St. Petersburg

By Madripoor Rose

Disclaimer: The X Men belong to Marvel Entertainment.

Author's Note: A missing scene for Ultimate X Men

"Let's forget about the past," he says. "I can pass for normal, and I'm home."

Irina Novykh knows that her cousin is lying to himself, but says nothing. He is welcome in their house, his house, that he supported for so long. He is famous, a hero. He is a stranger here, leaving for America when she was fourteen. She knows it hurts him to realize this, as they talk and he must fumble for words in Russian, and speaks with an accent like the tourists in the hotel where she works as a maid sometimes. His parents are gone, have been for some time. Uncle Nikolai left to look for work in Moscow, Aunt Alexandra went to look for him when the money stopped coming. There is just Irina, and the little ones and the great-aunt Anya who is more like a baby now.

Piotr looks for work in the mornings, and plays with the children in the afternoons, until Illyana and Feodor and Andrei forget their fear of this large man they do not remember. He gets a job soon, at the motor works.

It eases Irina, to have another grown-up to talk to in the evenings, to have someone to help with the children, but Piotr is not happy here, as much as he pretends to be.

He comes home with a man and woman one night, she recognizes them as two more of the X Men. They argue with him in English, she cannot follow it. Piotr tells her they are leaving, and that he will set the table for dinner, but the shouting can still be heard upstairs as she helps Great Aunt Anya with her bath. She comes down in time to see Piotr slap a hand on the kitchen table, not hard enough to break it, but borsch mahkshovskee slops out of the soup bowls, and he is glaring at the red-haired woman with absolute fury on his face.

They leave, then.

It is later that night, when the news program is talking about those poor men trapped in the submarine, when Piotr gets to his feet and goes into the kitchen. Irina gets the old woman and the children settled in bed for the night, and cautiously enters the kitchen, judging the level of vodka in the bottle before him.

"I have to go," he says quietly.

"There is always a place for you here, Piotr," she responds. "But it is not your place, yes?"

"Yes." He gets to his feet. "Spasiba, Irina Ivanova."

"Dosvedanya, Colossus."