He was a good kid for most of his life.
He made tea for his mother and treated his father with respect. He got good grades and was a polite little boy.
And then he found out he was gay. And he never meant to let it slip, but his Mama just stared at him in horror, and the way his father advanced on him was scarier than the stories of Baba Yaga from his childhood.
He was beaten up. Badly.
At least be wasn't set on fire. He'd seen what had been done to people who were gay before.
And so he fled. He fled from Russia, from the Motherland. He ran from his country of birth and made it to the US, where his cousin resided.
His cousin took him in.
But then Aleksander's cousin died, a heart attack. He went to his cousin's grandmother, and she raised him instead. He lived a life of manners and learning how to defend himself, and when the time came, he enlisted in the army.
He stayed there for just under a year before the Agency sweeped him up.