On Shadow

Nov. 10th, 2007 11:40 pm
theothermanofsteel: (just a handsome man)
[personal profile] theothermanofsteel
Piotr spent most of the afternoon mending fences. Horses rub against fences and kick them; wind and rain and time wear them down. It's a neverending chore on any farm with livestock to make sure everything is in good repair, and fix any weak spots before they turn into problems big enough for the animals to get out.

It's good, honest work. Satisfying.

But he's finished with this fence, and the sun is sinking. He'll head back in to Sallie's cozy house soon, and to dinner. Her cooking's not the Russian farm food he grew up with, but she's still an excellent cook.

First, though...

Shadow has some truly beautiful sunsets.

Date: 2007-11-12 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"You're kinda predictable, y'know," Kate remarks as settles next to him.

Date: 2007-11-12 01:53 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (steel smile)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr slants an amused glance at her. Oh really? say his eyebrows.

(He is, and he knows it.

Out here, with the wide sunset and the long horizon, what he looks and is is content.)

Date: 2007-11-12 04:52 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
Ya rly say her eyebrows back as she grins.

"Farmboy's home."

Date: 2007-11-12 04:57 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (half smile)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"It is good land," Piotr says peacefully.

"A good farm."

Date: 2007-11-12 05:00 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"You can have my share of all farm-love," Kate offers dryly generously.

Date: 2007-11-12 05:09 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (can't go home again)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr possibly has enough farm-love for an entire team of X-Men. The narration's just saying.

With half a smile, as he reaches for her hand, "What do you think of it?"

Date: 2007-11-12 05:12 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Thinking)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I think it makes you happy," she says simple, and takes his hand, "and so it's good."

Date: 2007-11-12 05:24 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (why I'm here)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"And you call me a sap, Katya."

He's smiling, though, small and soft, and he squeezes her hand a little as he says it.

The setting sun is turning the sky a dozen melding shades of billowing gold and pink and blue, and the sunlight pouring across the fields is lazy and golden.

Date: 2007-11-12 05:27 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Thinking)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I didn't say I wanted to put in an offer on a place like it," she says dryly, but she leans a little against his arm anyway.

"Besides, you are."

Date: 2007-11-12 05:34 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (half smile)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan

"A little bit."

Or a lot.

Part of the reason they came here was so she could have time and space to think. About marriage, and more. He's not going to ask. And he's not going to pressure her. And he's not going to fret. (Mostly.)

Sometimes, though, being quietly content with what they have is really easy.

Like now.

Date: 2007-11-12 05:36 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
Now's pretty good for that, yes.

"Need help with anything?" she asks after a minute.

Date: 2007-11-12 05:41 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (relaxation time)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr shakes his head.

"I had finished." He slaps a palm lightly against the fence, in illustration. "Was not too much. They are good fences. Solid."

"You can help me watch the sun set."

Date: 2007-11-12 05:44 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I can do that."

And so she tugs his arm around her and rests her head against his chest.

"But next time you may have to twist my arm."

Date: 2007-11-12 05:47 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (those simple moments of peace)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan

The other arm goes around her too, just for good measure.

"Bribery for a difficult task. I will think of something."

Date: 2007-11-12 05:50 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"Better be good," she says solemnly, and then grins and turns her head to kiss his jaw.

"I have high standards."

Date: 2007-11-12 06:15 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (not smiling nope not one bit)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr grins a little.

Equally solemnly, "I will think hard."

Meanwhile, cuddling's nice.

Date: 2007-11-12 06:17 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"Good man."

She sighs as she leans back against him and closes her eyes.

"This is nice."

She doesn't mean the sunset.

Date: 2007-11-12 06:20 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hold me)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Softly, "Da."

He doesn't either.

Not just the sunset, anyway. It's nice too.

Date: 2007-11-12 06:28 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
For a while she says nothing.

And then she murmurs, "Do you want do to some of the talking thing now, or later?"

Date: 2007-11-12 06:40 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hold me)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He's silent too for a moment, chest rising and falling under her head as he breathes.

"Now's all right," he murmurs back.

Troubles seem very far away, here on Shadow. As much as they ever can, anyway.

Which means it's not a bad place to talk about them.

"If you want to."

Date: 2007-11-12 06:41 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Thinking)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"Not really," she admits.

"But we should."

She's listening to his heartbeat.

"Which part do you want to talk about first?"

Date: 2007-11-12 10:04 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (Not Superman)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
That takes more thought.

"I don't know," he admits finally, and strokes a light thumb against her arm. "There is so much."

Date: 2007-11-12 02:10 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
She'd rather not talk about that marriage bit yet, Kate finds.

So instead she says, looking at the sunset instead of him, "We could talk about kids."

Date: 2007-11-12 10:46 pm (UTC)
steelartisan: (hold me)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He glances down, seeing the top of her head and the way her face is turned towards the fields and setting sun.

"We could. Da."

Because -- again, miraculously -- they can.

Softer, "What do you think?"

Date: 2007-11-13 05:25 pm (UTC)
prydeful: (Thinking)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
She's silent for a minute before saying, "I don't know. It could be nice. I think it's a bad idea to do it just because we can. And I think it's a good idea to do it just because we can."

She's been thinking about it a lot.

That doesn't mean she has a lot of answers.

"I love you. I'll always love you. I want to keep you safe. And that makes it--makes it a good thing, I think. I don't know."

The more I think the more I'm scared she won't say. Not yet.

"What do you think?" she asks him instead.

Date: 2007-11-13 08:41 pm (UTC)
steelartisan: (steel and shadow)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"I love you too," he says first. "Always."

A small shrug, just enough for her to feel the motion.

"I have always wanted children." This is quieter, and thoughtful. "If I could. Even without -- everything else."

Everything else is a lot.

Is his brother Mikhail. Is their species. Is the word extinction.

"Our world is not a safe one for children. For our children. Less and less every time we turn, no matter what we do. It worries me. I wonder if it's fair to them."

"But perhaps it will never be. Perhaps it is not a time to wait, either. I know what I want, but I don't know what is better."

Date: 2007-11-13 09:16 pm (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
His arms are warm around her, hands settled over hers on her stomach.

She's very aware of that.

"I don't know either."

Kate closes her eyes after a moment, feels his chest rise and fall and listens to his heart beat in it.

"There's still the phasing problem. We'd have to make sure I couldn't, if we don't want to risk miscarriage."

There is always something clinical in the way she says that.

She doesn't know how else to say it.

Date: 2007-11-13 09:58 pm (UTC)
steelartisan: (hold me)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Da." Softly. "I know."

He's never wanted pain for her.

And for this, he doesn't really know where to start. Phasing is as natural to her as breathing. How do you put that on hold for nine months?

Date: 2007-11-13 10:14 pm (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful

"I don't know what to do, Piotr. This isn't the time--when I go back, it's not the time to take someone who can fight out of commission. And I don't know how--I mean...we could get a Genoshan collar."

The idea makes her stomach clench.

But they could.

"Just for the night. It should be enough. But it's just...it's nine months. And I'm scared of losing our baby."

Scared is a dirty word, almost.

But it's a true one, and it's for good reasons.

"And I'm scared," she murmurs, softly, "of not ever meeting our baby. I don't want to throw any chance away."

Kate's thumb rubs against his hand, briefly, before she murmurs, "What do you want to do?"

Date: 2007-11-14 01:55 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hold me)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
The words Genoshan collar make his arms tighten reflexively around her. Just a little.

There's a silence before he says, slowly, "I want to meet our child. Yours and mine. For so many reasons."

They might be the only fertile mutants left, at the moment. And Mikhail, trapped forever in the Dead Zone of his own accord, will be Rasputin's vessel for eternity if Piotr dies childless.

Those aren't the only reasons -- aren't even the main reason, exactly -- and maybe they're not even good reasons to have a child. But they're part of this whole complicated muddle.

"But I don't know... I don't know, Katya. If now is the time. Can you afford to set aside your powers now? I look at our world, at what could happen, and I ask myself if we dare bring a child into our lives. We have so many enemies. But we always have. I think sometimes we always will."

Their world might be worse now than ever before.

He bows his head over hers, not quite touching. "Not the collar," he adds, softer. "I know that, my Katya. Not if there is any other way. And there must be."

Date: 2007-11-14 05:14 am (UTC)
prydeful: (gone like that)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"It never gets better." That's to herself more than him, before she tilts her head back and against his. "Dream--if I let him, Dream would help me. Take control over while I rest, sorta. I wasn't--it makes me nervous. Even with it being Dream." And, more quietly, "I want to be able to do it on my own. To take care of my baby on my own." And it's nine months. "If I had to," she says finally, eyes still shut, "I would phase anyway. But I would work so hard to never have to while pregnant. No guarantee, but--I would try. And if Dream takes care of it at night--It's never going to be the right time for us, Piotr. Never a good time in our world. So we have to--I think we have to decide if this is a time we're willing to take a chance on. Or not." And she breathes out and then asks, "So what do you think?"

Date: 2007-11-14 05:49 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hold me)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
It's not the most comfortable position to rest his cheek against her head; he's too tall for that. But he really doesn't care right now.

The sun is sinking below the horizon, leaving only a thin golden curve above the land. Soon it will vanish, leaving only the pink and orange billows of clouds to fade into dusk.

"We will never," he says finally, breath warm against her hair, "have any guarantees. No matter how long we wait."

Part of him is thinking, this is real.

We're really deciding this.

"If we have a way, and you are willing to take it -- if it is all right for you, for both of us -- then... maybe we shouldn't wait too long."

This whole conversation has been spiraling towards this choice, but it still comes out hesitant, half a question.

But only half.

Date: 2007-11-14 05:56 am (UTC)
prydeful: (gone like that)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
Kate doesn't say anything for several moments.

And then she turns in his arms, first to just press her face to his chest and wrap her arms around him and say nothing.

Kate tilts her head back, looks at Piotr's face for a good while, looks for something in it she must find, because she pushes herself up on her tiptoes to kiss him, soft and deep and slow.

"I am scared." It's his language, not hers, as she breathes the words against his mouth. "For our child. For us. Of losing our child, of the world we're bringing him into. But I am not so scared as to not try, I don't think. If you will help me."

She knows the answer to that already.

Date: 2007-11-14 06:00 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (nothing in the world but you)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Vsegda," he whispers, and gathers her into his arms.


Date: 2007-11-14 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
And that makes her laugh, a little, quietly, into his mouth.

"Da, then. Piotr Nikolevitch Rasputin. Da. We won't wait on that part."

Date: 2007-11-14 06:15 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (waited so long for this kiss)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He doesn't ask what parts they will wait on.

Just whispers, "I love you, my Katya," and cups her head with a broad hand as he kisses her again.

He's terrified, and he's exhilarated, and he thinks his heart will burst with love.

Date: 2007-11-14 06:18 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
"I love you too. With everything in me. I love you."

She smiles at the feel of his hand, and she offers a kiss to his palm before looking up at him.

"So we will try for a baby. You and I."

And a very small part of her, the part that most little girls have and never lose, wonders if they can name the child Carmen if it's a boy.

But it's very small, and in the back, behind the fear and the excitement and the joy.

"Good decision, I think."

Date: 2007-11-14 06:50 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (why I'm here)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Me too."

He can't stop smiling, small and bright and very, very warm.

"Together, we will try."

Saying try is automatic, because there are still obstacles, and it's still soon, and they know the risks of getting their hopes up -- but they both know, too, that saying try and maybe changes absolutely nothing about those hopes.

And in his heart, it's we will.

Date: 2007-11-14 06:56 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
She's still scared.

A lot--no doubt about that.

But the way he looks, the happiness--it helps. It helps her start to risk feeling a little of her own. A little more hope.

"Trying's good. We can do that."

She kisses his jaw, softly, slowly, and repeated, making a path from one side of his face to another before just sighing and breathing in his skin.

Kids they've talked about.

There's another, reason, though, they're on Shadow.

Kate doesn't lift her head or say a word for a few minutes before saying, slowly, "I love you. And I'm yours. But I don't--let's have this. Have this first. And later we'll talk about what else we can have."

And now she does lift her head, looking at him as she bites her lip before saying, "A child's not a reason to get married. And I know--I know you love me, Piotr, I do, and I love you too. But let's--not marriage yet. Let's try to have our baby. And then--then we can see what we do next. As," and her smile is small and nervous and more hopeful than she knows, "a family."
Edited Date: 2007-11-14 07:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2007-11-14 07:41 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (smiling at Katya)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
It's -- not what he wants.

Not what he hoped she'd say.

But even if she says no, he'd told himself in the moments when he couldn't stop himself from thinking about it, it doesn't change anything.

She's not saying no. She's saying not yet. She's saying, again, maybe. And if that's what she wants -- if that's what she's willing to give -- then Piotr can accept it, and believe that later really will come.

And she's just agreed to try to have his child; what more commitment is a ring, in the face of that?

And, most of all, there's the way she's smiling up at him, nervous and hopeful and loving.

"All right," he whispers, and brushes a gentle thumb along her cheekbone.

It's not what he wants most. But it is all right.

"We'll see. Our family," and the thing is, those two words feel like a miracle just in themselves, our family and the fact that it's true, and for that alone he'd bend now to kiss her again.

Date: 2007-11-14 07:48 am (UTC)
prydeful: (Wanted Most)
From: [personal profile] prydeful
And that makes her shoulder slump just a little, an inch or so, in relief, and makes her press her face into his hand.

"Spasibo." Thank you, she murmurs, because she knows--of course--it's not what he was hoping for, not what he wants.

But it's what is, and--and it's them. If he says, all right, then Kate believes it is.

Her hands drift up to stroke his hair, cradle his face, and she whispers, "I love you," very softly, voice gentle as her touch.

"Our family. We'll try. We'll see how it goes." And there's hope in that. The kind that's not given through needles. The kind that gives instead of taking away.
Edited Date: 2007-11-14 07:59 am (UTC)

Date: 2007-11-14 08:14 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (why I'm here)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
The sun will set; dinner will come, with Sallie and Jack Twist and assorted ranch hands, and an evening in the cozy Reynolds house, and the night to follow. And nothing's instantly changed, or instantly solved.

But they've made choices. Here, tonight, under the setting sun and amid the wide fields of another planet.

And there's hope in that, and -- maybe, if God or the fates are kind -- a future.


theothermanofsteel: (Default)

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