Title: Abroad

Summary: Kira makes it to America and begins a new life. One-Shot.

Fandom: We the Living X The Fountainhead

Word Count: 1,201


The ship knocked against land for the first time in weeks. Kira Argounova could feel the vibration of land run up from the souls of her feet to fill her body with an energy that hummed in her body. She did not dare look down. She could not risk tearing her eyes from the skyline of a city she had only dreamed about – a skyline she had only dreamed for.

New York City rose like a living promise out of the water, out of the land, into the sky. She could not look away. Her very soul was beating in her hands – hands that wanted nothing more than to reach out to that skyline and mold it into the beautiful perfect thing that she knew she could.

A man came up and told her to get going. Kira leaned down for her briefcase and gently touched the small roll of money sewn into her faded red dress. She walked down the deck with a grace that could not be taught and, though she did not pause, she could feel her whole life changing as she walked down the wooden plank and onto solid ground. In that last split-second before her foot hit the cement, the change became complete. Kira Argounova's spine straightened out and her breathing became easier.

She smiled, just for a moment, but it was enough. The years that had made her young face grow haggard dripped off like honey on a warm day.

She stepped off the boat and into America, leaving a decade of hurt and pain behind her.

She waited patiently – without complaint or worry – at the processing station of Ellis Island. She did not protest the stale bread and cold soup the shoved into her hands – she did not taste it. She did not mind sleeping on the rough stone floor – she did not feel it. When it was finally her turn, she handed over her red passport and stared at the man who took it, frowning in surprise.

He could have turned her away. The thought barely bothered her. If he turned her away, she would find another way. She was here, in America – she would not be moved.

The man glanced into her face, and found a young woman who appeared like a girl but had eyes that told of the type of wisdom that only a long, hard life can bring. He stamped her passport, wrote her name down in a little book, and beckoned her beyond.

Just like that, Kira became a citizen of the United States.

It was another day waiting for a ferry to come and transfer Kira and several hundred other immigrants off of the island and to the mainland. This time Kira waited like a caged tiger, though she hardly moved. Her body was still, but her eyes sharply tracked the movements of the workmen and the officials – not afraid when they caught her eye and found her staring.

In the late afternoon of her fourth day in America, Kira was herded into a ferry which deposited her and several hundred others onto the streets of New York City. Many families were waiting at the docks with tissues and tears. Kira picked up her briefcase and moved deftly through the crowd. She turned and faced the foreign streets of a country she had only dreamed off. She was not afraid, but overjoyed. She began walking and the first tears of her life, tears of pure joy of a dream realized, rolled slowly down her face without her notice.

She walked with her head thrown back and her eyes on the giants that rose around her. She was looking for something – something that only she and a select few others would ever be able to see. Her heart was at the top of those buildings, while her body down below was like a shadow, barely connected. She walked until her feet hurt. She took her shoes off and walked some more. Without direction she traversed the strange foreign city with all the uncertainty of a person walking about their own home.

She stopped finally when she came to a building of straight lines, sharp angles, windows, glass, steal, and a soul that called out to her own. Finally her gaze dropped down and she read the sign outside of the building: The Aquitania. In that moment, when she saw that a building such as this could exist, she knew that she would live. She knew that New York had not been for not, that her escape from Russia had not been into the hands of another master.

If buildings like this could exist, then so could Kira.

She walked into the building and asked the first person she saw where she could find the man who built it. The receptionist stared at her knowingly with an understanding Kira had never found in all of her life.

"Howard Roark," the woman stated, nodding for a plaque behind her desk. "Go twelve blocks down, turn left and keep walking – you'll know it."

Kira thanked the woman and walked out. She went down twelve blocks and turned left. She knew the building when she saw it.

It rose out of the surrounding area like a god amongst men. Yet, rather than making the neighborhood below cower; the skyscraper seemed to be pulling up the houses below and urging them to grow with it. She could tell immediately that the soul who built the Aquitania resided in this construct too. Further, something in her body told her the man himself was inside. Her heart had never beat so steadily.

She pushed open the door with confidence and looked around the inside of the Wynand building. There was another receptionist who took one look at her and told her to go to the top floor. She rode her very first elevator high above anywhere that she had ever stepped foot on.

When she got out, another woman directed her to a single door with a small plaque: Howard Roark – Architect.

She pushed the door open and a man at the window turned. His body was of straight lines and sharp angles. His hair was a flaming red and his mouth was a dark slash that looked as though he did not smile often. His eyes bore into her own, dark, serious, and incredibly innocent.

She had never met a more joyous person in her life.

In that first moment when their eyes connected they understood each other better than any of Kira's family had ever understood her. She knew what he was going to say before he said it; he knew why she was there without a word needed be spoken.

She said it anyway. It was the first time she had ever said it to someone who did not scoff or look on in disbelief. She said it with the memory of those early English lessons, before it was forbidden, with the confidence of the only sentence that had ever really mattered.

"I'm going to build aluminum bridges and buildings made of steel and glass."

He inclined his head, and for a brief moment, he smiled.

"You're hired. You can start immediately."