Rating: PG-13 slash
Pairing: Evgeni Nabokov, Alexander Korolyuk (Sasha)
Dedication: Thanks to Abby for looking this over!
Disclaimer: It's all lies!
Author's Notes: This was written for Alex's Olympics Challenge on HD. Korolyuk played for us last season, but chose to play in Russia this season for "family reasons". Nabokov has said to the media a couple of times that he's going to try to talk him into coming back to San Jose. Russia finished in 4th place at the Olympics. The food at the Olympic Village was crappy.
BRING HOME GOLD
"What would it take for you to come back?" Evgeni asks, and he's not sure why those words are coming out of his mouth.
Sasha pretends he hasn't heard him, because he doesn't want to go down the path the question will take him, and he hurriedly cuts off too large a piece of steak and stuffs it into his mouth, chewing slowly, conveniently removing his ability to speak.
Evgeni raises the glass of red wine to his lips and sips, annoyed that he's started this, because he must finish everything he starts, and if he weren't so stubborn, he would begin to regret luring Sasha out of the Olympic Village with the temptation of a real restaurant with real food.
But he is that stubborn, and to regret is to admit that he's made a mistake, and while he's never shied away from admitting his mistakes to other people, he knows that they are quicker to forgive than his own heart.
Two more gulps of wine nourish his voice, and he repeats the question, slowly and clearly, watching the words take their effect on Sasha. He's aware that what he's doing is cruel - sadistic even - but something in him needs to know that certain things haven't changed, that they will never change.
Sasha sets his fork and knife down, appetite gone, and wonders why two years in Russia haven't toughened him, why those words strip him of the defenses he'd thought were solidly in place when he came to Italy. He remembers the first time he heard that question, and he remembers his answer, he remembers his relief at finally saying those words out loud.
He also remembers being utterly destroyed by the response.
"Some things would have to change," he says carefully, then realises, after some confusion, that where he thought there were feelings, he can only find scars.
Evgeni doesn't like this; this is not what he expected, and he hates being wrong. He needs to see Sasha crumble in front of him, because it's the only thing that will hold him together when he goes home to what he will never admit is his biggest mistake.
"And they won't." Sasha leans back in his chair, believing his words even as he says them. He feels calm, and though he's far from happy right now, he thinks that one day he might be.
They sit there quietly, finishing their meals. Evgeni feels a strange sense of loss, finally missing something that's been gone for a while. He coolly places a forkful of steak into his mouth even as regret threatens to overwhelm him, and he desperately, hopelessly tries to convince himself that's not what it is.
He leaves Italy with nothing.