Title: REMIX 1
Warnings: Angst, graphic sex
Tatiana was dead. It had been three months since she passed away and her daughter, Amelie, was born. In his overwhelming grief, Pierre had struggled to take care of their child, but at times the baby’s likeness to her mother caused Pierre tremendous sadness, and he had a great deal of trouble looking after her. He’d never been very good at anything that required dedication and diligence, and taking care of a baby was no easy feet. The Hirleas pitched in as much as they could, but they were equally stricken by the tragedy and struggled with their feelings of attachment to the child and loathing of the father. For Tatiana’s funeral, Dragomir’s two living brothers, Marius and Razvan, traveled to the capital to take part in the mourning.
Dragomir had been feeling weak and drained ever since he’d returned from the war. After being sounded by the death of war for so long, he’d longed more than anything to return to his family, but Tatiana’s death which followed his return almost immediately pushed him to his limits, and he felt emotionally broken. Even Viorica was unable to console him, and work was a chore at best. To see Pierre struggle to take care of Tatiana’s baby broke his heart, but he felt incapable of providing support. He felt numb inside, and didn’t want to become attached.
By the time the cold month of December came around, Marius had already taken his leave and only Razvan lingered. He was planning to leave the morning of the fifth, and on the evening of the fourth, when they all sat down to eat, he posed a question.
“Pierre,” Razvan addressed him evenly, “I wanted to ask you about the baby...” Dragomir looked up distantly from his food, only slightly interested. Viorica kept her head down. Since Tatiana’s death, she hadn’t once looked at Pierre. She blamed both him and the baby for the loss of her sister, and was eager to get away from them both after her graduation. "How are things going...for both of you?"
Pierre tensed at the question, his grip tightening on his utensils as he pointedly didn't look up at his inlaws. He knew that no one wanted him around anymore; now they didn't even have to tolerate him for Tatiana's sake. But like hell he was going to give up now, like hell he was going to let the one thing that ever mattered in his life be ruined. True, he hadn't really ever been good at anything long-term before, but, this time, he was going to show them. He was going to take care of the baby Tatiana had given her life for, and he didn't need their help.
"Fine," he finally answered through clenched jaws. Ever since Tatiana had passed away, he had been finding it harder to come up with his characteristic biting responses and acerbic remarks, and had eventually given up, speaking only sometimes when he was spoken to, and only in short, concise answers. Staring pointedly at his plate, he stabbed at his food rather viciously but didn't make any attempt to eat it. He hadn't been very hungry, lately, anyway, and the baby needed everything that he could give her.
Razvan regarded Pierre carefully for a moment without speaking before continuing cautiously. “I’m asking because I’m a little worried about you both.” He was treading on dangerous ground, and he knew it. Dragomir looked at his younger brother sharply, wondering what he was getting at. “I think the baby would be better off somewhere else.” Razvan concluded pointedly. Dragomir let his fork drop. He’d made no effort to regain any of his manners since his return because it now longer seemed worth it to him. Viorica had jumped at the noise, but was now doing her best to ignore everyone again. Razvan glanced uneasily at Dragomir, also startled by the sound, and suddenly felt the need to justify himself; not to Pierre, but to Dragomir. “I was just thinking that it might be better if…If I took the baby with me tomorrow.” He explained. When Dragomir said nothing, he continued hurriedly, “I already have three children, and I’m sure my wife wouldn’t mind another little girl. We’d raise her as our own, and I know she’d be better off with a real family…I think it’s what Tatiana would want for her baby.”
Pierre looked up sharply, suddenly locking eyes with the younger Hirlea brother. His initial reaction was one of rage; how dare they try and take Tatiana's baby, his baby away? And what did he mean, real family? As he stared down Razvan for a moment, however, he realized that it was a look of melancholy that stared back at him, and he began to soften. Would that be what Tatiana would have wanted? It was true, he couldn't give her the care that her mother could have; he knew nothing of parenting, and he knew he was struggling. The last thing that he wanted was for bad things to befall the child of his late wife because of any deficiency of his.
Now in mental turmoil, Pierre looked abruptly back at his plate, not knowing what to say. He clenched his jaw and stabbed angrily, feeling positively upset.
“How dare you!” Dragomir said sharply. “A real family? It would do you well to remember the condition in which you were raised.” Defending Pierre was not his intention, but the notion that Razvan considered his family inferior to a more conventional one was thoroughly insulting. “Five siblings.” Dragomir spat. “I raised each of you myself, and I’d be damned if I didn’t help Pierre take care of his baby. I will not allow you to take Tatiana’s child.”
Razvan was stunned into subdued silence and looked down ashamedly. Viorica than glared viciously at Dragomir; she would have been happy to see the baby go.
Pierre was thoroughly shocked when Dragomir stood up for him, and he couldn't help but stare at his brother-in-law. It had never occurred to him the eldest Hirlea would give a damn whether his child lived or died, and so his outburst was completely unexpected. He could do nothing more than look at Dragomir for quite some time, trying to figure out what was going on behind those deep grey eyes, but finally, he gave up at returned to himself. "Do what you want," he said slowly. "I guess." But this time, he didn't look down; he wanted to be sure Dragomir knew that, though he was unsure, he was...well, he was grateful for the thought. After all, before now, he assumed Dragomir would prefer it if he was out of their lives for good.
Dragomir nodded to Pierre, acknowledging his unspoken gratitude before returning to his food. The rest of the meal passed in silence, as did the rest of the evening, and Razvan made the decision to leave early so that he could be home before morning. Everyone then retired early—though Dragomir was still plagued by frequent nightmares of the battlefield, and found it exceedingly difficult to sleep for very long periods of time. Most days he was awake long before dawn, though he generally chose to remain in his room and brood until someone else was awake. He was doing just that when he heard the faint sound of a baby crying from the room next door, Pierre’s room. Getting up slowly, he made his way down the short stretch of hall and knocked loudly on Pierre’s door. “You want help? She needs to be fed.” He called gruffly through the door.
Pierre awoke from a dream about Tatiana to the sound of crying. He cursed softly at the noise and the moistness he found around his own eyes and forced himself out of bed and to the baby. He could never be sure how people knew what babies wanted when they cried; all he heard was crying, and he was envious that Amelie could do it freely. All through this whole, horrible ordeal, he never let anyone see him cry, and he sometime found himself wishing that he could just break down. But, no, he had a duty to do, and he would be damned if he didn't do it.
Pierre carefully picked up the child and held her in his arms, rocking her back and forth for a little while in hopes she would fall back asleep. That was in the midst of failing, however, when he heard a loud knock on his door and heard Dragomir's voice. His immediate response was to bark back something offensive, but he suddenly remembered what had happened the night before. Dragomir had stood up for him, and he definitely had to figure out what exactly was going on with his brother-in-law. So, struggling with the right words, he finally simply replied, "Yes," waiting for Dragomir to let himself in.
Pierre nodded to him slightly and abruptly as he entered, and Pierre couldn't help but feel a tinge of worry about the other man. He looked sleep-deprived and moody, and though Pierre wondered what the hell he was doing, worrying about someone else, he couldn't help but think that maybe Dragomir needed some help, himself. He remained silent, however, as he let Dragomir accept the baby, and looked on a moment before speaking. "Did you mean what you said last night?"
Dragomir cast about silently for a bottle, and, locating one, began to feed the baby. “Yes.” He said after a few minutes. “I’ll do my best to help.” The baby suckled hungrily at the bottle now, making contented cooing sounds. Dragomir nearly allowed a fond smile to break through his stern continence, but forced it back and made his expression stern. “You should know, however, that I’m not doing this for you. I’m doing it for Tatiana.” He said coldly.
Pierre rolled his eyes, crossing his arms as he watched Dragomir and his daughter. "I didn't expect any more from you," he replied, and, for a split second, everything almost felt like the old times, when both of them could smile. The feeling faded much more rapidly than Pierre would have liked, however, but Pierre was still left with a feeling of gratitude towards Dragomir. Regardless of his reasons, his brother-in-law was helping him, and that was really something. Suddenly struck with an unusual feeling of awkwardness, Pierre extended his arms, offering "I can take her back now."
Dragomir paused a moment, then slowly placed the baby into Pierre’s arms, waiting patiently until he’d shifted so he could both support the baby and hold her bottle. “You know,” Dragomir started, drawing back away from their momentary obligatory closeness, “I don’t really sleep much anymore. I can help take care of her at night especially, since I’ll be working most of the day...”
"If that's what you want to do," Pierre replied distantly, paying more attention to Amelie than Dragomir. "I haven't gotten much sleep lately, either." Soon, the child finished drinking, and seemed to be drifting back to sleep. Pierre rocked her softly, wearing a loving expression that he had previously only reserved for Tatiana. It was strange, but, for the moment, it seemed as if things weren't as bad as they really were. He was enveloped in a bubble of contentedness, protected from the harsh reality a few minutes would bring, and he didn't stop to think that Dragomir was inhabiting his bubble, too.
Their new arrangement worked out well, for the most part. Dragomir’s mood was beginning to improve; the baby helped him to keep his mind off of the unpleasant subject of death and focus on the beauty of life. Even in the long hours he spent alone at night, he could always content himself by watching little Amelie sleeping peacefully. Pierre too benefited. Now that he was able to get a full night’s sleep, Dragomir noticed a marked improvement in his ability to watch over the baby and tend to her daily needs. It was in this hopeful fashion that the better part of two months passed. Viorica graduated from school and began working. The additional money of course further eased Dragomir’s disposition and he seemed to be returning to himself—though the death still hung heavily over everyone, and it was more likely that Dragomir was simply finding it easier to pretend to be cheerful. Pierre’s emotions were as guarded as ever, but Dragomir couldn’t help but feel a tinge of worry for his brother-in-law. They’d been keeping themselves busy of late, and on principle, Dragomir rarely spoke to Pierre except on matters regarding the baby. This made it doubly hard to tell how he was doing, and caused Dragomir to worry slightly. Out of everyone, he knew it was Pierre who struggled most with Tatiana’s death.
Dragomir walked slowly home from work in the cool February evening. He was lost in his thoughts as he went over details; everything from the mundane chores such as cooking, and what he would prepare, to the dilemma he faced regarding Pierre. Dragomir had been thinking for sometime now that it would be advantageous to both of them if he could manage to treat Pierre decently. The thought still disgusted him, but he knew he’d have to do it eventually, and he wanted to start by trying to speak with him about something trivial. Light conversation seemed to be the best way to initiate some sort of…anything. It didn’t really matter to Dragomir, but getting Pierre to be a bit more open and opening up a bit to the other himself were Dragomir’s long term goals.
Dragomir entered the house abruptly and made his way straight to the kitchen to prepare a hasty dinner. Once the food was in the oven, he left to find Pierre. “Pierre,” He said abruptly, opening the door to his room with out knocking. “I think we ought to talk.”
Over the months that had passed, Pierre had only slightly started to feel better. He was getting more sleep, and he was starting to feel even slightly more sufficient in taking care of his daughter, but, emotionally, he was still a wreck. It had been months, now, and he still had dreams and nightmares about his dead wife, he still woke up with tears in his eyes. There were times when he couldn't even look at his own child because of the way she reminded him of Tatiana, and that broke him inside. On top of it all, Viorica was absolutely hostile to him, and Dragomir was just acting strange. He couldn't read what his brother-in-law was ever thinking, and he was beginning to feel indebted to him for all the help he gave in taking care of Amelie. He wished he could find out what Dragomir had been thinking, but he couldn't bring himself to talk to the man. In fact, he had been trouble even being hostile lately, he was feeling somewhat awkward around the other man.
When Dragomir burst into his room, Pierre had been crying. He had just been putting the baby to bed when her tiny sleeping face had reminded him too much of Tatiana, he had broken down, slumped against the wall. He had been trying to get a hold of himself when the door had been thrown open, and he stood quickly, trying to seem as if he hadn't been crying. "Brother-in-law," he addressed evenly, taking a deep breath to keep a steady voice. "What do you want to talk about?"
“I don’t know, but I think we need to talk about something.” Dragomir said quickly, feeling thoroughly lame and blushed a little for it. “You know…just about something. About nothing. I don’t care. I think we need to talk though.” He concluded, crossing his arms over his chest. He regarded Pierre for a moment, and noticed the redness of his eyes, and the unease of his posture. Realizing that Pierre had probably been crying, Dragomir bit his lip and turned away. “Listen…” he said slowly, his voice softening as he looked back at the other, “If there’s anything you want to talk about, let me know. I-I don’t mind listening.”
Pierre was suddenly possessed with some of his former acerbity, and spat, "Why would I want to talk to you?" As soon as it was out of his mouth, however, he regretted it. It was bizarre that he should regret saying something like that, and he was thoroughly confused by the feeling, but he knew he had to say something else before Dragomir got the wrong idea. "No-that's not true," he recanted hurriedly, wondering exactly what idea he wanted Dragomir to get, anyway, but continued anyway. "I agree. We should talk." He paced a few steps, and then gestured vaguely. "You can come in, if you want. Shut the door behind you. Don't want to wake Amelie." As Dragomir came inside, Pierre fidgeted, feeling thoroughly awkward. He felt as if he wanted to open up to his brother-in-law, but he wasn't sure why, and it was unnerving.
Dragomir bristled at the hostility his openness had received and opened his mouth to respond with an equal amount of harshness, stopping only when Pierre took back his comment. Cooling down, Dragomir stepped inside and shut the door behind himself carefully. “Pierre…” Dragomir said his name for want of anything better and tried to think of something worth brining up. “Dinner’s in the oven so…we can go eat in a few minutes.” He said lamely looking around the room. Then, thinking things over he realized there was something he wanted to tell Pierre for a long time. “It probably won’t make much difference to you, but I’m sorry about how Viorica and I act towards you… It’s just been difficult for us to accept you… I hope it will change in time, though.” Dragomir felt as though a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. Saying that now felt like he was clearing his conscience, and even if Pierre shot it down with another caustic remark, Dragomir knew he would feel at least a little better.
Pierre was stunned speechless by Dragomir's apology. He was... he was sorry for the way they had acted...? It simply blew Pierre away to think that Dragomir might actually treat him civilly, might not hate him... it sent his mind reeling. Finally finding words, Pierre managed, "I... hope so, too...Dragomir." Somehow, it felt better to add his name on the end; more personal... softer. Hesitantly, he offered a small quirk of his lips; not quite a smile, but something. They had to start with something.
Noticing the slight change in his expression, Dragomir smiled back and then looked down. “I’m going to try.” He said resolutely, nodding a little as he looked back up at Pierre. “I think dinner is probably ready now…” Dragomir said slowly, hoping to change the subject to a little les personal matter. “Are you ready to go…?”
"Yeah," Pierre responded, "Yeah, let's go." He followed Dragomir out of his room, shutting the door behind them, not realizing that this was the first time he had gone somewhere with someone since Tatiana's funeral.
The next month or so passed more quickly than those previous, and Pierre was actually beginning to feel something other than sadness some of the time. He and Dragomir spoke more often now than was strictly required by business, and, though their conversations were always short and punctuated by awkwardness, it seemed as if it was doing something to relieve Pierre of his suffocating grief. Perhaps it was only because of two people's care, instead of one, but even Amelie was seeming happier; crying less and spending more of her time awake playing cheerfully. Her pleasantness also seemed to be helping both Pierre's and Dragomir's mood, smiling back at the child.
On one such occasion, Amelie had just fallen asleep without much fuss, and Pierre was preparing to put her to bed. As he set her down, he asked quietly to Dragomir, who had come to see if he needed any help, "Could you hand me her blanket? It's on the shelf."
“Sure thing.” Dragomir smiled with a nod, retrieving the blanket and holding it out for Pierre. As Pierre accepted the blanket, Dragomir felt Pierre’s hand brush lightly across his own and blushed lightly in response to the minute contact. He looked away quickly, berating himself for having such a fickle, childish reaction to something so average. People’s hands accidentally touched all the time, and just because Dragomir and Pierre had never actually touched skin to skin didn’t mean it would never happen.
Upon realizing that his hand had touched Dragomir's, Pierre quickly grasped the blanket and turned his back to Dragomir, arranging it around the child. He could feel a hot blush burning his cheeks, but he couldn't figure out why. Their hands had brushed, that's all that had happened; why was he reacting so strangely to it? Sure, he had never made real skin to skin contact with anyone besides Tatiana and the child for years, but what was the big deal? It wasn't as if it meant anything, it was just an accidental brush. But yet, obviously it was more important than that, because here he was, acting like an idiot about it.
Suddenly, Pierre came to another realization: when they had touched, Dragomir hadn't shied away from him, the way he always had before when they were near to one another. The thought made Pierre blush again, and he struggled to think of a response. Just so that Dragomir didn't think he was being strange, of course. Managing to fight his face back to a normal expression, he righted himself and turned back around to face Dragomir. "Thanks," he replied steadily, offering an awkward half-smile.
“Y-You’re welcome.” Dragomir blinked back, momentarily taken aback by Pierre’s uncharacteristic courtesy. After a split second’s hesitation however, Dragomir returned the smile. After that little moment of awkwardness Dragomir had privately endures, Pierre’s graciousness was a relief from his unusual preoccupation with the contact.
After that incident, the two of them ceased to shy away from the accidental exchange of touches, and over the next month, Dragomir found it increasingly easier to relax around Pierre. The joint task of taking care of the baby had smoothed over their loathing for one another, and Dragomir felt indebted to Amelie for being the catalyst to their resolved differences.
Dragomir was awake in the early hours of the morning one night, and was reflecting on the past. It had been over six months since Tatiana’s death, and though her passing still weighed heavily on his heart, he felt that for the most part, he’d been able to move on. He was devoted to little Amelie, and in away, his affections for his little sister had be transferred to her baby.
Leaning back against the wall adjacent to his bed, Dragomir allowed his thoughts to wonder. He felt himself begin to slip off to sleep again, and let his head lull against his shoulder as he started to drift. As sleep was about to claim him, however, he heard the faintest noise through the wall and started, blinking and shaking his head to clear it. From the other side of the wall—Pierre’s room, Dragomir could just barely make out the sound of stifled crying. Dragomir chewed at his lip, torn between two different courses of action. He didn’t think there was much he could do to help Pierre through his grief, but Dragomir couldn’t stand to simply ignore the other’s agony. Getting up slowly, Dragomir made his way out of his room, down the hall and to Pierre’s door, which he opened slowly before cautiously peering inside.
Pierre was indeed crying, and Dragomir felt his heart wrench to see him in such pain. Dragomir walked carefully over to where Pierre sat, hunched over, and eased himself down next to Pierre. Hesitantly, Dragomir slipped an arm over Pierre’s shoulders, pulling the other gently so that he could lean against him.
Pierre had awoken that night from a terribly realistic dream, his mind had once more pictured Tatiana alive and happy and when he awoke the brutal reality, he couldn't help but cry. Dreams like this plagued him night after night, wrenching his heart out and forcing him to feel the loss over and over and over again. Lately, their frequency had dwindled, but that didn't make them any less painful when they still occurred. He tried to fight back the tears squeezing his eyes shut and trying to go back to sleep, but it was of no avail. His heart throbbed, his mind reeled, and he broke down.
He fought back the sobs to the best of his ability; the last thing he needed right now was to wake anyone, especially Amelie. Slowly, he made his way over to where she slept, making sure he had not already awoken her and was glad to find her sleeping blissfully. Still, being awake in the sleeping house only seemed to amplify his feeling of being alone, and he crumpled to the floor, hugging his knees to his chest and leaning against the wall, sobbing wretchedly.
Time passed, he wasn't sure how much, but the tears didn't subside. They would slow down only to be reawakened by the vivid images as the dreams and memories played back in his head. He wasn't sure how he was going to make it through the night when he felt an arm wrap around him and pull him close. Starting, he looked up with bleary eyes to see Dragomir, smiling empathetically at him. Pierre looked at him a moment, and then suddenly the crying came back full force, and he buried his face in Dragomir's shoulder without thinking.
Slowly, the tears began to subside; Dragomir's comforting embrace seemed to ward them away, and finally, Pierre drew back slightly, looking at the other man. Unsure of why he had come in the first place but sure that it had made a difference, he thought a moment, then hesitantly whispered, "Thank you."
Dragomir nodded softly and rubbed Pierre lightly on the back. He would be willing to sit for as long as Pierre needed him to, and the fact that Pierre’s tears had at least momentarily subsided gave Dragomir hope that he was making at least a slight difference. It was then that Dragomir realized that that was what he hoped to do; make a difference for Pierre. Initially, Dragomir had felt as though he’d owed it to Tatiana and her baby to help Pierre, but he now felt that he owed Pierre all the emotional support he was able to give. He wanted to help Pierre through all that happened and through his troubles because Dragomir now acknowledged the meaning he found in being there for someone else.
Pierre relaxed slightly back into the embrace, sniffing piteously. Just having Dragomir there, holding him, was already making him feel a lot better. Only a few seconds after he thought it, however, he was doing an internal double-take. Why was Dragomir making him feel better? That didn't make sense. It must just be that he had been feeling lonely, that he was seeking someone to console him. That must be it. Why else would he want Dragomir to be with him?
Still, no matter the reason, he was glad that Dragomir was there, there was no doubting that, and before he knew what he was doing, he was falling asleep, his head resting on Dragomir's shoulder.
It took a moment for Dragomir to notice Pierre had fallen asleep, but when he did, he couldn’t suppress the little smile of pleasure that slipped onto his lips. Pierre’s changing behavior never ceased to amaze Dragomir, and this…cuteness was no exception.
Pierre awoke the next morning in his bed, and it took him a few minutes to remember what had happened. When he did, he flushed right away, remembering how he had fallen asleep on Dragomir's shoulder and realizing that his brother-in-law must have moved him to his bed. Pierre wasn't so sure why he was so embarrassed by this prospect, but he was brought out of his thoughts abruptly by Amelie, who was beginning to cry, and didn't think about it again.
Another month passed, and Pierre began to find that this stage in his interaction with Dragomir was possibly the most irritating. Every time he touched the other man, he would blush, every time they were in the same room, his heart would speed up, every time Dragomir spoke to him, he was rendered speechless. It just downright stupid, what was wrong with him? Sure, he felt a little indebted to his brother-in-law for helping him with the baby and all, but this was overreacting! He desperately hoped it would pass soon, because it was getting in his way, and he didn't want to face any of the real meaning that may have been (probably wasn't, he convinced himself) behind it.
One good thing, however, was that he was able to recover a tiny bit of his former personality, he could sometimes come up with annoyed remarks to Dragomir when he was left with nothing else to say. Now, however, the lines were delivered with a half-smile, and he was sure Dragomir could tell that he didn't really mean any of it. It almost seemed that when he said "Go away," it meant "stay," when he said "Leave me alone," it meant "I want your company," when he said "Mind your own business," it meant "help me." Still, he didn't want to confront what it would mean if he should say, "I hate you," and so he never said it, and avoided thinking about it all together.
That night one month ago and that singular event brought the two of them closer than ever before, but at the same time, it made everything much more difficult. One the one hand, Dragomir was glad to see that some of Pierre’s former…character had since revived, and he was especially happy that they now seemed close enough that Pierre’s words no longer stung. Instead, Dragomir found his antics amusing. However, Dragomir had also noticed a subtle, but disconcerting change in Pierre; oftentimes, he seemed thoroughly embarrassed by even the slightest and most insignificant interaction. The difference was slight, and normally Dragomir would ignore such behavior, but for the past month, he’d been unable to ignore anything about Pierre.
These days, consciously or unconsciously, Dragomir noticed everything Pierre did or said, and Dragomir even began noticing details about the way he dressed or acted. Dragomir tried not to think about him, but it was becoming more and more difficult, and he found that Pierre was almost always on his mind. As worrisome as that problem was, it did not seem to be the most pressing. Dragomir had, after much contemplation, decided on something very drastic. He realized that he found Pierre attractive. It was a terrible realization, with horrible and inconceivable implications; namely the fact that Dragomir had fallen for his sister’s husband. It was incestuous, it was wrong, but nothing could be done other than to stifle any thoughts or feelings he had on the matter.
Dragomir had been reflecting on this new goal as he set about preparing dinner, and as he slipped the dish into the oven, his thoughts turned away from his goal and once again to Pierre. Mentally slapping himself, Dragomir tried to clear his mind and focus. However, as he had now finished all of his obligations in the kitchen, there was nothing to divert his attention. Washing his hands off quickly, Dragomir straightened up the kitchen before exiting the cramped room and heading over to their mock-foyer where Pierre was seated. Viorica was out, so it would be just the two of them for awhile.
“Hey.” Dragomir smiled, taking a seat. “Dinner’s going to be ready in an hour.” He stated as he made himself comfortable. Then looking over at the other he asked, “What are you doing?”
Of course Dragomir had to ask that first, he always said or did the worst thing possible for Pierre to remain calm. What he had been doing was thinking about Dragomir, and, now that he realized it, he scolded himself, blushing. What was he doing, sitting around and thinking about Dragomir, anyway? He didn't have any business doing that.
"Nothing," he finally managed to reply, fighting down his blush and offering Dragomir a cockeyed half-smile. He tried hard to appear nonchalant, but even as he looked Dragomir in the eye, the thought faded from his mind. Suddenly, all that he could process were those deep grey eyes looking into his, the most gorgeous eyes he had ever seen, and -
Wait! This was his brother-in-law he was thinking about! He was absolutely not supposed to be thinking Dragomir's eyes were gorgeous or anything of the sort! But, really, there was no denying it; there they were, beautiful and caring, and all of a sudden, it felt as if some gravitational force was pulling him towards Dragomir. He knew he must have been staring and he knew Dragomir must have thought him strange, but then all of those thoughts were suddenly out of his mind, and then his eyes were fluttering shut and then, without any warning whatsoever, he was kissing Dragomir.
He didn't know what he was doing, but it was happening, and it was amazing. It seemed as if nothing had ever felt this right in his entire life, or at least not since Tatiana died, and he wanted this moment to last forever, he wanted more.
And then he realized what exactly he was doing, and he pulled away suddenly. Clapping his hands over his mouth, he looked, horrified at himself, at Dragomir, unsure of what to do. "Oh...my...God..." He wanted to run, he wanted to hide, but he was glued to the spot, and so he waited for Dragomir to hate him, because, after that, how could he do anything but hate him?
Dragomir stared stupidly at Pierre and unconsciously brought his hand to his lips lightly as if he were trying to confirm what had just happened. Pierre had just kissed him, right? He hadn’t made that up? He wasn’t imagining things? Judging by the look on Pierre’s face, it had really just happened. Dragomir reminded himself to breathe and exhaled sharply, dropping his hand back into his lap. He went through the situation in his head quickly and ran his hand through his hair. If Pierre had really just done that, than maybe…maybe Pierre… Maybe Dragomir wasn’t crazy for liking Pierre. If it were mutual then…then maybe everything would work out. Maybe. It still seemed wrong to Dragomir, but he pushed the thought from his head. Right now, just knowing Pierre felt anything at all for him was enough to push him to action. “Pierre…” Dragomir said huskily under his breath as he reached forward and lightly pulled Pierre’s hands from his mouth. Dragomir shivered slightly at the thought of what he knew he was about to do, but as soon as he pushed his lips roughly to Pierre’s, all conscious thought left his mind and he became enveloped in the kiss.
Pierre went stiff with shock, but his body wouldn't allow him to stay that way for long. Before he had even completely registered what was going on, he was melting into the kiss, placing a hand hesitantly on Dragomir's shoulder. After having denied the feelings for so long, it felt like suddenly, a weight was being lifted from his shoulders, and he knew that this was what he wanted. It felt so good, so right, he knew there was no denying it now. He had fallen for Dragomir, he wanted Dragomir, no matter what the circumstances. He knew he was being selfish and he didn't care.
But then they were coming apart for air, and Dragomir looked distinctly torn, and Pierre knew that this was wrong. "We shouldn't be doing this..." he murmured, but he was unable to look at Dragomir as he said it, and when he returned to meet the other man's gaze, his pleading eyes betrayed his words. It didn't have to be wrong, it didn't have to be against the rules, and Pierre didn't think he would be able to tolerate another loss again.
Dragomir looked back into Pierre’s eyes steadily as his morals and desires waged a little battle within his mind. Even though Dragomir knew what he wanted—he wanted Pierre—he also couldn’t help but feel guilty. Physically and emotionally, he wanted and needed Pierre, but mentally, he couldn’t help but feel as though he would be doing something terribly wrong and harmful to his precious memories of Tatiana…
Running it all through his head again, he began making justifications. Tatiana would want the two of them to be happy and to move on, right? Even if it was with each other? He might have been making excuses, but right now, he didn’t care. Right now, Dragomir felt as though he would never be truly happy again if he didn’t seize this moment and take the only opportunity he might ever get. Without consciously realizing it, Dragomir was closing his eyes and pushing forward again. “I don’t care…” Dragomir murmured breathily as he kissed Pierre hard on the lips again and slipped his arm over the other’s shoulders.
Pierre tried not to enjoy it for a moment, tried not to want more, but he knew he couldn't, and he had never been good at holding out. He was sure that somehow, things would work out, and he didn't want to think about it right now; he didn't want to think about anything right now besides Dragomir. He relaxed into Dragomir's arms, wrapping his arms around his neck and mewling slightly into the kiss. If Dragomir didn't care, then he didn't care, and he knew this was what he wanted.
They pulled apart again and Dragomir moved his attentions lower, kissing Pierre lightly on the neck. “I thought…” He started to say but stopped to suck at a spot just beneath Pierre’s ear. “I just assumed that after…” Dragomir trailed and paused, drawing back a fraction of an inch. “That after everything…I…I think I’ve liked you for a while.” He concluded, realizing he hadn’t made much sense. The whole thing didn’t seem to make too much sense however, so Dragomir pushed closer to Pierre, moving his body against the other’s and kissed him again. “Pierre…” Dragomir panted when they separated, “Is…will this be alright?” Dragomir shivered slightly and once again moved to kiss Pierre’s neck. He didn’t know what he’d do if it wouldn’t be alright; it just had to be alright…for both of their sakes.
Pierre nodded quickly, swallowing and trying to find his voice. "I...you..." he tried to start, but his voice came out tight and uneven. "Yes," he finally managed, repressing a breathy sigh, and half-smiled at Dragomir for a second before the feeling overtook him again. Still, he felt he needed to clarify, and so, panting heavily, he added, "I-I think I...I think I love you." He was really coming to the realization himself as the words left his lips, but as soon as they were out, he knew it was the truth. Giving Dragomir a hesitant look, he hoped everything would be all right.
Dragomir paused for a moment and looked into Pierre’s eyes. To hear that simple phrase made the rest of the world, the rest of everything, just disappear. Dragomir’s breath caught in his throat, and he opened and closed his mouth slowly. “I-I love you too.” Dragomir at last managed. Dragomir felt as though he might cry. To say that to Pierre, to admit that at last to the both of them, and to hear that his feelings were returned was emotionally overpowering, and the best Dragomir felt he could do now was to press even closer to Pierre and kiss him deeply, moving his hands down Pierre’s back to rest on his waist as he engaged the other’s mouth hungrily and with added vehemence.
Pierre tightened his arms around Dragomir's neck and pressed up closer against him, kissing back fervidly. It was different, being on the receiving end of such things, but he began to realize that he liked it, and willingly submitted to Dragomir. He wanted to do anything to show the other man how much he cared, and it seemed like he couldn't do enough. He moaned softly into the kiss, he was determined to try.
Dragomir broke the kiss with a smirk and pulled back a fraction of an inch to the point where they could each feel the other’s breath against their skin, tantalizingly close, but not quite touching. Dragomir then moved his hands beneath Pierre’s jacket and eased it down his shoulders before starting forward again and kissing Pierre with renewed intensity. He started blindly undoing the buttons of Pierre’s waistcoat and made a special effort to brush his hands teasingly across Pierre’s waist and chest as his hands worked their way slowly upwards.
Pierre squirmed slightly of his own accord at first in order to aid with the removal of his jacket, but, under Dragomir's skilled touches, began to lose control of his own actions. He was becoming increasingly enveloped in the kiss, as well, making small noises of pleasure against Dragomir's lips. Becoming impatient, he lifted his arms to help unbutton, but kept getting distracted by other things, and so he eventually gave up, instead tangling his fingers in Dragomir's hair, releasing it from the confines of its ribbon and letting it fall handsomely to his shoulders.
Dragomir pulled the vest form Pierre’s shoulders and cast it aside, breaking out of the kiss briefly as he slipped a hand under Pierre’s waistband to extract the hem of his blouse and untuck his shirt. Dragomir then unbuttoned the first few top buttons of the shirt before pressing his mouth to Pierre’s collar bone and sucking at it lightly as he blindly continued unbuttoning his blouse.
Satisfied with the light red mark that was already beginning to form, Dragomir trailed his tongue over Pierre’s sensitive skin, moving lower to the newly exposed skin of his chest. From there, Dragomir teased Pierre’s nipples, lightly liking and biting until he’d completely removed Pierre’s shirt. Dragomir kissed Pierre on the lips again quickly before pulling away just long enough to squirm out of his own jacket and pull open and off his vest with little regard for the buttons. Feeling he could be separated no longer, Dragomir returned to Pierre’s lips, leaving his work at unbuttoning his shirt mostly undone, and pushed inside Pierre’s mouth once again, greedily seeking further exploration.
Pressing up against Dragomir, Pierre moaned and kissed back with fervor, but it still didn't seem like enough. He wanted more contact, he wanted to feel Dragomir's skin against his, so, trembling, he moved to begin unbuttoning Dragomir's shirt himself, pulling at the buttons desperately until they gave and came loose. When the last button finally came undone, Pierre pulled the shirt open hurriedly and then replaced his arms around Dragomir's neck, pressing his body against Dragomir's one more.
Dragomir moaned lightly into the kiss, equally glad for the increased contact. Moving a little closer, he managed to line their hips up favorably to get the friction he craved. Gasping lightly at the sensation, Dragomir broke the kiss and dropped his head to Pierre’s shoulder. “We should…maybe…consider moving…” He grunted before lifting his head to nibble lightly at Pierre’s ear.
Pierre gasped as Dragomir's hips ground against his, tightening his fingers in Dragomir's hair and writhing slightly. He struggled to find his voice, but finally managed to get out a weak "yeah," and nodded quickly. Still, he wasn't eager to pull away, and so he waited for Dragomir to move first.
Tearing himself away from Pierre was no easy feat; Dragomir was reluctant to beak contact with the other for even a second and so, maneuvering slightly, he took hold of Pierre with a fierce kiss and pulled back slowly, grabbing Pierre by the arm and pulling him lightly. Dragomir managed to get his feet onto the ground and pull Pierre to a standing position as well before he became distracted again and pressed against Pierre forcibly. Still, Dragomir knew that if they didn’t get to a bedroom soon, he wouldn’t be able to move, and so steered Pierre lightly towards the hall without breaking the kiss.
They managed to make it part way there that way; stumbling, Pierre backed against the wall between his and Dragomir's doors and Dragomir moved in, pinning him against it. But, after a few moments, the other man pulled away slightly, flinging his door open and pulling Pierre inside before shutting it behind them.
Once inside, Dragomir pushed up against Pierre again forcefully, pressing another hard kiss to his lips as he ran his hands down Pierre’s sides, catching his thumbs on the waist band of the other’s knickers. Dragomir then deepened the kiss, biting lightly as he pressed further inside, and trailed a hand over Pierre’s stomach briefly before pressing against Pierre’s erection through the thick cloth of his knickers. From there, Dragomir began undoing the buttons, working his way teasingly down as his other hand played over Pierre’s chest.
Pierre cried out under Dragomir's teasing touch, squirming uncontrollably and grasping blindly at Dragomir's knickers, trying in vain to remove them. Giving up, he ran his hands across Dragomir's chest before once again entangling his fingers in Dragomir's hair and kissing back desperately.
Dragomir smirked slightly at Pierre’s efforts as he finished with the final button and slid the knickers down off of Pierre’s hips, dragging his hands over Pierre’s thighs as he pressed the other backwards and towards the bed. Dragomir then started undoing his own knickers impatiently, roughly pulling at the cloth.
Pierre fumbled to quickly pull off his shoes and toss them aside before looking back to Dragomir. He looked to be hurrying to remove his remaining clothing, but even so, it felt like forever to Pierre. He whined softly, fidgeting and never taking his eyes off Dragomir, as if that might hurry him up some. He longed for the feeling of Dragomir's skin against his own, and he whimpered again, hoping to get that message across.
Dragomir laughed lightly with sympathy as he at last finished with his knickers and kicked his shoes and remaining garments off and to the floor. He returned to Pierre, pressing their naked bodies together forcefully as he pushed a bruising kiss to Pierre’s lips and ground their hips together, moaning with pleasure into the kiss. Backing Pierre slowly over to the bed, Dragomir pushed him back onto the mattress and crawled over him, once again engaging his lips in a fervid kiss.
Pierre moaned loudly against Dragomir's lips, squirming under him. He was desperate for contact, trying to move in any way so that he could feel Dragomir's skin on his. He thrust his hip up urgently, pressing hard against Dragomir's, and broke the kiss to cry out at the feeling.
Dragomir moaned throatily in response, pressing back against Pierre, desperate to get more friction. Dropping his head down to the bed, Dragomir resituated himself on top of the other, panting lightly. He dragged his nails lightly over Pierre’s chest and down the length of his torso, pausing only briefly before pressing against the sensitive muscle and stroking its length. As Pierre cried out, Dragomir captured his lips in a kiss and ran his tongue over them before pressing inside. Dragomir realized that they were under prepared for what was coming, and knew extra precautions had to be made. With that in mind, he held the kiss for only a short while before pulling back and inserting his middle and ring fingers into the other’s mouth, hoping Pierre would understand what needed to be done.
Pierre was startled when he found Dragomir's fingers in his mouth, but, after a moment, realized what he must be doing. Sucking on the fingers, he ran his tongue over them and mewled softly, vaguely hoping he was doing a satisfactory job. He longed for the return of Dragomir's touch, and the sooner he finished his job, the sooner he could get what he wanted.
Dragomir shifted positions again slightly, pressing against Pierre’s inner thighs as he made preparations. Satisfied, Dragomir withdrew his fingers from the other’s mouth and leaned forward to kiss Pierre, providing a distraction for what was to come. Dragomir pressed a finger carefully against Pierre’s opening, applying an even amount of pressure as he kissed Pierre harder before inserting the first finger. Waiting only a second, Dragomir added the second to stretch the tight muscle.
Pierre squirmed slightly with the discomfort, but tried to relax, and turned his attention to returning the kiss. Having somewhat successfully distracted himself, he kissed back fervidly, murmuring softly against Dragomir's lips.
Breaking the kiss slowly, Dragomir placed a tender kiss on Pierre’s neck before pulling back. “Ready?” He grunted softly, applying a light amount of pressure against Pierre’s thighs and lining himself up carefully. Withdrawing his fingers, Dragomir arched over the other and thrust forward with a single penetrating motion. Pierre was extremely tight, and Dragomir tightened his grip on the other’s hips, inhaling sharply as he squeezed his eyes shut. After a moment, he pulled out slowly, then thrust back in, moaning slightly with pleasure.
Pierre cried out sharply, completely overcome by the feeling of Dragomir inside of him. Clutching the sheets beneath him, his hips bucked involuntarily, meeting Dragomir's thrusts. Letting out a throaty moan, he spread his legs wider and reached up to grab Dragomir's arm, squeezing it tightly.
After the initial stretch, Dragomir was able to build an even pace as Pierre’s tension decreased. Dragomir’s breath was growing raged, and he dipped forward, pressing for more contact with Pierre, his upper body flowing with the grind of his hips. His rhythm established, Dragomir moved a hand from the other’s hip and stroked the length of Pierre’s erection briefly, then encircled it in his fingers and used his thumb to apply pressure to the head before adjusting his hold and pumping in time to his thrusts.
Pierre moaned loudly, thrusting up into Dragomir's hand. He gripped Dragomir's arm tighter and rocked his hips up, allowing Dragomir to penetrate even deeper. Gasping through heavy breathing, Pierre realized that he had been moaning Dragomir's name, and cried it out again as another burst of pleasure washed through his body.
Pierre’s vocalization was arousing to say the least, and Dragomir moaned back huskily in response, a new level of ecstasy overcoming him as Pierre arched up more readily to meet his thrusts. The slight change in tempo caused the cheap wooden bed beneath them to groan loudly, almost matching the volume of their own cries of elation, though neither noticed as both were wrapped up in the overpowering sensations. Grunting, Dragomir picked up the pace with added urgency, adjusting the angle of his strokes slightly as he drove deeper, hoping to increase his accuracy and further pleasure Pierre.
As Dragomir thrust harder, deeper inside of him, Pierre couldn't help but get louder, pressing up against Dragomir desperately. The final increase in pace was enough to send him over the edge and he came with a strangled cry, overwhelmed by the feeling of pure ecstasy.
The spasming of Pierre’s muscles around him drove Dragomir crazy with intoxicating pleasure, pushing him over the brink. He came, moaning Pierre’s name through his ragged breathing, and collapsed against Pierre as he regained his breath. Withdrawing slowly, Dragomir rolled off of Pierre and pulled the other gently into his arms, pressing a soft kiss to Pierre’s lips, into which he murmured exhaustedly, “I love you.”
Pierre's vision returned to him slowly, and he snuggled into the warmth of Dragomir's arms contentedly. "I love you, too," he murmured softly, resting his head against Dragomir's chest and drifting off to sleep feeling truly happy for the first time in a very long time.
Dragomir opened his eyes slowly, blinking in the bright morning light. He was surprised to see that it was already morning, as he hadn’t once woken up during the night. For the first time in years it seemed, he felt completely at ease, fully rested, and satisfied with the world and everything around him. Rolling onto his side, he smiled softly to himself at the other man sleeping contentedly next to him. Dragomir knew he owed all of his new-found contentment to Pierre, and he was filled with an immense gratitude.
Dragomir debated waking Pierre up in variety of ways, but in the end, he decided he was enjoying watching the other sleep and didn’t want to disturb his rest. Dragomir thought that if Pierre felt at all like he did, this was probably one of the few times everything seemed at peace.
As Dragomir lay awake reflecting on the goodness of everything, the door was pushed open delicately, and Viorica stuck her head inside. Forgetting the situation, Dragomir sat up and smiled at her brightly, before realizing that he wasn’t dressed, and pulling a blanket up to his chin.
“Oh, sorry Dragos, I just figured you’d be awake.” She laughed lightly, opening the door a little further and stepping inside the room. “But anyway I was just wondering about the laundry you started in the foyer and…” Her voice trailed off as she caught sight of Pierre’s sleeping form. Immediately, she blushed a violent shade of red, but her expressions quickly moved from embarrassment to disgust, and finally to rage.
“Viorica, I-we-” Dragomir started to explain when he managed to comprehend her reaction.
“I don’t want to hear it!” Viorica shouted. Dragomir knew she was being loud enough to wake Pierre, and glanced quickly to the other before looking back to Viorica.
“No, you don’t-” Dragomir tired again, but was cut off.
“Don’t even say I don’t understand, because I do—you both were just disparate and depraved enough to use each other. I understand completely, but you disgust me Dragos, for lowering yourself to that scum.” Viorica yelled shrilly.
“No I-! Viorica, I love Pierre!” Dragomir roared, getting equally angry. Viorica paused, stunned, and shook with fury.
“Than you’re both incestuous moral whores.” She said coldly. “And neither of you have any respect for Tatiana’s memory.” She turned on her heel and slammed the door so hard that dust fell from the rafters.
Dragomir leaned back against the wall and buried his face in his hands. What could he possibly do now? Surely Pierre had heard every word, and even if he hadn’t, Viorica had made him feel positively horrible about the whole event. He loved Pierre, but did it really have to be at the cost of his reverence for Tatiana?
Pierre had been starting to wake up when he heard the door open and Viorica enter. He became more and more aware as the yelling escalated, and waited a moment to sit up after he heard the door slam. Dragomir looked thoroughly upset, and Pierre's first feeling was to immediately be enraged at Viorica. However, he knew there might be a tiny bit of truth in what she said, and, right now, it was more important to talk to her brother.
"Dragomir," he said evenly, looking at the other man. Dragomir didn't look up, and Pierre hesitated for a moment before continuing. "Dragomir...thank you for standing up for me. I'm...I'm sorry that Viorica is angry with you, and I know it's because she hates me...but because of that, you can't take what she says so badly. Tatiana..." Pierre looked down a moment, gathering his thoughts and building up the strength to talk about her, but continued. "She wasn't like Viorica. She always wanted everyone to be happy...and I don't think she would want you or I to be miserable because she died. I was the selfish one, she never was. I...I can try and talk to Viorica, if you want..."
He trailed, waiting for some response from Dragomir, but none came. After a few minutes passed in silence, his voice grew bitter, and he turned away. "If you don't think things can be all right, then fine. I was stupid to have believed that things could get better, anyway." He rose, giving Dragomir a last bitter look, then began towards the door. Whether or not the rest of his life was going to be miserable, he had to get dressed, and go check on Amelie.
As Pierre started for the door, Dragomir withdrew from his internal state and, panicking, got out of bed, hurriedly pulling a pair of knickers up around his waist as he stumbled after Pierre. Pierre was the one good thing he had in his life now, and even if what he had with the other man came between him and Viorica, he wasn’t going to let it go. Dragomir knew he could work things out with Viorica, but that if he let Pierre slip away now, it would be very difficult to try and achieve this bliss again. Right now, what Dragomir needed was Pierre, and there was no way he’d let anything come between the two of them.
“Pierre,” Dragomir called, catching the other by the shoulder as he just managed to get the lowest button of his knickers closed. “I’m sorry… I just-I wasn’t expecting such a harsh reaction from her... but Pierre, I really do love you…’ Dragomir trailed hesitantly and looked down. He didn’t know if he could smooth over all of her criticisms between the two of them, but he had to do something. “Please believe. I want things to be alright, and I need them to get better.” Looking up abruptly, he stared into Pierre’s eyes. “And I think…I think for that to happen, I need you.” Leaning forward slowly, Dragomir kissed Pierre tenderly on the lips as he tried to remedy the harm that had already been done that morning.
Pierre softened at Dragomir's words and allowed himself to relax slightly into the kiss. He tried to fight it back, but a small smile managed to slip across his lips, And he looked Dragomir back in the eye. "Well, all you needed to do was say so," he replied teasingly, a touch of his normal personality sliding into his words. "It seems to me that things have been pretty close to all right for the past month, and I don't see how they can get much worse. I love you, too, and we'll figure something out. Together," he added hesitantly, but one he said it, he knew it had been the right word. He pecked Dragomir on the cheek, then straightened. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to get dressed and take care of the baby. If you want me to...I can try and talk to Viorica." He offered Dragomir a half-smile, then left the room, feeling much better.
Dragomir smiled after Pierre and watched him walk down the hall before he shut the door. Turning back to his room, Dragomir finished the last of the buttons on his knickers and retrieved his stockings and shoes from the floor, sitting down to pull them on. Thus situated, he located a clean blouse, vest, and jacket, and pulled them on casually as he headed for his door.
Trying not to think of Viorica and simply trust that everything could be handled, he headed down the hall and into Pierre’s room. Pierre had his back to the door and was feeding Amelie, cradling her in his arms gently. Dragomir smiled fondly at the pair of them and strode forward, slipping his arm around Pierre’s wait. “How’s she doing?” Dragomir murmured, placing a light kiss on Pierre’s cheek. “Do you need anything?”
Pierre smiled softly, glancing at Dragomir before turning his attention back to the child. "She's doing fine," he replied, looking fondly at his daughter, "Just hungry. She hasn't eaten since last night." He watched as his daughter finished the bottle, and handed it off-handedly to Dragomir in favour of rocking the baby tenderly. She giggled and waved, bubbling cheerfully. It was just adorable, and Pierre couldn't help but smile. He turned to Dragomir, allowing him to see the baby and the reflected delight in his own expression. "Even she looks so much happier. I think it's thanks to you," he admitted, looking fondly at the child, then back to Dragomir. "Thank you, really, for everything. You've really...made everything so much better. I love you," No matter what happened with Viorica, no matter what life threw at them, just being here with Amelie and Dragomir was enough to make Pierre feel like life was worth living. Amazed by the overwhelming feeling of contentedness which, just months ago, seemed like it would never exist in his life again, Pierre leaned over and pecked Dragomir on the cheek. "Thank you," he whispered softly. Amelie giggled. Dragomir smiled. And Pierre couldn't help but smile, too.