac. I once met a woman who said that cognac is more of a medicine than..."

"I don't want you to help me."

"You do, you do. You wouldn't be here now if you didn't. You're just feigning humbleness now that you felt guilty for making me run up and down these stairs with a tray in the dark. Which is justified. I'm sure people have died from that."

Raskolnikov rolled his eyes and got up. The blankets he had wrapped around himself tighly fell to the floor.

"You don't know anything," he said in an ice-cold voice, picked up his belongings and turned towards the door.

Razumikhin felt weak at the very thought of how many times he'd have to stop Raskolnikov from doing something stupid in the upcoming days, but followed him anyway.

"And what is it that I don't know, exactly? You're broke, really, what a secret. Like I'm not. And half of the people I know. You think you're the only person in the world who feels humiliated by their poverty? Did you come to this city yesterday or what?"

He shouldn't be yelling like that if he wanted Rodya to ever look him in the eye again, but he was tired. And he realised that he'd probably placed his feelings in the worst person possible. It wasn't the first time he's come to that conclusion. It always ended with a lot of yelling and apologising. His apologising, of course. He's only seen Rodya apologise twice, and both times he had walked into someone on the street when he got lost in his own thoughts.

"That's not it. You won't understand. Of course you won't, why would you? What was I thinking?" He pressed the doorknob, ready to leave, but Razumikhin grabbed his hand. Raskolnikov twisted it out of his grip and shot him a furious glance.

The candle slowly faded and it was getting completely dark. How meaningful.

Why did he fall in love with someone so full of rage and bitterness, unpredictable and generally unpleasant? He couldn't have chosen a kind, sweet girl who would reciprocate his feelings and appreciate his efforts, oh no, that would have been too easy. He had to carefully pick the coldest, most antisocial and twisted person in the university, and who knows if not the entire city, not to mention a man, convince himself that this monster was actually capable of having romantic feelings (and that they could somehow act on them without having to leave the country) for almost half a year, after that still find him jobs, drag him to meetings and look after him when he got sick, out of habit more than anything, and now invite him to live together for free in hopes that maybe in exchange he doesn't jump off a bridge. Real wise, Razumikhin. And he had the nerve to give other men marriage advice.

He got so angry at both himself and Raskolnikov that he was ready to just let him leave and not even try to find him afterwards. Let him live under the bridge if that's what he wants.

He was crying.

Razumikhin didn't scream only because he remembered about his neighbours. Poor people didn't deserve to be involved in this mess.

Raskolnikov stood by the door, with a hand on the doorknob, hair in mess hiding his face, and shook. With occasional accompanying sounds.

"Rodya," Razumikhin walked up closer, completely forgetting that he was supposed to send him on his merry way and not check newspapers for deaths in the morning. "Please tell me what's bothering you so much. I can try to understand, right? Whatever scary secrets you're hiding, they're not worth crying over. Does it have to do with the house?"

"It has nothing to do with the house," replied Raskolnikov, who wasn't crying at all. He raised his completely dry eyes and flashed his pretty, straight teeth. They almost glowed in the dark. There was something strange in his eyes, perhaps he was feverish. Or perhaps just vicious. It was difficult to tell when he could hardly see his face. "Or maybe it does. I've been thinking about it. It might have something to do with the house."

Of course he was laughing at him. It was completely understandable. Razumikhin would probably laugh at himself, if he wasn't so tired. And if that wasn't his last candle going out. So he just ran a hand through his hair in what he hoped was a clear demonstration of "please be normal, I want to go to sleep".

But Raskolnikov wasn't the most compassionate person and didn't say "I'm so sorry, let's forget what happened, I take the bed."

"Do you want me to tell you?" He asked instead. Razumikhin didn't like his tone. It indicated a story that not only was long, but would also keep him up for at least a few nights. What in all hells did Raskolnikov do? Did he got thrown out for reasons that had nothing to do with money? Did the landlady have another daughter?

Raskolnikov tilted his head towards him, almost touching their foreheads together. Razumikhin made a huge effort not to think about anything other than what he was about to learn about one of the more important people in his life. Well, one of the more absorbing ones, mentally and physically. It was not a good time to think about how much he'd like to push him against the wall.

"Oh, I'll tell you alright, my friend. Do you know what I occupied myself with after I quit university, when I had nothing to do? Do you have any idea how I kept my mind busy?"

Razumikhin wanted to say "no, but it doesn't sound like crossword puzzles". He bit his tongue and violently pushed away the dreamy part of his mind which was now convinced that they're about to hear a confession of undying love and desire. The more rational part was coming up with things which were so terrible, whatever Rodya had been up to these last months couldn't possibly be much worse.

Raskolnikov was quiet, as if he was actually waiting for Razumikhin to make a guess.

"I don't know. What were you doing, Rodya?"

"I was planning a murder," he declared. "A murder and a robbery."

Razumikhin was actually relieved for a whole second before he was hit by realisation. He stepped away from his friend and tried to look him in the eye. In the meantime the candle went out completely. Not that it would be of much help, since there wasn't much of it left and it had mostly been illuminating a small piece of table around it. Still better than no light at all.

"Rodya, tell me the truth," he placed both hands on his shoulders. Good thing they were standing so close, because blindly searching for a piece of Rodya in the dark could end with awkward situations and completely ruin the seriousness of the moment. "Did you really get thrown out of your flat or am I getting a late night visit from the police?"

"I didn't do it." His voice sounded disgusted, to Razumikhin's relief. "So unless you've got something on your conscience yourself, you can remain calm." He slouched slightly and shuffled away, but seemed to have dropped the brilliant idea of disappearing into the night. "I spent so much time on it, you know? Gave it more thought than anything else in my whole life. I thought of everything. Every tiniest detail." Razumikhin heard fabric rustling and something brushing against the wall. It was probably the sound of Rodya sitting down on the floor. "I was going to do it. I had the exact time and date. I found myself an axe." His voice broke and was now a lot quieter and more nasal. "At first I wanted to use a knife, but I'm weak and if she didn't die immediately and started to fight... The old pawnbroker, I mean. The one I would take my things to. She was terrible. Ripped off of everybody, and she had a sister... Has, I mean. She's alive and well, as far as I know. Nevermind. I figured she would make a lot of noise if I stabbed her and she didn't die, so I decided on the axe."

He was probably truely starting to cry now. His voice was shaky and barely audible, and there was clearly some quiet sobbing. Now that this was actually happening, Razumikhin had no idea what to do. What did one say to something like that? He's heard some... controversial confessions in his time but none had rendered him speechless. Not that it was especially horrendous; all in all, if Raskolnikov was telling the truth, nothing had actually taken place. Maybe he had done some preparations, but that was all.

"Axe murder. Of a defenseless, weak old woman. And you know why? It was nothing but a test. To see if I were capable. If I could commit such crime, then surely..."

That was definitely weeping right there. They sure went full circle in the last three minutes. Rodya showing emotions was hard enough to deal with, but crying out loud while leaning against a wall was not a good idea in a house with paper-thin walls, in the quiet hours. An angry neighbour showing up would make the whole situation even more unbearable.

"Shh, you madman, you'll wake up the whole house!" He hissed and dropped down right next to his poor friend. "Tell me, how is that any reason to cry? You wouldn't have killed her anyway!"

"I would've done it! I was going to do it!" Razumikhin shushed him one more time, but took notice of how... proud and offended Rodya managed to sound despite being in tears. He blamed it on the amount of thinking he had put into planning the robbery. Must've been quite an operation. "I would've gone there," Rodion continued quietly, "Robbed her and killed her with an axe without blinking an eye."

"Yes, of course you wouldn't blink an eye, that's exactly why you're in hysterics." Razumikhin realised that had it been any other person and not Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, they would get hit on the head long ago. The amount of tenderness he had for this man was infinite. "You wouldn't hurt a fly. You think too high of yourself."

He could feel Rodya's dark eyes piercing him. Or somewhere around him, anyway. He could vaguely see the silhouette of Raskolnikov in the dark, but didn't see his face. 

He leaned back against the same wall and wrapped his arm around Rodya's shoulders. It wasn't weird. It was something friends did. He did it all the time when they still talked on a more or less regular basis. "More or less regular" was all that he could count on from Rodya.

"How terrible. Dear God, I'm a hideous, pathetic creature."

'Hideous is the last thing that comes to mind when describing you, and weren't you an atheist?' Thought Razumikhin, but kept quiet. He just dared to rub Rodya's shaking shoulder.

"Can you imagine? Two more days and I'd have my hands stained with blood. Two days. If the landlady didn't find a tenant for my room... To go there, ring the bell, raise the axe... The horror. The horror."

"But you would never do it," Razumikhin spoke with confidence. "Two days would pass and you would still be sitting in your room, watching the wallpaper peel off the walls."

"That's not all."

Oh, great. What else had he been planning? A kidnapping for ransom? One ugly secret was bad enough, and generated more than enough noise to suffice them for the night.

"What is it?"

"You may not want me in the same room with you after I say that."

As far as Razumikhin knew, he always wanted Rodya in the same room as himself. What thing could possibly be so atrocious? Did he hurt a child? Or a woman? Did he...

Please don't say it was rape, thought Razumikhin. I can forgive you anything, but if you hurt a girl...

"Stay where you are," he said quickly when Raskolnikov slipped out from under his arm and started to stand up. Razumikhin's suspicions did make him want to let go of him and move away as far as possible, but they were only suspicions. He had been so afraid of the first confession, and it turned out to be nothing but plans, delusions more than anything. Perhaps this one wouldn't be as disgusting as he thought. Perhaps it was just... a planned act of vandalism. Or something equally harmless. "Now you have to tell me. What did you do, you absolute..."

Rodya tensed up and tried to suppress his sobbing. He raised a hand to cover his mouth. Or eyes. Razumikhin didn't want to look closely at him until everything was explained.

For a while they sat in silence interrupted only by muffled sounds coming from Raskolnikov and Razumikhin's heartbeat. It was inaudible but sure didn't feel like it.

"Will you still let me stay the night after I tell you?"

Razumikhin could barely understand him through muffled sobs and stuffy nose. And he didn't know what to say.

"I'll sleep on the floor and leave before you wake up."

"Fine." 'If push comes to shove, I can always take you to the police station', he thought to calm his consciousness more than anything. He probably wouldn't do it. When it came to Raskolnikov, he didn't think straight, never had. For God's sake, whatever he did, Razumikhin would only end up comforting him. 

Raskolnikov inhaled deeply and wiped his eyes with his sleeve. Razumikhin couldn't see his expression, but set his eyes on him anyway, in a way that he hoped was intimidating.

"I love you. Not in a brotherly way. I'm in love with you."

Razumikhin didn't understand. Rodya blurted it out so quickly and quietly, he must've misheard. The only word that came to mind was, "What?"

Rodya hid his face in his hands. Like it wasn't already hidden due to the absence of candlelight. "I know. I know. I'm an abomination. First the murder, and now... No, you were first. Ever since we first met. It just got worse with time."

It made sense. If the first sentence was what he thought it was, the latter ones would make sense. But then again, they could make sense in any context, and this would never occur outside his dreams, and he needed to make sure because otherwise his joy would surely be brutally crushed.

"What got?" 

"My sickness!"

"You're ill?"

"No. Yes. Mentally ill, perhaps. I wanted to do such terrible things to you, you have no idea. You should throw me out, just to be safe. Never talk to me again."

"Wait, did you want to kill me as well?"

"No! Are you even listening?!" He sounded so angry. Razumikhin wanted to calm him down but that wasn't really possible when he felt frozen to the spot with his own... many different emotions. " I wanted to break all contact with you, because it just got worse every time we talked, but I couldn't stay away. The flat was just an excuse. I should've stayed on the street to die. But I wanted to see you just one more time. Just once. Then forget you existed."

"If you didn't want to kill me, what did you want to do?"

Razumikhin was still processing the first sentence. It couldn't be true. He had closed his eyes for a second and dreamed it. Or he was so obsessed with the idea of Rodion loving him, he heard "I love you" in what had really been a "I stole your wallet while you were downstairs". It still seemed more plausible than his feelings being reciprocated.

Raskolnikov's head hit the wall with a loud noise.

"Don't make me say it. Don't torture me like that"."

The situation was getting more unreal every second.

"Can you just repeat what you were trying to confess? I didn't hear it. I want to make sure."

"Why do you torment me? I know I deserve it. I know. I'm a disgrace. At first I meant to come here after that... After that was done. I wanted to tell you everything. I wanted to see you so bad. I shouldn't have come. "

Razumikhin was ready to stop him from leaving for the third time this bizarre evening, but Raskolnikov didn't seem to be getting up. He sounded very weak. Maybe he really was sick, delirious even? That would explain everything. Maybe even the planned crime was nothing but a feverish delusion.

"Do you have a fever?"

"No. I just... I wanted you to know. Both about the murder and... You have every right not to want to see me again. Just say a word and I'll leave. Just say it."

"I promised to let you stay no matter what you said, remember?" The initial shock was slowly wearing off, the dreamy part of his mind made a great comeback, and the disbelief was slowly replaced by something akin to hope. He needed to make sure. He needed to hear it. "Please, repeat what you said. Just once? The first part. The thing about me?"

He could feel Raskolnikov looking at him with a pained expression. He ignored it.

"I'm in love with you." It was a tiny whisper, and it didn't help that he only stopped crying a few seconds earlier, but it couldn't possibly be anything else. It definitely wasn't anything else. That was a miracle occuring right before his eyes.

He got a great urge to yell, jump, lift Rodion up and spin him around the room, but it didn't fit the mood, and there was still the neighbours situation, so he settled for an embrace. He wasn't pushed away, which he took for a good sign.

"You know, that's really fortunate." He whispered. "Because I love you, too."

Raskolnikov tensed up immediately.

"Do you have to do this?" He asked in a tortured voice.

"Do what?" Razumikhin loosened his grip, fearing that maybe overwhelmed by joy he didn't feel himself crack Rodya's ribs. Or something.

"This. Don't mock me, please. I won't be able to stand it, not from you."

But he still didn't push him away, which made Razumikhin think that maybe their feelings had really been the same all along. And maybe not even daring to think that Razumikhin was serious and expecting nothing but rejection he still didn't want to be let go of. That would be... wonderful? Adorable? A manifestation of feelings, anyway.

"I'm not mocking you. Did I ever make fun of you?"


"Then I'm sorry. Now I'm serious."

They remained quiet for a while. 

"I loved you ever since we first met."

"And it's not a lie?" The question was so simple, so hopeful, he felt like he would melt. How could he think Rodya incapabale of having feelings? In this moment the poor creature was made of nothing but feelings.

"Why would I lie about that? I would just compromise myself, nothing else. You know me. I'm honest. Are you?"

One trembling hand crawled up his shoulder blade and stayed there, and unkept hair tickled his neck.

"All this time?"

"We're idiots, aren't we?"

Kiss him, said the dreamy part, which had taken control and Razumikhin allowed it to, as maybe it wasn't as stupid as he had always thought. Kiss him while you have a chance. You might wake up any moment now.

He cradled Rodya's face in his palms. His cheeks were warm and wet with tears, and surprisingly smooth for someone who didn't really care about their appearance. Razumikhin brushed them with his thumbs, hesitating.

Loud footsteps from behind the wall brought him back to reality.

"I told you you would wake up the whole house," Razumikhin whispered, laughing quietly, and pulled Rodya's head to his chest. The dreamy part didn't want them to kiss with the threat of someone knocking on the door any moment and he listened to it. Perhaps it wasn't stupid at all. Perhaps it was wiser than the rest of his brain. "Let's go to sleep. You had a terrible day, from what I've gathered. This... discussion was very interesting, but it can wait until tomorrow. When your face has dried and it's not swollen anymore."

He hoped that Rodya smiled in the dark. He probably didn't. Razumikhin refused to think about it right now. He refused to think about anything other than the hand he was holding.

He could think about everything in the morning.