1963-11-25 - Icecapades
Summary: Rosemarie takes Illyana to see the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center. Ice skating ensues, with all its hilarity and consequences.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
rosemarie illyana 

It had taken Illyana /entirely too long/ to figure out what to wear. At least Lorna had done her hair for her, but the wardrobe options left Illyana entirely daunted. One dress is discarded as being entirely too prude. Another skirt is tossed aside as being too flirty. She gives her favorite— only— pair of high heels a longing examination, but a stilt-like, tottering lap around her dorm room swiftly reminds the lean blonde girl why she doesn't wear heels.

She's nearly running late by the time she's gone through her entire wardrobe, so in a panic Illyana flings on stockings and sensible, low flats, and pulls on a sleeveless, stiff dress with subtle brocading that at least flatters her narrow hips a little bit. A bright red cardigan is grabbed for warmth, and with her small purse in hand, Illyana's off to the races!

The trip across town to Rosemarie's apartment takes all of four steps and a quick step through Limbo's dry, warm air, and she checks her appearance with a mirror glamour. With her hair drawn up at the back of her head by a red bow, to dangle in a ponytail, her bangs are even carefully flipped and combed so they don't just lay flat against her brow. She knocks twice on Rosemarie's door, preparing a smile for her friend.

After all, it's not every day one gets invited to see the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center for the first time ever!


Knock-knock, comes the summons from the door. Rosemarie glances over from the mirror in her room and sighs, nibbling at the little scar on her lip. She wears a dress in rust-red, one that allows just enough looseness about the torso to hide the homeothermic vest; long-sleeved, of course, and with a pleated skirt just long enough to brush her knees. Her leggings are warm as possible and knee-high boots complete the ensemble. A hairband keeps the worst of her waves out of her face. She blows her cat, Lola, a kiss (which is returned with a slow and sleepy blink from the end of the bed), and then goes to the door.

"Illy, come in!" she says with a big smile. "I've just got to get my coat and then we can go. Will you be warm enough?" The question is asked over her shoulder as she opens her little coat closet and searches for her winter jacket.


"Da, think so," Illyana says, beaming at Rosemarie. She comes inside and kisses Rosemarie's cheek affectionately, and only a bit nervously, and she only has to stand on her toes a /bit/ to do it. "Cardigan is very cozy," she explains, adjusting her purse on her shoulder. She looks around the apartment while Rosemarie gathers her coat and once the taller librarian is ready, she smiles again and offers a hand to the avian Shi'ar hybrid.

"Might take two jumps to get there," Illyana tells Rosemarie. "Haven't been to Times Square yet, but I think I can dial it in." She manages to sound more confident than she really is, and they start walking across a sea of yellow Illyana summons with her stomping heel.

A surge of dry warmth from Limbo kisses Rosemarie's face, but it barely lingers more than a few seconds before the two women appear near Chelsea.

"Hrm. Think… we are too far north," Illyana remarks, frowning.

A few more steps, and two more jumps, and New York shimmers around them several times before manifesting as 5th street.

"Not sure I can get much closer," Illyana apologizes. "But, we are close. Mind walking the rest of the way?" she asks. She doesn't let go of Rosemarie's hand unless the other girl makes a point of it, though.


The friendly kiss elicits a light blush and Rosemarie turns away as she finishes slipping her coat on. That little action is so…charming. It must be a European thing. She's seen the high-falutin' foreign heiresses exchange mirrored cheek-to-cheek greetings on the streets around the more expensive hotels nearer to the center of the city. She needs to remember to return the gesture one time.

"I trust you," the brunette replies with a grin that clearly shows composed excitement. Magic will likely never become old-hat to her. Every pause makes Rosemarie look around with wide eyes, Limbo and the various points of New York proper alike, and then they're on 5th street. Blinking and glancing around, it seems like no one has noticed the sudden appearance of the two young women. Or, if they had, they decided to move on with their lives rather than entertaining the mind-breaking concept of literally appearing from thin air.

"No, I don't mind." It's easy to keep holding Illyana's hand (so delicate for her strength, it amazes Rosemarie to consider it) and so she leads the way towards Rockefeller Center. "Walking lets us look at the shop windows anyways and get some exercise." She glances over and slightly down to Illyana with another big grin. "I think you'll like the Christmas Tree. They always do such a good job of decorating it. Oh, and the ice skating! You've gone ice skating before, right?"


"I… no. Never done ice skating," Illyana says, shaking her head. Her fingers shift and wrap around Rosemarie's— she's not accustomed to holding hands with someone, and it takes her a little while to figure out a discreet, comfortable way to do it while walking.

"Is it difficult?" she inquires of Rosemarie. "I—" she stops, blinking, to think about it. "I think I've seen people ice skating once, in Russia," she says. Someone in passing frowns at Illyana, but doesn't have the chutzpah to slow down and confront the Russki. "With the metal on their feet, dah?" she asks, making a slicing gesture with her hand.


"Yes, with the metal blades on the bottom of the boots, down the middle. Someone tried to explain it to me once, how it works. It's like…the cut of the blades melts the ice and you're actually not skating on ice anymore, but water. Wait…" She pauses and taps at her bottom lip with her free hand before suddenly laughing. "I don't know, it was something like that."

They cross the street in the middle of a crowd of tourists, paired in red and intertwined hands, and then Rosemarie draws them to a stop before one of the stores. "Oh, look, Illy! That dress. That one there, in the dark blue." It's the latest in winter fashion, trimmed in fur at the neck and cuffs of diaphenous sleeves, while the bodice is reflective soft fabric that looks both warm and classy. Her sigh fogs the outside of the glass briefly. "I'd never be able to afford it, not on my current paycheck. I can dream though," she murmurs, brushing one fingertip down the translucent surface longingly.


"Is… wow, is very pretty," Illyana agrees, blinking. Fashion had long struck her as something that should be largely ludicrous, though she'd never admit to anyone how much she enjoyed some of the finery she'd been gifted. It was a bit of cognitive dissonance she was unable or unwilling to confront.

It's equally likely that in light of Rosemarie's admiration, the dress takes on a new light in Illyana's eyes.

"That would look very pretty on you," Illyana offers, after a beat. "But you'd make anything very pretty," she adds, hastily, a beat later. Realizing that perhaps she'd overstepped a boundary, she clears her throat and stares holes at the dress, pinking on her cheekbones.

"Um. I'm glad you like it, though," she adds, clearing her throat. "Uh… what about that one?" she asks, pointing at a matching long skirt and jacket much akin to the look popularized by Jacqueline Kennedy.


"Aw, you think so? Thanks, Illy," Rosemarie replies with a freckly grin to the compliment offered to her. She misses the blush, or at least mistakes it for the cold touching their skin. No doubt she's nearly as rosey-cheeked in the brisk temperature.

The brunette follows the line of the indicating finger to the two-piece fashion and nods thoughtfully. "That one? Oh yes, that's lovely, especially with a hat. Add a hat and you're all set to walk down Broadway like you own it!" She giggles again, immediately withdrawing a little into herself and glancing around to make sure no one was staring at her sudden delighted statement. "Maybe one day, who knows? Here, let's keep going. I'm cold and maybe they have some hot chocolate down by the skating rink."


Illyana nods along, and the two of them quickly make a way towards the rink, walking briskly. It doesn't take long, and Illyana's eyes go wide as robins' eggs when she sees the huge rink swirling with people making graceful, effortless loops.

"I… oh my. That is beautiful," she whispers, clearly a bit struck by the glamour of how effortlessly people glide across the ice.

"Um… I just realized I don't have skates," she tells Rosemarie, feeling chagrined. "I— didn't even think to ask if I could borrow some. Can I buy some locally? I have a little money," Illyana says, peering into her clutch and finding a few crumpled bills.


The ice skating rink is possibly Rosemarie's favorite place in the city. She may or may not count down the days until it opens. There's something about ice shaking that allows her to lose herself in the joy of the act itself. Maybe she feels like she can fly here, of all places.

The brunette glances down to see Illyana rifling through her bag and places a gentle hand on the Russian's shoulder. "Let me pay for borrowing the skates. We can rent some instead of buying them. It's more expensive in the long run, sure, but I don't think the shops around here that sell them price them fairly. It would be better to buy them elsewhere in the city." She tilts her head towards the stall where a few families gather around a smiling vendor. "I'll go rent our skates. You can buy the hot chocolate afterwards, how about that? What size do you wear?" She pauses in mid-step away, after asking the question. Of course she has to disenage her hand from within Illyana's grip in the process.


Illyana removes one shoe and peers at her, her stockinged feed wriggling in the cold air. "Size… seven," she says, squinting hard at the label. "Is what shoe says. If shoe fits, da?" she says with a sense of good humor, before hopping on one foot to wriggle her flat back onto her feet.

She dithers for a moment when Rosemarie walks off, not quite sure of what to do with herself, and decides to sit on a bench near the rink and watch with wide eyes as people skate and play. Some of them are of course just families out for some fun, and clearly as new at is as Illyana would be, but there are a few serious competitive skaters out there flipping, dancing, and twirling, and they garner most of her attention while she waits for Rosemarie to return.


"Size seven, okay! I'll be back." She's still giggling at the wiggling of her friend's toes in mid-pose as well as that terrible line delivered when she takes her place in line.

It does take some time to make her way up to the counter, since there are many families out enjoying the rink or bringing distant relatives from sunny spaces to be subjected to the coldest faceplanting that New York can offer shy of being thrown in the Hudson. Money is exchanged for a women's size seven and size nine and then Rosemarie winds her way over to the bench where Illyana sits.

"Here we go!" She holds up the pair of skates as if proud to have captured such a prey before setting them and herself down beside her friend. "Size seven, for you," she points at the pair. "Lace them tightly, but not too tightly, and especially around your ankles. You want them stable on your feet. If they're too loose, you might roll an ankle on the ice and that hurts. I've done it before," she says with a rueful laugh. "I normally hang my boots around my neck if I've got a thick enough coat, which I do. You can probably put your flats in your purse — or mine." The brunette has a clutch only a little larger than Illyana's number, probably just big enough for said flats.

She's already shucked one boot by the time she offers this option. Unlacing the other one takes little time and then she's lacing up the first skating boot. "Looks like they sharpened them too, so be careful," she murmurs as she looks at the blade. "Don't accidentally cut yourself. You'd be surprised. I've seen people accidentally kick themselves and bleed."


"Uh… okay. Will be careful." Illyana spends a lot of time trying to lace her boots up, but it's clearly something she's not done before. The left one gets overtightened, and the right one ends up too lose near her toes and she manage to miss an eyelet, leaving her ankle a bit under-reinforced. She frowns at her laces, then at Rosemarie's, and stoops down to undo them and try again. It takes her several attempts to get the boots to a passable level of security, and she's clearly struggling with the idea of laces. No wonder she wears simple slippers everywhere.

"Mrgf." She grunts distress and pauses to shake out cramping fingers. "You make that look easy. Howcome the blades are so sharp?" Illyana asks Rosemarie. "Is— won't cut through ice so much, I fall through will it?" she asks, sounding genuinely concerned. "Do not know how deep is the water underneath."


"Here, let me help." With practiced balance, she clumps around and kneels before Illyana. Even as she's adjusting the laces on one skate, she glances up at the blonde Russian. "I've been ice skating for years. It's like the skating — you have to practice to be good at it. The blades are sharp to keep you moving smoothly across the ice. Rough blades catch on the ice and you stumble."

With a ho-hum sort of tilting of her head, Rosemarie silently declares the laces of one boot proper. "There's really no water underneath the ice. It's frozen all the way to the bottom of the rink, except maybe an inch of water. The air is cold enough to keep it frozen right now." She blows a misty breath to demonstrate and laughs, looking up at Illyana through her lashes with sparkling cinnamon-brown eyes. "You won't fall through or anything, I promise. And there we go. All better." Both boots should be tied with sturdy yet comfortable pressure now.

The brunette stands up and offers both hands. "Here, come on, let's try it!"


Illyana looks a bit chastened at neding Rosemarie's help, but she blushes brightly at the assistance and proximity to her narrow feet. She manages to marshal herself quickly enough and the two of them are up and running soon enough. She grips Rosemarie's fingers tightly and awkwardly clip-clops towards the ice rink, and eases onto the smooth ice.

"Uh… woah… uh… I … I can't get my balance!" Illyana kicks and squirms, hips pivoting widly as she ties to keep her balance and desperately clings to her friend for assistance. "How do you keep your feet under you?!"


"Whoa-ho-ho-WHOA!" Sounds of effort at stopping herself, along with Illyana, from falling intersperse between exasperated laughter. "Hold on, Illy, hold on!" Bending at the knees, she firmly grasps her friend's hands and begins skating backwards. "Keep your knees bent, like you're just about to jump. Not too deeply, just a little bend. Find your balance in that stance," Rosemarie instructs before biting at her bottom lip. It's difficult not to giggle at the intense look of concentration on her friend's face.

Actually, that look is…kind of cute. Aw. The brunette's heart melts a little bit watching the process unfold before her. All the while, she leads them gently along, no faster than comfortable for both, offering bracing arms and hands for Illyana to grasp.


She's doing it! Illyana takes one slow step, then darlingly shifts her weight to her right foot, to her left, to her right— she gets a little momentum, bent almost double at the waist and her knees firmly knocked together. She's doing it! She's doing it!

She's down. Illyana's right foot twists inwards and she faceplants into the ice, /hard/, smacking into it with her knees and elbows and banging her chin on the ice.

She shouts something unintellible— maybe some Russian curse word? Though the word gets hazy and purple around the edges of Rosemarie's vision for a moment. Weird, right?

"Ow! ow ow ow," Illyana grates, seething— but she forces herself up to her feet as fast as she can.


The brunette blink-blinks at the weird coloration at the corners of her eyes, but then immediately grimaces.

"Oh, Illy, are you okay?!" Rosemarie asks as carefully as she offers her hands out again. Clearly, her arms weren't strong enough to keep her friend upright. "I'm sorry, let me see." Lightly, she skates up close to her friend and goes to place cautious fingers against the slim jawline of the blonde's face, in order to turn her head towards the grey ambient light and ascertain whether or not she's broken skin badly.


Illyana's got an angry looking scrape on her chin that's right on the edge of seeping, and a fresh hole in her left stocking. The ice hasn't been polished smooth recently and the heavy use by other skaters has made it a bit rough and jagged in places.

But, she tolerates the examination of the inury stoically, without even watering in her eyes though it must hurt like hell. "I'm fine," she mutters, though she pinks when Rosemarie steps close and touches her jawline.


Rosemarie isn't without pity; she's done the exact same thing before. "I'm sorry, Illy," she repeats quietly, noticing the unshed tears. "That must hurt. Do you want a bandage or anything? They have some over at the kiosk, where I rented the skates. I can clean it off and we can get going again?"

She skates backwards one step and holds out her hands. "I'll catch you." Said so near to sotte-voce in tentative hope that her friend might recognize the mirrored gesture offered to her not so long ago.


Illyana is a bit peculiar, for a slender, wiry blonde girl— she gets /angry/, where others would be saddened. But, Rosemarie's soft offer gets her moving again, and she nods once, stoically.

"Da. Will figure this out," she says, through clenched jaws. She takes a long few seconds to watch people skating— making careful note of how they move their ankles and toes, the way they shift their weight left and right.

She takes a breath, releases her death grip on the rail, and pushes towards Rosemarie. Wobbling violently on her left foot, she brings her right blade a half an inch off the ice, and then sets it down cautiously when she grabs Rosemarie's hand for leverage. A second later, she shifts feet, and maintains a bit of momentum with a cautious flick of her blade against the ice.


"There we go, you've got it," the brunette cheerleads in that same hopeful tone. She's so worried that her friend will up and quit on her, though the fear is fading even as she returns the tight grip. "That's right. Back and forth, left, right." It almost unconscious now, her murmuring of steps to keep upright on the treacherously-grooved ice. Normally, it isn't this hacked-up, but the rink has been in near-constant use since it opened.

"There you go!" Rosemarie offers Illyana a supportive grin, skating with little thought to effort backwards before her. "I think you're getting it!"


Illyana /is/ getting it, and rather well. It takes about ten minutes of tight-lipped concentration, but soon enough Illyana feels confident enough to stake hand in hand with Rosemarie, aside her instead of face to face. A cautious grin slips onto her face, eyes bright, and she looks over at Rosemarie.

"Okay. This is now much more fun, with the falling not so much," she says, her skates whispering a raspy sussurance against the ice. Plenty of folks pass them, but Illyana's natural athleticsm and agility seem to be helping her get a handle on ice skating fairly quickly. Still, she's wobbly and uncertain, and her motions are less dynamic than a serious skater's.

But she's obviously having fun.


"I completely understand," the brunette replies to her friend. There's a moment where she wants to swing their arms in a toddler-like manner, but behaves herself. Illyana is too unpracticed still for goofing around like that. "I actually got this scar on my lip from falling on the rink." She points at it with her free hand, the little valley that twists the natural line of her lip ever-so-slightly. "I tripped, like you did. I was much younger when it happened, but I remember that it bled a lot."

Her smile, in turn, is twisted imperfectly by said mark, adding a hint of reticence to it unbidden.

"I think you'll heal just fine though. It's more of a scrape on your chin. I'm sorry about your stockings though. You're not cold, are you? We can take a break and go get hot chocolate."


"…I am a little cold," Illyana admits. She's actually freezing, and shivering violently. Her stockings are not insulated, and her dress, while cute and a bit flirty, is not appropriate for skating. Despite being Russian, it's clear she is not remotely acclimated to colder climes, and she's definitely pale and bright cheeked from the wind against her skin.

"Um… perhaps I need some leggings next time," she concedes. "Hot chocolate would be very nice."


"Let's go get hot chocolate then," Rosemarie replies with quiet delight. She skates alongside Illyana and they round the far swinging curve of the rink. Then…with only a titter as warning, the more experienced of the two skaters begins to skate a little bit faster. Shchuff, shchuff, she pushes a little bit harder and the wing begins whipping through her hair.

"Hold on, Illy!" Hopefully the blonde Russian has a two-handed grip around the brunette's wrist now because they are hauling along the ice now. A ringing peal of laughter, probably something very rarely heard from Rosemarie, echoes around the surfaces of the surrounding buildings as she skates towards the main exit partition in the wall surrounding the rink.

With equal skill in slowing as speeding, the taller of the two young women brings them to a slow halt and cushions Illyana's impact on the wall with her own body and an exhaled "Ooof!" before another peal of laughter. She's ruby-cheeked and glittering with the effervescence of enjoying the wind in her hair briefly. Now her friend? Maybe another case entirely.


Illyana reflexively drops her hips and bends her knees when she's hauled along— the right thing to do, though she doesn't know it, and grins at Rosemarie as the two of them fly across the ice, a shriek of delight slipping past her lips. She has no idea how to /stop/, though, so she just fetches full into Rosemarie, giggling like mad.

"Ack! You scared me!" she chides Rosemarie, insincerely. "That was fun! We'll need to try that again!" She leans against Rosemarie, grinning wide and looking up at the taller girl with bright blue eyes.


"Oh yes, of course," she laughs, helping both of them exit the rink. It's easy enough clomping back over to the bench. Rosemarie collapsed onto it with a tired laugh. "Oh, I haven't done that in a long time. Well, this is the first time since last winter." She rubs at her thighs fitfully before beginning to work on untying the laces of her skating shoes. Her boots hang awkwardly around her neck for only a moment before being removed and set to one side.

A quiet snort escapes her suddenly and she glances to Illyana. "And you weren't scared, not even more a moment. Don't lie to me… How do you say 'little swan' in Russian?"

An abrupt question, to be sure.


"Malen'key lebed," Illyana says, instantly. Perhaps it's a subconcious instinct that suggests the gentle diminutive tense of the word, instead of the literal comparative one? 'Smaller' and 'petite' are quite different terms, after all.

She fusses over her boots, kicking them off, and gasps in shock as blood returns to her toes and her calves promptly start cramping. "Oof! My legs, that is much harder than it looks," she winces, rubbing a stocking ankle vigorously a few times to relieve the cramping sensation of the unfamiliar motion.

"There. Better," she says, wriggling into her flats with a sigh of relief. "I hate wearing shoes. Have one pair of high heels, but… have hard time walking in them," Illyana admits. "Which is shame, because they are very pretty."


Whaaaatever Illyana said in Russian is beyond Rosemarie's born-and-bred Greenwich Village abilities, so she glosses over it for now. It's a side task for another time, when she's alone and feeling thoughtful and manages to dig up a Russian-English dictionary. Maybe at work when she's not being harangued by her boss.

However, she does wince at her friend's discomfort. Shoot, this whole trip is not a ray of sunshine at all. "Hopefully hot chocolate will make everyone feel better," she replies and then adds, "I'm not a big fan of heels either, so don't worry about that. You won't catch me in them unless I'm wearing a special dress or it's an event. I can't climb ladders at the Library in heels." She grins. "Here, give me your skates, I'll turn them back in."


Illy hands her skates over obligingly. "Da, but, I imagine you look fantastic in them," she tells Rosemarie, pinking— but looking at Rosemarie boldly.

She moves to purchase cocoa with a few of those wadded bills, and by the time Rosemarie's returned, she has found a cozy warm corner of the little cafe's interior, a booth— more importantly, one near the almighty warm air vent. She curls herself up, wrapping both hands around the cocoa, and shudders a little at the chill.

With a furitive glance around, she mutters an incantation under her breath. Heat blooms around her abruptly with a *wiff* of air, and Illyana melts a little as the air around her jumps up to a balmy 80 degrees, thawing her out.


"I'm probably about as graceful as you are, but thank you, Illy." Giving her friend a softer smile, she then goes to return the skates.

Once she's located Illyana again, over in an interior booth, she scoots in beside her and accept the paper cup of cocoa gratefully.

"Thank you for buying the…cocoa — hold on a second." Frowning, she reaches into the air around her friend and finds it noticeably more balmy than the immediate surroundings. Hand into warm pocket, out — in and out, once more, just to be certain, and Rosemarie laughs. "That's cheating," she says lightly, hiding most of her smile behind her cup. Her eyes communicate her true feelings on the matter: amused appreciation.


"Is not cheating," Illyana protests. "Everyone else would do it, if could." She gives Rosemarie a sly look and nestles herself close to Rosemarie, sharing that warm little bubble and taking advantage of the moment to enjoy a little casual intimacy with the woman. After all, that's pretty harmless, right? Two friends cuddling for warmth? No WAY that could get misread.

Illyana finds her toes curling inside her shoes and forces herself to relax, both hands wrapping around her coffe mug. "Um… Rose, may ask question?" she inquires, looking to her friend. "You said, um, not seeing anyone. Can I ask— can I ask why you are not dating? Is personal choice, or just not met someone, uh… special?"


The brunette nestles back with a contented sigh as the bubble of warm air slips over her. It's like being in an orb of summer heat, but without the bugs and muggy heaviness of the air within the city. Ooh, she could get used to this.

Rosemarie pauses in sipping her cocoa and glances over at Illyana, lips never retreating from the rim of the cup. She swallows her mouthful carefully before looking down at the surface of the drink. "Well…" she begins quietly, a furrow between her brows. "I haven't really thought about it. I've been single for a while now and I guess I've gotten used to it. Lola, my cat, gives me company. She's a good snuggler." She shrugs and brushes loose hair behind her ear. She needs to invest in better headbands, geez. "I haven't been looking because of that, I guess. Why, do you have someone in mind?"

She meets Illyana's eyes and smiles every so slightly. And nervously.



Illyana takes a slow, deep breath, marshalling herself. Strange's advice, Amora's admonitions, Kitty's suggestions, Wanda's thoughts— they all resonate in the back of her mind at once as she starts trying to work up the courage to ask Rosemarie point blank what her intentions are, and if they're of a like mind.

Briefly, she flirts with the notion of asking Amora for one of those love potions, after all.

"I… don't know," Illyana lies, shaking her head. "Just… curious, I guess." She flashes a smile at Rosemarie, her gut clenching silent remonstration as she plasters a fake smile on her face.


"Oh, okay." Rosemarie seems relieved in a way. It was an abrupt question, after all. However, she does reach up to scratch behind her ears with an accepting sigh at the inevitable feeling. She's been reading over that meditation book for a while now and it's been working, somewhat, but she hasn't quite nailed the concept of thoughts-controlling-reactions and how to chain up the process.

"Well, if you do find someone, point them out to me. You probably have great taste in people." She grins at her friend before turning her attention to the skating rink beyond the little cafe. Someone just did a triple-Lutze and she sighs. "I'm so jealous that people can do that. Jumps and stuff. I'm graceful up until I actually try."


"Only know few people," Illyana admits. "Kitty, who is best friend, of course. Piotr, and all girls think, he'd be best for dating— very handsome," she assures Rosemarie, even though her nose wrinkles a bit at that concept.

"And friends from school, though—" a thought occurs to her, and she looks around before focusing on Rosemarie, shifting a bit closer to her and dropping her voice conspiratorially. She touche her tongue to her upper lip, thinking, then looks to Rosemarie. "Er… what is it you /like/ in someone you'd date?" she asks, the cleverness of the question clearly appealing to her. "Someone, uh… smart? Handsome? …pretty?" she says, looking intently at Rosemarie.


"What is it that I like? Uhhh…"

Rosemarie's turn to center herself. She doesn't quite lean away from Illyana; rather, the blonde Russian is given a somewhat bemused and confused look before she sighs. "Smart is good, yes. Someone who likes books. Looks aren't everything, but yes, pretty is wonderful. Their smile. How honest they are." Her tone gets continually more thoughtful as she speaks, eyes distantly focused through the far wall of the cafe. "Adventurous, but not too adventurous. I wouldn't want them to hurt themselves trying to impress me; there's a difference between an accident and deliberate stupidity. Someone who likes cats, since I have Lola. I mean, that's been the make-or-break so far. Say you're single and you have a cat and suddenly everyone pegs you for being a spinster." She throws up her hands momentarily and sighs. "I don't know what it is about that…"


Pretty! Illyana keys in on that, because 'pretty' is DEFINITELY an important distinction from 'Handsome'. The rest of it more or less vanishes into a roaring buzz as affirmation swells her narrow chest— then she hears Rosemarie making her mini-rant about cats.

"I like cats!" Illyana declares, instantly. "They're so sweet, and … uh… cuddly." Illyana has a mental image of what a 'cat' is in her head, but she lies through her teeth about her opinion of them— Illy's literally never met an actual feline domesticus. The closest thing to it would be Kitty Pryde.

"Having a friend like that sounds, uh, sounds… very nice," she ventures. She rests her fingertips cautiously on Rosemarie's knee, reassuringly, but trying not to intrude too much into her personal space.


"Oh? Oh good. You'll have to meet Lola the next time you're over. She's very sweet. I don't know why she hides from you." The last of her cocoa is finished with a smack of her lips and a capture of all of the remaining liquid with a swipe of her tongue. "Yes, all of those qualities would make the best of friends, in my opinion."

She realizes that the gentlest touch of fingertips to her knee has just happened and ignores actively acknowledging them, for now. The question is offered in return, a conversational parry of sorts:

"What would you want in someone that you would date?"


The hand's withdrawn— Illyana is not the touchiest of people, and seems to take Rosemarie's non-reaction as a lack of affirmation. "Me?" she blinks at Rosemarie, then considers it, shoulders wiggling uncertainly as she looks to her cocoa for inspiration.

"I- I don't know," she admits. "I've… I've never, uh… …dated," she admits, struggling to contain a low blush. "Only been in America a few months, and before that, was not… not many options." Her eyes flicker in recollection. "Someone… I think someone with strong heart. Courage, da? And must be smart, need someone who likes to learn, study things, to think. Pretty— pretty would be nice," she admits. "Very nice. With, um… nice taste in things. Teach me how to shop, or leanr new things about American, da?"


Rosemarie leans her arm on the table and cheek against palm as she listens. It looks like it might as much revelation to Illyana as to herself, explaining this aloud. The brunette's face takes on a softness in the face of such bravery and she acknowledges it aloud.

"I think that's a great person for you, Illy, wherever you find them in this world. Thank you for sharing with me." There's the ghostly sense of gears whirring behind those cinnamon-brown irises that hold the Russian's sapphire-blues. "It might take you a while to find them, you know. Don't you have your friends to help you find nice clothes though? You mentioned someone named Kitty — and there are your friend from school. Are they not helping?"

Consternation in her expression now, at the thought that someone would deprive her friend of basic lessons on how to fit into society. It was probably hard enough with her accent, much less burgeoning fashion sense.


"Well— yes," Illyana's forced to admit. "Kitty and Lorna, much help. I— would be fun, though, da? Date someone with good fashion sense? Who can help, uh… dress me, find clothing, likes to dress herself up, too?" she ventures. Even being who she is— a refugee from a hellish dimension, only recently returned to Earth— it's clear she's treading delicately around such a topic as bisexuality, and clearly more worried about offending Rosemarie's sensibilities with a casual statement than she would be if merely speaking her mind in public.


Rosemarie nods back and forth before toying with her empty cocoa cup.

"I suppose so, sure. But what if that person doesn't like to dress up? What if they prefer things like…sweaters and pants?" Her lips are pursed afterwards as the little remaining droplet of drink becomes intensely fascinating to her. Rotating the cup swings the droplet left…and right…and left…and right…

"If they don't really dress up except for special occassions?" She itches idly behind her ear, nearest to her cheek still cupped in her palm.


Illyana's eyes shine when Rosemarie doesn't recoil away from her. One bridge crossed! She makes a mental note to chide Piotr for haranguing her about 'American morality' being something to fear. Feeling vastly more confident, she straightens her back and leans companionably against Rosemarie, feeling much more self confident than she had in days.

"Would be nice to compromise? Dress up for fun, and then not go anywhere?" Illyana offers, beaming as if she'd just resolved the Cuban crisis with a neat solution. "I only had one dress for many years, I am just fine going everywhere naked, but seems to upset people," she tells Rosemarie. "Do not understand why. Demons in limbo don't wear clothes," she says, shrugging. "Why should I bother?"


A sudden blurt of laughter still escapes Rosemarie before she claps a hand over her mouth. The cocoa cup is knocked to its side and more giggling escapes as she attempts to right the vessel out of pure instinct, despite it being empty, but then goes back to cover her mouth. No one glances over for more than a moment.

"Because walking around naked is…unacceptable when you're not at home, Illy!!!" she whispers conspiratorially. "Wait a second, didn't…didn't you say that you had a teacher? You have not walked around naked in front of him?!"

Scandalous if so!


"See— why so upset?" she asks Rosemarie, genuinely puzzled by Rose's shocking laughter. Illyana frowns a little, unable to shake the feeling like she's the butt of a joke and can't get the punchline. "I was at home, was living in his spare rooms. Wanted cereal. Why bother with clothing if just in home to go get cereal?" she says, with unassailable logic. "But he made stink of it, complained, said 'not done', so, fine, I wear dress more, but— see, why are you laughing so much?" she asks, a bit crossly.


"I'm sorry, Illy, it's just…funny," she manages between giggle spates. "Please, I'm not making fun of you, I promise! You didn't know." With a quick clearing of her throat, Rosemarie composes herself.

"It's different enough that it can be amusing. In the same way…hmm." The brunette thinks for a minute, playing once more with her empty cocoa cup. "So, if you're not in a relationship, like dating, it's not a good idea to walk around naked. You can do it in front of your parents, but it might be odd. You could do it in front of friends and they probably won't mind. If they're females. If they were guy, you might…confuse them and make them think that you meant something otherwise, like flirting a lot with them. I mean…you're so pretty, Illyana, with your coloration. Your eyes are so blue. You could…" Her voice peters off as she look at those blue eyes.

"Um…you could…confuse people with being naked around them." Wow, good job there, sunshine. Thought finished, blush pending.


"I don't understand how that's confusing," Illyana says, stubbornly missing the point. "I'm just not wanting to wear clothing, is all. If is warm, or not raining, why bother?" she says, folding her arms across her belly.

Then she realizes that Rosemarie's staring at her. Very staring, and Illyana stares back, and seems more nervous with uncertainty about what that stare means than any feeling of confrontation with the librarian. Most people would start stammering or talking to fill the silent void, but Illyana is far from most people, so… she just stares back at Rosemarie, examining her face with an intense scrutiny as if relishing a chance to explore every line and features.


The lack of the usual stuttering response is enough to jolt Rosemarie from the staring contest more than normal in duration, at this point, and she blushes red now.

"Its…uh…a good idea to wear clothing, yes, um…" Her voice fades out again. The very tips of the midnight-blue feathers emerge from her skin and the brunette scratches at them. A huge sigh followed by another faint laugh. "I think I'm close to…feathering out, can…let's go back to my apartment. Can we? Please?"


"Da. Sorry— da. With me," Illyana says, pushing Rosemarie out of the booth quickly. She knows how uncomfortable Rosemarie is with her powers, and a strange protectiveness seizes her. She looks left and right, then points at two doors leading to the bathrooms. "Here! In here." Ignoring a few stares, Illyana and Rosemarie dash into the bathroom. A woman gives them a confused look— then a yellow light surrounds the two girls, and from her perspective, they vanish in a sparkle of dull yellow light.

Her stilted scream of surprise follows them into Limbo, which flickers for a half a step and then turns into Rosemarie's apartment. Illyana turns to hug Rosemarie reassuringly, and help her towards the sofa. "Is okay, you are safe now. Take, um… dep breathings," she suggests, not really sure what to do.


It's all a rush of movement interspersed with flashes of realization as to current place in reality. Bathroom, dark purple coat of woman, sound of scream — flash, Limbo, odd smell, distant mountains — flash, apartment and then the pressure of her being seated on the couch.

Blinking in a passing moment of vertigo, Rosemarie then looks over at Illyana, so close with her arms around her. It's centering, being held, and she closes her eyes against the obvious truth before her, not quite ready to accept the fact that she…may need the blonde Russian in her life. Desperately.

"Thanks, Illy," she whispers before beginning a round of calming breathing.


Illyana has no real idea what to do. She's not a hugger, or a particularly touchy person, and she has no maternal instincts whatsoever. So she just hugs Rosemarie, which seems to be what Rose needs most at the moment, and racks her brain for what to do.

After a few moments, she starts crooning very softly. The words are indistinct and in Russian, so Rosemarie never really catches on to the bits where Illyana's clearly forgotten the words and is just scatting. But, she remains kneeling on the sofa next to Rose, holding her until she gets her feather-y-ness out of control.


It takes a bit of time and a bit of staring at the back of her eyelids, but there comes a point where the otherness subsides in her blood. There's even the faintest misty sense of an apology, as if the otherness knew it wasn't needed. Rosemarie can feel the feathering melting back into her skin and finally, she's settled. Centered, per the meditation book.

With a bigger inhale, she comes out of the darkness of her intense focus to find that she's leaning against Illyana, still, and that the young woman is singing a lullaby of sorts. Not in English, clearly, but it's pretty, in a haunting sort of way. Minor key. She's reminded of the first illusion she was ever shown, of the vast breadth of the tundra and the bleak beauty found within it. Of the distant cry of a kestral.

"That's lovely, Illy," she murmurs, content to lean with how tired she is now. "What is the song called?"


"I… I don't remember," Illyana admits, shaking her head. "My brother might know. I'll ask him. I just remember hearing it when was very small child," she tells Rosemarie, not quite letting go of her, either. She leans against the cushions, cradling Rosemarie's head against her shoulder, and gently pushes some hair away from Rosemarie's face. It's a bit odd for her to be on a higher level than the other woman, and she cautiously looks down, appreciating this new view. "Barely remember all the words. I just… sometimes helps me feel better when scared, da?" she offers, her voice reflexively soft and reassuring.


"It works very well. I definitely feel better."

The brunette has to fight a sudden yawn and, despite herself, wiggles around to make herself more comfortable against the give of Illyana's body and arms. There's still a phantom sense of lingering warmth around her friend — or maybe she's making things up with how stressed she was, tired brain and all — that is far too attractive to ignore.

"I'm getting comfortable… It'd be safest if you left now… I'm falling asleep on you…" she mumbles, her body relaxing more and more by the minute.


Illyana looks torn. On the one hand— Rosemarie is melting into her, and the warmth is /definitely/ not one-sided, and it's a much more common— but altogether more special— kind of magic.

On the other hand, Rosemarie seems genuinely sleepy, and Illyana takes her word for it. "I… da. I will go," she says. Awkwardly, she sets Rosemarie back against the sofa and sets about disentangling herself from the other woman.


"Oh…okay," Rosemarie replies quietly, rubbing at her cheek that had been resting against Illyana's supporting form. "Sorry that I'm so tired. I hope you enjoyed the ice skating," she adds quietly, with eyes that never stray from her friend.

Hopefully she did, even with busting up her chin. The brunette's cinnamon-brown gaze flicks from scrape to hole in stocking to face once more. "Want to go again sometime?"


"Is… is okay, Rosemarie. I had very good time, and… want to do this again." She's not quite extricated herself from Rosemarie— those deep brown eyes meet unsure blue ones, and Illyana frets her lower lip, a bit uncertain— then leans down and kisses Rose's cheek again, though it lingers far more than a polite kiss goodnight normally would.

"G'night, Rose." Illyana slips back away from Rosemarie, and backs away into a shimmering of gold motes that leaves Rose alone in her apartment with only the lingering warmth at her side to remind her Illyana was there.


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