Have A Happy Holiday


abby4_icon.gif cat_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif ethan_icon.gif

felix_icon.gif francois_icon.gif teo_icon.gif

Scene Title Have A Happy Holiday
Synopsis Happy Holidays, even in Russia, are attempted at.
Date November 26, 2009

Russia - Spektor Home, Ryazan

Abigail appropriated the kitchen. As the matriarch of the house so appropriated and dictated how sleeping arrangements were to be, Abigail dictated that just because they were so far from home, that they didn't need to forget traditions. Two was sleeping, his erratic insomnia catching up after Abigail had so easily put him to slave labor finding a turkey and other goods for them. The odds of it being a southern thanksgiving were slim and she had to work with what there was available in Russia.

The stove top is full of pots, things boiling, bubbling, steaming, the smell of turkey in the oven as it crisps up after endless hours of basting, turning, tweaking and careful surveillance of the great bird. Apron on, tank top on to combat the heat of the kitchen gives those who come up behind her a glimpse of the pseudo-tattoos and her pink hair is back in an elaborate confection of braids that form a bun. Far from home but a kitchen… is still a kitchen.

Wiping his feet at the door as well as removing his boots means that Francois manages not to trek the winter in with him. Coat hung up, scarf unwrapped and gloves reluctantly peeled off fingers gone pale with his knuckles rosy, it occurs to him that maybe he should avoid being sick, seeing as it can't be willed away, not anymore. His hair is damp from fallen and melted snow, but despite the biting chill, the university has been a continual lure, departing in earlier hours to try and catch glimpses of Carlisle Dreyfus from afar.

To what end, maybe there isn't one. The stubborn, doggish pursuit belies the way he'd all but shrugged it off when he'd gone with Catherine to get a beer, but there it is. Francois makes straight for the kitchen, as it's commonly the warmest place in the household, although he doesn't quite expect the sight he's greeted with when he shuffles in. "Bonjour. Are we having guests?"

Elisabeth, too, has put her hands to work in the kitchen. Potatoes were easy. Day-old bread for handmade stuffing as well, though the seasonings were a bit different here. It's the first time Abby and Liz have coexisted in a kitchen together as opposed to feeding one another with the copious amounts of cooking they each do, and it resulted in just a little push-and-shove on who was handling what. Now, as Elisabeth works on the stuffing with its cranberries, pecans, and apple chunks, the blonde looks nearly as domesticated as the pink-haired one. And Katarina, who has been casting a watchful eye, seems pleased. She peeks at the apple cobbler sitting on the counter and grins a bit. "Well… it's a little different than what we might do at home, but I like this idea, Abby." Last holiday, it was her, Conrad, and Abby…. this year, the cast is different, but somehow the reasons to have the holiday seem more important. As Francois joins, Elisabeth looks up and uses her bare forearm to wipe at her forehead, leaving a bit of a streak there. "Nope. We're celebrating. American holiday."

"Thanksgiving. I couldn't get any green beans or fried onions. Heavens if I could even find cornbread but they did have rutabagas." Spoken like it's a great thing. The wings, cross and half seen line of text that litter her back along with the mottling of bruising from her trip in the van here are visible till she turns to look over her shoulder. "Should be done in about half an hour. Surely, Francois, you have had a thanksgiving meal yes?"

Those who have met her mother would find it no surprise that Abigail knows how to make all this and without needing recipes to cook. "We are far from home, but that's not an excuse."

The stereotype isn't complete, though. One of the women on Team Charlie has not relegated herself to the kitchen for the purpose of feeding men who are elsewhere. Cat is instead occupied with other things. First she put the things they've learned into a database on Abby's laptop as previously stated, then went out to spend the day out in Ryazan, absorbing local culture and learning things simply by being awake as is her wont.

Now with darkness approaching, the sun starting to set in Western skies over a Russian horizon, Cat has returned and set to working with her balalaika. Even though it's cold, she's doing so outside the front door. Gloves with the fingertips cut out are worn, they handle the plectrum used to manipulate strings. It doesn't seem to be a big challenge, learning it, since she's already more than a decent guitarist and has solid dexterity.

Moving to lean his back just inside of the kitchen, at the wall next to the door, his eyes roam over what he can see of both Abigail's tattoos and her bruises, looking from Liz and then back to the pink-haired former healer. "Of course. I have probably had more Thanksgiving dinners than either of you," Francois responds with a wry twist of a smile, faintly mocking. In the next moment, there's concession in his voice when he adds; "Or at the very least, seen more go by. I hope you don't need my assistance."

"Nope… no assistance required," Elisabeth replies with a smile. "I'm still not convinced on the rutabagas front," she adds. She's elbow-deep in the stuffing and working it into the right consistency. With her hair pulled up in a ponytail, the detective looks right at home in the kitchen. The sheer volume of food here will at least feed speedsters and crazy Italian boys. Liz checks the yeast roll dough that's rising in the bowl next to her, and then says, "I think they're almost ready to be popped in the oven. Is that bird about done?"

Ouch. Abigail nudges Liz at Francois's comment. "Liz, I think we've been burned…" So true, between the two of them, he probably has seen more than the both of them. "You, Francois, since you're the doctor, can carve the turkey and show us your cutting skills." One pot is whisked off to the sink to be drained over a colander, the orange cubed vegetable tumbling free of it's copper-bottomed confines.

"Brown sugar, a little butter and you will be begging me to make more. Francois, you have upper body strength to mash em, you can do that." She's a little pink haired general in the kitchen as she leaves the pot for the Frenchman to deal with and with deft fingers, and protection for her hands, she's digging out the golden bird.

He could, with enough money, fade into the local population, at least for a while. But what'd be the point? They'd put a watch on the borders for him eventually. And this mission does need doing. But Fel's disappeared into Ryazan for the day - it's only now that there's the sound him scraping his boots clean out on the stoop, and coming diffidently in. He looks exhausted, eyes sunken. "Where did you get a turkey?" he wonders, sniffing the air as he unwinds the scarf he's wearing.

"I move around a kitchen like a mule," is Francois' token protest, but eventually, he's taking his weight off the wall and moving on over towards the sink to roll up his sleeves and wash his hands of whatever he's been doing all day. Newspaper ink, the trading of unseen bacteria from ATMs, stairway railings, doorhandles. Quick, however, to attend to the task given dutifully, and turns out he was exaggerating a little when it comes to his finesse about the kitchen — granted, he gets to stand in one spot.

"You move fine," Abigail chides, poking at the bird with a satisfied grin. "My secret Felix, let us just say I almost thought I'd need to call up Robert and ask him to have a teleporter bring me one." Quite possibly, if you ask around, she might have. She'll go to her grave and not tell, but there's more than enough to feed everyone in the house. She abandons the bird to let it rest and to start dumping in brown sugar and some pats of butter in.

"Gotta really use your arms to mash em" She passes over the masher with a grin.

There's a laugh. "I did not ask. Abby wanted, Abby got — that's the way it works," Liz says blithely. She ignores the comment about being burned and washes her hands real quick, grabbing the pan she wants to use for the rolls and starts dropping pieces of dough onto the greased sheet. "Felix, pop that bowl of stuffing into the oven, please. It needs the same temp as the rolls."

Felix also washes his hands, and then obligingly does as Liz says. He's quiet, blinking behind his glasses like his eyes are hurting him.

Masher taken, Francois— with great uncertainty— begins to crush the contents of the pot. Then, swifter, more sure, when no one tells him he's doing the wrong thing thanks to great second language misunderstandings as much as he's perfectly fluent in English — but there is always that second guessing. "If I had of known, I would have picked up some wine on my way back from the university."

"I'm sure that there is some wine here or some alcohol of some sort," Abigail points out to the Frenchman. She pauses to take in the domesticity, the music from afar no matter how stop and start it may be that drifts in from the out of doors. Imminent world death and the same as the last time, there's a big meal and worries are being put aside for the time. One hand reaches up to rub at her shoulders. "it smells delightful, what were you doing all day Felix? Francois?"

Elisabeth finishes the touches on the yeast rolls and she moves over behind Felix, her free hand sliding around his waist as she leans around him to hand him the pan. "This too," she tells him. Into the oven, she means. Then she turns and looks around the room and says, "Wow…. Abby, I think we're about ready." The pot of potatoes is also ready to be mashed, and she wipes her face once more.

Felix does as ordered, still quiet. "Went into Ryazan, looked around," he says, quietly. Not terribly forthcoming today.

"There can never be too much wine, especially upon reminisces about what we are thankful for," Francois feels the need to point out, tapping the masher against the edge of the pot like a conductor's baton, to shake loose vegetable, butter and sugar. He angles the pot for Abby's inspection, glancing towards Felix before he adds, "I have been looking for Carlisle Dreyfus, while attempting not to be seen. Today was unsuccessful. Also I found a skating rink." Not that he skated or anything, but it was a surprise. It wasn't there before.

The thickness of the Spektor home's sturdy floor and handsomely decorated walls is enough to reduce Teo's sleepy voice to a reverberating throb. "There's soooomeone outside." Yes, the Sicilian is shouting through the house, a little careless about manners given his perception, fuzzy from his nap but nevertheless reasonably certain, that the master and mistress of the household are not home. His ability tells him so. His ability tells him many things. He rolls onto his side under a snowdrift of linens and comforter and pulls his left eyelids open between a forefinger and thumb. Yells again: "Hey. Hey! Aaabby. Whooo's that?"

"Skating rink?!" That has piqued the pink haired woman's interest. "Are you okay Agent Ivanov? Headache?" A pinkie finger dips down into the pot, quickly scooping up a fingerful of the orange mashed root and tasting it. "perfection" A kiss dropped on Francois's cheek before her ears alert her to the insomniac's hollering.

Abby heads to the doorway, hanging a hand on the lintel and drpping her head out into the main room so her voice can drift to Teo's location. "It's Cat! She's practicing! Dinner will be soon!"

Elisabeth's head perks up too. "Skating? Rock!" Not as if we're gonna have a lot of time to just screw around, but you know? It's nice to PRETEND to be normal just for a little while. To take a moment to … be thankful. For being alive today. To hope that we can actually make the difference that needs making. Elisabeth hands Francois the pot of taters to mash too, with a wink and a grin, and then she wraps her arms around Felix Ivanov's waist and whispers in his ear.

Felix puts his arms around her in return, wearily, and nods. No reply, other than to put his head down on her shoulder for a moment.

This is all a lot like work. But Francois only takes the pot from Elisabeth with a flicker of a smile in return of that wink, and gets to work, making quick time of it so that he doesn't have to be, anymore. He tilts a look towards where Teo is hollering, a glance towards Felix and Elisabeth only to see them in an embrace. Politely, he focuses on his own task and doesn't offer up words for now.

The initial mumble of Teo's answer is almost drowned in the lassitude of sleep, "You should—" —but he jostles himself awake again by the very act of speaking, blinking, and pulling his knees up to his chin. "Get her in before she catches a cold. Or the food gets cold. How long?" Until dinner, presumably, rather than the young musician's death by hypothermia.

"Five minutes!" Abigail yells. Back into the kitchen proper, another rub of shoulder before Abigail's pouring milk, butter, salt, a little bit of garlic and salt and pepper into the pot that Francois works at. What she's thankful for is stuck inside her head, but the day has put more of a smile on her face than there has been since they got there. Back to the doorway the younger former healer goes "CATHERINE CHESTERFIELD! DINNER IS READY!"

The embrace is not exactly casual — but it is familiar. It's a tight hug that one gives a friend when they're hurting, not an invitation to hie themselves off and get nekkid. Elisabeth sighs and squeezes Felix tightly, dropping a light kiss on his temple, and then she nudges him. "Go get plates and utensils, pretty please? We're ready to sit as soon as the rolls come out." Food, and feeding the whole house — even Ethan if he shows up! — has put Elisabeth into something sort of approaching a good mood. "Holy God, Abby — I could have done THAT." She rolls her eyes and makes her way toward getting hot pads on the table so food can be set out.

Felix shuffles off to help set the table. It's like they're charging him by the word, or something - still not speaking.

Upper body strength effectively utilized in mixing in Abigail's additions, Francois pushes the pot away from himself, taking a step back and in the overall scheme of things, helping crush garnish into a paste is a little short of feeding the house, but there is, at least, some accomplishment in that he didn't get underfoot in the process.

Watching Felix depart, as silent as a dead thing, the Frenchman tilts a glance to Abby once she's done yelling for Catherine. "At least we can indulge in the pretense of holiday spirit, oui? What ails the Russian?" is asked quietly.

What is ailing the Russian. Abigail glances over to Francois, coming around to settle beside him, lean against the counter and cross her arms. "He had to choose saving the world, or his lover." That Felix is here, well.. that's the answer right away. "He's, I guess, worried." Everyone's worried. Pink haired head, those intricate braids she had Liz help her with that imitated some babushka's that she saw when a scarf was taken off is rested on the Frenchman's shoulder.

"Oh. The right choice is not always the happy one, then," Francois observes, angling his head a little when she rests her's against a shoulder thankfully not damp from snow, coat having done more than enough. A hand settles on her back, mindful of bruises, and contemplative silence ensues as he roams his gaze over the vast set up of food, making mingled, home-scents in the kitchen as much as that's so often the case, if now distinctly American. "Do you miss those you left behind also?"

Finally, there's a thump from upstairs, socked feet and bundled shoulders slopping their way through heavy doors and down stairs. Thump-thump. Thudthumpthump. "Qualcosa odora buono," he calls out, taking the last flight three by three. Teodoro again, of course, looking somewhat worse for wear after his impromptu nap as children are wont to. He pops out into the light through the doorframe, his hair poking out in bright pinestraw relief.

"How could I not?" Surely everyone here misses the ones who are back home. "I'm homesick, as I'm sure you are, for home." Wherever his home is. "But, we're doing good, we're making the world right again, and keeping people from trying to turn it into a wasteland." She sounds sure of it. "And we're not alone, we have friends here with us. So that eases it somewhat." She flashes a grin at Teo as he comes in, seemig at home beside Francois and having taken to him easily enough, as opposed to his non-analog version. Flint would be gnashing his teeth and likely advancing with a big knife by now. "Good sleep?"

Francois blinks, slowly, at her urging that he might feel the same. He doesn't deny it, though, because she's probably right, at least in some senses. That hand remains where it is, reassuring pressure put onto the touch that maybe communicates the rest of what he could say in response, before he's looking up towards Teo, offering a smile. "Ah, you slept. Astucieux. I should have thought of that before being put to task."

"I'm brilliant," Teodoro acknowledges easily, thumping in without the faintest wrinkle of disturbance manifesting at the peripheral trace of the undead Russian wandering about over —> there. "The 'outdoors cat' is still doing her thing, isn't she?" he adds, after a moment, tilting his head and cocking an ear at the distant strain of guitar music seeping in through closed curtains and window panes turned white with cold. Teo begins to paw at his hair, realizing his $8 dollar cut had probably come deconstructed at some point during his sleep.

A soft click. There are no sounds of footsteps. Not until the man is already in the room, and in the midst of the others. Now allowing his presence to be audible, the man stalks into the room, a glower painted on his features. Though it could be argued that a glower is perpetually present on Holden's features. The Wolf is wearing a long depressing-black trenchcoat. A bag is held in either hand as he slowly stares down each individual in the room. Finally after a moment, his mouth opens.

"Ladies and fuckfaces." A light smile pulls up. Bringing his bags over to the table, Ethan sets them down heavily to take out their contents. "I got some wine for the feast." Pulling out a few bottles, they are set down on the table, as he glances to the other occupants. Then he's reaching into the other bag. "And for the kiddies." A pointed glance is sent to Abby and then Teo as Ethan sets down a bottle of sparkling cider. With that he goes to crumple up the bags to go and throw them away.

"You are always brilliant. Like a bright shining star," Abigail muses. They're waiting for the buns to be done in the oven, for the yeasty globes to brown and turn edible. "If you had gone for a nap Francois, you would have missed out on the pumpkin pie I managed to fin-"

Ethan makes his way in and completes the feast. Wine. Cider. Last she knew, she was the only under-aged one here. "Ethan. Language! Or no pie and no amount of playing Russian janitor is gonna get you pie because I will serve you last" She scolds. The tone doesn't match the smile on her face. "But I am sure Francois is grateful that there is now wine"

"Bonjour," is Ethan's inevitable greeting from Francois, as ever guarded but genuine. Hand falling from Abby's back, he moves to open up a cupboard, picking around for the wine glasses he had seen there at least at one point. He takes out several at a time with dextrous fingers. "You do not have to be French to know when wine is required, but it helps. Merci, Ethan— I take it you are joining us in this ritual."

And only one of them American, until Elisabeth gets back. Teo bends his mouth around a grin, sudden and white, partially because it's horribly ironic that an Englishman brought the wine, and mostly because it's nice anyway. Teo puts himself into the nearest chair, settling in a painstaking fashion, the fetal slouch of his spine coming back into vertical alignment slowly, as if vertebrate by vertebrate. He glances down at the tidy place settings that the cops had taken care of. "Buona sera, Holden. Ruskin and Gray in Madagascar, Raith in Argentina.

"What do you think?" The names are familiar to the other patrons, to some more personally than the others. The recording hadn't done much to sort the great tangled furball of matted bones and fibers that constitute the complex relationships between the members of the various teams recruited to the cause.

"Fuck. Fuck. Fuckle. Fuckfuck." Ethan says in response to Abby's comment. A light smile is worn to match hers, though there is no mirth in his words when he says, "No, I just want to watch you." Throwing away the bags, he glances over at Teo wherein he frowns deeply. "You're an Italian guy trying to impress Americans with your accent and language in Russia. Congratu-fuckin-lations." Ethan says coldly. He takes a step away from the table looking like he might actually just be watching the feast. "I think it's going to be a very sad 'oliday."

Oh the swearing. Just like Conrad. Abigail just shakes her head, pulling open the oven to pull out the dinner rolls, ready to be pulled apart and set on the table. Felix and Liz puttered off, presumably to see what has the Fed all living dead like or maybe to fetch Cat? Something. "You're too skinny Ethan. Sit, eat. Sad holiday it is not, and we should all be suffering from food coma's after, yes?"

She offers a grin to the man, ignoring the spate of swear words. "Did you know what Fuck stands for? It's an acronym. For Unlawful Use of Carnal Knowledge." She picked that up while working in the bar. Butter is fetched and put out, a motion for others to take a seat, settle in as she does, head of the table left open for one of the men to take.

A pale eye swivels up, and Teo turns his head to make an unsubtle count of the Americans available in the room. One. He lifts a brow, starts to point out he'd been asking about Holden's other three cohorts, again, but finds himself dwindling into a silence, acknowledging the cold in Ethan's voice like a leaf acknowledges winter by folding inward and blackening. Really, if Ethan doesn't want to talk about them, or what they're getting off to, while the Russian house begins to smell increasingly of Turkey Day, Teo has no business pressing the subject.

"There must be a Russian equivalent of Xanax," he offers Ethan, instead. "By which I don't mean I think you should drown your neurotic hysteria in vodka."

"And what genius taught you that?" Ethan growls dully. "Fornication upon crown king, felonious use of carnal knowledge, false use of carnal knowledge. Fornication under Cardinal Knowledge. There's a 'ole mess of abbreviations for fuck. All fake, designed so little tweaked up blondes could say something innerestin' to their abusive boyfriends." He makes punching motions at the air before he's taking off his trench coat. Setting it on the back of one of the chairs he gives Teo a scrutinizing look.

"Did someone tell you, you were intelligent or funny? Where the'fuck is that person so I can beat th'shit out of them over and over and over…" The man glowers over at Teo before glancing to Abby. "Let's get this thing goin, roight?"

Did he just.

He just, and Abigail's not meeting anyone's gaze after the abusive boyfriend comment. Just a tight jaw, and eyes downcast. He wants to get this thing going? The pink haired, multi-braided woman folds her hands above the table as if in prayer, and it is prayer.

"We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing;
He chastens and hastens his will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Bring praises to his name: He forgets not his own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining his kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
Thou, Lord, wast at our side, All glory be thine!

We all do extol thee, thou leader triumphant,
And pray that thou still our defender wilt be.
Let thy congregation escape tribulation;
Thy name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Head bent, the youngest at the table offers up the lengthy prayer of thanks, regardless of any possible interruptions.

Francois is busy pouring wine, headed bowed with this task and listening to acidic banter as if trying to tolerate it. Upon sitting, he looks up, exchanging puzzled looks between Sicilian and Brit even as Abigail prays. Sitting back in his chair, he asks, "Do you two need to throw punches? Perhaps sit in separate corners? If you want to get this thing going, Holden, stop being unpleasant." He offers out a glass of wine.

"I want him to have a happy holiday," Teo answers, an eighth of a beat after 'Amen' fades out of Abigail's bright voice. Admittedly, there had featured a very long squint, a not-quite-verbalized hmmmm of contemplation at the whole abusive boyfriend line, but. Short of that. He holds up two hands, fingers splayed, effectively placated or accepting that he has been told off. Both. Either. He looks down at his plate.

Glancing to Francois, Ethan arches a brow during the prayer. He has the decency to wait til it ends before, "Maybe it's all the pleasant-ness that 'olds things up, if you think 'bout it." Glancing over to Teo he gives a little smirk. "Why thank you, Theodore. I want you to 'ave a 'appy 'oliday, too." He'd rather not be present, but he is, so all the same. Reaching out to grab the nearest wine bottle, Ethan reaches for his pocket knife that he recently picked up to open the thing. Getting it opened he goes to pour Francois a glass, first.

This was not what she imagined when she started on her own little personal quest to give everyone a taste of home, far from home. There's even cranberry sauce. Truth be told, her own enjoyment of the evening has gone from 60 to 0 in .02 seconds. But when the prayer is done, and Teo and Ethan have said their peace, Abigail's picking up the knife and passing it to Francois. "If you could?" Ram it through her and put her out of her misery. Carve the turkey. Your choice. The others who had gone missing, unseen or playing a musical instrument filter in after the sound of prayer and smell of food hit them.

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