Actions

2046-02-18 Open Hands

From X-Factor

Open Hands
Date Posted 2016/02/18
Location Open Hands - Mutant Town
Participants Luka, Mikhail
Summary `Mikhail checks out Open Hands.
 
Mikmikhail.jpg
Open Hands consists of two adjacent row houses purchased at auction from the city. Repaired but hardly refurbished, their continued existence is a constant uphill battle. Thankfully, they are more of a passion project than what one might consider to be 'work.'

Both homes have the same exposed brick siding. Although still separate due to building codes, their doors share a stoop and awning, which gives the illusion of double-doors. The blinds of the first floor windows of both homes are open, exposing the wholesome, good-natured activities taking place within.

With a door marked 'Building B', the rowhome to the right appears to be quite empty, save for a fat cat licking between her toes.

The rowhome to the right appears to be the one full of life. People play at a ping-pong table. Flanked by bookshelves, a flat screen tv is on to a hockey game. A small hand-painted country home-style plaque hangs just beneath a 'Building A' designation. It reads, 'Come on in!'

Mikhail stands in front of the paired buildings, his hands shoved deep in his pockets as he tilts his head back to consider them. He's dressed warm against the cold, in a jacket that puffs out and a beanie pulled low over his ears, flattening his otherwise misbehaving tuft of hair. He's been standing here staring at them long enough to start to seem a little creepy.

A man makes his way up the sidewalk of the little side street. He wears a brown leather jacket over a grey hoodie, a pair of faded jeans, and tan work boots that clop each time he takes a step. His hood is up and both of his hands are tucked beneath his armpits for warmth.

"Going in?" Luka asks casually. He squints his eyes pleasantly, but doesn't smile. Probably sounding only vaguely European, he hides his accent well.

Mikhail startles a little, jerking his gaze down and over to Luka. His accent is much heavier, much fresher. It may carry a bad ring for those who've just started poking their heads above ground after the recent incursion of Russian mafia. "No," he says quickly. And then, more slowly. "Maybe? You know what it is?"

Amused by Mikhail's indecision, an easy smile spreads over Luka's lips. He shrugs, blinking, "I do. It is my building." He jerks his chin upward, "You are Russian?" This man, at least, does not appear to share the widespread apprehension. Then again, Mikhail just is not intimidating.

What?!? Mikhail is /totally/ intimidating! Look at that floppy hair. Look at that awkward smile. Look at that completely menacing beanie. Mikhail freezes for a moment, as if not quite sure what to make of Luka's question, but there's really very little hiding it. He answers a cautious, "Da," watching the other man.

"{Come in from the cold.}" Luka says dismissively in Russian, swatting at the air with a shivering bare hand. He sidesteps around Mikhail. With one foot on the sidewalk and one foot on the first of the building's concrete steps, he turns back to the younger man, "{This is a good place.}" His Russian isn't bad. It might not be up to par with a native speaker, but it certainly had enough practice as of recently.

Mikhail is not entirely startled by Luka's Russian, but he is not entirely trusting, either. Still, the general pull of his luck tends to keep him safe - it's really, really hard not to want to help Mikhail however he needs helping - and he's clearly curious. He steps up after Luka, watching the older man with open curiosity. "{What does that mean,}" he asks, "{a good place?}"

Stopping as he gets to the door, Luka shuffles to turn around. Cupping both hands, he puffs out arm air into them twice before rubbing them together and sliding them back under his armpits once more. "{I am freezing my balls off here and you are interrogating me.}" He raises both eyebrows, blinking very matter-of-factly over at Mikhail. He can't stay straight-faced for very long, though. Inevitably, he laughs. "{This is a Resource Center. Rec center. Career counseling. Group therapy. Help with going back to school. /Home/, for some. Here for mutants who need help not slipping through the cracks.}" He widens his eyes and shakes his head, shivering and chuckling, "I am much better at this spiel when I am warm!" Opening the door, he motions inside with his chin expecantly.

"{Oh!}" Mikhail says, swiftly apologetic, even though he's now looking through the door with a deep-seated wariness. "{I'm sorry. You can-- we can--}" He sputters a little, then looks quickly down the block before turning back to Luka and finally moves to follow him inside. He clears his throat, switching back to English as the other man does. "What does it mean, not slipping through cracks?"

Luka waits for Mikhail and closes the door behind them both, smiling warmly at the others timidity.

The room that welcomes them is full of warmth and life. The young man and woman at the ping-pong table don't look up from their game, but the thuggish teen on one of the two couches holds up a can of soda in a salute, "LUUUUKE!"

Luka takes a moment to fist-pound the kid before turning back to Mikhail, "I'm Luka, by the way." He had just been shrugging off his jacket and so, fumbles to toss it over one arm in order to offer Mikhail his hand.

Mikhail glances around the space for a moment. He's older than the teens, but only by a year or two, and his nervousness seems to subtract most of that. There's a second's hesitation before he digs one of his hands out of his pocket to take Luka's hand, and he drags in a deep breath as he answers, "Mikhail. Hello."

Luka smiles, "Good to meet you." His hand shake is firm, but doesn't test the limits of Mikhail's strength like some men's handshakes can sometimes do. "You want a drink? Coffee? Soda? Water?" Continuing out of the entryway, Luka meanders his way to a little kitchenette area. He briefly pauses to glance over a public chore list. The man has to squint to make out the words, but he seems pleased with what he reads when he does.

Mikhail follows after Luka like a little duckling, apparently having decided that this man, at least, is okay. The rest of those gathered get an uncertain glance as he walks by. "Soda," he says. "Please. Thank you."

"Alright, let us see what we have," Luka murmurs, leaning in too far as he opens the fridge. "Coke, I see Sprite. We have Fanta." He furrows his brow, pouting, "What is fanta?" He asks this loud enough to carry on into the adjoining rec area.

"Seriously?! It's orange soda, Luke!" The girl at the ping-pong table answers, laughing pleasantly at his confusion. Mikhail's presence does not appear to elicit any scrutiny from those hanging out. New faces aren't rare around these parts.

Luka stands back erect, shrugging helplessly to Mikhail, "There you have it."

Mikhail startles again, twisting to crane his gaze back at the ping-pong table before he looks back to Luke. "Um," he says, and then, more decisively, "Fanta, please." He hunches his shoulders, hands buried in his pockets again as he watches Luka. "This is what people do here?"

Luka bends at the knees to retrieve an orange can for Mikhail, holding it out to him as he swings the refrigerator door closed. "Well, this is what these people do here," he motions towards those present nonchalantly as he crosses the kitchen to pour himself some coffee, "What about you? Tell me something." Everything is an ordeal for Luka. He has to search for a mug, then go back to the fridge and search for the sugar, then search for a spoon.

Mikhail leans forward to take the can from Luka, and for a moment he fiddles at it, tapping his fingers against the cool metal while Luka rummages. Then he says, carefully, "What?"

Finally getting his act together, Luka turns to seriously consider Mikhails question. "Tell me about yourself," he wets his lip in the warm drink before taking a gulp of it. He searches for an example of what he means, lowering the mug, "What are your goals? What do you like to do? What brought you to be standing outfront of my door?"

"I don't know," Mikhail says. His hands curl tight around his soda, having lifted it only for a single small (uncharacteristically small!) sip. He jerks his shoulders up in a helpless shrug, and there's a quiet hint of desperation in his voice. He lets the answer hang for a moment before backtracking. "I like to read," he says. "Also, video games. And movies. And I want to /see/ things."

Luka raises both of his eyebrows, nodding, "We have a lot of books. I'm not good at videogames. We have a ton." He sighs, smiling, "I used to be, before they changed." Lifting his mug for another drink, he nods, "What do you want to see, eh?"

"Everything," Mikhail says, quietly fervent as he jerks his can up for another swallow.

Luka presses his lips into a closed mouth smile that reaches his eyes. "A man of ambition," he observes coolly, "I like this. Do you have a passport?"

At this, Mikhail laughs, quick and unthinking. It takes him a second to clamp down on the sound, and for a moment he desperately hopes that Luka will not ask. And then he desperately hopes that he will. It's a fickle thing, hope, a war between mind and heart, but luck listens only to the heart. He shakes his head and says, "No. No passport."

Luka's smile doesn't go away. It does soften. "Are you here legally?"

Mikhail shakes his head, and his gaze slips away to a point on the wall. Here heart and head are in agreement: Luka really doesn't want to tell anyone this, does he?

Luka looks down to his coffee, nodding a few times in short succession, "Do you want help with this thing?" And then... "Are you hiding?"

Mikhail shrugs, having apparently decided to communicate largely in gestures just now. He drinks from his soda again, this time a longer swallow, and it's some time before he says, "I think I have help with-- the legal thing." His gaze drags back up to Luka, and he watches him for a beat before he says, "Not anymore."

"That's good!" Luka, at least, is encouraged by this and so tries to be /encouraging/. "I have lived in the shadows, myself. Better to live out in the light of day." And then, an implication dawns on him. Lowering his head, Luka widens his eyes doe-like at Mikhail, "You are safe?"

Mikhail shrugs again, but this time it comes with a smile. "Safer than most people," he says, and glances back toward the gathered teens before looking at Luka again. "Are /you/ safe?" The question is perhaps a bit pointed.

Further encouraged by Mikhail's smile and retort, Luka chuckles. "Safer than most people." It may not be clear whether he is repeating Mikhail's words to comit them to memory, or to use them as an answer of his own. "Yeah, I'm safe." Leaning back against the kitchen counter, he looks over towards the others in the room fondly before looking back to Mikhail. "I must go soon. My little girl is with the babysitter," he raises his mug to Mikhail, "But I would be disappointed not to see you around, again."

Mikhail shrugs, all noncommittal and dismissive in the way mative to teenagers. "Okay," he says. "Maybe." After a beat he lifts his drink and adds, "Thank you for the soda."

Luka bows his head, "Of course." He pushes off of the countertop, pointing towards one of a few bulleton message boards hanging around to check out, "Hang out for a while, if you like. Doors close at eleven." With that, he makes his way halfway down a nearby hallway to retrieve a few folders from a wall-mounted mail cubby system. It takes him a while to find the right one. Eventually, he does actually leave.

This page uses the Log form.