1963-08-07 - With A Little Help From My Friends
Summary: Log Summary
Related: None
Theme Song: With A Little Help From My Friends
kitty piotr vorpal 

Anchored by an iconic 1840 mansion, this upscale hotel is less than 1 mile from the Hudson River and 2 miles from Tarrytown. It is a rather beautiful Georgian-style affair, with wooden panels, massive windows and elegance that just drips with the right hint of content to indicate sophistication but not too much so as not to fall into boorishness.

Keith has taken rooms here, or rather his 'father' has. He left detailed instructions with Kitty to ask for 'Malcolm O'Neil' to keep the charade intact.

A charade that had already gone through copious amounts of caviar, champagne and a great deal of good and expensive things.

The Cheshire cat sighs and stares at the ceiling. Or, rather, he stares at the canopy of the four-poster monstrosity they call a bed here, arms resting comfortably behind his head and his body resting as if it were on a cloud itself. A covered tray of room service had just been delivered- and from the size of it, it looks like it's a feast fit for a king… or a modern businessman, in any case.

He hasn't eaten anything yet. He is currently enjoying the wafting scents that he can perceive, even through the silver bell covering the plate. He might as well enjoy it while it lasts, because it is not going to last very long at all, all this.

"But for the moment," he says to himself with a lazy grin, "This is the life…"


This is, in all honesty, a bad idea… and yet, here they are.

Piotr has not been having a good week, to put it mildly, and it had left him visibly distressed. Not an easy feat. And normally, bumping into someone trying to sneak out of the medlab would *not* have ended with him escorting them into town to visit a friend at an upscale hotel.

But it was Kitty, and Piotr is kind of a sucker when nice women ask him for help. Especially when he has not seen them in so long.

Piotr has largely kept his mouth shut since they arrived, however, and is instead silently following Kitty's lead, trying to feel less like he sticks out. But he is massive, and his t-shirt and jeans do not exactly live up the hotel's dress code.

Kitty isn't exactly supposed to be vertical yet. She'd undergone a battery of tests that had come up… unsettling. Which demanded more tests. And more rest. And more tests. And more rest. In fact, despite insistence otherwise, she'd been instructed to take it easy awhile longer. But Kitty doesn't typically take things lying down.

She normally walks through them. Which is what she did. Everything was going according to her plans until she ran into Piotr — who she'd roped into helping her.

Katherine Pryde definitely doesn't belong here. In her faded, frayed blue jeans, yellow jacket (borrowed from one of the students), and very worn-out sneakers, she doesn't fit in. She does, however, look much more alive than the last time Vorpal saw her. Her skin has found a brighter palour, her eyes have a bit of life in them once more, and determination colours each of her very punctuated steps.

A mischievous glance is show at Piotr, "Don't worry! We were basically invited! And relax. He's very nice." Because this is where she was told to find him. She stops at the front desk, "Hello! My name is Kitty — er — Katherine" because adults adult now and then, " — Pryde. I'm looking for someone staying here — "


The man at the front desk is clearly older, but that is all anyone can tell about his age. He seems like a well-preserved wine, clearly a very valuable ass that has thrived through longevity… but always in danger of turning sour.

The look he gives Katherine isn't contemptuous, but it isn't hospitable, either. Still, he does affect a smile that is somewhat hospitable. The times, they are changing, and some of the guests have had children. Children who have tended to dress in ways that are less decorous than he would normally allow. And he normally wouldn't allow them- but paying customers are paying customers, and the same leniency can be extended to their guests as long as they are not too indecent.

"Ah, hes. Mr. O'Neil is expecting you." He gives them the directions and sends them on their way, the room being on the third floor- a gorgeous affair with a view of the gardens.

When the phone rings, Keith lazily takes it off its cradle and speaks with his father's voice. The notice that his visitors are finally here gets him off the bed. He spends a second letting his feet touch the plush carpet, and sighs at the comfort. He hastily slides into his jeans but leaves the shirt off before he opens the door after the knock.

The Cheshire cat opens the door after making sure it was only Kitty and her companion, and makes a gesture for them to come in.

"Ah, Kitty, I see you finally came calling." He stops and blinks, looking at Piotr from top to bottom.

There is a lot of Piotr to cover, so it takes a few seconds.

"For me? Aw, you shouldn't have. I didn't even get you anything," he finally quips, closing the door behind them.

"I'm just kidding. Keith's the name, and there's caviar and champagne if you fancy. You must be one of Kitty's friends, I take it?"


Piotr only opens his mouth once he and Kitty are well out of the concierge's earshot, and even then, he bends at the waist and keeps his voice quiet, afraid of being overheard. "This is not good idea," he whispers, but even so, he follows her the entire way up. He straightens up, clasping his hands behind his back to wait.

And then a cat-man opens the door.

Piotr blinks owlishly, but it only takes him a moment to remember himself and smile politely. He has seen far stranger mutations, after all, even if this one is colorful. He gestures for Kitty to precede him inside, follows her along, and then turns to find himself being… inspected? Surveyed? There is a word, he is sure, but he cannot recall what it is. Only that he suddenly feels a need to glance sidelong at Kitty with an uncertain expression.

"Piotr," the large man offers, and it is immediately clear why he has been so quiet. That Russian accent is so thick that it's almost a stereotype. "Nice to meet you."


Piotr earns a very lopsided quirk of Kitty's lips, and whether consciously or not, her own hands mimic his position, clasping lightly behind her back as they move down the hall. The cat man earns a nod of recognition. "Hello Keith," she greets as she strides into the room. Her chin lifts as she admires the room. "This — " she blinks hard. " — wow. I don't know that I should come in, I might break something…"

She shoots Piotr an easier smile before reaching out a hand to pull him further in. If she's in here, so is he, apparently — even if he might try to object. "Yeah, I'm sorry it's taken so long. My…" her nose wrinkles, "friends felt I needed," her eyebrows furrow, "medical attention and rest." Her eyes flit to the artwork on the walls. "Although," her tongue clucks, "I'd think you'd have rested better than me. Is this a Duchamp?" It isn't.


Keith chuckles, "No, but it's a very lifelike simulation. All of the legit art is kept in the gallery in the floor above." Keith yawns and stretches, and seems tickled by Piotr's accent. "Well, very nice to see you, Piotr." He gives him a friendly smile, still seemingly both intimidated and intrigued by the Russian's sheer presence. "Eat, drink, be merry. Have a seat, don't be afraid of breaking anything." After all, his father will have to pay for it. Extra vengeance.

He pauses for a second, though, looking at the delicate and very elegant chairs in the room after he has uncovered the plate. They really do look quite lovely.

Those things will bend like twigs under Piotr. They were clearly not meant for bodies built like that. "You can go ahead and sit on the bed, I'll take this chair," he says to Piotr, quickly sitting down, "Only the bed is more comfortable, see-"

He winces, and then stands up slowly. Fishing his tail out from behind him, he then sits down while holding it so as not to sit on his tail. "… I am getting a growing fondness for stools, let me tell you," he smiles at Kitty and Piotr, looking mildly sheepish.


For such a big man, Piotr is awfully easy for Kitty to drag around. His eyes flick to the painting when she voices the question, studying it briefly before leans down enough to offer a quiet, confident "Nyet," just as Keith assures them of the same.

When Piotr straightens back up, some of the tenseness around his eyes has faded. The lack of a poor reaction to his accent apparently did a lot to put him at ease. He allows himself a slightly wider smile and ducks his head in gratitude, dutifully moving further inside to claim a seat. Yes, the edge of the bed seems much safer than one of the chairs. He is pretty sure he couldn't afford to replace one if it broke.

"You are sure this would not be better for you?" Piotr asks Keith, glancing to his tail with a sympathetic wince. "Is less to juggle."


Kitty's gaze flits between the two men, and her head cants to the side curiously as her lips hitch into a nearly child-like grin. "Seems like a good option for both of you — " her eyebrows arch with some unspoken delight, only to drift downwards again. She emits a small sigh as she strides to one of the chairs and, much like a bull in a china shop, very carefully, sets herself upon it. Beautiful they may be; comfortable she is not. And it shows.

Her back is rigid, making her neck ache from the stiffness. Her throat clears. "Well. Keith, Piotr," her lips press together almost uncomfortably. "So, I didn't exactly tell you everything when I first met you, Keith. I had Macy and — " she waves a hand as if that explains everything. "I think you probably figured it out, but I was not," her eyebrows furrow, and she hesitates over the last word, "well."


"It's okay. I figured something was going on," the cat says, spreading some caviar on a cracker. "Although I'm not entirely sure what. It'd be rude for me to make assumptions without getting it straight from you. First I find you with a sweet little lost girl tagging along, and then you knock at my door in the company of a Baltic god-" he doesn't know where Piotr is, exactly, and may not be from the Baltic area at all, but it sounds cool, so he's sticking to it. "So right now I'm betting you're either a spy, an International Woman of Mystery, or considering that you didn't really blink when you first saw me… maybe you're familiar with totally weird people like me?"

He takes a bite out of his cracker and winks. "Any of those hit the mark? SO… what's going on, and how do your friends fit in?"

Then he turns his head to Piotr and nods- he doesn't smile because mouthful of caviar. You don't smile after that. "It's ok, Piotr. These chairs were made to support weak American derrieres. I'm afraid you'd be too much for them and while I may hate my father… I don't hate him that much."

He wasn't sure, but he was certain the chairs may have names attached to them that ended in Roman numerals.


This is far from the first time Kitty has seen Piotr flustered, and it will no doubt not be the last. Having a cat call him a Baltic god would be enough on its own, but then Keith breaks out a word he doesn't recognize — is that… French? — and he's left looking sheepish /and/ confused. At least it's a good look on him.

So, naturally, Piotr tries to focus on Kitty instead. Surely, this is a better idea. Besides, Keith is Kitty's friend — so she gets to answer the awkward questions. Not him. Right?

"You really should still be resting," Piotr tells her instead, his voice a gently concerned rumble.


There's a moment's hesitation from Kitty as Keith fills in some of the blanks. Her lips purse and she hrms quietly. "You're not off-base. But it's more than that." She sucks on the inside of her cheek, and looks at Piotr for a few beats before turning back to Keith. "I'm a mutant. I can walk through walls." Pause. "Except when I can't. Which had never happened until a bit before I met you." She lifts a hand; she's getting ahead of herself.

A short pause follows, and earns Piotr a small, fond grin. "As I said to one of our other friends, I really am okay."

"So." Her lips hitch up on one side. "About half a year ago, I came back to Westchester after a long time away. But I wasn't content." Kitty frowns slightly, "The world is changing and I felt… feel a deep responsibility to be part of that. So I went South." She swallows hard. "To march." Her lips purse like she's sucked on something sour.

"I'm not sure what happened. But I woke up in a facility." Her eyebrows knit together. "I don't know how long I was there, and can't even pinpoint my last memory before waking up. But in waking up, I…" she hesitates around the words, "got out." That phrase certainly packs a more complicated story. "The conventional way. With Macy in tow." She blinks hard. "And then hitchhiked back here." Pause. "Thanks for picking us up by the way. People didn't stop often."


"Eat." Keith pushes the large serving dish of delicacies in Kitty's way, "Finger good, no need for forks. Just eat, you need to recover, I agree with the big guy. And you too, Piotr." He gestures, "This isn't going to just devour itself."

He sits back on his chair and huhs, "Mutants? Well, you're just gonna have to leave the room, 'cause there's none of that allowed here…" he begins, completely stone-faced.

And then he cracks up, shaking his head, "I hang out at M-Town regularly, actually. Mutants are pretty boss in my book. Everybody thinks I'm one."

Piotr's assumption about the nature of the cat seems to be way wrong, then, "You went down there to march? You've got guts. Good deal… but it sounds like you ran into some pretty Groady people. Back over on the road you said 'they' had taken her parents… so I assume little Macy's mommy and daddy are in the hands of these people, somewhere?"


Is there food? Piotr's entirely forgotten. While Keith seems to have taken Kitty's tale relatively in stride, the big Russian has gone a bit pale. This is all, it seems, news to him, and he is struggling not to look visibly horrified. It's… mostly working.

Keith's laughter actually startles Piotr out of the fugue he'd begun to slip into and he quickly gives himself a hard mental shake to regain his senses.

He has no idea what to say, so… Piotr stays quiet. But at least he's forcing himself to reach for a cracker. The least he can do is be a good guest.


"I don't really know what happened in between… everything," Kitty swallows hard as she casts a nearly apologetic glance towards Piotr. She hasn't really talked about her ordeal with anyone, save the Professor. "But I got Macy 'home' and no one was there," she answers quietly. "I wasn't going to leave her. So, I took her somewhere I thought she'd be safe." She shrugs. "I know it's not perfect, but it's what I could offer."

Defensively, she lifts both of her hands, "But I'm okay! I promise. Cross my heart."

She finally reaches for a piece of cheese and pops it into her mouth, but the thought of having courage earns a self-deprecating frown, "I had to go. I know how that sounds." Her eyebrows knit together, "People are fighting for something real. They need support. All of our support. So, I went down to do what I could." She shrugs.

Kitty offers Keith a small smirk, "Well, to be honest, I wasn't sure I wasn't still drugged," part of the story she'd somehow glazed over or not really mentioned, "when you pulled over for us. I'm sorry about that — " a note of apology rings in her tone. "And if I seemed… distant. I wasn't sure if it was real. Or if I could trust you. Or — " she frowns slightly. "I'm sorry. But. Thank you. Sincerely."


Keith waves off the compliment and takes a sip of his juice. "Oh, don't mention it… but now we're arriving to the important question."

He looks at Piotr through the liquid in his glass, and then at Kitty. Finally, he drains the glass before putting it in front of him on the table, and speaks rather slowly.

"Is this the sort of affair where someone who isn't a mutant wouldn't be welcomed? I understand the need to stay safe in numbers."

His eyes dart from one ot the other, "And being that I'm actually a magical creature and not the mutant most think I am… well, would your allies be reticent to letting someone lend a hand in this mess? Only it sounds like something shady is going on. I'm not very fond of those things…"

He looks at Piotr, "What do you think, Piotr?"


Drugged? Piotr's eyebrows leap up his forehead. Sorry, Kitty — he's an attentive listener, and sometimes, that can backfire on the people doing the talking. But if he's going to pry into it further, it won't be here and now. Especially not with the repeated assurances that she's okay.

Piotr turns the cracker over in his fingers while he thinks, glancing between the pair… and then blinks once when he's addressed more directly, unconsciously straightening his posture. "What do I…?" He gestures at himself, giving Kitty a quick, uncertain look, before he purses his lips and regards Keith thoughtfully.

"I do not know this word, reti.., ret…" Piotr's nose scrunches in frustration and he waves a hand dismissively. "I do not know that word. But I do know that you helped my friend when she needed it," he notes, cracking a small smile. "For which I, at least, am very grateful. I do not think I would be alone in feeling that way."


There's a curious cant of Kitty's head as she watches Piotr, and a lot of silence as he expresses gratitude towards Keith. "I already spoke to one of our allies, and said I wanted your help. You've already proven both resourceful and kind." She manages a shrug of her shoulders, "He said our people could wear masks. Which, I won't wear a mask because — " she shrugs again. "Well, everyone knows me." A sheepish smile tugs on her features as her cheeks flush a pale crimson.

"And yeah, whatever they're doing isn't good. I didn't get to explore much, but something was off with either the facility or whatever they — " the thought is never finished, and instead, Kitty's cheeks flush even more. She swallows hard.

"So. Assuming you're interested in helping, I'm heading back to New Orleans. I left," her chin drops and her eyes train on her feet, "a lot of people where I'd woke up. They need help." The obvious is never spoken, but worn like a wreath of shame around Kitty's neck: she hadn't helped them.


The cat smirks slowly and leans back on his chair. "New Orleans? Just say when. We've got my motorcyc-" he pauses and then, once again, gives Piotr the up-down and for a second seems to be making calculations. "Okay, we've got my Rabbit Holes and my powers of illusion. And not to brag, but I can handle myself in a scuffle." He puffs out his chest-which while strong, it is nowhere near as impressive as anything Piotr could manage with even a half-sneeze, "In fact, today I took down a shooter in a bus hostage situation."

It would probably be in the news and the papers, soon. He'll probably travel disguised, anyways. "So I am somewhat useful when dealing with unsavory types. Just say when, and I'll make preparations…"

He stops, and gives them a toothy grin. "In fact… it would prrrobably be best to do this under the cover of darkness. If you want, I can reserve you two rooms here…" a wicked glint in his eyes, "Courtesy of my dad, when you are ready to leave, and you can stay the night until it's time to go at some ungodly hour, like two o'clock or so. Should be dark enough then that we can travel quietly. Plus… I can see at night."


"Hostage situation?" Piotr echoes, surprised enough that the next words out of his mouth are a quiet Russian swear. That's uncharacteristic, but these last few days have been very stressful. "Well. I am glad you are safe too." At least, he assumes Keith is safe. He isn't acting like somebody who was on the wrong end of a shooter's day, after all.

He casts a worried, almost apologetic look towards Kitty as Keith starts laying out his offer. "I am… not sure we should go so soon," Piotr says slowly, clasping his hands in his lap. "We will need at least a little time to prepare." And to make sure that Kitty is as close to 100% as possible. Ideally.


Kitty squints at Keith for several beats and then nods. "I've learned that people defy expectations." Her stint in Japan had been helpful in a number of ways. The offer is one that would be all too easy for her to accept, but she hesitates at Piotr's thoughts and expression.

Having already been caught off-guard once, she agrees, "We do need to prepare. And, to be honest, I'm not exactly sure where' we're going. I — " she frowns. "My memory is sketchy. And I think others," The professor, "have come to the same conclusion." Her lips press together tightly, and she issues Piotr a nod, "It'll be a couple of days on our end so I can sort out some details. I have an apartment in New Orleans, and I'm hoping I can at least piece where I was before," tact now becomes key, "it all happened. And maybe I'll remember something else in the meantime," she shoots Piotr a sheepish smile before casting it to Keith. She hopes she's struck a happy medium. "Especially when it comes to when I woke up. And the stairs. There were a lot of stairs."


"Well, let me give you something…"

Keith reaches for his jacket on the floor and pulls out a little notebook. He writes on a page and then tears it off for Kitty.

"I'm mostly homeless these days" he admits without a trace of embarrassment, "But this is a PO box in New York that I check every other day or so. No matter where I go, I'll be able to check it so… when you know the day is coming, send me a note and where to meet you. I'll be there in three shakes of a tail."

He does not demonstrate, instead he says, "And this is where you should go back so you can rest and recover your memories, Kitty. Take some caviar. Take some champagne. Take the cheese. Make it a doggie ba-kitty bag," He offers, standing up with a grin.


Piotr manages not to look too relieved when Kitty does not try to insist they leave immediately. He returns her smile with a warm one of his own, nodding once. "It will come to you," he says confidently. "Be patient with yourself."

With Keith's encouragement, Piotr rises from his seat and takes a half-step towards Kitty to offer her a hand up. She doesn't *need* it, but it's polite. "You are very kind," he says to Keith, smiling. He wants to ask after the lack of a home, but… the man is a magical cat, apparently, and this hotel is very nice. He seems capable enough of taking care of himself.


The paper is clasped and then carefully folded before its pushed into Kitty's jacket pocket. She frowns openly at the thought of anyone being homeless, but she feels rather stuck in her offerings. "Thank you. I — will be in touch. I promise. I said I would, and I did. You know you'll hear from me." Piotr earns a grateful smile as she accepts the offered hand. "I hope so. It feels hazy," she admits about her memory. "I… can only guess…" but she doesn't finish the thought.

Her head tilts curiously at the champagne, but she accepts some cheese, caviar, and crackers. "Thank you, Keith. You'll hear from us soon."


Keith smiles and sees them out, redoubling promises to stay in touch.

Once they are gone, he closes the door and locks it, and then proceeds to write a long, elaborate note in his best imitation of his father's handwriting. Emergency business trip. Urgent departure. Please send my bill to the usual address. Placing it upon the night table, he proceeds to gather his meager belongings, and finishes what is left of the caviar and champagne.

He's going to spend the last night in this luxurious bed before Rabbit Holing out of here and into the garage where he has stowed his motorcycle, ready to skip town.

Of course, they will wonder how Mr. O'Neil left while also managing to leave the deadbolt on, something that can only be done from the inside, or with one of the staff's master keys. He likes doing that- leaving little mysteries for people to puzzle over.

As he gets into bed, prepared to have one last, luxurious night, he thinks back on Kitty and her seemingly very dedicated friend. He muses for a second that it would be rather nice to have someone making a fuss over you. But then he quickly disabuses himself from that notion. People came with baggage. People were a nice place to visit. The little daily betrayals weren't worth the temporary solace from loneliness they made you feel. He's willing to smile and open the door, but nobody needs to get in too deep.

And yet, he was willing to help Kitty and her friends in this endeavor. Ah, well… didn't Emerson say that consistency was the hobgoblin of small minds?

He yawns and ponders reading for a moment before shrugging and shutting off the light. A few minutes later, he was snoring soundly.

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