Angelo's Death (PG-13)
Heaven's Mafia (not rated)
Rafe: *sitting in the corner, his face in his hands* Oh, Fietka, Fietka...
Box: *happening by* What about him?
Rafe: *withdrawing* I miss him.
Box: *flops down next to him* It hasn't been that long, has it?
Rafe: Long enough. *runs a hand between his ears* It doesn't take long to miss the love of your life.
Box: *friendly* Careful how you say that, pal. We're not in Russia anymore.
Rafe: *slumps hard, sighs forcefully, hands hanging* Everything makes more sense in Russian. Especially Tolstoy.
Box: We could speak in Russian.
Rafe: *looks up in surprise* You know— *breaks off and laughs* I shouldn't wonder!
***the following is in Russian***
Rafe: *leans back* Oh, you know. It was different then.
Box: It always is. *settles comfortably* But how different?
Rafe: You don't know?
Box: I've had less than two millenia to spy on everything. Dunno how God manages, but I haven't asked.
Rafe: Well. *closing his eyes* We were a rowdy bunch. I mean, naturally—we were killing people—but even among ourselves. *smiles a bit* We liked to run. That was good, since we did a lot of running on the job. We spent our spare time playing cards, wrestling, drinking, talking... the occasional woman... We were happy as we could be, living like that.
Box: And Fietka?
Rafe: The best of my friends, the kindest, the bravest... He didn't smoke, and he was an excellent runner. I smoked, so I didn't have the stamina for it, but it felt nice to use these great gangling things. *slaps his knee* There was a gang of us there, working, making a lot of money and spending it away, but Fietka was different. *softly* Fietka was mine, and everyone knew it. Not in a dirty way—you understand. Like you and Angelo.
Rafe: Nobody fought with him—I was quicker to shoot than to think in those days—they knew they were answerable to me. *covers his face with one spread hand* That's how they did it.
Box: *attentive* What did they do?
Rafe: *drags his hand down to his nose* They turned on me. Sasha and Nikolai. Sasha was a drinker; Nikolai was a womanizer. They spend money with every breath. I didn't so much—I wanted to get home, you know? It's too cold in Russia, and I was getting paranoid about the job. I hoarded. I kept money sewn into my clothes; I wrapped money in rags and stuffed them under my bed. Fietka wanted to leave, too, but he was kind and gave money to the others when they ran short, so he was as poor as the other two. I was the rich one, so he counted on me to get him out of there.
Box: And they knew how to get to you.
Rafe: They took Fietka. *sighs hard* Trussed him up and beat him. Then Sasha came and told me that they would kill him if I didn't hand over all the money.
Box: Did you?
Rafe: I shot him. *pause* It didn't kill him. They beat Fietka again. I gave them a pittance. Then they went off to drink and sleep it away, so I freed Fietka and we ran.
Box: *very good at his job* Ran were?
Rafe: Towards Germany. We were going to my family's old house—they'd never have bothered to look that far west.
Rafe: Not one of my best ideas.
Box: I haven't met many of them, so I can't tell. *rolls over on his back* How'd you two get separated?
Rafe: *vaguely* How'd you know?
Box: You're getting to the part I recognize.
Rafe: *rubs his eyes blearily* Oy vey. They came after us—Nikolai first, he wanted his girls—and Sasha—wounded, limping, but he wanted his drink all the more for it. They almost caught us at the border, and that only because I'd developed a nasty little cough. I didn't want my Fietka to get killed over my health, so I told him we would have better chances separately. We parted ways. *hunches forward again; dully* We parted ways.
Box: And then what?
Rafe: And then... then I got terribly lost, and by the time I found civilization again I was nearly dead from... *pulls out bloodstained handkerchief and waves it listlessly* ...this. Someone took care of me for a while—I remember voices and hands and a bed, and I kept thinking Fietka was with me... *absently* I mean, sure he wasn't, but it helped.
Box: Yes, he was.
Rafe: *increasingly distant* Sure he was.
Box: You'll be seeing him soon.
Rafe: *gone* Oh...?
Box: *quietly* His daughter is dying of consumption.
Rafe: *sits bolt upright* What?!
Box: His new baby girl, Lyuba.
Rafe: *faintly* Oh, God...
Box: You're getting her this afternoon.
Rafe: *grabs Box by the shoulders* You're lying.
Box: I can't lie, Rafe.
Rafe: *shakes him, voice rising* You are! God wouldn't do that to him—not to my good Fietka—he's done nothing—
Box: *remarkably calm for someone who is being shaken by a hysterical fox* It's not the goodness or badness of a person that makes bad things happen to them, Rafe. You know that.
Rafe: *breaking* Fietka—
Box: *gently* There's a reason, Rafe. We just don't know what it is yet.
Rafe: *lets go of Box and slumps* Of course. I'm sorry. *painfully* But I'm to kill his child...
Box: There's one more thing.
Rafe: If it's bad, I don't want to hear it.
Box: No, no, no! It's a grace granted to you both.
Rafe: *barely listening* And that would be?
Box: You're to manifest yourself to him.
Rafe: ... *looks up with a look of utter bemusement* What?
Box: When you come, you're supposed to appear to him.
Rafe: *stilted* Appear to— *like the wail of a dying animal* As I kill his daughter! This is absurd!
Box: It's orders. Should I show you the note?
Rafe: *turns away* No. Please leave me alone.
Box: *softly* Rafe, the Lady gave me the orders.
Rafe: *catches his breath painfully and starts coughing*
Box: *braces his shoulder*
Rafe: *as the coughs die away, begins to sob just as forcefully* Go away.
Box: As you wish, Raphael Black. *after a tiny pause* I'll get Tony.
Rafe: *with a gasp* Please—
Tony: *hurtles in, then pulls up sharply and walks slowly up to Rafe*
Rafe: *looks up through his tears* You'll come with me, won't you?
Rafe: Thank you. *begins to cough again*
Tony: *steadies him easily with one hand; looks down at him with a compassion greater even than the strength of his arm*