steelartisan: (...eh?)
[personal profile] steelartisan
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.)

Date: 2008-02-10 09:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Nearly before she has dampened the flames, Maya knows that there is someone else out here. A man, she sees in the split second's afterglow left by the fire. A very big man.

She is less worried about his size, however, and more about--

"Goddammit, I'm sorry," she calls, and the apology sounds (and is) very sincere. "I didn't see you there." She takes a few steps, her boots crunching in the snow, and she leans on the still-warm rock, looking into the darkness. "Are you alright?"

Date: 2008-02-10 09:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya's eyebrows lower, then rise, at the sound of the familiar accent. She smiles, faint and tight and rueful, down at the scorched rock, then out at the man.

"I'm fine," she says. Furious, but fine, but this is a stranger and she doesn't say that; she just takes a deep breath and forces Volkov (the butcher, Volkov the son of a b--) from her mind as best she can.

"Of course, I can't say the same for the rock."

Date: 2008-02-10 10:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
"I think it has probably survived worse than a tantrum," says Maya, and she hears him headed slowly in her direction. She doesn't blame him; she would approach a stranger who threw flame with caution, too.

She's tall, from what can be seen, and slender even while wrapped in a long coat.

"Given its location, especially."

Date: 2008-02-10 10:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya steps around the rock, and holds out her left hand, palm up. The flame that comes is slow, this time, and small, as if it has to be coaxed to life in the palm of her hand. Burning away merrily above her glove, the tongue of fire bears little resemblance to its powerful cousin that was thrown against the boulder.

It achieves the intended effect of casting some light on the situation.

Piotr Nikolaievitch is handsome, Maya thinks, tall and strong, young to her eyes, and the combination (and the build) is a familiar one.

She offers her right hand even as she holds up the light in her left, looking up at him. "Sorceress-Major Maya Antares." She enjoys the latitude that Milliways affords her, but with someone from her own world -- she gives the rank. "Maya. It's a pleasure to meet you, Piotr Nikolaievitch."

Date: 2008-02-10 11:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya's hand all but disappears in Piotr Nikolaievitch's. "Where are you from?" she asks, reclaiming her hand at the end of the (firm, on her part) shake. She smiles in return, a little.

Date: 2008-02-10 11:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya is distracted from giving her response by just how confusing his is.

"Siberia," she says, cautiously, and the name is foreign on her tongue. "I've never heard of it. Is it a village?"

It's not one of the states held by the one-time URRS in its days of glory; that, she knows for certain.

Date: 2008-02-10 11:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya shakes her head, slow enough that her eyes don't leave his for more than a second or two.

"I don't know it," she says.

Date: 2008-02-10 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
"No," says Maya, and her headshake is stronger, this time; more certain. "I've heard of Europe and a planet called Earth, from people at Milliways, but I'm from the--" It's still reflex, after all this time, to say 'the United Republics of the Red Star,' but she catches herself.

"--The Commonwealth of Red States," she says, and there is no pride in it. "The former URRS."

Date: 2008-02-10 12:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya's smile is tiny and equally rueful, as she says, "Don't be. When I heard your voice and your name -- I assumed the same thing. You're the closest I've come to anyone from my world here." She leans back against the rock she'd scorched, one arm folded across her midsection and the other still held outward with its dancing flame.

"Do you mind if I--?" She pulls a demonstrative gesture with her hand, making as if she were going to close her fingers, thereby putting out the light.

Date: 2008-02-10 12:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
The last good look that Piotr will get of Maya, if he is looking, are blue eyes swinging toward him as the flame vanishes.

They've established that they aren't from the same place, yes, but if questions about Maya's last name are asked, they typically involve her husband (the holder of most of the academy's sporting records) or her brother-in-law (the skymarshall) or Maya herself, on occasion.

She wasn't expecting (what she thinks could be) name recognition from the man from another world.

"Yes," she says, after a startled half-second.

Date: 2008-02-10 12:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
"Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin?" she hazards a guess. "Or Rasputin Nikolaievitch?"

Maya doesn't seem to struggle with the name.

Then again, she is accustomed to similar. You try saying Alexandra Goncharova five times fast.

Date: 2008-02-10 01:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya considers him (or his silhouette, anyway) for a moment, and then she says, "You look like a Piotr Nikolaievitch to me."

Her smile is small, but audible.

Date: 2008-02-10 01:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
"I am," she says. "I'm a warkaster in the Sorceress Corps. It's a branch of the Complex of Military Industrial Sorcery." It's all very confusing, to someone who hasn't grown up with that; she picked that much up from the reactions of people she's spoken with here.

"More simply -- I'm a sorceress-major in the Red Fleet."

Date: 2008-02-10 01:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
My sister was a sorceress.

Maya started to pay attention to the way people phrased things, after she lost Marcus. Piotr Nikolaievitch said 'my sister was a sorceress.' That's a whole lot more final than what some people might say: 'my sister used to be a sorceress.'

"There are none of those in my world, either," she says. No 'magicians,' and no battalions of sorceresses all lined up in a row, though she doesn't say it. "Only the Sorceress Corps. And the Nistaani sorcerer."

(He is a high-priest, technically, Kar Dathra the Eternal, but after what Maya saw at Kar Dathra's Gate -- he will be listed, if with an iron jaw, when she discusses these matters. Always.)

Date: 2008-02-10 02:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
"All women," Maya confirms, and she doesn't say 'besides the Nistaani high priest' because she's fairly certain she doesn't have to. 'Sorcerer' is an unmistakably male title.

Date: 2008-02-10 02:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
He reminds her of her Guardsman, when he's quiet; it's something about the big bulk of a man standing in front of her, about the wordless communication and the innate comfort with silence.

Maya has never been one to needlessly fill silence just for the sake of hearing her own voice, or anyone else's. Especially not with Kyuzo as a constant companion.

It's the work of a moment to hoist herself up high enough to sit on the boulder she's been leaning against. The stars aren't especially bright tonight, but there's enough light to watch the way that it plays across the water.

Date: 2008-02-10 02:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
"It used to be a proud nation," she says.

Or maybe it was just that she used to be proud of it.

"The United Republics of the Red Star. Times are harder now." Everything's harder; the government is struggling to hold itself together, much less also the few states that still belong to the Commonwealth-that-was-once-a-Republic. "Most civilians are struggling." They're losing hope. The cities are gray, she doesn't say, but she's thinking it.

"I don't see much of the Commonwealth, besides the capital city and wherever I'm stationed. There are still some beautiful places left, though." Ones that she was more inclined to seek out when she had Marcus seeking with her.

"What about your Russia?" she asks, glancing at Piotr.

Date: 2008-02-15 03:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya shoots the man's form a swift, startled look.

"The same happened in my world. The republics broke away from the URRS, crying for independence. Your Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik -- did it try to stop them?"

Piotr's Siberia sounds beautiful, and ordinarily, Maya would be happy to learn of it. But this conversation takes parallels and turns that she does not expect, continually, and she has to ask about them.

Date: 2008-02-18 02:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya listens, and for a long moment, she says nothing. Her eyes may be on Piotr, but her mind is on his words.

From the great Soviet Union to Russia and all the little nations in only a few years.

The lake is quiet under a sheet of ice.

"It all sounds very familiar," she says, finally. "Familiar enough to be exactly the same. Trouble, unrest, instability; different ideas, problems that the government had covered up, a fast crumbling -- that's how it happened. Except that in my world, there was war. The URRS tried to force the republics to submit to it, and the Commonwealth of Red States is still trying."

The key word here -- and her delivery more than suggests it -- is 'tried' and 'trying.'

Date: 2008-02-18 05:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joiningyousoon.livejournal.com
Maya accepts the words for what they are -- real sympathy, kindness -- with a quiet smile, and a nod. "I am, too."

Enough of war and of sadness. It has to be faced when she returns home. It doesn't have to be faced right now.

"Would you mind telling me about your farm, Piotr Nikolaievitch?" Maya says with a wider smile, drawing her legs up. "I grew up in the capital city; I don't know anything about country life."

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Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin

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