"Do you really have to go?"


Anatole groaned and reached out across the bed to give Dolokhov a small shove. "No you don't. You resigned."

"Not exactly." Dolokhov mumbled into his pillow. "And that's the problem. I need to figure out where I stand before I can go to the front."

"That's my point. Why go at all?"

"We're at war, Anatole." Dolokhov finally opened his eyes to look at his lover. "It's not like you're staying behind." He cocked an eyebrow, the look somewhat ruined by the bright morning sun which made him squint.

"Well I can't very well stay. I have an active posting and only a coward would resign at a time like this." He bit his lip. "Even if I wanted to I couldn't now that the campaign has begun."

Dolokhov watched him with some interest, trying to hide the wave of adoration he always felt for Anatole in the morning. Anatole's light hair glowed in the golden morning sunlight, creating an almost-halo around his head. His hair was mussed and falling over his forehead and into his eyes. Wide, earnest grey eyes; Dolokhov could easily get lost in them if he wasn't careful. "See," he said, almost gently. "I do have to go. Perhaps if I play it right they'll give me my epaulets back." He reached out and pushed Anatole's hair out of his face, letting the soft strands slide between his fingers.

"Mon Dieu!" Anatole caught his hand and pressed it against his cheek. For a moment they were silent, as Anatole closed his eyes and Dolokhov slowly stroked his thumb over the boy's cheek, trying to memorize his face. "Don't you have a few more hours?"

Dolokhov sighed. He had meant to go to the Club for a filling breakfast and then perhaps stop by a shop to pick up another trinket for Galina and then set out so that he could be to the first post station in time for the midday meal. But when Anatole looked up at him, eyes brimming with hope, he could not lie and say he had to leave immediately. "Strictly speaking, yes. But, Toto—"

"Then stay with me." Anatole dropped his hand and scooted up close to Dolokhov, intertwining their legs and pressing their bodies close together. Dolokhov automatically wrapped one arm around Anatole's waist. "Stay until you absolutely must go."

Anatole was warm in his arms and completely impossible to say no to now that he was this close. "Alright. Fine. I'll stay."


He allowed himself a sigh of exasperation. "I promise."

Anatole smiled and snuggled against him, his head tucked in under Dolokhov's chin. This was not the smartest decision Dolokhov had ever made but he figured he could live with it. After all, they were at war. Who could say when they might get a chance to do this again.