Lord of War does not belong to me, nor do the characters therein. My friend Sendai and I, though we thought Nick Cage did a great job in parts went ahead and recast Yuri with someone we liked more, namely Gale Harold, who after watching QAF can never seem entirely straight. Thanks!


When Vitaly burst into Yuri's house in Miami it was 8:43 am. He had used the credit card Yuri'd gotten him to get the plane ticket.

"Yuri! Yuri! Where the hell are you!" He was energetic, hyper, nearly frenetic. The drug du jour: caffeine: a triple espresso and 2 energy drinks on an empty stomach. He had been clean for months now, though he was still smoking cigarettes like a fiend, that didn't count, he figured, it was legal, and he had only been drinking on his days off. He had a large suitcase in one hand, a to go tray with two cups of coffee in the other, and a cigarette dangling from his lips. He set the suitcase beside the couch, and began opening the blinds.

"Yuri! Yuuuuuuuuuriiiiiiii! Yura!" He went to the closed double doors that had to lead to Yuri's bedroom, opened the door and went in without hesitation. He saw the big bed with his brother's unmistakeable form in it, laying face down, and walked across the room, put the tray with the coffee on the table beside the bed and sat down heavily beside his brother.

"Christ, man, you'd sleep through a… hurricane!"

"I'm not sleeping," came Yuri's gravelly response.

"Good! I got you a coffee, black drip coffee, right?" Vitaly held the coffee out in Yuri's direction. Yuri turned over and half sat up, noting as he did that his brother looked wiped and… hopeful.

"Yes, that's right," he took the cup, a sip of the coffee and then proffered a smile, just before giving Vitaly a hug.

Over Yuri's shoulder, Vitaly saw the other person in the bed, a boy. Vitaly's eyes widened and he pulled away from Yuri and spoke softly for the first time since he arrived. "A boy? You fucking fag!" Vitaly grinned good-naturedly, "If I knew you were going to have company I would have brought another coffee." Then he leapt up, pulling Yuri's arm, and dragged him, naked though he was, out into the living room, not neglecting to either bring his own cup of coffee or to close the bedroom door behind them.

Meanwhile Yuri positioned himself on the end of the couch with a throw pillow over his lap. The sunlight was blazing so bright through the blinds that the dust motes could be seen mystically floating through the air. Yuri was wiping the sleep out of his eyes when Vitaly dragged the suitcase up onto the couch between them. There was a silence in the air that was pregnant to Vitaly as he tried to figure out how to start. "I was just kidding about the fag thing, I don't mind." He was a little disappointed to find that his brother was cheating on his wife, but it wasn't the family fuck-up's place to tell other people what to do. He took a deep breath, forgetting about that part, and then started talking.

"So I was at Mama and Papa's house the other day, and Papa was talking about something, I don't remember what. I was looking around and it just hit me!" He popped the latches of the suitcase open, "All that shit they have, the Matrioshka dolls, the Faberge egg knock-offs, the rugs, people love shit like that! Rich people!" He then produced several examples of the things he was talking about and set them on the glass top of the coffee table.

"We could import shit like this, and open a shop, one in Little Odessa, and maybe one in Miami, I mean they can't have many Russians here, or Ukrainians. We could sell it! We could buy it from shops there and set up our own factories there and help them and help ourselves at the same time! It's the American dream!" He made a wide flailing gesture and knocked the varicolored nesting dolls off of the table and they rolled across the floor, cracking open and revealing the ever smaller dolls inside.

"I mean," he didn't take the time to be daunted by the less-than-excited look on his brother's face, "if people buy Turkish rugs, and Chinese vases, and Cuban cigars, and African statues, why wouldn't they?"

Yuri looked at him for a while with one hand across his mouth and watched as Vitaly's bubbling energy eased to a simmer as he talked and sighed just a little when he was done. "For one, it's not stylish. For two I bet the margins are hopeless, its next to impossible to turn a profit on this kind of stuff without selling millions of them. For three it's—" he stopped short looking at his brother.

Vitaly's head had dropped til it was hanging with his chin almost to his chest. He put his cigarette out in the crystal ashtray on the table. The smoke curled opaquely blue into the air and dispersed into invisibility. He finished Yuri's sentence for him, "A stupid idea, sorry Yuri. I didn't want to… I just thought that… I mean the restaurant is slow and…"

"Vitya, its not a bad idea…" he shook his head, "Look at you, you need rest, you look like shit. You—"

Vitaly's head came up and he looked at his brother's eyes "I'm not on drugs! I stopped, remember what you said? If I stayed clean for a year—"

"--And it's been nine months. Go to bed, we'll eat lunch when you get up. I know a great Cuban place. We'll talk then." Yuri stood up and wrapped a handy throw blanket around his waist like a kilt.

And by then you will have found a way to talk me out of it that makes too much sense for me to say no to. "Okay Yuri, I am tired."

Yuri had walked over to another door and opened it, "I'll buy you the best paella and empanadas in the city. Let someone else cook for you for a change." Yuri smiled a small but genuine smile at him.

In the eyes of that smile Vitaly saw the expression that was reserved for him, the same one his brother had worn when Vitaly asked him when he was nine years old why Santa didn't understand Ukrainian if he was magic. He thinks I am silly, just like that time, I probably am. The younger Orlov was crestfallen though he passed it off as best he could as exhaustion. He left the suitcase on the couch and walked to the door Yuri had opened for him. Inside was a spare room with the beautiful furniture he expected to see in his brother's house. I mean I never have nice stuff like this. When he stopped at the doorway Yuri put a warm hand on his shoulder, and after a few seconds Vitaly returned the gesture.

"Goodnight Yuri."

"Goodnight V." Yuri shut the door behind his little brother, and headed towards the air-conditioning panel. The Miami morning was already heating up the place. After adjusting the temperature, he headed back to his own bedroom but on the way there, he kicked one of the little Matrioshka ladies. He decided to look at what else Vitaly had in the suitcase. When he looked in he saw more genuine articles like the ones on the table, the suitcase was full of them, his brother hadn't even brought one spare stitch of clothing. He laughed a little and made his way back to his bed. He fell to sleep nuzzling the boy in his bed, he'd figure out what to say to Vitaly while they were finding him something to wear.

Three rooms away Vitaly had reached for the phone three times and stopped himself. He wanted to talk to someone, but he knew that calling Ballantine from there would not be good for his brother. Eventually he fell to sleeping. He dreamt. He dreamt about being a little boy and having two older brothers to play with, and in the dream it seemed real and normal that his older brothers were Yuri and Jack.