The Bed You Make
Chapter 28
~ Laying the groundwork ~

“You were not hired for excuses.” Stefan Cassadine's tone was conversational; the implied threat behind his words was anything but. “If you cannot complete the assignment as instructed,” he offered, “then perhaps…” The other party's response seemed to appease the head of the Cassadine family. He issued several curt instructions in flawless Cantonese before turning his attention to the man waiting patiently just outside his study door. “Enter, Petrov,” Stefan directed. He was scheduled to meet with his Head of Security to discuss recent developments. As always, Yuri was prompt to a fault. “Have you compiled the information I requested?”

“Da.” The two men's conversation was conducted in Russian. Rarely was any other language spoken between them even though Yuri was fluent in three of the other seven tongues Stefan spoke. “I have made a chart,” Yuri nodded. “I have drawn up all the changes in the guards' assignments,” he informed his employer. “May I?”

“Proceed,” Stefan instructed. He watched as Yuri unfurled an extensive chart onto the dark, polished surface of his desk. The guard worked as efficiently as he did everything else; Stefan appreciated that economy of movement, being a man who did the same.

Stefan carefully studied the precise labyrinth of black lines that criss-crossed the page. He took his time studying each path. Each line was weighed and evaluated on its own merits. “It is an excellent plan of action that you have crafted,” Stefan finally nodded. “Save, of course, for the obvious.”

Yuri acknowledged the observation with a slight tilt of his dark head. He reached down beside him and retrieved a scroll that, on first glance, appeared identical to the one already spread across Stefan's desk. “There is a solution,” the guard replied, exchanging charts.

Stefan took his time to examine the new document. Though there was only one difference between the two charts, Stefan followed the path of each line as though it was the first time he'd done so. “Quite impressive, Petrov,” he pronounced. “How would this be accomplished?”

Yuri flashed a rare, humorless smile. On him, it appeared more like a feral baring of teeth. “To accomplish this,” he explained, “I must renew an old … friendship.”