Cohorts Of A Kind


logan_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif sasha2_icon.gif tania_icon.gif valentin_icon.gif

Scene Title Cohorts Of A Kind
Synopsis A team they are not, but it gets the job done.
Date August 29, 2011

An IHOP of Dubious Quality

The rain hasn't let up.

Artificial light springs up glassy on the wet asphalt and the deepening puddles as it continues by the time— hopefully someone is pulling the car into port, and the night has thickened the sky black above them. With exception to struggling out of his FRONTLINE armor, Sasha Kozlow has been a wearied presence in the vehicle, the women left to their own devices for the time it took them to drive down the motorway for some few minutes. Which is when the radio had started speaking to them — in a lofty, if impatient English accent, a few hang on a minutes as John Logan had tried to figure out their location and where they had to go via sattelite and guesswork, and thus far, it's led them here.

'IHOP', the sign, shines brightly above the lit windows of the restaurant, and doesn't seem to be overly crowded up people, its parking lot more or less empty and dark. There's someone walking out into it, however — Logan cuts a relatively distinctive shape, even when he isn't in the strict lines of a three-piece suit. Pared down to leather jacket and jeans, tonight, his head ducked against the rain and steps quick and loping as he moves directly for the car rather than wait around. A backpack dangles from his hand, and a lit cigarette is in the other — still lit, even, despite the downpour.

He doesn't hesitate to open a door for them, but he doesn't immediately get in.

That voice cutting over the radio gets Tania's attention, and there might even be the slightest hint of a suggestion of a smile there for a moment. Easy to miss, but rare enough for the girl lately that it might stick out, though briefly.

The girl leans over to look out the window, that neon sign catching her attention. And gets a gently confused look from her. But whatever her thoughts on it, the promise of pancakes and syrup within makes her stomach growl, but when she brings a hand there as if she could stop it, her fingers feel that scar lingering under her pajamas. It dips her back into a slump inside that blanket she still has wrapped around her. The door opens and she turns to look in that direction, her head tilted just slightly. It takes a moment, but she eventually gets a greeting out.


John Logan's voice doesn't necessarily put Odessa's mind at ease, but she is at least convinced that he's on their side. That their contact in this isn't some nebulous agent of the government is a good thing as far as she's concerned, and she doesn't over-think his involvement. Putting the vehicle into park, she does grow a little tense when he meets them in the lot and opens the door.

Her first thought had been something like, IHOP? Bella would be so disappointed, before moving onto other priorities like the weight of the handgun in the pocket of her lab coat. "Is it just you?" Doctor Price asks the Englishman. "Are we staying, or are you coming with us?" Are they meant to be headed elswhere from here, in this… lovely, and very stolen vehicle, she wants to know.

The vehicle is stopped and people are talking. That's Sasha's cue to crack open his eyes and shift a bleary look the same direction as Tania and Odessa. At some point during the ride, he exchanged his FRONTLINE armor for a pair of dark gray sweatpants and matching hoodie pulled over a sweat-soaked wifebeater. There are no shoes on his feet, but that doesn't particularly matter — he can do without them for now.

In his seat beside Tania, he lets his head droop against his shoulder and shuts his eyes again, drawing in a slow, laboured breath through his nostrils. If he was wearing one, his hand would be moving to unbuckle his seatbelt. Inside, it curls across his lower stomach.

The dim interior of stolen vehicle is scoured in flicking glances, before it settles on Tania. Maybe if it was someone else, there'd be remorse, some degree of responsibility, but seeing as no one is demanding such things of him ever—

He isn't unpleased to see her. He just isn't sure what kind of pleased he's meant to be. "Evening." He flumps the backpack down within the car, within reach of the tiniest Russian, but doesn't get a chance to explain that there's clothes from home inside before he's looking towards Odessa. "Quick stop. There's a car 'round the other side but we're safe for a bit. Valentin's inside." His voice gets a little flat when he states this — as if maybe Logan hasn't really enjoyed the Slovak's company for the past however many hours it's been. He looks a little haggard himself, unaccustomed to using his power for anything more than a light bit of eavesdropping and unlimited pornography.

"Is he hurt?" he says of Sasha. Pale green eyes fix uncertainly on non-responsible other Russian.

Tania doesn't seem to be expecting an explanation, she just reaches over to unzip the backpack herself to peek inside. However happy she might be to see familiar clothes, it's cut off by one little name. Her head whips back to look at Logan again, her brow furrowed. It might even be anger there. "Why is he here?" She manages to keep it from being a harsh question, but that expression darkens. It's hard to say if she really wants an answer, as her focus turns back to the bag again. Her hands jerk the clothes out instead of plucking them more gently; her jaw clenches tightly.

"He had his armour on, but he did get hit by a bullet. Should just be bruising. And he overdid it on the ability usage. I haven't had a chance to look him over yet." But if Odessa were really concerned that Sasha was badly injured, she'd have pulled off somewhere sooner and insisted upon checking. Tania likely would have insisted on her checking. That he hasn't complained is to be expected. She doubts he would even if he did need the attention.

And converse entirely to the rest of the vehicle's reaction to the mention of Valentin, Odessa instantly feels better. She tempers her excitement — Granted, it's easier to look frosty when she's got a face full of scars and a patch over one eye. And also a… lot of blood still visible on her hands. She doesn't look at the other occupants of the vehicle, but rather stares out the windscreen toward the building. "Because he's the one who helped me get you out," she supplies.

Sasha makes a gesture with his free hand that's probably meant to be dismissive. He's fine, see, he just needs a few more minutes — time he intends to use to decide whether or not he's capable of keeping down any food, and if he is then whether or not he actually wants any.

To demonstrate that he's as healthy as Odessa implies, he straightens in his seat and makes an effort to square his shoulders. Keeping his eyes open is a little more of a challenge, but he somehow manages. "«Tell him I want a pancake.»"

Logan could add to this statement of Odessa's, but knows enough about diplomacy to not.

Not today, anyway.

So he adds to it with a sinuous and hesitant shrug, fingers fanning from where they grip the edges of the car doorway before glancing over through windshield at the building, then back to the three inside. He'll take the lady's word for it and it certainly sounded like a successful mission, what little he heard of it while jamming communications. "In your own time, then," he says, before retracting his way from the car and leaving the door hang open.

When Tania gets to the socks and shoes, they're set on her lap while the rest is returned to the backpack. If Valentin's help is noted, it certainly doesn't seem to be easing the girl's demeanor.

"Are we staying? Sasha wants pancakes." More than one, she's made a command decision. She gets her feet less naked and cold before she starts to slide out, trailing the bag with her. It isn't that she's particularly eager to see the man within, but she would like to be in her own clothes again. But once she's on solid ground, she turns back to her brother, expression finally shifting to something softer. Concern. "«Are you sure you're okay?»" She not really in a state to be offering to help him get out and in the building, but she seems to be lingering to do just that anyway.

There's no words spoken in defense of the man inside. While she can assume that he's here because this operation was his, Odessa won't presume to his motivations beyond that. "I'm going to go wash up. Meet us inside." Popping open her own door, she slides out of her seat and shuts the cab behind her again.

The handgun is transferred from her pocket to her waistband, shirt pulled over to hide it, so she can shrug out of her coat and drape it over her arms to hide the blood. Fortunately what Odessa wiped onto her pants earlier has been dried enough to blend with the mud caked on from the struggle to secure the firearm. She should be helping Sasha along, but she also wants to give him a moment alone with his sister. If the Kozlows aren't inside the building by the time she's washed the blood from her hands, then she'll go play responsible.

"«And a whole brick of butter,»" says Sasha, easing out of the vehicle, and although he doesn't lean on Tania for support, he drapes an arm around her waist and holds her against him once his bare feet touch down on the concrete. "«Real butter. Sticks like fat to your teeth.»"

His other arm goes out to steady himself against the side of the vehicle. Only when he's sure he isn't going to teeter over and take his sister down onto the rainslick pavement with him does he grope for Logan's shoulder and clap a hand on that. "«I've never been better. Look: a hug.»" And he's mooshing the three of them together.

There's a lot of physical contact in this world that doesn't involve hugs, or mooshing, and most of it, Logan is fine with, or at least experienced in tolerating. In this case, he's mostly stiff and unsure about what's happening due to not speaking Russian and steered unstoppably inwards, wrinkling his nose most unattractively. "Sure he didn't smack his head on anything?" comes out mumbled and a little muffled, his hand finding port on the high of Tania's back, other snagging into the fabric of Sasha's hoodie. That's as close to return embrace as he tends to get, a kind of feline latch until it's over.

Valentin, meanwhile, is inside enjoying some pancakes, quite patiently, cutting off mouthfuls and not deigning to peer outside.

"Not for long," Logan answers Tania, beign the first to tug and guide the little family for the building.

"«That sounds awful,»" is all that Tania can say about the proposed butter situation before there's suddenly a group hug. She, too, does very little in the way of returning it, mostly out of confusion.

"Hard to say. There was a fight." Which is to say… he very well could have hit his head, and she might even be betting on it. But her arm stays around Sasha as Logan leads them inside, and she looks up at him, one eyebrow arched. "«You haven't been drinking, have you?»" It would sound a lot more playful under more normal circumstances. Although under normal circumstances, it would be less necessary.

Ohhhh-kay. The group hugging is definitely not Odessa's thing, and she's definitely going to be checking Sasha for a concussion - later. For now, she's hurrying on ahead of the other three so she can duck inside. She doesn't wait to see if she catches Valentin's eye before veering off toward the women's restroom so she can use the sink. She should so have worn gloves. Why doesn't she ever think of these things until after the fact?

First world problems.

"«I am forty-eight hours sober,»" Sasha tells his sister in his Very Serious Voice, because forty-eight hours is about the time it takes him to sober up, and even Sasha doesn't walk into a situation like the one back on the freeway without a clear head when there's this much at stake.

He has both his arms around all he has left in the world.

His eyes squeeze shut again and he makes a sound at the back of his throat. A groan.

"You both know English," Logan points out, now wedging an arm around Sasha's waist and folding him close, although positioned between he and wee sister. His other hand grips Sasha's wrist. "Fucking speak it for once."

And despite the fact he is already well drowned by the rain, his movements are impatient in order to get out of it, boots splashing the shallow puddles and grimacing at the icy feeling of water soaking through his boots. Inside, it's bright and clean and understaffed if not quite comfortably empty, suspicious stares— or beyond suspicious stares— sizing the trio up in Odessa's wake as Logan goes to steer Sasha to sit down at the booth that Valentin is at. Untouched pancakes— presumably Logan's— will at least be waiting for the older of the Russians.

"How about you?" Logan asks passed Sasha, it just occurring to him to address Tania with— that sort of concern. She was kidnapped. "D'you need anything?"

Valentin stands politely when they approach, having already waved to Odessa in her sweeping path bathroomwards, a napkin dabbing at the corner of his mouth.

Her intention had been to head for the bathroom herself to change clothes, but Sasha's groan seems to have changed her mind there, because she doesn't break off from the pair as they head for the table. Leaning forward a bit to look Logan's way, considering a moment before she answers him with a simple shake of her head. It's a lie, there's plenty that she needs, but she just isn't ready to get into it. Plus, she was just rescued and all, asking for more feels a little selfish. At least to her.

"Just a place for Sasha to sit," Tania says eventually. It's easier to be worried about him, for one, and for two… well, she's genuinely worried. "Thank you," is added a second later, and while she isn't looking at him, exactly, it is meant for Logan and his concern in her general direction. But her gaze has found Valentin at the table ahead and she just can't seem to look away. Her hold on her brother tightens; she doesn't seem to notice.

Odessa has the good sense to make sure the restroom is clear before she moves to the sink. Scrubbing and scratching gets most of the tell-tale signs off her fingers and palms, save for what's caught under her nails still - she's going to need a brush for that. She'll just have to remember to keep her hands folded in her lap when anyone outside their group approaches the table.

She also takes the time to duck into a stall to check and see how many bullets she's got. Call her paranoid, because she is.

The whole process isn't as swift as it would have been were she still able to bend time to her will, but what can you do? White hair is fluffed as Odessa returns from the washroom again. "That was exciting," she murmurs with a small grin touching her scarred lips as she waits for the others to be situated before she'll try to claim a seat for herself. "Good to see you, Michal."

Whump. That is the sound of Sasha collapsing into the booth. Silverware rattles and a salt shaker tips onto its side. Either sensing Tania's unease or desiring not to be parted from her, he pulls his sister in after him, making more room on their side of the table for Logan to squeeze in as well.

That leaves Odessa with a seat beside Valentin opposite, and if Sasha was paying more attention he might realize that's probably how she prefers thing anyway. "Pancake," he announces gruffly (in English, sir), and reaches out with both his large hands to slide the plate closer to him. Fucking forget the fork and the knife; he takes the topmost pancake off the stack, rolls it up between his fingers into a tube sopping with butter and syrup, and shoves it into his mouth.

There's also a cup of lukewarm black coffee that Logan had been nursing, and as he sits down, he picks this up in his hands and takes a sip, as desperate for the caffeine as Sasha is for his gross sugar fix. The two people he is ~concerned~ with are home safe. He doesn't know the peroxide bitch's story. He doesn't like Valentin very much. He will sit quietly for now and try not to keep leaping his consciousness into the Internet and the radiowaves, grounding himself in this awful place.

Valentin sits once more, going back to his pancakes with more gentlemanliness than the European opposite, tipping a nod to Odessa when she rejoins the group. He gestures with his utensils, a little circular motion for each, as he says, with warm enthusiasm;

"Mission accomplished, boys and girls!"

Tania scoots in with Sasha, sticking close and making sure there's room for all three of them. Luckily, she's very thin. Even more so than before, which is not a particularly good thing, considering how small she was to begin with. A hand grips onto Sasha's sleeve, but she can't stop furrowing her brow over the table. She's not partaking in the food or the coffee at this point.

It's that chipper attitude from Valentin that really gets under her skin, however. She tries not to react, but sitting there tensely only lasts a few moments, however long it may feel to her. Quietly, but firmly she states her own opinion on the situation.

"Go to hell." It's even in English, isn't she thoughtful.

Oh yes, Odessa is very pleased with this seating arrangement, taking her place next to Valentin. Her good cheer, and whatever she was about to add to the sentiments of a job well done dies in her throat when Tania makes her feelings known. Logan may be wrong about the peroxide, but Price has got plenty of bitch to go around. She bites it back, however, sitting up straighter in her seat to peer across the table at Tania.

There are many reasons why the girl could feel such animosity toward Valentin, and Odessa's had enough practise in dealing in half-truths to realise she does not have the whole story of why the man took such an interest in Tania's retrieval. It keeps her from blindly jumping to his defense (he doesn't need her for that anyway), but does nothing to soften the sharpness of her cobalt gaze.

"Hrrrk." That is the sound of Sasha choking on his pancake, or at least snorting it back out through his nose. Maybe it's laughter. Hard to say — either way, he's scrubbing furiously at his face with his arm because that hurts regardless.

He isn't smiling, anyhow, and there's no humour crinkling around the corners of his mouth. A few deep breaths remedies whatever the problem is, and he begins licking the syrup off his fingers, flinty-eyed and wolfish.

He isn't used to hearing his sister use that type of language, but he's not going to reprimand her for it either. Not when he'd use stronger words.

Tania can possibly feel Logan tense a fraction next to her, but that's about all. His own fetish for conflict set aside and dulled down in weariness and fear, but he does flick an inquiring glance to Valentin, who cuts a half-smile towards Tania. There's no laughter in it.

"I imagine you have some knowledge of it," he says, returning knife and fork to his pancakes. "By now. I am not here to arrest you. My apologies, even, that you were not released sooner, but the Department has beaurocracy in its blood, even where these things are concerned. There is medical attention waiting in the Blocks," he adds, with a more meaningful glance at the girl-Russian, "that you should feel welcome to take advantage of when you return."

His apologies get a sour look from the girl and she might go on, the desire to throw out even stronger language is definitely present; it isn't Sasha's reaction or Odessa's stare that prompts her to keep her mouth shut, but instead, it's the shift in the Englishman next to her.

So she sits back, folding her arms and looking over at the wall. And that wall will just have to bear her glassy, simmering stare.

With Tania standing down, Odessa is instantly less tense. "You'll be well looked-after. Of that I'm certain." Of course, she doesn't consider herself as a medical resource in Eltingville, even now that the Institute is - presumably - falling, which likely means she'll be needing to seek new employment. She has her doubts that the DoEA will have her after all is said and done.

The girl with one eye slips an easy smile and a darkly amused look Valentin's way. "I trust our business is concluded?" Spoken like that isn't the real question. And like Odessa expects him to know what the real question is.

Sasha uses one of the napkins at the table to wipe off the residual stickiness that his saliva doesn't dissolve on its own. "First Volken, then Dreyfus." He crumples the napkin up into a ball and tosses it down onto the table in front of Odessa. "Not surprising that you play fetch for this one too, eh?" he asks with a lift of his shoulder, indicating Valentin.

And it takes one to know one. Dogs.

Valentin's brow crinkles, hands going up in a dismissive wave as he chews and swallows the last of his pancake. "Now, now. Let's have none of that. We are celebrating. It is as you say," and he tips his chin to Odessa, a hand going to rest on her wrist, "our business is concluded. All that is left is to eat, drink, get changed, and go back to New York." That part possibly being less negotiable than the rest, but he does keep his tone light and explanatory, eyes all a-twinkle — and he avoids Tania's more direct stare.

Logan's attention span tightens just a little, flicking a glance from Sasha to Odessa in brief alertness, but again, he isn't needlessly interjecting or trying to start conversation. Listening.

There's something in Odessa's tone as she addresses Valentin, it brings Tania's attention that way, and she does, for a moment, look quite upset. She has to close her eyes to get her expression back to something more neutral, and she swallows hard before she looks over at Logan.

"Can I get past you?" Her hand finally leaves Sasha's sleeve and grabs the backpack at her feet. Perhaps she's taking Valentin's queue there, to go get changed. But more likely, she just has to get away from the table.

Odessa manages to hold it together for the length of time it takes Tania to take her leave of the table. Her anger doesn't simmer, but instead comes to a full boil, bubbling over. She jerks her arm away from Valentin's touch so she can slap her palms down on the table's surface hard enough to rattle the dishware and send the pepper shaker toppling next to its partner salt.

Fingers curled under its edge and a quick jerk upward have it leaning precariously toward the two men opposite her. Fortunately, the whole thing is too heavy to go over entirely. "How dare you?" As if she somehow didn't deserve to be called on her allegiances. Her gaze fixes wide and furious on Sasha. Perhaps the lady doth protest too much. And her tactic changes, quite belatedly, from fuming indignation. "And what of you, then? I'm not the one licking boots here."

Is there a record for being thrown out of an IHOP the fastest after setting foot in it? If so, whoever holds it might have some competition. Sasha leans back in his seat and he darts a glance under the table, which he could have sworn was bolted to the floor, then back up at Odessa, his eyes bright with a combination of malice and amusement.

He holds up his hands in a gesture of surrender, as much as he might want to put them around her throat and squeeze until her body stops twitching. Impulse control. See? He has it, sometimes.

"For fuck's sake."

Logan breaks his own silence in petty exasperation and overtired impatience — he'll be grateful in a few seconds that Sasha didn't push the conflict, but for now is more or less addressing the table over the sound of Valentin's fork scrapes. "I think we've all done our fair fucking share of taking orders. She fetched your sister, and he stopped you from being arrested. Blimey, there is something wrong with you when I'm the bloody voice of reason. Can we go now?" is whinier, petulant, and directed at Valentin.

"As soon as the young lady is ready," the Slovak says blithely, oh so above the squabbling to the point where it almost seems as though he has tuned it out utterly. "You have all done such good work tonight."

The young lady is taking her time in there, but not because she's primping. Her first order of business is to throw up into one of the toilets, a mix of not feeling well and feeling sick over her cohort in the Institute working for the man that she holds most responsible for it all. That she hasn't eaten makes it all a mostly futile effort, full of violent dry heaves.

But eventually she calms down and gets to a sink to splash water on her face and towel it dry after. Clothes come last, as she shuts herself in the larger, handicap stall to get changed. She doesn't put the pajamas in the backpack, but shoves them into one of the trash bins in the bathroom before she heads back out to the table. She doesn't try to get between the two men again, but perches on the edge of their bench. silently.

Odessa folds her arms over her chest, nails visibly dimpling her biceps, angry crescent moons forming just beneath her shirt's thin fabric. She takes something of a victory in Logan's pointing out that she is responsible in no small part for Tania's well being. So many venomous retorts flit through her mind regardless, but all of them remain unspoken. That the man next to her chooses to act as if she didn't just have a minor meltdown brings her to heel.

The woman can only assume what it is between the Slovac and the Russians that's the cause of the bad blood there, but she knows it's nothing to do with her. "I didn't tell you who sent me because it was safer for you," Odessa explains to Tania gently. "And I needed you to trust me. I made good on my promises. Remember that as you decide just how cross you are with me." And the apology for her deceit extends only to Tania.

"Shut up," says Sasha to Odessa, and out of respect for the man seated beside him, he leaves it at that. Still a little wobbily, he braces his hands against the edge of the table and stands, swooning when darkness presses in around the edges of his vision, but he does not pass out, which is also a good thing for Logan because if he did it would be right on top of him.

He's ready to leave when they are.

The rest of his coffee is drained, and Logan stands as Sasha does — a hand leaps out to grab a fistful of sweatshirt, but the Russian remains on his feet. Which is good. They probably would have both had an awkward crumple floor-wards, bouncing off the edges of furniture, had he done so. Also good because Logan can then tug him away from the conversation and towards the door, glancing back at Tania as if indicative of her need to heel.

Valentin wipes his fingers and mouth clean of syrup and pancake crumbs, taking a moment to check his phone, before he leaves money on the table by way of tip, the last to get to his feet.

Tania looks over at Odessa at her comment, but her gaze travels over to Logan at that glance back. But before she moves to follow, she looks back to the other woman. "I am not cross," is honest, at least, but also somewhat hollow. She's not ungrateful for the help, just… disappointed at finding out its source. But she keeps her comments short and comes up behind Sasha and Logan a moment later, the backpack slung up on her shoulder.

Once, Odessa held Sasha in high esteem, and it's possible some of that remains, because she respects his suggestion that she stop speaking to his sister, acknowleding Tania with only a small nod of her head. She gathers he labcoat and rises to her feet, foot tapping agitatedly against the carpeted floor.

Perhaps very wisely, Price chooses to stay standing alongside the booth, lingering as Logan steers Sasha and Tania toward the exit. Only once Valentin moves to follow does she do the same.

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