We can both turn heads

Theo slept like a baby; she’d always slept like a baby. She usually snored like a drunken sailor, but she'd never know that because Niko would never tell her. She was early to bed and early to rise so Niko often checked in on her before retiring for the night himself. Sure he watched her from time to time while she slept, but not in a creepy way. He just stood in her doorway and listened to her breath. Not creepy at all. It helped him to know she was okay and that he was honoring his father's instructions. That there was a second part to those instructions was a great source of conflict for Niko. He was not certain that he could carry through with the task he'd been charged in the event it became necessary. Niko carried a heavy burden, but he knew she carried one as well. He wasn’t convinced her burden would ever come to pass, or that it should even be part of their ongoing plans, but she carried it all the same. Those were dangerously similar scenarios to the ones her mother had enacted. And there were times when he worried that his cousin was not all there, up stairs in the head. Or that there was more than just his cousin inside that head of hers.

Niko rarely stood still for long and when you were constantly in motion you tended to miss certain things that could only be sensed in the quiet, still hours. That was when the house was at its creepiest and that was when he’d put on his headphones to fall asleep. But for Theo, creepy was just another aspect to be explored. Perhaps it was because she too was weird and creepy, or that the house favored her and had done nothing to overtly startle her. So it was now early morning and Niko was still sleeping as he normally did at this hour and Theo was wandering the halls, already dressed for the day. It was so silent that she could almost begin to hear the things that weren't there, but that had been at one time. Not creepy at all.

The Sanctum Sanctorum was not your typical three story Victorian-style brownstone in Greenwich Village. It had an incredible history as did the physical location it was built upon. It had more than one function and at times it was cozy in its charm and at others it felt stuffy like a museum that had turned into storage. It had living quarters with some of the modern creature comforts like private baths and electric wiring, but Theo was just beginning to discover its many idiosyncrasies. Take the information stream for example.

In her wanderings Theo found a room which contained a television, the only one to be found in the house. And as that television seemed to more or less always be in the same room, she’d taken to calling it the TV room. It doesn’t sound like much of a leap, but when rooms had a way of rearranging themselves and their contents, simple identifications often served best. This TV looked archaic, like a piece of furniture with a glass window slapped on it’s exterior. The picture was crystal clear, but its source was unknown. The house had no Wifi or internet connections to be found and the TV itself wasn’t even plugged in. There was a wooden remote that looked like something out of the 50’s with just three buttons. Some quick experimentation revealed them to be toggles for On/Off, Start/Stop, Loud/Mute. That was it. The moving pictures cycled through news broadcasts, nothing else.

Theo was watching one of these broadcasts, silently so as not to wake her cousin. And he’d want to sleep as long as possible because she wasn’t particularly pleased with him. There was footage of Niko tearing through the city with a red and blue human shaped kite in tow. There was footage of him standing in front of subway cars, narrowly avoiding collision at the last moment. To be fair, there were shorter clips of him lifting people back onto the platforms in the subways, but those didn’t get as much attention. Many were speculating that one of the Avengers was returned to New York, which meant he’d returned from somewhere. People were beginning to make wild ruminations that all of the Avengers would return, that all of Mutant-kind was returning. That made some people very nervous.

So Theo sat back in the deep velvet cushions of a chair from another time with her boots propped up on an ottoman. Six of her fingernails were already painted jet black and she was dipping the tiny brush into the polish before tackling the next one. Dab at the base of the nail, swipe down the right, swipe down the left, a swipe straight down the middle and blow. Her mother’s favorite red coat had become Theo’s favorite red coat, but it hung on a rack behind her chair, a rack that had no legs and never touched the ground. She would not be needing it today. Two days prior Niko had suggested it might be time for her to wear something less nice, so she’d taken his advise and intentionally twisted it. She was strapped into one of her mother's scarlet corsets that had fewer laces on the front that most pairs of shoes and probably less leather. It was an entirely inappropriate piece of clothing for wearing in public and that’s exactly what she’d be doing today, with Niko right by her side. She knew it would make him uncomfortable seeing her this way, having her seen this way and that was precisely the point. He’d made a scene last night with his antics; she’d make a scene herself. Was she comfortable in the thing? Not at all! She had never worn a corset before in her life. Either it would take some getting used to or she’d buckle under the compression and change before the day was out, but if the Scarlet Witch could pull this off, so could Theo. She finished her nails and sat rocking her feet back and forth while they dried. She tried not to glance down at the unseemly amount of flesh she was revealing, but watching the news feeds on the TV were just ticking her off even more. She picked up the wooden remote, careful not to smudge her nails and clicked on the volume. That should wake Niko up. But of course, it did not and twenty minutes later she was still waiting for her cousin.

“Well shit. Alright, wake him up!” She said it to no one in particular and hadn’t actually meant it as a command so much as a verbal venting of her frustration, but as soon as she said it she heard the house shifting around then from above a *THUNK* as Niko was tipped unceremoniously from his bed. When he opened his bedroom door to step out into the hallway he stepped instead directly into the TV room. Theo slapped the bottom of her boots to the floor and stood up for Niko to get a good look at her….nails. “Get dressed, Nikolai Krzysztof Maximoff and wear something red so we match. We’re going out to see if we can clear up this mess.” She pointed to the TV with its cycled broadcast of Niko and his fun from the night before. She tossed him the remote and stood in the doorway. “You can find your own way back to your room.”

< Prev : The Spider and The Speedster (Part Two) Next > : Small Favors and Crepes