They don't really discuss it, it just happens; Olga moves in with him.
It's not a real living-together. At least, it's not the way Anton supposes they still work. There's only the one room, only his narrow bed, but mostly at night they're on patrol, and when Anton staggers home Olga goes drinking with Tigercub and sometimes sleeps on her couch, or disappears with Geser, and Anton would prefer not to think too much about that.
She kept waking him up, thumping on the door in the small hours of the afternoon, so he got her a copy of the key, and now she wakes him up by falling over the foot of the bed and sitting on his ankle, three sheets to the wind and wanting to know what the hell happened to communism.
"Gorbachev," he says. Clarity comes a little easier these days, but he's still bleary when he peers at her. She's infinitely worse off. "How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Eight," she says, and passes out on his shoulder.
He can never predict what will cause her trouble. Mobile phones she never had a problem with; four days into their partnership she's changed her ringtone to that song she's always singing, and is sending him text messages telling him to get take-out on the way to the office. But she stares at the analytical computers uncomprehendingly and still gets freaked out when the keyboard doesn't bing at the end of a line. And he can't get her to use the ticketing system on the Metro. She claims never to have trusted it in the first place. She has fare evasion down to a fine art.
Sometimes he goes out before she comes in, when he's catching Svetlana for a late coffee or early dinner, and when he makes it to work Olga will roll her eyes and waggle her eyebrows and make loud remarks about Casanova and Romeo. But the first time he asked Svetlana out, Olga bought him a new shirt and told him he looked great until he almost believed her.
Sometimes he's the one who goes out in the early mornings, straight off work, meeting Kostya for a drink or six, or knocking quietly on Svetlana's door. Depends on the night they've had.
She's not always there when he finally comes home. When she is, it's his turn to stub his toe on the bedpost in the dark and accidentally sit on her elbow as she grumps at him in some ancient Tibetan dialect he assumes she learnt from Geser. Then he wrestles her for a share of the pillow and eventually wakes up with her hair in his face.
When she's not there, the flat seems bizarrely empty. It was like that before, he tells himself. For twelve years; just him. But still, he can hardly sleep for silence.
It's been two months since she exploded in his kitchen, feathers and shrieks and one more thing he put off coping with until he realised he already had. Her clothes are scattered all over his bedroom. When he stops for coffee, early in the night, he always gets two, both black, his with sugar. He doesn't hesitate when she says, "Duck," and she doesn't question when he leads the way.
He looks after her, she looks after him. They hold each other together somehow. They both have too much past, but none of it involves the other.
Together, all they have is present.
Redoubled by dee
All stories are works of fan-fiction by Dee. "Fan-fiction" means that she does not own any of the core creative concepts and characters, but she does heap adulation, appreciation and awe upon those people who do hold the intellectual property rights to those concepts and characters. Further, any instances of real people are fictional, and the author does not wish to suggest any truth should be attached to the actions, emotions and words attributed to them in these fictional stories.