A Studio Warming Gift

March 13, 2018:

Kitty stops by Piotr's new artist's studio in Mutant Town with a small studio warming gift and helps him unpack a few things.

Mutant Town

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: Rocket, Groot, Danielle Moonstar, Peter Quill, Illyana, Cyclops

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

It didn't take long for Piotr to find a place to rent for studio space in Mutant Town. Once his mind was made up it took only a few days of checking out various spaces before finding something reasonable. Technically it's supposed to be a studio apartment but it will work just fine as an actual studio for his work. Packing up his makeshift studio at the mansion was more of a process. But finally he has everything here, though none of it is setup.

Throughout the process of finding a place and packing up his stuff Piotr has gone back and forth on telling people. On the one hand, he wants a quiet place away from the craziness of the mansion to work. On the other, he doesn't like even a whiff of being secretive, there are enough important things to be secretive about. So finally he just ends up sending a group text to a few fellow senior X-Men letting them know about his new digs and inviting them to stop by and see it.

Currently dressed in his usual painting gear of paint splattered tan canvas pants and a clean white tank top, Piotr is transferring supplies from buckets and boxes into the limited cabinetry of the 'kitchen' area. A wireless speaker has been setup and is playing some whacky Russian pop music that Piotr has convinced himself that he enjoys. The place is still a wreck of boxes, canvas drop cloths, easels and lighting, but he's working on it.

*

One of those people that know about Piotr's new studio space is one Kitty Pryde. That's made apparent by the quick rap on the door. Kitty's there with a small plant tucked under her arm. There's a ribbon and bow tied around the pot: it's clearly meant to be a studio warming gift. It was quite a chore trying to keep Rocket and Groot from inspecting it, breaking it, or somehow turning it into a bomb before she could come visit and present it to him.

With a grin, she tilts her head a bit at the Russian pop music she can hear through the door. She can't tell if this is very like Piotr or something slightly out of character. Either way, she seems cheery enough.

*

The knock on the door, gets Piotr to stop rifling through the box of tools looking for his good palette knives. He quirks an eyebrow wondering who that might be, already crossing his sister off the list of possibilities considering Illyana would likely just step out of limbo portal in the middle of the studio. He opens the door and grins upon seeing Kitty.

"Katya! Welcome. Come in, come in."

Moving his large frame to make a way for her to actually enter, he winces a bit on realizing just what a giant mess the place is. "It is a work progress obviously." Yea, that constitutes an art joke from the big guy. Big heart, not a great sense of humor. He motions around with his arms and says "I would give the grand tour but… this is it. I think it will be good." Here he realizes the music is a bit much for conversation and moves to go turn it way down.

*

At the door greeting, Kitty beams and holds out the plant with a bright red bow on it. "Surprise! I got you a studio warming gift. It's a cactus, so you don't have to water it all that often. Put it out and just water it when you remember!"

As she steps into the apartment, she takes a look about her in a kindly appraising fashion. She doesn't seem to mind the clutter or the mess. He just moved, after all, putting everything where it all belongs takes some time. "It's a great space, Piotr." The quip is met with a smile, if not an outright laugh. "Knowing your art, I'm sure it'll be a masterpiece in no time."

With the music lowered, she gestures toward the speakers. "You didn't strike me as a pop music sort of guy."

*

Taking the pot from her hands, he smiles at the little gift plant "Thank you. A cactus or maybe a fake plant is about all I would feel prepared to care for here." Piotr himself forgets to eat often enough when he's working on something that it's not a surprise an actually needy house plant would go neglected. The plant is set down on a counter in one of the free bare spots.

He smiles awkwardly at the compliment about it being a masterpiece in no time, giving a small shrug and rubbing the back of his head, "It will be a while."

"Oh? I find I like it's … uhm energy. And I enjoy that it's Russian, helps me feel a bit less far away sometimes." He scrunches up his face in trying to explain it. He's not really sure why he's taken to it himself, but that's a close approximation of his reasons anyway. He then throws his hands up to change the subject, "But what about you? I have not seen you since.. the mansion was wrecked. How are you? You look well." Kitty would be well accustomed to his slightly more formal structured English.

*

"That's what I figured. As this is more of a studio than a studio apartment, better get you something that's a bit of life, but also doesn't take a lot of actual care. Plus, cactuses are fun. If someone's really bothering you, you can stick them with it." With the plant taken from her, Kitty grins, now looking through things a bit more thoroughly now that she has her hands free.

"It might take less time if you get some help. Want some? I'm not an artist, but I can definitely unpack things. And set things up. I helped Doug with computer set ups all the time, easels and furniture should be a snap."

The explanation of the music is met with a nod. "Honestly, I think I just picture you painting to classical music. Tchaikovsky, maybe, because he's also a Russian named Pyotr." As for how she's doing, she shrugs her shoulders. "I'm good. I ran in with that demon bear thing a couple of months ago. Took care of a problem for me, but it nearly killed me. I've been mostly hanging with the Guardians at SHIELD since then, to be honest. Have you met them? Peter Quill, Rocket, Groot? Rocket and Groot are hard to miss. One looks like a talking raccoon and on is a walking tree. He used to be huge, but now he's a bit smaller."

*

Piotr's laugh is big, like him. He laughs and mimes picking up the cactus to smash someone with. "Da, I think that could work." He continues to chuckle as she looks around. At her offer he shrugs and says "Yes.. if you have time? I would enjoy the company and the help in getting this settled." He points to a box and says, "I believe that is all boxes of paints. They should go in the upper cabinets.. here."

With Kitty set up to be productive, he turns back to finding his palette knives and the rest of his thick, heavy brushes. "Ech. Classical music makes for boring paintings. My fault, not the composers'." He says it with only criticism of himself in mind.

"The demon bear! Yes. I actually had a run in with this thing. And .. the raccoon and tree were there! Though I admit, there was little time to get acquainted. But, I assume there are not many raccoons that shift into large monsters or exploding tree people." Yes, Piotr thinks that's probably just normal for Rocket and Groot. Because really, would it be any more weird? But he continues his explanation, "Illyana lent me her sword. We were able to stop the bear and the other demon animals." It's been one of the few times over the last few months that Piotr felt truly useful. He stopped something that had attacked his friends and was able to keep his sister out of the battle. Win. Win. Kind of. He still doesn't know exactly what part Illyana was playing and why she was willing for once to step aside.

*

The gesture of cactus smashing is met with a laugh. The idea that Piotr would need a cactus to help get someone to stop bothering him is pretty comical. Hiding it behind a hand for a moment, she turns toward the boxes he points toward and starts to pull open and then move to where they're supposed to go.

"I can see that. If I'm coding or hacking, I generally can't listen to anything too slow, it makes me sleepy." Pulling out all the different colors, she starts to arrange them on the shelf in a rainbow pattern, shifting containers to make way should it be necessary.

"Illyana lent you her sword?" There's a lift of her eyebrows at that, surprised. Maybe she shouldn't be - they are brother and sister, after all. However, she is. "Yes! The raccoon and the tree. I'm glad you were there to help. It sounds like they really needed your strength."

*

Momentarily involved in hunting through boxes, which is really more like messily rifling through them, he at first misses her statement about the music. He thinks about it for second before clarifying, "Da, it's not so much the tempo. More like it is too structured. I need a little more chaos for my work." Pete's latest paintings have come over with him and indeed they are less 'clean and simple' than his earlier work. There is more of a frenetic movement in the brush strokes and even an untrained eye would call them more dynamic.

"Yes, I am still unsure why. I mean obviously the sword is good for cutting demons in half, yes, but I do not know why she did not wield it." He can only offer a half shrug, but his eyes betray the fact that he is more bothered by that question than he is letting on. "I feel like it was the least I could do after the beast attacked the mansion and took Danielle captive." He feels a bit like Kitty is overselling his part in the take down so he adds, "The small bird woman punched into New Jersey. It was unpleasant to say the least." Whether he means the punch or the Jersey part is not specified.

*

The answer is met with a nod. "I understand that." As she arranges things and pauses for a moment to take a look at some of his new drawings. They're more experimental than what she remembers from before when he was in the mansion. Her brow furrows for just a moment until she turns back and continues to arrange colors by hue.

"I'm not sure why Illyana does or does not do what she does. It's usually best to ask." Of course, that doesn't mean it will yield a good or thorough answer. That's the trade off. She winces at the mentioning of being punched into New Jersey. "Ow." Again, it's hard to tell if she's talking about the punch itself or the state.

Turning a bit, she pauses in her stacking. "Hey, Piotr." A hand holds a paint can of bright red, the other an orange, but she looks to him. "Tell me if I'm overstepping, okay? But…are you okay?"

*

At the mention of his sister doing what he wants, he does his best not to pull a face but his slightly widened eyes and nods almost against his will as if to say <Don't I know it>. At the bit of advice he gives Kitty a dubious look, "I do not think Illyana has given me a straight answer since she was a child."

When Kitty stops and starts to hesitantly ask him a question, he also stops what he is doing. He waits patiently with a quizzical expression. At the question he looks a bit confused and at first brushes it off. "Da of course. I am good." He then actually takes more than a second to think about it, and why she is asking.

"I am good." He repeats for emphasis, not wanting to concern anyone, ever. "I think somehow returning to Xaviers was just different than I expected this time." And not wanting to dwell too long on this, he starts back in to unpacking boxes. "I felt perhaps it was time to start looking outward."

*

The response about Illyana's countenance is met with a grin. "I'd actually be more worried if she did."

It shifts into something more serious as she places the pigments in what she deems their proper place, then turns back to Piotr. When he brushes off her question, she looks determined to pry further. However, he clarifies, reiterates. From there, she thinks over his answer and nods. "I get that. Coming back to Xavier's can be trippy. What were you expecting?" She raises an eyebrow, trying to figure out what it is that has possibly offset him.

"I mean, you're painting differently. And that's good and I'm not saying you should be artistically restricted, but that generally means a change in outlook." While he may not wish to dwell on it, she can't help but poke some more.

*

Piotr responds to the crack about Illyana with a knowing smile and nod.

At the question about his issues, he looks slightly embarrassed to have admitted it. He winces and pretends to grumble a bit before finally coming out with, "I do not know." He smiles and shakes his head, "I guess I expected it to be the same as when I left. That I would grab a beer with Logan and Kurt, maybe break some Sentinels…" He then shrugs, again, as it's difficult for him to put into words why things did not live up to his expectations.

"The painting. That is … " He thinks about it and furrows his brow. "I would say unrelated but, perhaps it is not. That is harder to say."

"But I am prattling on about myself. How are you doing Katya?"

*

Kitty leans against the shelf she is stocking just slightly. She looks at Piotr and realizes that he is embarrassed, that she probably should not push further. "I know what you mean. The Mansion is always different when you come back. It's like coming back to your hometown after a few years away. You love it, you will always defend it, but it's different and you're not sure if it's you or the place. I felt the same way."

However, she lets that lie for now. Same with the paintings. "Whatever it is, I still like your art. Before and now."

The question is met with a soft laugh. "You've already asked me that. But, I guess that's fair. I wasn't exactly the most forthcoming to you, either. I've been hanging on in SHIELD for a lot more than I ever expected to be. The Guardians need a lot of looking after. If you want, I can introduce you to them. They're practically boxed chaos. Charming, but boxed chaos."

*

Piotr is very thankful to be done talking about himself. It feels so utterly childish to complain that things change and he wasn't necessarily ready to move forward. He is somewhat mollified that Kitty understands, "Da. I am sure that it is not uncommon."

He smiles at the compliment about his art, but is likewise glad to move past that as well. When she starts talking about what she's been up to, he quirks an eyebrow. He had not realized that Kitty had been hanging around SHIELD and has no idea who The Guardians are. He says, "I think that sounds like a good change of pace for me. And I do owe the small racoon one and the tree a large thanks for their help with the bear."

*

"You're too hard on yourself, Piotr," Kitty tells him. It's serious for a moment and then she grins, trying to show she made a joke. Whether it lands or not, she smiles and picks more paint up to organize.

"You should meet them!" Then, she pauses. "Well, I mean, they're not exactly what I would call the most moral people I've ever met. But, they're good people. I think you could like them. Groot is adorable. And Rocket, well, he's great but wants to blow things up all the time. And Peter tries to bring up the fact that he thinks people should call him Star-Lord about ever hour or so."

Despite that, she laughs and shakes her head. "They're idiots, but I like them. You should meet them, not just for thanks."

*

The big Russian man just shrugs as if he knows what Kitty is saying is true, but there isn't much he can do about it. He holds himself to a ridiculously high standard, in terms of helping others and not needing help in kind. He only smiles because she does, not really getting the joke.

Organizing one of the cabinet drawers, he listens as she describes the Guardians. He exhales a soft chuckle at each of the descriptions. Looking sideways at her as she laughs, he smiles and says, "I am sure if you like them, I will like them Katya. I trust your judgement."

And in that statement it drives home something that has been digging at him. Trust. It's what's been lacking for him at the mansion. He trusts Scott implicitly of course. But the rest of the crew currently on the team are mostly new to Piotr. They are often not tested in the field or like his sister, seem to have a more brash take on things. Even this small conversation with Kitty causes Pete to relax. It feels good to have someone know you well.

*

The way that Piotr smiles, Kitty realizes he didn't get the joke. She's not going to explain it to him, but she also isn't going to harp on it. Instead, she moves on.

"Well, they're easy and hard to like. Either way, you should meet them. It'd be good to have another moral compass around. It'd do them good. They're something like space pirates, from what I can tell. I hate space."

The last of the last of the paints in the box she picks up is emptied and the contents organized by color - as best as she thinks she can. She hopes this is how Piotr would actually like it. If not, he can rearrange on his own time.

"I'll introduce you. Just…warning, they're flippant and a bit weird. Space, you know. But I think you'll like them. Or grow to like them. Sometimes it's more the latter than the former." Moving to another box, she pulls it open. "Okay, so where do these go?"

*

As Kitty hedges her bets with the trying to inform Piotr that it might take a while to see the Guardians have good hearts underneath their rough exteriors, he just laughs. "Well, I am sure you keep them in line." And he can just imagine Kitty scolding and smacking them to keep them on the straight and narrow.

At the question about the next box, Piotr sighs and says, "I think we have done enough for now. It will be a while for me to truly settle in. Would you like to get a cup of coffee or maybe a drink somewhere? Part of the reason I chose this place was to be out in District X more…" Piotr might be the only person here that doesn't call it Mutant Town, but something about District X sounds less derogatory to him.

*

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