2007-11-20: Accidental Proximity


Mariska_icon.gif Niki_icon.gif

Guest Starring:


Summary: Mariska and Niki run into each other and experience some recognition and confusion — some more than the other.

Date It Happened: November 20th, 2007

Accidental Proximity

Queens, New York

When you're a teleporter with the ability to 'buy direct' from any market or grocery around the world that you so choose, the novelty lies then not in some exotic destination but rather in embarking upon a shopping strip to the little store around the corner. And, thus, Mariska finds herself laden with grocery bags declaring her goods to be from the Queens Quick Stop, turning the corner on the block and embarking upon the short journey back to the six floor walk-up (which she likely harbors no intention of actually walking up while overburdened with groceries)…

…When she finds her path blocked by the figure of another human being turning the same corner from the opposite direction. Despite the chill in the air, which seems to become sharper every passing day as November starts to slip away, it's more convenient for Niki to walk through this familiar strip of Queens. Shunning the New York fall with a short black coat and a black, cable-knit scarf looped around her neck and still with length to spare, the woman's shape all but disappears, save for jean-clad legs. It's not that the trim blonde is clumsy in the slightest, or even that she wasn't watching where she was going, but her steps nevertheless slowed down just several seconds prior to turning that corner, and—


…or, rather, maybe CRACK! or SPLOOSH! might be more appropriate, if only because the first casualty of their head-on collision is the carton of eggs that had been improperly packed too close to the top and now lays in yolky ruin on the sidewalk along with a few other assorted items. «Dammit!» Mariska curses in her native tongue, struggling to keep the rest of her goods from toppling over or spilling out. She shoots a rather harsh glare the woman she ran into (or, actually, the woman who ran into her) but her expression immediately folds soft with the vaguest glimmer of recognition and she actually issues an unnecessary apology. "I'm sorry…"

It takes a moment of staring down at the colourful spill of grocery items before Niki snaps out her freeze-frame stance, the hands that splayed at her sides after crashing into Mariska now reaching down as she crouches to the ground. "Don't be sorry, it was my fault." As she sweeps some of the stranger's groceries into her arms, she looks around the street corner they're on, registering them at first with confusion, strangely enough; only after, as she's standing back up, does she really look at Mariska. Vague recognition is about right. Okay, so not-quite-stranger. "…I'm sorry."

Contriteness established; they're both sorry for something. Mariska stoops to salvage what she can but there's really not much more to be retrieved. The eggs are a definitive loss but, instead of just leaving them there in the midst of the sidewalk to be ogled with disgust or otherwise ignored by other passersby, she scours the surrounding area for a dumpster or some other appropriate bin to pitch the soggy carton into. She's thoughtful like that. With her gaze occupied elsewhere, she says, "You…" but then doesn't finish the sentence until a few moments later. "…know my husband." Let's start there.

Niki follows several short, hesitant steps behind, expecting to eventually give the woman back her groceries. Husband…? It doesn't click right away, the glimpses she's had of Mariska with Felix — she's too distracted inwardly with all manner of confusion before trying to figure out who this woman is. Like, you know, how she managed to be here to run into her in the first place. "I remember you from the bookstore…" she offers Mariska some groceries carefully. "…your daughter… the flyers."

Mariska bobs her head affirmatively in an acknowledging nod and utters a somewhat grim, "Mmm." without a trailing 'hmm'. That's the ticket, all the same. The proffered groceries are reclaimed and resituated in grocery sacks which are now no longer juggled but rather rested against the Russian's denim-clad legs. She's half-way hunched and regards Niki from a slightly unbalanced angle, passing through moments of industrious organizing and wary contemplation before hefting one reorganized bag onto her hip. Mariska's expression betrays some awkwardness, as she finds it difficult to lay eyes on the blonde without recalling her nightmarishly prophesied demise. What do you say to a woman you watched die screaming? "You live here?"

Totally unaware that the woman recognizes her from anything but in passing, Niki finds herself giving Mariska a faintly strange look, more wary than it is quizzical although it's certainly both, noting the way she's not quite looking at her. "Close. A few blocks," she answers, glancing over her shoulder in the direction she came from. Presumably.

Feeling perhaps foolishly generous with information, Mariska offers with a lift of her chin, "I do, too." She then makes a gesture down to the other bag still left against her legs and asks, "Would you mind helping me carry…? It's not far."

The sympathetic eye Niki has for Mariska's plight with the bags means that she's practically moving in to help before she's even asked to. "Oh— yeah, sure, of course." So, she obliges with a quick flash of a smile, stepping in to take the bag and maneuver it under one arm with ease. "You said … I know your husband?"

Mariska's expression brightens by a degree, either happy for the help or sweetened on the latest topic of conversation, and she swings a brief glance over at her fair-haired companion before falling into step and leading the way back 'home'. At first, she's taciturn, but then she resolves to unravel the riddle and replies, "Felix Ivanov.

The stride that Niki takes up beside the Russian near-stranger falters when she hears the name 'Felix Ivanov'. It's just a quick derailment, though — she keeps walking, looking over at Mariska in a new sort of light. "I wouldn't say I know him," she points out with something of a mildly cynical air. Whoops. "I'm surprised anyone does."

Oh really? Instead of expressing similar cynicism, the Russian wonders, "How do you mean?" The pace Mariska means to keep is brisk and, soon enough, they're both standing on the stoop of a six-story apartment building while the foreigner fishes for her forgotten keys. Damn! She always does this! Her expression scrawls into something both concerned and frustrated while every pocket is patted down. You know, standing shoulder to shoulder with stranger company isn't making matter any easier, either.

"Nothing, just— " Niki waves dismissively with one hand, a barely-there movement. "I just mean he's— kind of a mystery." She steps aside on the stoop to give Mariska some room while she searches and winds up giving the woman a concerned look. "Did you forget your keys?"

How embarrassing. Although, to be fair, Mariska isn't precisely toting a purse or the messenger bag that can typically be found slung over her shoulder. Round-the-block trips don't require the same sort of baggage as round-the-world jaunts but, uh, you know, having the presence of mind to grab your keys might make things less awkward in the future, Misha. Make a note, take a picture, get a tattoo, whatever it takes to remember. Sheepishly, she says, "I, uh… this door is usually unlocked." If that's the case, then it makes for an exceptionally poor security door. She spare a look over her shoulder and eyes the cars along the street, hoping that perhaps there might be a black BMW parked along the curb. There's a panel of buttons to buzz each unit and, with her free hand, Mariska pokes at the peg for apartment 601.

Which there is. Or rather, one has just pulled up to the curb - an ancient black sedan. And Fel steps out of it, in his overcoat, briefcase in hand, and comes trotting up to the door, fishing for his keys. ""Locked yourself out again?" he says, tone gently teasing. And then there's Niki, and he abruptly shuts up, blinking from one to the other….clearly awaiting an explanation.

It happens. Niki just smiles a little as Mariska goes through the motions of key-hunting. That button is going to summon the FBI agent, isn't it? "Do you want me to help you take this up, or…" But Felix appears from a direction she, for one, wasn't looking in; his appearance throws her off, but there's no deer-in-the-headlights stare. There isn't much of an explanation to be had.

Press button. Receive husbin. Mariska, too, looks a little startled by Felix's oddly misdirectional manifestation, but she's quick to recover a smile, even in the face of being teased. "Maybe I just do it to make you feel useful." Snap. She's kidding, of course… right? Right. Mariska violates casual proximity in order to sidle in close and relieve Niki of her grocery burden as, apparently, the blonde's bags actually belonged to her companion. "Thank you for help," Mariska says.

Felix's smile is…wary. "Hello there," he says, amiably enough, as he takes some of the grocery bags from Misha. "And that's what men are for. Opening doors, jars, etc."

"Agent Ivanov," Niki greets — amiably enough, also — after she hands off the groceries that are in turn handed off to Felix. With a scant smile between the pair, she moves to slip past them. "Sorry again," she tells Mariska with a smile that's a touch warmer, and heads down the steps back onto the street. Random encounter over, as far as she's concerned.

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