2007-07-31: Prelude To A Kiss


Vasili_icon.gif DFGiselle_icon.gif

Summary: Giselle returns to her old apartment to pick up a few things, but finds a certain someone already lurking in it.

Dark Future Date: July 31st, 2009

Prelude To A Kiss

Giselle's Apartment - Dark Future

It's been a while since Vasili acted on the urge to see Giselle - or, at least, her things. Fallout has made her former apartment literally a shell of what it once was, the outer husk of wall exposed to the elements of the city. This was one place that no one's yet got around to repairing. The old couch is still there, though, and the apartment is out-of-the-way enough for Vasili to feel safe - /unusually/ safe - to crash in. He's lying on the mildewed couch with a gloomy expression on his battered face, gently twisting the remains of an old tablecloth between the fingers of his gloved hands. The day could be better. Hell, the /decade/ could be better.

There’s a good reason why Giselle doesn’t live here anymore – besides the obvious, it really isn’t safe for her to stay here. Many of those things she used to own are gone as well, either taken with her or long out of sight thanks to time’s hands; some also remain, precious memories left behind due to inconvenience or hassle. It is for several items in the second category that the blonde-turned-terrorist has returned for. At the entrance to the loft, a rusted key works its way into a rusted lock, a sound easily audible further inside.


Vasili's up in an instant, throwing down the cloth and lifting this week's weapon of choice from the floor: an antique table leg that's been outfitted with sawed-off nails to make a sort of club. The thing fits well in his hands, the clawed foot stretching towards the floor as he holds it like a bat. Ancient oak has withstood the test of time, and in recent days it's done a wonderful job of cracking bones. The possibilities run through Vasili's head about who could be coming: the feds, the cops, the Evolved - never does it even cross his mind that Giselle could actually be coming home, and he makes not a sound as he starts stalking towards the door on the worn soles of his boots.

Before Vasili can get there, the door opens on its own – swiftly, but still with a windy creak. One of the things that was supposed to be remedied before the war began, even, but it’s a little late for that now. As far as what might be /inside/ her one-time home, Giselle has been thinking along almost exactly the same lines: Evolved rogues, curious lackeys, officials searching for her possessions— or for her. A handgun is gripped between the fingers of her two hands, and it’s up and pointed in an instant before and as her hand leaves the knob.

What meets her eyes, though, is unexpected and perhaps even more unwelcome.

A blink. /Huh/. Rather than smash the table leg into the face of his would-be assailant, Vasili lets the thing drop from his hands. It hits the floor with a heavy thud and sticks there, courtesy of the nails in it. The ex-agent tries to swallow the lump that's suddenly appeared in his throat, but all of his attempts don't seem to be working. He's looking a bit less handsome than usual thanks to the burns that score his face and throat, and he hasn't been eating well - but who has, these days? Being on the run doesn't exactly make it easy to survive. "…Hey."

Giselle too is looking a bit different, and not just because her hair is in a ponytail that falls in a long line to her waist. Vasili knows her well enough to perhaps notice that she’s holding the gun in her left hand, instead of her habitual and natural right. Clues as to why this should be are hidden beneath black sleeves; she is entirely in black, and hardness has settled into her once-smooth face. She does not drop the handgun. “…Why are /you/ here.”

"It's safe. Or. Well. At least I thought it was safe, unless you're going to try to kill me with that toy of yours." As he speaks, Vasili points at the gun in Giselle's hands and gives his fingers a short waggle. /Real/ fighters use /blunt weapons/. It seems that he's fairly confident about not being shot by his ex-flame, since the Russian turns his back and moves towards the couch, soon dropping down onto it and back into his previous position. Lazy is good. "What've you been doing with yourself?"


A bullet clamps into the wall directly beside and past Vasili’s head, and Giselle’s handgun hisses. Are you so sure? “Don’t talk so /comfortably/ with me—” she advances a little, her head cocked a little as her teeth grate in a closed mouth. “You shouldn’t even be here.”

Vasili does what any man with combat experience does when guns start going off: Ducks and Covers. With a loud curse in Russian the man ducks down against the couch, both arms coving up to cover his face. "/Jesus/, Giselle! It's not like you live here anymore!" He sits up abruptly and then immediately throws one of the ratty, decomposing pillows at the woman in the room. "Don't be such a /bitch/."

“It’s not like you do, either,” Giselle says oddly, but she lets the gun’s gaping tip drop a little, letting the pillow bounce off her extended palm with that same odd look on her face. “I haven’t seen you for a year. How do I know Nathan hasn’t gotten to you—that you’re not here to /kill/ me-”

"If I wanted to kill you, Giselle, I'd have crushed your fucking skull before you got through the fucking door." Let's not forget how violent Vasya used to be - it's gotten much more free-wheeling now that the country fluctuates between totalitarianism and anarchy. He drops his elbows down onto his knees, leaning forward as he looks up at the woman before him. "Put the damn gun away."

“How useless. No screwdrivers in my back for information, first?” A faint smirk appears on the former barmaid’s face, obviously not entirely free from the grasp of hostility. “Thought you were trained better than that, Babenkov.” Nevertheless, she does as asked and holsters the gun into its home on her outer thigh, looking around to see /how/, exactly, her apartment has been faring. She hisses.

…well. Vasili might be a cold-blooded thug, but words can /hurt/. And the way in which Giselle refers to him? That cuts. Deeply. The former agent even shows a little bit of a flinch, his fingers twitching and soon flexing in their gloves to try to cover the original action. He runs his tongue along his upper lip slowly and then looks up towards Giselle, watching her carefully. "Even good dogs can forget old tricks. It's easier to just go for the throat."

If Giselle thinks anything of the reference degeneration, little of it shows. Instead she steps closer to Vasili, or at least it appears so at first—really, she is stepping closer to the wall, outstretching her fingers to almost fawningly feel how it has decomposed. She looks up its length, frowning. "Place's falling apart."

"That doesn't mean it can't still serve a purpose. No one with any brains would live here now.. perfect place to hide." And then something comes to the forefront of Vasili's mind. It takes him a few moments, but - well. He's never been a patient sort when it comes to relationships. "We should hook up again. It isn't any good to fight on your own. I could use a partner." Having a partner could've stopped that can of powder from exploding.

Giselle opens her mouth, about to lie – ‘I have one already’, maybe, which would actually have been true just a few months ago. “It’s only you who’s been going this alone,” she comments as a compromise instead, a little sadly. “I was being truthful when I said you shouldn’t be here. They know we used to be together. They’ll search here.”

A frown is the first response. "The only reason I've been going it alone is because you ran off, Giselle." A grudge? Held by Vasili? /Never/.

The scowl lightens up after a few moments, though, receding into a half-pout that brings some of the childlike roundness back to the russian's face. "No one would search here. Too many hiding spots, not enough people to throw at a single old, rundown building."

“I ran off?” Giselle looks towards Vasili again, cold distaste instantly on her face. Her mouth opens tensely for a second before words come out of it. “If I left, it was because you /deserved/ it, Vasili. I didn’t need you in my life anymore.”

Giselle might look cold, but Vasili's temper is now burning hot. He's suddenly up on his feet again, starting to pace the perimeter of the room's remains like some sort of caged animal. "You /ran off/ because you couldn't handle what needed to be done. Some Company girl you are. I guess it was too much to hope that you'd grown a spine in the last year."

“How /funny/!” It’s hard to forget that Giselle has a savage temper, too, and seeing Vasili’s flare, hers blooms as if magnified by some automatic force. “You seem to forget that /you’re/ the one who left the Company, Babenkov. Ran off like the one-man savior you /think you are/, arrogant prick.”

Oh no you /di'in't/.

Vasili lunges forward, hands coming up to grab at Giselle's upper arms so he can try to give her a good shake. "I left the Company because it's an outdated and /useless/ organization! They don't do enough. You just /sit/ and /watch/ and try to figure out the world. Here's a wake-up call, Giselle: the world's not gonna get figured out. At least I /did/ something.”

Oh yiz /she did/.

"And what have you been doing?" the woman grates nastily, shifting her weight abruptly to the side and giving Vasili's chest a good push away from her. "Running around like a little mouse and /crashing in my apartment/? Don't talk like that— if it weren't for the Company, you wouldn't even be here."

It's a surprise to Vasili when he's shoved back - he had almost forgotten how strong Giselle was. He thumps his back against the wall but rebounds quickly, once again getting into the woman's face. "Your apartment is pretty damn easy to crash in, and the Company hasn't done /shit/ since the war. Wake the hell up and stop playing with the Company, and you can do some actual good."

This time Giselle doesn’t try shoving the man away to a more respectable distance, but sneers through closed teeth at the face too-close-inches away. “You know the Company’s been doing what it can—do you think it’s /possible/ being out in the open, like they were before the war? Honestly. If you’d have kept your trust, you wouldn’t have to be going it all alone against Big Bad Petrelli.”

"Jesus, Giselle. I'd /like/ not being alone. If you'd just stay with me-" But obviously Giselle isn't exactly being cooperative about that prospect. Vasili frowns at her, brows furrowing deeply, and lifts his left hand to try to brush his fingertips against the side of her jawline. "-I'd be much happier. You'd be too. We might even be able to do something about Petrelli and his mob."

Giselle starts visibly, but she doesn’t fight off the brush. “You know, I’ve missed being around competence, V,” she admits flatly and a little more quietly. “The people I’d been working with—if they’d been you, this wouldn’t have happened to me-” She tugs at her sleeve, revealing hints of a line of mangled scars extending up her palm and striping her forearm. Just a hint, though, and she quickly lets it drop.

Competence? That's an odd - Vasili's train of thought comes crashing to a halt as soon as Giselle's arm is revealed. His expression blanks, then darkens considerably. "We're both in the same boat. Neither of us have really gotten out of the last two years whole, have we?" The gloved hand comes forward to waggle its fingers in the woman's face for several seconds before the glove is pulled off. There's some serious fingerspace missing. "You shouldn't have left."

"After I did—when I didn't hear anything from you," Giselle breathes, ducking the top of her head just the slightest fraction to look at the filth-blanketed floor. "I was so afraid you'd been caught. Sent to a detainment camp." She reaches for that hand with what counts as her good one, attempting to gently turn it over in her fingers.

At that voiced fear, all Vasili can do is snort. "You should know me better than that," he murmurs, knotting his fingers slightly with Giselle's when his hand is turned. "I don't get caught. At least I wouldn't get caught alive. Detainment camps aren't exactly my idea of vacation." It might be fun to blow one up, though.

Tch tch. Not with detained humans inside them, but let’s not start /that/ again. “Anything’s possible,” she says, voice hardening again as she lets her grasp lay in Vasili’s. “If you would’ve told me two years ago that we’d be going through /this/, friends dead, someone trying to imprison a fucking race. I would’ve told you you’d had too much on the counter.”

"Two years ago I told you we shouldn't split paths. Want to take that part back?" Vasili holds Giselle's hand like a dying man holds onto his last hope, pulling it in towards himself until her knuckles are pressed against the front of his chest, directly above his heartbeat. Obsession is a hard habit to kick. "We'd do this better together."

The answer? Well. Giselle tentatively reaches to cup her free hand around Vasili’s cheek, making the barest of sideways-stroking motions with her fingertips. Her pupils slip from side to side as they search those of her ex-lover’s, reading into the emotions there as she leans forward - it seems like the prelude to a kiss. But she doesn’t. Instead, she whispers, “V—”

Tenderness isn't something easy to come by these days, especially for a man who lives his life on the run. Vasili smiles a little crookedly at Giselle, his other hand rising to cover the one touching his face in a loose, warm grip. "Neither of us should be alone in this world."

This woman has also lived the shadow of two years without seeing much of it, and so it may make sense that Giselle’s willpower breaks a little at the mention. Because it is in this moment that she leans to complete what she had just backed from half-heartedly, heartstrings tugged all to pieces, seeking to meet lips with her own in a kiss that is tentative at first.

The kiss takes Vasili a little by surprise, but soon he's pulling Giselle in, one arm wrapping around the lower part of her back in a hug that might almost threaten crushing power. It's… well. It's been a long, long time. There's no hesitation on his part.

Or on Giselle's—though reminders linger, both in physical stance and in the mind, it's as close as they'll probably come to a world where the rift and the war never occurred. Even as explosions sway the scattered foundations of the City That Never Sleeps, most distant, a few not-so-much, it's nice to know that one can find solace even when years are lost.

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