Under a dim streetlight, Mizi set down her suitcases and buttoned up her thin soaked green jacket. She glanced around the street quickly, before spotting the abandoned hotel looming at the end of the street like the doorway to hell. It might as well have been. This was the last place she wanted to be -- in the freezing cold rain, in some weird area of Chicago, and ready to beg her sister to take her in after years of little to no communication. Her sister who, let's not forget, had murdered her father just after she left.
A shudder, from the cold or perhaps fear, broke her stare on the abandoned hotel. She swallowed hard and pressed her hat firmly to her head before picking up her suitcases and walking again.
Sloshing through the puddles, Mizi tried to think of what would happen when she saw Nat. Maybe Nat would at least let her in long enough to explain her situation before throwing her back out. Maybe she could manage to smoke a bit of her stash before she'd have to find some train to hop on. Mizi climbed the stairs of the abandoned hotel and set her suitcases down. She stared up at the large doors in front of her.
Maybe Nat would be happy to see her.
She grabbed the large brass knocker and banged it against to the door. With shaking fingers, she picked up her suitcases again and waited.
At first, Natasha dismissed the knock as the rain pounding so mercilessly at the window. She turned back to her paperwork and proceeded to shuffle through it, deciding which bit she wanted to do first…or rather, which bit she didn’t want to do the least. When she heard the second knock, her brow furrowed and she looked up in the direction of the door. Who could possibly be calling on her this late on such an awful night? She sniffed the air and was greeted with a scent that was vaguely familiar and particularly distant; she couldn’t quite place it.
Eager to seize any opportunity to put these papers aside, Natasha set the stack on the sofa next to her and stood, taking a moment to straighten out the wrinkles in her shirt and adjust her suspenders a tad. The gait she carried herself to the door with was quick and cautious at the same time.
She stopped a few inches short of the door, bringing a hand up to rest on the handle as she leaned forward to peer out of the peephole. The scent was stronger now and almost unpleasant, and despite the fact that all she could see was a particularly wet form standing on the other side of the door, her aching curiosity brought her to open it anyways.
And then she was overwhelmed by a surge of the smell. A smell she was instantly able to recognize when coupled with the clear sight standing before her. Opium. Absinthe. And her sister. She stood still in the doorway, staring down at the considerably smaller woman for several silent moments. Despite the inward shock and confusion she felt, her face only showed an even stare at her.
There was no room for a friendly greeting, or a hug, or even an inquiry as to her wellbeing. She felt a sense of justice as she stared at the soggy street rat standing before her, but it struggled fiercely with a strong feeling of regret. Mizinovskaia looked so much like their mother.
Mizi shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other as her older sister Nat stared down at her. "Mizi...Natasha." She mumbled glancing up at Nat. She quickly looked down when she saw the cold stony glare in her face.
Immediately she regretted coming here. There was no way this was going to go well but even the slight warmth coming from the house kept her from running away screaming. She was so cold and her need for a sip of absinthe was growing. There was no way out.
She looked up slowly at Natasha, this time refusing to look away. There was a pause before she spoke again, in Russian. "It's been a while. You look....well...and masculine. Can I come in?"
She tightened her grip around the suitcase handles, prepared for the unholy wrath Nat was probably going to lay down on her now.
Natasha was too taken aback by Mizinovskaia’s comment to really comprehend anything she said afterwards. While she had accepted and even embraced her masculinity, she could not fathom using such a thing as prelude to a request for a hand out. Thinking about it a moment, she decided that her sister was probably drunk. Or high. Or both.
She narrowed her eyes down at her, setting her jaw. A low and inhuman growl escaped her throat as the one hand released the handle and came to rest on the doorframe, helping to support her weight as she leaned against it. Her face had not abandoned its cold glare as she replied, though she was somewhat relieved to be able to speak her native language.
“You disappeared for years. You ruined Mama. And now you show up on my doorstep with a suitcase asking if you can come in?”
"Well with an attitude like that, it's no wonder why I was gone for so long." She said, slamming down her suitcase. She figured Nat would object because she disappeared for years. In fact, she expected it. But Mama? That seemed a little unfair. It was true her mother wasn't too pleased that her daughter had developed a drug habit. But she wouldn't say she ruined her, that rested on Papa. Papa who was dead now, thanks to Nat. She sighed and hung her head before speaking slowly.
"Natasha, I..I'm sorry. I'm sorry I ran away and I'm sorry I never wrote to you. That wasn't right."
Mizi raised her head and locked eyes with Nat, straightening herself up. "But don't you think you are going to stand here and judge me. I'm not the one who made a fur coat out of Papa."
She pointed a finger at Natasha, her hand shivering from the cold. "I came here because I don't have anyone else to go to. You're the remaining family I have and I'm all you have. So please...please would you let your fucking family inside to get warm?"
Natasha growled a tad louder in response to the retort about her father.
"You wanted him dead as much as I did!"
The brief flare of her temper didn't last for too long, however. After a moment she managed to bring herself in check with a steady breath, settling her flat gaze on her sister once again. She was quite ready to kick her out all over again, but as that shaking finger rose in her direction she felt herself crumble and hated it. She growled and stepped aside grudgingly, holding the door open.
"You keeping that fucking tar out of my home."
She nodded knowingly at Mizinovskaia's bags.
Mizi's face lit up and she picked up her suitcases. "Oh of course! Hot Dawg!" She hurried past Nat and into her house, not bothering to wipe her shoes. She walked into the lounge and set her suitcases down in the middle of the room. She took off her hat and wrung it out in front of her, dripping water onto the floor.
"Is there a bar around here? I brought some absinthe. We should celebrate and get bent!" She opened her suitcase and took out a bottle of absinthe out of her bag.
"Where are the glasses Nat? Or do you have a servant around to get it for you?" She grinned at her sister with the bottle in her hand.
Natasha stared at her sister as she swept past her, taken entirely aback by her behavior. She knew she was like this, but just seeing her blatant disregard for other people in action once again was too sobering of a reminder for her. Her growl was quiet as she shut the door and padded in after her, stopping briefly to bend down and pick up a crinkled and wet leaf left in the wake of her shoes. She frowned at it before clenching it in her fist and carrying on behind her.
"Take off your shoes at the door. Or at least wipe them."
When she looked up she was greeted with the sight of Mizinovskaia clogging up the middle of the room with her dingy self, holding a bottle of liquor she figured was worth more than her little sister. Her brow furrowed and she sighed, rolling the crumpled leaf around between her palms.
"And be quiet. Fiona is sleeping."
Still frowning, she disregarded her questions and turned her back to the other woman, moving to lock the door.
"Sure sure, I'm sorry Natasha." She set down her bottle and took off her shoes before hurrying over to the door. Carefully she placed them down next to the door and smiled up at Nat. "There, all better, you wet blanket? Come on, have a drink with your sister!" She patted her sister on the back and returned to the other room.
"Who's Fiona? Is she the maid? Or your roommate?" She asked over her shoulder loudly as she picked up her bottle again. She spotted a small bar in the corner and squealed before sliding across the floor to it. Slamming the bottle down on the counter, she reached down beneath the bar and took out two glasses setting them delicately next to the bottle.
She paused and looked up at her sister with a huge smile.
Natasha sighed heavily again. It was difficult enough to win an argument with her sister when she was all there, but now she was tired and cold and she figured there was no chance at any sort of victory, however minor it may have been.
Her shoulders slumped slightly as she shuffled over to the bar and seated herself across from her elated sibling, yellow eyes glaring up at her from beneath a particularly knit brow.
"Fiona is my lover."
Her tone has flat but somewhat more stern this time, and on the heels of her glare she reached out to snatch the bottle from Mizinovskaia's grip, along with a glass. She poured a bit of the green liquid in before she set the bottle down and looked at her impatiently.
She reached across the bar to snatch up a sugar cube before holding out her other hand, palm up and expectantly, toward her sister.
"Oh right." Mizi reached down and pulled an absinthe spoon from her stocking. She wiped it on her shoulder to clean it and then stopped suddenly. Her eyes widened with realization and they darted over to Nat's face.
"Wait, 'your lover'?" She asked, still gripping the spoon. When she saw Nat's unchanged face, she gasped and pointed the spoon at her. "Oh my god, you're a dyke! Well that's just the bee's knees!" She slapped the counter with a laugh.
"That completely explains the suspenders. I should have known," she waved the spoon at the suspenders before finally placing it on Nat's glass. Then she placed the sugar cube on top. She filled up a glass of water beneath the faucet and after test it to make sure it was cold, poured it over the sugar cube.
"How long have you been necking girls? Was this going on when I was living with you?"
A long, quiet stare was what Mizinovskaia's reward was. Natasha kept her eyes set on her sister as she reached down and plucked her glass from her hand, lifting it to her lips to have a short sip. She coughed slightly, having forgotten just how...potent absinthe was. Setting the glass back down with as much dignity as she could muster, Nat folded her arms over the bar and leaned on them a bit, continuing to glare appraisingly at her sister.
"That's not important."
Her sexuality wasn't really a subject she was comfortable discussing in and of itself. The fact that Mizinovskaia was one of the only few people to know her true gender made it even more uncomfortable. She shifted awkwardly and averted her gaze.
"Oh don't be such a wet blanket. I'm your sister. We've been out of touch for years!" She waved her hand at her sister before she prepared her own drink. Her movements were fast and precise yet she hardly bothered to look down to watch what she was doing.
"You're supposed to tell me these things. How long have you been with Fiona? Is she a smartie?"
With the sugar lump stirred into the drink, Mizi gulped down a rather large sip and set it down on the table. Years of gulping down absinthe and smoking opium had made her tolerance higher than most. The warm feeling of absinthe running down her throat and into her stomach was a familiar welcoming one. Sometimes, it felt like the only thing close to home for her.
"Ahh so much better. I really should get out my sketchbook in case any inspiration comes." She removed her green jacket and tossed it aside.
With a heavy sigh, Natasha proceeded to ignore the rest of whatever was coming out of her sister's mouth. She lifted her glass to her lips again and took a sip that was considerably more large than the previous, though her face contorted as she downed the liquid. Yellow eyes blinked a few times afterwards as if it would help to ward off the blurriness encroaching on her periphery.
"Why are you here?" She queried flatly, letting her gaze drift back to Mizinovskaia before she took another quaint sip of the green liquor.
"Well..." Mizi paused and took another large sip of the absinthe. She swallowed it down loudly and walked around the bar with the glass in her hand. Her eyes flickered around the room before they settled on a chair near the fireplace, facing the bar. She sat down into the large red chair and set the glass on a table next to her. Her legs crossed as she cleared her throat. She gazed at Nat sitting at the bar as she spoke.
"I'm here because there was nowhere left to go. I had been traveling everywhere, New York, San Francisco, Texas, Mexico, even Paris. I started trying to make it as an artist but it's hard when you're not petting with the owner of a gallery."
She picked up her absinthe glass, sneering at it as memories flooded her mind. "Sometimes it's difficult to tell the difference between an artist and a whore who can draw well."
She threw her head back and downed the last remaining sip of absinthe. When she brought her head up to look at Nat, she was grinning widely. "Anyway...I needed money so, I started stealing. Nothing major like a diamond or something. When I first started, I stole from fellas at the dens. I'd empty their wallets while they were getting their kicks with their pipes. Then I started hanging out with private groups, high class rollers, bell bottoms and the like. I'd find the biggest spender I could find, gain his trust.." She wiggled her eyebrows.
"..by any means necessary, then I'd take their berries and blow. If that didn't work, then I used other persuasions." Her smirk faded as she looked at her nails. Then her eyes narrowed cooly at Nat. "Met some werewolves along the way and heard through the grapevine about what you did to Papa and subsequently what happened to Mama."
Mizi paused, feeling the emotional weight pooling in her stomach. She rose to make herself another drink. "I tried to find her for a while, no luck though. I lost her track somewhere in New Orleans. I also ran into trouble of my own in New Orleans." She said as she placed the sugar cube on the spoon.
Mizinovskaia's words were going in one ear and out the other. She could have guessed for herself where her sister had been and she didn't really care either way. The rest of her absinthe was soon drained and she pushed the glass aside, folding her hands in front of her and looking away. She'd heard the word "Mama" and that just made her want to not listen more.
With a heavy sigh, she looked back to her sister when she detected that she was finished talking.
"Yeah." Was her dull, detached response. She rubbed the back of her own neck and looked over her shoulder at the closed door of she and Fiona's bedroom.
Mizi narrowed her eyes and furrowed her brow. She could tell Natasha wasn't listening. What a rude little bitch she could be....or was it bastard now? Either way, she wasn't about to put up with this.
"It's rude to ignore your guest Natasha." She said in perfect English. "I thought you would be interested to know about Mama. Or perhaps you would like to go to bed and just leave your estranged sister out here to toke by the fireplace." She switched back to Russian. "Unless you have sleeping arrangements planned out for me."
That certainly got Natasha's attention.
She growled, turning to face her sister again. her voice was harsh, almost a bark.
"If I catch you with that shit in here I will throw it and you out on the street. I don't care how fucking cold it is." She looked her once over and snorted in disapproval, trying her best to look menacing. Given how tired and now how tipsy she was, though, chances were she didn't look anything of the sort.
"You sleep on the sofa." She nodded in the direction of the living area where the fireplace and sofa were, then pushed away from the bar and moved onto her feet.
Mizi smiled at her sister, gently this time. Nat was such a killjoy, a total wet blanket. But sometimes that was what made her so damn likable. And absolutely scary. Her sister tried to furrow her brow but her eyes were dropping and her cheeks were flushed so she looked more like a man taking the angriest snooze in his life.
"Fine fine." She rose from the chair and approached the sofa, gathering the papers sprawled across it. "I won't turn your home into an opium den. And I won't moonshine in the bathroom. either."
Mizi slinked over to Natasha, the absinthe rushing to her head now. With a floppy arm she thrusted out her hand grasping the papers. She bit on her lower lip to keep herself from laughing at Nat's attempt at a snarl.
"Poor dear, I'm going to have to teach you how to have fun all over again." She shook her head sadly at Natasha.
"I don't have time for fun." Natasha growled in response, completely ignoring the fact that most of her nights were spend drinking with a beautiful woman. A bitter glare was directed at her sister, hand reaching out to snatch the papers from her grip. She then took a moment to assort them in an order that was at least somewhat remotely straight, stern expression softening in the slightest as she did so. When she spoke, her voice had less of an edge to it.
"Not supposing you have any blankets or pillows?"
She nodded in the direction of Mizinovskaia's bags.
Mizi couldn't help but smirk. She folded her arms and arched an eyebrow slightly at her sister. Obviously Natasha knew absolutely nothing about life as a vagabond. Not that she would necessarily expect it given the fact that her sister was a mob boss. But the question practically necessitated for a sarcastic response. She knew she shouldn't make one since Nat had been kind enough to let her stay here. Not to mention that she was about a hair away from throwing her ass back out in the freezing cold rain.
"Sure Natasha, I've got a whole bed set from the Ritz Carlton in there. Even the mattress."
Mama always told her she completely lacked self-control.
Another glare was Mizinovskaia's reward. Natasha glared flatly at her sister before growling and making a point of shoving past her on her way to the linen closet. She emerged from within only a few seconds later, a blanket and pillow in arm. They were soon tossed to the smaller woman.
"Try not to leave any...stains on the couch."
A pause in order to look the girl over, face set in disapproval.
"And don't be too loud. You'll wake Fiona."
Mizi completely ignored the stain comment. What did she think she was going to do? Bake a cake? She neatly put the blanket and pillow in place on the couch before turning to look at her sister, still standing there with her unamused expression.
"I'll try not to make a racket while I'm sleeping," Mizi assured dryly. She paused to look her sister over. In the dim light, she really looked like a man. With those glaring eyes and set jaw, even she sometimes forgot Nat was a girl. She had trouble imagining that there could actually be a pair of breasts beneath those suspenders. Not that she particularly wanted to imagine her sister's breasts.
"So, this must be good night then. You probably have another day of violent organized crime ahead of you." She looked down at her nails again.
"I don't suppose you have some job in mind for me that involves your gang, do you?" She turned her head up slightly, looking at her sister with an impish grin.
"No." Came her prompt and particularly stern reply.
Natasha was never really one for pleasantries, but her face was beginning to feel tired from all this glaring at her sister. She was beginning to regret more and and agreeing to let her stay here; this was only a recipe for disaster and the last thing she needed on her shoulders right now was more stress. And, well, that's all Mizinovskaia was going to be.
Something at the back of her mind kept saying that she should be grateful for the addition of familiarity back into her life, but when she looked up and saw that trademark grin plastered across her lips the little voice was completely obliterated. Even so, she allowed a glimpse of softness.
Though she still stood before her rigidly, she gave her sister a small nod before turning her back and making her way across the living area, to the door of her own bedroom.
Mizi nodded back at Nat, even when her back was turned. Despite how cold she could be, Mizi felt that maybe, just maybe, Nat wanted her here too. But only time could really tell.
She gazed at her sister as she stalked across the living area to her bedroom door, her own smile fading. Somehow, she was going to make that damn she-man happy. Even for 10 minutes. Anything to get that painted frown off her face.
Turning away, she began to unpack some clothes from her suitcase. She undressed out of her damp clothes and set them in front of the fire place before putting on dry clothes. Lying down on the couch, she wrapped the blanket around her body. Her mind continued to dwell as she adjusted her head on the pillow. Maybe the only thing they had in common was their painted faces.