Originally written for the 09 Secret Santa on the RussLiet LJ community. This time I did some biigg edits and revisions to this chapter.
The facility was definitely not a very impressive site at first glance. The sheer size of it may have been grand and imposing, but the exterior was a cracked and faded gray paint with crumbling red brick showing through here and there. The wings, separated into two full, long rectangles, were uninspired at best; the middle being something of an oval that divided them. The middle of the institution was about six stories high, where as the wings were only three. The right wing was marginally better looking than the rest of the building; he'd been told that it was from a fire that happened there many years ago. As for the architecture, perhaps it was something influenced by German design, even in this very English area.
Despite all of that, Toris was very excited to see the building for only the second time. This time was different from the last, because this time he wasn't here as a wide-eyed and eager student, but as a full-fledged intern. He could barely keep his excitement down as he stepped through the threshold, shoes squeaking slightly on the marble mosaic tiles there. That mosaic resembled a tree; he could never forget this floor. He'd been curious when he saw it at first, and the head Doctor had explained that the man who had funded the building's creation over one hundred years ago had insisted on it. A map of the mind, he had called it. From the roots to the tip of the branches, as many years as the tree shall live, its bark shall bear the proof of its life.
"Excuse me." A cold voice snapped the brunette from his memory, lifting green eyes to meet the gray ones in front of him. The middle-aged woman was dressed in large off-white scrubs which had the sleeves rolled up to her forearms. "Can I help you?" She raised one salt-and-pepper eyebrow at the slightly taller young man. He was dressed in simple jeans and a white t-shirt with a basketball logo on the front, and he carried with him a black duffel bag.
"O-oh, I'm sorry, yes. My name is Toris—"
"Patient or visitor?" The woman cut him off swiftly, lifting up her clipboard and pen.
"Ah… what?" Toris frowned slightly, caught off guard. The woman sighed as if tired, her words slowing a little.
"I said, are you a patient or a visitor? You have someone to see here or you're here to see a doctor, right?" She tapped her pen against the paper on the clipboard.
"Oh, no, neither of those!" Brushing a lock of hair behind his ear, Toris tried again. "My name is Toris Laurinaitis, and I'm here for work! Today is my first day and I'm supposed to meet with Doctor Sismund."
"He quit. Left or Right wing?" She put down her clipboard finally, setting her hand on her hip instead.
"He… But he called me just last week! He said it was alright to start, and—" Toris shook his head, feeling his anxiety flare up. He'd waited over a year to get into this place—taken so many tests just to meet the qualifications in order to have a chance at serving his internship here…!
"Settle down kid," The woman waved away his worry. "All of his matters are being shifted to another doctor, and he hired several people before he left as I understand. Damned irresponsible thing to do if you ask me. Anyway, did he tell you which wing that he wanted you in?"
"The male wing." Toris' face flushed as he realized that he'd forgotten which wing that was.
"Right." The receptionist lifted her hand from her hip to point to the double white doors. "I'll buzz you through. They'll give you your card by the end of the day. They only work to let you in, to get out you'll have to call someone to the desk or have the master key." As she was speaking she was heading for the semi-circular desk at the back of the front room. Reaching down under the desk, there was a loud click followed by a continued buzzing.
"Thank you very much!" Toris gave her a small wave, rushing over to the doors as not to take up any more of her time. He pushed one of the heavy doors open and the buzzing stopped. It slowly closed on its own once he was through. It locked with a loud, hollow click, which sent an echo through the hallway in front of him. Unlike the outside of the building, the inside of the institution seemed to be well maintained. These floors were tarnished but clean, and they didn't squeak when he walked. He could hear a small commotion coming from the end of the hall that he was traveling down, and after about twenty feet he came to a corner. Rounding it, it seemed he'd reached the main room.
Scattered across the room there were couches, tables with chairs, and a TV on an old wooden stand sat in the corner of the room. Tall windows gave a view of the courtyard through the equally long black bars that stretched across them. Only bare, winter dried trees and a dreary gray sky could be seen from between them right now, in any case. From where Toris stood, to his right and in the back of the room was a room with the top-half surrounded by glass. There were a few small black and white TV screens there with static images on them, from around the facility no doubt, resting on the back counter. There was a hallway leading further back from that room to the right, and one to the left.
"Are you Toris?" The sound of his name drew his attention, and he quickly turned his head to find a man about his age standing beside him. The man was taller than Toris, with short dark hair and blue eyes, and he was dressed in dark green scrubs.
"Yes, that's me." Toris offered a smile.
"Great, you brought your scrubs then?" The man indicated his duffel bag. Toris nodded and the man, an orderly no doubt, jerked his thumb behind him. "Follow me." He said without ceremony as he turned and headed for the room at the back. When they reached the door labeled 'Staff', there was a loud buzzing sound as someone behind the counter pressed a button. This door seemed as heavy as the last, judging by how the orderly pressed with his shoulder. "The break and restroom's back here. Your card will let you out the door we just came in but not out."
"Of course" Toris nodding in understanding. The dark haired man pushed open the yellow door they came to, revealing the beak room. It was about fifteen by ten, and housed several bunk beds along with a set of lockers. There was a table and chairs in the middle, and a counter in the back which sported a coffee machine, microwave, and a small refrigerator. "Overnight is mandatory for interns and new hires, and this is where you can catch a wink between shifts if you plan wisely. Two nights a week and no excuses, one missed night and you're gone." The man said firmly. Toris nodded that he understood, heading for the lockers with his bag. "Get changed and meet me back at the safe room, where we just came from." The door creaked and Toris turned around,
"Wait, what's your…" The curt orderly's back vanished around the corner, and Toris sighed as the door clicked closed, leaving him alone. "…Name." He murmured to himself. He'd met two people here who seemed a little…distant, and he hoped this wasn't a trend. As soon as Toris was changed into his own green scrubs, he returned to the safe room as requested. There he found the man who'd shown him his way along with about five other people waiting for him. A woman was at the counter of the desk, currently handing cups of pills and water out to the wards standing in line outside the room. There was one other orderly wandering around outside the room, passing out more pills and water to the patients not in line. The one who had spoken to him earlier motioned with his hand.
"Guys, this is Toris. He'll be starting today to take over for Liz."
"Hello Toris!" The woman at the counter half turned to face him, pretty blue eyes and sandy blond hair. "Do you have a hair tie?" She asked with a hint of concern. Toris blinked, reaching up to touch his hair on instinct.
"I didn't think to bring one."
"Here, you can have one of mine." She reached into her pocket, pulling out a black band and handing it over. "You'll need it, some of these guys get grabby and your hair's a good target."
"O-oh, thank you very much then." Toris said as he went about tying his hair back. His bangs were too short, and they came forward again anyway, but it was better than nothing.
"My name's Sarah. You're not from around here are you?" She handed a cup to another man at the window.
"I'm from Lithuania actually, I came here not—"
"Alright, you guys can make nice later. She's got medicine to pass out." The one who had greeted him spoke up. "My name is Brad. I'm sort of a supervisor until we get another head doctor, but I'm just an orderly. This is Shaun, Michael, Eric, and that's Jeff out there." He motioned to the others standing nearby. Eric and Jeff both seemed to be in their thirties and a bit buff, while everyone else appeared to be no older than mid-twenties. The one outside the room, named as Jeff headed for the desk as they spoke of him. He wore an unhappy expression, and when he was buzzed in by Sarah he gave a single nod towards Toris before he looked to the others.
"He's refusing meds again."
"What else is new?" Sarah said from the counter with a sigh.
"This is the second day this week." Michael chimed in, tossing up his hands. "We should just let him skip it."
"And deal with the repercussions of another full on psychotic break? I don't think so." Brad said firmly, heading for the doorway opposite the hall to the break room. "We'll have to sedate him and get him to take them when he's more docile."
"Ah… May I ask who it is?" Toris spoke up, and all eyes turned towards him.
"Mr. Red." Jeff said with a sneer.
"He means the Russian, Ivan Braginsky." Michael offered in explanation. He pointed his hand towards the glass protection separating them from the patients. There against the far wall, sitting with his back to them and facing one tall window was a figure in a chair. His blond hair was messy, he was wearing a robe over his clothing, and a tan scarf was wrapped around his neck and hanging over his shoulders. "He's tough as hell. I don't know what they give their wards in Russia but he's huge. Came here before I did; about three years ago. They say his family shipped him out for this reason or that."
"None of us really know much else." Sarah chimed in.
"Nothing else." Brad muttered, and Toris looked over to see him holding a needle. Green eyes widened in alarm.
"Let me try." Toris said suddenly, drawing dubious looks from around the small room. "No, really! I've been studying behavior modification. Please, it can't hurt to let me try right? If I fail you can use that, but it would add even more stress for him wouldn't it?"
"That bastard damn near broke my jaw a few months ago last time he pulled this kind of stunt." Jeff grumbled. "I bet he would damn near kill a little guy like you."
"I'm not afraid to try."
"Let him." Michael offered, grinning smugly, arms crossed over his chest.
"Brad, just sedate him." Sarah interjected.
"…Eh, what harm can it do?" Brad shrugged, setting the needle down onto the counter.
"Brad!" She complained.
"No no, really. Go ahead Mr. Lithuanian. You guys would know how to deal with Russians pretty well by now, right?" He grinned as well, and Toris bit back his response by gritting his teeth and frowning. Toris held out his hand towards Jeff, who handed him the cup of pills and the paper cup of water. Without looking at anyone else, Toris pushed open the door as Sarah reluctantly buzzed him through. Feeling those eyes on him, he made his way across the room, his heart pounding. Stopping a short ways from the man sitting at the window, he noticed that there were no other patients around. Even the wards that hadn't come to stand in line and the ones who had already taken their pills seemed to give this man a wide range, it seemed. Setting the cup and the pills onto the table nearby, he came closer.
A chilly air made him shiver, and he wondered why the windows were so tall in a room like this. "It's cold." He said softly, crossing his arms to rub at them. No response came from the other, so he spoke up a bit louder. "Aren't you cold here?"
"Nyet." Came the sharp answer, in Russian. Toris sighed.
"V… Vy govorite, ah… po-angliski? Because my Russian is horrible…" He smiled a bit, watching those shoulders tense a little. The blond glanced over his shoulder, and then turned to the side on his chair, which creaked a bit. Toris was nearly startled by the sight of the violet eyes that settled on his own, almost hidden by that mess of blond hair. The Russian was tall; he could see that as Ivan straightened his back to sit upright, taking stock of the stranger near him. His shoulders were wide, legs long, and he seemed a bit soft at the middle… Reaching up, Ivan tugged his scarf away from his mouth and nose, revealing the rest of his face. Speaking his nose, it was perhaps a little larger than most, and pink, as were the tips of his ears. "You are cold! Please come away from the window…" The brunette worried, reaching for Ivan's shoulder.
"Don't touch me." The blond snapped in an accented voice, just before the smaller man reached his shoulder, and Toris' hand pulled back. "I don't know you. Who are you?"
"My name is Toris… I'm new here. Today is my first day. It's nice to meet you." He held out his hand. Ivan looked at it as if it was an insect, raising one eyebrow. He looked past the brunette to the safe room.
"Did they put you up to this? Is this one of their games?" He asked warily. Toris glanced over his shoulder to see that all of the other orderlies were watching, most of them with those same doubtful grins. Looking back, he frowned.
"Games? No, I chose to come out here all on my own. Are you going to shake my hand and tell me your name?"
"You know it." Ivan said back, glancing back to the hand, though he seemed less cautious somehow.
"Maybe so, but I would like to hear it from you."
"…Menya zovut Ivan Braginsky." Ivan's hand reached out, closing long, cold fingers around Toris' smaller hand and shaking it firmly. Perhaps a little too firmly, but the brunette didn't complain. He kept his tense smile until his hand was released.
"Good then. Now that we're acquainted," The Lithuanian turned to the table where he had left the pills and cup of water, lifting them and turning towards the blond again, "I wonder if you would take these for me—Hey!" Toris protested as the cup with water was promptly slapped from his hand, splattering the liquid over his arm and the floor.
"I said nyet!" Ivan shouted, such a change from his soft voice just a moment earlier. Toris frowned, glancing over his shoulder when he heard the door to the safe room open. He shook his head to Jeff and Michael, who stopped in their tracks. Turning back to Ivan, Toris gave a heavy sigh.
"I did nothing to you to deserve that." He said firmly, prompting the Russian to raise his eyebrows a little.
"I told that Irishman I didn't want them." Ivan explained simply, his expression innocent as could be now. He had to mean Jeff, Toris guessed, because of the orderly's reddish hair.
"You did not tell me. I treated you with respect, and I deserve the same don't I?" Toris kept his voice calm. Ivan frowned then, looking much like a child who was upset. "Ivan?"
"…Da." Ivan admitted with a mumble, pulling his scarf back up over his mouth.
"So then, you'll take your pills. I'll get you another water and—"
"I will not." Ivan spoke back up, shaking his head. The Russian stood up from his creaky chair, drawing himself up just as tall as he could be, forcing Toris to swallow hard as Ivan stepped up close. The smaller orderly came to just about the Russian's chin. Trying his best to keep his voice from trembling, remembering well what Jeff had said about his jaw, Toris changed his expression.
"Why not?" He asked, looking concerned. Those captivating violet eyes narrowed for a moment; confused, angry, and something Toris couldn't quite place. The Russian's shoulders tensed as if he might really lash out at any moment. "Is something wrong? Do you not feel well?" Toris continued stubbornly, hearing footsteps behind him—likely the other two coming to 'rescue' him. Ivan took a step back, and then another, falling back onto his chair with a creaking of wood.
"Ya hochetsya chai." Ivan said simply, giving a toss of his hand.
"Tea?" Toris brightened suddenly. "Are you allowed?" Ivan glanced over again, but his eyes were looking behind the smaller man.
"Da. But they don't like to give me any." He nodded in the direction that he was looking. Toris turned his head to see the others near the safe room still, but Jeff was halfway to the two by the window. Toris paused for a moment, and then he struck up a curious tone.
"So, if you have tea then you will take the medication?" Ivan looked thoughtful for a moment as well, eyes searching the Lithuanian face for some sort of trick. Finally he relented, backed into a corner of his own creation. Nodding, Ivan gave a smile.
"I'll be right back." The brunette turned on his heels, walking past Jeff who followed him, and into the safe room to face his chuckling co-workers.
"I have tea." Toris stated. "I brought some with me to leave in my locker, because my brothers would drink it all if I left it at home. He wants tea, and I have it. Was he telling the truth when he said he was allowed?"
"This isn't a damn hotel." Jeff spoke up, "Let's go Brad."
"Now just hold on." Brad responded. "I'm still curious. The last thing that we need is another bruised up orderly on medical leave; we're short-handed as it is. Go ahead and get your tea, Toris." Brad leaned back against the counter.
Several minutes later the brunette was heading back for the lonely looking figure at the window, who was pretending not to watch him with interest. Toris set the cup down onto the table along with several sugar packets. "You didn't say how much sugar that you liked, so I brought a few. Now remember, I probably can't do this every day. You'll have to come over here to drink it though." He set the cup with pills down beside the one with tea. The Russian rose easily from the chair, approaching slowly and making sure that his eyes stayed on the steaming cup, and not the young man standing by it. Taking a seat, Ivan lifted the cup to his nose as he pulled the scarf down again, sniffing it.
"Black, it's the kind I like. I hope you don't mind." Toris watched as Ivan lifted the first sugar packet. It was emptied swiftly into the tea. And then the second, and the third… Ivan stopped at four, stirring it with the plastic spoon that rested within it. Lifting it to his lips finally, he took a sip as he closed his eyes. After a moment of pause, Ivan lowered it again to open his eyes and stare down at the dark surface of the liquid.
"What's today?" Ivan asked quietly.
"Tuesday, the 14th of December." Toris answered. Ivan gave a small 'Ah', and then he smiled.
"My sisters will grow again soon." He said in a wistful tone.
"Will they? That's wonderful then!" Toris answered with a smile. He almost lost it when he received a surprised look from the blond. "Did I say something wrong?"
"You don't… think that's strange?" Ivan asked cautiously.
"That your sisters will grow? Of course not. People grow every year, don't they?" Toris frowned. Was he missing something here? But Ivan merely smiled, giving a satisfied 'Mn' as he nodded, lifting the cup with his pills in it. He slipped them into his mouth, sipping at the tea to swallow them down. Licking his lips, he glanced up to the brunette.
"Toris mne nravites'." Ivan said with a sense of seriousness about him. The younger man continued to smile, perhaps a little proud of himself.
"I like you too, Ivan! You can sit here with your tea, but please don't go over to the window again. It's too cold. It might even snow tonight, they say. I have to go back to work now, but if you need anything else you can ask me, alright?" Ivan nodded his head, sipping at his tea as if he'd lost interest. "Alright then, I'll see you later Ivan." As soon as the brunette had turned his back, violet eyes became affixed to it.
The rest of the day seemed to be going pretty well for Toris. Aside from the dirty looks from Jeff all day, the wards of the institution seemed to be welcoming to a fresh new face. He was a little concerned to find a few of them wandering around on their own or staying in their rooms alone so often, but after a little coaxing they all seemed to come around to him. He bit his tongue a few times as well, when Michael became irate with a few of the more difficult wards. The short-tempered Michael had shouted at one of them in particular, an ash-haired German man who was apparently delusional about an invisible 'friend' of his. The poor man had ended up crying even as he laughed at the large, dark-haired orderly, calling him a fool as he walked away.
It wasn't until evening that it happened.
"Hey, Toris." Brad motioned with his hand. "Got a moment?"
"Ah, yes. I was just on my way to clean up the mess that someone made of the chess set in the common room." Toris brushed his hair back behind his ear as he walked over.
"Don't worry about that, just come here. Look, we have a little… problem." The other gave a sigh, rubbing the back of his head. "It's about Ivan." Toris looked concerned suddenly.
"What is it?"
"We think he's been hiding his pills in his room for a while. He's been showing signs of regressing again, and he usually does that when he doesn't take his medication. Problem is, he's stashing them in his room. If he gives them to another ward or if one finds them, it could be dangerous."
"Oh, of course." Toris nodded, frowning slightly. "But what did you want me to do about it?"
"Right now everyone else is busy getting the others ready for bed. I need you to go into his room and find them while we keep him occupied. We think he's hiding them in his mattress. There's a rip there that we've found things in before, usually chess pieces and things, but I don't think there's anywhere else he could be keeping them." Brad explained, to which Toris nodded.
"I'll do my best to find them then. Which room is Ivan's?" He asked simply.
"216. Thanks Toris, you're a great help." Brad smiled at him, patting his shoulder before he walked away in the other direction. Facing the safe room, if you went to the left you would see the long hallway there, with doors lining each side. Except for the plain white paint, it almost looked a little like a hotel's hall of rooms. Of course there were card-locks on the doors which were to be used at night, but it was less than some of the other floors of this establishment. This was the most lightly guarded ward, after all. Finding the door with the numbers 216 on it, Toris glanced around before opening it and slipping inside. Closing it behind him, he took a deep breath.
Ivan's room wasn't as empty as he would have thought. In fact, it was quite decorated. There were several brightly painted matryoshka in the windowsill of the small barred window about a foot higher than Toris' head, and a small iconic painting hung on the wall. On the small dresser beside the bed there was a lacquer box decorated with a straw mosaic on the top, and a few other small things set about. Moving to the side of the bed, the brunette dropped to his knees. Pulling up the sheets, he found the tear in the side of the mattress easily enough.
Sliding his fingers inside he felt something papery, and taking a hold of it he pulled it out. He found it to be a plain white envelope with tattered and stained edges, and he raised one eyebrow curiously. It was easy to see that there weren't any pills inside of this, so he used his fingers to glance back inside of the mattress. There was nothing else there at all, but that was a relief wasn't it? Glancing back down to the envelope, he couldn't help but wonder what was inside. Opening the flap with a finger, Toris saw the side of what seemed to be a picture. Opening it the rest of the way, he pulled them out.
He was half right. In fact, there were about five pictures. Portrait style, each picture featured what seemed to be the same two women in them. Both women were blond; the taller of the two smiling wide while the shorter one sported a simple, almost shy smile. The younger one's eyes were a steel blue, and the bow in her hair made her seem much younger than the last of the pictures seemed to imply. A succession of photos and in each of them the women were a little older. A hollow clicking sound from behind him startled him suddenly, and he nearly dropped the whole bundle as he stood up and spun around. Coming nearly face to face with narrow violet eyes only made his heart skip a beat, and he gave a quiet gasp.
"I-Ivan, I was…" Toris tried to explain. How exactly did one explain that they'd just been snooping through your mattress? The Russian's eyes fell down to the photos in his hands, and his expression changed, becoming hurt instead.
"Toris… you too?" Ivan asked in a quiet tone, lifting his eyes to those emerald ones again.
"I, ah… Me too?" Toris frowned. Ivan headed for the small desk that sat against the wall opposite his bed, picking up the chair there. "I-Ivan?" The brunette's face paled a little. But the blond only carried it to the door—shoving the back of it under the handle while propping up the legs to stay there. "Wh-what are you doing?"
"You want my sisters too, Toris? You want to take them from me." Ivan turned slowly, his bangs shadowing his eyes almost completely as he started in towards the orderly. Toris swallowed hard, taking a step back before he hit the dresser, hearing the items on top of it clink together as it moved slightly.
"I don't want to take anyone from you, Ivan. I-I want you to calm down…" Toris held up his hands in defense, his breath coming a little faster as he fought not to panic. All that he could think of right now was every defensive move that he'd learned in his class, and how useless they would be against someone of this size in this small space.
"Calm? Don't be silly Toris," Ivan glanced up, smiling as he came close enough for Toris' outstretched hands to touch his chest. "I am calm." His tone was smooth, soft, and even. This was just before his hands moved to swipe the photos and envelope from the hands of the hapless orderly, tossing them to the side before he grabbed Toris' wrists in iron grips.
"Ivan—!" Toris' voice rose at last, but he was cut off as the Russian shoved against his smaller frame hard, pushing him to fall onto the bed with his own following. One arm was twisted behind Toris' back while the other was released as the orderly landed on his stomach, coughing as he was pinned down by the blonde's own weight on his back. "I—!" Toris gasped as he found a thigh shoved between his own and his bangs grasped in a firm grip, forcing his head to turn to the side. "Ivan, stop!" Toris cried out in full panic now. What good did five years of martial arts do if he couldn't even use it when he needed it? Ivan's heavy breath fell over his neck now, and he felt the blond take a deep, slow one as he pressed his face into that neck.
"I'm not going to hurt you, Toris…" Ivan murmured softly. It sounded just as calm as moments before, despite his heavier breath.
"Then… then let go of me!" The brunette complained, pressing with his free hand on the mattress.
"How could you do it, Toris?" Ivan whispered instead, his breath brushing over the younger man's ear.
"Ivan, please…!" The door handle clicked, and then jiggled as someone tried to open it. Banging came soon after, and he could hear Jeff's voice shouting to open the door. "Ivan please, they'll—!"
"Are you afraid of me, Toris?" Came the unexpected question. Toris growled in frustration, shoving against the mattress with all of his might again, but to no avail. Ivan was too solid to budge!
"I see." A chuckle. "You're so naïve… How could you let yourself be fooled like that? I can see that I'm going to have to protect you." It was then that the chair gave an awful screech as it was forced back from the door, clattering noisily to the floor. Ivan was ripped off of the orderly he'd pinned to the bed in the next moment, and thankfully he let go of the Lithuanian's hair and arm as soon as he was. Jeff and Michael both attempted to restrain the Russian, who shoved at both of them just as hard as he could. Sarah rushed in past them, her expression frightened.
"Toris, are you alright? I'm so sorry; we didn't know he'd do that to the door!" She gushed, nearly in tears. Toris froze from where he was rubbing the side of his head, glancing to her in question. Ivan began to shout, mostly in Russian, as they managed to pull him out into the hall.
"What do you mean by that?" He asked Sarah quickly.
"She means it was a wakeup call, kid." Brad's voice came from the door where he leaned against the frame. "You needed one. That man, a lot of these patients, they're dangerous. We're not here to be their friends. We're here to keep them from harming people, including us." He muttered.
"You… You lied to me! And you…!" From a ways down the hall he could hear Ivan's tone suddenly change. He wasn't angry any longer. No, this was higher, and faster, more desperate. Pleading, more like. Toris caught something amidst the rush of Russian, standing up from the bed and waving away Sarah who was still fussing over him. "Siberia?"
"That's what he calls the solitary rooms. When he gets violent like that, nothing but that can calm him down. For some reason he hates the hell out of them, but he behaves for a while if we leave him there for a night." Brad shrugged.
"This… this isn't right! He didn't hurt me!" Toris protested, stepping into the hall again. The two large orderlies had done a pretty good job of dragging the struggling Russian down the hall, but he wasn't going easy.
"Bull. I saw him on top of you, or is that what you call playing?" Brad grinned, and it took every ounce of strength for Toris not to punch his superior. He grit his teeth, taking a deep breath.
"Brad, this isn't right! You tricked me—you made me do something which you knew would set him off!"
"It would have happened eventually! We just made it happen sooner, because we couldn't stand that naïve smile you've had all day!" Brad threw up his hand, raising his voice.
"This is bad for Ivan! How is he supposed to get better if the people who are supposed to help him only play jokes like this instead?"
"Help?" Brad laughed. "There's no help to be found here, kid. Every head doctor that comes into this place leaves in about a year. It's known for its reputation, but that's all crap! Make it a year and you can find a job anywhere you want in the mental health field. That's why you're here, isn't it?" He grinned at Toris' glare. "I thought so. These patients, they're here until they die." Toris averted his eyes to the floor, fists at his side and trembling slightly.
"Toris… are you alright?" Sarah asked, touching his shoulder lightly.
"…Let him go."
"What?" Brad asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Tell them to let him go, Brad. Don't put him in solitary—Can't you hear him? You said he behaves after he's been in there—but all you're doing is damaging him more!" Toris looked up, his expression torn.
"Shit, kid. You don't have to get all emotional about it." Toris didn't respond, he only leveled Brad with that gaze. "Fine! Look, I'll make you a deal. I've got night shift tonight, but if you take it for me I'll let him stay in his room. That'd be three night shifts for you this week though."
"I'll do it." Toris answered without hesitation.
"Fine. Jeff! Mike! Let him go!" Brad shouted off down the hall, then looked back to Toris. "If he hits someone after they let him go, it's on you." He warned. The brunette took off down the hall, reaching the spot where the two orderlies were still struggling with Ivan. They seemed reluctant to let him go, and Toris couldn't blame them for that at least. Ivan's affect seemed completely different from how he'd been just moments ago, bangs hanging in his eyes again, though they were damp with sweat. The Russian still fought against the two holding him back with everything he had, enough so that they were sweating as well, but Toris was sure it was for different reasons.
"Ivan! Ivan, calm down!" Toris tried, reaching out to touch the Russian's shoulder. More hurried words in the Russian tongue came forth, so quick that he couldn't understand any of it. A few words were unmistakable however, and he shook his head. "You're not going to Siberia, Ivan!" He tried to explain. "Ivan, you're not going anywhere! Let him go, you two!" Jeff and Mike glanced to one another, the redhead shrugging with a shake of his head. They both let go and stepped back at the same time, which sent the tall blond falling to his knees. Toris kneeled quickly. "Iva-" Hands gripped his shirt, yanking him forward as the Russian pulled him close. "Ow, hey!" He protested, though he didn't push him away. "I'm not holding you, relax!" Ivan patted those broad shoulders softly, wincing. Slowly, Ivan's heavy breath began to even out.
Toris waited patiently, knowing he'd have bruises on his chest from the way those long fingers pinched at his shirt. Just like he'd have bruises on his twisted wrist as well… When Ivan's grip began to loosen, Toris' hands slipped from Ivan's shoulders, gently unclenching those fists with his fingers. "There, that's better. Now stand with me." Toris said calmly, and to his relief, Ivan obeyed. Taking the patient's hand into one of his own, the orderly tugged lightly. "To your room…" He stated. Finding no resistance, Toris led Ivan back up the hallway. Instead of relieved, the brunette was a little worried about the sudden change of mood from the blond. Ivan's eyes stayed downcast and his expression blank, not smiling as before. It hurt something inside of his chest to see that, and he was angry at the others for causing it.
Reaching the door to Ivan's room, he let the Russian go inside ahead of him. The blond walked over to his bed, lying down without another word. His large frame curled up on top of his covers, scarf tugged up over his mouth and nose. Toris came in after him, picking up the scattered pictures and replacing them in the envelope they had been in, laying it on the dresser. There was a folded blanket on the desk in the room, and Toris picked it up. Unfolding it, he laid it over the blond. Resting his hand on Ivan's shoulder, he spoke quietly. "I'm going outside now. If you need anything, I'll be right out there." There was no response, and Toris frowned in worry. Patting Ivan's arm, he left the room without another word. The others had all gone back to their work it seemed, leaving the brunette alone to wonder about his choices.
As he leaned his back against the closed door, he couldn't help but think about what Ivan had said. 'I'm going to have to protect you.' What confidence! It looked to him like the Russian was the one that needed to be protected. And Brad was wrong about one thing. Toris had chosen this place because it was prominent in the field… But it was not so that he could move on. He had chosen this place because he thought that he could make a difference here. And it looks that that difference as going to start with one Ivan Braginsky.