theothermanofsteel: (Default)
It's not just with Milliways -- and interdimensional portals, and time manipulators, and the astral plane, and alien technology, and so forth -- that time does strange things. Eight and a half months ago, they learned that Kate was pregnant.

Nine months, now, give or take a few days. Nine months, and -- as far as they can tell, as far as any scans have shown, they hope, they hope -- a healthy baby to be born any day now.

Katya is, as she has been for a few weeks (and, to be honest, for nine months), excited and happy and stressed and, above all, impatient. Increasingly so.

Also, at the moment, frowning at the floor with a hand on her belly. Piotr pauses in the doorway, studying her.
theothermanofsteel: (Default)
Katya is in the laboratory she's claimed as her own. Utopia has a lot of laboratories; this means that anyone who wants to stake a claim can do it with a little determination.

Granted, Kate's willingness to throw wrenches at people who disturb her doesn't hurt. Likewise the gleam in her eye when she reminds people of just how many months she's been without caffeine.

Piotr's not sure what she's doing in there so often, but he figures he'll find out eventually. He's not bothered. He's seen it a couple of times, anyway, but he's not the mechanical genius; what he sees is a lot of complex bits of machinery in no working order, and his girlfriend scowling at them and muttering under her breath. It's probably not all that different from what she sees when he's figuring out a new painting, to be honest.

But she's been down there for several hours today, and he's not totally sure she emerged for any kind of lunch. Which is why he's making his way there now. (With a sandwich.)
theothermanofsteel: (sketching under the sky (with Logan))
Piotr is painting.

This means his attention is pretty thoroughly occupied by weighty considerations like whether this shading needs more red in it. (Yes. Maybe. Or if he... Yes, more red.)

It also means there's paint all over his hands. He's managed to keep it clear of his t-shirt, but that might not last. This is why Piotr paints in t-shirts he doesn't care about.
theothermanofsteel: (those simple moments of peace)
There are murmurs in the air: San Francisco, publicly declared haven to mutants. The possibility of moving; the fact that Xavier's school is neither precisely a haven nor precisely Xavier's any more.

The gossip mill has always been a thriving entity at the Mansion. Telepaths only help this along. So far, it's only an idea being tossed noncommittally back and forth, and only one item of many in the grapevine. (Others include the federal government's inconsistent and uneasy stance on mutants, who's dating whom, and, for the brave or foolhardy, the question of how exactly Emma keeps her costume from falling off.)

Right now, though, Piotr is not listening to anybody gossiping about anything.

He's settled, instead, under a tree in one of the further corners of the Mansion's grounds. Kate's head is resting in his lap, and one of her hands loosely twined with his.

She's finally gotten clearance from Hank to take off the Genoshan collar. It was really about time.
theothermanofsteel: (drowsy or sleeping or unconscious)
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.
theothermanofsteel: (sketching under the sky (with Logan))
Piotr is ensconced on a rock outside Milliways, with a large sketchpad in his lap and a pencil case sitting on his empty bag.

He's working with charcoal at the moment, and from memory. The image slowly taking shape is that of a woman, with long pale hair in a braid and a lopsided half-sad smile.
theothermanofsteel: (Artist)
It's spring here at Milliways. Plants are growing. It's a good place to be; a relaxing place. Even if there aren't any tilled fields of crops, even if there are giant squid in the lake, it's a reminder of good things. (And the Mansion's grounds, after all, have no crops either.)

And there's very good light.

Piotr's set up an easel and is making good use of that light, currently. Even if he's not actually painting anything in this landscape, it makes a nice change to be outside.
theothermanofsteel: (
Piotr and Kate will be heading back to their world, soon. Back to the Mansion, and back to the war.

Even if that's not technically what it is, any more. It always is, one way or another.

At any rate, Piotr doesn't know when he'll be back, once they do. Time passes differently; last time he was gone for two and a half days, a month went by at Milliways.

So he's outside, enjoying the winter while he can. It might be spring by the time he sees this lake again. And Piotr, Siberian farmboy that he is, has always appreciated a good snowfall. He's been out here for some time, while evening darkened around him, strolling slowly with his hands in his pockets and a sketchbook in its case slung over his back, just in case.

At least until a gout of white flame catches his attention abruptly.

(It's far enough away that he restrains the automatic impulse to go metal, which is his usual reaction to being startled. But only barely.)

On Shadow

Nov. 10th, 2007 11:40 pm
theothermanofsteel: (just a handsome man)
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.
theothermanofsteel: (seen the world burn)
Two months in Milliways.

Four and a half days at home.

It's handy, from this side of things. Disorienting, but handy.

From the other side -- well. He'll make very sure he doesn't stay eight days, this time.

Piotr needs to talk to Hank.

He doesn't exactly want to. This is not a matter of trust, not with Hank; Piotr trusts Hank with secrets as well as with his life. But the question of mutant survival is on all their minds. With three words from Wanda Maximoff -- no more mutants -- the world population dropped from millions to a few hundred. When there are no students around, Hank mutters words like genetic bottleneck and point of no recovery. He buries himself in labwork, trying frantically to solve this crisis; he doesn't say he's found nothing but dead-ends, but they all know it.

Talking about this new problem means saying to Hank, I'm sterile. Katya is sterile. We cannot have children. This is probably Wanda's doing; this is probably all of us; this probably ensures the death of our species within a generation, if someone can't fix it.

Which is exactly, of course, why he needs to talk about it.

The first day Piotr's back, Hank is gone from the mansion all day. He comes back very late, tired and stressed. The second day, Hank buries himself in his lab, hunching over slides and folders and his immensely complex computer; Piotr interrupts him anyway, and they talk.

Hank is even grimmer, after that.

This was the situation when he left: Captain America opposed the Superhuman Registration Act. Iron Man -- Tony Stark -- supported it. Both had teams behind them; some listened to their leaders, and some didn't bother to.

(Piotr chose a side. And then he walked away.

He has regrets. Too many of them. But he stands by his reasons. It all makes him weary; there is no right side in this. One more war between brothers and sisters. Piotr Nikolaievitch, Peter Rasputin, child of the Cold War and a Siberian farm and a Westchester County mansion and travels in far-off galaxies -- he knows this, and he hates it.)

There was a battle. Captain America and Iron Man and their allies -- friends on both sides, for Piotr and for everyone there. And then, near victory, Captain America surrendered. Told his forces to stand down, took off his mask, and Steve Rogers told the world he was done with this war.

Not because he was losing. But because there were too many bystanders, and too many people hurt, and sometimes the right side becomes the wrong one when you go too far. And Captain America -- Steve Rogers -- is the kind of man who chooses to stop.

When Piotr left for Milliways, Captain America had been taken into S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.

The second day he's back, it's on the news: Captain America taken to New York City for trial. The crowds thronging in support and (more rarely) condemnation; the plans for transparency; Steve Rogers himself, costumed but unmasked, impassive and straight-backed and handcuffed.

And the shots.

The sniper.

The blood on the courthouse stairs, the blood on that red-white-and-blue uniform.

Logan watches the news with claws out and a cigar clenched in his teeth. When the newscasters start to repeat themselves, he stalks out the door with a growl. A few minutes later, the front door slams. He doesn't tell anyone where he's going.

Invincibility isn't much, in this business. Too many people have it; too many people die anyway. Nobody's life is a constant.

Except that superheroes, X-Men, Avengers -- they're all human too. (Except the ones who aren't.) And humanity loves hope. Loves heroes. And sometimes, when someone beats the odds long enough, and often enough... you start to think, somewhere deep down where the knowledge of odds and mortality doesn't reach, that maybe this guy's different.

Maybe this one really is invincible.

To some people in this Mansion, Cap was a friend; to some of them, he's an icon. A hero. And to some, he's just another guy in a costume, out to save the world. Another comrade in arms, in this business they like or hate but all share. Fallible, mortal -- disliked, even, or distrusted. No one's a hero to everybody, and Cap's no exception. Half the mansion has a history with him, some good and some bad.

But to all of them, he's one more casualty. One more tragedy.

And one of the ones that, deep down, some of them suspected would never die -- not, at least, like that. Not with a shattered throat and perforated torso on the courthouse steps, shot down by a successful assassin.

And even death's not always permanent around here -- Piotr knows as well as any how little it means sometimes, and how very much it means too -- but you never know.

You never know.

And another good man -- another man, at least, who strove to be good -- is dead.

Life at the Mansion goes on. If there's one thing the X-Men are good at -- students, teachers, X-Men and New X-Men and every name they've worn over the years -- it's picking up the pieces. After a crisis, or in the middle of one.

Piotr's not a full-time teacher. He helps out where he's needed: with art classes, with Danger Room training, with mentoring. Sometimes a kid needs a metal Colossus to block shrapnel, and sometimes they need a sympathetic ear, and what understanding and advice one quiet Russian can give.

He does what he can.

This, too, is familiar: friends are gone, friends are dead, friends are enemies, the entire world seems hostile, and life goes on.

On the third day, Piotr looks up from his breakfast to see Logan stalking in. They trade a look; Logan jerks his head a little towards the door, with a "Later, Pete," and goes back to pouring himself coffee. Piotr understands.

A few hours later, a quick word to Scott -- Piotr, at least, is that polite -- and they head for the nearest empty hallway.
theothermanofsteel: (sometimes you get discouraged)
He thought about going to Milliways. Outside. There is water there, and trees, and horses, and grass that could almost be a field.

But there's a crowded room in between, and the last thing he wants to see is more people. Friends will be concerned, and strangers will be curious, and -- no.

He can't explain. To anyone. Not yet.

There is no art in him. And if he lets himself move to push or hit anything, something will shatter. Himself or the walls or whatever is in front of him.

He is on Serenity's bridge, hunched in the tiny area in front of the pilot's console, looking up at the stars.

There are so many of them.

He has no idea how long it's been since he left Simon's infirmary.
theothermanofsteel: (Artist)
Serenity is a very nice ship. Cozy. The room Kate and Piotr inhabit is small, but it's comfortable, and Mal and his crew are both kind and generous to let them live there for so long.

But small passenger bunks on a small spaceship, however cozy, do not have lots of extra room for easels. And it's generally considered rude to accidentally smudge oil paint on your host's floor and walls.

Which is why Piotr is out by the lake, taking advantage of the morning sun to work on a new canvas.
theothermanofsteel: (hold me)
He sees the crew clustered around the infirmary. He knows that look: that waiting, helpless hush.

It's Zoe who tells him what's going on, in a low murmur that she holds level with iron control. She reminds him a bit of Ororo; they are very different, but they share that. He nods, thanks her, and goes to find Kate. This is their crew, and their vigil. They're friends, all of them, but he's not one of them.

He finds Kate. He tells her.

There's nothing they can do. Nothing much to say either.

The night passes.

It's the next day.

Kate's in the bunk. Literally; one leg's drifting through the mattress as she rests her head in Piotr's lap. She's phased him with her, and his calves are sunk in blankets. It lets him stroke her hair slowly, and be her pillow.

It helps them both not think. (Helps. Doesn't stop the thoughts altogether.)

"I want," Kate says eventually, to the ceiling, "to hit something."

Piotr breathes out in reluctant amusement, and brushes his hand again through her hair. "Da."

"We could spar," he adds -- a little reluctantly, but the knee she injured is much better. Simon agreed, even. "If you really do. Or Logan might be around Milliways."

Kate shakes her head fractionally after a minute. Silence settles back around them.

"All that work," she murmurs finally, "and it's snatched away."

Piotr can only nod a little, and stare at the far wall. It's flimsy, though stronger than it looks. There's a stain on it, just at eye height; very faint, but enough to focus on. "I do not understand life sometimes, Katya." That's soft, and in Russian now. He still thinks in that language most of the time. "It never stops for anybody, the badness. It is harder to remember the rest." A sigh, and he rests his hands against her hair. "Poor Kaylee. Poor Simon."

Kate turns her head enough to look up at him, and reaches up to stroke his cheek. He bows his head into her touch. "I don't understand either," she says softly, matching his Russian. "I don't understand any of it. And death doesn't seem likely to be much different, if this place is any example." Her hand winds in his shirt, tugging him down into a kiss, and he goes willingly. "We've gotta remember the rest, Petruska," she whispers. "Too much badness to keep going if we don't."

She twists in his lap and he shifts with her, enough for her to press her forehead to his. "They have each other," she tells him, inches away. "At least they're not alone."

"Yes," he says softly, and brushes his knuckles against her cheekbone. "You remind me of the rest."

"You remind me, sweetheart," and she kisses him again, just as gently as before. "Life'll get better, Piotr. It will. You and I'll make it better. We can't for them. But we can for us. And we will."

And it's not enough to fix anything.

But it's enough for now.

Because it has to be; because they'll make it be; because, in the end, they have each other. And that's something. That's a lot.

A Dream

Mar. 26th, 2007 12:25 am
theothermanofsteel: (hands touch...eyes meet)
They are sitting on his (their) bed in the Mansion. An easel is under the big, picture window. Outside, it is a beautiful day, sunny and brisk. The few students left are playing a game of soccer on the lawn under the feet of the Sentinels.

It's a dream. He knows it. But it's still.

"Let me. Let me come for you. I will. You came for me, Katya."

"Yeah, but I'm in the elite club of not technically dying yet," she grins. "With the people we hang out with, that's pretty damned near being immortal. I can take those risks."

"Please. Please. I am not..." He ducks his head and runs both his hands through his hair. "I will, if you ask me to. I will survive you. I made you survive me. But, please, Katya."

"Petey?" It's gentle, as she takes his face in her hands and pulls him down to kiss his forehead. "Survive. And wake up."
theothermanofsteel: (RAGE)
The plan is that Sue Storm makes the large group of heroes invisible, and they walk through the gate behind Kitty's shuttle, take out the guards, and send all the prisoners (no matter their affiliation) back through the gate. Then, they blow the prison, jump through the gate, and blow both gates at the same time.

That's the plan he is told. That's the plan for anyone that might be a spy for the other side. Which, he understands. He worked for the other side. It's good strategy. But it makes him wonder what the real plan is, and what it means for Kitty.

They line up in a loose formation. He is behind Captain America, Luke Cage at his shoulder, and Spiderman at his back. Peter smacks his shoulder than shakes his hand.

Luke laughs. "S'what you get for smacking a tin man!"

Piotr doesn't know what to say any more. He's tired, he is going against his family, and this is when Kitty would make a joke and he could toss her in the air, and that's how they would break all the tension. He isn't very good at this any more. He feels old.

He watches Kitty get into the transporter with three others. (1 out of every 4 go insane when they first enter the Negative Zone.)

He takes a step forward.

Captain America knocks their shoulders together. "Steady, son," he tells him.

He takes a breath.

He can do this. He can do this. He is going to repeat himself until he believes it.

He should be paying attention as Iron Man and Captain America toss back and forth how much they have outsmarted each other. He really should.

He doesn't care any more. He shoulders his way past several heroes, but the fighting breaks out before he can get to the corridor the leads into the main prison. He punches Venom across the jaw and sends him flying.

This, he can do this part.

He can see her, in the crowd. She has a blonde in a tiny costume (he has no idea any more, there are all these new, younger ones) in a headlock, punching, breaking their jaw in four places.

He keeps trying to make her way toward her, but people they know and care about keep jumping in his way or calling for help and.

That's it. He charges, barreling over he doesn't know how many people.


Then Cloak opens his arms and they are all some where else.

"Flyers, grab a friend! NOW!"

The group of them are free falling over New York City, now. And he was so close to Kitty, almost there. She is just beyond his reach, and no one is grabbing her, and she can't phase still. She is still has that collar.


He uses someone in red as a spring board and leaps. Grabs.

"Got you! We're leaving!"

And they crash into the ground.

She keeps wiggling.

She is bleeding.

He is afraid to take the collar off. She might fade out of his grasp and through the ground, back to the battle.

"I am taking you back. To Simon. We are going to Simon."

"Katya, you are going to be fine. You will be all right."

If he repeats that, it will be true.
theothermanofsteel: (russian blue)
Colossus ducks slightly to make it through the archway leading into the main kitchen gallery.

He has news.
theothermanofsteel: (worried)
It goes like this.


"Kitty is being moved to 42."

Piotr breaks the War Room table in half when they tell him.

"I am going," he says and is already out in the main hallway before Hank can stop him.

"It isn't that simple, Pete," Scout tells him.

He wonders if he fantasized that he broke Scout's nose, or if Emma short circuited his brain when he did. Because he doesn't remember walking outside to rip up half the forest.


"I won't let you," he tells Captain America.

"You don't have a choice, son," and he knows he punches Steve Rogers through a wall. Captain America can take a punch. He doesn't have to hold back.

"I won't let you! I promised!"

"We need her! There are other people that need saving just as much as her!"

They're grappling, and even when he can tell Rogers is pulling some of his punches, he still pushes. When Piotr manages to get the other man in a headlock, he hisses in in his ear, "Logan would kill you if he was here."

Then there was the Black Panther, Spiderman, Luke Cage, and Storm holding him at bay. Ororo with her hands on his chest, almost pleading as she commands him, "Little brother, little brother, stop this. Stop."


He is seating at a table, across from Emma Frost.

"We need her, Peter. We have to do this."

"You can't."


"Because she's--she's--"

"She isn't your wife, Peter."

Piotr replies by slam his fist on the table, and it crashes to the floor in a dozen pieces. Emma crosses her legs.

"We don't have the codes to open either of the gates to the Negative Zone. But, we have the location, time, and date they are transferring Kitty to 42. It's a trap. And we have to use it if we want to save her and the dozens of others already imprisoned. We don't have a choice here, and you know it. She knows it. You're being unreasonable."

Piotr doesn't say a word.


He never was very good at keeping promises.
theothermanofsteel: ("I promise to come back.")
After he chases several teenagers back into their own rooms most of the evening, and playing a game of ducking out any door when ever Emma came into the room (once forgetting and ducking into a closet), he's almost afraid to go to sleep that night.

Dream said he would allow it, that he would be happy to help Kitty in any way he was allowed.

This seemed like a good idea.

It's a good idea.

He's out by the time his head hits the pillow.
theothermanofsteel: (worried)
Piotr is seated on one of the rocks out by the lake. He likes the snow and the cold. It feels like childhood.
theothermanofsteel: (Default)
Things happen, gears move, and Piotr finally finds himself able to stand outside a conference room where he can talk to Kitty.

The two guards keep looking at him and then at the genoshan collar. He finally takes it from them and snaps it around his own neck.

Enough of this red tape.
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