Immature Strategy


melissa_icon.gif sasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Immature Strategy
Synopsis Melissa finds Sasha. After some argument, she asks him for a favor.
Date August 14, 2010

Nature Center

Though Melissa left the makeshift hospital the day before, citing a need to go home and check on Kendall, she's returned barely twenty-four hours later. She's free of the blood she left with, and is in a more cheery type outfit. Well, to her anyway. She needs cheer right now, and she's likely not the only one. So her rainbow hair is joined by other color. A rare thing on Mel - with the exception of her red scarf. This time it's a black skirt, black stockings with small skulls with pink bows, and a black tank top with a larger picture of a pink bow topped skull. Pink is cheery, right? Right?!

She steps in, looking tired, faint lines around her eyes and on her forehead showing that she's still in pain from the ability-induced migraine. But she's here, hoping to find somewhere to help, even just a little. First aid can be handy! So she glances around, taking in the sight of people who are injured, and those who are helping the injured.

Behind one of the makeshift curtains, Sasha's silhouette prepares a syringe of sedative for the patient he is currently tending to: a young man with severe bruising that makes his otherwise handsome face almost unrecognizable in the field hospital's washed-out lights. Before she left, Eileen cleaned Magnes with a cloth doused in warm water and a mild soap, mindful to clear his nose and mouth of blood so the Russian wouldn't have to waste valuable time during his next visit. He might be more appreciative of the gesture if he was aware of it — they haven't spoken since February.

He locates a vein with practiced ease and slips the needle under his skin before releasing the directly medication into Magnes' bloodstream. It won't help his injuries, but it will keep him comfortable, and that's the most anyone can do for him right now.

The figure behind the curtain draws Melissa's attention, and she moves across the room to peek behind it, saying as she does, "Hey, can I he—Sasha?" she says, with some measure of surprise. "Didn't know you were here." She glances at the patient, just the faintest of looks, then shifts her gaze back to Sasha. Something is considered, then she shrugs slightly to herself. "Want some help? Not a doctor like you, but I'm decent enough with first aid," she offers.

"Where else would I be?" he asks Melissa without raising his eyes. Sedative administered, he places two fingers against Magnes' neck to check his pulse and must be satisfied with its strength and rhythm because he discards the empty syringe into the rubbish. The latex gloves he wears on his hands join them a few moments later with two brisk snaps.

There's a shrug in response to that. "Hell if I know. Just didn't expect to see you here. Guess you don't need any help though?" Melissa asks, giving another glance to Magnes, though this time she's looking over his injuries. "Though, if you're done for now…I was hoping to run into you again," she admits.

Fold-out chair legs scrape across the linoleum floor and Sasha takes a seat at Magnes' bedside. He spent the majority of yesterday on his feet and managed to steal a few hours of sleep at some point during the night, but his body is tired. Hungry, too, but all that's available to him is a half-empty bottle of water stashed under the cot, which he scoops up in his palm. "You did not expect to see me here," he repeats, dubious as he unscrews the bottle's plastic cap. As soon as he has it off, he lifts his eyes to Melissa and feels his mouth crease with amusement when he sees what she's wearing. "How strong is your back?"

"Uh…strong enough? I keep in shape and all that. Depends on what you need me to do," Melissa says, shrugging again. "And right, didn't expect to see you here, but still, I hoped I'd run into you somewhere. Raiding my fridge or something this time, I don't know. Stuff I wanna talk to you about."

"Bodies rot in the heat," Sasha explains. "We keep them in the basement where it is coolest, but not for much longer. Soon, we will have to dig." He takes a long drink from the bottle, some water leaking out the sides, through his beard and down his throat as it contracts. This done, he scrubs it away with the back of his sleeve. "What is it?"

There's a wrinkle to Melissa's nose. She's made dead bodies, but not handled them. "Yeah…I guess I can help you deal with that. Dig now, move later? We can talk while we work? And, well, okay, this has been bugging me hardcore. Why did you leave a drawing of a dead dog in my bedroom? Abby seriously freaked about that, you know. Warned me about you, blah, blah, blah. Said it was creepy, and that it was what you thought of me. I'm not so sure."

Sasha twists the cap back on. "Abigail," he says, as if though those three syllables explained everything. They of course don't. "She has these ideas in her head, but they are only ideas." As for why he was compelled to tape his masterpiece to the wall above Melissa's bed— he rolls his shoulders into a loose shrug. "Some people. They have no eyes for art."

"Maybe, but still. It is kind of unusual to give a chick you've met twice a picture of a dead dog, however well done it was," Melissa points out. "Not sure why you felt compelled to give me anything, for that matter. You weren't exactly happy with me. Or was that the point?"

"A lesson, maybe." Sasha sets the bottle of water back down on the floor, rests his arms across his thighs and links his large hands together, fingers and knuckles knit. "You are how old, Melissa?"

"What kind of lesson?" Melissa asks, frowning at him. "And I'm twenty-six. What does that matter? Age is just a number. It's what you've lived through and how you deal with it that matters."

Tact is possibly not one of Sasha's strong points, but he has just enough to pause for the time it takes him to look her over again and consider the lease offensive way to phrase what he's thinking. "I wonder why you are dressing like sixteen," he says after the beat. "And what you do to your poor hair. Difficult, I think, to take seriously."

Melissa glances to her clothes, then down to the colored tresses that hang over her shoulder, and she looks up at him, frowning. "I was trying to dress more cheerfully, instead of in my usual all black. And what's wrong with my hair? And what does all this have to do with the drawing?" Though she's clearly stung by his comments.

Sasha takes his hands apart so he can gesture with them. He makes a frustrated sound at the back of his throat, though it's difficult to tell whether he's more aggravated with Melissa or the language barrier. It's always easier to articulate in Russian. "Chyort voz'mi," he mutters under his breath, spreading his hands. "I give you my picture because you are a child about it."

Arms fold over Melissa's chest and she frowns at him. "How was I a child about it? I thought that it was weird to be drawing a dead dog. I have a pet dog. When he dies, I'll bury him, I won't draw him. Even if I could draw," she says, shrugging. Then she stops and considers him for a minute in silence. "There's no way I can get you to see me as an adult, is there? Enough to teach me how to plan attacks better."

Sasha exhales through his nostrils and rakes fingers through his shaggy hair, its natural red highlights only faintly visible under the glow of the lights. They come away greasy with sweat. "I will teach you strategy," he concedes, "so you do not kill the wrong people. But you will listen and keep your mouth like this." He makes a puppet of his right hand and pinches the tips of his fingers together, indicating silence. "Abigail has this problem also. She says things that belong up here." And he points to his temple.

"Am I not even allowed to ask questions relevant to learning strategy?" Melissa asks dryly. A pause, then she sighs. "Jesus, Sasha. When was the last time you took time to eat or sleep?" she asks, as though just noticing the signs of tiredness on the man.

"Questions, yes. Snideness, no." He rises from his chair, glances back over his shoulder at Magnes' prone form and then directs his gaze somewhere past Melissa. There are times that he wishes his Vanguard namesake came with wolfish traits like an enhanced sense of smell — if it did, he wouldn't have to search for the kitchen that he's only heard about from the other volunteers. Rumours of a flavourless goulash have been circulating the floor before Melissa's arrival. He'd like to taste it and judge for himself.

"Too long ago," he says. "See Megan Young if you do not want to dig. Maybe she will have something better for you. I return to Hook tomorrow."

"Then come on. You're going to sit your ass down and eat while we talk," Melissa says, motioning for him to follow as she makes her way towards the kitchen. "And I don't mind digging. Been there, done that. Someday I may tell you about the skeleton in my basement if you're nice enough," she adds.

She glances over her shoulder at him, frowning slightly. "Why do you stay at the Hook anyway? It doesn't seem good for you. And my attic is free for now, as I said before. Then you wouldn't have to break in to take food."

If Sasha had hackles, they'd likely be bristling. "I like the Hook," he says, managing to keep his coarse voice steady, even, "and I like eating alone. I am tired, as you say."

Melissa stops and turns back to Sasha, sighing. "Okay, seriously, what's the deal? No matter what I do you seem to want to find some sort of fault with me. At the railyard, I could get it. My house? I couldn't. Now? Dammit, Sasha, I'm trying to help you. Whether or not you teach me strategy. So why are you pissed at me now?"

"Do not be so vain." Although Sasha maneuvers around Melissa, there's nothing brusque or particularly rude about his movements. He withdraws, body language closing up like a clam clapped shut. "Some people do not enjoy being around other people," he says. "Learn this if you have not already. It is not all about you and me."

"See, now that's a perfectly good explanation," Melissa admits with a shake of her head. "Explains almost everything. And if you prefer to eat alone, then when would you prefer to discuss strategy? I don't think that my plan for your rescue was necessarily bad, but it could've been better," she allows, though it looks like even that tries to stick in her throat.

"We will discuss strategy when Petrelli decides what we are to do next," Sasha says as he moves off, headed in a direction that may or may not be the kitchen. He'll find out soon enough. "Think of it as a test."

That has Melissa stilling, grimacing faintly. "A test? You're assuming that he'll put me in charge of another mission and won't just ignore me as best he can," she mutters, shaking her head. "I wouldn't count on being able to test me, unless you're talking quizzing me during said mission, to see if I can spot weak areas or something."

"That would be a start," is Sasha's version of good bye. He ducks under the sheet that separates Magnes' cot from the one beside him and disappears, the sound of his retreating footsteps absorbed by the ambient noise. Not only does he need to put some food in his stomach and lay down for a few more hours, he needs additional time to think as well.

Melissa brings up a very good point, and although there are undoubtedly ways around it, he doesn't yet know what they are.

His departure has Melissa sighing and running a hand through her hair, before looking at it in disgust. "You know where to find me," she says to Sasha, before she turns and starts to head out of the building, grumbling to herself.

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