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  • What were Mikhail's parents like? Does he ever think about trying to contact them, now that he's broken away from the mob?
  • Beyond his family, is there anything Mikhail misses about Russia? Culture, food, whatevs.

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What were Mikhail's parents like? Does he ever think about trying to contact them, now that he's broken away from the mob?

Busy and warm. They have five kids and a bakery, and a lot of Mikhail's later childhood is filled with memories of things like taking care of his younger siblings and helping out at the bakery by sweeping floors or restocking. His family was close, but in that super busy way large families often have, where everyone is always doing something and there's never enough attention to go around.

He does think about his family, but the matter is complicated by several things:

  • He's in the country illegally and shadily, and while he misses his family, he doesn't really want to go back to Russia. He's a little scared of rocking the boat when it comes to that.
  • It's been seven years. That isn't to say that Mikhail no longer misses them, but the ache isn't really raw anymore. His little brothers and sisters are all grown up. His family has surely moved on without him. Would he even fit with them anymore? They wouldn't know him, not really. He wouldn't know them. I think that a subconscious part of him needs to hold on to them as they were, for fear of losing even that part of himself.
  • He's been part of the mafia for seven years. No, he wasn't the guy shooting people or stealing things. But he was the guy making that possible. He was the guy who helped his tiny branch grow from nothing to something substantial enough to try to grab territory in the middle of Manhattan. He talks like he was a slave, and he was, but at the end of the day, he still feels responsible. He second guesses all the things he didn't do, or didn't know how to do, to stop it. There's a lot of guilt that's burrowed deep in his soul. If he contacted his family, he'd have to admit to what he's been all these years.
  • He talks about being confident in his escape from the mafia, but the truth is that he's still terrified (this is part of what his power exploration is about), and he knows that he's a prize big enough to cause trouble for. When he was taken the first time, before he even knew what he was, he was with his younger sister. It seems very likely that contact with his family could result in real trouble for them. They're within the reach of the larger organization in a way he's currently not.

Beyond his family, is there anything Mikhail misses about Russia? Culture, food, whatevs.

Sure. I mean, he misses the familiarity of the food, of conversations in his native language, of the shape and feel and smell of his old apartment. It's crazy what you can be nostalgic for.

He misses Vitaly. He misses the man himself - his only real company for several years - and the things they used to do together. They played a lot of games, talked about books, watched movies together. Mikhail had a more than little crush on him. He still does. He worries about him.

He misses the surety of knowing that everything around him in genuine and not a response of his powers, although his opinion on that is fast changing. He's starting to think genuineness is maybe overrated.

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