Mizi leaned in close to the mirror to wipe away the steam off the glass and examine her eyes closely. They were still a little blood shot but she could always blame it on shampoo in her eyes. If Nat caught her smoking opium in her bathroom while taking a bath, she would be done for.
She heard the door shut downstairs and quickly tied a towel around her.
"Damnit!" She cursed to herself. She sprayed some of Fiona's perfume around the room to mask the smell of the opium and hid the pipe behind the toilet. Best to leave the scene of the crime than to be caught in it. She opened the door and descended the stairs, clutching the towel to her chest tightly. Nat was standing in front of the door, her typical ray of sunshine self. Mizi forced a pleasant nonchalant smile.
"Well well..you're finally home. I was wondering where you were." She said playfully in Russian.
Natasha had just heard her sister's voice as she finished with the last lock on the door, freezing in her actions as if someone had just placed a silver knife to the back of her neck.
"There was work." She spoke gruffly, almost a bark- and a defensive one at that, punctuated by a harsh glance over her shoulder at the half-clothed woman on the staircase, "Work that had to be done."
She was terrible at lying. Terrible at lying and she hated it, but she had to this time. She absolutely had to. Even if she had convinced herself that what she had done was nothing wrong, other people might...disagree. Eventually her back was turned to the door and she arced a brow at Mizinovskaia.
"Why are you parading around my home in a towel that's too small?"
"Well what should I do? Run around naked? That would be rude." Mizi cocked her head to one side and kicked out one of her legs as she spoke. She giggled at Nat's scowl but she was already trying to figure out what was bothering Natasha so much. She seemed defensive. This wasn't her typical bitchy self.
"What sort of work had you out until 8 this morning?" She continued to walk down the stairs slowly, her smile slightly fading. "Were you out getting rid of dead bodies? Oh! Please tell me you took Fion-"
She stopped mid-sentence when a scent hit her nostrils. Pausing on the bottom of the stairs, she took in another deep breath through her nose. It was familiar but she couldn't quite remember what it was from. It was another person's smell. Another woman's smell. Mizi's eyes narrowed at her sister cautiously.
"Natasha...you have another woman's smell on you."
Dammit, dammit, dammit.
It was hard enough to tell that lie a moment ago. Now her sister was asking her to actively lie. She frowned, though the way her brow furrowed suggested more than anger or annoyance.
Her response was just as defensive as it had been before, though somewhat more quiet. She took advantage of the awkward silence that ensued to remove her hat and coat, setting them on the rack by the door.
"There's a lot of women in Chicago."
Mizi folded her arms and arched an eyebrow at Natasha. She could practically taste Nat's struggle to lie. Nat was never very good at it. Especially when she allowed herself to get defensive.
"Sure, you just happened to bump into every woman in Chicago on the way home so you had their sweat on you."
She walked up behind her sister to get another whiff. The scent was still there, if not stronger than before. It smelt like sweat, perfume, and possibly sex. She wrinkled her nose. "You were out late last night with someone else. My own sister Nat cheated on her girlfriend. I told you she wasn't good enough for you."
Mizi tried to restrain herself but she giggled to herself anyway. This was just too good. Nat had seen it her way with that little twit after all.
Lying at this point in time would be somewhat pointless. So abandoning her effort to keep her sister in the dark, she growled darkly at her, brows furrowed over sharpened yellow eyes.
"Nothing happened," She barked defensively at her sister, stepping away from her forcefully and casting a disdainful glance over her shoulder, "The vampires attacked her, so I had to help her."
With another low growl she turned and began a particularly brisk wall in the direction of the stairs.
"I didn't cheat on Fiona!" Came several moments later as she stopped at the top of the staircase, hang clutching the railing so tightly that her knuckles began to pale. Her tone suggested that she believed otherwise, but as she cast another glance back at her sister she added a somewhat faint, "I didn't."
Mizi followed her up the stairs slowly. She stopped laughing when she heard Nat's faint "I didn't". Nat's face was heavy, even angry and Mizi began to felt the weight of guilt pool in her stomach.
She sighed and looked down at her feet. Maybe she ought to be a good sister for once and actually feel sorry for Nat. When she spoke again, it was quieter.
"Was this the first time that's happened?"
Despite Mizinovskaia's change of tone, Natasha showed low relent in her defensive frustration. She snarled, wood of the railing creaking slightly beneath the iron grip of her hand as she turned to face the other woman.
"Nothing happened!" Her reply was throaty and loud, but always showed a hint of ...something else. Despair, anxiousness maybe. She wanted to make herself believe that the little that had transpired wouldn't add up to something in the long run, but in the back of her mind she was rather fully aware that her hopes were empty.
Out of her own knowledge and control, Natasha began to wring her hands.
"I couldn't just let them kill her!"
Mizi stood there with her eyes fixed on Natasha. She hesitated to say anything as Nat clearly wasn't in the best of moods for prodding. Then again, she never really was.
"Who was she? Did you already know her?" She asked gently, almost as she would to a child.
She kept herself from frowning as she watched Natasha's hands twist and turn, a telling sign that something happened. She pondered reaching out to hug Natasha or something affectionate but knowing her sister, she'd probably resent it and end the conversation right there.
Mizinovskaia's prying was less than welcome at the present moment, despite the growing despair that Natasha was feeling as time progressed. Her hands halted their wringing to clutch each other tightly before she moved them behind her back where she folded her arms in an attempt to look somewhat dignified.
Her expression, betrayed her though. While her brow was deeply furrowed and her lips taut in its usual frown, her eyes still darted back and forth from the door to her sister.
"Someone from before."
It was evident that she was attempted to keep her voice stern and steady as it always was, but it broke ever so slightly at the end of her statement.
"I didn't sleep with her."
Mizi didn't dare move, her hand fixed to the railing with the other hand grasping her towel. The moment she was having with her sister felt like it was hanging by a thread. She couldn't remember the last time Natasha had opened up to her. It had to be long before they became werewolves, back when Nat dressed as a woman.
She had so many questions to ask her sister but the likelihood that Nat would answer most of them wasn't very high. They were mostly along the lines of "How far did it go?", "Will you do it again?", "Was it good?" and of course, the most pressing one of all: "Are you going to leave Fiona?" Somehow Mizi got the feeling that these probably weren't in the best taste.
"Did the vampires or anyone see her with you?" She asked, keeping her voice in the same gentle tone. At this point, it was probably better to focus on covering it up than getting every little detail out there. This wasn't exactly a little white lie after all.
"I killed them. They won't be telling anyone."
Her hand came up to rub the back of her head in nervous habit, averting her eyes, staring at a spot on the distant wall. Anything seemed better than Mizinovskaia's eyes.
"It happened in an alley and I went up the fire escape. No one saw. Vampires already know though, they've been after her for years."
Regardless of the subject at hand, she still seemed more nervous about being seen with Josephine than the vampires knowing about her. She looked back to her sister with a somewhat worried look.
"You can't tell Fiona."
Mizi broke her rigid stance with a smirk. She rolled her eyes and let out a short "Ha", before she spoke.
"Oh don't worry, I have every intention of keeping this from her for two reasons. One, she wouldn't believe me and two, I find her delusional behavior far too amusing."
Mizi couldn't keep herself from smiling. It was true, there was something incredibly entertaining in watching Fiona skip through her rose-tinted world. Despite how sad it was, Mizi couldn't help but slightly admire the girl for staying so dutifully with her sunny outlook. Either way, she wasn't about to tell Fiona and risk ruining her own fun.
The vampires were a far bigger concern than Fiona to Mizi. If the vampires were after this girl and knew of a connection to Nat, it wouldn't be long before they'd come after Nat. Trouble for Natasha likely meant trouble for herself.
"Why were the vampires after her to begin with?"
Though she felt rage bubble up inside her rapidly at her sister's low blow, she held her temper for the time being. It was evident that it was rising, however, as her hands clenched tightly at her sides, brow furrowing over a darkened glare.
"Because they know we were close for a long time. They're doing it to get to me. Fuck me up emotionally so they can easier fuck me up physically, I guess. I don't know, fucking vampires."
With that, she turned her back to her sister and took the two steps necessary to be faced with the wall. Her fist came up to press against it tightly as she gritted her teeth.
"Goddamn bloodsuckers, why the hell are they still after her."
She considered the question internally for quite some time. Knowing that someone else knew of her still strong emotional attachment to Josephine was unsettling; even more so knowing that the other party happened to be her enemy.
Mizi followed behind as she listened to Nat. She pondered to herself just who this mysterious woman was. Apparently Nat had one very difficult past with her and she had some connection to the vampires, which meant that she was probably someone of considerable influence. It didn't take much for vampires to dislike a werewolf. But to drive Nat to the point she seemed to be, that took some considerable skill. She hadn't seen Natasha this disturbed over a lover since her husband.
This bitch had to go. This wasn't a good scenario, for Nat, Fiona or even herself. And the last thing Nat probably needed was for the vampires to be plotting against her. Why use Nat's emotions? Shouldn't they be going after Fiona for that?
"But why wouldn't they go after someone like Fiona? Maybe this other woman knows or has something they want? Some sort of position or connection in the city?"
"Because they know how fucking bad Josephine hurt me!"
Natasha pivoted on her heel to face her sister, her words coming out harshly in a manner that seemed not unlike a bark. Her brow was furrowed now, face twisted in a mix of emotions that seemed to primarily consist of anger and despair.
"Because they know if they kill her I'll be fucked up, they know if they kidnap her I'll do just about fucking anything to keep her safe."
While less loud, her tone was still something akin to acidic. As she finished speaking her hands came up into her own hair which she promptly clutched tightly, turning her back to her sister and facing the ceiling. Though it was muttered quietly, a keen ear could have easily picked up on a "Oh, god..."
Mizi's jaw fell a good inch or two when her sister snapped at her. She swallowed and kept her mouth closed while she tried to think of what to say next. Christ they need a drink.
This was turning out to be more trouble than she expected. Covering up a forbidden tryst was one thing but covering up a tryst with a woman involved with vampires was quite different. For instance, vampire were capable of killing everyone you ever loved and then you. Fiona, on the other hand, was not as likely to do anything like that. The image of Fiona actually trying to kill someone was-
No. Now wasn't the time, she told herself. Right now she needed to focus on what to do with this mess. It wasn't like they could bring her here, the attraction between her and Natasha would be too obvious. Not to mention the vampires would show up as well and Mizi had little interest in tumbling around with some greasy haired vampires.
"Send her out of town then. If the vampires are actively pursuing her, tell her to go somewhere safe. That will also help you as well." Mizi said, her finger rubbing the side of her face.
"It's not that easy."
Nat sighed heavily, turning her back to the other woman once more, folding her arms over her chest as she leaned against the door frame. Her head drooped considerably as she watched the floor intently, head swimming with worried thoughts. When a muffled whimper escaped her throat, she swallowed hard and looked at her sister over her shoulder, expression reflecting the weakness that was becoming apparent quite rapidly.
"They'll pursue her. Outside the city even, I know they will. She'd be too useful for them."
Mizi felt a sharp pain in her heart when she saw that look on Natasha's face. Nat looked like she could crumble into a million miserable pieces, not that she could really blame her. She hesitated reaching out to touch Nat, but she gently placed a hand on her shoulder.
"You need a drink. I'm going to go get dressed, you sit down at the bar." Her voice was soft but firm. She turned away and began to walk down the stairs. She paused and turned her head over her shoulder to glance at Nat,
"And don't even try to bitch to me about it being too early. Just go downstairs or I'll throw you down the stairs so help me." With that, she continued to walk down the stairs to gather some clothes and change in the bathroom.
Nat opened her mouth to retort, but then the rather unpleasant realization hit her; Mizinovskaia was right. She did need a drink and she needed one bad, and she didn't care that it was 8 in the morning. With a defeated sigh, she began her descent down the stairs.
"No hard liquor," She mumbled, though it was more than likely loud enough for a werewolf's ear to pick up, "It's too early."
The word "early" was punctuated by an exhausted exhale as Nat heavily seated herself at the bar, folding her arms atop it before leaning onto them and putting her head down. She groaned.
Mizi emerged from the bathroom a few minutes later dressed in a skirt and a top. She smiled eagerly. It was never too early for alcohol, at least for her. She twirled and skipped all the way over to the bar. She slapped her hands down on the table.
"No hard liquor? What are you? A Russian or a pansy Serb?" Mizi said, reaching down to pull out a bottle of Vodka. She held it away from her to stare at the label. "Hmm..it's not the worst stuff in the world. But it could be better."
She pulled out two shot glasses before pouring the vodka. She set the bottle down and looked at Nat. Mizi sighed and pat her gently (but quicky) on the head before sliding her the shot glass.
Following the pat on the head, there came a deep and low growl from Natasha's throat. Her eyes narrowed in a glare at her sister and it took most of her strength not to jump forward and strangle her; she had to remind herself a number of times that she was just looking out for her. In her own, special way.
Her glare remained even as she lifted the glass to her lips and downed the entirety of its contents in one fell swoop. The glass hit the bar hard afterwards and then Natasha let out a breath she wasn't aware that she had been holding.
"What am I going to do, Mizinovskaia?" Her arms folded on the bar and she looked away.
Mizinovskaia lifted the shot glass and paused. "Well.." She trailed off and tilted her head back before she downed the vodka quickly. She shut her eyes as the familiar burning feeling ran down her throat. With her head still tilted back, she exhaled loudly between her pursed lips. Slowly she lowered her head back down towards her sister, placing the empty shot glass on the bar counter.
"Well..." She began again, "I would think about what at this point you can control and what you can not." She picked up the bottle and poured her sister another shot. "For instance, you slept with Josephine. You can not control the fact that that has happened. Nor can you control the feelings that you have about it. Also, the vampires know of your connection to her. That you can not control." She slid the shot glass back to Nat.
"What you can control is how prepared you are for the worst. At this point, to make any assumptions would be a grave error on your part and with the vampires dallying around, mistakes can not be made." With that, she took another shot.
Sometimes, she couldn't help but wonder if drinking made her more intelligent than normal.
"Thanks, I figured all that out on my own already."
A growl accompanied Natasha's words as she downed her own vodka, cringing as the glass settled on the table again. She was no lightweight when it came to liquor, but this early and running on so little sleep, a glass of milk was likely to make her wince. Regardless of this, she poured herself another glass and downed it even quicker than the last.
"All I can do at this point is wait for the worst. Not really anything I can do to prepare for it, either. I guess I could tell Josephine 'By the way, the Antonelli's are coming after you.'" Another shot followed and it was becoming increasingly apparently that Natasha was growing increasingly drunk, "And then I'll tell her she's safest if she lives here with me. But no, she won't do that. because she hates Fiona. She hates Fiona enough to probably fuck herself over and get herself killed or kidnapped or worse." Another shot, another glass poured, another shot. When she spoke this time her voice had risen and her words were slightly slurred, "And then when that happens, it'll be my fault because I had to go and be with Fiona when I was still recovering from Josephine and then I fell in love with Fiona but I still love Josephine so no matter what I do I'm pretty much fucked and..."
Her words trailed off into incoherent mumbling as she crossed her arms on the bar and pressed her face into them.
Mizi struggled to keep up with Natasha, not just with her rambling but her drinking as well. She had always considered herself something of a pro in this department but she calculated that she was about two shots behind.
She took the bottle from her sister and poured another shot. She downed it and rested her elbows on the bar. Up until now she hadn't felt the effects of the alcohol but now the floor seemed more slippery than before. Or at least possibly moving around on its own. She leaned in towards her sister and wagged a finger lazily at her.
"What....what if she were to stay with someone you know? You know a fuck ton of people...and that way, whats'erface won't know and everybody's happy!" She said, leaning back and throwing her arms up before crashing back down on the bar.
"When was the last time we were like this together? Was it back when we were home?" After all of these years, Mizi had never stopped calling Russia home. For some reason she couldn't make herself break that habit. Maybe because it was when places and people really were home.
Nathad begun to take a drink but found her gaze falling on her sister at the question posed. With a soft clink, the shot glass found its way onto the counter as did her folded arms moments later. Gradually, her flat stare became something that was more a combination of disbelief and anger.
"Josie could be plugged by the Antonelli's at any moment and all you can think about is when the last time we drank together was? Did we even drink together before this? I don't know, you were too busy running away and leaving your family behind to pick up the pieces."
By the time she was finished speaking, her face had twisted into an expression of rage and the shot glass that had since found its way into her grip again shattered quite thoroughly in the vice that was her hand.
"Chyort voz'mi!" She cursed abruptly as she withdrew her hand sharply, shaking it off to the side to remove the glass shards. There was a single small blood splatter but the wounds had healed within moments, leaving Nat to rub at the sore palm.
"Fuck you, Mizinovskaia." She muttered halfway to herself as she glared at the previously afflicted hand, still rubbing it.
"Fuck me?! Fuck you!" Mizinovskaia snapped at Natasha, pointing a waving finger at her. "You don't know shit about...shit! I've been TRYING to help but all you've done is shit on every idea I've ever had this morning. When is the last time you ever tried to help me?"
Mizi stumbled back a little as she flailed her arms to the side. She paused to burp and catch her balance before turning her eyes back onto Natasha. "Look at you...in your man shirt. Your stuffy little man shirt."
She leaned over and swatted at Nat's arm before falling down on the floor, breaking into laughter. She pressed her face into the floor and laughed hysterically until there were tears rolling down her face. She lifted her head and looked at her sister, her laughter fading. "You know, maybe you really have grown a penis. God knows you just looooooooooove to fuck everyone else over!" She snarled, drool running down the side of her face.