AN: I wrote this story during season three, shortly after meeting Katya, but long before meeting Elena. As you will see, this story is very AU! It is also heavily tinged with crack. After all, how could a story about the Derevko sisters having tea together without serious bloodshed be anything other than a bit silly?
"You see what power is- holding someone else's fear in your hand and showing it to them."
Been a long time, Jack. What brings you to my door?
He hadn't been in touch as often as she would like. Given her druthers, she would have preferred him on his cell-phone twenty-four/seven, always talking to her.
That is, if he wasn't available to be physically next to her. Which he wasn't.
She shifted in her seat, reminded again of how unfortunate that fact was.
She tapped her nails randomly against the china of her teacup, ignoring it as it grew colder and colder. Stared vacantly at the wall. Looked around the dim room, noting the bundled up laptop on the counter.
She really, really hated Siberia.
A knock rattled the door, a distinctive one. She set her cup lightly on the rough wooden table and crossed the small room, pulling open the door to a swirl of snow and a familiar face.
"I kissed your husband," Katya said plainly, almost smugly, hands tucked in pockets and shoulders around her ears. "Can I come in?"
"No," Irina replied, and started to shut the door.
Katya sighed and shoved through. "You did ask me to send him a kiss from you," she pointed out, shedding her coat and grabbing Irina's cup from the table. She downed the remainder of the lukewarm liquid and grimaced. "How long have you been sitting here, Irina?"
"Long enough," Irina replied shortly. She examined her sister critically, harshly. "A peck on the lips does not equate with shoving your tongue down his throat."
"You had someone spying on me, then," Katya replied blandly, refilling the cup from the kettle on the rickety stove.
"No, I can just tell when you've taken something that's mine. You have an indisputable air of mischief about you."
Katya sighed, shrugged. "Fine. I did 'shove my tongue down his throat', as you so delicately put it. Just wanted to see what I had missed by turning down that assignment."
Irina sat in the chair across from her. "Hindsight is twenty/twenty."
Katya sipped the scalding tea. "Indeed."
"Did you see Sydney?"
"A glance. She moves like you did at her age. Beautiful girl. She could have easily been my child."
"Is Elena here?"
"In the back room."
Footsteps. "Is someone taking my name in vain?" the dark-haired woman quizzed, carrying a sheaf of papers in beautifully kept hands. Irina glanced at her own, dry and chapped from the cold, and Katya's, callused and with closely clipped nails.
"I was just telling Rushka that I kissed her husband."
"Been naughty again, have you? Don't shoot her here, Irina, the house is already dreadfully hard to clean in a blizzard without a body in the corner." She pushed back her hair, which tempestuously curled and brushed her shoulders.
Irina felt the sudden urge to dramatically slump down onto the table and beat her fists against the wood.
Katya eyed her carefully. "She's about to fly into a tantrum."
"It's her prerogative as the youngest to do so if she chooses," Elena replied. "You shouldn't have done that with your own brother-in-law, anyway. How… icky."
"I hardly think it qualifies for incest, Lena," Katya said in return, moving to get another cup of tea.
"I'd stop drinking if I were you," Irina commented with dark humor. "Because the privy is outside."
Katya shrugged, continuing to fill the cup. "You'd like it if I froze to death, wouldn't you?"
"You're getting off easy," Irina scoffed. "You should have seen what I did to the last woman who kissed my husband."
"Who was…?" Katya asked with a bob of the head.
"Not worth mentioning," Irina finished, and stood.
Elena spread her papers over the now vacant table, examining them carefully. Irina and Katya retreated to opposite corners of the room, eyeing each other warily as Katya continued to sip from Irina's liberated cup. Irina raised a brow, peevish, and deliberately stomped her way to the cupboard to retrieve another drinking apparatus. This time, it was a small glass, more suitable for alcohol than anything. She carefully filled it to the brim with an unlabeled bottle from the back of the cupboard, staring defiantly at Katya as the sharp cinnamon liqueur hit the back of her throat.
Katya glared at her. That was, after all, her personal stash.
Elena sighed. "You're both hopeless."
Irina refilled the glass, draining the last drop from the already nearly empty bottle. "I refuse to be civil to the woman who would have tried to seduce my husband, given the chance."
"He isn't seducible," Katya retorted, thunking the cup down onto the counter. "Not anymore."
"Then explain what happened in Panama," Irina replied, forgetting her resolutions, and tossed the second shot back.
"A-HA! So something did happen in Panama, I knew it did!"
Elena placed her head in her hands, listening to the middle sibling and youngest child try to shred each other with words. She sighed and massaged her temples.
"Sharing a house with the two of you is like living in a war zone," she muttered. "Would you both please sit down? Please?"
They exchanged a final glare and sat down on opposite ends of the table. Elena sighed into the ensuing quiet. "Thank. God."
"He never would have loved you," Irina whispered, wounded at the imagined puffiness she saw on her sister's lips.
Katya matched her serious look with one of her own. "We'll never know, I suppose."
"You would have failed at my mission."
"We'll never know," Katya echoed. "And it was my mission, Irina, it always was. If I hadn't have broken my leg… then he would be my husband, Sydney would be my child." She blinked slowly. "And he would be in my bed."
Elena watched Irina carefully, searching for signs that she would throw herself over the table to strangle their sister. She saw none, but that never meant anything.
Irina loved to play games.
They all did.
Irina's hands clutched the edge of the tabletop with a white-knuckled grip. "Don't toy with me, Katya."
Katya blinked again, holding her glance. "Mine."
Irina jerked momentarily, as if she had been hit with a taser. Shook her head slowly in denial. "Never yours. Always mine." She stood slowly. "Always."
And went to bed, hands cold against her equally chilled skin. Drifted to sleep, barely feeling Katya sitting beside her on the mattress. A phantom hand stroked her hair, and phantom words slid across the icy air.
"Always yours, little sister. He'll always be yours, never fear me."
She fell asleep to hands that had pinched, snapped, and held her almost every year of her life. Elena watched from the door, cradling the discarded cup of tea in her slim hands. She gave Katya a questioning look.
Katya shrugged, standing carefully and tiptoeing out across the floor. She quirked a brow at Elena as she passed her, and disappeared into her own room.
Elena considered her youngest sister with a soft smile. Moving softly, she placed the refreshed cup of tea on the nightstand, a faint hint of steam twisting up from the amber liquid. She herself slipped away to bed, luxuriating in the silence.
Irina dreamt of drinking cold, delayed tea in bed with Jack, and slept happy.