Pairings: Dolokhov/Anatole (established relationship)
Summary: Set part way through episode 5, the night before the battle of Borodino.
"Where have you been?" Anatole looked up irritably as Dolokhov pushed his way in through the tent flap. With the battle looming, he didn't appreciate being left alone with his thoughts for too long.
Dolokhov didn't answer, instead pouring himself out a large glass of wine with a distracted air.
"What's the matter with you? You look as if you've seen a ghost," Anatole jibed, heaving himself out of the chair and coming over.
"If I asked you to guess who I've just seen, it would take you a week," Dolokhov murmured, looking rather as if he didn't quite believe the encounter had taken place himself.
"Who?" Anatole demanded, carelessly refilling his own glass and sucking a dark splash of wine from his thumb.
"Pierre?" Anatole's eyebrows went up in astonishment. "What's that little worm doing here? He's not joined up has he? I shan't believe it."
"No, no he wasn't in uniform." Dolokhov shook his head slowly, puzzling it out. "I don't know why he's here. I suppose I should have asked, but it was as if my own psyche had called him up. I didn't question it."
"You actually spoke to him?" Anatole asked in surprise.
"Yes. I asked his forgiveness," Dolokhov said solemnly. Anatole gave a bark of laughter, then realised Dolokhov wasn't joking.
"Yes indeed. And I am pleased to say he gave it." Dolokhov studied Anatole with calm eyes. "It is not a good thing, for a man to face death with too much on his conscience, my friend."
"Death! Who says we face death?" Anatole scoffed uncomfortably, throwing back his drink and filling the glass again. "You're a lot of things Dolokhov, but I've never known you to be a defeatist."
Dolokhov shook his head. "A realist, perhaps. They tell us we will triumph, but a simple glance across the valley tells the rest of the story. There are infinitely more of them than us. Maybe we will stem the tide, but hundreds will be lost. Who is to say we will not lie amongst the fallen at the end?"
"Oh you're a fine and cheerful companion," Anatole grumbled. "Why don't we make a run for it if you're that convinced we're doomed? No one'd see us go, it's chaos out there."
Dolokhov looked affronted. "Don't be a coward, man. No, I am not afraid to die. And I would back myself against any man in a fair fight - or an unfair fight, for that matter," he added, his lips crooking upwards in a smile for the first time since he'd entered the tent. "But it is the artillery that concerns me. Death from above, striking like a thunderbolt. No man can guard against that. The best you can pray for is a direct hit. Better instant oblivion than lying mangled on the battlefield to be trampled by all. Or to live out your days as a crippled beggar on the streets of Moscow. No, in such an event for me it would be a pistol to the head, and goodnight Mother Russia."
Anatole shuddered. "Shut up. You'll bring bad luck on us, talking so." He held his glass up to Dolokhov's lips. "Drink," he ordered.
Dolokhov did as he was bid, gulping down the wine from the clumsily tilted glass until it ran in a red line down his chin. "Eat, drink, and be merry," he echoed quietly. "For tomorrow..." he let the thought tail off and Anatole scowled at him.
"I thought I told you to shut up?" He leaned forward and licked the trail of wine from Dolokhov's face, ending up by capturing his mouth in a messy kiss.
Coats and boots discarded, they fell down upon the narrow bed tearing at each other's clothing. There was little risk of being disturbed, most of the men were equally preoccupied with their own mortality tonight, and drinking anything they could get their hands on to ward off the chill of impending doom.
The sex was brutal. Anatole was on edge and half-frantic, slamming into Dolokhov with a bruising force as if he was already fighting for his life. For his part, Dolokhov welcomed it, the fierce pounding reminding him that he was still alive, still warm and vital. The lingering ache tomorrow too would serve to remind him that there were things worth surviving for.
By the time they were both spent Anatole was docile once more, nestling into Dolokhov's arms like a child in search of comfort.
"I don't want to die, Fedya," he whispered, an almost inaudible confession breathed against Dolokhov's chest.
"Then don't." Dolokhov wrapped Anatole in his strong arms and kissed him. "Then don't."