Disclaimer: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Bourne Supremacy belong to their respective creators, Joss Whedon and Paul Greengrass/Universal Studios.
Author's Warning: butchery of the Russian language ahead. Special thanks to Pax and Satine Nuit for their Russian language commentary.
Placing a hand flat on the white, varnished surface, Buffy pushed shut the door of her bedroom.
She closed her eyes, inhaled, and leaned her head against the wood. The drive home had been so uncomfortable. She couldn't decide if she had really wanted to talk to Dawn about everything that had happened or if she was grateful beyond imagining that Kirill was there to keep her sister, eyes wide with questions, quiet. Was it just her, or was Dawn intimidated by Kirill? Buffy had never known her sister to put up with being told to go to bed so well by anyone, much less one of Buffy's...whatever Kirill was.
The look on Dawn's face had been priceless.
When Buffy turned back, Kirill was standing by the bed. He had lowered his duffel to the floor against the wall, and stood looking at things in the room. The lamp on the table was vintage, with a fabric shade that cast a low, sulky light. Against the wall of Buffy's bedroom, Kirill's eyes and hair were darker than the blackest black Buffy had ever seen, and when he turned his head to glance at her, she had to swallow her heart back into her chest.
"It's kind of cramped," she said in a small voice, "and it gets really cold at night because the heat is always breaking, and there isn't going to be any hot water if you let Dawn get into the shower first—"
Kirill picked up the small, pink stuffed pig sitting between two pillows.
Buffy cringed. Why did they always go for the pig? "That's, um, Dawn gave that to me, because I, uh, lost my old one. Not that I collect dolls, or anything, because I, too, am a grown-up—"
He was turning the pig over and over in his hands, giving it the kind of attention bomb squads gave ticking briefcases. When he looked at her again, she was blushing for no reason she could see.
Kirill put the pig back between the two pillows. His eyes went to the bed itself, a queen with plain white sheets and a thick, poofy comforter, a gray cashmere throw tossed into the middle.
From there, he walked slowly, casually over to the table, picking up a book here, a bottle of lotion there. The closet, a walk-in barely worthy of the title, was half-open, still messy from when she had done her last-minute packing for Moscow, and he peered into it, reaching out to trace one, dangling leather sleeve.
Buffy watched him, feeling strangely breathless. He looked so...out of place. Uncanny. As if he didn't belong in bedrooms with things like pink, stuffed pigs and fuzzy throws. She vaguely wondered what kind of bedroom he was used to being in, and then scolded herself for thinking like that. A girl should at least wait until there was a relationship before sabotaging it.
The bedroom was so...bare. Buffy didn't remember it seeming like that at all when she'd left. There was nothing on the walls, the table was covered in bills and some Council-related paperwork, there was dust on the wood floor. The lamp and the pig were the only personal touches to a room she'd been living in for nearly two years. It could as well have been a hotel room.
Was that what Kirill was seeing?
He was at the window. He looked out of it, frowning at the fire escape that climbed the building just outside. Without speaking, he touched the latches on the window, pushing on them to make sure they were locked, shut the blinds with a turn of the handle, and closed the curtains.
It was abruptly that much darker. Buffy tried not to hiccup from nervousness.
"Do you—" Her hands clenched and unclenched with the urge to tear his shirt off. "Are you, are you hungry?"
He turned. He was looking at her, a peculiar expression on his face, one she hadn't seen before. He looked as if he was trying recognize someone he wasn't sure he knew.
"We could have Chinese," Buffy went on, "or if you're not tired, there are a few pubs around here serving late—"
"Come here," he said quietly.
Buffy closed her mouth. She stood still, trying to understand what this sudden, paralyzing feeling was.
"We could make something," she said, in nearly a whisper. "There's probably nothing in the refrigerator, but we—"
"Come here," he said again, and now there was a creeping edge to his voice.
Her legs trembled. She tried to move and managed a tentative step forward.
Kirill left the window. He moved slowly as he crossed the room, coming to within three feet of her. She could feel the heat of his skin as if she were touching him, and the smell of vodka and his sweat, the soap he had last used, back in Moscow.
Buffy toed off her boots and stepped barefoot onto the floor.
Kirill...stared. He tilted his head farther, now looking down at her from a height difference of nearly a foot.
"It's the shoes," she explained reluctantly. "They make me look taller, but...what? Are you—are you grinning at me? Stop grinning! I'm—I am not that short!"
Which was actually not so true, because her nose was practically at his sternum. Had he always been this tall? Look at that stomach! Experienced mountaineers would need a harness and a Sherpa to scale those—
His hands touched her face.
Buffy inhaled, eyes half-closing. He was cupping her face, the roughened skin of his palms and fingers hot against her skin. Her hands came up and rested against his arms, her whole body sort of rocking toward him as if pulled, her knee brushing his.
He was almost towering over her, his hands urging her head back, her mouth up. She looked at him, at his eyes, his mouth, and he leaned down to brush his lips against hers, making her groan and open her mouth in anticipation of—
—him stepping away, taking his hands with him.
"Use vannayah first," he told her as he moved away, back to where he'd dropped his bag. "Then go to bed."
Buffy stood still for a few more seconds, wondering if she'd finally flipped her lid. When all Kirill did was sit on the edge of the bed, pulling the duffel over with a foot to unzip and rummage through it, Buffy finally dropped her hands, turned dazedly around, and staggered to the door, through it, and to the bathroom down the hall.
Inside, the white light glaring in her face, Buffy stared at herself in the mirror.
Out loud, she asked her reflection, "What was that?"
What was that? He'd been—well, she was so sure he'd been about to, um—to do something? To do what she was nearly ninety-nine percent certain the last twelve hours had been leading up to. Hadn't they?
Then, a horrifying thought: was it her? Was he trying to tell her to clean up before he would continue?
Buffy examined her face and teeth, found nothing offensive. Her breath was also not bad, in fact was still fresh and minty. There was nothing she could find that could have put him off that badly. The man was Russian!
She braced her hands against the sink counter and closed her eyes.
This was such a bad idea.
Somehow, she had managed to spoil everything—again. Going to Moscow had been strictly about offering this man, this assassin living on borrowed time, a chance to do something worthwhile and make up for his life. To not only serve the greater good but also make for himself a new world in which he didn't have to kill people. It had been about finally putting into motion Giles's plan to staff the Watcher's Council with the list of personnel they had carefully put together to teach their Slayers the skills they would need to maximize their chances of survival in the modern world.
And somehow, Buffy had once again managed to turn the whole thing into yet more of the smoldering, burning wreckage that was her love life.
What had she been thinking? Why had she done this? Didn't she used to have more restraint than this?
I don't even know anything about him, she thought. He doesn't know anything about me
She had to finish this. She had to. She had to get him out of her room, out of the flat, into a hotel somewhere. She had to call Giles and tell him what a horrible mistake she'd made, that she'd gone temporarily insane with loneliness. She had to—
Behind her, the bathroom door clicked and opened. Buffy turned.
Kirill leaned against the door frame, wearing a sleeveless gray T-shirt and loose black pants. His feet were bare. On his flesh, she read the faint, paler lines of scars.
"I hear you thinking," he told her. He sounded ever so slightly accusing. "I hear through wall."
"Uh," said Buffy, and mentally wailed. How useless was she going to be if she couldn't even look at him without being rendered incapable of more than monosyllables?
"You brush teeth?" he asked. Buffy mutely shook her head. "Then brush teeth."
Buffy—hesitated. She looked at the mug sitting on the counter, holding her nondescript pink toothbrush and Dawn's yellow Winnie the Pooh toothbrush.
Kirill stood looking at her, waiting.
"I," began Buffy, and found that she was feeling vaguely self-conscious, as if he'd told her to strip.
Kirill made a noise that could have been a sigh, could have been frustration. Stepping into the bathroom, he closed the door behind him, and dropped something onto the counter. It was a tube of toothpaste, printed on in Russian, and still in his hand was a black toothbrush.
Buffy watched as Kirill turned on the cold water, wet the bristles, turned the water off, applied toothpaste, and began brushing his teeth.
After a second, she took up her own toothbrush and the half-used tube of Colgate and began brushing as well.
It was possibly the most surreal moment of her life.
Kirill himself didn't seem to be at all uncomfortable. He stared straight ahead, brushing his teeth efficiently and neatly, with almost military precision, mouth mostly closed. He was done almost as soon as he'd started, without—as far as Buffy could see—having missed a single tooth, and turned the water back on just long enough to spit, rinse his mouth, and rinse his toothbrush, then turned the water back off and stuck his toothbrush into the mug alongside Dawn's.
He turned and looked at her.
Buffy, maybe half-done, continued to brush, and felt that nothing previous in her life could conceivably have been as weird as standing there, awkwardly brushing her teeth, while Kirill watched. Finally, when she'd hurriedly wrapped up her normally leisurely brushing job, she turned the water back on and took her time finishing, conscious of his eyes on her.
She washed her face, too, as long as she was there, and came back up groping for the towel behind her. She felt Kirill move, at that, and then the towel was suddenly within reach.
Drying off, Buffy glanced at Kirill.
"Now go to bed," he said, and practically pushed her out of the bathroom ahead of him. The last thing she saw of the bathroom was the mug sitting on the counter, holding three toothbrushes, yellow, pink, and black.
Beginning to feel a little (OK, a lot) pushed around, Buffy would have said something except that, when they got back in her bedroom, she found a shirt lying on the bed. While Kirill closed the door and locked it, she went to the shirt, picked it up.
It was black, with some Russian on the front. It was clean but old, worn around the edges.
On it, she picked up the faint smell of soap and Kirill's skin.
She raised her head. Kirill stood at the door, watching.
"Turn around," she said, and scowled to see the way the corner of his lip turned up as he did.
With his back turned, she changed, tossing her skirt, shirt, and bra into the hamper, putting her boots back into the closet. She found a pair of loose cotton pants to wear under the shirt he'd given her, and shook her hair out through her fingers.
When she turned back, Kirill was looking at her.
A blush immediately rose in her face. How long had he been not turning his back?
"If—" Her face grew hot. "If you need an alarm clock, there's one on the nightstand. I...I was just going to sleep in."
She closed her eyes. Could that have been any more obvious?
Without warning, the faint light of the lamp was extinguished, and her eyelids went black. She heard a noise, heard him moving, and then a hand pressed to the small of her back.
She moved forward, propelled, and walked into him. Her cheek brushed his chest, her legs his legs, her chest and stomach against his stomach. Another hand came to her arm, slid down over her elbow to her wrist. He inhaled, a long, slow breath, and she felt it with her entire body.
He was so warm. His skin felt almost hot against hers, and through her clothes, through her own skin, she felt the lines of muscle, bone, and scar tissue. She felt the expanse, the length of his body, felt the corded strength that he held tightly under control as he lowered his mouth into her hair.
"Kirill," she whispered into his chest, and she felt how he tensed, how his flesh hardened against her.
Abruptly he bent, grasping her leg, putting an arm around her waist, and lifted her up. She threw her arms around his neck, kissed his face, his neck, her knees holding his hips. She felt him moving forward, heard the rustle of the comforter and the mattress as he put his knee in it, and then she was falling back onto the bed, his body against hers, his mouth finding her mouth, and she grabbed at his shirt to tear it off—
Kirill rolled away.
Buffy was left lying on her back, a hand groping the air where he should have been. She stared up at the ceiling for nearly fifteen seconds before pushing herself up onto an elbow, looking at Kirill.
He sat on the edge, hands on his knees, facing the opposite end of the room. As Buffy watched, gaping, he breathed in, slowly and carefully, and then out again.
"Kirill?" she said tentatively, and felt something quiver in her stomach to see the way the line of his back seemed to shiver at her voice.
She reached for him, and he stood up.
"Go to sleep," he said.
He took one of the pillows she was lying against, and the gray throw. Tossing these on the floor, he stretched out on top of them, apparently not at all bothered by the chill that was beginning to seep into the wood, and lay there, his head turned away.
Buffy was paralyzed.
She sat in the dark with her mouth open, trying to figure out if this was really happening. Confusion overwhelmed her, tinged with outrage. She'd felt his hard-on, dammit! What was going on? Why was he doing this?
"Kirill," she said again, only this time her voice was firm with the beginnings of anger. "Kirill—"
She heard him sit up, move up beside the bed on his knees. His elbows sank into the mattress, his chin on his folded hands. He poised there, shoulders stiff, as if he was praying, his eyes on her, and he wore the strangest expression she'd ever seen.
"I think," he said quietly, so quietly that she had to strain to hear, "I think, maybe, if I leave you alone, even to go to vannayah, you will change mind. Vy menya panimayete? I think...I think you will tell me to go away."
What? Buffy struggled to hold on to her anger in her growing discombobulation. What was he saying?
"There are girls," he continued, and this was in a normal, conversational tone, "who are for playing with. Dryan'. And then there are girls a man would like to keep." She felt him pause, felt his eyes on her like a pressure in her heart. "I do not want to play with you, Buffy."
He reached up, pulled her down with his hands on her shoulders, and pressed his mouth to her hair, kissed her hair. She heard him inhale, heard him breathe her in.
Kirill pushed gently on her shoulders, and she let him lay her down, let him pull the comforter around her. He kissed her exposed shoulder. She watched his face.
When he turned away, when he got back down onto the floor, she heard his low, even, absolutely peaceful breathing and couldn't bear to say anything. Instead, she lay still, wondering why tears pricked at her eyelids, why his expression, that of a man looking at something he had thought he could never have and saw now within reach, wouldn't leave her mind.
"Go to sleep, milakha," she heard him say, his voice almost ghostly in the dark. "I am here."
She closed her eyes.
Glossary of Russian Terms (I Think)
Vy menya panimayete? Do you understand?
milakha sweet, darling girl