They didn't live in the kitchen. Bigger mice than them (and not to mention rats) lived in the kitchen. So The Brain had overruled his companion's plea and had moved them up to the Czar's former private chambers. If he felt a bit bad living in a dead man's quarters, he comforted himself with the fact that he'd been gone ten years and Pinky had no idea. His only real qualm about living in the old Russian palace was the temperature and the fact that he wasn't living there as a ruler.

Stupid humans and their revolutions. No one would try and overthrow him when he was ruling the world. "Pinky!" he called, adjusting the scarf around his neck and catching sight of his friend peering out of the window. "Get away from there before you fall and come here!"

Paws pressed against the glass, Pinky found he had to keep rubbing away the mist his breath left behind in order to see. Doodling a smiley face in the cloud, he mimicked the expression when he was called. His own scarf smacked him in the face as Pinky whipped his head around to face the smaller mouse. "It's all pretty and snowy outside, Brain! Narf! Can we make snow angels?"

"Only if I suffer sudden and irreversible brain damage," the large-headed mouse muttered, beckoning his sidekick over. "Now come, Pinky, so I can explain tonight's plan!"

Pinky left his perch on the window, eagerly dashing over to Brain's side. "What're we going to do tonight?" he asked, bouncing on the balls of his feet.

"Simple, Pinky. Tonight, we will be taking over the railway station in nearby St. Petersburg!" His eyes gleamed as he gestured to the page of carefully concocted plans. "We can slip passed the soldiers with ease considering our stature and get inside the main station house, changing the requirements for leaving with a few quick jabs of a pen. Watch, Pinky." He plucked up his pencil, wrote a word in his normal handwriting and, then, beneath it dashed the same word in a swirly style that was entirely unlike his own.

"Ooooh... that's pretty, Brain!" Pinky applauded the artistic rendition on the paper. "We'll distract them with flowery words! Brilliant!"

Brain only rolled his eyes. "No, Pinky! Pay attention." He gestured from his loopy script to that of a set of travel papers they'd found the previous night. "These documents are written by the officials we need to imitate. Thats's why these handwritings are a perfect match. We'll rewrite the requirements for acquiring travel papers, making it impossible for anyone to leave or enter Russia. Including the soldiers! Once they're cut off from all supplies, they'll be begging for a new leader to take them over. And do you know who that leader shall be, Pinky?"

"Walt Disney?" Pinky guessed, tilting his head to the side and scratching the top of his head.

Brain gave him a bland stare before leaping up and smacking his dim-witted associate atop the head with his pencil. "Me, Pinky! They'll elect me!" He leapt from the desk, irritated. "Now come!"

"What a good idea, Brain! Narf! You'll be a much better leader than Mr. Disney. Your Ds don't look like backward Gs!" He laughed, hopping off the desk in pursuit of his friend.

"Yes, and he's supposed to be an artist." Brain shook his head, clasping his hands behind his back. "As if anyone will really be remembered for creating an animated mouse," he muttered and started down the largely barren hall. The palace was off-limits to the general population, but there was still the occasional brave looter who visited in hopes of locating anything of value.

Pinky frolicked about ahead of him, playing with the dust clouds that sprung up as he skipped. There were a lot of neat knick-knacks still lying about and he wondered why the people who moved away left them behind. Perhaps they got fancy new things and didn't have room The palace was rather large, he was always finding new thingamabobs and secret rooms.

As he turned a corner, on his way to the really big stairs, his ears twitched as he heard a foreign sound. Pinky stopped in place, one foot in the air still and his arms spread out similar to the third position of ballet, one above his head and the other perpendicular to his body. It was a good listening stance.

"Poit." He waited for a moment, then identified the noise as singing. A girl singing. "Ooooh, what a lovely song!" Pinky brought his hands down quickly, clasping them to the side of his face. The action disrupted his balance however, and sent him flailing to the floor. With a laugh, he stood back up, half of him coated in a thin layer of dust. "You hear it, Brain?"

"Yes." He sighed as they neared the main staircase of the ballroom, stepping around his dust-covered friend. "It's probably just another looter." He glanced through one of the rungs, watching a redhead twirl about as though dancing with someone else. "An insane looter with illusions of grandeur."

Pinky shimmied up the banister to get a better look, propping his chin up in his hands. "She has a beautiful voice! Troz! And she dances wonderfully!" He held his arms out to mimic her, holding an invisible partner, and started waltzing around, the dust steadily falling off as he danced.

"Pinky, stop dancing with yourself. You look ridiculous." And this was a waste of time; the train station was a ways off and they'd need to hitch a ride of one of the carriages since those ridiculous automobiles went too fast.

"But it's fun, Brain! You should try it-!" He cut himself off as he gasped loudly, his dance postponed as he pointed past the girl. "A puppy!" A little gray mutt sat on the landing of the staircase, in front of the giant painting of a rather large, formal family. He was watching the girl dance, head cocked to one side, and Pinky couldn't help but coo over him. "Oh, Brain! Let's go play with the puppy!" He hopped down off the banister and started running for the stairs.

"Wait, what- Pinky!" Brain went after him, scowling. "Pinky, get back here!" But Pinky was too quick to catch and giggling too much to pay attention, so he hopped down the stairs anyway and gave The Brain no choice but to follow. Until he tripped, of course, and tumbled down the stairs, ending up reaching the landing before his associate.

Deciding that the manner in which Brain got down the stairs was much more fun than simply jumping down each individual step, Pinky flopped down after him, somersaulting to the landing while laughing all the way. "Good idea, Brain! Fun-fun silly-willy!" He snorted, holding his sides in an attempt to contain his glee. Then he remembered the puppy. "Puppy!" Pinky cried, skipping over to the the little dog to give him a hug.

"Pinky, when I hurt less, remind me to hurt you more," Brain grumbled, standing dizzily. The puppy was down in front, rump in the air, and what existed of its tail wagged in thorough delight as Pinky patted it. Brain just sighed. Pinky could play with all the mutts he wanted after they took over the world. He marched to his accomplice and grabbed his ear to tug him away. "Come, Pinky. There's no time for this foolishness."

"But Brain!" Pinky whined, wincing as his ear was yanked, arms reaching towards the gray puppy. "Look at his face! Zort! It's so cute!" As he was being dragged away, there was a shout from across the ballroom, echoing in the large hall. Pinky hadn't even noticed the girl finished her song and dance.

"Hey! What're you doing here?" It was a man's voice. When Pinky looked over, he was surprised to see two men looming over the banister shouting at the girl.

"Egad, Brain!" He pointed at them, forgetting about the puppy for a moment. "People in our house again!"

"So I see." He stopped pulling Pinky along, but hid behind the banister to avoid being seen while the insane dancing girl ran in their direction. The puppy Pinky had been fawning over began to bark and run in circles and Brain just narrowed his eyes. All this distraction was putting them very far behind schedule.

The younger of the two men finally caught up to the girl, getting her to stop. "Now how did you get in h... here...?" He paused, staring at her dazedly. Brain looked from him to her and supposed she was pretty enough, but not really worth gaping at.

"This is irritating," he muttered.

Pinky poked his head out from around the banister to get a better look. He too was intrigued by the way the young man just stared at the girl. His gaze was drawn to her, almost distracted by the wiggling puppy she carried, but something else caught his eye. "Zounds, Brain! She looks just like the little girl in the picture! Only bigger and not flat!" He exclaimed in a hushed tone.

Sure enough, the same vibrant red hair curled atop both the image and the young woman and both had bright blue eyes. The only thing setting them apart was the fact that the little girl looked more like a porcelain doll while the older one looked like Raggedy-Anne in her too big dress and boots.

Brain grabbed his snout, dragging him down. "Quiet, Pinky! Or they'll..." But he released Pinky abruptly as the words struck home and studied the girl and the portrait himself. It was a match. She had several of the genetic markings displayed by the two adults in the portrait. Anastasia. Wasn't there a substantial reward for returning Anastasia to her grandmother in Paris? He'd heard of it, of course, as it was impossible to live anywhere near St. Petersburg and not know, but...

The financial gain of the reward would fund several of his plans and the recognition of locating Anastasia would give him even more grounds to implement them. His eyes gleamed, a new plan forming in his mind, even as the two male humans seemed to come to the same conclusions.

He watched the younger one go up and make a fool of himself, but his ears perked when the girl turned towards the men. "I'd like to go to Paris."

"Yes!" It would be easy! Previous plans forgotten, Brain dragged Pinky down again. "Pinky! Are you pondering what I'm pondering?"

"I think so, Brain," Pinky replied while nodding, "But why do they call it the 'City of Love'?"

"No, Pinky." The smaller mouse flicked his nose, making it wobble. "We're going to take this girl to Paris and pass her off as the Grand Duchess Anastasia!"

"Egad, Brain! Brilliant!" He praised, clasping his hands together before pausing. "Wait. Who's that, Brain?"

Brain tugged his ears in frustration, letting them go with a snap. "The little girl in the picture, Pinky! We'll take this girl, this... Anya person to her grandmother in Paris and take the reward. She'll be so grateful for it that she'll make us members of her imperial court!" He rubbed his hands together greedily, listening only vaguely as the girl revealed that she had no memories before being found wandering the streets when she was eight.

Pinky's eyes grew as wide as saucers, a huge smile spreading across his face. "Oh, how lovely, Brain! We're going to help her find her family? Narf! They'll be so happy!" He hugged himself as he swayed from side to side, then looked over towards the three humans and the puppy. "Poit. Umm... is it part of the plan that those two fellas take her away?" Pinky pointed to the trio, arm in arm heading down the hall to look at another portrait.

"Drat! Quickly, Pinky, follow them!" Brain climbed up the banister since running along the railing would be quicker than hiking up the stairs after them and paid more attention to their conversation. They were trying to convince the girl that she was the Grand Duchess and it quickly became obvious that they shared Brain's plan.

"All I know is that I've seen thousands of girls all over the country and not one of them looks as much like the Grand Duchess as you. I mean, look at the portrait!" He gestured and the girl shook her head.

"I thought you were crazy from the beginning," she began, poking the younger man in the chest, "but now I think you are both mad!"

While they continued in their efforts, Brain stood at the top of the railing and began to ponder just how they'd get this stubborn creature to go along with the ploy. If the men couldn't, perhaps he and Pinky could. But if the men did manage it, they'd have to strike up a deal of some sort. Even partial credit should be worthy of certain acclaim.

"After all, the name Anastasia means that she will rise again!" the older, chubbier man was saying while Dimitri made a small fuss behind them before returning.

"Really wish we could help, but the third ticket is for the Grand Duchess Anastasia." He led the other man away, threw up an arm in farewell. "Good luck!"

Brain smiled slightly when they swept by and started down the stairs. They were giving up so easily, but the idea had been planted in Anya's mind. It would surely blossom fully soon enough.

Pinky watched them go with a slight frown. "But Brain, I thought they wanted to help the Grand Donut Appalachia too. Where are they going?" If all five of them were looking, and the puppy, then surely they'd find her family faster.

As she stared at the portrait in front of her, Pinky's heart went out to her. It must be terrible not to know where your family is. He knew he'd be awfully sad if he didn't know where Brain was, it was bad enough when the taller mouse had gotten lost in the big palace for almost fifteen whole minutes! If he thought that was bad, he couldn't imagine not knowing where your family was for years. When she reached out towards the painting, her fingers brushing against the canvas, Pinky tugged on Brain's arm.

"We have to help her, Brain! Zort! She's all lonely and alone!" he insisted.

"Pinky, stop it. We'll help her." And help themselves in the process. "Just be patient."

Sure enough, it was only another second before she ran to the railing. "Dimitri!" she called, leaning over it. The puppy in her arms was close enough to lick Pinky and did so. "Dimitri, wait!"

Brain gave a small smile even while he stepped away from the slobbered-on mouse at his side. On the ballroom floor, the younger man turned, feigning surprise. "Did you call me?"

Pinky giggled and hugged the puppy's wet nose. "Aww, Brain! He's giving me kisses!" But as Anya moved away to walk down the stairs towards the two men, he was forced to let go. "Poit..." More determined now than ever to help the girl and play with the puppy, he slid down the banister towards the floor. It was much faster than walking and much more fun too.

"If I don't remember who I am," The redhaired girl was explaining as she descended, "Then who's to say I'm not a princess or a duchess or whatever she is, right?"

"Go on," Dimitri urged and Brain went after his wayward friend.

"Pinky, wait! We don't want to be seen yet!" Not until after Anya had finished agreeing to go.

Well, he'd already started sliding, he couldn't very well stop now. Pinky put his hands out and came to an abrupt halt once he got to the end, but stayed where he was until Brain gave the okay. Luckily, no one save for the puppy noticed him, and his happy barks went ignored by the humans who were more interested in the girl's decision.

"Yeah, and if I'm not Anastasia, then the empress will certainly know right away and it's all just and honest mistake." Anya decided, folding her arms across her chest and nodding firmly.

"Sounds plausible," Dimitri offered and Vlad went to further encourage Anya's decision.

Brain began very carefully descending the railing. He had no intention of sliding down like a fool, but his foot slipped and he slid anyway, crashing into Pinky and sending them both careening through the air and right into Dimitri.

"Narf!" Pinky yelped, too distracted by waving at the puppy, called Pooka apparently, to notice Brain come crashing into him. "Oof! Egad!" He managed to exclaim before the two mice fell to the floor, having startled Dimitri enough to back away once they'd made contact. With a shake of his head to get his bearings, he looked up to see all three humans and Pooka staring down at them both. "Hi!" Pinky chirped, waving at them all. Pooka nosed him playfully, delighting the little mouse.

"Well, that was certainly unexpected." Vlad commented lightly as he and Anya moved down the steps closer to them. "And just who might you be?"

Brain rubbed his brow, glaring at Pinky as if the unexpected slip had been his fault. "It was unexpected for all of us," he muttered and got to his feet, brushing away dust from his fur. "I am The Brain and this..." He gestured to Pinky, who was now getting licked by the puppy. He sighed. "That's Pinky."

"Troz! He likes me, Brain!" Pinky laughed, falling over onto his back.

"Pooka!" Anya went to scoop him up, cradling the wiggling puppy close. "He gets excited easily." She explained, watching the mouse get to his feet and wipe at the puppy drool.

Though, it didn't seem to help any. "That's okay! Poit. I don't mind!"

Expression disgruntled - Pinky would certainly need a bath now - Brain looked up at Dimitri, who frowned right back at him. He'd assumed, at first, that the two were mice. But now that they were both talking and wearing scarves, it became apparent that they were just two rather short, hairy men. And they had probably overheard everything. "So..."

"We have our own tickets," Brain announced, though they wouldn't until he could forge travel papers. His new handwriting would come in handy, after all. "And we would love to help reunite miss Anya with her family. Wouldn't we, Pinky?"

"Oh, yes!" He bounced on the balls of his feet, hands clasped together under his chin. "Family is very important!"

His declaration made Anya smile, while Vlad chanced a wary glance to Dimitri, concern for the younger man's reaction evident. Especially in the presence of the girl in question.

Dimitri dropped down to get closer to Brain's level, which immediately pleased the megalomaniac. But like recognized like, after all, even if Dimitri's greed ended at money. "What do you want?" he asked quietly and Brain glanced over to make sure Pinky was distracted talking to the young girl before replying. He'd changed his mind about the money, wanting the power more. Money would come with a provided station.

"We want the plan to succeed," he replied honestly, though Dimitri couldn't possibly know what all The Brain was referring to. "You can keep the money as long as you remember to give me half the credit for finding her."

The young man was suspicious, but offered his hand anyway. As long as he and Vlad got the money, he didn't care what these two did. "Fine."

Brain shook, barely containing a maniacal sort of glee. They were on their way to taking over the world! "So. To Paris."

Anya grinned, holding out her puppy so he could be eye level with her. "Pooka, we're going to Paris!"

"Hooray!" Pinky cheered, throwing his arms in the air and spinning around. "I've always wanted to see the Great Wall of China!"

Brain bopped him between the ears while Dimitri began an argument with Anya over whether or not the dog was coming along. While they bickered, The Brain wondered if this was going to be worth the trip...

Stolen and mildly edited from skimmingsurfaces's DA account (cutcrescentheart):

Another collab between the fabulous starshinedc and myself! Pinky and the Brain take on Anastasia! This was a lot of fun and refreshing for us to play with.
Hope you enjoy!

From me: OMG. I have been so neglectful of this fic D:

It's been finished for ages, you guys. Ages and ages. But I'm lazy as hell, it seems. So it's up now! Next ch will be up when I get home from the ballgame XD