Pairings: Dolokhov/Helene, Dolokhov/Helene/Anatole
Whilst frequently accustomed to waking with a pounding head, it gradually dawned on Dolokhov that this particular morning the hammering was coming from the door to his apartments.
Making a cursory effort at tying a robe over his nightshirt he stumbled out of the bedroom, unwillingly conceding that opening the door was the only way to make the bloody noise stop.
"Who the devil's making such a row at this ungodly hour?" he yelled, ignoring the fact it was almost noon. Throwing the bolt and yanking the door open, he was slightly mollified to discover his visitor was a slim, dark haired young woman, although not by much.
"Oh. It's you. What do you want?"
"For God's sake, let me in," Helene snapped at him. "I'm freezing out here."
Dolokhov looked her up and down, realising for the first time that she was barely more dressed than he was. He leaned in the doorway, deliberately blocking her access, and smirked at her.
"I know we were a long time fighting at the front, but standards of dress for visiting have really slipped."
"Oh shut up, can't you and let me in."
Dolokhov just raised a meaningful eyebrow, and Helene swallowed her irritation with a visible effort.
"Please? I need your help." She gave him her best appealing look, and he snorted.
"Must be desperate if you've come to me," he muttered, but he moved aside and let her past.
"So what's wrong?" he persisted, following her into the main room and pouring himself a glass of wine from the decanter. It would do in lieu of breakfast. "Or more to the point what's so wrong that coming halfway across the city in a shift and slippers to the man your charming husband threw out of his house and did his pitiful best to shoot, is deemed in any way an improvement?"
Helene mumbled something, and he frowned. "I didn't catch that."
"I said, Pierre has cast me out." She poured a glass of wine for herself on the grounds she clearly wasn't about to be offered any, and threw it back in one.
"Why? What have you done?"
"I haven't done anything," she protested.
"You must have done something," Dolokhov argued. "Or is it more a question of whom?" he enquired silkily, and she glared at him before sinking onto the arm of a couch.
"I'm ruined." She stared into the empty glass despondently. Intrigued despite himself, Dolokhov refilled it for her.
"That bad? I am impressed." Dolokhov threw himself carelessly down onto the opposite couch. "But unless you tell me what it is, I'm not going to help you."
"You have to!"
"Why? I don't owe you anything. You're nothing to me." Dolokhov sat up, a sudden light of interest in his eyes. "You haven't killed him have you?"
"Oh. Pity." He lay down again and she groaned.
"Please. I've got no one else to turn to."
"Go back to your father."
Helene hesitated. "He turned me away."
Dolokhov looked over at her assessingly, and she squirmed under his intent gaze.
"Alright, fine, yes, you're right, Pierre caught me with someone. Another man."
"None of your business."
"Fine. Keep your secrets. Goodbye Helene, close the door on your way out."
She groaned. She'd known all along he'd force her to confess, but had retained a tiny hope he might have been kind. She should have known better. Her only remaining hope lay in the fact that he was the one man who might just be depraved enough not to despise her for it.
"Anatole." She whispered the name, as if that might somehow dilute the shame of it.
Dolokhov frowned. "Anatole who?" When she didn't reply he looked over at her, and finally put this together with the fact of her apparent disgrace.
"Your brother Anatole?" he asked incredulously. Helene gave a tight nod, not meeting his eyes.
Dolokhov sat up, leaning forwards, elbows on his knees. "Let me get this right. Pierre found you in a compromising position - with your own brother? And threw you out?"
He stared at her for a long moment, then whistled, ending in a rather harsh laugh. "Well. Dirty old Anatole." Dolokhov sipped his wine thoughtfully. "And Pierre told your father?"
"He's told everyone," Helene wailed despairingly.
"Never did have the sense when to keep his mouth shut," Dolokhov muttered. "He should just have shut you up in an attic and told people you'd gone mad. Less of a scandal that way." She glared at him again and he laughed. "Well what do you expect me to do about it? Pierre won't listen to me. Not any more."
"I had nowhere else to go," Helene admitted. Dolokhov realised that her thin silk slippers were stained and soaked, and that she must have been turned out of the house in practically what she'd been wearing at the time she was caught.
"He didn't even let you take any belongings?"
Helene shook her head. "He was awful to me."
"Well you are his wife," Dolokhov said. "It's traditional. Anyway, where's dear Anatole in all of this? Can't you go to him?"
"He left as soon as we were discovered," Helene told him resentfully. "Pierre threatened to shoot him."
"Yes, well, coming from him that's hardly a fatal measure."
"Are you going to help me or not?"
Dolokhov sighed. "Oh very well, you can stay here if you must. I suppose in the circumstances it can hardly do your reputation any more damage." He gave her a considering look, with an edge of amusement. "Did you really fuck your own brother?"
This time she met his gaze, coldly. "Yes."
"Is he better than me?"
Helene hesitated. His tone had been mocking, but her sense of self-preservation warned her not to be insulting. "He's better than Pierre."
Dolokhov snorted. "My old mother wielding a root vegetable would be better than Pierre." He got up and let the robe fall to the couch behind him. "I'm going back to bed."
"Where am I to sleep?"
He shrugged. "There's one bed. And I shall be in it. Join me, or don't, as you please."
Dolokhov had been lying there for perhaps ten minutes when the creak of the floorboards suggested Helene had given in. He'd known she would, she was clearly cold and tired and probably scared. The bed dipped behind him, but he didn't move, allowed her to settle herself and relax.
"How old were you?" he murmured, after a few minutes had passed.
"When?" She sounded less confrontational than before. It was amazing what a degree of warmth and comfort could do.
"When he first touched you."
The silence this time was longer, and he thought she wasn't going to answer.
"And did you welcome it?" Still not turning round to look at her, murmuring the questions into the pillow.
"I didn't understand what he was doing. Not at first." Helene paused. "Then - it felt good." The bedclothes rustled as she curled up beside him. "He didn't force me, if that's what you're asking."
"I suppose I should thank him."
This time Dolokhov did roll over, and grinned. "Breaking you in."
With Helene's movement hampered by the sheets he caught her hand before the slap was halfway to his face and pressed her arm back into the pillows, pinning her other wrist as well.
"You're a brute," she hissed.
"Yes." He climbed on top of her, his arousal already evident beneath his nightshirt. "I thought that's why you liked me."
"I don't like you. You're an animal."
Still holding her wrists in one hand he pushed up his nightshirt, taking the hem of her shift with it. She was wearing nothing beneath, and he gave a lazy smile.
"You'll catch your death wandering the streets like that. You need someone to warm you up."
"I need nothing from you."
"And yet, you'll take it and be grateful." Watching her expression carefully the whole time, his own a mask of amusement and hunger. All their coupling had been like this, the show of reluctance on her part, the display of strength on his. Sure enough, she made no move to prevent him.
When he took her it was a gentleness that surprised her. Accustomed to a brutal passion from him, the one thing she had not been prepared for was tenderness. It made it all the more devastating in its impact.
As ever, Dolokhov took what he wanted, but this time he took it slowly, displaying a hitherto unsuspected sensuality. Unlike the fumbling Pierre, Dolokhov had rarely failed to bring her to climax in their previous encounters, but Helene had always suspected this of being more incidental than by design. Now though he made sure of it, if only to prove that he could, with a patient stamina that broke down her determination to merely endure him.
Afterwards, lying cradled against his chest, she tried to reassemble her stubbornly crafted defences and found them in tatters.
"You bastard," she breathed. But Dolokhov was already asleep.
It was still just about daylight outside, but the windows were spattered with sleet and Dolokhov had lit the lamps. They had finally risen from the bed an hour earlier, but conversation had been minimal.
To Helene's surprise Dolokhov had produced a dress for her from somewhere. It was red silk and she assumed it had belonged to one of his whores, but it was clean and fit her, and he had at least refrained from taunting her with its provenance. The cut and bodice was hardly appropriate, but her own shawl had dried out and she tied this about her shoulders. False modesty, she wondered? He was very well acquainted with everything underneath, after all, and would assume he could help himself to it at any time. She wondered what would happen if she were to genuinely refuse him. Would he force her? She decided probably not, it wasn't as if he was short of willing women. No, he would just throw her out. That, more than anything, was the thought that riled her, that she was for the moment dependent on his good will.
They were eating - or at least Dolokhov was eating and Helene was listlessly pushing bits around her plate.
"You should eat," Dolokhov declared, after several minutes of watching this.
Helene sighed. "I have no appetite."
"You should keep your strength up." He smiled, a flash of teeth that made her shiver. "I'd hate to break you."
Helene pulled the shawl closer around her shoulders and he laughed. In truth, she was secretly glad he had reverted to this baser display of lechery, as it was easier to deal with. His gentle approach earlier had left her shaken by how much she had responded to it. She held no illusions that Dolokhov truly cared for her. As someone adept at making men fall in love with her purely for her own amusement, it was unsettling to recognise the ability in someone else.
She shook herself, cross for allowing him the glimpse of vulnerability. Maybe he was right, and she would feel better with some food inside her.
The idea that he might be right about anything was annoying in itself, and she glanced up at him irritably, only to discover that he was watching her in turn. Helene dropped her gaze, then made herself look up again, glaring at him.
Before either of them could speak someone hammered on the outer door for the second time that day, and Dolokhov raised his hands to heaven.
"Now what? I haven't been this popular since the time I introduced a snake to Anna Pavlovna's coffee urn."
Helene frowned at him. She vaguely recalled the incident, although hadn't known he was behind it. She didn't recall ever seeing him in the salon.
"Why would that make you popular?" she asked distastefully.
"It was a bet. I won a lot of money." Dolokhov smiled broadly at the memory, then frowned as the banging continued. "Perhaps it's another distressed gentlewoman," he suggested to Helene. "At this rate I'm going to have to get a bigger bed."
"Dolokhov! Open up."
Helene sat up. "That's Anatole."
Dolokhov's smile was back. "Now this should be interesting." He went to the door and opened it just a crack.
"Anatole! I hear you've been a very bad boy."
"Is my sister here?" Ignoring Dolokhov's words Anatole pushed past him and into room beyond.
"No, no, do come in, I insist," Dolokhov muttered, but he closed the door and leaned against it to watch what unfolded with great anticipation.
Anatole had taken Helene into his arms, although she looked less than pleased with him.
"Helene! Here you are. Are you alright?"
"No thanks to you." Helene detached herself stiffly from his embrace.
"I had no idea that Pierre would react so - extremely."
"She's had quite the shock," Dolokhov told him with assumed gravity. "You should probably give her a brotherly hug. Perhaps a kiss?"
Anatole froze and looked slowly up at him. Dolokhov's serious demeanour cracked and he shook his head, unable to keep the amusement from his face. "Anatole. Your own sister. Really?"
"You told him?" Anatole looked accusingly at Helene, who shrugged defensively.
"I didn't have a choice. I needed his help."
Dolokhov walked across the room tutting solemnly and clapped Anatole on the back. "To be fair if I had a sister that looked like that I'd probably have fucked her too." He frowned, considering. "Would I? Perhaps." He took up the decanter and poured out three glasses.
Anatole relaxed fractionally, and accepted the wine. If Dolokhov was minded to find it funny rather than a matter for condemnation, he wasn't going to argue.
"I imagine you've already been helping yourself to mine," he replied, giving Helene's rather revealing dress a slow up and down.
"It's nice for friends to share," Dolokhov agreed, and slung a companionable arm around his shoulders. Helene gave a hiss of disgust as they both looked at her.
"This is all a game to you isn't it?"
"Everything's a game," Dolokhov drawled. "People get so worked up about the little things in life. If you ask me, only the denial of pleasure is a sin."
Anatole snorted. "The only church I've ever known you worship at is the church of Dolokhov."
Dolokhov toasted him in delight. "Exactly. And who is currently the happiest person in this room?"
Helene glared at them both. "It's alright for you. Nobody cares what men do. What about me?"
"Dear Helene. You might have to become a nun," said Anatole seriously, and she flew at him with a wordless shriek. Dolokhov fielded her with one arm and held her there while he carried on drinking.
Anatole grinned. "Now now. Calm yourself. Your complexion is matching your dress, and that can't be good."
Feeling the way she was trembling with fury, in the interests of spreading a little chaos Dolokhov decided to even the odds a little.
"Would it cheer you up if I said I could tell you a secret that if widely known, would shake your brother's reputation as much as this has yours?" he murmured.
Helene stopped struggling to pull away from him and looked up. "What do you mean?"
Dolokhov let her go and smirked. "Oh, I know certain things, that's all. Being known for fucking one's sister, that's not going to hold a man back. It's only a woman, after all." He set down his glass and prowled towards Anatole, who was looking progressively paler by the second.
"Dolokhov," he said warningly. "Have a care what you say."
"And change the habit of a lifetime?" Dolokhov asked, then shrugged. "Perhaps you're right though. Actions, after all, are so much more effective, are they not?" Before Anatole could react Dolokhov had shoved him back against the dresser, kissing him roughly.
Helene gave a brief cry of alarm, having at first assumed they were about to start fighting, then stood staring with her hand to her throat. Rather than push Dolokhov away, Anatole had not only seemingly surrendered to him, but was actively kissing him back.
When Dolokhov finally stepped away he turned to look at Helene for her reaction but she was rendered speechless.
"I - what?"
Dolokhov just retrieved his glass, looking self-satisfied. Anatole cleared his throat uncomfortably.
"You would never dare make this public knowledge," Anatole muttered.
"Wouldn't I?" Dolokhov raised his eyebrows.
"It would damage your reputation as much as my own."
"What reputation? Here I am, stripped of rank, virtually penniless and forced to live in three miserable rooms. At this point notoriety can only be of service to me. You, however..." Dolokhov let the thought tail off and Anatole glowered at him.
"Are you saying you - you've - " Helene looked between them in shock. "That you've been - intimate - with my brother?" she finished hoarsely.
"Think of it as collecting the full set if you like," Dolokhov murmured.
"That's - disgusting. Depraved!"
"More or less so than sleeping with your own brother?" Dolokhov enquired politely.
Helene just stared at him and he came closer, pressing into her personal space. "Don't tell me the thought doesn't excite you just a little bit," Dolokhov whispered. "That the idea of it doesn't make you just the tiniest bit wet? Imagining yourself between us, perhaps. One in the front and one in the back?"
White faced, Helene slapped him, a sharp crack that echoed through the room.
Dolokhov just smiled, rather dangerously. "It's a good thing you amuse me."
"You don't frighten me," she retorted, but her voice shook.
"Don't I? What does frighten you, Helene? The thought of being out on the streets? It does, doesn't it? You'd have to become a whore. At least you'd be good at it. If you're nice to me, I'll even give you a reference."
He saw the second slap coming, and caught her wrist in a painful grip. "You really should grow out of that habit," he said coldly. "People might start to think you're spoiled."
"I hate you," she hissed. "You're nothing but a butcher. An animal."
He pushed her away from him, bored. "Anatole, control your sister can't you?"
"You're the one winding her up," Anatole retorted, but he put his arms around Helene comfortingly. "There, there," he murmured. "Don't let him vex you. You know he's doing it on purpose."
Helene took a shuddering breath, and controlled herself. "You've truly been sleeping with him?" she whispered. "You didn't tell me."
Anatole looked across at where Dolokhov was now lounging on one of the couches and half-smiled at him. "A man's got to have some secrets."
Anatole drew Helene closer and smoothed her hair back, kissed her neck. She made a soft noise of approval but then tensed again, remembering Dolokhov was watching avidly from the couch.
Without seeming to, Anatole turned her a little so she could no longer see him, kissed her again, gentling her with caresses, years of long practice serving him well in knowing what would calm her, distract her.
Slowly he kissed her, on the mouth this time, until she gave in and melted into him, no longer caring they had an audience.
For the moment content to watch, Dolokhov lay back and enjoyed the show. Anatole was almost certainly playing up to him, by now he had Helene's skirts lifted in one hand, the other moving subtly beneath the layers of silk.
After a minute or so of this Dolokhov did a certain amount of delving himself, slipping a hand into his clothing to stroke his rising cock.
Across the room, Anatole glanced his way and guessed what he was up to, obligingly slipping one sleeve of the dress from Helene's shoulder.
Dolokhov gave up any pretence of subtlety and drew his erection out where he could get a proper grip on himself. He also didn't fail to notice that this meant Anatole's glances in his direction became more frequent, his attention torn between Dolokhov and Helene.
After a few more minutes of this, Anatole cracked.
"Not like you to wait for an invitation, Dolokhov," he called quietly.
Dolokhov got to his feet and came over slowly. "I wasn't sure if I needed to be related first," he purred, and Anatole made a face at him.
Coming to stand behind Helene, Dolokhov placed his hands on her shoulders, slipping off the other sleeve of the dress and kissing the bare skin beneath, first one side then the other.
Helene made no protest, either having forgotten her earlier tirade against him or prepared to overlook it in favour of what he might do for her in return.
Dolokhov lifted her skirts and pushed forward, the sudden and unexpected presence of his cock between her legs making Helene yelp. She'd had her back to him the whole time, hadn't seen what he'd been doing, or what he intended.
He gave a quiet laugh, pleased with the effect and doubly pleased that after the first start of alarm she didn't pull away. He settled his hands on her hips underneath the skirts of her dress and drew her back snugly against him, the head of his cock already nudging inside her.
He met with no resistance, Anatole having been assiduous in his pleasuring of her. Dolokhov reached round Helene and took hold of Anatole's hand, drawing it up to his mouth and sucking his fingers one by one.
Both Helene and Anatole shuddered, almost as one, and the tremors travelled tantalisingly through them to Dolokhov. He shunted forward, abruptly burying himself deep in Helene's warmth and making her gasp. She reached out in turn to steady herself on Anatole's shoulders, who immediately leaned in to kiss not her but Dolokhov.
For a moment the three of them remained locked together in a rather ungainly huddle; Dolokhov taking Helene from behind, Helene with her hand down Anatole's breeches, Anatole kissing Dolokhov over her shoulder.
All three were rapidly losing any lingering grasp on their composure, but standing in the middle of the parlour to do this was both awkward and draughty.
"You know, I may not have much right now, but I do have a perfectly serviceable bed," Dolokhov remarked eventually. Helene and Anatole looked at each other and nodded simultaneously.
"Then lead on," Anatole urged.
They moved into the back room, Anatole throwing himself carelessly into the already rumpled sheets with a knowing smirk. Helene settled beside him and set about unfastening his clothing, unhurriedly exposing him by degrees.
Dolokhov watched this with appreciative amusement, mostly at the fact they each seemed determined to strip the other for his benefit.
He shed his own clothing quickly, until he was standing in just a loose linen shirt. By now Anatole was reclining with his hands folded behind his head, Helene playing with his prick.
Dolokhov walked up to the head of the bed and threaded his fingers into Anatole's hair, lifting his head to an angle that allowed Dolokhov to rest one knee on the mattress and slide his cock between Anatole's lips.
Anatole gave a brief gurgle of protest, but this seemed to be more aimed at Helene, who'd stopped stroking him and was staring at them transfixed.
For a while Dolokhov entertained himself in this fashion, eyes heavy-lidded with lazy pleasure, but Anatole soon tired of being the sole object of his lust and pushed him off.
"We should be a little more creative," Anatole announced. "Helene, come here."
She crawled across the bed towards them, and helped Dolokhov lift his shirt off over his head.
"And which of us would you like at your service?" Dolokhov asked her with mock courtesy.
Anatole snickered. "I liked your idea of having her between us," he said. "A vanguard and rearguard assault, so to speak."
Helene gave him a look of disdain. "Why don't you go in the middle if the idea appeals to you so much?"
Anatole immediately looked sulkily reluctant, and Dolokhov gave a bark of laughter.
"Your brother doesn't like taking the submissive part," he told Helene. "He fears it unmanly."
"And you don't?" She trailed a hand down Dolokhov's chest, curious.
"I once removed the heads of two Frenchmen with a single swordblow," he informed her solemnly. "Trust me, I have very few insecurities where my manhood is concerned."
"Will you fuck me?" Helene heard herself utter the words and experienced a minor pang of shame. But it seemed the very things that lead her to despise Dolokhov in a social setting appealed directly to her body, and she wanted him fiercely.
He pulled her towards him, parting her legs and rending the dress in the same movement. The silk tore easily and she shivered with anticipation. It had been an unnecessary move but flamboyantly effective.
Without waiting for further invitation, he mounted her - she could think of no other word more fitting. She'd called him an animal and it seemed he was determined to live up to her accusation, thrusting into her with a force that tore a stifled cry from her lips.
She clung to him, riding the first wave of his passion with eager abandon. Beside them, Anatole was fussing with something from the cabinet beside the bed, uncorking a small bottle and Helene wondered briefly what he was doing and also how he was familiar enough with Dolokhov's bedroom to be doing it. She had assumed any previous liaison between them to have been a product of their drunken routs, not something given the weight of a formal arrangement.
Anatole had climbed back up onto the bed, and was busy oiling himself up with the contents of the bottle. Before Helene could demand to know suspiciously what his intentions were, Dolokhov had climbed off her and straddled Anatole instead.
In front of her wide-eyed stare, he lowered himself down onto Anatole's rigid cock with a self-indulgent sigh. Catching Helene's gaze, Dolokhov's lips twitched and he patted his lap.
"Room for one more."
"Don't you bloody dare," Anatole said immediately. "The both of you together will flatten me."
At this, Helene promptly took Dolokhov up on his offer, lowering herself onto his cock in turn, with a look of scandalised pride. Her back was now to Anatole's face, and her chest in Dolokhov's. He took the direct approach to this and ripped the remaining material of her dress away, burying his face between her breasts, cupping them in his hands and mouthing at the soft skin.
Helene was riding him with a slow bouncing rhythm, and Dolokhov in turn was pushing himself up and down on Anatole's cock. Anatole was mostly complaining about their combined weight, interspersed with the occasional groan as Dolokhov purposely clenched around him.
Eventually though his bitching got on Dolokhov's nerves.
"Why don't you shut him up?" he suggested to Helene. "Put his mouth to better use." He leaned forward and whispered something in her ear. Helene clapped a hand to her mouth and choked out a laugh.
"What are you two up to?" Anatole demanded. Helene lifted herself up from Dolokhov's lap and turned to face him.
"You'll see." She moved up the bed to kneel over his chest, before bracing herself on the headboard. "I mean, I'm assuming you're not going to complain about where it's been," she added, lowering herself down over his mouth.
Anatole gave in without a fight, too turned on by the utter depravity of it and by the way Dolokhov was still fucking himself on his cock to object. He licked up into Helene with a willing enthusiasm, and she sighed with contentment.
After several minutes of this Anatole plead agony and they reluctantly took pity on him, letting him sit up to stretch and recover his breath.
Dolokhov didn't waste any time in rolling Helene back down into the bed and resuming where he'd left off, and after another visit to Dolokhov's bottle of oil, so did Anatole. In this fashion and new configuration they continued their exertions, all three of them laughing now, heady from the sheer rush of it.
Sandwiched in the middle, vaguely to his annoyance it was Dolokhov who realised he was closest to coming first. He announced this nonchalantly to Helene, who immediately tried to shove him off, to no avail.
"Don't you dare! Dolokhov!" Helene went pale, but he blinked innocently at her, not letting up the motion of his hips for a second.
"What, you mean you don't want to carry my bastard?"
"I would rather die," she said through gritted teeth, and he looked more amused than ever.
"Then you'd better hope my control is as good as I think it is," he murmured. "How close shall I take it Helene? How late do you dare me to leave it?"
Helene bit her tongue, trying to modify her tone to something more coaxing. "Fedya. Please - "
"Oh, Fedya now is it?" He grinned, wolfish. "Maybe you should ask me more nicely. Now what do we say?"
"I will skin you," Helene gasped in fury.
Dolokhov laughed again, but after a couple more thrusts pulled right out and Helene felt weak with relief that after all, he had only been teasing.
"Anatole? A hand if you please," Dolokhov requested, and Anatole reached around to take hold of Dolokhov's cock, pumping him in time with his own thrusts until Dolokhov spilled across Helene's stomach, thick streaks of white across her pale skin.
Seemingly spurred on by greater heights by this, Anatole pulled Dolokhov up onto all fours and fucked into him with increased vigour. Still lying spread beneath them Helene watched, breathlessly rapt. Dolokhov's hair was falling over his face and she reached up to push it back, so she could see his eyes. He grinned at her, and leaned down to steal a kiss.
With a drawn-out groan, Anatole finally reached his own completion, bucking a final few times into Dolokhov before pulling back and collapsing into the bedclothes with a satisfied curse.
Dolokhov lay down on the other side of Helene and as soon as he was settled she reached over and took hold of his hand, pointedly drawing it down between her legs. He chuckled, taking her point and for the moment amenable enough to oblige.
"Anatole, we have been neglecting your sister," he murmured, and a moment later Anatole's fingers joined Dolokhov's in describing slow patterns of building ecstasy.
Helene closed her eyes and concentrated on the sensations, her own fingers fisting in the sheet below as between them the two men brought her slowly and steadily to a shuddering climax that shook her from core to crown.
Panting and swearing in a decidedly unladylike fashion, she pulled them both down upon her, and for a long while they dozed together in a warm and sated pile.
Eventually, feeling hot and dishevelled, Helene pushed them both off again.
"Well this is a very pleasant diversion, but it doesn't solve my immediate problem, does it?" she complained. "What am I to do?"
Dolokhov yawned. "Tell them it was me."
Helene looked at him. "What do you mean?"
"Say it was me that Pierre found you with."
"But - it wasn't," Helene said deliberately, as if addressing a child or a fool. "Pierre may be an idiot but he can tell the difference between you and Anatole."
"Was anyone else there?" Dolokhov asked, looking over at Anatole. "Did anyone see you leave?"
Anatole shook his head slowly. "I don't think so. I left by a side door."
"Well, there you are then," Dolokhov declared. "It's our word against his, three against one. Say it was dim light and he was mistaken, or that he's being deliberately spiteful because he's angry. Deny the greater transgression, admit the smaller one. People already know we had an affair. And you came here to me after all, people must know that, or how did Anatole find you?"
Her brother nodded. "You were seen," he confirmed.
"People won't want to believe something that uncomfortable," Dolokhov predicted. "Give them a sordid little rumour they can cheerfully gossip about in their parlours and salons instead and they'll be happy."
"He's got a point," said Anatole slowly. "If we stick to it - it might just work. Father would take you back in, at least. Even if Pierre insists, nobody will believe him. It's not like he's popular. It'll just make him look bad."
Helene took this in, and realised they were right. A sick feeling of utter relief swept through her, that she was not to be ruined after all and she lay down against Dolokhov, kissing his chest in a display of unaccustomed gratitude.
"Thank you," she murmured.
He smiled, running the tip of one finger down her bare arm. "You asked me for help," he said softly. "How could I refuse? Besides," he added in a more practical tone, "I might need a favour from you one day, who knows?"
Helene gave a peal of laughter. "That's more like the Dolokhov I know and - " she hesitated. "Admire."
"I thought you said I was an animal?"
"Animals have a certain low cunning that I can appreciate," she said archly, and he laughed.
"Dear Helene. Is it any wonder we are suited? We have so much in common."
She hit him with a pillow so hard he fell off the bed.