|Nat Koskorov & Alexei Revnik
||[Mar. 9th, 2008|10:58 pm]
Dead Soldiers: A 1920s Roleplaying Game
Who: Nat Koskorov & Alexei Revnik |
Where: The Blue Moon, a Werewolf club Fiona sings at.
When: As late at night as ever.
What: Nat reunites with a ghost from her past -- namely her husband from the Old Country, who isn't dead after all. Awkward all around, that.
Things had been rather dull lately. Not to say Natasha wanted an uproar from the vampires or any more shootouts and/or deaths, but really there was nothing to occupy herself with when such things weren't going on.
So she found herself at The Blue Moon as she had every single night that week thus far, sitting in her usual shady, secluded booth sipping her drink between drags at her cigar as she listened to Fiona sing. A smirk crossed her lips as she tapped the cigar out in a nearby ashtray, then relaxed back against the booth and shut her eyes for a moment. As much as she enjoyed Fiona's singing, it was getting late.
He still wasn't used to American clubs.
Which isn't that he didn't like them -- on the contrary, they seemed like they fulfilled what they set out to do beautifully. Even despite the fact that you coudln't drink in this country, which was madness, these bars flourished and catered to every sense the patron was willing to busy. There was music, there was liquor, there was the smell of smoke, the bright lights, and at some locales the touch of a pretty gal at your side.
This wasn't his focus tonight though. His focus, he discovered moments after removing his hat, was sitting across the room. She'd almost been skipped over in his initial sweep of the room, and it hadn't helped that her face had been obscured by the grey cloud from her cigar. Even when the smoke cleared though, it was hard to tell.
He'd have to get closer. He'd have to rely on scent.
What seemed like moments later Natasha's eyes opened again, but judging by how the song being sung was entirely different now, she guessed she'd managed to doze off. In public. In a club. Some crime boss she was.
With a heavy sigh, she leaned over the table and took a heavy drink from her 'coffee', eyes settling on Fiona again as she set the mug down on the table. She'd promised her that she would drive her home tonight and was wishing, now, that she'd just given her money for a cab.
As she sat back, however, her train of thought came to an abrupt halt as an old, familiar scent that she couldn't quite place reached her. Senses perked, she leaned forward and scanned the room.
"You're lucky I wish you well," came the deep voice to her side. It was Russian, and obviously being spoken with lips that were also playing host to a smile. He wasn't certain how she could've fallen asleep with all the glamour of this place going on around her -- and a girl who wasn't too bad to look at onstage -- but it didn't matter. As soon as he caught sight of her yellow eyes, he grinned.
Somehow her getup wasn't that surprising.
Natasha had been so caught up in her scanning the other side of the room, she was caught entirely off guard by the voice at the other side of her. She jumped slightly and began to reach for the stake in her jacket, but when her eyes set on him everything halted abruptly. She stared blankly for several seconds before she finally had enough presence of mind to shut her mouth and wet her lips.
Seeing him in such clothing, as opposed to what she last saw him in, threw her off slightly. But a few more moments of staring and there was no denying that's who it was. Her befuddled expression cracked into somewhat of a smile.
Rather than speak, his own round face broke out in a broad grin and her moved forward, obviously intent on giving the tall woman a hug. If she wouldn't stand up from the chair, well, he would haul her to her feet himself.
It was almost good that she looked so different. After all, seeing something so familiar here where everything was new, the contrast might've proved too jarring for him. There was enough of a challenge adjusting as it was.
Getting up hadn't even crossed her still bewildered mind, so moments later Natasha found herself being dragged to her feet by a pair of large arms that could easily manage the feat. One thing was for certain; you didn't meet many folks in America with those sorts of muscles.
She allowed a laugh, wrapping her arms around his neck and hugging him tightly in return.
"A little late, don't you think?" She asked, chin still hooked over his shoulder in the last few moments of their hug. When she pulled back she was smiling broadly.
"I had loose ends to tie up," Alexei grinned, doing his best not to be quite so booming when he spoke. The place was crowded after all, and the singer was still singing. The smell of the other werewolf was different now, it lacked a quality that he remembered it once possessing. Just as well. He didn't need anything else to make him homesick.
The broad man gave Natasha one more clap on the back before parting from her, holding her at arms length for a very, very pointed inspection.
"You look... thin," he finally managed, his grin lingering somewhat expectantly.
Natasha laughed, the remnants of her breathlessness from his strong embrace quite evident. After a few moments her hands came up to tuck her stray hair behind her ears, giving Alexei a smile that was somewhat sheepish.
"Are you saying I wasn't thin before?" A faint smirk.
"You were big as a barn," he teased, his grin tugging into a neat smirk. It wasn't really his place to be passing judgements on anyone's appearance -- since they last saw each other he was sure he'd gone through his fair share of weathering this and that, with the remnants of each conflict visible on his grizzled face. At least said face still looked young, and at least, of course, it was smiling.
With one big hand Alexei reached up, gripped Natasha's shoulder for a moment and gave it a short squeeze, as if confirming that she was indeed standing in front of him. "We should have a drink!"
Another laugh, slightly less winded this time, and Natasha nodded in agreement.
"Yes. Please sit with me." She nodded back in the direction of the booth she had just been dragged from before seating herself where she had been. After taking a moment to collect Fiona's coat and set it on the other side of her, she patted the recently cleared spot and smiled up at Alexei again.
"What will you have? I'll buy."
"Vodka -- tell them to send a bottle, two glasses," he nodded, taking the offered seat after setting his hat down on the table. When the coat was neatly moved out of his way, he spared it a short, curious look. Even if it hadn't been so obviously feminine, he could tell by its cut it was far too small for Natasha.
"Am I taking someone's place?"
"Hm? Ah, no. She won't be done for a while."
With a smile, Natasha nodded toward the direction of the stage before she flagged down a waiter and ordered said vodka. When she found Alexei seated next to her, she turned slightly to face him and smiled.
"I was worried about you."
"I know," he responded. His smile, though faded, didn't dim entirely. After a short glance at Natasha, Alexei directed his attention back up at the stage. When he spoke his voice remained low and even. "I'm sorry I didn't get here sooner, but..." and here he shook his head, lips pursing briefly until the movement was complete. Dismissive. "That doesn't matter, the past is the past. We're on the other side of the world now, huh?"
His grin blossomed again, his eyes turning to fix on hers.
While curious, she didn't want to press the matter too much right now. There would be plenty of time for that later. Instead, she returned his smile and brought one arm onto the table, leaning against it so she could face him easier.
"Do you have a place to stay here?"
"No," he admitted, quieting almost immediately as the girl came around with their bottle. He spared her a vague sort of smile, watched her leave, then set about the business of opening it right away. Alexei sorted out the glasses with rather expert precision, despite the time that had elapsed since his last real drink.
"I've been well. I've been through much worse. Suit's not bad, though?" It didn't mean to come out as a question but it there it was. He shot Natasha a look, grinning crookedly as he followed it up with the handing over of a shotglass brimming with vodka. His was lifted to tap hers almost immediately.
Another laugh was her response- not that she had time for much more- as she lifted her glass to tap against his and downed it quickly before any more could slosh over the brim. She released a heavy breath after it was downed and offered him another quick smile before filling her glass again and downing it just as quickly.
"I've got plenty of room if you need a place," She set her glass down finally, moving to idly crack her knuckles, "And money, if you need that too."
"I'd like to earn it," he replied honestly, mere seconds after downing the rather bracing shot of liquor. Now that had been welcome. It was familiar to home, but once again not close enough. There was a brief clink of glass as he set about pouring himself another. He topped off Natasha's as well, despite the fact that the woman looked tired.
"A place to sleep would be good though. I've got money, but..." he shrugged one broad shoulder, then reached to pick up his glass. "But there's no permanance to it. I want someplace I can stay."
"Stay at my place, then." Natasha offered with a brief smile cut short by another full shot glass being pressed to her lips. When it was downed, she took a moment to recover as she sat the glass on the table and withdrew her hands as if she were entirely through with it.
"For as long as you want. Please."
Another smile and she reached over to place a hand on his knee, squeezing it slightly.
The initial impulse -- to lean over and kiss her cheek -- was stifled by the fact that, well, she looked so different now. She wasn't the girl he'd known, she was harder, her jaw sharper, her eyes deeply set. Even her voice seemed strange. The only thing about her that remained even halfway feminine was her hair, which she still wore long, an aspect of her appearance that he remembered quite clearly. If it had been short, it would've taken longer to know it was her for sure.
Alexei reached up and cupped her cheek instead, brushing a thumb over the skin before giving in a soft clap. "That would be very good of you. I'd love to."
Her smile faded slightly as his hand came to her cheek, feeling a nearly overwhelming wave of guilt sweep over her. They had never really divorced, and here she was living with a woman, with women practically fighting over her. She ignored the impulse to shrink away from his touch and instead allowed a faint smirk.
"Good. You can follow us home tonight."
His glass was lifted to his lips. Before he drank though he spoke, his heavy brow furrowing with a short twitch. "And who is us?"
Though he suspected the owner of the coat, he'd have to hear it from her first. Alexei knocked back the shot, gritting his teeth against it briefly, then dropped it back down to the wood of the tabletop again with a resolute clink.
Though she spoke quickly, it was evident that she felt somewhat guilty about muttering the name. She poured herself another glass and motioned toward the girl singing on stage before she quickly downed it. Perhaps too quickly, as she found her eyes watering as the glass was set on the table again.
She gave him a weak, hopeful smile.
His gaze followed her motion swiftly, and once again he was watching the girl onstage. She looked young. Even if he hadn't known the woman next to him before now, even if she hadn't been dressed like she was this night, it wouldn't have been difficult to put together what that meant. Hand still resting on his empty glass, Alexei gave a short, grim note of laughter. More like a breath.
"Natasha..." He murmured, almost chiding as he shook his head.
Natasha felt that same, unpleasant sinking feeling as a moment prior- only ten times worse. Her smile fell entirely as her hand slipped away from the empty glass, coming down to squeeze his knee again.
"Alexei," She echoed quietly, attempting to meet his gaze, "I-"
And then she trailed off, not entirely sure of what to say.
The bottle was taken again a moment later, pulled across the table with a dull noise, and then tipped against his glass. Once it was full he spoke. "I didn't come here to interrupt your life," he explained, eyeing the drink more than the woman by his side. Still, his tone was even, friendly in its sheer politeness. "I came here because I told you I would."
It wasn't until after he'd taken the shot -- and set it down decisively -- that he leaned back and spoke again. "I still accept that invitation."
Her smile remained just as it had; lacking the genuine emotion behind it. She gave his knee one more squeeze before bringing that hand up to idly tuck a few stray strands of hair out of her ear. Yellow eyes fell from his face to her own empty shot glass.
"I'm sorry, Alexei, I didn't know, I mean," She cleared her throat, "I thought maybe you-"
Entirely displeased with herself, Natasha found it particularly difficult to verbalize the notion that she thought Alexei to be dead.
"I know," was his equally grim reply. A slight smile didn't help to bolster the words any, even as he tried to make a moment's worth of eye contact. With several instants he shook his head again, leaning forward to rest his folded arms on the edge of the table. "That's why I don't expect anything from you. I just wanted to make sure you were well, and you seem... what, happy?"
His smile shifted into a grin for a brief instant.
A bitter chuckle was her reply this time. Was she happy? It was hard to tell these days.
After a moment of hesitation, her hand came to rest on Alexei's back. She cast a glance at the stage to make sure Fiona wasn't looking anywhere remotely near her, then leaned forward to plant a small kiss on his ear. She then emulated his position, folding her arms and leaning on them.
"Hard to tell." She replied honestly.
"What could you want?"
The question was given with a short, barely there laugh of disbelief. The urge to have another drink was building up again, but his head, already riddled from the recent shorts, was still with it enough to know that was likely a poor idea.
"You have money, you have a house, you have... someone," he finished lamely, gesturing to the stage as he did so. "Your health. A job -- I know you work."
"Yes, I have money. I have a house. I have someone." She spoke the last word with a fair amount of disdain, being particularly bitter on the subject of both Fiona and Josephine. Her eyes looked over her glass before settling on the man next to her again, "I have enemies. Too many, I think."
Her eyes darted over to the bottle briefly, but when she thought better of it they settled on Alexei again.
With a bitter laugh, she smirked faintly.
"Sometimes I wish I still lived back in Russia, back in the old house. Things were a lot simpler."
This time his laughter was more definite, though it still was laced with a certain unhappy quality. Still, when he looked over towards Natasha his expression was warm. One of his eyebrows arched.
"Do you get drunk this easily now?"
Natasha cast him a smirk and gave a playful push to his side.
"I'm serious," Was punctuated by a small laugh before she leaned forward on her arms again, exhaling a heavy sigh as her eyes fixed on the girl singing across the club. After a few quiet moments, she looked back over to the man next to her and smiled genuinely.
"Thank you for coming."
"I'm supposed to be here," he clarified, though did seem to accept her gratitude with a tilt of his head and a softening of her smile. Another short squeeze was given to her arm before he removed his hand once again -- damn thing still wore its wedding band, and yet touching her after all this time just felt strange.
Maybe it always had.