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"You're worrying about something."

"Where did you get the idea? I'm fine."

"You're nervous."

"And you're seeing things."

"You're shaking and your shaking is shaking the table."

Rodya clenched his knees together so hard Razumikhin was surprised that they didn't make some kind of loud noise. They weren't actually shaking. Or maybe they were and his wild guess was right. It wouldn't be very surprising? Rodya's face was obvious. For someone who reacted to everything very... physically, he sure had a hard time admitting he was a human being with feelings, wants and needs.

Unless that need was to be left alone, oh he had no problems expressing that one. Which was one of the reasons why forcing him to hang out together took time. A whole lot of precious time. It took patience and time-

Rodya's coffee was the same color as his eyes. Dmitri didn't even bother pretending before himself that he didn't know why he'd notice such thing. He knew exactly why.

He kind of wanted to say the thing about espresso eyes out loud – it wouldn't even be that weird for him – but then he met said eyes, a little confused and very irritated.

"What's with the sour face? Put some sugar in that coffee, or something." Razumikhin took a sip of his seasonal frappe – ginger bread or some shit – whose price was an equvalent of his food budget for three days but definitely worth it, seriously, these funny coffees were genius, and endured Rodya's look of a man whose mother has just been gravely insulted. "I think you don't know what you need. Here, let me..." He took one of the tiny sugar packets lying on their table and waved it in the direction of Rodya's espresso to watch him cling to it for dear life and go as far as to back out as far as possible in an armchair in the corner. "You should have something sweet for a change. To sweeten up your miserable life." 'I'd sweeten up your life real nice' was the part he didn't say out loud, but definitely meant it.

"I think I'll live." Rodya warily put the cup back on the table and gently shuffled all the sugar packets away. Dmitri grabbed them a handful at the sugar, and he had a pretty large hand. Free sugar was something never to be taken for granted.

"Something's troubling you, my dear friend." The ability to tell apart Rodya's distressed state from his usual permanent discomfort was something Razumikhin took true pride in. "Something out of the ordinary."

"I study law," came the deadpan and very understandable response which Razumikhin didn't believe for a second. If someone in this coffee shop had problems with college, that person wasn't straight As student Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. And if someone in said coffee shop had a right to complain about studying law, Razumikhin was definitely more likely to be that person. Mostly because he sometimes left the house, and it wasn't to count holes in the pavement, or whatever it was Rodya was so fond of doing during his little lonely walks.

"Yeah, I remember. Me too."

"And they want to take away my scholarship for next semester. I think two of my grades are too low." He shrugged like he was talking about his plants dying and not his hopes and dreams.

"Okay, that's rough." As far as Razumikhin knew, said scholarship was poor Rodya's primary source of income. 'Primary' as in 'he'd have to quit either food or housing had something happened to it,' not as in 'main one in a plethora of options'.

Rodya sipped his pitch black espresso, not for a second ceasing to look at Dmitri like he was an idiot. Granted, he did look like one in that moment, not that Rodya ever looked at him any differently. It didn't matter. Damn, those were some really deep brown eyes right there.

"That's rough," Rodya repeated, still not breaking eye contact. It was moments like these that made Razumikhin think he did that on purpose. The thought could be humiliating or hopeful, depending on the situation, and today it was humiliating. He'd want to say there was no need to mock him if he didn't gladly mock himself at that moment. He needed to say something smart instead. Not many things came to mind when he stared into espresso eyes.

"Well, you know I can help you find another source of income when it gets a little too rough," he sure hoped Rodya actually took his relentless staring for a sign of honesty and good intentions like any other person would, and not for what it was. Which was admiration. "You still tutor kids, right?"

The beautiful brown eyes behind the coffee cup finally moved away from his and a little to the left. Shame? Or another negative emotion Raskolnikov would rather die than admit.

"You quit tutoring?"

"I quit... some of the classes."

An abundance of terrifying scenarios feauturing terrified mothers prying their children away from under Rodya's bad influence ran through Razumikhin's mind, but he decided to ignore them, even if his friends could be a little... extreme at times. A lot of things could've happened. They weren't the only victims of the economical crisis.

"Alright, then, I'd start with that, huh? And if not there's plenty of things you could do part time, I'll ask around. Besides, they haven't given you the decision yet, right?" Razumikhin firmly believed that every problem could be solved fairly easily. Raskolnikov sometimes seemed to firmly believe the opposite.

"No," came from behind the now almost empty coffee cup.

He was beautiful even in spite of anxiety blatantly present on his face. No big surprise, seeing how he was always beautiful. He managed to be beautiful lying drunk under Dmitri's table. He also managed to still be beautiful when he woke up with the worst hangover of his life. He was beautiful when he was angry, and when he was laughing at him, and when he had a headache, and when he was eating, and when he was waiting for a bus in a pouring rain, and when his hair hasn't been made in four days...

"Then worry when that happens, and don't ruin your health. In the meantime, I'll ask around for a job for you."

He didn't know why he did that and was actually quite worried when it reached his consciousness, but he reached out across the table and placed his hand over Rodya's slender fingers. It was just something that felt appropriate at the moment, right? It was a natural, friendly gesture. Nothing weird, especially not for Razumikhin, who didn't think something as absurd as "personal space" would do any good for anyone. And even if it was weird, still nothing that couldn't be saved with a witty comment.

"If I were you for now I'd worry about blood pressure, cause I'm pretty sure none of it reaches your fingers."

There, give him a shake on said icy fingers and let go. Not awkward at all. Perfectly natural. Situation saved. Rodya even actually smiled. Who cared if it was a mocking smile or a natural one.

"Yeah," he said, looking down at his own very, very cold hands, that have just been so violated by Dmitri's one, "And it's the warmest I've been in a while, too. No heating in my flat."

***

By the time they left it was pitch black outside (granted, the sun was setting by the time they arrived) and Dmitri was a lot more worried than before. He should've known that talking to Rodya wasn't exactly the thing to do when one wanted to lift up his mood, but God, sometimes he had no idea how this creature managed to survive on its own.

Well, the answer was probably that he didn't, seeing how lately everytime they talked he seemed to be weirder, sadder and most of all, poorer. Dmitri wasn't completely sure where Rodya lived, cause he never gave anyone the address and the only answer to 'how about we go to your place' was a calm, emotionless 'no', and everytime anything regarding said flat was mentioned Dmitri became less irritated and more understanding. Rodya had one room in a flat shared with five people, possibly more, and due to their troublesome quirks and inability to communicate with anyone, as well as lack of funds or will to spend them on anything other than feeble pleasures, he ended up without Internet connection, warm water or central heating more often than not. Lack of heating and warm water was troublesome in summer, in winter it was... certainly interesting. For Dmitri, he's had adventures like that before moving in with his uncle. For Rodya, thin, pale, sickly Rodya, who never ate properly and would rather take care of complete strangers than himself, Razumikhin was pretty sure it could be deadly.

"Are you going to be ok?" Rodya had a scarf. A long, beige scarf that didn't look very warm, but at the end of the day was better than nothing. Dmitri did want to grab him by the ears and tell him to put on a hat and gloves, for God's sake.

"Do I have another option?" Rodya gave him a crooked smile that indicated that yes, he had a lot of other options, they were standing on a bridge, for one, but he wasn't considering them for now. Sometimes when they talked Dmitri was really afraid of this madman doing something incredibly stupid. Maybe not jumping off a bridge, but something drastic nevertheless. He was probably just the type. It could be felt in certain people. Maybe it was because of how intensely emotional he could be at times, and how extreme his reactions. He was the type of person that came to mind when you heard idiotic lyrics about driving into traffic or burning down an ex's house. Poor Rodya's exes. If he had any. He had to have some, right? With looks and magnetism like these?

"No." He definitely must've had exes. He looked otherworldly, for Christ's sake, with his ridiculous protruding cheekbones and stupid sarcastic smile and those absolutely idiotic brown eyes shining in the dim orange light of street lamps. He didn't suit this city. Even when it was covered by snow. "Absolutely no other option. If you die, I'll personally punch you in the face."

"Is punching dead people a whole new level of kicking someone when they're down?"

"Yes, and it's reserved especially for you, you poor bastard."

"I'll keep that in mind." His crooked smile turned a little bit less crooked as the other corner of his mouth rode up, and he started to turn around. Dmitri would kill to see him honestly smiling, with joy, not even laughing at something funny – genuinely smiling because life is amazing and people are terrific. Probably not anytime soon. First he'd have to stop hating people and probably life itself. Dmitri didn't have a lot of ideas on how to deal with that, except taking away all of his books and the occasional Internet connection. "See you."

He turned on his feet and took two or three steps in the direction of the hellhole he lived in before Dmitri grabbed him by the hand.

"Wait a second."

His hand was so cold. It wasn't a normal cold hand of a person who forgot their gloves, it was a pitifully freezing hand, that Dmitri would've been certain was already blue, had he not seen it with his own eyes, up close. Very close. Because his first reflex wasn't to say 'wow, your hand is cold', or 'Jesus, buddy, get yourself some gloves', oh no. Why was he even like that? Did his parents hug him a little too much? He didn't mind being touchy feely with his friends, not at all, it was how he rolled and it got him sympathy more often than not. But God, grabbing your crush's hand and bringing it to your lips to blow at it – because it's so cold, what else to do! - wasn't really something he dreamed of doing. Handling a crush was a delicate situation. A situation Dmitri wasn't delicate enough to handle, apparently.

He told Rodya to wait, grabbed him by the hand, put it up to his lips and blew at it to warm it up. Which was really stupid. But he really, really wanted to do that, and for some reason for a split second he thought he could just get away with it.

Rodya stared at him, seemingly completely stupified, and finally chuckled a little with the same ironic, mocking expression he's been wearing all afternoon.

"Jesus, dude, put on some gloves next time," Dmitri tried to get out of the situation. That comment probably would've been more powerful if he actually let go of Rodya's hand. Which he did. Rapidly. After both blowing at it and saying the comment about gloves. Real subtle, Dmitri Prokofich. Suave like a tank.

"Fine, mom," came the response, crooked smile back on Rodya's pretty face. If he had a choice in the matter he'd never let him go. Stand with him under a lantern and stare at him forever. Blow at his hands if they got too cold.

"I just wanted to say that you can always come to my place, you know? Uncle's always out with his buddies doing God knows what, and I have the incredible luxuries of heating and warm water always at hand."

"Thanks," Rodya uttered out as if doubting. "Thanks, I'll remember that," and left without saying goodbye or turning around. Maybe he was afraid of Dmitri molesting his cold hands further. He probably was. That didn't stop the terrible self proclaimed hand warmer from yelling "watch out for yourself!" anyway. What made him so fond of playing the mother friend with everyone? It was a natural reflex for him at this point. Just like handing out his money and fixing lives of total strangers was for Raskolnikov.

What a guy, honestly.

Dmitri wanted to never be separated from him.

***

After that two weeks of interaction limited to "hey", "I'm fine", "see you in international law" and "are you alive?" passed and Dmitri started to wonder whether it was ok to drag Rodya out again somewhere or if he'd get his head bitten off for disrupting his friend's sweet social isolation. You never knew with Rodya. Not that getting a "no, thanks" would be some sort of dramatic event in Dmitri's life – he's handled enough rejection from that man to last a lifetime (not to mention the time period right after they met and he was testing the waters for whether he had a chance of taking it further. He didn't and ended up very embarassed) – but then he'd had to wait even longer for the invitation to be acceptable by Rodya's introverted standards. It was probably better to wait a week more. Maybe even just four days. And it was probably better to take him somewhere where there was more of their acquaintances. Wouldn't want to make the whole thing seem a little too much like dating.

He was just conveniently thinking about it while writing an article for a website that was desperate enough to pay him for listing highest grossing movies about sharks or another very important thing like that when the problem decided to solve itself, as they tend to do sometimes. Namely, his phone lit up and started playing "Golden Brown". Which was a song he liked a lot. He assigned a song he liked a lot to each of his friends.

And Rodya calling anyon was such a rare event that one could ever have a chance to notice and point it out, not to mention make any sort of connection. Even if they somehow happened to know both that Razumikhin liked boys and that his friend Raskolnikov had pretty, brown eyes. They'd also have to know th song pretty well cause a call from Rodya was something that he'd always pick up before the instrumental part ended.

The point was, Rodya called him now. Golden Brown sounded all throughout the conveniently empty flat and Dmitri needed enough time to get himself together enough to sound natural to reach the vocal part. Texture like sun.

"Hey, what's up?"

"Hey."

The silence after that managed to swfitly replace all the joy of hearing Rodya's voice on the other side of the phone with images of Rodya standing on the edge of a bridge, or a roof, or doing something that didn't necessarily end with him dying terribly, but nonetheless desperate and awful. Like driving into his ex's house. How did he never figure out if Rodya had been in a relationship before?

"What's up? Something happened?"

"Remember when you told me I could come over to your place?"

The image of Rodya's block burnt down to the ground shouldn't be better than everything he thought of before, but it actually was.

"The offer stands. And my uncle's not here, so now's a good time..." What the fuck, Razumikhin? What was that supposed to mean? He was really great at covering up his desire to fuck Rodya senseless, wasn't he? Always real smooth.

"Could I just come and take a shower?"

Yeah, Rodya, of course you can just take a shower without any sexual favours. In case that wasn't clear. Which it never was with Dmitri's inability to hide his desires towards his platonic friends. "I'll be more than happy to lend you my shower, dear friend. Anytime. There's enough warm water for both of us." Now he was just digging his own grave and aware of it. He probably should just accept it, relax and watch himself say suggestive and inappropriate things to an utterly uninterested person he was honestly happy just being friends with and really wouldn't like to ruin it. "So yeah, you can come over to cleanse yourself at my place."

A quiet "Thank you" followed by silence on the other side made him aware that Rodya was probably exactly as embarrassed as he was, if not more, but wasn't very convincing so he went back to beating himself up until Rodya actually stood in his doorway, pale, cold and looking just straight up sad.

"I think my neighbour passed out in the shower." Which he shared with two families, from what Razumikhin had gathered. Poor antisocial, exhausted Rodya. "And I am not breaking into that bathroom to drag him out."

"You know me, always happy to help a friend in a disaster," Dmitri had to gently push him inside cause looking at Rodya, they'd probably be standing in that doorway for a while. Maybe he was feeling awkward, we were talking about a person too proud to borrow someone else's pencil here. Or maybe exhausted and not very close in touch with reality – dark circles under his eyes and a long face were constant parts of Rodya's physiognomy, but that evening they looked particularly bad. They've been getting consistently worse for a while now. Dmitri wanted to take that face into his hands and seriously ask what's wrong more than anything. Actually, what he wanted even more than that was to get an honest answer when he asked. "Make yourself at home. There's the bathroom, jump in and don't worry about using too much water, or something, you could never outplay my uncle anyway, seriously, I don't know what the old man does in there and I don't want to. You can even borrow his absurd womanizer shower gels if you want, though I guess that's not your style. "

"Thank you," was uttered out from behind Rodya's pearly teeth. Dmitri was used to getting two or three words in reply to a whole monologue.

"Have fun. I hope it's the best shower of your life. Don't hesitate, go all out with the hot water." He literally slammed the bathroom door before having to deal with the fact of his crush being present in his shower. And the fact that he was going to have longish bright hair everywhere, as Rodya had yet to discover the institution of hairdressers and shedded worse than a two weeks old Christmas tree. Dmitri's uncle would tease him to death with questions about his new blond girlfriend. He would tell him that this girlfriend was male if anyone thinking he and Rodya were together wasn't just straight up painful.

Rodya did as he was told and took his sweet time in the shower while Dmitri very slowly and carefully didn't think about what was happening in there. Whenever his thoughts wandered away from water boiling in the teapot and towards his very good friend being naked, wet and covered in soap he imagined his uncle in that shower instead. It seemed to work. Even if it wasn't very pleasant.

By the time the bathroom door opened Dmitri had two mugs of lukewarm tea and enough visuals of his elderly relative to traumatise four people for life.

"Had fun in there?" He passed Rodya a no doubt very natural, friendly and amused smile and waved a mug at him to lure him to the sitting area. Which was a table, a worn down sofa and a pouf. It was Dmitri's, he never had a sitting area in a flat before and he was allowed to call it as fancy as he wanted to. "You took enough time in there for the tea to go cold, so I'm gonna assume you did. But don't worry! It's completely fine. I'm glad to help a victim of unpaid bills in need anytime."

Rodya was quiet and still looked absolutely miserable, in spite of just having had what was no doubt the best shower of his life. On closer inspection, his nose was red and eyes a little swollen; he also definitely looked paler than normally. Of course he's gotten himself ill, the moron. Dmitri honestly wished his friend would stop catching colds for a second, but in his living conditions and this climate it was probably simply impossible.

"Thank you again," Rodya said, in a quiet voice so hoarse it made Dmitri jump. "I have to go now."

"Your hair is wet," was the thing that came to stupified Dmitri's mind. It was also true, and neither he nor his uncle were in posession of a hair dryer. "You'll get even more sick.You'll have a cold on top of another cold."

"It'll dry on the way. And I'm not sick."

The wet, sick idiot was actually putting his shoes back on and eyeing the scarf already.

"Well, you're certainly not healthy. Did you hear yourself speak? It's actually surprising you can still do that. At least stay until your hair dries."

"What's the difference if my hair is wet or not? I have a hat."

"You never listened to your mom, did you. Where are you in such a hurry? Did you finally get a date or something?" Rodya rolling his eyes very hard shouldn't calm Razumikhin as much as it did, but well, here they were, and one of them couldn't really help having a crush on the other. It wasn't his fault that crushing came with irrational feelings in the package. "Sit with me. My uncle won't be back for a while yet. And if comes, he'll go to his room and leave us alone." Another thing that could be terribly misinterpreted, but at this point Dmitri was too worried about Rodya's insomnia to worry about his own awkwardness on top of that. "Rodya, stay."

Rodya was halfway through buttoning his coat. Dmitri was two seconds away from jumping at him and unbuttoning it.

All he did instead was sigh. "Rodya? Come on. What will happen if you sit with me for... half an hour? It's not late yet. You can really get ill, I'm not joking."

"I'm sorry I came. I have to go."

He looked terrible. Maybe he got into one of those moods where the company of anyone irritated him, and it was really an unlucky coincidence that his shower went out of order during that time. Well, in that case, his crowded, noisy flat wouldn't be much better. Or so Dmitri hoped. He knew he could be annoying, but was he really worse than two families with problems?

""Do you really want to go back to that flat of yours?" Dmitri, for one, certainly didn't want him to. "What do you have to do out there? Listen to social dysfunction and watch the place fall apart?"

Some terrible flashbacks must've ran through Rodya's head at top speed cause he stopped halfway through tying the scarf around his neck and stared at a stain on the wall behind Dmitri for good twenty seconds before the owner of the stain decided it was a good moment to attack.

"Come on, just until you dry a little. We'll talk shit about the idiots in Roman law." Rodya very slowly untied one loop of his scarf. "And there's heating. Me and my uncle pay our bills suuuper regularly. It never goes away. Permanently warm heaters." Rodya untied the rest of his scarf a little quicker.

"Fine," he said like he was making Dmitri a huge favour. He kind of was. Sparing him the effort of worrying later when he inevitably got pneumonia or something terrible like that and providing him with his company, which was a luxury not everyone could count on. Actually, most people couldn't. Dmitri should probably appreciate the fact that he was one of the very few people actually present in his crush's life. "I guess I can stay a while."

Success.

***

He sat Rodya down right in front of a heater – so his hair would dry faster, but mostly because he wanted that miserable thing of a man to be warm for once before July probably. He also heated the tea, cause maybe he could afford to pay the bills on time with a little input from his uncle but he wasn't rich enough to waste perfectly good teabags. After Rodya moved a little more in his eyeshot and he saw all the protruding bones, he also decided to make them sandwiches while his malnourished friend was sitting, warming up and didn't say a single word in reply to his cheerful sandwich making monologue. Maybe it was for the better. He sounded like a corvid with a throat infection. It must've been painful.

At least when he was warmed up and fed he started to look a little better and open his mouth, even if what came out were terrifying, screechy monosyllables. Monosyllables were a sign of interest and sympathy. Also, almost an hour passed and he seemingly had no intention of leaving. What's more, he pulled his legs up on the couch. He looked comfortable. He almost never did. Dmitri would leave him alone to feel comfortable like this as long as he wanted, for the end of his life if he could, and provide him with a lifelong supply of tea and sandwiches.

"It's late, isn't it," Rodya finally muttered out. The tea must've eased his sore throat a bit cause it really was a mutter, not the terrifying screech from before. He didn't immediately jump up from the coach and start to leave, either. He didn't move at all. Just kept sleepily staring at whatever fascinating object found itself directly in front of his eyes. He generally looked very, very sleepy and more tired than the most tired man on Earth.

The realisation that he could, in fact, keep Rodya on his couch forever (or at least for a longer period of time) made Dmitri feel powerful. It happened to him sometimes and he regretted whatever he did in such state of mind greatly, but every time it seemed too rational to argue. These were the times when he believed he could totally seduce his straight or otherwise uninterested companions, and a lot of these times said companion was Rodya. Granted, it also rarely happened when he was sober.

"Why don't you stay the night?," he blurted out before feeling almighty had a chance to turn into feeling embarrassed. "There's no point in you coming back this late anyway."

It wouldn't be the first time. It would, however, be the first time they were both completely sober, the evening didn't end at 4 am and, well, an uncle had to be taken into count. He wasn't much of a problem, the old man had his own bedroom and Dmitri could let Rodya sleep on the floor in the second room that double-served as Dmitri's. Or give him his bed. Rodya deserved a bed.

Rodya's sleepy – but still very deeply and beautifully brown – eyes focused immediately. On him.

"Really?," Dmitri felt himself smile as widely as if he was the one being allowed to stay the night and not having to go out into the cold at that simple word, "No, there's no need. I'll be alright on my own."

Of course, any time spend with Rodya didn't count if half of it wasn't spent convincing him to do something any other person would have no problem with at all. At least he sounded less stubborn and annoyed than usual. In fact, he didn't sound convinced that he had to go at all. Or maybe it was just Dmitri's imagination. Or Rodya's sleepiness.

"The couch is all yours, man. Uncle won't care. And your flat doesn't have conditions to keep humans in it." The horribleness of the flat was the thing that convinced him to stay for a while. Dmitri didn't know many details himself and he's never even seen it, but when he saw a chance he took it and that was how he still hasn't starved, got thrown out of college or done something equally irresponsible. "Look at all that heating. Plus Celcius temperature. Mm, so good. I know you want these sweet eighteen degrees."

Rodya rolled his eyes – nothing usual, situation can still be saved – and actually smirked with one corner of his mouth, which was a lot more of an unexpected event and could save the case or be the beginning of a sarcastic rant and ruin everything.

"Come on, I'm not doing this for you. I'm doing it for me. So I don't have to walk around and bring you chicken soup later. Or think if you're not laying in the gutter, robbed and stabbed." Razumikhin lived in a relatively safe part of the city, but wasn't so sure about Raskolnikov. The opposite was more likely.

Rodya sighed deeply and leaned his head back against the couch, staring at the ceiling, until finally looking at him again – God, why did he have to be so goddamn pretty? - and saying, "Why do you help me?"

Oh, that was easy.

"Why did you pull two kids out of a fire?" He passed Rodya a smile.

"They were kids in a fire."

"Now you have some idea of what I see when I look at you."

Rodion looked baffled, amused and offended all at the same time. Dmitri chuckled a little to loosen up the awkward silence that fell upon the two of them. Rodya's face changed, too, and he laughed as well. Really, talking to that man was a neverending lottery. Sometimes his reactions were so unpredictable Dmitri wondered if maybe psychologists weren't entirely useless and if people like his friend didn't happen to be the reason for their existence. Most of the time Rodya wasn't weird enough to suspect he had some mental problems; he just had... moments.

"So, making me sleep at your place is pulling me out of a fire?"

"In a way, yeah."

Rodya looked up at the ceiling again, like all the best sarcastic responses were written there, still laughing, then finally lowered his head and looked Dmitri straight in the eye. "So, where do you want me to sleep? With you?"

If he got punched in the face in that second, Razumikhin would've taken it much better.

Actually, that was a bad comparison. He was quite used to being punched in the face, his personality made it kind of a necessity. It wouldn't even bother him that much. This was more like a large part of the ceiling falling down on his head. And Rodion was smirking, the bastard.

"You can take the sofa and I'll sleep on the floor," he uttered through his teet with the best poker face he could manage. He was even worse at these than Rodya, whose very emotion appeared on his face immediately. He really hoped the sudden cold sweat and stiffeness weren't noticeable.

"Fine," Rodion shrugged and Dmitri could finally exhale. It was a normal question. Of course it was a normal question. In reply to a normal proposition in a normal situation that didn't have any connotations whatsoever, because they were friends and that was what friends did, even if one friend was very much attracted to the other, but the other friend didn't know about it, so it was perfectly normal.

"Do you want some clothes to change into?"

Normal.

***

It was also perfectly normal that Rodion looked good in a too loose t-shirt. Less normal how much it hanged off him like from a coat hanger, seeing how there was barely any height difference between them and Dmitri really didn't have drastically more muscle or fat anywhere. Guess they were just built differently. Or Rodya's malnourishment casually went past "worrying" area and into "life-threatening".

At least "he looks like he's skin on bones alone and it could really be dangerous" was a good excuse to stare at him as he sat cross-legged on the mattress on the floor and stared at his cellphone in a loose t-shirt. What was he even doing on that cellphone? The thing was a brick, definitely didn't have social media apps and probably didn't even have any games. Messaging someone? Who? Dmitri stopped there before the thought of Rodion having a girlfriend could make him sad. He knew he should be happy for him in case that happened, but couldn't really help thanking God when it turned out he was still alone. Which has always happened so far.

The light from the cellphone made all Rodion's facial features very apparent. The protruding cheekbones, long, straight nose, full lips. That was a crush Razumikhin was never getting over right there. Everything about him was extraordinary. A person shouldn't be allowed to both look like that and be so fascinating, brilliant and just plain good.

And straight up fucking adorable.

"What do you have on that phone that's so facinating?"

Rodya lifted his eyes – his large, deep, beautiful, wise eyes, what the hell, what was it about being illuminated by an old cellphone that made him look so otherworldly – looked at him, looked to the side, looked back at the phone, finally looked down to say, "Nothing."

Of course it was nothing. Altough Dmitri had to admit, "no one" would be a whole lot more concerning.

"Did something happen?" Dmitri was in the process of turning the sofa into his bed – Rodya rejected it and he didn't love sleeping on the floor enough to press the issue – so he wasn't looking his friend in the eye all the time, which was a shame, but he also hoped it would help him open up about whatever scary thing was happening in his messages.

"Nothing. I was talking to my mother."

"Oh? What's been going on at home?"

"Nothing much. Same thing as usual."

Rodya didn't like talking about his family, just like he didn't like talking about his needs and emotions. It was personal to him. Dmitri pretty much only knew that his father was dead and that he had an elderly mother and a sister. He wasn't even sure if the sister was older, younger or even a twin, but didn't insist on talking about it since it always ruined the mood and Rodya was determined not to mention it anyway.

"Say hello from me," he just said and lifted up the covers to lay down underneath them and finally go to sleep when a deep sigh stopped him halfway through a movement.

A deep sigh and a "I'm so sick of it."

"Sick of what?" Dmitri asked, slipping under the duvet anyway. There was no need to assume Rodya was talking about his friendliness. He never had any problems stating it directly.

"This?," Rodya shrugged and fell down on the borrowed pillow with a thud. He probably shouldn't have done that when sleeping on the floor. He probably shouldn't do a lot of things that resulted in pain, injury or other form of harm. "I just want to... get out."

Was this... sharing? Cause the tone of the entire declaration made it clear he wasn't talking about Dmitri's flat. Razumikhin suspected it might refer to life in general, and while he couldn't really relate to that personally, it wouldn't be that unexpected. Lack of warm water with additional occasional blackouts and an unstable Internet connection could do that to a person.

"Get out of what, my friend?" Dmitri leaned his head on his fist and stared at Rodya lying flat on his back on the mattress, hands covering eyes. Maybe he should just let him sleep. But this was a once in a lifetime occurence, and if Raskolnikov didn't want to say anything, he wouldn't anyway.

"I'm tired," came from the direction of the mattress. "There's too much at once."

He sounded very distant, like he was talking in his sleep or to himself, and the company of another person in the room wasn't at all necessary or even noticed. It was always like that with him when he decided to reveal anything from his well protected privacy. Dmitri held back a not very original joke about studying law.

"My sister... she's gonna lose her job, I'm sure of that. I'm gonna lose the scholarship and finally drain my poor mother to death. What did that woman do to deserve me?" He moved his hands, only to drag them along his face and intertwine them together on his chest like he was lying in a coffin. Well, guess it mirrored his current state of mind. He definitely didn't seem very positive about life at the moment, not that he ever did. Something did happen at home, with the sister and her job. "They send me all they have every single month, and it's not even enough to pay for a place someone could live in. I know that room is the best I can get, and they'll never know how grateful I am... but I can't live in there. I can't take it anymore. That place takes everything out of me. I can't study, I can't sleep, I can't think. I can't eat, on the rare occasion I do." Dmitri wanted to interrupt here to ask if Rodya wanted something more to eat, or maybe offer him a bag or three of rice to take home, but decided to let him vent. "I can't even wash myself. I have to go and beg to other people."

"Rodya, I'm your friend. This is what I'm here for."

Rodya shot him an irritated glance.

"I don't know why you're so hell-bent on helping me, but fine. You know, that room isn't so bad when you think about it – it suits me, doesn't it? Maybe they'll finally cut off the electricity for good and I'll sit there in the dark, like some slimy, nocturnal creature. Wouldn't that be fitting?"

You're not like a slimy creature, Dmitri thought, you're like a tiger. Or a leopard, or another graceful predator. With shiny hair that it leaves all over the place. He didn't say it out loud, cause turning something like that into a joke would take an amount of effort he wasn't ready to put in.

Instead, he passed Rodya what he hoped was an encouraging smile. They were getting somewhere with this, for the first time in months since Rodya's state started to visibly deteriorate.

"Once I pay the rent and my part of the bills, there's nothing left. I wish I could work as much as you, I really do, but I just can't. I don't have strength to do anything. Sometimes I can't force myself to get out of bed for days. It's a matter of time before they scratch me out of the lists on every subject." That explained his more and more common absences in classes. Dmitri suspected he was doing something very mysterious in that time and definitely didn't expect lying in bed and being too exhausted to do anything. "But then I get so agitated by everything happening there, behind the walls, that I leave and just walk, for hours, and I don't know where I'm going, and when I get there, I don't know why. I often find myself arriving at your street, you know? I don't know why. I just appear there." He slowly sat up and turned his back to Dmitri, whose first reflex was to stop him from leaving, but Rodya made no movement to get up. Just sat there, head hung low and back slouched. "Your street isn't bad. It's clean, and people are quiet. Maybe I come here because it's so normal and I'm tired of everything being dirty, broken and dysfunctional."

He looked so sad. He was really having a rough time, wasn't he? But of course he wouldn't tell anyone when the difficulty level of his life went up from "hard" to "legendary".

Dmitri slipped out from the bed and sat down on the mattress next to poor, hopeless Rodya. He really wanted to see his face, but didn't try to.

"Rodya?"

"And the worst thing is, I'm one of the lucky ones. I don't have it so bad. When I look at people on my street, when I look at my neighbours... I'm blessed, Dmitri. I can't get through the day and it's still more than what most people have. I should do something with myself instead of feeling sorry for myself, but I just... I don't have strength."

Dmitri didn't know what to do with himself. Part of him wanted to embrace Rodya, wrap an arm around his shoulder or stroke his back, but that was the part that was attracted to him, and he thought it would be better to leave his friend alone for now. He did enough casual touching everytime they met to last a lifetime. What Rodya needed now was some solid help.

"Hey, there's nothing wrong about having a little crisis, alright? It's hard for you. And besides, you have a cold."

"Why do you think I have a cold?"

"You always have a cold. And your nose is completely red."

"I don't have a cold. I was crying in your shower."

Well, that was some unexpected but appreciated honesty right there.

"...Right. Okay. Everything is too much for you to handle on your own, but I'm here for you."

"I don't want you always helping me."

"Well, you're clearly not coping by yourself, friend. I'm pulling you out of a fire here, remember?" Rodya looked at him with anger dulled by the obvious shining of his eyes. If he had a nervous breakdown right now Dmitri wouldn't know what to do at all, so the helping had to be hurried up here. He pat him on the shoulder to chase any potential crying away. "We'll start with the scholarship. It's not hopeless. Dude, you're one of the poorest people I know, right after me before uncle came to town."

Rodya pressed a hand to his forehead and closed his eyes. He was breathing deeply.

"Yes, sure, this is a long list of issues, but they can be broken down into smaller issues. And as you already know, if you know me, small issues are something I'm very good at handling. Come on. Just tell me what you want help with and we'll try, alright? Seriously, just looking at you makes one want to cry."

"I don't know." Rodya shook his head. "This isn't just the money, or the district. There's something sitting in me and I don't know if I can be helped."

"Everyone can be helped." Dmitri put all his hope and faith in humanity into the smile he sent Rodya, even if he couldn't see it cause he was too busy staring into space.

Maybe he did see it, somehow, with a corner of his eye, or something, or maybe he was just very, very tired, or fell asleep on the spot, because something heavy and warm landed on Dmitri's shoulder, and it took him a while to realise, but that something was Rodya's head. With the rest of Rodya leaning on him.

"It's good to have somebody to lean on, right, buddy? Literally and metaphorically." He rubbed Rodion's arm a little bit, since apparently they were doing some physical contact stuff anyway. "It'll look better in the morning."

"Thank you."

"No problem, kid."

"Thank you for letting me sppend the night here."

"My pleasure."

"I owe you now."

"Buy me a beer when you get yourself a small fortune. Or just stop talking like you're seconds away from jumping from a bridge all the time."

Rodya didn't say anything to that, which probably meant he was in for a lot of dramatic monologues, sentences and monosyllables in the future. He could deal with that. He could deal with everything if it included Rodya Raskolnikov, and with Rodya Raskolnikov leaning on his shoulder, he was pretty sure he could invent the cure for cancer. For now he could find him a better place to live. And do something about that scholarship, and maybe the sister's job. He was very good at finding things; he could do that long distance, too.

As for the slimy creature sitting inside Rodya, he was sure there was nothing that couldn't be fixed with a little effort and maybe... a change of scenery.

"Actually... Do you want to stay for a few days?"