1963-08-08 - Misery Loves Company
Summary: Piotr gives Kitty a shoulder to lean on when it comes to her recent ordeal in New Orleans. Kitty returns the favor and gives Piotr some much-needed support with regards to his recent loss, and advice with regards to his little sister.
Related: Get Back, Who Is Illyana Rasputin?, With A Little Help From My Friends
Theme Song: None
kitty piotr 

Having given the med bay the slip once again, Kitty sits on a bench in the garden with a sketchbook resting on her lap. She used to do this a lot before she'd moved away. The sunlight, while having already begin its retreat, grants odd perspective on the water, causing it to glisten with a sheen and shimmer she'd normally have stared at for hours.

Today, however, is rather different. Instead, she's pulling pages out of the recently recovered book. Pages devoted to words meet a watery grave as she rips them out one at a time. It's oddly satisfying to destroy something once deemed so sacred, and the catharsis actually earns a small upturn of lips. She waits a few moments after shredding a page to bits, and allows it to turn to nothing but a wrinkled mess in shimmery waters.

She flips through the notebook and stares at the newest entry. There's definite spottiness in her memory; places she can't quite remember. Pushing herself off the bench with a little hop, she flips the book closed. A glance is given towards the mansion and she takes a small step towards it — only to lose her footing on some of the slippery rocks along the shore.

Kitty's hands reach out to catch herself along the muddy shore, managing to only find her knees and hands caked in a thick layer of very heavy clay-mud. A small frown and shake of her head have her pushing up to a kneel. Her eyes scan the pond bed in front of her for the notebook (having dropped it on her fall), only to see it floating in the pond. "Just fantastic," she murmurs to herself.


"Katya? Are you alright?"

It shouldn't be surprising to see Piotr quickly approaching the shore with concern on his face and a sketchbook of his own tucked under one arm. Historically, when he's needed a chance to think, finding a spot outside and doing some sketches has been his modus operandi. Something in common.

The big guy stops precisely long enough to drop his sketchbook and pencil onto the nearby bench before he's dropping into a crouch next to her, first giving her a worried looking-over before following her gaze to the pond. And the notebook floating in it.

"I do not think this is how watercolors are supposed to work," Piotr muses, sliding his gaze back to her and offering a hand. "Should I fetch it for you?"


"I'm — " the word okay wants to be spoken as little more than a programmed response from the last couple of weeks. It takes a few beats for her to fight the instinct that accompanies something so automatic, but when she does, she looks down at her now-muddied self, back to her notebook, and then cracks up. The laughter while undeniably genuine also brings about a sense of relief that bubbles over into peals of giggles that make it difficult for the brunette to catch her breath. She rubs her face, causing mud streaks to smear across her cheeks, and finally answers, " — good. I'm good."

Kitty shifts from her knees to sit squarely in the mud. If she's a mess, anyways, she may as well embrace it. Piotr's remark initiates another fit of giggles. "You know, as I was falling, I almost phased. That would've been a lot worse." Because eventually she'd have to become solid again.

She looks towards the book again and then nods. "I'd appreciate it. I mean, I'm already filthy, but drenched on top would just add insult to injury."


The laughter earns a broad smile from Piotr, and watching her get her face muddy in the process doesn't help. Yeah. She's good. "Good."

As she speaks, Piotr rises back to his feet, balancing on either foot in turn as he tugs off his sneakers and socks. No sense getting /those/ wet, that would just be torturous. "I am told there is giant sleeping under school somewhere, so… it is probably best that you did not," he notes with an amused smile.

Piotr makes a valiant effort at rolling the legs of his jeans up before he just wades right into the water of the pond. Yeah, no, that notebook has retreated just far enough into the water that rolling them up wouldn't do any good. He's tall, but not THAT tall. "Ah, is no trouble," he assures her, making a grab for the notebook before it can get too far. "Water is actually quite nice today."


Kitty's nose wrinkles with incredulity, "A giant? Like, a literal giant?" She squints. "Well that's a new one…" She cringes and then shrugs, "I guess I shouldn't be too surprised. I mean, I met a purple cat man a couple weeks ago." Her eyebrows lift, "Anything is possible."

She visibly cringes as the water seeps passed the rolled up pants. "Uh," the wince remains. "Now I'm feeling guilty. You can swim, right? I mean, I'm pretty sure most metal sinks. Does that mean you sink? I'll feel pretty bad if you start sinking. Especially when I'm actually a pretty good swimmer…" This is followed by a twitch of a smirk.

That actually gets a laugh from Piotr, chest-deep in the pond and holding the notebook up over his head to… what, keep it from getting wet? Little late, big guy. "Metal sinks," he confirms, lightly thumping his chest with his other hand. "But right now, I am not metal. So I can swim." Or, judging by his movements as he moves back towards the shore, stand and walk.

He seems completely unbothered by the fact that he is completely soaking wet when he returns to Kitty on the shore, offering the notebook back to her without so much as a peek at its contents. It would be rude, and Piotr is not rude. "You should not feel guilty. I like being able to help," he assures her. "I am only sorry I was not with you when you needed it before."


"Good! I mean not that metal sinks, but that you won't sink. I'd hate for that to happen especially in rescuing something that's not even really valuable or terribly important save for the personal nature of doodles and drawings and murmurings and — " Kitty is babbling. Possibly because Piotr is now soaking wet. Or, perhaps, because the thought of him sinking hadn't sunk in (pun intended) before opting to have him retrieve the book.

But once the book is in her hand again, the babbling ceases, and Piotr is awarded bright toothy grin. Despite the insistence that it has no value, unquestionably, it has obvious value to Kitty. She clears her throat. "Thank you," she virtually beams. But the last subdues the smile some, and despite understanding, she returns, "Well then y you'd be muddy on top of soaking wet, and then where would we be? Better to save the mud just one of us." She winks.


There's something in his face that makes it clear Piotr knows she understood — but he is also willing to simply smile at the return volley. Smile, and lower himself right back down to sit next to her in the mud, loosely clasping his hands in his lap. "What is saying..? 'Misery loves company.'"


And the understanding is returned with a faint blush along the apples of Kitty's cheeks. The company in the mud wins a chuckle and a shake of her head, "Always full of surprises, Petey." Wistfully, she draws her knees to her chest, hugging them for a moment before leaning back on her hands as a sort of mud tripod. It's by no means a stable position, but seems to be working for Kitty for now.

Her tongue rolls over her lips and pensively her eyes turn to the horizon. "Sorry about that the other day. I should've prepped you or something," she issues him a one-shouldered shrug. The lump in her throat grows and she inhales a deep breath. "And there's nothing to be sorry about there. I made my choices. I decided to leave this place. Thought I was, I dunno, a freedom fighter or something." Her smile turns wistful. "I probably never should've left. Not for Japan," the smile fades and her teeth play at her bottom lip, "not for the South." She forces a tighter smile.


The apology is met with a dismissive wave of a hand and a small, wry smile. "If you had prepared me, Katya, I probably would not have taken you off grounds," Piotr notes, running one hand back over his hair. He considers it a moment before he adds, "It was shocking, da. But I would rather be shocked than ignorant. I am pleased you were able to tell me."

For a moment, Piotr falters. Then, very carefully, he scoots his massive frame a bit closer to her in the mud — really, it probably looks hilarious to anyone who doesn't have context — and brings a hand to rest very lightly on her shoulder. Easy enough to brush off or otherwise avoid. "I am sure it was not *all* bad. Was it?"


Unlike some, Kitty actually leans into the hand on her shoulder and stares openly at the water. The question draws a mischievous smile. "No, it wasn't all bad," she agrees, the smirk growing. "Japan was useful. Not," she cringes slightly, "fun, exactly. But useful. I learned a lot. Figured out who I don't want to be." Her lips purse. "And, to be honest, I couldn't have gotten out of the South without that training. It didn't fail me." Her expression sours like she's sucked on a lemon.

"And the South was… important." Kitty finally turns her head to face Piotr, "I still believe that. I'm not sure I was effective or anything, but what's happened, what's happening is important." Her lips press together tightly. "I just can't really piece it together… " She sucks on the inside of her cheek. "Almost like a collection of mind goo or something."


Since the gesture seems welcome, Piotr leaves his hand on her shoulder, hoping that he can be somehow grounding. Steading. All the things that he's supposed to be. He listens attentively and, when her expression sours, gives her shoulder a gentle, reassuring squeeze.

"Set aside whether *all* of your time there was effective, just for moment," Piotr says slowly, drawing his lips back into a thoughtful line. "If you had not been there, we would not know people need help. That someone needs to be stopped. And that girl, she would still be trapped there. That *is* important."

His brow furrows in thought, blue eyes flicking towards the mansion nearby. "I am sure the Professor has already offered," Piotr murmurs, head tilting slightly to one side. "But perhaps Jean could help. She has offered to help me with…" And now it's *his* expression's turn to sour. "…ah. Hm. But perhaps she could help you make sense of goo?"


"The Professor already did," Kitty replies softly. "I don't think it makes sense." Her eyes squint as she attempts to work herself through what had happened again. "I am just missing pieces, you know? Like something…" she side smirks, "ate them." Her nose wrinkles, "I know how that sounds."

Her cheeks puff out at the thought of Jean, but the change in his expression is noted, prompting a lot of quiet in return. Her head turns and her eyes settle back on the water. "I'm sorry," she finally murmurs. "I've been so selfish." Pause. "Are you okay?" She squints. "You can talk to me if…" Her lips press tightly together and she lifts a single hand. "If you'd like to. Talk to someone, I mean."


"It sounds… less ridiculous than it probably should," Piotr says lowly. The way his nose wrinkles as he says it probably is not an intentional mirroring of her expression. "Still. Be patient with yourself. It will come to you, I am sure."

All the confidence that came to Piotr's face in time for that declaration is gone as quickly as it appeared, and his hands quickly come up as if they can stop her apology short. "You are not being selfish," he insists. "I like to help. I am… not okay, but this is more productive." He nods once, quietly clearing his throat to try and hide a guilty expression. At least he seems aware of how ridiculous he sounds.


It's Kitty's turn to reach out with a hand to his back. For a moment she hesitates only to resolve to gently offer a sense of support. "What's going on?" Her lips press together again and she exhales a deep breath as a near-sigh. But she manages a soft smile, "I also like to help. We have that in common you and I." She issues him a small grin that fades moments later. "But you can talk to me. I'm not incapable of listening. No, scratch that. I like to listen." There.

"I know you know I've had," her eyes move back to the horizon, "something," the right word just won't come, "but I'm still me. I still care. Probably to a fault."


Piotr's back gives a light shudder under Kitty's hand as a chuckle rolls up out of his chest, despite himself. He is fairly certain that laughter is not the appropriate response, but it's all that's coming, and he just hangs his head and lets it come. "Pros— I am sorry," he manages. "I am being foolish. You are right."

He draws in a very deep breath to help wrestle the very inappropriate case of the giggles back under control, reaching up to wipe at his eyes. The wet came from the pond, surely. "My parents," is what he finally says, trusting the sadness in his tone to communicate the rest. "Last week."


If the pair looked odd before, the awkward size difference only gets exacerbated as Kitty slides even closer in a futile attempt to extend her arm around him in an effort to provide him a literal shoulder to cry on. She bites her bottom lip as her heart aches inside her chest. "I'm so sorry," she offers softly. Her eyes lid gently and she inhales a slow, even breath.

There's little more to say besides earnest condolence for the loss. And so she sits, acting as a solid support for Piotr if he'll let her — an irony for a girl who can walk through walls. Her small frame, however, wills itself strength. "Is… is there anything I can do?"


There is not a lot Piotr can do about being so large, but that does not stop him from shifting his arm out of the way to accept the hug without a protest. It might look awkward, and he might be having a bit of trouble figuring out what exactly to do with his arm that is both comfortable and keeps it out of Kitty's way, but he's not going to let that interfere with accepting the support being offered.

"You are already doing it," Piotr says quietly, his lips twitching into a small, sad smile. "…although. I could use a… a second opinion." There's that odd, sour twist to his expression again. "It is what Jean offered to help me with, but I am not certain it is best approach."


And as Kitty is allowed to hug him, she doesn't let go, remaining there tiny against his much larger form, yet still supportive as she remains there. She sucks on her bottom lip and cants her head to watch him as she does so. She nods slightly, "I'm not expert on, well," her eyes turn upwards, "nothing, really, but I can give an opinion if you want it."

She swallows hard and focuses back on the water, sliding a little closer to Piotr, such that her weight leans into him. In this case, her efforts to be strong are somewhat circumvented by their size differences.


As she shifts, so does Piotr, trying to accomodate. All that is really left for him to do with his arm is shift it up and over, coming to loosely rest around her shoulders. "I do not think anyone is expert in this," Piotr admits with an odd laugh, turning his head to give her a knowing smile. "We do nothing 'simple' in this house."

He falls quiet, trying to figure out how, precisely, to explain. Clearly, the matter is complicated, or he considers it so. Finally, he casts an exasperated look at the sky and takes a deep breath. "Illyana was not there when I went home," Piotr says, pinching the bridge of his nose with his free hand. "I searched everywhere I could think to. Nothing. But when I return here, there is a young woman in the mansion. She knows me. She knows things only Illyana could." He drops his hand and looks at Kitty with an almost pleading expression. "I want to believe her when she says she is my sister. There is no reason for someone to lie about this. But I worry that it is wishful thinking, and if I am wrong…" He trails off, his expression pained.


Kitty studies him carefully as he explains the situation, and she offers him a silent nod as his voice trails off, and a slight squeeze of his shoulder. She's still here. She's still in his corner. Her lips purse lightly and slowly, her head turns back towards the water, still quiet as she thinks through the situation. She swallows hard, and reads between the lines of the situation, "Jean offered to vet her, didn't she?" With a slow deep breath, Kitty's head rocks slightly back and forth as if attempting to come to some sense of judgment.

The silence is allowed to grow as she gives it ample consideration. Her lips twitch and she begins with a disclaimer, "I don't have any brothers or sisters. I grew up an only child. So please take any of this with a grain of salt." After her disclaimer has been expressed, she shifts again, remaining in the hug, but at a bit of an angle to watch him as she speaks. "I'm not someone people think of as terribly emotional. Impassioned, maybe. Emotional?" her head shakes. "Logic has always seemed easier. But." The pregnant pause at the end of the word grants her extra space to really consider her thoughts, "I feel like some things in life are leaps and require leaps of faith. And while a person could test out this girl's honesty, I feel like these things eventually fall into place and the truth is known either way." Her lips press together tightly. "You have a family here regardless of anything. And I feel like if I was in your shoes and sent someone to muck about her thoughts, and she was telling the truth… that guilt would be worse than taking the leap and not really knowing." Pause. "But that's me." She squeezes his shoulder again. "I can't imagine how you feel right now. And I know that hope is both purposed and can be crushing, but you're not alone. You know that, right?" Her teeth play at her bottom lip. "You have a lot of people that really care about you and want to help and be there for you. You don't have to bear the weight of it all alone."


The question about Jean gets a small nod. No more to say, really. Piotr remains quiet to allow Kitty the time to think, and in the meantime, he watches the horizon and is simply… company. Despite everything — the heavy subject, being soaking wet, sitting together in the mud — it somehow does not feel awkward. At least, not to him.

He turns his attention fully to Kitty once she starts to speak. He did ask for an opinion, and the least he can do is listen when one is offered, especially one that it's obvious she's putting genuine effort and care into offering. Occasionally, Piotr finds himself nodding along with her words, and by the end, he's actually smiling.

"I know. I think… you are probably right." Piotr gives in to an impulse and leans over to press a very light, grateful peck to the top of Kitty's head. Of course, being Piotr, he immediately mumbles an apology for the presumption, too, quietly clearing his throat and settling back in place. "Spasiba. You are a very good friend, Miss Pryde."


Piotr's smile draws one from Kitty and she's shooting him an ear-to-ear grin as he plants a peck on her head, prompting her cheeks to hue a faint pink. The comment about her friendship causes the pink to flush a brighter red. Her chin drops and she continues to beam like a fool as her eyes track back to the shoreline. Her throat clears, and she rubs her face, brushing off a long line of mud down her cheek.

"I try," Kitty shoots him a side smile. "You're a pretty fantastic friend too, but I'm not calling you Mister Rasputin. You're Pete." The words are punctuated by a defiant smirk.

A soft chuckle emits from her lips. "WE're going to be okay, you know. Both of us. You're stronger than you think. I've seen it. And I don't mean just in the strong-silent-type. You can weather things. I can tell."


It takes Piotr visible effort to mimic the pronunciation of "Pete," after she says it, but he gives it an honest try even if he laughs his way through it. "Piotr is not so difficult to say, you know," he teases, completely aware of the difficulty he has pronouncing 'Kitty' correctly. Pot. Kettle. Black.

"You are strong too," he notes with a broad smile, and only now does Piotr try to disentangle himself from her so that he can pick himself up out of the mud. "Stronger than me, I think, where it matters. We will be okay." He nods once and, once he's steady on his feet, offers her both of his hands.


"I wouldn't go that far," Kitty replies easily as she accepts his hands to help her to her feet. "But I'll be okay," she seems to agree with that much. "Sincerely." She flashes him another smile and gives his hands a squeeze. Her gaze focuses on his eyes and she leans towards him a moment only to chuckle softly, although she's not entirely sure why.

Finally, her chin drops and she inspects her very muddied clothes. "I think I should clean up. I suspect this," she motions to herself, "isn't going to be very effective at arguing my mental state." She chuckles again. Getting out of the med bay permanently seems further away than it ought to be. The very wet notebook tucked underneath her arm is given a quick glance as she finally takes a step back. "Thank you," she offers again. "I… I'm glad you didn't sink."


It would be easy for Piotr to simply lift Kitty up to her feet, but that's not what he does. He mostly just allows her to pull herself up on her own power, with just enough of a pull to make it an easier, more fluid motion than it might have been otherwise. Once he's sure she's steady, he returns the squeeze to her hands and lets them go, trying not to look as flustered as he feels.

"You are very welcome," Piotr replies, ducking his head and offering a sincere smile. "I know circumstances are not what they could be, but I am glad you are back, Katya." He takes a step to the side to clear a path back to the mansion, tipping his head towards it. "Go on. Before it dries."


The glow in Kitty's cheeks makes them feel hot as he steps out of her way. She shoots him a grateful smile. "Me too," she offers quietly. "Feels like home. I'm telling you, it's a good place." With a small exhalation of breath, she nods again. "Smart. Should come off easier while not quite so caked on." She grins and shoots him a small three fingered wave before retreating down the path back to the mansion.

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