Title: Cracking Nuts
(Engelsk versjon av “Å knekke nøtter“)
Author: Koe. The translation was done with the help of my excellent beta Ameneko.
Genre: Slash fanfiction.
Length: Ca 4400 words, two chapters. Complete.
Fandom: Eastern Promises – movie by David Cronenberg, 2007
Pairing: Nikolai Luzhin/Kirill. Kolja can be associated with the movie character Nikolai, and Kiro with Kirill. Sasha is an original character. The story is entirely fictional, with no bearings on the original film, authors, actors or actual people or events.
Tags: Adult/NC-17. Violence, manipulation, angst, sex, slash (m/m), rape, h/c, language. At least a couple of readers have stopped reading because of graphic content. Continue at your own risk.
Excerpt: “Kolja knows that he is different from Sasha. Perhaps this means that Kolja is an even bigger lunatic. He understands what he’s doing, and still doesn’t act on his conscience. It’s his trademark, the advantage that makes his operations a little more successful, his threats a little bit crueler, and his actions a little bit more damned.”
Sasha passes Kiro without a single glance. His back is straight and muscular, and water is dripping from his hair. He’s only wearing a towel round the waist. There are bluish tattoos all over his body, but no stars yet. Kiro is two heads higher, but Sasha won’t be intimidated by him when he knows that he has Kolja’s support.
Kiro casts angry looks under heavy eyebrows, as he looms in the narrow hallway. Sasha, who came out from Kolja’s private bath, walks in a bow to get around him. He ends up pressing against the wall, but does his best to look at ease.
Sasha stops in front of Kolja. “Wait for me in the salon,” Kolja says, his voice low, restrained and soft, as usual. Kolja’s gaze, in contrast to Sasha’s, is glued to Kiro. Kiro’s face is simmering red, as he watches Sasha’s trim towel-clad ass disappear through the doors of Kolja’s penthouse apartment.
The restaurant in front is only the facade. Kiro’s father owns this whole block, which besides the restaurant houses a nightclub, an accountancy and a few import/export agencies. In the back, behind bouncers, there’s an illegal casino, a strip joint and a whorehouse. There’s storage of different kinds; some rooms have toilet facilities and can only be locked from the outside. The top floors are mainly offices and flats. It is a huge credit to Kolja’s acting skills that he was moved up to the penthouse in front. His steady rejection of Kiro was the silent part of his agreement with Kiro’s father.
Sasha is hand picked for the task at hand. He’s young, ambitious, and has a seriousness about him that compares to Kolja’s. Kolja knows, however, that Sasha’s poker face stems from the fact that he doesn’t get emotionally touched by the madness he does for work. He’s a full blown psychopath, but he respects Kolja very much. Or rather, he respects his superior position. If Kolja lets down his guard, all respect will be gone at the speed of thought. It’s as sure as the fact that a son must follow in his father’s footsteps, and not the other way around. Sasha is perfect. The only time Kolja has seen some emotion in him, was when he finally was told to do a wet job. Kolja told him it was for the sake of the brotherhood and Sasha looked positively eager.
The psychopath’s lack of empathy does also mean that Sasha will never reach the top of the hierarchy. One must know what makes people tick to play this game; one should empathize, but never sympathize with one’s opponents. Kolja knows that he is different from Sasha. Perhaps this means that Kolja is an even bigger lunatic. He understands what he’s doing, and still doesn’t act on his conscience. It’s his trademark, the advantage that makes his operations a little more successful, his threats a little bit crueler, and his actions a little bit more damned. It’s also why footmen and business partners choose to overlook the blood ties that make Kiro the rightful heir to the boss’ chair.
Kiro, on the other hand, is an emotional creature out of control. Strong and macho, oh yes. But he lacks the necessary distance from his surroundings. He doesn’t act rationally, he just reacts, like magnesium with water. Kolja knows that it has nothing to do with the fact that Kiro is queer, but that’s what people are whispering amongst themselves. “Kiro’s weak. Not a real man. Petookh.”
Kiro gets sentimental when he’s drunk. Violent and sentimental. He can beat down the rumor mongers, shoot them too, but he can’t kill off the rumors as long as he looks to Kolja with the eyes of a lapdog. People in this trade can’t afford to overlook his obvious weakness. Some things are absolute taboo. Male comradeship is applauded, homosexual relations are punished. Severely.
The situation got out of hand after the boss – the brain, ruler and judge of their local branch of the Vory, and Kiro’s father – was thrown in jail. Kolja never got to regain his breath after accomplishing his mission. The power balance at the top of this hierarchical organization is as stable as quicksilver at the moment. There just aren’t that many possible ends. Either Kolja breaks Kiro soon, or Kiro’s emotions will turn against Kolja. Rejected love turned to hate. Kolja’s life’s work will be disintegrated the moment Kiro snaps. Kiro will never be able to take over the reigns without Kolja’s support, not in his current state, and certainly not with his heart ripped out from snuffing Kolja at his father’s orders.
Kolja has spent years of pain – he has thrown his life away – committed to one goal: To make this cruel organization rot from the inside out. All will be in vain if he can’t figure this out. His dead body will be dumped in the Thames. The organization will get rid of a crazed Kiro, regroup and continue to wreck people’s lives as if nothing ever happened. There is always a lowlife waiting to climb the ranks. Kolja needs the top position, and this is a night of fate.
“Kiro. We must talk. Let’s do it in a relaxed environment.” Kolja points to the dressing room. The room young, ambitious Sasha just came out from. Kolja thinks that the intimacy of the steam bath may play a major role tonight; not only as a mood, but as an autonomous quantity.
The luxurious steam bath is Kolja’s largest investment to his apartment. To have friends and foes undress on his domain gives him an upper hand he appreciates. Besides, he has tumbled the forthcoming events in the back of his head long before it became a conscious plan.
They undress in silence. Kiro is quick and reckless, facing the wall. His broad shoulders are slumping, stars hidden. It’s like a picture showing that Kiro feels he doesn’t deserve them, even if Kolja knows it’s not intentional. Both men have these stars. The ones tattooed under their collarbones – each point indicating a year served in jail, and the stars on their knees – stating that a true Vor will never kneel before authority. Stars like these are only worn by the highest ranking members of the brotherhood.
Kolja hangs his clothes meticulously on a hanger. He’s in control, in no hurry at all. Kiro must wait.
The towels Kolja hands Kiro are thick, made of Egyptian cotton. They sit a bit in silence; the hot steam of the sauna embraces their naked forms. Kolja has even more tattoos than Kiro; orthodox symbolism, crude images and Cyrillic letters are sprinkled across his lean and muscular limbs. The tattoos symbolize his struggles to get to this point. The informed can read that he lives by fighting and that he’ll never beg for his life. One tattoo shows that he spent a birthday imprisoned for murder – a teenage birthday.
Kolja stretches slowly as he measures Kiro. It’s always Kolja who runs the game, something which is totally wrong since it is Kiro who’s the born heir. Kiro should reign, but he only looks to Kolja. Everyone always look to Kolja.
Eventually Kolja turns to Kiro. Kiro is breathing heavily, his elbows at his knees and his head hanging. “I’ve got bad news, Kiro.” Kiro watches him cautiously. “Your father has put a contract on me. Again.” Kiro’s gaze falters. He knows very well why this contract is out: Kolja has practically taken over the leadership after Kiro’s father was jailed. The only claim he hasn’t staked yet is to be named “the boss”. If Kiro had been up to his task, Kolja wouldn’t have been able to challenge him in the first place. Kolja is strong because Kiro is weak. Kiro knows it, Kiro’s father knows it, and the organization knows it. Kolja knows that the king can kill everyone he wants to; Kiro will never have the necessary qualities.
Kolja fetches a bottle of vodka from the small fridge he’s had built in to the wall. “The contract is nothing new. The really bad news is that the tip-off has come from the brotherhood. Officially. They are asking me to throw down your father and take over the business. With their blessing.” He takes a sip and passes the bottle to Kiro so that he can have some time to think.
There’s also an implicit contract on Kiro’s head in the brotherhood’s offer. It was just a question of time. Kiro puts everyone in danger with his headless conduct. His jailed father would probably have gotten the same proposition eventually, and he wouldn’t hesitate. He’d probably be glad someone else took the decision from him. Kiro has never been good enough.
Sweat runs down Kiro’s pale chest. His well-built body looks powerless; the tattoos look like they’re floating on top of his glistening skin. The reckless brutality, Kiro’s foremost trait, is totally gone. If Kolja’s mind had worked like Kiro’s father’s, this would be the right moment to remove Kiro from the equation. But Kolja isn’t like that, and Kiro trusts him. Kolja is still not sure about Kiro’s reaction when he realizes that he has lost everything.
“I haven’t answered them yet, because I wanted to give you the chance to pull out. Your father’s fate is sealed regardless of your decisions.” Kolja gets up and walks slowly to the door. “Think it over. And don’t worry about me; Sasha is ready to take the seat of second in command. I’ll wait for you down in the restaurant.” He delivers the message halfway through the door, sinewy back turned to Kiro.
Kolja does not go down to the restaurant. He dresses and goes to a little office down the hall. There he looks at a series of monitors showing images from cameras hidden in the apartment. There are at least two for each room: A good overview.
Kolja feels jittery. He is almost sure about the outcome, but he doesn’t know the details. There are too many variables for him to predict the upcoming events exactly. He doesn’t even know if his plan will work at all, and the stakes are high. Their lives depend upon it.
He sees Kiro in the sauna, hauling down vodka from the bottle that he left him. It looks as if he’s crying; his shoulders are shaking. Kolja also sees Sasha walking around in his apartment, still clad only in the towel.
Sasha has been asked to come under the pretense of Kolja buying him a tailored dress as payment for rendered services. Thanks to Shasha, a certain pair of knife-wielding brothers is gone, like water under the bridge. Kolja can still feel a faint ache in his scarred ribs from the attack that sent him to the hospital, and ultimately, Kiro’s father to jail.
When the tailor didn’t come as scheduled, Kolja offered Sasha the use of the steam bath and asked him to feel at home until the tailor showed. Kolja knows that this feeds Sasha’s self esteem and makes him less cautious. Now Sasha takes his liberties. Kolja sees him opening shelves and cupboards in the apartment. He goes into the bedroom and checks the nightstand drawers.
Kolja smiles – he has lived a successful double life for years. There is nothing really compromising in the apartment. Years of imprisonment in Siberia and brutal infiltration training have honed his act to perfection. If he hadn’t been up to it, he’d have been taken out a long time ago.
His tension rises when Kiro slowly stands up and walks out of the steam bath. If he had stopped in the changing room to get dressed, Kolja would have had to follow him down to the restaurant, which is closed tonight. Kolja touches his gun. It is cold to the skin. He is fully prepared to fight with Kiro. He owes Kiro that much.
Kiro appears on another monitor as he enters the salon of the penthouse. The broken figure from the lonely bathroom is gone. Now it’s Kiro the predator who’s portrayed in black-and-white contrast. Sasha is still in the bedroom. He sits on his knees in front of a locked box which Kolja has laid out as bait. His towel lies in a heap on the floor. The thick carpet silences Kiro’s steps as he closes in. Kolja is sweating and erect, and his heart is pounding in the closed space of the surveillance room. He dreads the next scene.
Sasha has no chance against Kiro’s powerful hands. It is not possible to defend against the explosion of rage Kiro releases upon him. Fists fall like a ton of bricks, red hot from the kiln. In minutes Sasha’s face is reduced to a bloody pulp, and he doesn’t fight when he is bent over the bed. Sasha’s unconscious state absurdly relieves Kolja’s black conscience. Sasha’s boyish beauty is gone. His exterior will look more like his interior from now on. If he survives.
Kolja sees Kiro’s hips thrust down over Sasha, the grotesque assault finished off with rape. Sasha’s facing down; blood is running out of his battered lips. Kiro stands over him, with a handful of Kolja’s bedclothes pressed into his face. Kiro’s shoulders start to shake again, and his thrusting stops. He slumps forward over Sasha’s limp body. Kolja guesses that he probably has satisfied only his rage. That suits Kolja’s plans just fine.
Kolja watches in silence. He has left the surveillance room, and stands like a dark shadow by the door. When Kiro finally opens his eyes and notices, Kolja lifts the gun he is holding; it’s aimed right between Kiro’s eyes.
The gun isn’t loaded. Kolja won’t take the chance of an accidental hit, but he really doesn’t think Kiro will attack him. Kiro understands this threat because punishment is a necessity in Kiro’s universe. By attacking the boss’ property in the boss’ apartment, Kiro has committed suicide. He looks at Kolja momentarily and smiles, before he lowers his hands, kneels on his stars, and closes his eyes. Kolja doesn’t smile.
“What are you, Kiro?”
Kiro opens his eyes in surprise. Kolja remains in the shadows. It is important that he doesn’t cut Kiro one millimeter of slack right now.
“What are you? Answer me.” He’s still talking quietly. His voice is ice coated and very serious.
Kiro looks totally blank.
“You’re not a man. You are no prince of the Vory. You fuck boys.”
Kiro lowers his eyes. They hit Sasha’s exposed ass, and Kiro flinches.
“What are you, Kiro?”
“I’m not a man… no prince.”
“I fuck boys.” Kiro whispers.
“I fuck boys!”
“The Vory is right then?”
“Yes.” His voice breaks.
“Should I shoot you?”
Kiro lowers his gaze again, but not before he has thrown another quick glance at Kolja. His thoughts are as obvious as always. Why does Kolja torture him first? Why not just shoot? Kiro chokes; he can’t answer Kolja’s question.
“Who am I, Kiro?”
Kiro’s eyes bulge and his lower lip trembles.
“I’m your master, Kiro. I’m the boss now.”
“You are the boss.”
“You are the boss now, Kolja.”
“I don’t have to shoot you, Kiro, because I own you.” Kolja lowers his gun.
“You own me.” The words are uttered in a mix of question and confirmation.
Kolja finally steps out of the shadows. He puts the gun on the chest of drawers, and lays a hand on Kiro’s shoulder. Kiro turns his head and kisses its back. Kolja has to hide the wave of relief that floods his mind. Only a little way to go before all the pieces are in their place.
Kolja lifts Sasha slightly up to make sure he’s still breathing. Then he pushes him to the floor without second thought, and turns to Kiro again.
“You need to know your place, Kiro. Really know it.”
“I see. I’m nothing. Not even worth killing.”
“You don’t see shit. Do you say that my property is worthless?” Kolja raises his voice a fraction.
He bends and takes Kiro’s face in hand. Kiro’s eyes are shifting, but Kolja presses his fingers hard around his chin until he takes command and looks back into Kolja’s steely stare. “You can become my most valued possession, Kiro. But only if you know your place.” Kolja rises to his feet again.
“You know how we break a whore?”
“Lay down on the bed. Make yourself available to me.”
Kiro looks at Kolja with shock and an open mouth.
“I’ll happily take you by force. The alternative is to shoot you here and now.”
Kiro lies down on his stomach, and peeks at Kolja over his right arm. Kolja doesn’t mind. Again Kolja undresses slowly and deliberately.
“Your stars symbolize my rights from now on. On your knees.”
Kolja presses his left hand down on Kiro’s waist so that his ass is pointing to the ceiling. With his right Kolja rubs spit onto his cock before he thrusts in. Not too smooth and not too slow. The sensation is burning, and he can feel his own heartbeat, or maybe Kiro’s, he doesn’t care. It is important that Kiro is humbled by this, the pain of his defeat. The pain that frees Kiro from guilt; of being a failure to his father’s expectations, of being a pimp who can’t get it up for the whores, of lusting for his partner in crime – all this guilt now transferred onto Kolja’s shoulders.
A sigh lets out of Kiro’s mouth. It sounds like relief.
“You like this.”
“Mmh.” Kiro’s answer is muffled by the bed sheets.
“Do the job for me.” Kolja stops. Kiro barely hesitates before he takes over the motion. He throws his body backwards so that his buttocks slam into Kolja’s thighs. The sweat between them makes the sounds wet. A low groan from Sasha on the floor beneath them breaks Kolja’s concentration.
“Stop. You like this too much. Lay on your back.”
Kiro doesn’t hesitate this time, but throws himself on his back and spreads his legs. Kolja grips his ankles, spits, aims and thrusts again. Kiro’s muscles bulge from the strain. Kolja gets an extra kick from seeing Kiro’s vitality when he also has Sasha’s bloody, powerless body in the corner of his eye.
There is no doubt; Kiro sighs out of excitement now.
“Say that you’re mine, whore.”
Kolja bends down over Kiro. He grips Kiro’s cock while he fucks Kiro’s ass with deep thrusts. Kiro is rock hard, and his hips are countering each jab. He gasps, growls and swears until Kolja bites down on his lower lip. Kolja recognizes the taste of blood just before Kiro comes, his entire body spasming. Kolja can’t let himself come. Control. It’s the whole solution.
Kolja gets up and pulls out his still throbbing cock.
“Dry off.” The command pulls Kiro out of his post-orgasmic haze. He sits up and dries himself obediently with the towel Sasha was wearing.
Kolja goes first, cautiously calm. Not a glance towards Kiro, who probably can break his neck with one hand. Sasha’s not going any place soon. This is the first test.
Both reach the shower without injury. Kolja watches Kiro coldly as they wash up, side by side. Kiro doesn’t look back. His self consciousness makes him clumsy. He looks more like an over-sized teenager than the big murderous beast that ravaged Sasha minutes ago.
Kolja grips him by the neck and forces him to meet his eyes. Kolja’s face looks very stern, which in Kolja’s case means inhumanly stern. Kolja’s sinewy body is a much more inviting sight. Kiro wishes he could kiss all the tattoos, one by one.
“Yes. Now you’re going to do something for me, and you’re going to do it without regret. Regret means that you don’t know your place.”
“You are going to suck me off. And do it properly.”
Kolja walks first in to the steam bath. The warmth feels good after the cold bedroom and the mental and physical distress. He sits down, leans back, spreads his legs and closes his eyes. Test two.
The lips that are closing down on his cock are exquisitely soft. They reveal a tenderness he’s never encountered in Kiro before. There have been lots of awkward slaps on the back and caresses in drunken stupors, but never tenderness like this. Even with his nerves still on edge, these lips can give him release. He’s been going over and over this scenario in his mind, and never failed to get hard by the thought of forcing Kiro to act on his feelings. The constant hard-on has been distracting, but also a powerful reminder of his need to get a handle on the situation. Now he realizes that he’s at his goal; Kiro is sucking away as if his life depended upon it. Which it does. Kolja would have laughed if he wasn’t already occupied; moaning, gasping, clenching Kiro’s head as he bucks his hips against the entrancing motion.
“I’m coming. Keep sucking.” He keeps Kiro’s head still with strong hands at the moment he comes.
Seed is dripping from Kiro’s mouth when he again lifts his head. Kolja rewards his slave with a distracted smile. It’s much too early for post coital snuggles.
“Now, we are going to eat well, and talk a bit more.” Kolja finishes the shower quickly. He puts a loose bathrobe on. Kiro will have to decide how he is going to the salon for himself.
Kolja is pleased to register that Kiro also choose a bathrobe rather than his regular clothes. The question is now whether it is because he wants to remain accessible or that he is regaining an unhealthy self assurance. Time for the third and last test.
Kolja orders Kiro to fetch some food from the restaurant: caviar, butter and toast, vodka and shampanskoye. They eat in silence. Greedily.
“I really don’t want to kill you, Kiro. We are a good team. The problem is that you are the prince. You were born to be the boss, but you don’t have what it takes. Your father won’t recognize this, but everyone else has seen it long ago.”
“Then why do you challenge me like this? Raping Sasha on my own bed?”
“I think you do. If I’m going to protect you against the Vory, and against yourself, you need to follow my will from now. The only thing that can convince them is one hundred percent obedience. If they see that I can hold you in check, they might let you live. And I need you to. We’re a good team.”
Kiro’s mouth is hanging open. Kolja laughs, and pours more vodka. “You have put me in a nasty spot, Kiro. I need your help to solve this. If you want to visit your father, you need to do it soon.”
While Kiro was out to get food, Kolja got the gun from the bedroom. It is now loaded, and lies on the corner table between them. Kolja has no intentions of hindering Kiro’s choice this time. Kolja has given it his best, and now he must start to trust Kiro back. If Kiro still refuses his offer, his days will be numbered anyway.
“I’ll pay him a visit. Afterwards I’ll bring your message to our contact on the inside.”
This is more than Kolja had hoped for. Is it a setup? Kolja’s mask is cracking up, but he tries to manage before it shows.
“I’m yours, Kolja. I’ll prove it to you.”
“Then you’ll start with taking care of Sasha.”
“What do you want me to do with him?”
“You can convince him to keep his mouth shut, take him to a hospital with a rape unit and pay him monthly to make up for loss of income.” To say that Kiro looks skeptical is mildly put.
“The other alternative is to make him disappear.” Kiro lights up visibly by the thought. “Then you must pay me for my loss. I suggest you keep your eye out for a new man, one you can train yourself. I must approve of your choice, of course.” Kolja has several aims with this plan. Firstly he gets rid of Sasha. Secondly he shows Kiro some much needed trust, while Kiro gets something to concentrate on besides his own shortcomings. Third, Kolja wants to build his close team of advisors up from scratch. He needs leaders who are loyal both to himself and to Kiro, regardless of sexual preferences.
Kiro is in good mood again, now that he is both back in the warmth and has an interesting mission ahead of him. The good meal, the stress relief got from punching the wits out of Sasha and being fucked by the man of his dreams, probably haven’t hurt him either.
“I’ll take care of Sasha right away.” He rises abruptly, and Kolja is again struck by the sheer mass of his body, as he towers over the low coffee table. Kiro smiles a bit too wide with the thought of the gruesome task he has ahead of him.
“Come back here when you are finished, Kiro.”
Before Kiro comes back, there are several things he has to take care of himself. He needs to wash away the blood from the bedroom floor and replace the linen on the double bed. He also has to return to the surveillance room to erase some tapes and to turn off the cameras in the bedroom.
Kiro holds himself in tight rein from this day. He drinks with care, and doesn’t beg for Kolja’s attention with his eyes any more. He trusts Kolja. Kolja has promised to kill him himself the moment he looses his grip. Kiro remains faithful to that promise.