"What'll it be?" the bartender drawled, his voice tired and not at all enthusiastic. His nametag read 'Phil' and nothing more. On the counter was a magazine with half-naked women stamped on the pages. Toris made sure his face was anywhere but those pictures. As much as he hated to admit it, the sight of an undressed female made him feel slightly ill.

The Lithuanian sighed. "Got any Kvass?"

In response, the bartender turned around towards the wall behind him. He scoured the large array of beverages for a few moments. Toris' eyes fell on the man's T-shirt. It was plain white, but there was some hand-written words scrawled over the back. It took a moment for the brown-haired guy to decipher the words, as bad as the handwriting was. But eventually he figured it said 'i'll fuk u homofags up".

Toris decided he didn't like Phil very much.

Phil made a small "ah" sound, and picked out a nicely-sized bottle of Toris' favourite alcoholic beverage. He barked out a price, and Toris silently slipped him his money. Phil's eyes strayed back to the magazine and Toris made his way to an empty table.

Looking at his old, scratched watch, he stared at the little circle.

3:04 AM

He didn't like to drink, let alone at bars. It made him feel weak, like just another innocent human drowning in his sorrows. But he couldn't really help it; he was depressed. He felt useless and unneeded. Just another waste of space.

Damn Feliks, telling him everything was his fault. It probably was, but that didn't make anything better. He was his best friend, he was supposed to support Toris, not make him feel like utter shit! He and the Pole had fallen out. It was a rare occurrence for the two friends to argue, what with Toris being kind and understanding most of the time. He didn't have to speak usually, because Feliks talked for him. He didn't mind, though. He wasn't much of a talker.

Toris took a long sip of his drink and sighed in pleasure as the alcohol warmed his throat and stomach. He liked moments like this, alone (for the most part) and able to think without any interruption. He didn't want to think about Feliks, though. He was thoroughly pissed off at him.

Muttering, he took another swig. Where did it all go wrong? He needed another distraction. Thinking about life wasn't a very good idea. Whenever he looked at it nowadays, it looked like a long, dark tunnel. He'd never make it this way. It seemed all so pointless. It seemed the only person in the world that cared about him right now was his boyfriend, Ivan. Toris was entirely grateful for the amount of support his lover had provided him during this dark time. The Lithuanian didn't know what he'd do without the man.

Ivan had a lot on his shoulders, too. He'd confided in Toris all of his problems. The deepest of the Russian's troubles seemed to fall onto the category of his family. His mother was deceased and his father seemed to do nothing but sleep and drink all day long. Oh, there were times when he'd get off of his lazy ass and do something, namely verbally abuse his children.

Ivan was also terribly afraid of his little sister, although he still loves her. He tells Toris that Natalya apparently lusts after her brother. She tries to get him alone and strip him of his clothes, but Ivan manages to get away each time without hurting her. Toris doesn't approve of incestuous desires, but he doesn't judge her for that. The brown haired man mainly hates her for scaring Ivan. The Russian has nightmares almost every night. Toris is often called during the dead hours, needed in Ivan's bedroom to calm him down. Toris doesn't mind that, either. He cherishes the time spent with him since he doesn't get to see him very often anymore.

Ivan has to work five days of the week, from 6 AM to 7 PM at a local grocery store. He's the only one working in his household, since his father is too much of a dick to do anything. Natalya is too young and his older sister, Ekaterina, is currently married living in Philadelphia...

Toris keeps pressuring Ivan to move out; he's 20, old enough to leave home. But he doesn't want to leave his seventeen year old little sister, as terrified of her as he is. He doesn't trust his father to keep her safe so he's staying with her until she's eighteen.

Toris admired that about Ivan. The blonde Russian could be a bit selfish at times but he cared deeply for his sisters.

A cough brought him out of his thought. Toris stared ruefully at his drink, now half empty, and took another long sip. The high pitched bell at the door startled him, and he nearly choked on his kvass.

He sighed again. He got too distracted for his own good. He looked back at Phil, who was now tending to another customer.

A surprisingly familiar customer. He knew the shape of that head like the back of his hand.

"Ivan?!" he exclaimed, shocked. His favourite person turned around at the sound of his name, and the blonde's violet eyes warmed up at the sight of the Lithuanian.

"Hello, Toris~" Ivan nearly sang, literally throwing his money on the counter and snatching his drink up before speed-walking towards the table. He slammed the drink down and Toris didn't even need to glance at it to know what it was. Vodka. Always vodka. "What a pleasant surprise to see you here."

"Ivan… I'm really happy to see you, but why are you up? It's…" Toris looked to his watch for help. "3:47 in the morning! You have to work in a little more than two hours." He stared at Ivan in concern, spotting the dark circles underneath those beautiful eyes.

"Insomnia," Ivan shrugged. "I was going to call you, but I didn't want to wake you up again… It looks like it didn't matter anyway." He poked playfully at Toris' nose. "Now, can I ask you the same thing?"

Toris hesitated. He never liked placing his troubles on top of Ivan's, but he couldn't deny him an explanation. Ivan was very helpful when it came to life and all of its bitching. "Well… Feliks and I got into an argument and I didn't feel like sleeping." He watched as Ivan's eyebrows furrowed. "I said something rather dumb, and he got upset and screamed at me. I didn't mean to do anything…" He felt tears budding at his eyes, and he shook them away in frustration. Another swig of his drink. Not now. Please. Not now while the various occupants of the bar were enjoying the silence. Not when homophobic Phil was staring down at his porn. Not when, at any moment, those stares could immediately consume the two men whole.

Ivan spotted the tears in time, though, and he wrapped a large arm around his love and pulled him closer. "Shhh…" he whispered. "It'll be alright. Do you want to talk about it?"

The Lithuanian leaned closer into that warm body. So warm. "Nnh…" he murmured. "Later, once we get out of this place…" The tears began to fall regardless. He felt soft lips grazing his forehead. He sniffed, snuggling into Ivan's coat.

The taller of the two men stared down at Toris. He knew that Toris was depressed, but it still frightened him to see that brown-haired man crying. He used to be so strong. He took a long gulp of his vodka, then pulled Toris onto his lap. Again, he kissed his forehead. He heard a snort from near the entrance, and glared at the bartender, who was glaring right back. Ivan flipped that 'Phil' off, and pulled his lips right above Toris' mouth, smirking when an appalled look crossed the disgusting orange-haired man's expression.

Eventually Toris grabbed Ivan's face, completely unaware of the watching bartender, and pulled his lips to his own. Ivan's heartbeat sped up immediately, and he leaned into that kiss. He felt Toris' tongue sliding over the crease of his mouth, and Ivan's lips parted. Suddenly everything else didn't matter. It was just the two of them, locked in this moment for however long.

Toris had his eyes closed, imagining his entire future falling into place. Marriage, adoption, watching their children grow up… seeing them graduate… eventually marrying too… The dark hole seemed to disappear temporarily. Only temporarily. Bliss.

Eventually the need for oxygen broke them apart, gasping. This time they could just feel Phil glowering at them from the counter. Ivan thought it was hilarious, but Toris was growing slightly annoyed at him.

"Should we go?" asked Toris.

"Mm. Da."

Toris finished his drink with one more long swig, then tossed the bottle down the little trash shoot. It reached the bottom with a satisfying crash. He stumbled before he reached the door, the alcohol making him slightly tipsy. Ivan grabbed his shoulder before he fell to the floor and steadied him.

"Shoulda' let him fall. Would have been funny to see. Dumb homos." Again, Ivan shot a glare at the man behind the counter.

"Philly, you shouldn't be making fun of us when you're stuck without even a girl to call your own." Ivan gave a childish laugh. "Stop looking at your pornography and find a real woman."

Phil's eyes narrowed. "Get out," he snapped.

"Hmm? What's this? Can't find any way to defend yourself?" Ivan grinned teasingly.

"Get out."

Toris tugged on Ivan's sleeve. "C'mon, Ivan. Don't cause trouble."

Again, Ivan laughed. "Fine, fine. We'll leave the lonesome woe alone." Pushing open the door, he realized it was snowing. "Aw, damn. Didn't you bring a coat?"

"No. It wasn't cold when I left home."

"Here, put on mine," Ivan shook out of his coat, one hand still holding his hardly-touched vodka, and handed it to the smaller man.

"But then you'll just get cold," the Lithuanian complained. "I'm fine." He pushed to coat back towards Ivan, but the blonde made no move to take it. Toris waited, and sighed heavily when Ivan ignored the coat. I might as well wear it, since it seems he won't take it. He shrugged on the coat, and was grateful for the warmth it carried. Even so, he glanced at Ivan's arms to make sure he didn't acquire any goosebumps. "You're so stubborn sometimes," he muttered.

Ivan smiled. "Yep!" he agreed. "But that is good, when stubbornness keeps my Toris from getting cold."

Toris frowned. "My well-being isn't that important, you know."

The blonde man knew it was pointless to argue, depressed as Toris was. He would just reject the compliment. "It is to me," he whispered.