2007-08-27: Men Of Marble And Girls Of Glass


Felix_icon.gif Mariska_icon.gif Mohinder_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Sasha and Rainer

Summary: Heartbreak in Hartsdale as Felix and Mariska are brought together to meet their daughter and make a deal with the devil. (This is the probably painful reunion you're looking for.)

Date It Happened: August 27, 2007

Men of Marble and Girls of Glass

Hartsdale, NY - Somewhere in Primatech

Leaving poor Mariska to fret, and stew, it's taken longer than anticipated for the promised meeting to take place. It's probably been an eternity to the woman… but Mohinder does return to her room. He's not alone, and unfortunately it's not Sasha he has with him at this time. It's Felix. Knocking at the door to announce his arrival, he unlocks then opens the door, "Miss Dmitryevna? It's Doctor Suresh, and I have a visitor for you."

Well, at least they've let him shower, and shave, even if he's in prison scrubs. Fel is right with Mohinder, still barefoot, though the bruises are mostly faded and the stitches have been taken out - he's got a little white scar at one brow. He doesn't offer any particular greeting, since he's still really sort of unsure what Mariska has to do with him, other than being a fellow Russian.

Eternity doesn't even cover the half. Mariska has been hanging tough at wits' end for a whole day now and it's a blessed miracle she hasn't just snapped and done something… er, something. There was some yelling and screaming in the early evening yesterday but, ever since, not a peep. The word we're looking for here is… docile. (Maybe broken?) She's situated much in the same way as she had been this morning; having claimed one of the far corners of the room to wait it all out. Mohinder's voice on the other side of the door has her scrambling to her feet and even moving for the door, but there's room enough for it to open and not incur a comedic forehead or nose strike.

Mohinder lets Felix into the room first, then he's following after. "Miss Dmitryevna, I apologize that I wasn't able to bring your daughter to you immediately," he does look incredibly sorry about it. He wanted to let the woman see her daughter the previous day, no matter how heart breaking the situation would become. Putting off the inevitable is never good. As to Felix's presence, he doesn't elaborate.

Well, so much for being polite with Mohinder. Because Felix immediately drops into his native language. «I see you didn't get out,» He says, with a faint sigh. A glance around the room. «Though your accommodations seems a little more posh than mine. Do you know what this place is?»

Well, suffice to say that Felix is a far cry from a six-year-old girl and certainly not the company that Misha had in mind. This isn't to say that she's unhappy to see her countryman, though, at best, her expression probably qualifies as neutral painted over mild disappointment. Mohinder just gets a thinly baleful look. And she's not above lapsing into a more familiar tongue in front of her curly-haired captor, either. «They locked me in,» she says, as if such a thing were sufficient excuse.

Mohinder settles into a chair near the door. He listens to the inflection and tone of the Russian being spoken. The direct translation will be taken down in another room from the security feed. He lets the two converse, silently observing.

«This is apparently a research facility for some group that investigates human mutations. You were conscious when they brought you in?» Fel says, quickly. «You mentioned my partner - you've met him? What does he look like?»

Voyeur. For the first few moments, Mariska seems hesitant to even look at Felix directly but, after their initial words are exchanged, she opts to close the distance somewhat. «Dark skin, bald head, no concept of personal space. He seemed genuinely determined to find you, though.» There's a brief hand gesture that goes along with this description as she points to her own dark hair. She then lapses into some bizarre piece of pitying concern as her eyes manage to take note of the faded bruising Felix sports on his face. «What happened to you?»

Felix smiles at that - probably the first genuine one since he got here. «That sounds like him,» He says, tone almost fond. «This? It was rough when they took me, and then one of their thugs I used to know came around next morning to my cell for a little catching up on old times.»

It's about to be a full room. It's a good thing Mariska's accommodations are slightly more posh. They'd never squeeze in more guests, otherwise. The only indication that there's someone at the door is a gruff cough in the corridor before it opens. "Ms. Dmitryeva, Mr. Ivanov." The man standing in the doorway wears a drab brown business suit and an air of authority. Middle-aged with stony features that drum up visions of the military, he looks at the three individuals each in turn, starting with Mariska and ending at Mohinder and back again. "«Let's be polite to Dr. Suresh.»" Russian is not his native tongue, obviously, he has a Midwest accent if anything, but he speaks it neatly. “Do you two have any idea what you are to each other?"

And, speaking of 'no concept of personal space'… Mariska actually reaches out to run her fingers over the plum-run-yellow skin. Lightly. Very lightly. As if he were made out of nothing but smoke. «Old times must not have been good times,» she muses with the barest hint of a smile. This literally touching moment is interrupted abruptly by the man with the Midwestern twang and Mariska withdraws from Felix and retrains her attention on the new arrival.

Mohinder glances up as the door opens, then rises to his feet. He nods politely to the suited entrant. "Good afternoon," he greets. The folder in hand is opened, and a pen is produced as he starts taking notes.

"Obviously, she's a fellow Russian. Other than that, no," Felix says, calmly. He doesn't flinch away from Mariska's touch, merely closing his eyes for an instant. "No," he adds to her, almost sotto voce. "I was a cop, he was someone I tried to put away many a time, never succeeded. Knowing now who he works for, I see why I couldn't," he says, reverting to that clinician's calm, looking at the newcomer with distant curiosity.

For her part, Mariska seems to have designated this a 'quiet time'. She doesn't say a thing…. except for: "Where is my daughter?"

The new arrival lifts a brow at Mohinder. That man will take notes on anything, his look seems to express. It's Mariska who he answers first with a simple: "Safe." Safe is a location, yessir. He strolls a step or two inside. "You've both been informed by now, I'm sure, that our company deals with… certain threats that those individuals with exceptional, ah… abilities… hold. You have more than your heritage in common with Ms. Dmitryevna, Mr. Ivanov," he goes on to say, his voice naturally gruff. "You have the bond of being special." But that's not all! … however, Rainer stops there, save to query slow, "Do you understand?"

Mohinder does in fact take notes on everything. Whatever isn't being filed away mentally is going on paper. At Rainer's response as to Sasha's location, the geneticist keeps his eyes on his paper. That's not the answer he wanted to give Mariska.

The Russian woman's response is simple and comes complete with lips drawn into a thin line: "I understand." Felix's choice of terminology earns an eyebrow arch but her pale eyes remains ever fixed on Rainer… to the point of being intrusively intense.

Rainer stares at Mariska. He nods. His own gaze is similarly intrusively intense. He's an impenetrable fortress. "That would be right, my good man," he says to Felix only after eyeing Mariska a moment longer. "You're both evolved persons. Contrary to what you may've been told," he begins on a different tack authoritatively, "Your lives will not be the same after you leave this facility if you leave this facility, the decision on which falls entirely on you and how you," Both of you. "choose to react to your new landscape." The man's small steely eyes pin them each of the Russians. It's not intended to be a threat. It's simply intended to be the plain, gruff and ambiguous truth. "I want to make our purpose clear." Purpose being… what? Well, he's getting there. "Come with me." A nod to Mohinder to follow as well.

Mohinder closes up the folder, tucking it under his arm and nods to Rainer. Leave it to the man to scare people into thinking they'll never leave Company facilities. He keeps his expression painfully neutral, to avoid any apologetic glances towards the Russians.

Fel's face is about as expressive as a plaster saint's, at this point. Perfectly bland. This sounds like it's a hair closer to the truth than what he's been given thus far, at least. Even if Rainer is quite obviously some sort of spook. - takes one to know one. And it's not as if he can argue. So he doesn't balk or hesitate, or ask questions. Questions haven't gotten him anywhere thus far. And if it were going to be the bullet behind the chemical sheds, they'd not bother to speechify at him first. So he follows after Rainer, mute.

Well then. Rainer's stern sturm and drang is a hard act to follow and Mariska certainly isn't up to the task. Her compliance comes quickly and she falls into line like a duckling, putting herself somewhere between Felix and Mohinder. And awaaaaaay we go!

"So ya see…" Rainer says on the way, looking over a shoulder that's made broad by the stark line of his coat. "We come to the fork in the road." He doesn't lead them very far. This isn't Primatech Tour Day. It's to a door as equally nondescript as all the others that he takes them to, a short stroll down the hall. A window looks into the room, adjacent the door. The blinds are drawn up. Instead of a hospital room or anything of the sort, it's an office. Sunlight filters through the window, catching dust and alighting a handsome wooden coffee table in front of a black leather couch.

On that couch is a girl of approximately six or seven years of age with long, dark hair. Her feet dangle over the edge of the seat as she picks up a sheet of brightly coloured construction paper from a splay of art supplies.

"This is Aleksandra Felixovna Dmitryeva. Sasha, I think you call her? Some folks here have taken to calling her Alex. You've been searching for her, Ms. Dmitryeva, here she is, safe'n'sound. Now, calm yourself. Keep your wits about you," Rainer warns and instructs slowly to the woman before turning a calm eye on Felix. "Mr. Ivanov, she's also yours, 'least in blood. This is our crossroads."

Ivanov's face is frozen, utterly still - someone's a hell of a card player, out in the real world. Only the blue eyes are alive with something unreadable - some mingling of fury and humor and confusion and curiosity. He still doesn't believe Sasha's his, and simply can't puzzle out why they'd try to convince him she is. He merely looks at Sasha, patiently. Still not a flicker. And then looks back to Rainer and arches his brows enquiringly. And……so what?

«My baby!» Mariska is… in a word? Overcome. She is at once nose to glass, palms to pane, desperate trying to melt right through it in some sort of sad attempt to be on the other side so that she might be able to hold her child and just… cry. Unfortunately, since this course of action obviously isn't accomplishing anything of the sort (and Rainer's thrown out the reminder for her to stay calm), Mariska recoils from 'kid outside of the candy store' pose and stands there with both of her hands now clasp over her mouth and nose. It's all big eyes and heavy breathing. She might even be teetering on the edge of fainting. Who knows? For the moment, however, she's conscious and clearly very interested in finding out what sort of sordid things she'll have to do in order to be let in. She doesn't dare drop look at Felix. Not just yet.

Mohinder can't maintain the neutral mask any longer. There's a dark look he's giving Rainer now. A look of disapproval, as he doesn't like how this is going or being handled. "I ran the DNA testing myself, you are her biological parents," he supplies, keeping his voice level, even if his expression isn't staying that way. The paperwork is in his hands and says as much, if either parent understood the technical mumbo jumbo. Glancing at Mariska, Mohinder moves to her side, just checking on her condition and to put a comforting hand on the woman's shoulder. "Your daughter is just fine," he says encouragingly.

"Mhmm." Rainer takes the more distant approach to Mariska's reaction. Mohinder can handle that. He regards Felix. Mr. Madson isn't the kind of man to look upon another with instant respect by default. Quite the opposite. By the sheer happenstance of his background, Felix garners some measure of that respect more than others. Takes one to know one indeed. "Well, Mr. Ivanov. This is usually the part where we'd share cigars. You have a child. Not somethin' to take lightly." He nods to Mohinder and tells him in a succinct grumble: "Have copies of results from the lab printed out." Rainer turns toward the window and clasps his hands behind his back. Inside, the little girl plays on guilelessly. "Little Sasha here's very important to us. We keep the public safe, as I said, from threats of a special nature. Well. Sasha's special. She's a certain kinda special. She isn't fit to be thrown in among the masses, as it were. Wouldn't be safe for her, wouldn't be safe for anyone." He says this in a matter-of-fact sort of drawl. "You want to keep your daughter safe, don't you, Ms. Dmitryeva? How about you, Mr. Ivanov? Sweet girl like her?"

Welcome to life down the rabbit hole. Fel remains unconvinced of his contribution to this particular poor little maggot's existence, and thus summarily unmoved, at least to all outward appearances. Even Misha's obvious heartbreak earns her only a glance. It's all very touching, really, and a hundred percent not relevant to the life of Felix Nikolaievich save as it involves him getting the hell out of here. But there's a subtle chill creeping into his face, as Rainer talks. "She's not mine," he says, finally, tone utterly flat. "I don't know what the point of this charade is," Rainer gets a gauging look. "Is she the sort of Evolved that's a threat when her powers are uncontrolled? Or are you trying to use her as a hostage for the both of us?" He's not terribly high in the Bureau, but he does have clearance. But if they can pull off the sort of op that lets them kidnap a federal agent with no apparent qualms, then they've certainly already got access to levels far beyond his own. No ranting about how they could possibly use a child as a leverage point - his expectations of humanity at large are minimal, to say the least.

Mariska's green eyes, shrink-wrapped in tears, sweep a damp look from Rainer to Mohinder to Felix to her (their?) daughter and back again. Honestly, she's trying to be strong here - really, she is - but being shoved so far out onto the edge of emotional breakdown, she's only get a precariously thin shred of composure left to hang on to here… and it's ripping. Instead, she sucks in a hard breath, casting her resolve, and exhales a little gasp that is quickly hidden behind the fingers of her left hand, palm out. Just breathe. Start slow. Ready now? Okay, go. Mariska turns her chin ever so slightly and inserts three little words into the equation: "She /is/ yours."

Mohinder flashes another frown at Rainer's manipulation of the pair, particularly Mariska. "The testing… we're still determining the exact effects of her ability," the geneticist starts to explain where Rainer isn't treading. "She could also be harmed or killed by a threat who would take her ability for their own." Not exactly sugar coating it… but it's better than saying 'the Company wants your daughter for their own purposes'. Sylar's also not the only threat out there for Evolved. Not that this is the time to scare them further. "If you want to see the paternity test, I'll be glad to show it you Mr. Ivanov." Suresh gives Mariska's shoulder a squeeze before withdrawing his hand.

"Facts are facts. Can't argue genetics." Rainer takes his time replying beyond a nod in response to Mohinder. Instead of speaking up again straight away, he regards Sasha through the glass silently for several moments before, with a smack of his lips that is also matter-of-fact as all his words, he answers. "She can't help what she is. What she does is largely passive. It's as dangerous as it is extremely helpful. It's what she does, help. Whether she wants to or not. That's why she's here. World's gotta think she's missing. Only way to keep her safe." He turns around to face the others. "Now, you can either help keep her that way, or you can take the fork to the left. All that lies down there is trouble should you try to rebel against these unfortunate circumstances you've found yourselves in. Or you can take the right road with the Company."

"Nothing that has happened in this place inclines me to believe any one of you. I'll believe she's my biological daughter when I see the results of an independent blood test from a company I trust," Fel remains matter of fact. "Somewhere outside of here. Stop dancing around it - piety about fatherhood isn't relevant to me. You've got me where you want me. I've cooperated with Church and Suresh when it comes to testing my abilities. What more do you expect from me, exactly?" he says, eyeing Rainer with something like disdain.

Mohinder gives Mariska an apologetic glance before dismissing himself. Rainer is the boss around here, and can handle this without scientific input. Rather than be insulted by Felix's lack of trust in his testing, he's fine with it. Suresh doesn't blame Felix one bit for not trusting the testing. He's right. Why should he believe it? Beyond Suresh's expertise in this field?

Every mother would like to believe that their children are special. Unfortunately for Mariska, she just so happens to be right. And now, here she is, separated from her 'special' child by plaster and a pane of glass; such mundane obstacles that she could once so easily overcome. In fact… she's giving that little window an awful hard stare. Maybe if she looks at it long enough it'll shatter or disappear… or maybe she'll find herself on the other side of it. She's trying SO hard. Why isn't this working?! Somewhere in the middle of Felix's mildly insulting diatribe, she exhales a sticky breath and then looks at Rainer, the intensity of her green-eyed gaze having waned as if spent. Mohinder's departure is noticed in retrospect and she actually turns her head to try and figure out in which direction the geneticist disappeared to no avail.

Rainer remains impassive over Felix's lack of belief; on the surface, at any rate. His face could be a mask. "To put it simply, Mr. Ivanov. I want you to care. If that's not in the cards, well. All's we want is your cooperation, 'til it's time you go on with your life. You can forget any of this ever happened." Literally. "Mariska." He speaks the woman's first name for the first time to get her attention away from the disappearing geneticist and onto what she desperately wants. Using a card from his pocket and punching a security code, he unlocks the door to the office. "«Go see your daughter. Think about what's been said here today. You have a choice here, but only one involves being part of Sasha's life.»" he reiterates in Russian. He opens the door, keeping an eye on Felix while he holds it open to usher Mariska in. In a voice even lower than his deep monotone, he adds, "«Truth is she might not remember you so much. And she might be a tad drowsy. Take it slow.»"

Go on with your life. That has to be a wonderful euphemism. Up there with 'being sent to the showers'. None of this has pierced the agent's armor, not yet. He spreads his hands, slowly. "Why would I care?" he asks Rainer. "I've never seen this kid before in my life. My cooperation you already have, willing or no. Why the dog and pony show?"

Screw these mudacks! Mariska doesn't have to be told twice. She's over the threshold and setting foot into the office from the word 'go'. Rainer's words of warning are adhered to initially and Mariska makes her approach nice and slow. No sudden movements and no one gets hurt. (If only.) «Sweetheart?» she says, voice small and tentative. «It's mommy…»

"Mmh." Is Rainer's articulate reply. "Just want to make sure you understand our intentions. We are not as violent a creature as people like Vasili Babenkov make us out to be. You're a man of education. Green at the Bureau, but you're the kind of man who'll go places here in the US of A. That right?" He regards Felix with an intensely criticizing gaze, sizing him up without being demeaning. When he's through with that, his demeanor shifts, becoming almost casual — as casual as a man like Rainer can ever be. He tucks his hands into his pockets, turns and looks through the window at Mariska and Sasha. "What made you want to be a man of the law, son?" he asks, as if they were acquaintances and Felix isn't going to be locked in a room when they're finished their conversation.

In the office, the little girl has scattered the construction paper all over the couch, but there's an artfulness to the layout. An organized mess. She probably knows exactly where every work of art is. She looks up from intently pouring over a thick book. Bright blue eyes the colour of Mr. Ivanov's drift up to Mariska. Wide and blinking, her dark lashes flutter. The poor child's lips part, but no words come out.

"Not with two weeks AWOL on my record. My career with the FBI is over," Felix says, meeting Rainer's gaze without flinching or looking away. The blue eyes are utterly opaque. There's no rancor there, no anger. Merely that back-against-the wall resignation. Despite all the reassurances, Felix is utterly certain he won't leave this complex alive. Likely not even a recognizable corpse."The fact that Babenkov and Muldoon work for you tell me all I need to know." He glances past the window at Mariska and Sasha, without curiosity. And there's the faintest of sneers in his voice as he says, offhandedly, "In my blood, I suppose."

Mariska does her dexterous best not to put a toe out of place or hinder the little girl's haphazard work. But, as those big blue eyes turn her way, it takes the woman's breath away. It takes every ounce of will that she can muster not to succumb to the instinctive impulse that screams for her to rush right over there and throw her arms around her long lost baby girl. "Hi," is all she can initially manage to say without her voice cracking like an eggshell. She crouches down to get a better look at the colorful pulp pieces, fingertips touching this one or that one briefly before she adds in heavy Russian-clothed English, "What are you drawing?"

"They have certain skills. World's not pretty sometimes, sure you well know. Takes all kinds." Rainer doesn't glance askance at Felix as he speaks. His gaze stays steady on that room. "It surely is over, or at least in boilin' hot water." The stern-faced man nearly smiles at some inner thought. The sentiment is gone almost as fast as it arrives. "You go back to the Bureau, they're gonna have all manner of questions you won't be able to answer. You're different than them, Ivanov. You ought to put your skills to use where they'll be appreciated. Look at them," Rainer nods at the window. "Relations or no, people like that woman and that little girl— that's who you could be helping. People like you, only not so tough. What I'm tellin' you is, we could use you."

Sasha blinks up at her mother. There's no recognition, but there's no real fear, either — just quiet trepidation and wide-eyed curiosity. She closes the book on her lap. Its cover reads "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz". With a pale, delicate little hand, she takes a piece of aquamarine paper with a drawing of the Tin Man on it and hands it, arm outstretched, to Mariska.

"The fact that we three may have some bizarre mutation does not make us special," Felix says, with a ghost of anger in his voice. "Anymore than it would if I had Tay-Sachs, or she'd been born with Down Syndrome," He jerks his chin at Sasha. "Use me for what?" he says, turning a frigid look on Rainer. "A kidnapper and thug like Babenkov?" And then there's something kindling in the back of his eyes. "You've taken my career. Fine. One condition. You give me Babenkov. You can give him to the NYPD and make certain he gets the death penalty - make it look like he masterminded my kidnapping and murder. Or, you can give him to me here, personally." The facade has finally cracked, and what's behind it is a hatred that's nearly crystalline in its purity.

There's no disguising the quaking of Mariska's outstretched hand as she reaches over to accept the child's sketch. «Oh! The tin man!» Realizing in delayed retrospect that speaking Russian isn't getting her anywhere with her own daughter, she bravely puts on the mask of a beautiful stranger and repeats herself in English: "…the Tin Man." There's a little pause and then she adds, "It's very good." Can you hear that? That's the sound of a young mother's heart slowly shattering like glass.

Rainer turns his head toward the other man. A low grumble in his throat turns out to be a cough, but he scoffs after the fact. Mr. Madson's about to tell it how it is, ladies and gentlemen. "It does make you special, Felix. Folks with genetic illnesses can't stop moving vehicles with their mind or disappear outta thin air. People with genetic flaws live shit lives. What you, Ms. Dmitryeva and your little daughter have? Well, son. That's the opposite of a flaw. That's what Dr. Suresh calls evolution." He clears his throat once more and continues on gruffly, regarding Felix in a way that's almost… commending. "Agent Babenkov serves a purpose. Sometimes you need a precision drill for a delicate job… sometimes you need a hammer." It's obvious which is which. "I'll take your conditions and think about 'em. Turn 'em over for awhile. I like the way you think, Ivanov. I think you'd make a good company man."

In startling contrast to the stony men outside the glass window, the dark-headed child smiles timidly, bashfully, and rifles carefully through the piles of coloured paper. "My favourite is the lion." There's a definite hint of her accent in her crystal clear little voice, not as strong as Mariska's, but touching each word delicately. "He wants to be brave, like me. What's your name? My name is Aleksandra." If only she knew.

"No," Felix says, calmly, as if he really had any say about it, relaxing a little. "I would not. I have some standards." Standards that apparently find the idea of beating Vasili to death with a lead pipe in some anonymous basement just A-OK. He wasn't even joking. He's been observing the scene beyond the glass out of the corner of his eye, only half-attending. But now he turns to face the scene beyond the glass, squinting a bit past the reflection. "You lied to her," he says, conversationally. "She may have given birth to that child. But that's no longer her daughter, just as she was never mine. You fuckers. You sons of whores. The fact that you even pretended you might sell Vasili down the river at the request of some captive freak lets me know you'd do the same to me." He makes a small sound, something of a cough, something like a laugh. "Just take me out behind the chemical sheds. I'm done here."

There is it. Another little gasp; like a fish struggling to breathe on dry land. "That is a very pretty name. Where I am from, we would call you 'Sasha'…" Mariska's mask of bravery is fracturing fast. It hasn't been that long, has it? Is two years enough time to have been forgotten? Apparently so. She's been consigned to take up space in hearts and minds as nothing more than a living memory… on all accounts. "Mariska," the woman obligingly replies to the little girl's inquiry. "But, you can call me…" Mommy. "…Misha." Close enough. "I am sure you are very brave," she goes on to say, hand cupping her own chin while her index finger supports her lower lip to keep it from quivering. It makes her look as if she was on the verge of forming some brilliant thought. "The tin man was always my favorite," Mariska reveals, still clutching the girl's drawing in her other hand. "Do you mind if I keep this?" The picture… the moment.. the memory. All of it.

"Your perception is limited. I'll give you that much," Rainer counters in a growl, but seems otherwise unruffled. "Who's to say Agent Babenkov didn't already have a firing coming his way? We don't pay him to assault those who wind up behind our walls. But maybe you're not the man I thought you were, Ivanov. Which case, my bad." A compact black phone is removed from his pocket and swiftly utilized at his ear. "This is Madson. Have a man escort Mr. Ivanov back to his room until further notice."

"Okay." The child looks up at Misha with bewilderment, but it passes. Many strange people come to see her for all manner of reasons in this place. It was strange at first, but she got used to it and now it's all she knows. "You have pretty eyes," Aleksandra — Sasha — says shyly, rubbing at her own eye with the back of her hand, clumsy from sleepiness. "They're my favourite colour."

"Could've fooled me. He works with the enthusiasm of a man who has an absolutely sterling benefits package," Fel deadpans, tapping the scar over his eyebrow with a fingertip. He's back to that former nearly impenetrable reserve. "He does remain my price, either way." Aleksandra and Mariska get a rueful shake of the head, and he raps on the glass, with a knuckle, to get their attention. And once he's caught Mariska's gaze, mouths the phrase <I'm sorry.>

Mercy. Please, for the love of God and all that's holy… mercy! And then, a tapping at the window attracts the attention of both the woman and her estranged daughter. He's sorry? Wait. Sorry for what? What's going on? Mariska's ability to endure this brutal charade has paled so significantly that she abruptly stands up and says, "I have to go." Aquamarine memory in hand, she takes a step toward the door and then looks back down at the little, raven-haired girl. "I enjoyed meeting you, Sasha." Breathe. "I hope that I might get to see you again soon." Just breathe. "Be brave, «my little lion»." It feels almost as if her chest might implode at any moment. Out. She has to get out. Out of the room. Out of the building. Out of her skin. Her hand is unsteady on the doorknob but she somehow manages to make it past the threshold of the office again without falling to pieces… barely.

Help will arrive shortly to escort Felix to his room, and Mariska with him — after today's events, conversation might do them some good.

Maybe it'll do the Company some good, too.

Rainer doesn't say another word. He waits.

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