|Location||Bounty - Midtown - NYC|
|Summary||Karina and Kazik feel each other out. Not up.|
| An upscale bar.|
Kazik strides in off the street with rain dampening his hair despite the very determined efforts of the umbrella that he's shaken closed just outside the door. Inside, he slides back to find a seat at a small table. He's dressed well, though that hardly makes him stand out here. It's upscale. It's a bar. These might be the only two details known about Bounty, but they are important details. He's late for a scheduled meeting, and he stops by the bar to collect a bottle of vodka -- it's not the best, but it's far from the worst -- to present it as apology. "Sorry I'm late," he breezes as he slides the bottle in offering.
The soft sound of music catches Karina's laugh at the exact moment that Kazik steps inside, the woman leaning against her table with her fingers draped elegantly against the toothpick of olives inside a dirty martini. This is what she lifts to her lips, biting into the one on the end slowly as she watches the man who has braved her table to talk to the woman clad in the little red dress that exposes almost the whole of her unblemished spine and is rather conservative in the length of sleeves and the high cut of collar. Wild curls are pulled over one shoulder so as not to obscure the view of her back to the Russian as he approaches, and she only waits a beat, then two before she commands of the other man, "~Go away~." And he does, without complaint, before her gaze is all for Kazik, sliding over him and then falling to the bottle. "I almost worried that you'd stood me up, dorogoy." The telepath likely can tell that isn't the truth, but naked interest exists in her thoughts for what kept him where it doesn't in her expression.
"A little trouble at the docks." Kazik takes his seat. He watches the other depart with a trace of amused pity. "One of them managed to short out my electronics somehow or I'd have called." He rolls his shoulders in a shrug that sheds little raindrops to the seat. "Mutants." They are just the worst.
Lifting one of two glasses from where they are resting atop the bottle, Kazik tilts it in an offer. Would she like some? Would she just like to drink her martini? He pours one for himself. "And how've you been keeping yourself busy? Meet anyone new and interesting for us?"
"I always meet new and interesting people, lyubov," is Karina's soft, warm reply that matches so perfectly with the inviting curve of her lips before she lifts the martini to drain the rest of it down in one go, holding the olives away and only sliding one off and chewing it after she sets the glass back down. That will have to be her answer to the silent offer, though, since she only goes on to ask, teasing, "Should I ask what you had at the docks tonight? Would you tell me?"
Kazik smiles at Karina as he pours for her. "That is because you are so charming. You can't help it." Setting the bottle back down, he collects his glass with a light touch. "I had trouble." His smile widens to a grin, because he thinks he is funny, but he leans forward to say, confidingly, "It was, at heart, a territory dispute, really. But we settled without need for it to get complicated. By the time MA got there--" That's MA, of the NYPD. "--we were all very well behaved. But, as you can see, it delayed me. I would have much rather have been here. The company is better. You would hate that scene."
The same laugh as before flavors Karina's lips and she leans in further to confide with a light flirtation to her words, "Perhaps I still hate it on principle, that you have to be there in danger instead. I have to sit here nursing my drink, worried over you." Her blue gaze only slides over the man's features, though, as she reaches for that shot to curl it into her palm. "It's not that scene that matters, though. It is the bigger scene, what you're protecting, doing, that makes me curious." And niggling in her thoughts is the growing greed for power that's been settled there for months, for more than what she has now, as much as she tries to obscure it from Kazik.
"Not so much danger," Kazik reassures, and his smile cuts as he teases, "and not so much worry, I expect. But we can pretend." He tips his glass to her for a tink-tink. He watches her -- or perhaps more accurately, watches her thoughts -- as he leans back in his chair. His expression grows thoughtful. "There's a wide world out there. You know some of it," he says, nodding slightly to her. Her past is rarely mentioned, her history, her family connections, but they are /there/. "Just how curious are you? After all, it is dangerous."
It likely doesn't come as a shock when Karina lifts her free hand to press fingertips lightly against Kazik's knee; she always does when she's pretending as she offers him breathlessly, "You can't imagine how much I worry, dorogoy." Her smile is warm, but amused, before she withdraws the hand even as she lifts the shot in a salute, though she doesn't lean away. Her thoughts aren't worried, though. They are keen and interested, rolling over some of what she knows in ways that are more base than her mutation, not using them against other Russians as promised but not above using the other thing. She takes care not to tip her hand (or would, if he couldn't read the thoughts she tries hard to hide) as she replies lightly, "I can handle danger in exchange for something interesting, adventurous."
It's not a shock, but it remains a pleasant surprise. Kazik gives Karina a knowing sort of smirk as he knocks back his drink and pours another. He does not argue her concern. Instead, he gravely tells her, "Sometimes it gets very boring, you know. That's the thing about more, is there are so many smaller pieces to watch. You are ... /uniquely/ suited for dealing with people, and yet--." He breaks off into an eloquent shrug. Frankly, he asks, "What /are/ your ambitions?"
Karina sips much slower at the vodka, but she drains it all the same to set it down next to Kazik's as he pours. "I want control. I'm tired of others making my decisions," is an emotional string tied to long buried scars, being dragged away from the Motherland without a word or warning and other such things of her childhood manifesting into a strong enough desire for the telepath to have no trouble to read. "Aren't you? You are smarter, /better/, than everyone above you, aren't you? And yet--." But she ends her question with a slow exhale that might be a dismissive laugh and a smile just for the man as she brushes a look over him.
Kazik smiles. He rolls his glass in his hands. His touch is light and dextrous as he toys with the glass. It's a tell in a man who is usually quite good about hiding them: he's nervous, but his gaze suggests interest. "Thank you for noticing." His tone teases as he stalls to think. "But I am outsider, in some ways. That stands against me. It's not my -- culture. I was not raised to it." He arches his eyebrows at her, and then adds, with a slight smile, "And men in particular, we are judged by the time we've served. Time I've managed to avoid." He raps his knuckles on the table. "For a woman, perhaps it is different. But for me, being smarter, being better is what has helped me get so far."
"They do not value you enough for it," is Karina's countered murmur, her fingers lifting to catch and twine slowly into dark curls. It is her own tell, though given that the ragged edge of her nerves in her thoughts is enough of one, he likely doesn't need one. And she leans just that bit closer as she says in quiet Russian, "We are both outsiders, aren't we? They use us, and they always will. But being mutants, being a woman, being different--." At this, that ice blue gaze drags over Kazik's features appreciatively, lingering in the nonphysical caress. But then, she switches back to English to offer in an almost-invitation, "I am very curious."Kazik wets his lips and then smiles. "I've always thought curiosity was a virtue." He answers her invitation by leaning forward and shifting the angle of his body. Closing their conversation and opening his mind to keep track of any potential eavesdroppers, he does his best to satisfy her curiosity, outlining the scope of the organization so far as it exists beyond her limited view. He names no names -- not now, not yet -- but little that he says is actually a surprise to. What he clarifies could be guessed, but it's certainly enough to get him in trouble if she wanted to tell someone. That he keeps a finger tracking the pulse of her thoughts provides only limited safety. It's still a risk, but it is a risk he is obviously willing to take. It's a conversation that will take them most of the way through the bottle of vodka.