theothermanofsteel: (drowsy or sleeping or unconscious)
[personal profile] theothermanofsteel
When Piotr came in earlier, it was the end of a long day at the Mansion: training with the students, and then training with the team, and then all the little chores and negotiations that make up a day at a school-cum-superhero base. A quiet day, at least, however long.

Piotr has an idea for a painting in his head, but he's almost out of a few key colors. He'll have to buy more, but in the meantime he knows he has some more in his studio-room at Milliways. Might as well check in with people there, and start the painting where he has the right supplies.

He's surprised, and amused, to find himself abruptly in a costume he hasn't worn in years. It makes more sense when he notices the date, and everybody else in costume -- though that's surprising, too. He knows time passes faster at Milliways, but October? Really? When he doesn't see (or at least doesn't recognize) anybody he knows, though, he opts to head for the room anyway. (His clothing reverts when he makes it upstairs.) He'll come back down in a little while, when he's done as much as he can for the time being.

A little while turns into a long while, though, and by the time he's done (and thoroughly paint-speckled), he ends up flopping on the bed for a minute. Just to think about what else the painting needs, and figure out if it's anything he can do now or if he should let it dry for a while first.

Slowly, his eyes close.

Date: 2008-10-29 06:40 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Looking Down)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Illyana was walking.

Where from and where to were fuzzy.

There were billowing fields wheat under a blue sky dotted with clouds as far as she could see, the golden waves rippling in the breeze that set her hair to dancing at her sides. She plucked a stalk of wheat, bringing it to her nose.

Had she been looking for someone; something?

Date: 2008-10-29 06:46 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (memories of the Rodina)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
These aren't quite the wheatfields of the Ust-Ordynski farm, not from the waking world's perspective. The hills don't lie right; these golden fields go on forever, rippling over the land, unmarred by road or river or houses.

But dreams have a deeper logic than fact, sometimes. And in the dream, Piotr is home.

For a moment, the familiar figure on the horizon is completely unremarkable. Just one more piece of the landscape; one more expected piece of home.

And then he remembers that he's been waiting for her to come home -- that she was away, somewhere, some nebulous time; it doesn't occur to him to think of the details. She was gone and he missed her, and now she's back.

His face lights up, and he's running.

Date: 2008-10-29 06:55 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Follow me into the light)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She feels all together too big and too small. The only different spot under the sky and field, each of colors too bright to feel particularly right, to feel real. It's almost like they could fade together, mingling like paint on a canvas.

Her eyes scanned the space that felt endless, turning around with a strange wave of panic, searching for....searching for...and then there was something else in distance.

Tall and large and moving fast.

And Illyana laughed, fear vanishing in an instant, delighted even as she was unable to make out the face yet.

She knew. Of course, she knew. He was always the one to come find her when she'd wandered too far from where she was supposed to be. What would mother say?

Date: 2008-10-29 06:59 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (half smile)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
That is a big brother's job. To protect; to find; to sacrifice for, and to be there.

(In this dream, in this moment, he doesn't remember the failures.)

One moment he's running towards her across a long slope, and the next he's picking her up, with no sense of distance or transition. "There you are, little snowflake!"

Date: 2008-10-29 07:13 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Piotr: Never Forget Who You Are)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She spins, the air and the light and the laughter all blending together when she closes her eyes and tucks her face in against his neck, small enough now to fit in his arms. He smells like the sweat of a good days work and shiny metal and warmth that has no word in any language she might touch and she knows if she were to look out it would be safe and high above it all.

Illyana's cheeks are flushed by the time she pulls away enough to look up, bright cherubim grin, short blonde hair curling around her cheeks.

There was only guileless, amusement when she spoke, her voice sounding older than the small child now in his arms. "I was distracted. It's very pretty here."
Edited Date: 2008-10-29 07:14 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-29 07:25 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (little snowflake)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr settles her comfortably in the crook of his arm. If he was wearing something else a minute ago he doesn't remember, but now he's in old overalls and well-worn shirt: farm clothes, for good honest work.

"Where have you been, Illyana Nikolievna?" The old pet name, ridiculously formal for a baby sister, from when she was three and insisted everybody call her by her big girl name. He's grinning. "I was looking everywhere for you. Misha will be worrying too."

(Misha never met his little sister.

Except once, much later, and that was a very different circumstance.)

Date: 2008-10-29 07:35 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Little Snowflake Lost)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She remembers not Misha but the man, Mikhail, a blend of stories told to her at bedtime with a foggy watered image.

Mikhail, who understood her anger as a voice matching his, and who spoke with a voice that was her father-brother, towering over her not as a tidal wave but as castle walls to guard, with sharp spikes that would protect.

(And Kill. But that is not here, might never be here or anywhere, not with their sun.)

"I was gathering flowers," Illyana says, and bounces in his arms unafraid, flourishing up a hand which does now have a bunch of flowers. They are the flower heads of American blossoms neatly blended into thin stalks. "I didn't mean to go too far. You aren't mad, are you?"

Date: 2008-10-29 07:47 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (half smile)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr pretends to consider that.

It's not a terribly convincing pretense.

It also doesn't last very long. "No." He admires the flowers dutifully. "I am not mad, snowflake."

"But come, we should get back. We'll miss the others."

Date: 2008-10-29 07:57 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Listening)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Her expression fretted on his pause, a worry that could never be quite honest in the face of her brother catching her lips, until he spoke and it dissolved into a big grin again.

She laughed, swinging the flowers in her hand. "We shouldn't be too late, or you will be in trouble, too."

Before them the field form forth suddenly a path and Illyana, somehow suddenly at his arm, standing, instead of in them, looked forward with one hand raising to rush back the blonde hair at her temples. "It shouldn't be too far if we go now."

Date: 2008-10-29 08:04 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hand in glove)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
She's in uniform now.

(So's he.)

"You know the way," he says, and knows it for simple fact. Half a smile: "Lead on, little one."

She's a poised teenager now, in the New Mutants' yellow and black, but she'll always be little one.

Date: 2008-10-29 08:19 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Hero: New Mutant looking up)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She still wonders whether she is or isn't shorter than her mother. This can not be figured out in inches. This can not ever be figured out, because she can not go home.

(She tried. Once.)

But Illyana's chin is up now, as she smiles--wider; wiser; crooked at the edges. She tugs him through the gates to the American mansion before them. "Do you think I've missed ballet? Stevie and Kitty will be awful if I have. Maybe you could show her your new portrait sketch if she's angry."
Edited Date: 2008-10-29 06:15 pm (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-30 03:41 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (back in the day)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
The mansion is rubble, teetering in heaps and crunching underfoot. They walk easily across it, and it doesn't occur to Piotr to consider any of this strange.

Amused: "Do you think that will stop Katya?"

Date: 2008-10-30 03:49 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Cool)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Illyana laughed under her breath. It's a sharper sound, irony and blistering fire and deep, true loyalty. "It never does, but if she's distracted I can 'port out and you could handle her."

There is a flash of an angelic smirk.

She kicked the rubble near her foot, as though it were peddles on a forest path, setting her hands on her hips. "No one ever cleans up around here."
Edited Date: 2008-10-30 03:56 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-30 04:49 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (not smiling nope not one bit)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Rocks and acorns scatter away from her kick, crumbling into dust at every collision.

Reasonably: "How else would you play hide and seek?"

Date: 2008-10-30 04:59 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Help)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
They scatter, echoing around them, everything seeming to crumble into dust. She watched it with the same enrapture a sunset would produce, tilting her head as a shape appeared.

"With silver bells, and cockle shells, and pretty maids all--"

It wasn't something before her, but something around them. The room was dark, shivering black and a red light was somewhere. The air was sterile, like a factory or a hospital, and there was the sense of being so far down it was like being buried.

"--in a hole."

Date: 2008-10-30 05:14 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (all I knew was that room)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan




And just like that: there's nothing good about this dream.

He's metal -- he's always been metal, he's always been here in this red awful light, trapped in this mile-thick prison -- he's metal, and he's in front of his sister, between her and everything they can't see beyond.

(He knows what's there.)

Low, desperately rough: "You should not be here, little snowflake."

She's dead. How can she be here?

How can he?

Date: 2008-10-30 05:24 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Piotr: Always his snowflake)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She'll never know fear from that form.

She will always be three years old, settled in the dirt, giggling, clapping, and screaming again, again while he lifts tractors like toys for her personal circus. But here their memory-laughter in the air distorts, thinning itself mockingly, more and more fragile.

It doesn't scream. Only the silence does. Stifling, screaming silence.

Illyana looked up at him, arms wrapped around his shoulders and cheek against his shoulder from behind, their impossible height difference entirely vanished. Her voice is soft. She can't speak any louder or they'll hear her.

"This isn't my playground. What have you done?"

Date: 2008-10-30 05:39 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (once they got you they never let go)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"I was not there."

He can't move. He could always move -- he pounded the walls for hours, for months, for years -- but this is a dream (though he doesn't know it; though it's as real as anything's ever been) and he can't move. Magneto healed him wrong.

"I didn't see. Little sister, no, they did not get you too--"

Except of course the monster got her.

Date: 2008-10-30 05:50 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Melovolent)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She likes the darkness and the screaming silence and his fear.
She not allowed to; which only makes it that much sweeter.
Honey on her tongue, slipping into her lungs, her blood.
While she walks around him looking at the black.



Then she looked up at him, peerless blue eyes, and a curling smirk, far more fire than snow left to that expression.

"There was a mess up with the printer and I was caught in retranslating the original."

Date: 2008-10-30 06:03 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (free fall)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
This is wrong.

This is wrong, in every way.

Very low: "Snowflake?"

(He's afraid for her. Deeply, chillingly afraid.

But he will never fear her. Not even when he should.)

He still can't move.

Date: 2008-10-30 06:13 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Sorceress: You Can't Erase It)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She shivers, like spring, closing her eyes.

The word wraps itself around her, beating like furious sunlight.



Her arms raised to cross and rub the opposite upper arms.

Eyes opening slowly, the walls, cables and darkness around him blurring as their shape is losing coherency. But she isn't looking at them, she's looking at him, confused and blinking.

"How?"

Date: 2008-10-30 06:30 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (hand in glove)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
No transition: his hands are on her shoulders, steel and very gentle. (Very careful: even in a dream, Colossus knows the dangers of his strength.)

The blurs around them have yet to resolve. He has no idea where they are.

It doesn't really matter.

Date: 2008-10-30 06:40 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Down and Out)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Something is wrong. Something is very wrong. It is the only thing she is sure of, somewhere deep beyond layers of silk and smoke.

Except.


(Her hand tightens on his.

Not carefully, afraid that it might pass through it.)


...Piotr is here. Isn't that worth it? Whatever it is?

She wants it to be. She wants it to be very badly. Enough that the edges of her eyes burn where tears will not come even here. She frowns, even as searching her mind is as fuzzy as the unsettled world around them.

"We're here."

Date: 2008-10-30 07:01 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (think of me fondly)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Where?"

There's nothing here familiar. No bearings.

Or is there? It's nagging at him, in the back of his mind; he should know this, and if he could only remember it would all resolve into clarity, but he can't.

(And if he can't remember, he can't see if the walls are gone, or if anything is lurking in wait. He can't tell if they're safe.)

Date: 2008-10-30 07:12 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Hopeful)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
"I don't know." She turns from him, her lids closing halfway as she thinks home, home, home but the words that slip between her lips are foreign and arcane. Nearly the whisper of a hiss from a pale flower. No, not a flower.

She'll always be a snowflake.

(So beautiful and small. So cold she burns.)

It is within that thought the fuzzy edges begin to thin on snow laden fields with houses, thin streams of chimney smoke rising from them, dotting the distant road.
Edited Date: 2008-10-30 07:40 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-30 06:18 pm (UTC)
steelartisan: (seen the world burn)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
They're not safe. She isn't safe. There's something terrible waiting, some danger, for both of them or maybe each of them separately, but he doesn't know where. How can he protect her if he doesn't know how to fight it, and he doesn't know any safe place?

It's chilly here.

Piotr grew up in Siberia, and he's comfortable in winter weather even when he's flesh; right now he's metal, and a blizzard wouldn't bother him then. But this is a dream, and in the dream, he's cold.

Date: 2008-10-30 09:53 pm (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Limbo's Lady)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She held a hand out, watching the snow fall into her cupped palm.

"What do you remember best?"

Date: 2008-10-31 05:22 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (can't go home again)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
There are other answers he'd say in the waking world.

But in this dream, he says "All of it," watching her reach for the snow, and it seems a perfectly logical answer.

Date: 2008-10-31 05:28 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Concentrating)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
It doesn't melt, and she doesn't remember that it should. The light, coming from no viable source but brightness, catches in the most minuscule of crystaline panes when she tilts her hand.

"Don't forget." She looked up from it to him, knowing it's the same and not. It blends seamless as jagged edges. "All of it."

(Somehow she knows she can't promise the same.

That she can't tell him.)

Date: 2008-10-31 05:54 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (steel sorrow)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"I promise."

He's made promises to her before. And some he's broken.

But this--

Date: 2008-10-31 06:08 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Still and True)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Her eyes are very palely yellow around the blue, but the smile his words produce is grateful--unwaveringly faithful.

There is no mountain her brother can not surmount.

"Tell her, too." Her palm closed over the snow, raising to rest against her chest, even as her lips smirked. "We never could leave her out. She'll have the key."

Date: 2008-10-31 06:22 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (steel sorrow)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"She remembers too."

"We do not forget you, little sister."

The snow is cold on their feet, the wind against their faces. The houses are translucent shadows, half-real, against the fog and lowering clouds.

Date: 2008-10-31 06:33 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Eyes Into You Soul)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Illyana's expression tinged ironic with amusement, as though he'd told a joke. Her fingers opened, empty of any snow, to tap her chest as she stared at the village.

"Something new is coming, Piotr Nikolaievitch."

Beat, beat. Beat, beat.

The sound shivered the air around them, the ground beneath them, even through them. Soft, quiet, constant. Her fingers against her chest mimicking it.

Beat, beat.

"A silver spring."
Edited Date: 2008-10-31 06:48 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-31 06:52 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (this weary world (has had its fill))
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
Piotr's metal brows draw together.

"I do not understand, snowflake."

Date: 2008-10-31 07:04 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Toil and Trouble)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
Illyana nodded, even as her edges became less concrete. "You will. The herald comes first."

She let out a slow breath, her chest rising and falling even against her still slowly beating fingers.

A cold heaviness sank into her skin. She could feel the time stretching in wait. From what, for what, she didn't know. But it was heavy and dark and now was not soon, even with the first sign known.

Date: 2008-10-31 07:24 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (all that's left)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
"Illyana?"

She's starting to fade away.

(Like a ghost.)

She's starting to fade --

"Illyana!"

He tries to catch her, tries to grab her hand, but she's too far away, next to him and miles away all at once, and only air slips between his fingers.

Date: 2008-10-31 07:35 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (If I Could Just Go Back to the Beginning)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
His voice seemed to come from miles, filtered through the quieting heart beat and the falling snow. The weight is not in time but in her head, in the flicker of her eyelids, in the fog that rolls across her mind.

How long has she been standing here with him? Was it a minute or years?
When was the last time that she set her head down?

Illyana looked to him, looked up at him have become small with a finger tucked into her mouth, confused at why her brother should looked so worried. It shouldn't be allowed. "Are you going to tuck me in? Can I have an extra blanket tonight? It's cold."

Date: 2008-10-31 07:49 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (little snowflake)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
There -- there, the scene has shifted and his fear for her is gone as if it had never been, like wisps of fog on the wind.

In its place is a deep, aching sadness. Even if, right now, he can't remember why.

He scoops her up, tucking her close to block the chill breeze. Even if metal skin is cold, and he has no body heat to warm her with in this form. "Of course, little snowflake. It is late -- do you want to now? Katya can tell you a story."

Date: 2008-10-31 07:59 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Innocent Child)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
She curls up tight into a ball in his arm with a happy sigh, her forehead and cheek pressed fast against his cold chest. There is no fired room as comfortable as this place.

"S'eepy," she mumbles in a broken English still framed by Russian cadence.
Edited Date: 2008-10-31 08:00 am (UTC)

Date: 2008-10-31 08:13 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (little snowflake)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
He smiles down at her, and if it's lopsided and sad, she won't see. He's always been good at hiding worries from his baby sister.

(She's tired all the time, these days.)

He wraps the blanket closer around her -- and maybe it wasn't there a second ago, but it doesn't really matter -- and starts walking. It can't be far to home.

Date: 2008-10-31 08:30 am (UTC)
sorceressupreme: (Innocent Child)
From: [personal profile] sorceressupreme
He is here, she is safe, and even if neither is true, too, she pulls the blanket edges under her chin with a soft indistinguishable murmur. A Siberian snow is falling around them and she still fits into his arms, the arms which do right all the wrongs of the world, and the house which will protect them is that glimmer of light in the distance.


There is nothing to worry about tomorrow.

There is nothing to fear about tomorrow.


(Only every breath, ever moment.

It can wait until then.)

Date: 2008-11-02 04:45 am (UTC)
steelartisan: (little snowflake)
From: [personal profile] steelartisan
There's no rush, no urgency; only this lingering, heart-deep sorrow. He has to keep her safe. And there are too many threats lurking, just beyond -- he doesn't know what, or beyond where, but they're there. So he's walking towards home, and Illyana is curled in his arms, and he's keeping her safe.

It can't be far. The snow-covered fields unroll around them; he keeps walking.


He keeps walking.



He keeps walking.




Until gradually, the fields fade away, and Piotr slowly opens his eyes to the bare Milliways ceiling.

It's a minute before he remembers where he is, and where he isn't, and what was only a dream.

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theothermanofsteel: (Default)
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