Killing With Kindness

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.

It's late afternoon and Mischa is just fresh off of work. He's been home for about half an hour now and in that short time, has gotten nothing accomplished except for taking his glasses and shoes off. He can be found on the couch, pillow over his face, attempting to block out the world. It somehow just seems the safest bet to him, after everything.

Knock. Knock. Calm, quiet, testing knuckles on his door. Should he have a peephole and use it, he'd see Josephine, unbloodied, with freshly washed hair (shiny), rather healthy skin, but also looking more than a little tired and troubled.

It takes him a minute, but he does get off the couch and go to the door. The peephole is utilized, the door opened. He too looks a little tired, even rugged due to his not having shaved in a while. "Sorry, I don't think I caught your name that day… if I did, I don't remember. Come in though, no use standing out in the hall. Can I get you something to eat or drink?" Having near perfect strangers (ones who have previously laughed at you in a cafe, none the less) at his seem to be the last of Mischa's worries at the moment.

To her credit, Jo's not laughing now. Her green eyes scan his face while she steps over the threshold and she thinks she recognizes the sentiment. So her alto tells him calmly, "Josephine van den Bosch, but Jo will do if yo- Well it'll do. Can we… Can we talk?"

Strangely, women do not often bust down Mischa's door to talk to him. He gives Jo something of an odd look before he nods, closing the door. "Sure, why not. Make yourself comfortable. Just a moment." Mischa steps away from her for a brief bit to go into the kitchen, putting a kettle of water on the stove to boil. "Let me know if you need anything. So, what brings you here…?" He asks, hesitant curiosity evident in his voice.

Josephine looks around the room with her hands still in the pockets of her jacket, that is, until she removes one to rub over her face, ending with smoothing her hair. She picks one corner of the couch to sit on and waits quietly for him to return. "I'm fine, thank you, but… You can't guess why I'm here?" Now she's in, her study of his face and body in general becomes rather… studious.

Mischa leans up against the door frame that separates the kitchen and the living room, arms crossing over his chest. He furrows his brows at Josephine. "You're wondering where I got a tiger from, I imagine." After that, he laughs. "A friend of mine is a zookeeper… and he owed me a favor. That's really all I can say. You're looking better than you were." Mischa himself still looks a bit green around the gills. Damn that vampire blood.

"Mm-hmm." The woman sits back, watching him intently, both hands back in the pockets. "I'm going to ask you a question, and I would /really/ appreciate an honest answer. Can you do that?"

"I'll answer to the best of my abilities." Mischa's fuzzy brain patterns are all over the place right now. No clear thoughts strike out, although there's a bit of panic in his brain. "Though that's bold of you, coming into someone else's residence and then questioning them." It's said with a tone of vague amusement.

It makes her smile, though wryly. "It's what I do," she tells him, a brow quirking, "I'll tell you all about it later if you want, but right now, I'm more interested in this…" She trails for a moment, building up the momentum. Then asks bluntly, "Mischa, what's a shifter."

Mischa slowly moves over to the bookcase and puts himself in front of section about shapeshifting. Subtle much? "You act like I'd know? Because I don't. I was just the driver that night, Jo. You guys — and the very friendly tiger — did all the work." He glances towards the kitchen, listening for the kettle before he resumes leaning. "That night was weird enough. I don't have the answers that you seek." His pulse is racing now, though his thoughts are mostly in a constant train of: ABORT ABORT ABORT ABORT.

Josephine feels her eyes narrow and she rises from the couch, using her natural height as leverage. Though not exactly invading his personal space, she does move in a lot closer, telling him in a tight voice, "That's…. Very annoying." It's rather obvious she doesn't believe him. Weighing her options, she extends a hand, metaphorically speaking that is and offers, "I'm not going to 'abort', Mischa."

"Miss Van den Bosch, I think it's important that you know that intimidation doesn't get very far with me. I'm not really sure what you're after here. Have you checked the library? I could point you to a few books about superstition…" Mischa says, straightening his posture and standing his full height above her. "Are we still on the subject of the tiger? Because I really can't give away my source. My friend would be very, very angry with me. What are you doing, a story on the mistreatment of animals?" Mischa asks, reaching up to run his fingers through his hair.

Irritatingly enough, Jo has to look up now, but since it's all she has to work with, she will do the best she can. "That's what you answer when someone obviously goes way out of her comfort zone, sharing with you something this big…" Disappointment draws the corners of her mouth further down and she chews on the inside of her cheek while she considers him, searching. "Help me out here. I'm having a hard enough time dealing with all this as it is. I just need answers. For me."

The tall man shakes his head at her. "I was just the driver. I really can't help you, Miss Van den Bosch. That term is completely unfamiliar to me. And to be honest, I don't even understand the events that transpired in that warehouse." At least he's being honest about that much. He throws his hands up in the air very briefly and lets out a sigh of exasperation. "My friend needed help, and I helped her. That's all I can say. To be honest, I'm not even sure how you came into the mix yourself."

"In retrospect, that makes two of us," Jo mutters darkly. She uses both hands to pull her hair back tightly form her face to help her refocus and he can easily detect the fingers shaking. "But you're wrong about one thing." She turns, taking a few steps back towards the door. "I'm not doing any article, surprised Chloe didn't tell you that much." She looks over her shoulder, accusing eyes darker now. "In that warehouse, I killed two vampires. And I learned a few things. And I know you can help me with some of the things I still don't understand. I…" She has to look away now, too tired to keep her emotions from leaking.

"Chloe didn't mention any articles to me. So, you are a reporter." That seems to amuse Mischa quite a bit. He shakes his head at her and laughs for a moment before putting his hands in his pockets. No hair pulling tonight, alas. "Maybe you aren't meant to understand. Maybe /we're/ not meant to understand. Frankly, I'll be happy to wash my hands of the whole experience." He takes in a deep breath and moves away from the book case, off towards Jo. "The whole thing — I'd like to forget it if possible. It's strange, having someone else in my debt." Pause. "All because I drove a car to a hotel and am suffering the flu."

His laughter lifts her shoulders half an inch with the tension it causes. "So funny," she comments, her throat tighter then she wishes to display. "Hilarious." The woman snorts, bending her head to stare at the toes of her boots, perhaps trying to conquer an urge to kick something. "You know," she turns to face him, again. "I thought of everyone involved, I thought you were the one person who'd see through the mess it made for us. That maybe you'd be the one to show some consideration, both of us far away from home. Not dead. Not doing any vampire."

Mischa lets out a loud, long yawn that seems to have come out of nowhere before he looks at Josephine, eyeing her as she looks at the toe of her boots. "I don't have any answers. And I don't want to see through what happened. I just want to maybe drink enough to kill the braincells that make me remember it. For what it's worth, I'm glad that you and Chloe aren't dead though." He lets out something of a chuckle after that, reaching to absently scratch at his forearm.

Josephine follows his scratching hand, sighing deep, "Yeah, well, I tried that since last Thursday and news flash: no amount of whiskey, rum or /vodka/ will do the trick. Trust me."

Unfortunately, the scratching hand doesn't reveal anything otherworldly. Just a scar from where Mischa had his car wreck, the stitches recently taken out. "I do believe you, trust me. I tried a bit of that myself… it didn't go so well. But I'm willing to give it another try." The kettle in the kitchen starts to whistle, and Mischa moves away for a moment to pull it off of the burner it's on.

Another deep, deep sigh from the woman in the living room. Left to her own devices, she notices the romance novels and rolls her eyes, groaning at the man's taste. There's another short pause, then she makes a decision and she walks after him into the kitchen, laying a business card on the counter. "When you're really ready to give it a try, and really ready to be straight with me… I have a few bottles in stock." The card tells him she's a correspondent for Time NL and offers her name as well as a US cell phone number. "If not…" Nah, she won't go there.

"You know, if I were any other kind of man, I'd say that sounded like a come on." Mischa points out, before he smiles at Jo in a friendly manner. He reaches out for her card and reads it over, tucking it into the pocket of his jeans. "Don't worry, I won't put it in with the wash." Considering how neat his apartment is, he seems the type of person to probably empty out his pockets before laundry or at the end of the day. "Thanks for stopping by. It was nice to see you without all that crap in your hair."

His good manners alas are not reflected in his visitor, Josephine shivering, then glaring with a vengeance to deny she ever had such a reaction. "No thank you. I like my men honest and straightforward." Before she paces out of the kitchen.

For a minute, Jo's words make Mischa smile. Though it's something of a sad smile. "Gimme a break. We all have our reasons. I'm not a bad guy." With that, he very kindly opens up the door for her.

"No, I won't!" Still, she leaves the apartment before she rounds and points a very angry finger at him. "I get that you probably don't trust me, or that you don't want anyone to know. I /know/. I get it. Don't you see?"

At this point, it's just easier for Mischa to dismiss Josephine completely. "Alright then. Nice chatting with you." Strangely, it sounds genuine enough. "Be safe out there." He closes the door, locks it, and retreats back into his kitchen for that cup of tea. Now with some brandy in it.

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