[image of Vassily Borodin]

End Game

by Taliesin

[image of Marko Ramius]

An ambitious endeavor.

Captain Marko Ramius snorted softly to himself. He was lying on his bunk with his hands tucked behind his head staring absently at the bulkhead close above him. After so many years, he hardly noticed the cramped quarters, nor could he recall a time when he had ever been bothered by it. Claustrophobic men made poor submariners. So did the unimaginative.

It certainly took an imaginative man to reasonably expect to successfully defect from the Russian navy, taking his officers and several thousand tons of Soviet technology with him: the Red October herself, cutting edge flagship of the Motherland's submarine fleet, and just out of the shipyards. An ambitious endeavor, indeed. One soon to come to fruition.

Twenty hours to the Grand Banks. Twenty hours to their rendezvous with the American fleet. It was almost over, and by the same measure there was still so much which could go wrong. However, they'd made contact with an American submarine, which had not tried to blow them out of the water, which was more than could be said of their Russian counterparts. The meeting was set. Someone on the other side obviously had a plan. That was well; Ramius had plans of his own.

A light knock at the door interrupted his musings. Borodin hesitantly stuck his head around the edge of the opening door, then advanced the rest of the way into the room at Ramius' welcoming gesture. Ramius cocked an eyebrow on seeing Borodin lock the door behind him, but his expression was neutral by the time the other man turned to face him.

Vassily Borodin was a good man and a good friend. Second in command of Red October, it was he Ramius had first approached with this crazy scheme. There had been only the most minimal of dangers in doing so. Each of his officers had his own reason for wanting to defect; Ramius made it his policy to turn a blind eye to those reasons. It was enough for him that they would follow his lead. He had trained them all and knew their strengths and weaknesses as he knew his own. He had known who to trust with his plans and who not to; he did not need to know why. But with Borodin, the trust was absolute. He had not needed to question the man or his motives, for he knew quite well what they were. Ramius had suspected for years that Vassily was in love with him.

To say homosexuality was frowned on in the Soviet Union was to grossly understate the case. The penalties ranged from imprisonment to execution. Under the circumstances, Borodin could be relied upon to be receptive to the idea of departing his homeland. But more than that, he would never do anything which might bring harm to Ramius. This was understood. Ramius had known almost since their first meeting, though he doubted Borodin knew that he knew.

"I'm sorry to interrupt your sleep period, Captain." Borodin offered with a touch of diffidence. Ramius realized he'd been staring at the other man. He looked away, waving him to a seat, but making no move to rise himself. It was ungainly for two people to move about simultaneously in the cramped quarters.

"No need to apologize. I take it you came to tell me the work is finished?" Circumspect out of habit, Ramius need have no fear of being overheard. His cabin, like the officers' mess, was soundproofed. Though privacy was a rare commodity in communist Russia, secrecy was highly valued by those in power. What was discussed by the officers of a Soviet submarine was not for the ears of the crew. He very much doubted the designers had even considered the possibility that such discussions might include the planning of defection.

"Yes, Captain. Melekhin and I have just finished rigging the radiation alarms. Our "reactor malfunction" ought to go off without a hitch." Borodin slumped onto the bench opposite Ramius' bunk. Uniform mildly rumpled, hair loosed from its usual rigor to fall in soft commas across his forehead, he looked as if he'd spent the last several hours crawling around the engine compartment. Which was hardly surprising as that was, in fact, precisely what he'd been doing. "Some of the crew saw us at it, of course. They're convinced we were looking for further evidence of sabotage."

"Good. It will help make the "accident" seem more real." Ramius propped himself up on one elbow. As was his habit, he had climbed into his bunk almost fully dressed. Only his coat and shoes had been removed in deference to comfort. One had to be prepared for anything while at sea, and the captain of a Soviet submarine did not appear at the con in anything less than full dress uniform, even in the gravest of emergencies. "You look tired. Why don't you pour us a drink?"

"Tea, sir?" Borodin gestured to the samovar at his elbow.

"No, I think not." Ramius' expression was grave, his eyes bent on the floor where Putin's body had fallen. It seemed he could still see the man gasping out his last, even as his murderer poured tea on the deck to make it look like an accident. Borodin's gaze followed his, understanding instantly.

"You had no choice, Captain. We could not have proceeded with the Political Officer on board. His authority to countermand your orders would have made this endeavor impossible."

"I know that, Vassily. Nonetheless, the prospect of drinking tea here is ... unpleasant. In any case, something of a celebration is in order, I think. There's a bottle of vodka in the storage compartment above the bunk."

Borodin didn't ask why Ramius couldn't get it himself. Disentangling oneself from the confining bunks could be time consuming. He merely rose and stepped around the table to kneel on the bench-seat which abutted the bunk. When he stretched up to open the center compartment, his body blocked the cabin lights, throwing the bunk's occupant into shadow and his mind into disarray.

"Ah," Borodin re-emerged with the bottle he sought, unaware of the sudden effect his nearness had on Ramius. He set the bottle on the table and settled more comfortably on the seat, half-turned away so that he was not quite looking at Ramius, nor quite looking away. Borodin was too polite to turn his back on a friend, even in so unexpectedly relaxed a moment. He opened the bottle and poured generous measures of the alcohol into two cups. They were both on their sleep shift for six more hours; it would likely do no harm to relax a little. His fingers brushed Ramius' when he handed over a glass.

"What shall we drink to, tovarich?" Ramius asked quietly to cover his confusion. He kept his gaze on his cup, staring down into the colorless liquid pooled in the bottom of the glass and set round by the ornate steel cage of the base. Borodin was silent a long moment.

"Freedom, Captain?" He didn't quite look at Ramius, and he might have meant anything.

"Yes, let's drink to freedom." Ramius leaned forward to touch the rim of his glass lightly to Borodin's. They both drank.

Freedom. Ramius considered the idea. Within the next twenty hours, they would be free men. Freedom among the Americans, or in death. Either way, the constraints of life in the Soviet state would no longer hold sway. There was very little to lose, in what might quite literally be the last chance.

A year had passed since his wife's death. A year of guilt and abstinence. A year of mourning and planning. She'd died while he was at sea; running deep and silent, no radio contact until he'd returned more than a week later. She already lay silent in her grave by the time he knew she had gone. His grief was real, for he had loved her, but his guilt was the monster which drove him. He had not been there for her during her life, nor at her death, nor after. When the plans for the Red October came before him he saw not only its undeniable intent as a destructive force, but its use to him as a means of escape, from the country, and from his guilt. A year was a long time.

Ramius leaned over Borodin's shoulder to return his empty glass to the table. As he drew back, he brushed close enough to feel a tremor pass through the commander's strong form. He let his hand rest unmoving on that broad shoulder. After a moment, he shifted more upright and brought his free hand up to settle on the other shoulder.

"The engineering access tubes tend to be cramped," he commented softly, beginning a firm massage of tensed muscles. Borodin trembled under his hands, but did not move away. On the contrary, he shifted to sit with his back fully to Ramius, silently offering better access. For a time, Ramius simply worked at the knots in Borodin's shoulders, not a word spoken between them. He heard Borodin's breath quicken, and marveled that so innocent an action on his part could have such an obvious effect. Slowly his hands began to drift.

Ramius' fingers wormed their way between the buttons on Borodin's coat, sliding past the placket of the uniform jacket to stroke across the fine lawn of his shirt. Borodin gasped and wiggled, his head dipping slowly down in response to the other hand, which soothed the short hair at the nape of his neck. His lips were parted, eyes half-open and focused disbelievingly on the movement of Ramius' fingers under his coat. With some mild contortion, Ramius found a nipple and stroked it carefully.

"Captain, no. We shouldn't." Certainty was conspicuously missing from Borodin's thready whisper.

"No, perhaps we shouldn't. But then, neither should we be stealing across to America in a submarine belonging to the Soviet navy." Ramius bent his lips to Borodin's neck. His chuckle was muffled against the warm skin. "Under the circumstances, don't you think you could find something to call me other than 'captain'?"


Ramius smiled. It had been a long time since he'd heard his name spoken in that particular tone of agonized pleasure. He wondered absently if, in fact, he had ever heard his name spoken quite like that before. Borodin made to turn, but Ramius held him fast. His right hand remained trapped inside Borodin's jacket, caressing in confined circles. The other left off teasing his hairline and started down over the chest to join the right, undoing buttons as it went. Soon he had the jacket completely open, offering unrestrained movement.

Ramius blew softly in a conveniently placed ear, then whispered huskily, "Lean forward now." In a trance of surprise and pleasure, Borodin did as he was asked, shrugging automatically out of the coat as it was pushed off his shoulders. Ramius' strong hand guided him back into his half embrace and he leaned obediently against the bunk.

Ramius smoothed his palms over Borodin's torso, enjoying the resilience of hard muscles and the heat of the man which bled through the linen dress shirt. He allowed his fingers to slowly drift from button to button, absently unfastening them as he went. It was odd, to touch a man's broad flat chest, to so easily feel the pounding of his heart, muffled only by layers of muscle. And while Ramius willingly admitted he had no idea what he was doing, it seemed nothing had ever felt so right. His hand slid into the open shirt and Borodin arched back against his shoulder with a gasp.

"So sensitive," Ramius murmured approvingly. He nibbled gently on Borodin's earlobe while his hands explored the bared chest through the gaping shirt. Almost accidentally, his fingers brushed over one small brown nipple. The man in his arms moaned softly, so he repeated the gesture. Receiving the same response, he lavished his attention, and his caresses, on both erect nipples for several minutes. His mouth shifted to lick and suck on the pulsepoint beating so frantically just under the strong jaw. Murmuring unintelligibly, Borodin turned his head, blindly seeking.

Ramius drew back, regarding the face turned up to his. Eyes shuttered, cheeks flushed with arousal, somehow simultaneously erotically charged and heartrendingly innocent, it drew from him a tenderness he didn't know he still owned. Ramius hesitated only a moment before leaning in to press his lips against their tempting counterparts. Borodin's whimper was lost in the meeting of their mouths. So alike, this, and so different from kissing a woman. He could feel the slight rasp of incipient stubble, and wondered how his own mustache and beard felt to Borodin. Daring, his tongue darted out to take advantage of the slightly parted lips. The taste of the man was appealing -- a little tea, a touch of vodka, and something else which spoke simply of maleness and of Borodin himself. As if he somehow tasted the meaning of the man. By the time he drew back, he was panting, and only partially from lack of breath.

He nuzzled at the base of Borodin's neck, gently coaxing him around to face forward again as he did so. Then Ramius rested his chin on Borodin's shoulder, and watched his own hands run lightly down the man's chest to take hold of the fastening of his trousers. The work of a moment to open it from this familiar angle, to tug down the zipper and peel the flaps aside. He slid both hands under the elastic of soft white shorts, feeling first the crisp brush of body hair and finally the softest of skin encasing the hardest of flesh. Borodin groaned, pressing his head back hard into Ramius's shoulder as he was taken into the tender grip of strong hands.

Ramius carefully closed his fingers around the rigid organ, fighting the uncertainty. The first cock other than his own he had ever touched, but not so different, he realized. A tentative stroke down its length produced a choked moan from Borodin. Encouraged, Ramius closed his fist around the erection and began a steady stroking. If the cabin had not been soundproofed, the sounds which escaped Borodin then would have made him distinctly nervous. The movement of his hand uninterrupted, Ramius took a slow visual survey of the body trapped between his arms and the bunk. Borodin's white shirt hung loosely from his shoulders, his tanned chest exposed. His trousers gaped open, Ramius' hands moving under the concealment of his underwear. His back arched, head tossing side to side, hips beginning to sway under the encouragement of Ramius' fingers. But what struck Ramius hardest was Borodin's own hands, lying to his sides, palms up. The defenseless submission of the posture disturbed him.

With a last, longing caress, Ramius removed his hands and lay back on the bunk. Borodin remained unmoving for several minutes, the only sound his harsh panting. Finally, he turned to shyly meet his captain's gaze. Ramius smiled and began to slowly unbutton his shirt, his eyes never leaving Borodin's. Warm fingers covered his before he had two buttons undone. Borodin twisted to kneel up on the bench and brought Ramius' hands to his lips. He kissed the back of each finger and brushed his lips over each palm, then gently pressed Ramius' arms to the bunk at his sides. Borodin took over the task of undressing Ramius.

Each button slipped out of the fabric's embrace with ease and Ramius felt remarkably light-headed as the material divided before the gentle assault. Borodin spread open the shirt and lay his palms on Ramius's lightly furred chest. Hands pressed firmly as they ran up over his ribcage to his shoulders and back down, pausing only momentarily to tease aching nipples. Ramius moaned his pleasure, enjoying the spark of arousal that danced in Borodin's eyes at the sound.

His pants were next; the fastenings opened with flattering haste. He obligingly lifted his hips to allow Borodin to pull the material down his thighs. It was not safe on this ship to undress fully, much as he was certain both of them would have liked. Breath and reason fled suddenly under the onslaught of Borodin's mouth. Ramius was sucked deep into a hot cavern, surrounded by liquid pleasure. He threw his head back, a moan escaping his throat. One hand crept down to feather through Borodin's short dark hair, not guiding his movements, merely following them. Ramius drowned pleasantly in the gentle suction, almost unaware of the fingers which pinched and rolled his nipples in counterpoint. His hips moved to Borodin's command, thrusting deeper into the welcoming throat.

Ramius tugged hard on the hair tangled in his fingers, resolutely pulling Borodin's head away before he'd taken his fill of the sweet luxury of his mouth. The other man looked up questioningly, the edge of sudden anxiety dulled by Ramius' gentle smile.

"Take off your shoes, Vassily, and come here."

"There is no room," Borodin objected softly, though he obeyed with alacrity.

"There is enough." Ramius held open his arms. The narrow bunk was only barely wide enough for one to sleep on. Ramius had no interest in sleeping at the moment.

Borodin slid sweetly into his arms, his weight settling comfortably onto Ramius' slightly larger body. The rough brush of his trousers against Ramius' exposed cock forced a groan from his throat. Borodin carefully propped himself up on his elbows, looking down at the man in his arms with a worried expression. Ramius chuckled and lifted a hand to pull Borodin down into a highly satisfying kiss. Strong hands wormed under his shoulders to cradle his head, holding him steady to receive Borodin's enthusiastic attentions. He opened his mouth to the eager tongue, following its lead, returning to thrust into the other man's mouth. They shared breath, intimately acquainted with the rise and fall of each ribcage.

Borodin broke off with a sigh. He raised up again to look down at Ramius, his fingers stroking absently through the silvered hair, thumbs brushing over the beard which fleeced a strong jawline. "I never hoped... I never believed..." he shook his head, unable to finish the thought. "I love you, Marko."

"I know," Ramius found his voice unexpectedly husky. He raised a gentle finger to trace the arched brows that had fascinated him for so long, the curve of which occasionally made Borodin look slightly demonic in the indirect lighting of the con. "I've known a long time."

"But you never..."

"It was not the time, or place." He drew the startled man down into another kiss, more passionate than those preceding it. Now was the time for action, not talk. Ramius swept his hands up Borodin's hard-muscled back, sliding them under the shirt to touch the warm body. Their bare chests met, nipples brushing against each other with electric abandon. Borodin's hips undulated, pressing his trapped cock hard against its exposed twin, the intimate massage driving Ramius wild with desire.

Ramius slid his hands under the waistband of Borodin's trousers and pushed them down to his knees. Sliding smoothly up the back of powerful thighs, his hands closed on the firm globes of Borodin's ass and pulled him close. The kiss broke off as both men hissed when their bare cocks brushed for the first time. Erect, sensitive flesh rubbed again, and again. Borodin's head came down, his mouth taking Ramius' to smother the sounds they were both making. One hand remained cradling Ramius' neck; the other slid under their writhing bodies to palm the base of his spine, pressing him up into each downward thrust. Ramius' hands, filled with the bounty of Borodin's buttocks, guided him into each powerful stroke.

It took only a few minutes. The intoxicating thrust of erections, tongues and bodies fed off itself, sending them higher and higher until there was nowhere left to go. Borodin froze suddenly, his loud cry muffled in Ramius' mouth as the pleasure poured out of him. The feel of the hot rush spilling onto his pounding cock and belly send Ramius over the edge as well. His hips bucked wildly as his hands pressed Borodin's spasming ass even harder against him. The white explosion of pleasure filled his senses and he knew no more.

Ramius was cold and alone when he awoke. "Vassily..."

"Here, Marko," Borodin replied before Ramius could finish the mournful sigh. He knelt on the bench and applied a warm wet cloth to Ramius' tender groin, cleaning him up with gentle efficiency. When he was done, he helped Ramius pull up and refasten his trousers, though he left the shirt open, as was his own. He moved away again to drop the damp cloth in the tiny sink.

"Come here." Ramius held out his arms, and Borodin entered them willingly. A few minor adjustments and they were both comfortable. Ramius liked the heavy weight pinning him to the bunk. Perhaps it should have felt suffocating, but he wondered if being surrounded by such warmth and love was not unlike the womb. At any rate it was deliciously pleasant. He lifted a lazy hand to stroke the head which rested so trustingly on his shoulder. "We should do this again."

"What, now?"

Ramius chuckled softly at the mildly offended tone. "No, somewhere with more room." He paused, thinking of their earlier discussion of what they each desired upon reaching America. Borodin had smiled as he claimed to need two wives, knowing he would have none, and Ramius, startled by his reaction to that bittersweet curve of lips, had obliquely chased Vassily away with talk of his dead wife. He was ashamed he'd used her as a shield against this man's love. "Montana, perhaps."

Borodin's head came up so suddenly he nearly knocked it against the bulkhead. His startled eyes searched Ramius' frantically. "You mean that? You would come with me?"

"I somehow doubt I have any choice." Ramius pressed his palm to Borodin's breast, curving around the left side of the broad ribcage, feeling under it the steady beat of his heart. "You have my heart," he explained simply, ignoring Borodin's sudden gasp. "As I cannot live without it, I shall have to follow you."

"Ah, it is an even trade then," Borodin replied when he could catch his breath, "for you have mine as well." He let his head rest back on Ramius' shoulder with a sigh, and lay listening to the heartbeat he had just claimed for his own. Ramius returned to stroking his hair. With a few sleepy shifts making their embrace, if possible, even closer, they slowly surrendered themselves to sleep.

Ramius--is that a smile? Borodin--he's smiling, I know it.

Habit kicked in to wake Ramius near the end of his sleep shift. He swam slowly up out of the mists of slumber, aware of the warm weight pressing him to the bunk almost before he remembered his own name. Waking with Borodin wrapped around him seemed perfectly natural, not to mention highly desirable, but there was no time for that now. He had to return to the con, even if Borodin had a few more hours to sleep.

Ramius wiggled very carefully out from under his lover's lax sleepy weight. It was impossible to avoid waking him; not when they were so closely entwined. But when Borodin's eyes blinked slowly open, Ramius merely kissed them closed again with a whispered command to go back to sleep. Either Borodin was more tired than Ramius had anticipated, or simply used to obeying him in all things, for he sighed softly and drifted off again.

Running a little water in the small basin, Ramius cleaned up perfunctorily. He buttoned his shirt, pulled on his shoes and shrugged into his coat. When he once again looked the perfect model of the Russian Submarine Captain, he turned back to the occupied bunk. The interlude was over. From the moment he left his cabin, to the moment they either successfully handed over Red October to the Americans or went to the bottom with her, there would be no rest. The emotions exchanged here had to be set aside until it was once again safe to admit them. Ramius allowed himself a final moment of sentiment. A quick tug freed the blanket, which he pulled up over the sleeping form. He tucked it snugly around Borodin's shoulders and leaned over to gently kiss his soft lips.

"Sleep well, schertze moy." My heart.

Borodin shifted, murmuring sleepily. Ramius smiled to hear his name on the lips of the sleeping man, brushed his cheek against the soft hair, and let himself out of the cabin, locking it behind him.

The bottle of vodka was half-gone, Ramius was half-soused, and neither situation was ideal in the least. Not by a long shot. He needed more vodka, but there wasn't any except that locked in Dr. Petrov's cabin, reserved for purely medicinal purposes. While Petrov was no longer around to deny him access, he very much doubted he could find his way there and back again in his current condition. The door to his cabin opened suddenly, startling him.

"Sorry. I knocked twice." The American, Jack Ryan, peered uncertainly around the door. Though Ramius made no welcoming move, he apparently decided to risk it. The door closed softly behind him.

"Didn't hear you." Ramius' English was more heavily accented than usual, the effect of the vodka. He was neither welcoming nor discouraging; for himself, he couldn't quite decide if he wanted the young man to stay or go away. Ryan seated himself on the far bench. Ramius noticed it was precisely where Borodin had sat during their first wistful discussion of America. A more rational part of him pointed out that there were very few places to sit in the cramped quarters, and only one facing him.

"May I?" Ryan gestured to the bottle of vodka.

"Help yourself." Ramius lay back on the bunk, not quite comfortable with the thoughtful gleam in the other man's eyes. The young American was entirely too perceptive. From afar, he'd reasoned out Ramius' intentions too close for comfort, what he could do in person didn't bear thinking on. Ramius didn't like to let Ryan read his eyes.

"Does your shoulder hurt?"

"Not anymore." That, at least, was true. Amazing what enough alcohol could do, even for a bullet through the shoulder. Funny, that it seemed to have no power to lessen the other pain which ripped at his guts.

Ramius' curt answers seemed to have silenced the American, at least temporarily. He returned to the morass of his own thoughts.

My fault. Should have double-checked the roster. Shouldn't have relied on Dr. Petrov to make certain all the crew was off. My fault my fault my fault my fault...

His mind, sadistic bugger that it was, replayed the whole thing again. The sudden shove and sound of gunfire, the rush of adrenaline which his body almost mistook for excitement. Then the look on Borodin's face as he subsided suddenly to the floor. Ramius grabbing him, taking hold of the jacket and tearing it open. The oddly joyful tinkle of brass buttons on the deck and the crimson stain which spread too rapidly over the purity of white. He had known immediately there was nothing to be done. His hand pressed firmly over Borodin's heart, exactly as it had only hours earlier, this time feeling not the strong living beat, but the faltering pulse of the dying. And Borodin, eyes locked on his to the last, whispering how he would like to have seen Montana, his clear gaze saying what the words before an audience could not. He had caught Borodin's head as it fell back, lowered him tenderly to the deck, as if he could still be injured by the fall.

If the silo-hatch warning had not gone off then, he would never have budged from Borodin's side, come what may. But they were all looking to him for what to do, and suddenly all he could think of was finding and killing the spy who murdered his lover. He had gone off after the man not to save his ship, but for revenge. And some part of him must have wanted to die, for he had carelessly walked into an obvious ambush. All it had earned him was a bullet in the shoulder, poor second to the death he craved, and the necessity of waiting for another to carry out the revenge that was his alone. He had heard the shots, tasted them and the bitter knowledge that it was done. It had not helped.

"You were close." Ryan's pronouncement was soft, but sure for all that.

Ramius' head jerked up to meet the American's knowing gaze. There was no point in lying, or pretending to misunderstand, his reaction had already told Ryan all the truth he needed to know. "Yes."

"I'm sorry." And he poured another measure of vodka into Ramius' cup. The ex-Captain of the Red October drained it in one swift gulp and held it out for more. Silently, Ryan poured the vodka.

Ramius tried to get a handle on his feelings. Why so hard? It had been so short a time he had held Borodin's precious gift. It did not seem right that the death of this man should hurt so much more than that of his wife of thirty years. Perhaps it was the sting of something lost, the potential of which had never been fully realized.

He knew his wound was not bad. Men survived such injuries every day. Men died from less every day. The will to live was all. He wondered if he had it in him. Victory against the Russian fleet had turned to ashes in his mouth, the promised glories of America tawdry baubles not worth the effort. This one man's death, so close to safety, had made of all his noble pretensions mere base lies. Ramius gulped his vodka and lusted after the surcease of pain in the silence of the grave.

Unbidden, his eyes rose to regard Ryan. Dark-haired, like his Vassily, but with light eyes, so penetrating, conniving. Not like Vassily. Vassily was trust itself, loyalty to a fault. Not a blind loyalty, but an unswerving one. He had made it all possible, this mad venture into escape. If he was afraid, he never showed it; if he doubted, he kept it to himself; if he disagreed, he was bound never to say so except in the mildest of manners. Those broad shoulders had supported Ramius' bid for freedom. That broad body had covered and protected his in the extremity of pleasure and the sudden onset of violence.

Ramius closed his eyes and conjured the memory of Borodin's body. Laying on this bunk, the hard weight pressing down upon him. Unsought came the memory of being shoved aside in the con as Borodin came between him and the gunman. As Borodin sacrificed his own life for his lover's. Tears sheened his eyes when he reopened them to meet Ryan's squarely.

"What will you do in America?" Ryan asked, correctly guessing that the most dangerous moment had passed. Ramius wondered cynically if Ryan was truly concerned about him, or only for the information he could give the United States, and what he had been prepared to do to see Ramius got there safely. It no longer mattered.

Borodin had taken Ramius' heart with him into the silence of the grave. He had also given his own into Ramius' safekeeping. He could no more stop that heart from beating than he could have knowingly destroyed Borodin himself. Borodin's sacrifice was too precious to be thrown away.

"I think... I shall live in Montana."


Vassily and Marko
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