Scene Title Isolated
Synopsis Another steps out of the time-space continuum. Someone who is looking for Elisabeth Harrison too.
Date January 4, 1999

New York City: Central Park

Tula was like this, the snow, the cold, the grey city.

Nicolai Novikov (and he started going by that name when he started running guns, drawing some line between his family, his yankee born sister) has never contemplated what it would be like to turn back time, or to even go home.

But the seed sown by Samuel Sullivan has only room to grow when he's transported to New York's winter of 1999, when the storm-taste in the air and the fumes of distant growling cars, the white and silver and black landscape of shining glass and urban filth, all make him mildly homesick. He's seen several winters here, of course, including the big one of 2010, but his sister had been dead, then. They hadn't mattered.

When he saves her, Nicolai has determined, he'll take her back to Tula, because fuck New York City. They can be like his parents were, making migration together.

It had only been an hour ago since the St. Louis' air, a milder spring, had made a less pungent ambiance pressing against his skin, the sky making clarity, giving way to the bright eye of the sun. Twenty five years ago doesn't feel very different until you get up close and see the details, but Nicolai only had eyes for the seven-year-old girl racing a white-wheeled bike in wide, looping circles over beaten grass and park-earth surface. Samuel had stood with him - unwanted company, but Nicolai couldn't get the energy to tell him to go away.

He also couldn't get the energy to say no when the image of Elisabeth Harrison was slipped into his hands. A young woman, pretty, and Nicolai isn't a killer by nature, except for a few instances he'd come to call isolated. But who was she, compared to the little girl, his sister, pumping her legs to drag her bike up the smooth incline of grassy hill, just to rocket down again? Her cropped, glossy hair snagging in the wind, her European paleness and darkness combined? Who was Elisabeth Harrison, compared to a girl who would wind up in jail, who would wind up getting killed in a fight club to a cheering audience?

No one at all.

Moisture makes damp blossoms on the black and white image of the would-be FRONTLINE officer, the snow turning into sleet, degrading gracelessly, until he makes it go away. The grey courtyard of the Belvedere Castle is almost empty, expansive like a helicopter landing, although Arnold's brand of time-space teleporting does not require a lot of space. The miserable weather drives tourists away, and Nicolai is left with his thoughts and the view of an unruined Central Park, a perfect skyline untarnished by the events of September, and a much later November.

Well. Not completely alone. A boy in a gender-neutral parker stares bright brown eyes at the large Russian mobster with his leather-clad hands clutching the photograph of the woman he is to kill. It takes Nicolai several seconds to understand what he's captured of the boy's interest, until he remembers.

Slushy sleet twines in thick, unnatural ropes as he repels it from himself to fall mere inches from his body, remaining dry save for where snowflakes had previously touched him. The cobbled ground under his boots is free of moisture, stringy rivulets of icy water puddling a moat that spreads outwards and away. It's as if the falling dampness knows that he's not from this time, and makes its best, sentient effort to steer entirely clear of time-imposter. That, and Nicolai left the gas on, as it were.

He does a smile that is more of a baring of teeth than anything else, and allows the sleet from the sky to fall more natural, making icy needle-pricks against his skin and unprotected skull. As if he had broken a spell, the boy is quick to move away, unbreaking his stare until he can slip within the safety of the faux-medieval attraction.

Eventually, the cold even gets to the Russian-born would-be assassin, and he crumples the photo within his gloved hand, and steps into the backdrop of January, 1999.

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