Heart to Heart

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 later in the evening. Late night, actually. Chloe's only just gotten back from the library, stopping in at her place for a quick change of clothing, and then a return to the estate. But there is cheesecake at her door, and some other containers of food that look to be a day or so old. A guilty look is given to them as they're brought in. Then she showers, changes, and heads upstairs. Her still wet hair clings to the back of her t-shirt. The jeans thrown hastily on, a pair of dressy boots on her feet.
There is a knock at the door of apartment 440. A gentle one. That becomes a tad louder of a rap as she tries to see if Mischa is home. Maybe she should have called first.

Mischa is in fact home, after his date with Summer. After having had a nice long cold shower and some ice cream, he's found himself on the couch. The TV is on, but not up loud enough to be heard outside. It would seem the occupant of 440 fell asleep while watching TV. He's not dressed anywhere as nicely as he normally is, instead wearing a plain white t-shirt and grey sweatpants. When he hears the first knock, he mutters something in Russian which roughly translates into 'five more minutes' before the second knock sounds out. "I'm coming!" is cried out in Russian. When Mischa finally stumbles towards the door and answers it, there are pillow creases on his face and his hair is quite disheveled. Upon seeing who it is, he smiles and pushes open the door. "Chloe! I was getting a little worried. Please come in."

"I woke you." Frowning, she enters the apartment. "I'm sorry, Mischa. I didn't mean to wake you. Was that Russian you were yelling? I'm positive it was, but it's not a language I know and…" She's babbling again. Chloe has been doing that quite frequently lately. "I hadn't heard from you about mama, and I was getting worried, but I also didn't want to pester. I know it's that time of the month." Beat. Then she starts to laugh. She can't help it. It came out so horribly.

Crap. Between being a kitty cat and going on dates, Mischa hasn't been entirely upholding of his part of the deal. He closes the door behind Chloe and moves to sit down on the couch, turning the TV off. "It's fine, I just fell asleep watching TV. And yes, it was Russian. My first language, y'know." He looks towards the redhead and gives her a faint smile. "Your mother did in fact shift, Chloe. She made it through alright though. And she's in good hands. I'm sorry I wasn't in contact sooner. Things have been a little hectic for everyone. Your mother hasn't contacted you yet?" Mischa asks with a hint of worry.

Chloe gives her head a shake, then moves toward him. Not to attack or accost him, just so that they can talk more quietly. "No, and I don't suspect she will. She's got a lot to deal with, right? What with the change, and dad being gone… her own grief and recovery to deal with… plus how would she tell us what's going on? She spent years trying to tell me I was crazy, and sent me to a mental institution because she couldn't deal." Gnawing on her lip, she turns to face Mischa fully. "Do you think that's why she changed? I mean, I read something about telepathy running in families, and Jo said it ran in hers or something. Do you think she survived it because of genetics?"

"It's probably a lot for your mother to swallow, yes," Mischa admits, facing Chloe. "Especially after she accused you of being crazy. And now she's dealing with something she can't explain fully herself." Mischa reaches up to run his fingers through his hair, only succeeding in making it more messy. He takes into consideration her question, shaking his head after a moment. "I'm not sure, really. I was always told it depended on the person. Some people are just more likely to reject the change. Luckily your mother didn't."

"I don't think mama will consider it lucky for quite some time." Chloe suddenly reaches out to hug him. It's a weird thing for her to do, but she smiles at him. "Thank you, Mischa. I know that you probably had a lot to deal with, with Mr. Donato, and taking care of this. I owe you for a lot of things right now. Anything you want, I'm your girl."

The quip about Chloe being his girl makes him chuckle very quietly. He returns her hug and gently rubs her back a moment before pulling away, smiling at her. "No. This is what friends do for each other, Chloe. Maybe a lot of people wouldn't have gone this far, but not only do I have you to think about, I have the pack to think about." He nods to her for a moment, leaning back on the couch. "I know that your mother will probably hate what she is for a long time. But this life IS better than no life. At least I believe that. I know there are others who do too."

Chloe nods, feeling better about it. She still owes him, of course, but it seems less of a dire need to provide some sort of repayment. "Mellie and Bobby won't really understand. I don't know what to tell them." She laughs again. "Though I think Bobby liked you. Just before I left, he said that you were a great guy and I should go for you. It's rare for my brother to think anyone is good enough."

Mischa flushes at Chloe's words, grinning very faintly. "Your brother DOES seem a little bit hard to please from what I know of him. The first time we met I thought he was going to pummel me into a fine, orange juice-like pulp. I'm glad he didn't though. I think he has your best interests at heart, and your sister's, too." As for Chloe going for him? He can't make any immediate comment, though he does sort of grin like a fool for a while. "Mellie and Bobby may not understand now. Or ever. But they need to be there for your mother just the same. You kids are all she has left. I know it may sound crass, but you should all be thankful that it wasn't one of you who died with your mother. A person can get over losing a spouse, sometimes. But a parent should never outlive a child, Chloe."

"Bobby is… Bobby. He's been protecting me all my life, so I can understand that he'd be upset when I go missing." Chloe reaches for his hand. Just to take it in a friendly sort of manner. "He /didn't/ hurt you though, right? I mean, he didn't try to?" It's a concern of hers, especially with him being drunk a lot of late. That Bobby'll go and hurt someone she cares for. "I'm there for mama one hundred percent. But I don't want to force her to talk to us until she's ready. I trust Mr. Donato, and I know he'll take good care of her and explain things. When she's ready, we can talk. Then I'll tell her everything like I've never been able to before, and maybe she'll understand now."

He grips Chloe's hand and gives it a soft squeeze, shaking his head. "No, Bobby didn't try to pulverize me. And hopefully he never will. I'm not sure if I could do any damage to him." A low, dark chuckle escapes his lips after that as he listens to Chloe, considering her carefully. "You never really let on that your mother didn't believe that you were psychic, Chloe. I'm sorry. That must have been hard for you. But she's going to be proud of you, that you were able to put that aside and accept her, even when you could have easily done the opposite. She's very lucky to have a kid like you."

Chloe is silent for a moment, just basking in the hand on hers. Then she sighs. "Bobby was the only one who believed me. He's the only one that believes me now, too. Mellie… well she just sort of thinks I'm vying for attention and taking it away from her. She's a bit of a spoiled little bitch, because she was daddy's princess." Heh. "It was hard, but hardships make us who we are. I used to be afraid of my abilities, Mischa. I used to medicate myself so heavily that I was likely the dullest person alive. But I'm not afraid any more." As she pauses, she stares straight at him. "Of anything."

"Be careful with how you choose to feel fear, Chloe. Sometimes fear is what keeps us safe, sane even." Mischa gives her hand a squeeze and lets the talk of her siblings roll off his back. He hardly has anything to make comparisons to, though he nods with understanding nevertheless. "I'm glad that you don't take pills anymore… the thought of you being like that…" Mischa just trails off and frowns, unable to put into words what the thought of Chloe in a semi-vegative state does to him.

"That's how you knew me for years at work," Chloe points out quietly. She shifts her position on the couch, knees facing in toward his. "Mischa, after all I've seen, and been drawn into, if I fear anything I will die. I face each day with a new set of fears, and now I find that the things that used to scare me most, letting people in, caring about people… they just don't scare me anymore."

Mischa frowns a little bit. "But I barely ever saw you, Chloe. We didn't really know each other then." He takes in her words and gives her a soft smile. "Good. I'm glad that you're… finally willing to let people in. You deserve a chance at a happy life. It may never be normal, but you owe it to yourself to at least be happy. Or not totally miserable." He watches Chloe inquisitively, his own thoughts racing madly. Chloe would be able to pick up on desire, confusion, hesitance. No real thought pattern, but the emotions behind them all strike out heavily.

The emotions hit her like a wave, and she just shifts on the couch again. "I've given up trying to be normal. What /is/ normal anyhow?" Chloe grins at him. "I can read minds, you turn into a cat, my mother is a werewolf, and we nearly got killed saving a vampire. That's pretty much par for the course these days with my life. I'm happy with it. It's normal /for me/, even if it's not generally considered normal." Chloe closes her eyes briefly, then flashes them open at him. She doesn't want to pry. She really doesn't.

"No one will ever know what normal really is, Chloe. I mean, I guess there are ideals. Stereotypes that go along with it. But the bottom line is that if you're happy, it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. You know, as long as you're not kicking puppies or something." Mischa watches her and then finally grins back. "It's nice to see you smile after all this time, y'know. You had me worried." After that he reaches out, putting a hand on her knee briefly. "You're strong though. You can make it through almost anything if you try hard enough. I know that much about you."

The little pep talk makes her laugh. Chloe watches him right back and quietly says, "I would never kick a puppy. They're too cute to kick." Simple as that, it seems. Her hair is tucked behind her ears, and she glances at him curiously. "You know, in all the time I stayed here, I never noticed you in your night clothes. You actually look relaxed for once, I'm surprised." Beat. "Not that you weren't relaxed, just that you rarely seemed to dress in a comfortable manner… Christ. I'm babbling again."

Mischa reaches up to run his hands over his face, rubbing at his eyes before he lets out a laugh at Chloe's words. "No, no. It's fine. It's good to hear you talking." Beat. "And you're not the first person who after seeing me dressed like this has commented on how uptight I normally am." He winks and shrugs his shoulders a little bit, crossing his arms over his chest. "It's just how I've always dressed, I suppose. Even in high school. Somehow I managed not to get my ass kicked back then. I once heard one of our co-workers say that if you put a lump of coal up my ass you'd have a diamond in two weeks. I can't say I entirely disagree with that assessment."

Chloe blinks at him, then laughs again. "Oh, /Mischa/! You're not /that/ bad. You just take your job seriously and do what's needed of you." Her knee bumps against his. "Besides, I'd like to think that I know you. You may dress the part of uptight librarian, but you're actually a pretty cool guy with many facets." Beat. "Part of why I like you, I suppose. Thing is…" And abruptly, her words are cut off. No explanation, nothing further to say. Chloe is simply watching him now. Quietly.

This causes the librarian all to blush very much. He bumbles a bit, saying, "Yes, well, uh. Erm." Eventually he quits trying to formulate an actual sentence, simply laughing. "What is the thing here, pray tell?" Mischa asks before he shrugs his shoulders once more. "I guess I'm comfortable being the guy that no one really notices. Blending into the scenery is something I've always been good at. I guess my primary animal to change into should have been a chameleon."

Mischa may notice a slight change in Chloe's manner in a moment. Just a slight one. Eyes are closed, and she's trying to think of what to say. Rare for her since she can usually pull something out of someone's head and seem intelligent. It's just lost on her at the moment. "Chameleon… then you'd be a right super hero… or something…" His question goes unanswered though.

He's willing to let it go. For now. He reaches over and attempts to gently hug Chloe once more. The emotion pouring out of him is now tenderness, friendship. Chloe is like a little baby bunny he just wants to hold and pet for some reason. "I'll never be a super hero. I don't even know if I'm one of the good guys yet. I've been having a lot of mixed feelings over the fact that I killed, or helped kill, a couple of vampires… you know?" He asks.

"They were trash." Hardly the warm Chloe she once was. "Do you know they were the ones that caused all that fuss at the parade? They killed an /innocent child/ and tried to kill a friend of mine. They didn't deserve to live. Or unlive. What the heck is the proper term for that anyhow?" With the hug in play, Chloe tilts her head just enough so she can rest her forehead against his. "I was extremely happy to have you with me, Mischa. I /do/ still owe you for that."

Mischa pulls Chloe's head to his chest, smiling a little bit. "I didn't know they'd killed a child, no. That makes me feel less bad. I've just never killed anyone, whether or not they deserved it." There's a pause as Mischa pulls away enough to look at Chloe. "I didn't like how it made me feel, Chloe. It was… powerful. The feelings that overtook me while I was doing those things. I didn't trust myself afterwards." Mischa nods his head at the redhead, sighing. "I'm glad I was there. I shudder to think about what would have happened if I hadn't… and no, you don't owe me anything. Just be happy, that's all I want from you, okay?"

It's more comfort than she's had in a while, and Chloe soaks it all up. Such a peaceful position to be in, and so for a moment she's quiet. Then she looks up at him when he pulls away. "Were they even really alive? Bobby doesn't think so, but Mellie… well she…" She's a fangbanger, so Chloe's not sure whether to believe her. "They can be caring and cruel at the same time, it's rather confusing." She shakes her head. "No, Mischa. I owe you my life. Had you not been there… I would have been killed. I just wish there was some way…"

"Alive, not alive. They were human beings at one time and they still are. Just not internally functional ones. Just like the rest of us, they seem to have their own moralities… no two are alike, just like human beings." Mischa shrugs his shoulders a little bit and brushes Chloe's hair back, shaking his head at her once more. "Please, no. I don't want anyone owing any debts to me. I did what I had to do. That's all, and it's over now, and it's been over. It's something I'm kind of trying to forget. Because really, remembering the way that vampire skin and blood tasted — not the best of memories."

"Why did you do it, Mischa? Why did you risk your life to help me?" Chloe's words come out in almost a pleading tone. Just wanting answers. "Vampires are damned confusing is what they are. I will never understand them or their ways. At least he's safe, and the threat… the people that took Rose, and killed that child… they're dead. It means they can't hurt anyone else, and even if it means someone had to die for it… I'm happy that is the case."

Mischa squeezes Chloe's shoulders gently. "Because I care for you. You're my friend. You're innocent, and so is your family. You didn't deserve any of what has happened to you. It's as simple as that. I'm still unclear if it's all as black and white as it sounds…" He shrugs his shoulders and gives her a weak smile, letting out a sigh. "I guess at least we've done some good. For now. So, what can you tell me about this Mister Grant? You've been fairly quiet on the subject of him. Although considering I DID risk my life to save him…"

"He's the vampire Sheriff." Beat. "No, he's the King of Texas now, I suppose. He's… well what do you want to know? Needless to say, he's a very powerful man." Chloe gnaws on her lip. "Mischa, I didn't really come here to talk about Mr. Grant." Fidget.

"Then what did you come here for? To tell me again how much you owe me?" Mischa asks, grinning at Chloe as he leans back. After a few moments, he bats his eyelashes in confusion. "He's the King now? I guess that assauges any fears I had about being held accountable for murdering vampires…" Which has been a very real fear to him the past few weeks. He looks faintly relieved, though inside he feels like a boulder has been lifted off of his chest.

"I… it's complicated." Chloe exhales a sigh, and then twists her body so that she's partially pinning him to the couch. A boulder may have been removed, but it's replaced by a telepath. "Yes, he's the King now, and I think if, well if you give me permission to tell you who he is, he'll see that you're compensated and all that. I don't know the details, I didn't ask." Beat. "I /do/ owe you, and I /will/ repay you."

"No, Mischa. No guilt. You did what was necessary. They were evil, and our laws? They wouldn't have held them long. Think of all the historical romances you've read. The hero always kills someone to save the king, or his woman, or something, and he was always compensated with land, or money, or a title. That's how they work." Chloe is giving away secrets. Trusted secrets. "But don't tell /anyone/ that you know about this. It's a well hidden secret and it should be kept that way." She keeps him blocked, and when the excitement creeps up she can feel it. It's at that point that she just quickly leans in and kisses him. Soft and uncertain, but it's there.

Mischa flushes a nice shade of crimson at Chloe's words. "But I'm not heroic at all. Usually the hero IS the king… I'm just some guy that until a few weeks ago was working peacefully in a library and waiting to die…" He pauses. "Who would I tell? I don't have a—" After this, Mischa is silenced by Chloe's kiss. He looks startled and surprised, but slowly returns the kiss, pulling her a little closer to him. The kiss isn't passionate so much as it is… strangely comforting.

Passion is not something that Chloe considers a strong point. In fact, it's not something she's very practiced at at all. The kiss doesn't last all that long, but as it ends, she doesn't draw too far back from him. "I'm sorry, Mischa. I shouldn't have… I mean, I didn't mean to startle you. It's just… well that's not wholly important either." Beat. "Did you want me to go?"

The other librarian leans in and kisses her again, although it doesn't last any longer. In fact, it's shorter the second time around. Eventually he smiles ruefully at Chloe. "I don't want you to go, no. In fact… would you stay the night with me, Chloe?" He asks, feeling her out on the subject. Strangely, there's not a lot of overtly sexual vibes coming from him. There's something deep within him in that seems to be seeking comfort. Moreso, there's pain there.

Of course she can pick up on these. So immediately, she asks, "What's wrong?" Then, Chloe seems to realize it's not really her place to butt in on such things and she shakes her head. "Never mind. Of course I will, so long as you have a t-shirt to lend me? Otherwise, I can run downstairs and grab something…"

"Chloe, I don't want sex from you." Mischa rather suddenly blurts out as he pushes off of the couch and starts to move towards a laundry basket of clean clothes. Between the cooters and the newfound social life, he hasn't had much time to do these household chores. "I mean… if that's okay with you… I just…" Mischa trails off there, looking embarrassed. "I haven't been with a woman in ten years. Give or take. I find you… amazingly attractive. But I can't take advantage of you like that. I just really want to hold you." It comes out quietly, and he can't even make eye contact as he relays all of this to her.

His blurt causes her to laugh. She follows him toward the laundry basket, and glances at the turtles. "Oh you got pets!" Then she looks at him. "If that was what you wanted, or all that you wanted, I wouldn't have agreed to stay. I… I may not have fear about certain things any more, Mischa, but that doesn't mean I'd let you take advantage of me either." With him refusing to make eye contact, he's hard to read. Yet she still places a hand on his shoulder, in a comforting manner. "I can live with being held." Hell, it may mean she'll actually have a decent night's sleep since her father's death.

Mischa can't help but laugh and be relieved at Chloe's reaction. He nods towards the tank and starts to rifle through the laundry basket, eventually coming up with a long t-shirt that she's worn before. "Yep. Those are Heath and Cliff. Heath is the one with more yellow on his back. A friend who works at a vet's office called me about them. They were abandoned. You can touch them if you want, they're not particularly bitey. How are they doing on food?" Mischa asks, in a concerned mother hen way. He lays the t-shirt over the arm of the couch and smiles at Chloe. "I appreciate this, actually. Being with you has realized how much I miss certain things. Like actually being affectionate with other people."

"From Wuthering Heights?" Chloe grins at him. "Now Mischa, asking me to touch your turtles just sounds /dirty/." Moving toward the terrarium, she gets down at eye level. "Well if they eat plants it looks like they have three left, otherwise I can't tell you how they're doing for food. I've never had a pet." Turning back toward the couch, she picks up the shirt and tosses it over her head and over her existing shirt. "I've never really been affectionate with anyone, so I guess I'm glad I could do that for you."

"At least I didn't call them river cooters," he mutters underneath his breath before letting out a quiet snicker. He nods to her. "That's good then. They should be set for the night, I suspect." Mischa takes in a deep breath as he watches Chloe, moving to sit down on the arm of the couch. "Well, I wasn't always this shut off from the world. Just most of the time." He pauses and reaches up to run his fingers through his hair, looking a little nervous. "I was engaged once."

The now undershirt comes off and is tossed over his couch, leaving her in his shirt, and her jeans. Her boots are kicked off, and she nods, then moves to seat herself on the couch again. "What happened?" Then she pauses. "Oh God, Mischa. I'm sorry. I don't mean to pry at all." She turns toward the arm of the couch, and sighs. "Whatever it was, I'm sorry."

He can't help but laugh just the slightest bit as Chloe apologizes. "No, no. I brought it up. It's been a long time since I reopened this wound… one that should have been healed by now." He clears his throat and takes in another breath. "She died. She was pinned between two cars crossing a busy intersection. One of the drivers was drunk. He was in jail for quite some time, but he's been paroled since then. I just… that was it, you know? I quit functioning. I stopped doing anything for a long time."

There are no words that Chloe can speak to make him feel better. The 'I'm sorries' just don't cut it. Instead of saying a word, she drapes an arm ovrr his shoulder and whispers, "That's horrific. I'm sorry that you had to go through with it, Mischa. That had to have been difficult for you."

For a long moment there's just silence. He does his very best not to let Chloe see the tears that have welled up, but they're undeniably there. He nods his head at her before shrugging his shoulders. "Things happen." He tries to sound disaffected about it, but of course that fails. "I guess why I'm telling you this is… I know your loss right now. In a different way, but it's there. You're bouncing back from yours a lot sooner than I did. Not that you had much of a choice, but maybe it was for the better. Like I said, you're strong, Chloe."

"I'm only as strong as I need to be, and not an ounce strong. I'm bouncing back, quite frankly, because my siblings are to irresponsible at this point to care. But your loss… it's very different, Mischa. Losing someone you're close to like that. I would hate to lose someone I cared about so much." Even though the tears aren't noted, she can feel his sadness. So she moves in to give him another hug. "It does help when surrounded by friends."

"Before you… I mean, before her… I never had any friends. It's nice to feel something again. Even if it hurts. You medicated yourself, I just closed myself off. The similarities are getting fairly scary here," Mischa says lightly, turning to smile at Chloe as he pushes his tears back. "I actually feel like I'm alive again for the first time in about nine years. Hardships aside, I have you partially to thank."

Chloe's hug intensifies. "Shh, Mischa. I don't know what's happened lately," she says in a quiet whisper. "It's not important. I'm here for you, you don't have to hold back your tears — I certainly didn't when it was my turn to cry. Go get comfortable. I'll finish changing, and I'll be in shortly. We can talk, and you can hold me. So long as you don't mind me holding you in return."

Boys don't cry. It's just one of those infallible facts of nature. What he does do however, is hug Chloe and give her a pat on the back. "Alright, go finish changing. Sorry, you must be uncomfortable like that." He stands up and starts to head towards the bedroom, giving Heath and Cliff one last glance before he goes to bed. "That sounds nice, I must admit."

Nice, she can live with. No stress, no pressure, just being there for one another. Chloe smiles at him and then lets him head into his bedroom. "It's nothing," she offers quietly, scooting off to the bathroom to change.

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