A Thing Happens in a Library

Summary:
Aug 27, 2014: Some stuff happens in a library.

Library, Metropolis, Planet Earth

A library in Metropolis.


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


Libraries tended to be busyish places.

In the age of the internet, they were reinvented some - yes, there were still books, and people who enjoyed books around, but they were - at least this one was - part community center. There were study rooms for the students, a big, sprawling computer lab for just about anyone (yes, there were filters on it, to prevent misuse and otherwise of the machines), and community rooms where clubs and AA meetings and things could meet up.

Laura Kinney lingered in one of those big community rooms, leaving the lights off.

She was dressed more normally for this occasion - having traded the leathers for a dark skirt, shorts, maroon corset, and likewise maroon gauntlets that might pass as fashion statements, her military boots rounding out that vaguely gothic fashion.

Gothic, perhaps, enhanced due to the silver crosses that she wore. Two earrings of the same, and a choker that held a third at the hollow of her throat.

There had been a Boy Scout troop here in this community room just an hour prior, so it was clean, and Laura stood at the head of one of the tables, leaving plenty of room between herself and the door, leaning back against the side of the table as she takes on an unaffected air.

She hadn't bothered to turn the lights on. Sunlight trickled in through the slats in the blinds over the large windows - there was light enough in here, however dim.

"I have to use the bathroom now. It's an emergency."

"I have to use the bathroom now. It's an emergency."

Sure, not everyone who goes to a library is there for the books, but they usually at least make an attempt to read something while there. But even if they're just there to surf the internet, they're respectful enough to be quiet. This is not the case with Piotr Rasputin, currently known as Grigori, formerly known as Colossus. Instead of reading one of the many books available, he's taken the opportunity to get in a bit of Pimsleur method while waiting on his guest to show up.

Which is why he's wearing a pair of headphones and saying random phrases in English. The accent is still very thick, but the work he's put in the last few weeks has made him slightly easier to understand.

"I have to use the bathroom now. It's an emergency."

He's not being loud enough to draw the attention of the librarians, but he's being loud enough to make people stay away from his table. This, of course, is his entire plan. Situated on one of the upper floors, he has a vantage point that allows him to see the main entrance without being seen himself. Sure, someone like Laura doesn't really need to see him in order to sense him, but that isn't exactly something that "Grigori" knows.

"She's early. Good."

"She's alone. Good."

Piotr watches as she enters one of the community rooms, and for a second looks as if he's about to leave his table and go join her for their previously-arranged meeting. But as he stands up, he suddenly frowns.

"Wait a minute. I thought I told her to wear glasses? Chto yebat'…"

It wasn't quite the scent that she picks up on. When she had met him, he had stunk of alcohol over everything else, and it was in that cornucopia of fun that was a concert getting ready to go. He was just a face in the 'crowd' there. But it would be the Russian that clues her off most of all.

Sure, there were a lot of Russians in Metropolis, but, well. It was unique enough to snap her attention up from the wall that she was considering, her green eyes snapping towards the door of the community room after only a moment's notice.

Laura's nose crinkles as she takes a reflexive sniff of the air. Normally, if this were intended to be an ambush of some sort, she might scent explosives or gun oil or the ceramic fibers and things that strike teams used to make up body armor. Not to mention the obvious sounds of guns being readied and commands being whispered into headsets.

Laura takes a moment to kinda… search for these telltale signs.

Hopefully, she finds none.

Whether or not the young clone does, she dips her head forward and moves to the door of the community room, her eyes searching - ground floor first - for signs of the Russian mutant, dipping across exits and otherwise first of all. Hopefully, he would stand out. She remembered him being… well, big.

To further frustrate identification efforts, Piotr has altered his appearance slightly from the previous day. More specifically, he's no longer dressing like a Jersey Shore cast member, but is instead wearing a pretty low-key polo and khakis combo. He looks like someone who belongs in a library, or possibly at a Costco.

But there are some things that can't be disguised, and Piotr is at least a head taller than just about everyone else in the library. And standing near the railing on the library's upper floor, he's all but impossible to miss now. From across the room, he locks eyes with the 'Diet Coke' version of gothic girl. He says nothing, but it's clear from his expression that he's kicking himself for getting made so easily.

Still, he raises a hand in a half-friendly attempt at a half-hearted wave. Now that he's been spotted, there's no reason for him to remain where he is, so he pulls the headphones off, lets them hang around his neck, and walks down the stairs.

His tone is very businesslike and brusque as he gets within casual speaking distance of the younger mutant. "This is where you want to do this." It's less of a question than a statement, and he looks around one last time before stepping into the room that she selected for their meeting. "This will do."

The size of the man is what caused Laura Kinney's eyes to linger upon Piotr, her green eyes narrowing as she stares at him. The wave seems to relax her - a matter of a couple degrees, Laura… pleased that she wouldn't have to hunt him down through the library.

"I was half-convinced that you had just told me to meet you here to get rid of me," says Laura. A beat then, and she adds, speaking in crisp Russian, "Would this be easier?" Her Russian had a school-learned quality to it - very crisp, very clear - very Moscow in dialect and usage.

Another beat, and she closes the door behind them.

And, as a courtesy more than a need, she reaches over to flick the lightswitch on, artificial light to join the natural. Another pause then. "…or will you play more games and keep Piotr from me?"

Speaking to a stranger in his native tongue might not be a surefire way to win him over, but in Piotr's case it's clear that she's won quite a few points by doing so. His eyes almost seem to light up for the briefest of seconds, and he actually turns his head back toward the woman as he walks toward the nearest seat.

Speaking in Russian is certainly easier. However, it also makes me somewhat more suspicious. American girls your age don't just happen to speak passable Russian. They barely speak passable English. This makes me wary, I hope you understand.

He doesn't look all that wary, however, as he all but flops down in his chair, making no attempt to protect his unarmored body from someone who could very likely carve him into strips before he even knew what was happening.

So… yes. For now, playing games is exactly what I shall do. Until I'm thoroughly convinced that you aren't the CIA operative that my gut thinks you are.

"The Brotherhood being in Mutant Town makes me wary as well," says Laura to him. The light in his eyes causes her own to narrow a touch, as if she herself were suspicious of his enjoyment of her Russian. "But their leader - Magneto - asked me to speak to this man," says Laura, her eyes narrowing further.

Laura suspected that Piotr was a mutant. And considering where they met, it might be prudent for Piotr to think of her as the same.

But it was always a mystery game. Did the other have enough power to hurt/kill her? Laura wasn't certain that she cared one way or another, in the end.

He takes a seat, she remains standing, putting enough table between himself and her so that she felt he would feel more comfortable. "You think that I am CIA." she says flatly. Another pause then, and her eyes narrow on him. "What would convince you otherwise?"

"Well, I've never met a CIA spook who could identify a Brotherhood operative before, so I suppose I can cross that off the list." The girl is certainly more observant than the government clowns he's used to dealing with, he's got to give her that at least. He relaxes in his seat, folding his hands behind his head and leaning backward a bit. The chair creaks, but it doesn't appear to be in danger of breaking anytime soon.

"Maybe you're SHIELD. Maybe you're Dora Milaje. At the end of the day, perhaps that's not important. Maybe all that's important is this question: What are you hoping to learn from Piotr Rasputin?"

Laura wasn't overly impressed by his confidence. Perhaps if he knew what she could do, he would be less so - but there was something tickling at the back of her mind that suggested that perhaps he would. Laura turns more fully towards him, leaning the side of her hip against the table, her left hand on the tabletop proper.

The suggestions he offers leads to a snort from the young woman, her hand lifting as she brushes her hair over her shoulder. Jaw clenching a bit tightly, she gives her chin a flick.

"So, you claim to speak for Piotr Rasputin, then? If he is a friend of Magneto's, that could be a dangerous gambit," says Laura, levelling her eyes on the big Russian. There was suspicion in them now.

"…I would wish to ask Piotr what the Brotherhood is doing in Mutant Town. And why he would join such an organization. They are considered to be terrorists."

"You tracked me down in order to ask a question that you could just as easily ask Google?" Piotr's posture goes from cautiously relaxed to downright smug in the space of a few seconds. The smile grows a little broader, the glint in his blue eyes a little brighter, the tone in his voice a little more dickish.

"If this Rasputin is a member of the Brotherhood, than he must be a mutant. Surely you can see why a mutant would be interested in joining the only organization in the world dedicated to preserving and fighting for mutant rights."

"Keep in mind, I don't claim to speak for anyone. But using my deductive reasoning skills, I surmise that the Brotherhood is doing the same thing in Mutant Town that they're doing everywhere else in the world: Keeping mutants safe."

That smugness in him seems to spark a certain fire in Laura. Pursing her lips tighter, "I tracked you down, Piotr Rasputin," says Laura Kinney, "Because I saw Magneto come to town. Because these streets… there is chaos here now. Perhaps people are happier, perhaps they are not."

Laura Kinney takes a step forward now.

"Because I have heard that the Brotherhood, in spite of the ideals that they claim, hurt and kill mutants and humans when they need to. That they are terrorists and cowards," says Laura, the Russian taking on a more savage quality as she nearly growls out the last words.

"You were not here a few weeks back, and neither was Magneto. People were disappearing from this place, and appearing in laboratories," Laura's eyes narrow a handful of steps. "…they have stopped now." Not just due to her own efforts, of course. "The police and the Brotherhood both did nothing."

"That's regrettable, of course. The Brotherhood can't be everywhere, but you realize this of course." Reflexively, Piotr leaned back a bit more when the girl began to appear a bit more threatening. However, the reflex is quickly suppressed, and he actually leans forward himself, resting his arms on the table and looking squarely at the accusatory mutant.

"But whatever heresay you've picked up along the way, whatever opinion you've formed about the Brotherhood by watching Fox News, I can guarantee you that the Brotherhood is aware of what a precious thing Mutant Town has become. Have you not asked yourself if perhaps the Brotherhood is here now precisely to prevent anything like that happening again?"

Laura seemed to… well. Perhaps it would be hard to tell, but she was more comfortable with him taking an accusatory stance with her. More free with word and emotion. It was just a bit of sadness that Laura's emotion tended towards the fiery.

'Or to cause it' were the words that Laura wanted to snap out, but she held them back. Piotr could no doubt see the fire dancing in her eyes.

"Perhaps you are," says Laura, her tone of voice a little sharp. "Perhaps you are not. It is hard to tell," says Laura, her eyes glancing down towards the tabletop, those fingertips of hers curling against the top of the table. A beat, and the GothLite looks up from table to man once more. "And is that what you are saying? That is why you are there?"

"If I were saying anything, I'd be saying that. But as I already said, I'm not saying anything." It sounds less confusing in Russian.

"What I'm doing, is changing the subject. Why does a girl who dresses like Evil Madonna and weighs… ninety pounds (?) think that it's any of her business what the comings and goings of Mutant Town entail? I don't see any scales, your body hair seems to be about average, and you don't glow in the dark. In short, you're passable as human. Why then do you care so deeply about mutant town when you could just as easily live wherever you wanted?"

Laura was heavier than she looked. But Adamantium was a fairly heavy metal, and thus might throw estimations off a bit - but even then, one doubted it added more than fifty or so pounds to her overall weight. At the outside. But I digress. The meaning of it was understood by Laura Kinney, the young woman nodding her head once.

"I dress how I dress, because I like how I dress. It is what I choose to dress myself in, and no one else chooses it for me," says Laura. Which wasn't…entirely accurate. A lot of her outfits still revolved around the mode of dress her… 'relative' in California had shown her. Even if she did gravitate to this… slightly darkness-affirming fashion sense.

"And I would caution you against taking looks as anything but looks." Laura narrows her eyes. A long pause then, and her eyes glance away from him, a bit of the anger fading away from him at the last question he asks. A handful of moments, and she sighs. Laura herself didn't know the answer to that question, and a lot of it troubled her.

Her heart did flip-flops, and once-angry eyes now seemed confused, perhaps a bit lost.

"Because no one else seems to care." she says, her tone of voice simple.

Okay, so clothing is a touchy subject apparently. Noted. Piotr does his best to hold in a smirk during her tirade, as that would certainly not help his case right now. But whatever his thoughts about the content of her speech, something about the tone in which it is delivered appears to be making an impression. So he simply lets her finish, and when she's done there's something on his face that wasn't there before.

He slides his arms back, resting the palms of his hands against the edge of the table while straightening out his posture a bit. When he responds, it's in English again, though his voice sounds much warmer than it did at the beginning of the interview. "But you care, I see. I think this is very good. I also am caring a lot. Even though I only live there maybe… two weeks, I think. Is very nice place, and the people are good. They do not deserve to suffer as they do."

"You are good at finding the truth of things. This is very useful to me. I am in position to help Mutant Town. This is very useful to you, I think. Maybe in the future, you will look, and listen, and find out what is true and what is bad. You will tell me these things, and I will fix them."

It was part of the Program. Dress as an assassin, dress as a little girl. Even when escaping, she chose the clothing that she was trained to wear to blend in as much as possible. Clothing was such a huge part of identity, the part that could be changed, the part that could be outwardly visible.

The rush she felt when trying on the first clothing that she picked for herself, because she liked it - perhaps she did hold it a little too… well, important.

Not that Piotr would know much of that. Even if he obviously could pick up that it was a touchy subject.

"No, they do not," Laura agrees. Laura's Russian, once she spoke in anything but that classroom perfect enunciation, had a vicious quality to the words. Grim was probably the best word to describe her English at the moment. "Many do not want to be there, and there… are people that wish to prey on their minds, bodies and spirits. It isn't… right," she says, her voice soft.

At his offer of assistance, her eyes snap up towards him, "I can fix them myself." she says, perhaps a little too hastily. A moment, and she amends, "But in the future… maybe I will let you help," says Laura, her eyes flickering towards the window briefly, before her eyes return towards Piotr.

"I will accept this. I am new here, it would be very good for me if you would be my guide to Mutant Town." He rubs his clean-shaven chin absent-mindedly, almost as is he's unfamiliar with the way that it feels. Actually, that's pretty much exactly what's going on, as he was wearing an enormous beard only a few weeks ago.

Somewhat abruptly, he stands up, his chair scraping the floot as it scoots backward. "But I must go now, or I will miss the drinking and horrible music."

Laura steps forward then - and from the pockets of the shorts beneath the skirts (she had to adjust them a bit,) she removes a business card and offers it to Piotr. The front read 'Sam Speigel, Go-Mart general manager'. But the back had a number scribbled onto it.

"That will be my phone number for the next week," she says.

"…if you want to talk, or be shown around Mutant Town - please, contact me," she says. The drinking and horrible music she does not comment on. She agreed, at any rate.


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