A Common Bond

Unit #440 - Alexandrov Apartment

The living room of this apartment looks more like a very comfortable library than someone's actual living space. A large bookshelf encompasses all of one wall, various nooks and crannies filled with books and magazines. A small flat-panel television set sits in the center most space of the shelves. Underneath it is a cabinet that houses a DVD player, along with a few game consoles and a scary amount of video games. A good number of the books that rest on these shelves are obscure works dealing with mythology, the occult, and mysticism. A few select shelves have been dedicated to romance novels, cookbooks, and foreign language guides. The walls have been done in a warm beige, the carpet in a light, plush cream. A long off-white sectional couch sits a comfortable distance away from the bookshelves, with an overhead lighting fixture providing an ample amount of artificial light for the relatively small living room. A narrow hallway leads to a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom.

Mischa picks up his cellular phone and begins to dial.

<Phone> You hear the phone ringing at the other end.

<Phone> The phone is picked up at the far end.

(Directed into the phone) Mischa says "Hello, Chloe? Mischa here."

<Phone> Chloe answers a bit hectically, "Hello!?"

<Phone> Chloe says "Oh, hey, Mischa!"

(Directed into the phone) Mischa clears his throat and stifles a bit of a laugh. "Sorry, were you expecting someone else…? I hate to disappoint."

<Phone> Chloe ers quietly. "No, I was in the midst of battling with my oven. I think the fuse is broken in it or something. What's up?"

(Directed into the phone) Mischa says "I'd offer to fix it for you if I weren't liable to electrocute myself. Nothing really, I was checking on you, mostly. I hadn't seen you since our phone conversation the other night, and I did say that I'd talk to you soon if I didn't see you first. How have you been?"

<Phone> "A little busy," she admits with a sigh. "Had a few nights off work, since I generally work on the weekends." Chloe can be heard banging something against a metallic object. "Ow! Guess I'm ordering take out," she says with a laugh.

(Directed into the phone) Mischa sounds concerned, if not completely perplexed. "Chloe, are you alright? Don't hurt yourself." There's a pause. "Today was my day off — listen, no need to resort to what the fast food chains would have you believe is 'food'. Why don't you come to my place? I can cook something in just about as much time as it would take to deliver something to your place. And it's better for you, I swear."

<Phone> Chloe is strangely quiet. Almost as though she's just dropped the phone, except that there's no clatter. "I'm… fine. Just hit it with a wrench to try and find the fuses." Ahem. "Er… depending on where you live, it could take me that long just to get to your place…"

(Directed into the phone) Mischa says "If you insist. Villa Del Norte. How out of the way is that for you?"

<Phone> Chloe says coyly, "Oh, I could probably be there in no time flat."

(Directed into the phone) Mischa says "Excellent! I'll be expecting you then. Oh, I'm in 440."

<Phone> Chloe says "Need me to bring anything?"

(Directed into the phone) Mischa says "No, just yourself. Hmm. Nutmeg if you have any. So, shall I see you soon?"

<Phone> Chloe says "Nutmeg? Got it. I'll be there before you know it!"

<Phone> There is a click as the phone at the far end is hung up.

So, it really is in no time flat. Mischa will hear a knock at his door approximately five minutes later. When he opens it, there will be a Chloe, nutmeg in one hand, bottle of white wine in the other. Not red, since she's stopped drinking it now that it reminds her of vampire blood.

Needless to say, Mischa is a little surprised when Chloe is randomly at his door within five minutes. When he opens it, he looks fairly shocked. And he's rocking the scruffy dork look to boot. His glasses are off, he has a pronounced five o'clock shadow, and he's a bit more casual than normal — baby blue sweater and blue jeans. "Chloe, how did you…?" Then Mischa pauses, recalling the tone of her voice on the phone after he told her where he lived. "…Oh God, we're neighbors are something, aren't we?" At this point, he facepalms and shakes his head at himself. "See? We don't know enough about each other… and well, now I'm just embarrassed." Mischa steps aside and holds the door open for Chloe. "Please, come in." Despite the fact that it was short notice, the place is pretty clean — except for the silver cat hair along the back of the sofa.

"Unit 332," she says with a laugh. "We seemed to be bound by freak coincidence." Chloe enters when he moves from the door, blinking at the sofa. "Oh! You have a cat?" Then she realizes the audacity of what she's said, and laughs at herself. "Forgive me. I guess I'm just not wholly used to the idea of shapeshifting humans yet." Blushing, she holds out the nutmeg and the wine in a 'here, you take these' type manner.

Mischa seems more embarrassed when Chloe notices the cat hair. He lets out a quiet little chuckle and clears his throat. "Yes, that's technically my hair. Sorry, the lint roller is around here somewhere…" Even though the place is fairly clean, it's safe to assume Mischa doesn't have guests that often. He takes the bottle of wine and glances to it appreciatively, squinting without his glasses. "Oh, very nice, Miss— ..Chloe. Excellent. I'll get the glasses. And you've brought the nutmeg." Mischa doesn't seem in the least bit offended by Chloe's comment, and moves into the kitchen to pop the cork on the wine. "I must admit that I had ulterior motives for inviting you here. Are you allergic to strawberries?"

Generally ulterior motives mean something bad, right? So Chloe does her best to pry into his mind to find out what's up. She's still close enough to the door that she can flee if need be. "Strawberries? Naw, I love'em." Less eloquent, but that's due to her mind being occupied with trying to get past the fuzziness of his mind. "Yeah, I forget what I bought the nutmeg for, but it's unopened anyhow. You may as well keep it, I don't cook all that often."

The fuzziness of Mischa's mind is the fact that he suddenly realizes Chloe probably thinks he's a perv for saying 'ulterior motives'. There's a lot of self-deprecating thoughts then before he starts talking. "Good, because I would have been entirely saddened." After a moment, he comes out of the kitchen and presents Chloe with a modest glass of wine. Wouldn't want her to think he's getting her drunk, after all. "Come with me into the kitchen. If you want, I mean. I just can't imagine that it'll be fun for you to sit out here all alone while I make dinner." Mischa starts to head that way, his own glass of wine having been left in the kitchen. There's some sort of batter in a muffin tin — with strawberries in it. Mischa grabs a spoon and the nutmeg, gently stirring the spice into the batter. "I had these just about ready to put in the oven when I realized I was out."

Nothing bad, she doesn't need to run. After taking the glass of wine, Chloe makes her way to the kitchen, sipping at it delicately. She wouldn't want /him/ to think she brought the wine in order to get drunk. "I don't mind the quiet," she says after a short silence. "It's refreshing, mostly because there aren't a whole lot of minds here, with the exception of yours." Eyes fall on the muffin tin, and she nods. "I hope you were planning on bringing some of those in to work, they look good, and they're not even cooked yet!"

"They'll be done soon enough. You can be my guinea pig." Mischa finishes stirring the nutmeg into the batter and then pops them into the oven, taking in a deep breath. "Alright. That's done… do like Chinese food? I have a quick stir fry recipe." He starts to shuffle about the kitchen, pulling ingredients out of the fridge. "Sit down if you want. And thanks for the nutmeg. I need to make a trip to the farmer's market…" Mischa lets out something of a sigh as he peers into his refrigerator. "I hope that my mind is interesting to read. Or maybe in your case you'd prefer to be not so interesting. I apologize in advance for any thoughts of laser pointers I may have."

"Sure. New recipe?" Chloe is thinking it may just be safe to assume so, considering what was said. "Chinese food is fine. That's actually what I was going to order." A person can only eat so much pizza before becoming sick of the stuff. "I don't mind standing," she says, after sipping at the wine again. "Have you been to the market in Koreatown? I don't often cook, but I've gone there a few times for my mother. Some of the stuff there is extremely weird, but when you find what you're looking for, you'll probably only use the farmer's market for fresh produce." A flush colors her cheeks, and she stares at her feet. "Fuzzy-minded, so I generally don't get much from you unless you're seriously concentrating on something, or focusing a thought." Since she can't tell if he's joking or not, she just gives him a lopsided grin at the pointer comment.

Mischa nods to Chloe, flashing a toothy, pearly white smile in her direction. "You got it. I have to spice up my life somehow." Lame chef joke. He listens to her as he starts to rip open a package of thawed chicken in a rather feral manner. It must be second nature to him, because he certainly doesn't apologize or seem to notice how he's opened up the package. "I go there occasionally. They certainly have interesting ingredients from time to time." From a cabinet Mischa pulls out a large cutting board and grabs a knife from his dish drainer, laying it atop of the glass cutting board. Then he washes his chicken off in the sink, cuts it to make it a bit neater, and lays it on the cutting board, beginning to cube it. "Fuzzy-minded. I'd almost say that was a cat joke. I have to admit that I"m not surprised that my brain waves differ so much from other peoples'. After your first shifting, you always retain bits of your animal self. I think the older I get, the harder it becomes to completely let the animals go after I'm back to being myself."

"That's why I brought the nutmeg," Chloe responds, in a complete deadpan. Kidding aside, she watches the process with the chicken, both awed and terrified. "Considering how much time I spend on my own, I'm surprised I never learned how to cook. I can generally heat things up though." If it weren't said so innocently, it might be considered a come-on of sorts. "Can I help with anything? I feel bad making you do all the work when it's my oven that's on the fritz." She swirls the wine around absent-mindedly, and then nods. "To be honest, you're the first shifter I've ever run into. I know a few vampires, and I've made a good dent in getting to know the ins and outs of them, but I know nothing about shifting."

The man is generally fast-moving when it comes to cooking, and he's obviously had a lot of practice, as the cuts are precise and he manages NOT to cut his fingers off. He grins at her joke, then faintly colors when she mentions that she can 'heat things up'. "To be fair, I've always felt it's archaic that women who are out on their own are expected to know how to cook. But if you'd ever like lessons, I'd be more than happy." The chicken is nicely cut up, and tossed into an already oiled frying pan which he puts on the stove. Then there's a prelude into the vegetable crisper. He comes out with fresh broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, and onions. Chances are he was starting to cook for himself before he called Chloe considering how much is in the prep stages. He starts to cut up the vegetables into bite sized pieces — the onion used only sparsely in this case. "May I, then? Enlighten you about shifting, I mean. It's something of a passion of mine. Understandably. But I also collect many books on the subject and quite enjoy researching it. Would you like to know about some Alexandrov family history?"

Chloe considers his offer - well both of them. To the first, she grins, "I'd like that, actually. But only if you let me pay for the lessons. I'd pay the college for one of their night courses, but I generally can't stand to be around such a large group of people." Almost subconsciously, she taps at the left side of her head and sighs. Before responding to the second offer, she takes a long slow sip of the wine, closing her eyes and just listening to the sounds of the chopping. "I would like that. I collect a lot of trivia, and I'm a bit of a burgeoning history buff. Besides, you're always saying that we don't know hardly a thing about one another." Not that her story is all that grand.

"Pay for lessons? Never. You'll actually be helping me stay in practice." Like Mischa doesn't cook every day. Unlike most bachelor pads, there's no evidence of takeout here whatsoever, though there are plenty of covered leftovers. "Firstly, there are two kinds of shifters. Pure blooded shifters, and weres. When a pure blooded shifter bites a human, they create a were. Yes, like werewolves." As Mischa explains, he turns the stove top on and lets the chicken begin to fry. The smell of muffins rises in the air, though they're not in danger of burning. Yet. "Pure born shifters — like me — are able to shift any time they want. During the full moon, we don't have a choice. Neither do weres, but it's the only time they transform — and they can only transform into a mixture of the creature that bit them, and human. Whereas pure born shifters have complete animal forms. Still with me?" Mischa grins at Chloe and winks, dropping the broccoli florets into the pan after the chicken, followed by onion strips.

"Are you sure? I'd hate to take advantage of you." Chloe worries her lip a little, gnawing on it for a moment. The scents in the kitchen are a somewhat odd mixture, the smell of the meat mixing with the sweet smell of the muffins, mixing with the wine which is up at her lips again. Another tiny sip taken. "I think so, yes. It all seems rather complicated though, doesn't it?" She's just found out werewolves are apparently real as well. "Sure I can't help with anything?"

Mischa nods to Chloe. "If you like, reach into that cabinet," indicated with a pointing finger, "and get out the rice." He passes Chloe a measuring cup. "Three cups, please." The pot is already on the stove, and so Mischa puts it down on the counter next to her. "It's complicated, you're right about that. Let me cut to the chase. Most pure blooded shifters are essentially snobs about weres. They view weres as lesser beings. And if you're a pure blooded shifter who's bitten a human and successfully turned them…" Indicating that yes, there's the very real risk of your intended dying during the process, "You're shunned. The Alexandrovs are notorious snobs in Russia. In the shifter community, anyway." It makes him laugh as he puts the rest of the cut up vegetables into the pan, stirring the concoction before he starts to mix up a sauce for it all. "We've been breeding pure shifters for centuries. The one recorded time in our family history that a man DID make a were, they were promptly both killed." Pretty grim stuff, though it's obviously an interesting story to Mischa — he's not exactly upbeat about telling it, but says it all as a historian would, rather than a member of the family in question.

Measuring things? Not a problem! Chloe can do that easily. So she sets down her wine glass and moves to the indicated cabinet, retrieves the rice, and begins to measure it out carefully. Even going so far as to shake the measuring cup to even it out so that she's not using too much. Once it's in the pot, she puts it back on the stove for him. "So I'm guessing that a pure shifter means that two shifters procreate? As opposed to an impure shifter that would come of a shifter and someone who's not a shifter?"

The procreation subject. It would normally make Mischa blush, but he's a tad too distracted putting the rice pan on the stove and then pouring a generous amount of water in it, letting it start to boil. Mischa grabs a few hot pads and pulls the muffins out of the oven, setting them on the table. "Right. It has to be pure to be… well, pure. A were and a shifter will only make another were. Shifters and humans can mate too — with the same result." Mischa finally picks up his wine glass and takes a healthy drink before putting it down. Now that the food is on to cook, he just has to stir it from time to time. "The whole thing is… troublesome, to be honest. Many children produced even from pure shifter procreation don't live past infancy, or they're stillborn." There's a bit of sadness in his eyes as he adds, "I'm the only child of my parents that lived. There were others before me. I was strictly an 'accident'."

Quietly, she watches the measured water poured into the pot, and then waits for him to return from the muffins before saying anything. "I can imagine that it must be difficult for you." Chloe gnaws on her lip again. "You know, I feel almost selfish now. Wishing to avoid the whole having children thing, just to avoid passing this curse on to them, and yet you've got such a heavy burden all just to keep your line from dying out. I'm sorry you have to deal with that."

Mischa lets out something of a low chuckle at that. "Yes, thanks for reminding me that at some point I need to find a nice shifter woman and continue the purity." It's clear that he's joking. He grins at Chloe afterwards and shakes his head, turning a bit somber once more rather quickly. "I'm lucky to have survived. It's why their aren't so many shifters, why they're not very well-known. Somehow our genes are completely unsuited for actual…I don't know, production, I guess." He glances to Chloe and smiles at her briefly. "Of course, we also have an amazing gift." The chicken is browning nicely, and Mischa turns the heat down a bit. The rice hasn't quite started to boil yet, and thus he offers the spoon to Chloe. "Give it a stir, please, while I get the plates."

"Well I can always help you." Beat. "As payment for the cooking lessons. I mean, I'd hear if they were fuzzy-brained, but I'm sure you can probably sense one anyhow, so I guess that's rather silly." Chloe gnaws at her lip a little more, then lifts the glass to down the rest of her wine. "Sure thing!" The spoon is taken as she puts down the empty glass, and she stirs at the rice in a quiet contemplation for a few moments, losing herself in her own thoughts for once.

"Not necessarily. It's hard at times to tell. And there are so few of us." Mischa puts two rather nice glass plates down on the table, and even makes proper place settings. The rice has started to boil, and Mischa takes it off of the stove top in short order, putting it on the table atop of a hot pad. A ladle is put into the concoction before he steps over to Chloe and gently attempts a hand on the shoulder. "I think it's done now. Tell me, do either of your parents have your gift, or does it go further back than that? You mentioned it was hereditary. I'd been curious."

The hand on her shoulder actually makes her jump nervously. From it, it should be obvious that Chloe isn't actually used to that much physical attention, or perhaps just attention in general. She laughs it off though, and then lifts her shoulders in a small shrug. "They don't. I don't know where it came from. They had to institutionalize me in my early teens, because I had no way to keep the voices out, and for a long while I was heavily medicated just so I could have some semblance of normal life." Beat. "I say it's hereditary, since that's what my research has lead me to believe. Maybe I'm just a freak of nature."

Mischa can't help but grin very faintly at the jumpiness, taking the stir fry and putting it on the table. "I didn't mean to startle you. But tit for tat, I should think, after that day in the stacks." He lets out a tsking noise very playfully at her before he gets another large spoon, plopping it into the stir fry. "Dinner's served! I hope you like it spicy." He pulls Chloe's seat out first, not wanting to be rude. Mischa tilts his head and listens to her, quirking a brow. "You might be onto something. Perhaps we should research it a little more. If there are other psychics we could reach, they might have more insight into the biological aspect of your talent." Mischa takes Chloe's glass and pours a bit more wine in, doing the same with his. "I propose a toast."

"I suppose I do deserve to be startled out of my thoughts for that," she says with a grin. As the chair is pulled out for her, she seats herself in it neatly. She may not have perfect manners, and she may be a little slow in social situations, but she /does/ have a bit of grace when dining. "Thank you for all of this. I'll call the superintendent in the morning, but this definitely beats takeout." She can tell just by the smell of it. "I… know of no one else that is afflicted as I am." Only a little lie, because she promised to keep someone's secret. "But it may be worth looking into. How does one do that? Take an ad out in the paper?" She grins, then lifts her glass up, asking, "What shall we toast to?"

"Being freaks of nature," Mischa says, without skipping a beat. He clinks his glass to Chloe's and sits down in his chair, taking a sip of his wine. He puts the glass down and begins to spoon a somewhat generous helping of rice and stir fry onto Chloe's plate. After all, she's been waiting a while now — she must have worked up an appetite. "Maybe an ad in the paper. Wanted: People who hear voices." He laughs after that and waits for Chloe to take the first bite. Manners, always with the manners. "Ah, so this might seem like an odd question, but do you have any plans for Valentine's Day?"

Chloe takes a small taste before saying anything, and nearly chokes on her food at his question. "I'm… uncertain." Which she is. Seeing as how she can't get in touch with Will at all, he's simply disappeared. "I heard that there's supposedly a bit of a to-do down at Bloody Mary's and I thought about going to lend a hand." She taps at her head again, then continues to take a few more small bites, washing them down with a sip of wine. "Otherwise, my overall plan was to dust off my Jane Austen, and spend the night with Mr. Darcy."

Mischa seems rather pleased by this — not her choking, persay, but the big reveal about her plans. "Excellent! I was planning on going too. My mother keeps telling me to get out and meet new people. Funny how at nearly thirty she's still telling me that." He takes a bite of his stir fry, watching Chloe. The food seems to be decent enough. He's not spitting it out or choking on it. It actually tastes fairly good. "Oh, you like Jane Austen? I never could get into her. My favorite is Wuthering Heights and I—" Then he pauses, clearing his throat. Damnit, be manly, Meesh! "Anyway… oh, does alcohol dull the voices?"

"At least your mother talks to you? Mine pretty much has always ignored me." Middle-child syndrome for the win! Chloe doesn't seem too broken up over it though. She keeps nibbling at her food, no longer choking on it. "I love Austen. Perhaps not all of her works, but Pride and Prejudice is truly one of the most romantic novels I have read. Nothing as bodice ripping as the novels of today, but far ahead of her time." Chloe also doesn't seem to mind a discussion on books. "I always found Bronte to be a bit depressing myself, though I've not read Wuthering Heights since high school." She stops as she's about to sip from the wine glass again, and shakes her head. "I suppose a little, though probably only as much as it dulls the other senses? Sometimes, I think it may actually enhance certain thoughts." There she feels a bit odd. Discussing her ability with someone else. At least she's now got two people she can be open about it with - potentially three if she can find out more about the other telepath.

"My parents practically smother me. I love them dearly, but… they're a bit much sometimes. I guess it's understandable though. Still, I'd like to switch places with you for a few days." It's hard to tell whether it's said in jest or not. Mischa licks his lips as he takes another bite, waiting to chew his food like a gentleman and swallow properly before he speaks up once more. "Interesting. I wonder if it only enhances the thoughts of alcoholics then." Badamcha. Mischa leans back in his chair for a moment, reaching to run his fingers over his scruffy chin. "How much about your family history do you know? It may be time to do some serious researching about it." There's a pause, and the man winks. "I may have to try Austen again, especially for you. Since you swear by her and all."

"I don't know. You'd love to switch places, but you don't know about my family at all." Every family has their skeletons and the Cornett family is no different. "I never thought of it before, then again, I was generally medicated at the time as well so…" Yes, medication and alcohol. At least they weren't ones that were bad for each other, and it's not as though she's exactly a lush. "To be honest, not a whole lot. Beyond parents and grandparents, I never bothered researching the family tree." Chloe laughs a little, at the Austen comment. "You don't /have/ to. We all have our favorite books for a reason, right?" Beat. "But if you want to try Austen, might I suggest waiting until November? I hear there is a new movie coming out with Keira Knightley."

Mischa glances down to his watch, then to Chloe rather seriously. "November is a long way away. I may have to cheat, I think." He finishes off the rest of his food — where did it all go? Evidently Mischa worked up an appetite talking about how shifters were never meant to be and his family are a bunch of pure blooded snobs. He leans back in his chair once more, watching Chloe — but not scrutinizing… most people don't like to be watched while they're eating. "It's something you may look into. The genealogy." Slowly Mischa stands up and takes his plate to the sink. He leans over the sink and stretches his back, eliciting a few satisfying popping noises. This also affords Chloe a nice view of his bum. "As long as someone doesn't tell me that there's a such thing as body-swappers, I think I'll pass."

Grinning, Chloe adds, "Well you can always watch the Colin Firth version that the BBC put out about ten years ago. It was a mini-series I think, and quite good." She slowly finishes her dinner, even though she's being watched sort of. Were she not focused on her food, and the thoughts about finding out where her freakish nature stems from, she would have just had a nice show of Mischa bum. "You mean there's not such a thing as body-swappers? Though to be honest, since you told me what you are, I've been wondering what else is possibly out there. I guess humans are so keen to believe they're all that's really important and they overlook a lot, or explain away things they couldn't possibly explain away if they actually believed in something other than themselves."

Mischa takes Chloe's plate after she's finished, putting it in the sink with his. Dishes be damned, he'll do them tomorrow. What a badass. "Hmm, BBC, you say? Interesting." He pauses then before letting out a quiet chuckle. "If there IS a such a thing as a body-swapper, I certainly don't want to know about it. And yes. I guess it goes back to that whole thing when you're small, you know? Your parents reassure you that there is no monster in the closet and so you start to believe it. I personally believe that it's the reason so much strange phenomena gets stunted. We're taught from a young age not to believe anything we can't explain or see." Mischa moves towards the door frame, smiling at Chloe. "You didn't have the chance to peruse my books. Would you care to?"

The plate is taken, and Chloe protests, "Oh, let me do that! You cooked dinner, it's only fair." She's immediately on her feet to head to the kitchen to wash the dishes, when she's stopped by him leaning against the frame of the door. "I'd love to, and possibly to borrow a few if it's not too much trouble?" What else is a girl supposed to do in her free time other than read?

"Right this way then. If it'll get you to stop fussing with those dishes." Mischa grins at Chloe, leading her into the living room. "I have a few books about shapeshifting and werecreatures in mythology that I think you'll find interesting. Of course, there are other subjects too…" And thus ends dinner, and opens up a new, paper-smelling can of worms.

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