The world is safe, students are back in school, and Tobias just recently had a birthday. Though, he has kept the event quiet, and unmentioned, preferring to keep to himself in the aftermath of Pegasus II. The teen has retreated to the water to be mostly by himself. Mostly, because he has his hedgehog, Lombardi, snuffling about inside of Tobias' military cap. Tobias sits on the docks alongside the cap, watching the little creature play with the headgear. Looking placid, if distant.
It has been a long time since Piotr visited the school's dock, a favorite spot for quiet thinking for well, nearly everyone who has been there. After returning to the school himself the day before, he has been largely tied up in things like moving back into the resident advisor room in the boy's wing and getting paperwork done to resume employment. Now though, he has found himself a chance to go outside. With a sketch book in one hand and a zippered bag full of pens in the other, Piotr approaches the dock. At seeing it occupied, his stride slows, but does not come to a stop. His footfalls grow intentionally heavy, to alert the teenage to his presence.
Tobias tilts his head back to listen to the footfalls. He doesn't smile at the approach, but lets out a sigh as he reaches down to scratch at the hedgehog's head. "Subtlety not a forte?" he asks in a sharp Bostonian accent. "Thank you for letting me know anyways," he adds turning around and looking Piotr over with a raised eyebrow of surprise at the man's size, "It's appreciated."
"I did not figure that you would appreciate me sneaking up on you and then yelling," the towering man says, his tone warm and washed through by his Russian accent. He smiles down to Tobias, completely unphased by the sharpness of the first quip. "I do not mean to be an interruption, but once I saw you were here, I thought to introduce myself."
"You're right on that account," Tobias admits with a nod. He reaches down for Lombardi and stands up with the spiny pet in one hand, and cap in the other. "You're hardly interrupting anything. Just distancing myself from the," he looks over to the school and waves at it with his hat, "Repercussions of saving the world."
"This is a good place for that," Piotr says, with a softening of his smile that somehow looks perfectly at home on his strong features. He shifts his sketchbook to his left hand before offering the right to Tobias, "My name is Peter," the Russian tells him. "I went to high school here and I was the boy's RA for some time. I will be taking that title up again with the school year starting."
"Ayup," Tobias agrees, looking out at the open water. He shakes the hat off and sticks it on his head, offering the now free hand to Piotr. "Tobias Ryder," he states, "I currently go to high school here. Though, seems a few people have been making returns to the grounds."
Piotr's handshake is far from overly firm. He isn't the type to try to exert his masculinity by smashing someone's fingers. That wouldn't be the best RA thing to do. "It is good to meet you, Tobias." He nods his head, while shifting his sketchbook back. "Many of us who went here feel like this is something of a second home. At times like this, it is best to come home and be with family, even if you may not be related to them."
"And sometimes especially if you aren't related to them," Tobias says with a grin, giving a short, approving nod to the RA. He cups his hands around Lombardi to keep the little guy from getting out of hand, literally. "In a way, this place is very much like my first home."
Piotr watches Lombardi as he does his pokey little guy thing with a bemused little smile. "Is it?" he asks, looking up to Tobias's face with quiet curiosity.
Tobias nods, looking down at Lombardi. "Care to hold him?" he asks, grinning. "And yeah, it is. Big house with a lot of unrelated people, sometimes you get return customers. Some like being here, some don't, but they are all there for the same reason. Except at home, the reason is not the same as here."
Piotr sets his art supplies down at his feet, to make room in his hands for Lombardi. He leans down a little and cups his hands together in quiet acceptance of the offer. "That seems like an interesting home to come from," he tells Tobias. "Very different from the farm that is my first home. What sort of a place did you grow up in?"
The hedgehog sniffs at the Russian's hands before its curiosity gets the better of it and it crawls on over to snuffle about. Tobias wipes his hands on his pants and nods. "Interesting alright. It's, it's a hotel," he explains, "Over on Nantucket Island. Truth is, I like the reason people are here better than then there."
Those big hands remain cupped to keep the hedgehog from doing anything less innocuous than his snuffling. "I have been traveling for the last year," Pete shares with a warm chuckle. "I think I have seen enough of hotels to last me for some time to come. I am happy to be back to the other sort of big crazy house."
"Always comes back to home," Tobias remarks, just as much to himself as to Piotr. He hooks his thumbs into his trousers pockets while he gives a look out at the water. "You get used to it, living there. It's work, a lot of it, but I imagine I'm not telling much to a farm boy. So," he states, turning back to Pete. "Let's get the obvious introductory question over with, what is it?"
Piotr chuckles at Tobias's cutting to the chase. One of his thumbs curls in to stroke experimentally over Lombardi. This may be his first experience with a hedgehog. "If you mean my mutation," he begins. "I can armor myself. It makes me to be very strong when I do." There is even a slight pinkening to his cheeks at saying it.
Tobias grins, adjusting his glasses as he watches Piotr and Lombardi. The hedgehog seems distracting by the petting and sniffs up at the air, though so long as the hand stays to going with the spines, no poking should occur. "Interesting," he comments, "Protective as well, I assume? So's mine, I don't get very strong when mine kicks in."
He does managed to avoid any poking! "Yes, I am very hard to hurt when I am armored," Pete says, sounding more humbled to be discussing it than proud of himself. His smile comes back as he nods his head to Tobias. "And what is yours?" His tone is a mingle of professional interest and friendly curiosity.
"Useful," Tobias comments, nodding to himself. "Myself," he asks, pressing his hand against his chest and grinning. "Smoke," he explains, "Or, fog, whatever you want to call it."
"Is it something you generate, or...?" the big Russian asks, watching Tobias and continuing to stroke both thumbs over Lombardi gently. He is quite cautious to make sure he is handling the prickly little pet delicately.
"I /am/ it," Tobias explains, vaporizing where he stands. The fog hangs around the area before reforming a few feet from where Tobias was originally. "That and stuff like this." The cap above his head fades out as Tobias had, the fog that was it hangs around the teen.
With an impressed bob of his head, Piotr smiles warmly to the reformed teen, once he is no longer a cloud of vapor. "I can certainly see what you meant when you said it is defensive. I imagine that you are very safe when it seems like touching you would be hard to do."
The hat returns to Tobias' hand as the teen nods in agreement. "Ayup," he admits, "One of the reasons I came here was to get a handle on it, or to fine tune it. You know how you mentioned scaring me earlier?" he asks, laughing, "Well, it's a reflex, so if you did, I would've gone poof."
"I think if that had happened, I would have been a lot more startled than you would have been," Piotr decides with a chuckle. "If there is anything that I can do to help in your fine tuning, don't hesitate to ask me." He extends his cupped hands to offer Lombardi back to his owner.
Tobias laughs and takes the hedgehog back into hand. "Thanks for the offer. I've gotten it down though. I work with professor Logan in the room." He looks to the hedgehog a moment and hums to himself. "Though, if I'm ever interested in a game of football or something, I'll look you up."
"I am in the RA room in the boy's wing. You can come knocking whenever you like," Piotr says, nodding his head. He leans down to collect his sketch book and his pen bag. "I will see you again soon, I am sure," he bids Tobias with a warm smile as he nods off away from the lake as a preface for walking off in the direction of the gardens.
"I'm sure you will, Peter," Tobias says with a nod, scratching his hedgehog as he looks back out on the water. "Good bye," he adds, smiling to himself at having a pleasant conversation that avoided the issues at the school. Pete meets one of the new students and his hedgehog.
The reality of things hadn't set in until the landing; as if she needed gravity to be there to fully feel the weight of her loss. She's been keeping to herself since returning home, staying in her room. This is where she is now, laying on top of the blankets on her bed, with Lockheed curled up on her chest. There is no music playing, nothing on TV. Her /computer/ isn't even on. The only sign that she's not asleep is the occasional rise of her hand to pet Lockheed. He is doing his best to comfort her.
It has only been a matter of minutes since a cab arrived outside of the mansion. A conversation with Jean and a quick detour into the kitchen later, Piotr has climbed up the stairs and dropped his bag off in boy's RA room. Now, he stands before the door of the opposite room. He takes in a deep breath, soothing his nerves momentarily, before lifting a hand and knocking three even times at Kitty's door.
Lockheed stirs, and Kitty slowly pushes herself into a seated position. "Door's unlocked," her voice can be heard through the door. She gives Lockheed, now in her lap, a few more pats before setting him down.
The door swings open slowly and a rather familiar head of dark hair peers through near the top of the doorway. Piotr's Russian accented voice calls in to her gently, "Katya?" he asks, his cheeks preemptively pinkened with his blush.
Well, /that/ was not a voice she was expecting. She quickly stands, and makes a run for the door, phasing just in time to avoid hitting the edge of the door. The intangible state also allows her to raise herself up about a foot in the air, so that she can wrap her arms around the Russian's neck as soon as she's tangible again. "You're home!" Hi.
Lockheed soon follows, edging towards Piotr's feet to sniff at his leg. Yes, he passes dragon-inspection. The little beast contains any jealousy he has; his Kitty is happy, that is all that matters. For now. He might eat a few of Piotr's pencils or charcoal sticks later.
A happy laugh rises up as Kitty takes advantage of her mutation not only to leap at him through the door, but to do it without an actual jump. He takes one step back while wrapping his arms around her, more than easily supporting her weight. "I am home. I did not want to miss your homecoming," he says. Lockheed's sniffing and inspection is met with a peer down at him and a smile. His pencils are probably doomed. His attention goes back to Kitty though, with a fond smile. "How are you, Katya?" he asks, holding her and looking down into her eyes.
So very doomed. But it's their own fault for being so crunchy. "Not as good as I thought I'd feel after helping to save the world," she admits, trying not to look TOO depressed. And kind of failing. "It still doesn't feel entirely real," she admits. "I keep expecting her to barge into my room and drag me out to go shopping or something."
Piotr steps into Kitty's room, carrying her along for the ride and being careful not to step on any dragons that may be underfoot. "It is like losing a little sister," he admits, lowering Kitty's feet back down to the floor. He does not, however, even begin to extract himself from her embrace. "It hurts in the same way that I hurt when it seemed as though Illyana was lost to us." He squeezes her softly.
She lets go, though reluctantly, and drops to the floor. She doesn't seem to want to break contact, though, keeping her head against his chest. "I could have saved her. If I'd been out there," she says, quietly.
A hand settles gently against the back of her head as she leans against his chest. "Shh. Those kind of thoughts will not change anything, Katya," he tells her gently. "Jubilee did something heroic to make sure that the rest of us could be here. Do not spend the chance she has given us to live second-guessing yourself." Still, his other hand rubs soothingly over her back.
"I know," she says, in a voice that sounds very small. "It just- I can't stop it, sometimes," she tells him, finally stepping away to sit down again on her bed, patting the spot next to her to invite him to sit beside her. Lockheed quickly opts to hop back into her lap, ever so clingy after being separated from her for so long.
Piotr settles onto the bed beside her, his heavier form pressing the mattress down enough that she has very little choice but to tilt toward him. A hand moves over to offer his fingers to the clingy dragon before petting him. "You went to outer space, Katya," he reminds her with a warm smile, trying to draw attention to the positives.
"I did," she agrees, leaning against him. Lockheed accepts the petting, even going so far as to rest his chin on Piotr's knee. Clearly, he is planning something. "And there is no more looming apocolypse." For now. Because you never know.
"Did they let you keep the suit?" He asks, his arm looping warmly around her shoulders to hug her to his side. Reassuring her seems tremendously important to Piotr at the moment. Being here, with her beside him and Lockheed sprawled across their laps is also quite comforting to him as well and his face shows it.
"No," she says, regretfully. "I looked awful in it anyway," she adds, forcing a laugh. "I wonder how all this will look on my resume," she ponders. "Disabled bomb, helped save world, familiar with all operating systems..."
"Not many people will have the chance to hire someone who is a hero to the entire world," Piotr points out with a smile. "And I think that you probably looked better in the suit than you want to admit," he teases her gently.
"Hero," she says. "That's a very... big word. Can we just say I was useful?" she asks. "I don't want people expecting /too/ much of me," she jokes. "The suit... the suit looked better than my hair, at least."
Piotr chuckles warmly, "They are calling you our saviors on television," he points out. "It is a very big thing that you were useful in." With a more sober look to his face, his hand rises to gently touch her cheek. "I am glad that you have come home safe, Katya. And I am glad to come home to you." His own cheeks pinken, his blushing sure never to be tamed.
"I'm glad too," she says, touching his hand with her own when she touches her cheek. After a moment, she gets up onto her knees (displacing Lockheed in the process) to kiss him. "I missed you. A lot."
Poor Lockheed. He will have to handle his jealousy. Pete kisses Kitty warmly, his arms remaining loosely wrapped about her. "I missed you, too." He smiles reassuringly, "I think the trip did me a lot of good, but it also taught me that being away from the ones I love is not for me." Of course, his cheeks are warm, but he is also confident in what he is saying.
"I'll take that to mean that you intend to stay a while then" she says, teasing just a bit, leaning against him once more, a bit closer now. Lockheed decides to claim Kitty's pillow for a bed.
"If you'll put up with me, yes, I would like that." Pete's smile lingers as he squeezes her close to him one more, taking in a deep breath and relishing in being close again. Backdated to 9/1, shortly after Piotr's arrival back to the school. A happy reunion.