2019-07-04 - The Man Who Can't Be Moved


Koa stops by the Rasputin Residence and finds Piotr doing art therapy.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jul 4 05:32:38 2019
Location: 46 Willow Place

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Being kind of sort of a rental, even if the rent is 'Watch over this dimensional anomaly for us', means that Koa does have a key to the Rapsutin residence. Not that he often uses it. Usually it's just to let himself in and drop off things - that's been the case for about the past week and a half and that is the case today.

The door opens and Koa balances a rather large but apparently fairly light box that is marked 'Mikhail.'

Because you know. There's a fourth Rasputin now.

Koa's right arm is still covered in a bandage from hand to shoulder and firmly tied to his side in a sling. And his eyes have gone back to rotating colors which might be nifty or disturbing depending. The Agent is dressed a bit casual today but looks tired and run down. Something in the set of his shoulders.

Bending over he moves to set the box under a little table. He's apparently not intending to go any further. After all, people are living here right now.

Coming around from the back of the house, Piotr opens the side gate. He's currently dressed in a pair of overalls, and his arms are covered in thick dust. Turning on the waterhose to wash himself off, he notices that they have company, and there's an arch of the large Russian's eyes. "Agent Turner?" he asks, as well as informing the agent to his presence. "I was working on project. Keiko and Elena are out at the moment. As is Illyana. And Mikhail." Really, he's having to run down a laundry list of people.

"Is there something I can help you with?" he asks curiously as he works on hosing himself off, the tattoo that marks up his right arm noticable in the sunlight, the full sleeve of his arm covered with a wolf-bear looking creature.

"And Sam's at work." Koa finishes for him as he straightens up and looks at Piotr from behind dark green eyes. Not their usual color. But then they seldom are at the moment.

Koa is a couple of things, beyond a life force draining predator and the two at the top of the list are quiet and observant. He noticed the tattoo in Limbo but this is the first time he's gotten a really good look at it. It compares favorably with Keiko's which is to say the artistry is up there. For… some definitions of art.

"Good to see you though, Piotr. I trust things are going well? No, don't need any help at the moment. I just came by to drop off some clothing for Mikhail, since we didn't have anything for him when we first send stuff over."

That being because Mikhail wasn't here yet. So help him if another Rasputin turns up…

"What's the project? Looks dusty." He knows Piotr's an artist but he hasn't really ever gotten a chance to take a look at his work.

"It is good to see you as well, Agent Turner." Piotr responds, as he finishes washing off. "Mikhail went to speak with Scott and Jean about the school. They're more the liaison than I am." There's a rolling shrug of his shoulders as he lets out a breath and straightens. He did not return to his normal size once he returned from Limbo - he's needed to find new clothes as well.

At the question, however, Piotr nods. "Come. I will show you. Illyana said you may enjoy it." Turning off the water, he starts to head back towards the backyard through the side gate. The area has been mostly cleaned up, and there's a notable greenspace where a garden has taken shape.

He opens the door to the shed - which Piotr has turned into his own personal workspace. In the middle of it a sculpture that seems nearly complete.

It is a large human form that is being ripped into twain. and from within those two pieces, a demon is emerging. The demon is a hybrid creature, the head of an eagle, with sharp bull horns, and the body of a bear as it claws its way out. The creature itself is made of banded strips of metal.. ones that look awful close to the large Russian's himself when he's in metal form.

"Things are going as… expected." He can't really say well. "Elena is in school, and Keiko is.." he shrugs his shoulders as he heads to the freezer in the back of the room. Opening it, he reaches in and pulls out a bottle of vodka, and finds a couple of coffee mugs to pour a measure into. "Know you are on duty. Will not tell if you do not."

Koa whistls low at Piotr's work space. It's got the markings of an artist's habitation to be sure. It's all so normal that the WAND agent has to stop and blink. Normal isn't something that he gets a whole lot of. It comes with the territory but also with what he is. Being able to see magic - and not being able to turn it off - means that there are not many places in the world that look to him like they look to everyone else.

"Cherry…" He says quietly, clearly impressed. Though why he says that may be a bit of a mystery. "That's… something else, Piotr." It's kind of dark. But that's to be expected given what Piotr's been through. "The detail is incredible." His mouth quirks into an expression that's almost a smile.

"Working out some feelings about what's happened are we? I hear art can be a really, really good form of therapy."

After a moment he takes the vodka and takes a sip. Ah. That's actually really good vodka. He is on duty but right now his arm hurts - well, his arm always hurts - so this'll do.

"It is a good thing that I have the soul of an artist then. Or at least mostly." Piotr responds with a brief smirk. "I did not thank you properly for rescuing my fa…" he pauses at that. And he changes direction. "…for rescuing Keiko and Elena from Limbo. If you like this piece, it is yours." he offers to the Agent as he downs the vodka in one swift swallow. Large Russian that he is, it probably barely makes a dent.

"And for helping Mikhail now. And all else you have done." The tone is quiet as he moves to pour another measure of vodka.

"Your family, Piotr." Koa finishes for him and, turning that not quite smile in Piotr's direction. "Your family. You had a child together, I think it's reasonable to call them your family." What else are they going to be, after all?

"Sure, I'd love to take it. It's powerful." Where he's going to put it… well, in his house probably. Though it'd be nice in his other office. The one he still has from before he was an agent. It goes well with the whole 'assayer of mystical artifacts' thing.

"You know…" He says, finding a surface that he can half lean, half sit on while he drinks a bit more. "I think you're the only Rasputin I know who will say those words." And that has to be hard. Piotr spent seven years in Limbo. That's more than enough to have the courtesy and softness beaten out of him. That it didn't is a testament to the man himself.

"But you're welcome. I'm not doing much for Mikhail, really. Just clothes and paperwork. You all went to get him out." Which was dangerous in his opinion but Mikhail is also family to them and it worked out well in the end.

For the moment, at least.

"It's not like I was going to leave you there, you know. I've told Illyana before, I'll tell you. I don't leave people behind."

"Elena says it." It's a small correction, but an important one. Elena is a Rasputin after all. Maybe one day, she'll forget how to. But for now, Piotr is there to continue to guide her.

"For seven years, I felt myself - outside of my own body. Being corrupted. Warped. I.. do not regret that Keiko and I had a child." But there is a regret there. One he can't really put into words.

"Keiko is doing well?" he asks. His concern is on her. "She has talked to you about what happened, at the end. With the demon? And the mark on her. And the sword?"

"Loyalty is a trait of our family, Agent Turner. With your sacrifice, you may find yourself very much part of it. A Rasputin does not forget a debt, or easily forgive a sleight."

"Two Rasputin's then." Koa says, lifting his cup slightly before he takes another drink, savoring the clear burning liquid. He's largely quiet as Piotr talks, watching the man's mannerisms and the emotional subtext beneath his words. Unlike Illyana who often mutes that subtext or masks it with mocking amusement, Piotr emotes much more like a normal person. A normal person who has been through hell. Literally in this case.

"So far as I know she is doing well. You spend more time with her than I do." The thaumivore chuckles. "I saw what happened to her in Limbo. The way the demon absorbed into her tattoo. And I know it turned silvery." He taps the markings on his neck. It looks like a tattoo - everyone's gotten tattoos out of this it seems - an inch wide with a shark tooth pattern in a band around his neck.

"I'll make sure not to slight you folks then. Not that that'll be hard. You're decent people." And he does mean all of them. Piotr. Illyana. Keiko. Even Sam - Koa suspects Sam is much, much closer to being part of the family than he is, but he appreciates the kind words from the big sometimes metal man all the same.

"But we've spoken a bit yes. Gone over some of it. We didn't really talk about the fight. It kind of was what it was." There's a short pause. "I wish stabbing you hadn't been necessary. Hopefully you've suffered no ill effects from that?"

The man DID get his soul back but hey, Koa DID stab him. With a sword. This usually results in pain if nothing else.

"I've noticed that you're all very… close." So it does not surprise him that they are very, very loyal. "And I appreciate the sentiment, though you do know that it is literally my job to make sacrifices like that."

Well, okay, no it's not. WAND's job description does not say 'sacrifice your body, sanity and soul to keep other people safe' but Koa sees it that way.

"How has it been, recovering from that? I know it's left it's marks on your arm… I shouldn't be surprised if there are other, deeper scars." It's a show of concern from the Agent. He knows that all four people involved in the dimensional tangle that was for him just a week or so ago have suffered greatly.

And Piotr is by far the one least hardened to that kind of suffering, in his judgement. Not the enduring of pain, but the agony of having to question if you've really done the right thing after all.

When he points out the collar, that mark that links him to Illyana - that links him to Keiko on a layer that he may never accomplish with the summoner in his own life, Piotr glances down into the vodka and downs it again. He sets the mug to the side. "You did what you must. We were not exactly being reasonable in the situation." he gives a rolling shrug of his good shoulder before he hisses in his breath. The burn of the vodka indeed.

"The injury has healed." At least the physical one. Mentally? Who knows for sure. "It was the first thing that they had me do. Was take the soul steel and forge my weapon. It took.. from me." And he leaves it at that. "I never considered running myself onto my own blade to return it." And perhaps that was his own fault.

"we are alike. We give much. Ask for little in return." Not that Piotr knows the truth of the whole matter- he would reconsider that statement.

"There has been much to deal with that has kept me busy. Seven years, compacted into two days. A child, my aging, Keiko's. I was told you were working on new papers. I am working to get Elena enrolled at the Institute. Vetting Keiko will be difficult." Considering her past. "And now Mikhail. I am having to ask alot. And you have given where you can."

As far as his own spirit, soul, and questioning? The large man seems to weather the storm - even if he is bottling it all at the moment.

Koa cants his head slightly when Piotr looks down. It's a very canine kind of move. The same way a dog might tilt their head to express interest and curiosity. "You were as reasonable as I would expect anyone who'd been in Limbo for that long to be given that we just showed up randomly on your doorstep."

The agent drains his vodka and sets the mug down on the table. He takes a breath and lets it out slowly. His arm throbs and his eyes have changed color again. Now they're pale ice blue. "I wouldn't be too hard on yourself for that. It was something of a desperation move for me. My only other option was to try to deconstruct it and hope I didn't eat your soul while I was doing it, and we just didn't have time for that."

It's not something Koa would care to do while fighting or surrounded by demons, for sure.

"You're a better man than I am, though." He says when Piotr says they're alike. In ways they are. They're both protectors, but Koa is that by trade and training and Piotr is that by disposition and nature.

"We've got ID cards in the works yes. I'll drop them off when they're finished. It's an easy thing for us to do, think nothing of it. You shouldn't always have to give Piotr. That's not what you signed on for. And you've done everything you could, from what I hear."

There's another short pause and then the agent simply asks directly. "What's eating you, big guy?"

"I am not a very good man." Piotr admits, as he reaches for the vodka to pour it. "When we were in Limbo, it was only Keiko and I. It was natural that she.. we.." he sighs. "Now, we are out here. And I feel as though I took something from her." He did, but that's just how it is. "She may never feel for me the way I feel for her. I did not get the chance to earn her heart."

At least, that's how he's feeling on the whole thing. "It's not anything that can be fixed. There is no easy wand to wave over it all and say 'it is normal'. It is broken. And I will keep trying to fix it, until I am told to stop fixing it because it is too broken." He's put aside his own thoughts and feelings, mainly because he's dealing with everything else. But in the midsts of all that?

There's the genuine feelings for the Peruvian summoner that are mostly one sided.

Koa sighs and levers himself off the table, being very careful of his arm.

"Keiko has spent most of her life having all of the softness beaten out of her, Piotr. Loving was weakness. Caring was weakness. Friends, family, anything that could be leveraged against her was a weakness. She's been forged like steel. Hard but… brittle."

He has in fact used that very metaphor with Keiko herself.

"But despite all that I don't think it's entirely gone from her. So if perhaps things did not go as you might have preferred them in Limbo - and when DO things do that in Limbo? - you're both here now. You have the chance now."

Koa looks around the workshop and then goes to find a piece of metal. Silver from the looks of it.

"Are you familiar with the art of Japanese Ceramic Repair? They call it Kintsugi. They take broken pottery and used laquer and gold, or silver or platinum to rejoin the pieces. It's really quite pretty. But there's a philosophy that goes along with it."

He turns and finds a could of shards of stone from where Piotr was chiseling and brings them up to set them on a table close to one another.

"Here in the west we tend to discard broken things. Or at best, repair them in such a way as to disguise the break. In Japan, they view the break as not something to hide, but a part of the history of the piece. And they regard the repaired pieces as all the more beautiful for being broken."

There's an applicable metaphor in there, Koa feels. Maybe one that the artist in Piotr will grasp.

When Koa starts his explanation, Piotr is listening, and he's listening well. Then.. he starts in on something. And the large Russian cannot help it. His hand lifts to his mouth and he starts to snicker behind it. There's a snort of a laugh, and by the time Koa's done, Piotr is damn near on the verge of laughing his ass off, his whole body shuddering with the thought. It takes him several moments to recover.

And when he does, he explains. "Eight years ago.. in another life, before Limbo. There was a girl. She was interested in me. I did not return her affection, and I was afraid I had ruined our friendship. When I said this to Illyana - she used the exact same speech. Except she used gold, not silver." there's a snort of amusement as he shakes his head. "I would try that with Keiko. But it would be doing the same thing I had done before - and while repetition may make an artist a master, it does not impress upon the subject a feeling that his heart is genuine." comes the response.

And that deserves another drink.

Mainly because Koa and Illyana agreed on something. Will wonders ever cease?

"Illyana is wise beyond her years." Koa says with a dry, amused grin. It does occur to him to wonder if that's really true. Given how time works in Limbo she might be older than even she thinks. Not much older mind, unless she's somehow stopped aging. But then, if she had… how would anyone know?

"Patience I think will be your greatest tool if you mean to do this with Keiko, Piotr. But for what it's worth I don't see how anyone could doubt that your heart is genuine. You're a rather genuine person from what I have seen and your sister speaks of you in nothing but the most glowing of terms. I think it's more a question of… Keiko doesn't know how to love."

Which makes sense. She's spent all of her life avoiding love and all of it's expressions from the common and mundane to the extraordinary.

"I did leave a packet in with the initial round of stuff for couples therapy, if you think that would help…"

"I can discuss it with her. Right now.. it feels like a reset. As if I have to learn her all over again. Did you know her favorite ice cream in chocolate?" Piotr only discovered this fact yesterday. "She gave me a daughter. I should not want to ask for more. But she means more to me." Whether or not she will ever feel the same about him seems redundant. "It is slow process. We were not even married." Not in the traditional sense. Demons are tricky like that.

"Illyana says she owns you and Keiko. You, therefore, are family. And that is how it will be." he decides family. "Let me know where you want the statue, I will have it taken there."

"I didn't know she liked ice cream." Koa chuckles. "So no, no I did not."

The expression 'the heart wants what the heart wants' comes to mind. "Well no, but most people don't get stuck in Limbo for seven years either." Except for his sister. Who has done that twice. Koa does not mention that bit. Seems inopportune.

The not-quite smile turns into a genuine one when Piotr just decides he is family. He wonders if he's going to mention that to the other people who live in this house.

"Far be it from me to argue with you ungraciously about that. I've got an office uptown. I'll come by with a van a bit later and we can get it loaded."

He'll keep it there. It'll be a very nice piece.

"So I've heard a lot about how you and Keiko are doing. And what your concerns are for her. What about you Piotr?"

Because while it is noble and kind of sweet that he's so worried about Keiko, Koa will not underrate that HE has been through hell as well. Though knowing Piotr's nature, Piotr himself might just do that.

"Illyana has. Twice. And apparently another. Calls himself Scarlet Spider. Or Ben, is what Elena called him." Piotr lays that little piece of intelligence right there for Koa to take up. As far as the Russian is concerned, Illyana made the decision that Koa's family. He didn't. He's just accepting it. And as unofficially returned as the oldest of the Rasputins, he's making it so.

"Me? I am fine. I have been through worse." That's a bald-face lie, but Piotr's armor isn't just that which his skin turns into. He's got it in his head not to discuss it. Just to figure out how to make it work for everyone else. His own nightmares can wait.

"You risked much to rescue us. And Illyana and Sam. You have my thanks, gratitude. And there will always be vodka here for you for the asking."

"The others need me to be what I am." Keiko needs him to be what he is. And not be weak.

That lesson from Limbo remained.

"Ben, his name is. We've met. Once. Briefly." He had been thanking Illyana and Keiko for their help on something big with Pizza and Ben had showed up. Koa is amused but slightly less than impressed. "I'm not entirely sure he's all there. Seems genuine enough but possibly damaged in hidden ways. Just keep an eye out around the kid is all I'm saying, no need to be paranoid about it though."

When Piotr says he's fine Koa's eyes turn from ice blue to an unnatural deep violet. The expression he gives Piotr says 'no you're not.'

"Piotr, I had my arm cooked, I've been loaded full of magic that I find intensely addictive, my control over my inner predator is shot and I'm having nightmares every night because of what I've taken in. And I was there for forty five minutes."

Unspoken but clearly implied, Piotr was there for seven years. Clearly he's had plenty of time to get hurt worse. Though Koa may have forgotten to mention one or two things.

"I… am very aware of the value of what you're offering me. And believe me, I will very likely take you up on that offer of vodka. Do you know you're the only one who actually has said 'thank you' for what happened?" Of the other three, one likely didn't think of it and the other two CAN'T say thank you. He doesn't blame them, but he does want to highlight how much he appreciates the thanks.

"The others need you to be what you have been for Illyana all your life. The heart. The light. The north star. The one that guides them back to the path when it's too dark to see. If you harden yourself, you won't be able to do that for them. I'm not going to tell you how to relate to your family, new or old. But from where I'm sitting, they need you to be who you ARE, not what Limbo tried to hammer you into. You're not a sword, Piotr. Even if you did curl up in one for a bit."

"Before collapse, it was hammer and sickle." Piotr responds, as he leans back and opens the freezer to return the bottle to it. Best way to keep vodka, really. "The sickle reaped the grain that kept the heart fed - the hammer honed and sharpened the blade. Illyana needs me to be rock. To be her anchor on this side so that Limbo does not take her soul."

Which ironically is exactly what it did to Piotr.

"Seven years. It is only the half the time of my sister. She does not need a weak heir. I am her heir. And I will not fail her." There's a straightening of his frame to it's full seven and half feet of height. "I have paid for my last seven years. The marks on are on my body. But I do not regret, for one moment, protecting Keiko. Giving up my soul for her. For making a child with her. For standing at her side as she stood at mine." he gives a grunt.

"I am already hardened. I am steel. It is what they all need. That focal point. Illyana and Mikhail as my siblings. Elena as her father. Keiko as the woman I love." And that's the first time outside of Keiko, he's admitted to that.

"Whatever punishments are placed upon me. Whatever losses I have taken? They have paled in comparison to what was earned. Limbo tried to take my soul from me. And that soul was in a blade. And that blade was honed and sharpened well in seven years of service. And now, it is mine again."

Not entirely - there's a piece missing - that arm, the tattoo - the eldritch armor. It's a constant reminder of the price. "Eternal vigilance is my place. What I want? I have." For the most part. "What I want? I cannot take. It has to be given. What I want? It is here." he taps his chest. "Everyone is home. Everyone is safe. And I will stand vigilant to make sure they are not taken from me again."

"Steel is only useful if it flexes…" Koa points out. "Too hard and it shatters the first time it takes a hard blow."

Piotr has taken a hard blow and not shattered. But the temptation after all of that is to be even harder. Koa knows. The temptation for him is always to take more. To devour and make sure he is brimming with power. Ironically he is now and it is positively the worst thing ever.

"What you want takes time." The WAND agent finally says, quietly. "The good news, I think, is that you have it."

Piotr is hurt. Koa has no doubt of this. It is not possible to spend that long in Limbo and not be and like all things, the worst of the hurt doesn't show on his skin. Him. Illyana. Keiko. Even Sam to a degree, Koa expects. Nothing he says can work this out for them. Like Piotr says, there's no magic wand, which is an ironic thought coming from him.

"Just remember when you're standing watch, Piotr, to make some time for yourself. They love you as much as you love them, if I'm not mistaken. And they don't want you to suffer to keep them safe. Besides, I think you'll find these watches go easier with people next to you."

There's a snort of a laugh, and when Piotr straightens, his whole body shifts and shimmers into that omimsum form that makes up the bands of metal that surround his frame. "Steel bends just find in right hand." He flexes his hand as if to prove this point. He /is/ the steel. And he flexes just well. All five hundred plus pounds of him.

"Da. Nothing but time." he agrees finally, a shake of the large Russian's head. There's no threat to Koa in the demonstration- just showing that metal will give to him.

Even on that right side that is Eldritch armored. "There are those next to me. And I will continue to know this. Thank you."

Koa knows what Piotr threatening him looks like. He got a nice close up of it. The agent closes the distance to the Russian and pats him on the… arm. Piotr is just huge.

"You're welcome. I'll be back by later to pick up that statue. Take care of yourself in the mean time, big guy. You've got a lot of people counting on you."

The WAND agent starts to depart but pauses at the door and glances over his shoulder. "And, I think, a house full of people who love you. It's a rare thing, in my experience. Don't forget to bask in it."

And, so saying, Koa steps out of the shed and heads back out to the street.

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