1963-08-16 - I am Me
Summary: Kitty and Piotr catch up.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
kitty piotr 


It's the wee hours of the morning and Kitty Pryde is just coming home. The argument with her parents on the phone, the would-be run in Central Park, and the daring fire rescue of many people in an apartment building.

Quieter than a mouse, Kitty walked through the front door of Xavier's and slips into the kitchen, seemingly unnoticed. Of course, even if you can't hear (or always see) Kitty Pryde, today you can smell her coming. The distinct smell of campfire follows her every pace. She turns corporeal once reaching the kitchen and uses the shiny sink faucet to examine herself a moment. She hoists herself up onto the cupboard to get a better look. Covered in soot, with black across her face, she rubs at it absently only to wrinkle her nose. With a single hop down, she pads to the cupboard and extracts a jar of peanut butter.

With her chosen snack in hand, she walks to the silverware drawer and gives it a good tug… causing utensils to clatter to the floor.

"SHHHHHH!" she declares back to the cutlery.

*

The mansion is never truly asleep. There is always someone awake somewhere, and it is just Miss Pryde's luck that the wee hours of the morning are often occupied by a familiar face. Drawn by the noise, there are soon quiet footfalls coming down the stairs, which speed up partway down as the smell of smoke finally wafts into the next room.

Cover: blown.

On the upshot, it's Piotr who comes and pokes his head into the kitchen with his eyebrows raised in alertness and concern. Judging by the sweatpants and undershirt he's wearing, he hasn't been out of bed long enough to change.

The Russian blinks twice as he takes in Kitty's current state before, with a very odd smile, he moves in to help pick up the utensils from the floor. His voice is laced with affectionate teasing. "What was on fire?"

*

Already bent down on the ground, Kitty madly collects the silverware, even after she's spotted. But the voice, and her current rather unkempt (fire rescuer!) state actually startles her enough to drop the collected utensils again, amid a flushing face. She sits on the floor, and cants her head upwards to try to catch Piotr's gaze. "I'm pleased to say not the kitchen for once." The point is punctuated by a girlish, rather-tired giggle. "It was an apartment building. Not sure what caused it — " her lips twist to the side " — but we got everyone out. All evacuees survived." Kitty's lungs are another story.

She begins to pick up the utensils again, and once the activity is complete, grabs herself a spoon. Peanut butter time. Her eyebrows draw together, and she presses herself to a stand. "You're supposed to be sleeping," she observes plainly, not drawing any attention to the fact that she is also not sleeping. "It's tomorrow already."

*

Rather than return the silverware directly to the drawer, Piotr collects them and carries them over to the sink. Between the floor and the soot on Kitty's fingers… yes, he thinks they deserve another quick rinse, and he's here already, so he might as well. "That is good to hear," Piotr says with a smile, watching her with an inquisitive tilt of his head as he gets the sink going. "Who is 'we'?"

He does not, let the record show, try to dodge the question about sleep. "I have slept some. It is still a little…" Piotr makes a face and waggles one of his hands. "…I will be going back soon. But what about you? Is everything alright?"

*

"Oh!" Kitty nabs the peanut butter again, and scoops herself a large spoonful. "You know that Spider Menace the Bugle is always going on and on about?" She nibbles some of the peanut butter off the spoon. It takes a few beats to swallow it enough to speak again, but when she does, she offers, "Turns out he's not so bad. He was in and out of the building like so fast. And helped a lot of people." She shoots him an easy smile.

The questions back towards her earn the most reassuring smile she can muster (which admittedly isn't very), and she nods, "I'm okay." And then with an easier manner, she strides towards him, "I just needed to go for a run to clear my head." Her lips purse and her gaze turns downwards. "Too much thinking."

*

One by one, the pieces of silverware get a quick scrub and rinse before Piotr sets them on a towel next to the sink, washing while he listens. The 'who' gets a quiet noise of surprise from him, his smile broadening. "Truly? That is nice to hear. American media is too fond of that word, 'menace,'" the Russian rumbles, rolling his eyes skyward. Mutant menace. Spider menace. Communist menace. So many menaces.

Almost automatically, Piotr leans over to give Kitty a light peck on the top of the head when she joins him near the sink. …and immediately stifles a cough. He did not think that through. "Anything I can help with? My ears still work, and I can stay up for a while."

*

"He's one of the good guys," Kitty asserts with a lopsided grin. "So, Menace might be out. Man I think is in. Spider-Man. The Man that is also a Spider." The words are followed by a matter-of-fact nod. "It's nice to know that the newspapers get virtually every story wrong." She cringes slightly at the thought.

The peck on her head wins Piotr a large toothy grin and a faint flush of Kitty's cheeks. The stifled cough is noted, earning another grin. "Yeah. I think I've looked and smelled better. And I doubt these," she glances at her jeans and t-shirt, "are really going to be wearable again. I had to go solid to help. For a bit." But the suggestion of listening gets him a curious quirk of her eyebrow and she notes, "Wellllll," her eyes turn away from Pitor for a few beats and she shakes her head, "honestly, it's kind of weird to talk about. It was my parents. I finally called." A thing she probably should've done two weeks ago. "And got berated for not calling for two months." The smile falters slightly and her jaw tightens. "So. That's a thing." Her eyes lid lightly. "And I started looking at my file." Her teeth toy at her bottom lip.

*

"You are breathing okay, yes?" The look Piotr gives her is actually apologetic. He trusts her to take care of herself and doesn't want her even thinking about ending up in the medbay again, but he has to ask. Off goes the sink and he grabs for a towel to start the drying.

And immediately sets it aside. "Ahh. So it has been a light, uneventful day," Piotr murmurs, turning towards her with a small, worried frown. "I am sorry."

*

"I'm fine," Kitty reaches for his hand to give it a reassuring squeeze. While they both know she talks about more than the present situation, she adds with a smirk, "Not a mark on me. Score one for the girl who can walk through walls." She really doesn't want to go to the medbay again, and the thought had crossed her mind. And then, more seriously, she adds, "Really I am."

"You're very sakharok," she uses the Russian word completely incorrectly, but then Russian lessons haven't started yet, "for your concern. It's okay. I'm doing okay."

She hops up on the counter again and sits upon it, "It's not all bad. I also was thinking about this pretty fantastic date I had earlier this week with a man I really like." For a few beats she manages to maintain a coy smile directed right at Piotr, but it fails within seconds and her chin drops shyly while her cheeks turn crimson.

*

It's a shame that neither of them have a camera, because the face that Piotr makes when Kitty makes her attempt at using Russian really does deserve to be immortalized in film. Oh, goodness, is that how he wounded when he was learning English? He manages not to laugh, at least, just smiles oddly and nods in satisfaction. "If you are okay, then I am okay," he replies easily, looking down as he dries the silverware.

Piotr tries to keep his attention on what he's doing when Kitty brings up the date, but it's difficult. She gets a quick glance and a somewhat quirky smile from the big man, to say nothing of the red coming to his cheeks. "Oh, did you? He sounds very fortunate," he says innocently. "My last date, it was just terrible. We never even made it to restaurant."

*

Dark eyebrows arch at the notion of Piotr's terrible date. Wordlessly, Kitty's lips part only to close again. Her eyes squint into feline slits. "I…" she blinks hard and her chin lifts to try to catch his eyes. "Is that so?" a playful smile tugs the corners of her mouth. "Sorry to hear that. I guess you're not likely to shoot for another after, huh?"

Innocently, she nibbles on the peanut butter on the spoon that she's proffered, and crosses her ankles while swinging them over the side of the counter. "Some people are just like that, terrible dates. Don't know anything about decorum. Like not to overshare. What not to talk about. Overstepping people's personal space…"

*

Piotr meets her gaze and tries very hard not to smile. It is not working. "It is as you say. She did all of these things," he says in a much-too-serious voice, gathering up the freshly cleaned and dried silverware so that they can be returned to the drawer. "But I am thinking I will ask her out again. She is very smart, this girl. And kind," he explains, looking back over his shoulder. Do not smile, Piotr. "Cute, too."

The flush increases in Kitty's cheeks. She watches him carefully at his words. Her smile fails. Her heart flutters. Her palms sweat. The spoon is placed on the counter, and will inevitably leave a gooey peanut butter mark in its wake, and Kitty places her hands at the counter's end to hop down. She takes two quick steps to close any distance between them, pushes herself to her tip toes to plant a soft kiss on his cheek. The distinct smell of campfire and smoke permeates her entire self as she moves, but it doesn't seem to stop the mini-ninja from her action. Softly she considers, "I hope she didn't overstep too much."

*

If the smell of smoke and whatever is left of the soot on Kitty's face bothers Piotr, the way that he leans down just so to accept the kiss is a very strange way of showing it. He lifts one shoulder in a shrug, no longer fighting the smile tugging at his face. "She overstepped just the right amount. Believe it or not, I can be very timid," he muses, pushing the drawer closed before he turns to face her properly. "Especially when it comes to things like this. Not much experience," he explains, suddenly sounding less playful and a great deal more bashful.

*

"I think you get more experience by… experiencing it," Kitty suggests with a small smile. She sucks in a deep breath and admits, "And I'm not terribly experienced either. Honestly." Her lips curve upwards a little more, casting Piotr a shy smile of her own. Her fingers tuck a loose ringlet of hair behind her ear. Her head turns towards her spoon, either because she's thinking about finishing her midnight snack or because she finds it easier to talk to cutlery than people, "I'm just not okay with holding back anymore." Her lips press together thoughtfully. "Not in any way. Not anymore. Not after…" she doesn't finish the thought. Waking up in a white room is enough to give anyone a new lease on life. She turns to face him, granting him that same shy smile, "Sorry if I come on too strong."

*

"It sounds strange to say, but I am sorry if I do not come on strong enough." Piotr reaches over to rest his hands against Kitty's shoulders, and as always seems to be the case with him, it's light enough to easily shrug away from even when one isn't capable of phasing. He doesn't try to force her to look at him, though he does lean down just a little to make it easier if she decides to turn away from the spoon. "Do… if you need to talk about it. The file. We can do that."

*

"I know you care," Kitty offers as she attempts to make eye contact now. "I just can't always tell how much." She swallows and shrugs underneath those hands on her shoulders. The last has her eyelashes fluttering. "I…" Her eyes drift closed. "Is it weird I want you to know but don't want your pity. I don't think I can handle that. And maybe, maybe I'm wrong about that. Maybe you won't pity me, but I — " she emits a soft breath. "I don't want you to stop looking at me the way you do. I am ok. Truly."

*

There's a low, thoughtful rumble from the back of Piotr's throat. "I am sorry, Katya. I will try to be more clear," he promises quietly. He leans down enough to press a kiss to her forehead, lingering for a long moment before he moves his arms to curl around her shoulders and try drawing her into a hug against his chest. "I would never pity you. Never. Be angry on your behalf, yes," he murmurs thoughtfully, glancing down at the top of her head. "Even sad or frightened with you. But never pity. If you say you are okay, I believe you."

*

The closeness does the intended goal, and Kitty hugs Piotr tight. She clings to him as he speaks, finding some semblance of strength as she stands there with him. Pensively, still holding tight, she sighs. There's a note of apprehension in her tone as she speaks to Piotr's chest, "I. I was there for a month and a half." She swallows hard around the growing lump in her throat. "And they got me because…" her eyes turn downwards, "I was arrested." There's a darkness to her tone. "I got picked up at a peaceful march. I didn't struggle. I didn't phase. I was engaged in due process."

*

There's that rumble in Piotr's throat again, though this one somehow manages to sound more troubled than thoughtful. He's a gifted orator, this one. "That is unexpected," he murmurs, keeping his arms wrapped around her shoulders in a firm hug. "In… several ways. Not that you were arrested," he adds quickly. "But that you went from being arrested to… that." It suggests a few possibilities to Piotr, and he does not like any of them.

*

"I know," Kitty murmurs quietly as she leans harder into Piotr. She inhales deeply and settles against Piotr as she does so. "People were going missing before. I guess they were disappearing somewhere. Not choosing to leave. Not getting sent to prison." She leans away from him and lifts her chin o gauge his reaction. "I made my choices, but I trusted we were nothing like — " her gaze shifts. "I had family in the camps. I thought…" her chin drops. "I was naive," she whispers.

*

His arms loosen their hold so that she can lean away, and Piotr takes advantage of the shift to lower himself down into a kneel in front of her. It's really the only comfortable way for him to be even close to eye-level with her. True to his word, there is no pity in his eyes, but his brow has adopted a pained twist. "I am sorry," he says very quietly, one hand lifting to let his fingertips brush across her cheek. "We will stop it. Okay? We will find everyone that has been taken and get them out, and destroy everything these monsters have built upon their backs." It is a tall order and he knows it, but he also sounds completely serious about their ability to do precisely that.

*

There's a sad twist to Kitty's smile as she nods. Her own hand raises and presses his hand against her cheek. Her other hand lifts to do much the same, cupping his opposite cheek. Hazel eyes speak louder than words, and it's obvious there's more. She swallows hard, but doesn't move from the touch, doesn't look away from Piotr, and just remains entered in place. For a moment it looks like she wants to say more, but she also doesn't want to overwhelm Piotr, so ambivalence colours her expression. "They tested us. They experimented. They were looking for something."

*

The way she seems hesitant to go on does not escape Piotr's notice, but he refuses to do anything but hold her gaze and patiently wait, with a very slight tilt of his head to press against one of her palms to make it clear the contact is welcome. When she continues, some of the color drains from his face, but he keeps his eyes focused on hers.. and thinks back to the file. "…everyone in the hospital was like us, yes?" he asks quietly. "Had powers? Perhaps it is like…" Only now does he look away, but only to search the wall as if it has the words he's looking for written on it. Obviously, it does not, and whatever Russian quietly escapes his lips sounds distinctly like an expletive. "…what was it called. Captain America."

*

Kitty nods slightly, allowing Piotr to fill in the blanks she'd sort of assumed. Her hands remain where they are. She doesn't fight anything, just allows that to sit between them. "They were trying to weaponize me. To kill my will. To — " she swallows hard. "They drugged me," with who knows what, "to stress my ability and push its limits." Her eyebrows draw together, "I'd felt like I was everywhere at once and no where. They literally pulled me apart and put me back together."

*

At his core, Piotr is not a violent man. Even in the heat of battle, he tends to be as restrained as the situation will allow. So the little spark behind his blue eyes when he returns his attention to Kitty's face is probably not something she has ever seen on his face. He gives a very slow nod as he takes this in, his jaw working silently beneath her hands. "…but you are okay," he says in a tight voice, letting his palm rest lightly against her cheek. "You are here now. And you are okay."

*

Staring openly at Piotr, Kitty catches the spark, the tension in his jaw, the tightness in his tone. Her hand presses a bit harder against his cheek. "I am. I am okay. I am right here." And then as if he needs further reassurance, "I am safe." She swallows hard, and it's his turn to feel tension in her jaw. "I am still me. I control my thoughts. I control my actions. I am me." At this closeness, Piotr can see the little bit of moisture collecting in the corners o Kitty's eyes as her gaze cuts downwards to force them back. "I have breath in my lungs. A beat in my heart. I am me."

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