Ice Capades


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Scene Title Ice Capades
Synopsis Sasha takes his sister out for some wintertime fun in Central Park, and somehow they end up with a list of favors to present to John Logan.
Date January 06, 2011

Central Park

Central Park isn't the kind of place that Sasha Kozlow would want his sister visiting after dark, with or without supervision, so it's just as well that curfew forces him to play chaperone during the daylight hours when the sun makes the snow on the ground and the ice in the trees sparkle, and while he might be content to feed the swans or sip hot chocolate in the shadow of Belvedere Castle, he recognizes that there are other things his baby sister might enjoy more, things that she never had the opportunity to do back home in Russia.

Like skating, for instance. It's fortunate for both of them that the small, repurposed rink rents the equipment for it by the hour, or he and Tania would be out of luck. What's unfortunate is that they were out of skates in his size, and he's spent the last twenty minutes with his feet jammed into shoes that pinch his toes and make his hackles bristle with irritation that would be obvious to someone who's used to it — say, John Logan — but not to Tania, despite the fact that his gloved hand is unusually tight around her mittened one.

While other people in New York City might be feeling dreary because of the weather or the martial law or squished feet, the younger Kozlow is currently delighted. And while she wears her emotions gently, no squealing or riotous laughter from this one, it's unmistakable. She's lit up, eyes wide like she's trying to drink in every detail.

She is grateful for hand holding hers, though, as she's ridiculously unsteady on the blades, and gets around the ice by slips and awkward steps more than actually skating. But all the same, she looks up at her brother with her soft smile; happy. "I am thinking… I am not very good," she notes as an even younger child glides gracefully right passed them.

"Practice," Sasha suggests. "No one is good at something the first time." He's no Evgeni Plushenko himself, but a little balance goes a long way on the ice; he hasn't fallen yet and probably won't unless something catches him by surprise or he hits an uneven patch that he can't recover from, and then they'll both be in trouble.

It's nice, too, to spend time with his sister without the judgemental eyes of their mother on them. Instead, he's on the lookout for men in uniforms not unlike the kind he used to wear on the offchance that Sarisa Kershner retracted his death certificate when he wasn't looking. "«Your English is much better.»"

"«No one spoke Russian, where I was living. That is practice,»" Tania says with a shy little roll of her shoulder, "«And only one who wanted to learn Russian.»" She looks down at her feet for a moment, biting her bottom lip in concentration as she tries to mimic the others around the ice. "«Would it be very hard to find out if a friend was okay? After the riots?»"

Unfortunately, she glides a little too much, and her feet end up getting ahead of her leaving her leaning too far back to be able to stay upright. But clinging to her brother seems to be able to keep her from landing on her butt on the ice, it just isn't very conducive to getting back upright.

Sasha wrinkles his nose at the prospect of consorting with the likes of the Ferrymen, but his experience with the network has largely been limited to his interactions with Catherine Chesterfield and her ilk, and he isn't about to explain to Tania that it's in both his best interest and hers to just let it go. That would involve explaining to Tania what his work really entailed, and somehow he doubts she wants him to regale her with tales of bloody shootouts, bars catching fire and men, women and children flooding out onto the streets, screaming.

He's supposed to be a doctor, not a soldier-turned-terrorist. "«Does your friend have a name?»"

It would come as something of a shock, no doubt. Especially given that she's had years to imagine what her brother might have become while they were separated. Terrorist never came up.

"Oof," Tania starts as she tries to get her feet back under her in a bit of a flail of long, skinny limbs, "«Of course.»" And when she manages, her opposite arm wraps around his for a moment, no matter that it makes skating all the more awkward. "Abby. Abigail Caliban."

"Hnnn," says Sasha, an awkward, nasal sound at the back of her throat that sounds vaguely wolfish when paired with the breathy snort he blows out of his nostrils a moment later. The hand that had been clutching Tania's goes to wrap an arm around her waist to steady her, which is awkward too, but slightly less so. "«You're sure this Abigail is your friend? Not just— a casual acquaintance?»"

And Tania does lean against him some, just a little! But at his question, she looks up again, eyebrows lifted. "«You don't have to worry about Abby, she's not dangerous,»" she says, jumping to conclusions just a little. "«She came to see me often… she was my only good friend. I mean, everyone was nice! But Abby was different.»"

Different is definitely among the adjectives that Sasha would use to describe Abigail Beauchamp— Caliban, if for reasons other than the ones Tania has picked. "«We've met,»" he says. "«She doesn't like me.»" Which isn't a no. Her brother's voice gets hard when he means no, and right now his tone is almost cautious, tentative. "«Tell me: does she know you as Tania, or does she know you as Katya Leshcheva? It makes a difference, the way I approach this for you.»"

"«She doesn't? Why not?»" It just doesn't seem to jive in her head. Abby is nice, her brother is nice; don't nice people get along? Tania shakes her head a little, though, at the last, "«Katya. Very few knew my real name. Mr. McRae made me practice Katya until it felt natural so I wouldn't slip. Just in case.»"

"«We've had a few disagreements,»" is possibly the biggest understatement Sasha has ever made, but there it is. "«She's a hard woman to find, your Abigail, but I'll see what I can do. What our friend John can do.»"

He pauses again, then. Punctuates with a glance slid sideways at his sister. "«Do you like him?»"

"«Maybe you two should just make up,»" is Tania's ever so worldly suggestion. "«I think they all like to be hard to find. Something in common, no?»" That her little smile tilts there just might mean she's attempting a joke, but subtle social clues aren't her strong point.

She pauses, looking back over the ice as she gives John Logan some thought. "«I'm not sure,»" is what she ultimately states, looking back up at him. "«He has been nice… and he's your friend, isn't he? But he has a… a distance. It seems like.»"

"«We will ask him to find you papers, maybe. As Katya Leshcheva, if you prefer that name, but Tania Kozlow would be easier. Residency. Citizenship. These would not be bad things. You could go to school for music even. I'm told the universities here in America are better than the ones back home, though maybe not here in New York City. It's very dangerous.»"

Of making up with Abigail, he says nothing. Considers instead with his brows lowered and lids suddenly very heavy. If you tell someone you're sorry for burning their childhood home down to the ground with their parents inside it, does that make it okay?

He wouldn't know. Almost no one apologizes to him for anything, and rightly so. "«Your birthday is next week,»" he adds in an attempt to switch to a more pleasant topic of conversation. "«Have you thought about what you want? Besides a meeting with Abigail.»"

"«No, no, I would rather be Tania. If it is safe for me to use it? Is the danger passed now?»" Tania blinks a little there, like she hadn't expected school to be on the menu, or other normal things. But she doesn't seem to know what to think about that option just yet, so steps right around it. "«You want me to leave the city?»" The disappointment only tints her words there.

"«I think,»" she starts, at the subject shift, "«that I'd like a cake. And ice cream.»" All very scarce things, back home. At least for her. She hasn't discovered the marvel that is ice cream and cake together in one concoction, but it's bound to be mindblowing.

"«There's a bakery here in Manhattan,»" Sasha says. "«It's very good. Piece of Cake, they call it. American idiom. A joke, I think, but your friend owns a shop, too. Also in Manhattan. They have both cake and ice cream, though I haven't tried it.»" Mostly because Sasha would not be caught dead in any building that Abigail owns, regardless of her status as a fugitive, something he does not see any need to inform Tania of. Yet.

He hates to see his sister worry. It does unpleasant things to her face. "«What about the opera? Or a play?»"

"«Oh, yes. A piece of cake. I get it.»" Clearly, a sense of humor runs in this family. But Tania nods at the mention of Abby's shop, "«She would bring sweets when she came to visit. It was very good!»" Plying a young girl with desserts, how dastardly. "«But your place sounds good, too,»" she offers, for his comfort.

His suggestions widen her eyes further, something as extravagant as the opera coming as a bit of a surprise. "«Could we?»" It's almost like she's trying not to get too excited.

Sasha tips his head that way, and then this way, as if thinking it over. "«Well,»" he says, "«it would be safer if you went with John. He could take you out for dinner, then to the opera, and then the three of us could have a glass of wine to celebrate you turning sixteen back home after curfew. Together.»"

"«Oh. Yes. Do you think he would mind? I would love to see an actual opera…»" Okay, so she's a little excited. Her hands clap together, making a muted sound as glove meets glove. "«Wine, and the cake?»" Tania leans over to give him a hug, which halts their progression around the ice, and might annoy the people around them, but she doesn't care, just for now. "«You are good to me, brother,»" she says. And affectionately!

"«I can only ask,»" means that Sasha isn't making any promises except to approach Logan about it, and maybe he'd stand a better chance of convincing the other man to consent if he hadn't just had his ability forcibly wrenched from him. "«But we can do wine and cake even if he says no.»"

His legs go stiff, and he rests both his gloved hands at the small of Tania's back when she squeezes her arms around him. He's not as confident about his balance as he was a few moments ago, but at least he's upright and seeming to remain that way. "«Come on. Your cheeks are so pink! And your nose is starting to run. We should get you home.»"

Tania nods, understanding the if, but still excited all the same. "«And if he says no, maybe we can go to the movies instead,»" she adds, as if to prove she's okay with however it works out. And she leans land from the hug, a hand moving to her cheek when they're mentioned. "«Mother never would have let me out like this,»" she says with a smile, as if cold cheeks and a runny nose were the best thing ever.

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