1963-09-25 - Family Ties
Summary: Kitty needs to retrieve something she left in Deerfield. Piotr gets to meet her parents. Kitty thinks it's a disaster; Piotr expected worse.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
piotr kitty 

The drive to Illinois had been a strange mix of quirky and long. It had taken thirteen hours drive time to make the trip. Hilariously, it had taken even longer thanks to one of the party having a penchant for bad truck stops, quiet campsites, and ridiculous road trip landmarks. It's fortunate in a way that Kitty had so meticulously mapped out the route and all of the sites she'd wanted to take Piotr to. If they were making the trip, it was going to be fun. Upon this she was insistent. And perhaps it had been.

It had, consequently, taken two days of driving, stops, and cheesy photographs to get them to Deerfield, Illinois — right around the time Kitty had said they'd arrive. It's her shift at the wheel, and so she drives the vehicle down a familiar road, with too many familiar trees, buildings, and houses. "It's weird," she muses as she leans forward and tries to keep her eyes on the road, "It's different, but the same." Her eyes peel off the road ahead to steal a glance towards Piotr, "I was here just eight months ago," to drop off her father and her sword, "and it still gets me every time." She blinks hard and shakes her head, "It's also painfully normal." She shoots him a wry smile. "Painfully."


The drive becoming more of a road trip had not seemed to bother Piotr at all. No objections had come whenever Kitty had insisted on a stop or a silly photo — and either he was very good at playing along or actually, genuinely enjoying himself. Considering the fact that the Russian is a somewhat notoriously bad liar, it was almost certainly the latter.

He is also just as comfortable being a passenger as he is driving. Now that they're approaching their actual destination, Piotr can't help but pay more attention to the scenery as they drive through it, an odd sort of fascination on his face. Americana like this may be mundane and normal to Kitty, but to him, it's still utterly novel.

"It will be fine," Piotr says easily, looking over at her and offering a reassuring smile. "Though if you want to go around the block a few times, I will not tell anyone."


A delighted smile creeps over Kitty's features at the comment. "Welllllll…" her head waffles ambivalently, "I kind of feel like I should be the one reassuring you, but then, I guess you may have read between the lines on that. At least a little." Her eyes glimmer with unspoken mischief as she signals and pulls over to a very pokey looking house on the block. The only oddity about the house? It's lime green exterior. "So. Apparently they painted." She shrugs a single shoulder and puts the car into park.

"Otherwise," she motions towards the house, this is where I spent my formative years. You can… probably infer a lot from there." The house is average for the neighbourhood with a well manicured front yard. It has two storeys, and large windows face the street. A large oak tree sits out front, complete with a very poorly, incredibly crotchety looking swing.

As the pair exit the car, Kitty reaches for Piotr's hand and affirms his sentiment, "It will be fine."


Her note about the house having been painted just earns a quiet chuckle from Piotr, his head tilted to the side as he peers towards the house from his seat. He doesn't say anything, though. Just gets out of the car when she does and takes a moment to smooth out his shirt before taking her hand. "In and out," he tells her. "Nothing to it."


"Wow. You really don't know many Jewish people, do you?" Kitty lifts a single eyebrow. The pair arrive at the front stoop and Kitty awkwardly tilts her head at the door. "So. This is probably telling. I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to knock or not. I mean," her nose wrinkles, "the last time I came in, I was with Dad. And he definitely lived here. I'm not sure — " does she qualify as someone who can just walk in anymore?

Of course while she's standing there, the door actually opens. "Kitty… what are you doing?" The man that answers is average height, moustached, dark haired, and confused.

"Hi Dad," her head tilts to the side. "so we were in the neighbourhood and thought, 'Well a trip to Deerfield wouldn't be a real trip to Deerfield without seeing the Prydes' so we decided to mosey over here for a visit because visiting is good and mom really insisted we come and have a visit and especially because she said she wanted to meet Piotr who is right there by the way — "

Carmen Pryde lifts a hand as a fond smile tugs the corners of his lips upwards. He reaches out to envelope his daughter in a hug. "That's not what I meant, Kitten. Just walk in. We know you can get in even if it's locked."


To be fair… no, Piotr does not know many Jewish people. That he knows of, at least. He just smiles down at her and waits patiently while she thinks aloud on the topic of whether or not to knock —

— and unconsciously straightens his posture when the door opens, quickly releasing her hand so that he can politely clasp his hands behind his back, instead. Piotr isn't trying to make himself look larger, it's just… kind of unavoidable. He seems perfectly happy to be forgotten.

And then Kitty introduces him. Well, inasmuch as she does. Piotr just offers a quick, slightly anxious smile when she does, ducking his head respectfully.


"Oh! Right," Kitty's head tucks towards her chin sheepishly. "I just don't live here anymore, and I don't want to… well, surprise anyone. I mean, I don't visit as much as I ought, and I just thought.." She forces her eyes up and her lips twist to the side. "Uh… this is Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin. He's my boyfriend." Her cheeks hue a pale pink. "I mean," her throat clears. "He's the fellow that mom — "

Another hand is lifted, signalling Kitty can stop rambling. Carmen reaches out and offers his hand to Piotr, "Carmen," he offers quietly. "We're heard quite a bit about you." There's a tick of a smile in Piotr's direction and he slowly steps aside to invite them both in. "Come on in. Both of you. Please. Theresa is in the kitchen. Cooking."


Piotr does not blush at the more proper introduction, complete with title. He does quietly clear his throat, looking sheepish as he reaches out to shake Carmen's hand when he offers it, very mindful of his own strength. "Sir. Thank you." Ah, now this is the Piotr that Kitty has come to know over the years — monosyllabic to try and minimize his accent as much as humanly possible.

Piotr gestures for Kitty to head inside first, then inclines his head gratefully to Carmen and follows her in, having to duck in order to avoid hitting his head on the doorframe. "I am sorry we did not call ahead," he says awkwardly.


Kitty leads the way into the familiar family home. The entrance is small, but not unwelcoming, and immediately opens onto a small sitting room that Carmen gestures the pair should sit in. Two couches and a couple of arm chairs invite them into the space. Countless photos line the walls, almost like someone threw up pictures on the Pryde's living room — most of which are strange relics hodgepodged from multiple sources, places, and eras. "Have a seat," he offers with a small smile. "Please. I'm going to go — " he points back further into the house " — Terry will want to see you."

As Carmen leaves, Kitty actually cranes her neck from whence he came. Rather than sit at the couch, she peeks over her shoulder to tread back toward the closet at the front entrance. "It's in here," her voice is low as she very carefully opens the closet door.


Piotr offers Carmen another smile and a quick nod, taking a few steps towards one of the couches as he makes his way deeper into the house. But he doesn't sit. He stops short to peer after Kitty instead, suddenly far more attentive.

"You can take it to the car now, if you like," Piotr suggests in an equally low voice, raising his eyebrows almost in question. "I can say you wanted a moment to freshen up." Surely her parents would buy that. It was a long drive, after all.


Sure enough Kitty opens the door to the closet and looks in the umbrella holder to find… umbrellas. Her expression deadens. "I… think they moved it." She frowns slightly. Operations get Kitty's sword may prove more difficult than she'd first thought.

Of course, as she stands at the front entrance, Carmen ducks back in with a brunette woman trailing behind him. Like mother, like daughter. The younger of the two gapes like a kid with her hand in the cookie jar as she stands rather awkwardly in the front entrance, not entirely sure where her very sharp weapon has gone to. This can't be good.

Theresa's gaze flits from her daughter back towards Piotr with a too-attentive kind of discernment. "Katherine Anne, what are you doing in the front closet?"

Kitty glances towards her dad who has lifted is hands as if to say he washes his hands of whatever pending feud the pair may have brewing under the surface.

"Uh… just seeing.. what's changed?" Her eyes narrow. And then, with the brightest smile she can muster, she motions back towards the large Russian on the couch, "Mom, this is Piotr. I brought him here to meet you because we were in the neighbourhood and I thought it was a good time. Piotr, this is my mother, Terry."


So much for a quick in and out. Before Piotr can voice suggestions for other places to look, their privacy is gone. On the bright side, it is, in theory, pretty easy for him to be distracting and take some of their attention off of Kitty.

Piotr smoothly rises back to his feet, as is only proper when a woman enters the room. He offers Terry a warm smile and inclines his head, hands clasped in front of himself. "Mrs. Pryde," he rumbles politely. "It is good to meet you."


Terry isn't nearly as amiable as her husband, and seems to see right through her daughter, "You live in Westchester. What in the almighty would see you here?" her eyes narrow into slits. "I'm fairly certain you weren't just in the neighbourhood.

Carmen's expression flattens. "Terry…" there's just a hint of warning in his voice. "She's here. Let's just — "

But before Carmen can finish his thought, Theresa is wiping her hands on her apron, and stepping towards the large Russian man. Her chin lifts clear to the roof and she actually asks, "How tall are you, exactly?" She cranes her neck to see around Piotr back to her daughter, "You didn't say he was tall." She turns back to Piotr, "Does tall run in your family?"

Already, the youngest of the Prydes can see where this is going, prompting her to rather quickly fill the distance between her and Piotr, reach for his hand, and quickly urge, "A tour! He needs a tour!"


Piotr manages to sneak a rather sympathetic look towards Carmen before quickly returning his attention to Terry, unconsciously lifting his chin when she lifts hers. The questions make his eyebrows go up and he blinks once. "Six and a half feet," he reports in a slightly quizzical-sounding rumble, and having Kitty latch onto his hand and start speaking about tours does not help matters.

Though it does stop him from answering the second question. So perhaps it is a blessing, in its own way.


And in an instant, Kitty is tugging Piotr through the house. "This is the kitchen," she motions to the side, but doesn't exactly give him time to look at it. "But everyone's seen one of those so — " She pulls him towards the stairs with more effort than she's likely exerted for days. She'd been so easy-going on the trip up, so pleased and quirky. And now she's running interference. Hard.

She motions down the hall, "Mom and dad's room is over there." And towardshen just next to the side, she motions towards a very flamingo pink room, "Uh. That is, er, was(?) my room." Kitty doesn't really look inside. Instead, she just stands beside it.

Should Piotr look inside, however, he'll see that the room is mostly decorated with heart throbs from the 50s. James Dean. Elvis Presley. Tony Curtis. And then, overtop the bed hangs two sharp looking rapiers in an x — neither of which fit the general motif of the room.


The Prydes might find it surprising, just how easily Kitty manages to drag a man of Piotr's size through the house. He follows along without complaint, just a slightly bewildered expression as he takes in the not-a-tour, but-a-strategic-retreat as best he can. This is… fine? He thinks?

He is not surprised to see that much pink when Kitty points out her own room, nor is he inclined to point out or tease her for the posters. All those mean is that he is in very good company. Piotr does pause, though, his head tilting to one side when he notices the swords.

He looks to Kitty and tilts his head questioningly, pointing the rapiers out. "Those are not…" The right sword. "…are they?"


"Yeah, yeah, I had a thing for Elvis in my," but then Kitty actually looks around the corner into the room, "…" her lips part wordlessly. "They. Put. My. Sword… on the wall?" This is information that definitely doesn't computer. Her tongue rolls over her lips and her expression turns pained. "And I don't know what the other one is." Even though they look basically the same. "What.. how…?"

But just as she asks the questions, someone comes up behind the pair. Carmen's voice offers, "Kitten, your mother is insisting you both stay for dinner."

Kitty turns to face Piotr. In and out is growing less likely by the second.


This is… probably still fine. Piotr does not like the unexpected display of not only Kitty's sword, but a second one that she doesn't recognize… but surely he is simply predisposed to jump at shadows. Surely. He has just enough time to shrug at her before Carmen speaks up behind them.

Piotr trades a brief look of uncertainty with Kitty before turning to smile at her father. "If it would not be a bother," he replies quietly. "I am sure you were not prepared to entertain."


Piotr's reply is met with that same easy amiability, "Of course it's no bother. At least, Terry asserts that it's fine." His expression remains relatively neutral, but behind his eyes something else seems to indicate that it's unlikely the woman is to be deterred.

There's a long pause that follows both Piotr's and her father's assertions. And finally Kitty says, "I'm not sure it's a good idea, dad. I don't know if you followed mom's thoughts downstairs, but she's already making this visit awkward." Whether Piotr is wholly aware or not.

"Hey, hey. She's just…" Carmen's jaw tightens. "…got a vision of what your life would look like. And it looks vastly different than…" He lifts a hand. He won't finish the thought. "And some of the old vestiges aren't going away easily."

"We'll stay for coffee, but not dinner. And no one else gets invited," she points at her father. And then, rather blandly, Kitty points towards her room, "And…" she motions towards her room, "…I like the way the swords look on the wall. So I'm going to take them with me. If that's okay…" she glances towards Piotr. "Whatever made you think to put them up anyways?"

"Oh," Carmen lifts a hand, "Well, your mother found the one in the hall closet, which is pretty much the worst hiding place. I had to insist it was ornamental…"


If Kitty says they will only stay for coffee, Piotr is not going to argue. He knows better than to argue with her even when they aren't dealing with her family. The note about the visit being made awkward does get him reaching over to lightly, briefly rest a hand between her shoulders, but he stays quiet, his eyes flicking between the pair.

"They do look good hung up," Piotr agrees quietly, glancing to Kitty before his eyes settle on Carmen. He probably shouldn't, but really… someone has to broach the topic. "Where did she find the second one?"


The little bit of contact earns Piotr a stitch of a smile. But the question has Kitty's eyebrows lifting to hear the response.

"Well," Carmen frowns, "I'm not entirely sure, to be honest. I think she got it from the market. The pair are nearly identical though." His lips twist to the side. "This likely doesn't need saying, but it would be wise not to try to hide things in the front closet again. We stopped doing that when you turned five and knew how to open doors." His eyebrows lift expectantly. "When you're tour," his tone turns wry, he knows this isn't a tour, "is over, we'll be waiting downstairs. I'll get your mother to put the coffee on." He turns towards Piotr before retreating, "Piotr, do you drink coffee? Tea? And if so, what do you take in it? I'll be sure we put it out — "


Now it's Piotr's turn to raise a hand to stop a Pryde before they can get going too much, his lips quirking into an odd smile. "Coffee is fine. Black. Please." Not his favorite thing in the world to drink, but certainly the easiest to prepare under the circumstances. "Thank you."


The interruption causes Carmen to issue Piotr an appreciative smile, and then with a small nod, he retreats down the stairs.

Once her dad is out of earshot, she observes with a half-smile, "He likes you. Honestly." Kitty twists back to her room as her father disappears down the stairs. She treads over to the bed, climbs atop it, and touches the first sword, phasing it from its place on the wall. "It's almost identical," she murmurs. She hands the weapon to Piotr and then phases the other one from its mount.


"I am getting that impression. He is nice," Piotr notes with that smile still in place. He trails into the room behind Kitty and when she starts climbing up onto the bed, he blinks once and holds up a hand, starting to voice a protest — and just closes his mouth, closing his eyes for a moment. This is fine.

"I do not like that there is another sword," Piotr says in a low, worried rumble even as he accepts the sword from her, peering down at it with a suspicious narrowing of his eyes. "Especially one that your father cannot account for. Are you sure we should take it?"


"I'm not sure of anything," Kitty admits quietly. "But if we don't, it'll make him worry. She thinks they're both ornamental. He knows better." Her eyes darken. "If I don't take them both…" her jaw tightens, "and I'd say we could leave it, but the last time I left something behind that didn't turn out great. Apparently. And while I don't like my mom worrying. Dad worry is," she frowns. It's probably becoming clear that Katherine Ann Pryde really is daddy's girl.

"Although, I'm not sure he buys the ornamental thing either. He's a smart man." She exhales a long breath. "Verdict? Take it or leave it?"


Piotr doesn't bother to hide the unhappy twist of his lips. "Take it," he votes in a tone of resignation, slowly shaking his head. "If only to find a safer place to be rid of it. If it is a problem, leaving it here would be dangerous. And if it is not a problem… you still only need one." He shrugs a shoulder and offers her a reassuring smile that he doesn't entirely feel. "So."


Kitty's cheeks puff out as she climbs down from the bed, one sword in each hand. "The weight is almost the same. I get why she'd pair them together." She pads to the door to lead the way back downstairs. For coffee. Because in and out is never an option.

When the pair arrive back in the living room, the couch has been left for the pair of young people while both of the Prydes have assumed one of the armchairs. Kitty, rather nervously, takes the seat further away from the door. This is where she grew up, she should feel theoretically at home. In no time, everyone is set with a beverage, and a strange silence seems to spread over the room.

Kitty's eyes flit between her parents and her lips part, but as they do, her mother interjects: "So. Piotr. As I was attempting to ask before Katherine took you on a," her gaze flits towards Kitty, "tour(?) of the house. @hat are your intentions with our daughter?"

Kitty's gaze lands squarely on Carmen.


Piotr does his best not to cast glances towards the swords as he settles onto the couch with Kitty. He hopes he is just being paranoid. It would be nice if, for a change, a bad feeling turned out to be nothing. But, with his coffee in hand, he cannot shake a feeling of unease. He does not like mystery swords.

It is probably good that Mrs. Pryde leads into the question. It means Piotr is not in the middle of drinking his coffee when she actually asks it, otherwise he might have choked. As it is, he just casts an anxious look askance at Kitty and nervously clears his throat. "My… ah. Of course. My intentions." Which… he has. He definitely has intentions. Right? Did he forget to think of intentions?

Piotr's just going to set his drink back down so that he can clasp his hands together. No fidgeting, Rasputin. He needs a second. His brain's forgotten how to think.


Kitty reaches out to tug Piotr's coffee out of his hand. "Please, Piotr, don't answer that." She puts her cup down on the coffee table and shakes her head. "We're leaving," she states flatly as she rises to her feet. "I haven't spent the better part of a year," she ticks her head towards her dad, "rescuing dad," and turning into a ninja, "and marching in Louisiana so I can sit here like I'm fourteen again and have you interrogate someone I care about just because you have an agenda for my life." She emits a soft sigh as she grasps the swords once more, "I know I'm not always the daughter you want, but I am the daughter you have. And my choices are my choices. If I'm okay having a boyfriend because, you know, I like his company, and that's good enough for me, it has to be good enough for you."

Theresa also rises to her feet, "You know more than anything how important it is to me that you find a nice Jewish boy, and I'm looking out for you to see if this relationship is going nowhere. You need someone to look out for you, Katherine. You need someone to keep your interests at heart — "

"Terry," Carmen interrupts this time. "Kitten has her interests at heart. She… is incredibly capable."


Some corner of Piotr's mind finds the entire situation oddly relaxing. If this is the most stressful thing that happens to him on this road trip, it will be the single most relaxing vacation he has ever taken. As the two women get to their feet, he keeps his mouth shut and casts another quiet look of guarded sympathy towards Kitty's father.

And then something makes his eyes narrow ever so slightly. Probably he is just jumping at shadows. But Piotr still rises slowly to his feet, reaching over to lay a light hand against Kitty's shoulder.

"I am not Jewish," Piotr rumbles towards Theresa, his tone even. "But I am very much in love with your daughter, and would see that she is safe. That should be enough, yes?" He raises his eyebrows almost challengingly before he gives Kitty a very light nudge. She did say they were leaving.


The nudge is appreciated and has Kitty on the move to the car. They got the swords. They almost had coffee. That should be enough. She mutters a long series of expletives as she skulks down the driveway to the car, waving the pair of swords in front of her like they're mundane objects rather than weapons.

The pair are put into the backseat, and Kitty assumes the passenger side. Evidently Piotr is driving. Probably safer that way when she seems this incensed.

Terry, meanwhile has retreated further into the house, and Carmen steps to the entranceway after Piotr. "It's enough," he offers towards Piotr.


Once Kitty is up and moving, Piotr begins to trail along behind her, though not closely. He lingers on the porch as she goes stalking towards the car, raking his hands back over his hair and letting out a quiet sigh. It's fine.

He blinks and turns around when Carmen appears behind him and Piotr develops another odd smile, thinking a moment before he offers him a hand. "Thank you," he says quietly. "I am sorry we cannot stay, but." Yeah, he is pretty sure he doesn't need to explain why that would be a bad idea.


"I know," Carmen accepts the hand and heartily shakes it. "We both love having our daughter home. Just harder for some to let go of expectations than others." His head ticks towards the car, "Take care of her." He rolls his eyes, "I don't know why she needed her sword, but — " he frowns. "Take care of her," he repeats. "Please."


Piotr takes a moment to clasp Carmen's hand between both of his, his smile replaced by a much more sincere look as he looks him in the eye. "Always. I promise." Normally, that's the sort of promise someone shouldn't make, but he sounds damned certain.

He releases his hand and murmurs a quiet goodbye before he finally retreats to the car, sliding into the driver's seat without complaint. Piotr does hold out a hand for the key, though. He might need that.


The hand has Kitty puzzling silently for a moment before she realizes the key is in her jacket pocket. Carefully she reaches in and places it in Piotr's hand. Her arms cross over her chest and she emits a soft sigh. "Sorry," she mumbles.


"What for?" Piotr asks, leaning over to press a kiss to her cheek before worrying about getting the car started. "Noone chased me with a shotgun, so I thought it went very well," he muses quietly, watching her out of the corner of his eye.


"That was rude," Kitty states as she looks towards the house. "She was rude. I'm so sorry." Her tongue rolls over her lips. "Things didn't used to be this tense. They just," her eyes turn upwards as she emits a soft sigh, "went that way after…" she swallows hard. "She lost most of her family in Europe. Like when everything happened." She frowns. "It was like a switch. And," her eyes clamp shut, "it's so hypocritical. She's thinks I need to go have a bunch of Jewish babies. Because. That's what apparently I'm supposed to do." She lifts her hands in exasperation, "Maybe I don't want to have kids at all. That could be a thing."

Her jaw tightens and she forces her eyes open. "I love you. For doing this. For… putting up with that…"


The car will wait.

"Katya. It went fine. I truly was expecting much worse," Piotr admits with a quiet laugh that he really can't help. He reaches over to brush his fingers over her cheek, watching her with a lopsided smile that is plainly tinged with worry. Gently, he repeats "It went fine. She did not offend me. I promise."


Kitty's nose wrinkles, "Worse? Really?" Her eyebrows draw together tightly. "What would've been worse?" The gentle touch against her cheek matched with Piotr's smile melts the palpable nerves and she sighs softly. With a hint of resignation she leans into his hand, "I can't imagine how that could've been worse. She started to ask if your children would be tall and then proceeded to ask your intentions. Like I have no say in the matter."


"Well… they let also me into the house," Piotr notes gently, smiling at her as she leans into his palm. "Offered to feed me. Tried to pronounce my name right." He gives her cheek a light stroke with his thumb, lifting his eyebrows in lieu of an actual shrug. "So… it went well, I thought."


Kitty hums quietly. "Just because it could've gone worse," apparently she can concede that much now, "doesn't meant it went well." But Piotr can feel the very weak, very tired smile as it draws over her cheeks, "But. I have to admit, I appreciate the optimism." Her eyes lid lightly. "Thanks. For this."


Piotr just hums an affirmative and leans over again, this time pressing a kiss to the corner of her mouth. "You are welcome. I love you," he says quietly, smiling lazily.

He lingers there a long moment before, with a sigh, he straightens up and moves both hands to the wheel. Right. If they're actually leaving, then Piotr needs to start driving. "Dinner?" he suggests lightly.


The smile Piotr casts draws Kitty out of her grumpy state. Her smile slowly grows, eventually producing two dimples, especially as he straightens at the wheel. The question, however, causes her to beam as she opens the glove compartment and draws out a large folded up map. "Oh," she begins to unfold the map, "we have plans." And just like the route to Illinois had been planned, the route back has as well. There's a pause, "Unless you'd rather wing it." Her eyebrows lift.

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