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Dmitri Petrov

"There are those whose primary ability is to spin wheels of manipulation."

0 · 1,388 views · located in Cirque Regalis

a character in “Cirque Regalis”, as played by Scarlet Loup

Description

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{ There are those whose primary ability is to spin wheels of manipulation. It is their second skin and without these spinning wheels, they simply do not know how to function. They are like toys on wheels of manipulation and control. If you remove one of the wheels, they'll never be able to feel secure, be whole. }




The Basics




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Full Name:
Dmitri Vladimir Petrov

Nicknames and Aliases:
Dmitri has no nicknames, but he does insist that all performers address him as Mr. Petrov. Those on the management team are allowed to call him by his first name.

Gender:
Male

Age:
Forty-six

Ethnicity/Race:
Caucasian (Russian)

Sexual Orientation:
Dmitri lacks emotional ties to anyone, but he has no problem having casual sex with members of either gender. Therefore, he's probably pansexual.

Occupation or Act:
Dmitri owns Cirque Regalis. It was his father's before his, and he has "ruled it" under a tight grip since the man died. He also works as the head ring leader and announces most of the acts in the show. Slowly, he is allowing Robert more and more stage time.




What's on the Outside




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Hair Color:
Once a dark, almost black, color, Dmitri's hair is now peppered with gray

Eye Color:
His eyes are hazel

Height:
Five feet, eleven inches

Weight:
One hundred and seventy pounds

Tattoos:
Dmitri has no tattoos.

Scars:
As for scars, Dmitri has a few on his hands and knees from playing as a boy. His most noticeable scar is a decently sized slash along the bridge of his nose that he received when he strayed to close to the tiger's cage as a teenager and the cat took a swipe at him.

Description:
Dmitri, appearance-wise, is an average looking man. He stands at a normal five feet, eleven inches and weighs around one hundred seventy pounds. Some of it is still muscle, but his muscle has atrophied over the years as he settles into a less physically exerting lifestyle and career. Still, he maintains a good build. His chin is a bit rounded, but his jaw is sharp and his cheekbones protrude from a place high on his cheeks. His face shows laugh lines, though many have never seen him laugh. A few wrinkles stretch across his forehead, but they are shallow from little use. His face stays in an almost perpetually cocky grin or a look of disgust depending merely on his mood. In general, Dmitri isn't very expressive. He bundles up emotions and masks them from the others in the circus.




What's on the Inside




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Personality:

{ Sleazy, two-faced, sociopathic, charismatic }

We are all products of our environment. Dmitri, of course, did not begin as a sociopath. When one meets him, it hardly comes as a surprise to hear that Dmitri's father was an abusive man who hardened Dmitri. On the outside, Dmitri is a polite man. He nods to passerbys, flashes a smile at most, and starts amicable conversation. On the inside, he plans ways to twist his words, construe meanings, and deceive others. In truth, Dmitri never truly loses his composure. He merely works the mind to bend it the way he wants. His plain, expressionless exterior hardly gives light to the terrifying individual inside. He has little regret because of his sociopathy. In fact, he killed his own father and doesn't care. In his mind, he was in the right.

Dmitri believes he is above punishment and repercussions. He (literally) can get away with murder. His charisma and charm allow him to persuade and dissuade, toying with the minds of others without thinking twice. Years of violent abuse hardened him. He connects with few people and makes few emotional attachments if any. In his mind, most fall below him in both intelligence and capability. He craves the control his father had, but he believes he uses it correctly. Despite the tight grip he has over the circus and its members, Dmitri believes he is better than the abusive father he knew. He will never admit he is wrong, for he lives in a world where he is never at fault. Instead, he convinces others that they have wronged him until they apologize for his mistakes. A lonely childhood made him crave to be the center of attention but only the good attention. He basks in the spotlight that comes with ring leading. Too long he remained in the shadow of his father. Even as some of the carnies some to realization of how sick he can be, Dmitri believes he is as safe as ever. He suffers from an inflated god-complex. His arrogance is certain to be his downfall.


Hobbies:
  • Paints (usually scenery)
  • Plays the violin
  • Spends time around the large cats
  • Juggles
Habits:
  • Likes to circle around people or at least move around when speaking to them
  • Hums classical pieces when he walks around
  • Uses sarcasm too often, plays dumb to get others to admit to things they've done
Oddities:
  • Abused as a child
  • Can speak without an accent, but speaks with a noticeable Russian accent when not announcing acts
  • Undiagnosed sociopath
Likes/Loves:
  • Classical Music
  • Imported Cigars
  • Wine
  • Vodka
  • Being the center of attention
  • Circus animals
  • Sex
  • Gambling
  • Playing God
  • Reading About History
Dislikes/Hates:
  • Whiskey
  • Beer
  • Cigarettes
  • Being spoken to out of turn
  • Tigers
  • Commitment
  • Yelling
  • Slurs Directed at Him
  • Mismatched Clothing
  • Mud




What's Done Is Done




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Biography
Place Of Origin: St. Petersburg, Russia
Birth Date: December 17th, 1902

History:
Dmitri has known circuses his entire life. In fact, one could say it is the only thing he knows. His father, Vladimir Petrov, met his mother, Mariya Levin, through the circus. Both also knew circuses like the back of their hands. Vlad was the manager of a Russian circus's menagerie whereas Mariya was a sword swallower. The two were instantly smitten with each other, but it was a lustful love, not a romantic love. Dmitri was conceived out of wedlock and immersed in the circus culture before he could speak. Both parents certainly cared for the young boy, but they hardly cared for each other. When the previous owner of the circus died suddenly, Vladimir Petrov took over. Vlad was a kind man to his performers and a violent man behind doors. Dmitri was hardly four when his father began to verbally abuse the boy. His mother was no better, for she cared more about her career than protecting her son from the abuse. Vladimir was her boss, technically, and she knew she would lose her job if she yelled at him for yelling at Dmitri. Therefore, the boy strayed from human contact in general and latched on to the animals in the shows. He would never recover from these developmental years full of shouting and hate.

Vladimir slowly turned to the bottle as the years went on. The lonely man became more bitter, not only toward Dmitri, but toward the performers. Physical abuse, mixed with the verbal abuse, hardened Dmitri's heart and made him hate the man he called "father". He buried his nose in books, taught himself other languages, and tried to find a niche. Having never had a traditional education, Dmitri was certain he'd be stuck in the circus business too. As his mind filled with knowledge, he grew to hate others and the trama of his youth bred a hatred for the man and woman who brought him into the world.

Dmitri was barely a teenager when Vlad moved them to America. Vladimir Petrov was never a very intelligent man, but he knew that change was coming in Russia. When Vladimir Lenin returned to Russia and began to promote rebellion, he knew that his performers would quickly identify with Lenin's ideas. With hardly any warning, Vladimir Petrov loaded his circus on to a boat and traveled across the Pacific Ocean. Dmitri had no choice but to follow the man. On the boat over, the circus lost a decent amount of performers including Dmitri's mother. Dmitri didn't mind.

The arrived in America around the time America was entering the first World War, so business was quite rough. However, once the 1920s began, prosperity spread through the nation; the circus was flooded with new customers and performers. Dmitri was excited and, for once, perhaps proud of his father for taking a chance and increasing their success. He began to learn how to perform alongside the animals of the circus, hoping he might have a career with them one day. When Dmitri was twenty-three, Vlad finally did something good for the boy; he let him work as the ring leader for the show. By then, Vladimir was far too drunk, fat, and angry to ring lead. Plus, he hardly spoke English whereas Dmitri knew English like he'd been born speaking it. For once, the idea of remaining in the circus didn't upset Dmitri. The only thing marring his vision was, of course, his father. He knew how to deal with him though.

Late one night, Dmitri snuck in to his father's train car with a crowbar in his hand. Years of abuse and anger had spoiled the boy, breeding hatred and spite within him, and he knew he had to get rid of the man. Without thinking twice, he raised the crowbar and brought it down on the drunk's skull multiple times. For a brief moment, Vlad might have woken to see Dmitri looming over him, but he was far too drunk to react. When the carnage was discovered the next day, no one mourned.

Upon looking at Vladimir's will, it was discovered that he had left the entirety to Dmitri, his only heir by blood. Some might have felt guilt, but Dmitri felt only relief and excitement, for he knew that he deserved the circus. The sociopathic tendancies within the young man blossomed. If he could get away with literal murder, what else could he get away with? With Dmitri in charge, the circus thrived through the next four years until Wall Street crashed. When the Depression hit, Cirque Regalis, as Dmitri named it, suffered greatly. Not knowing when the end would come, many performers left or took their lives, but Dmitri persisted, for he didn't know what to do without the circus. Eventually, more came and Dmitri welcomed them with open arms. During World War II, the circus faced more setbacks, but now, in the Golden Age, Dmitri's circus prospers again. He rakes in the profits more and more, conning and persuading and building an empire not quite different from the one the Bolsheviks brought down in Russia. Recently, he has begun to realize his own mortality and has begun to groom Robert for his role, but he continues to act like he owns the world. Finally, he is his own man and lives in no one's shadow.

Happiest Memory: To this day, Dmitri still remembers the roar of the crowd during his first time ring leading. He was, essentially, the center of attention and the crowd listened to each and every one of his words.
Saddest Memory: Dmitri's saddest days were those he spent reading beside the animal cages. However, he remembers them fondly, for he has only emotionally connected with the animals.




Face Claim: Mads Mikkelsen

So begins...

Dmitri Petrov's Story

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Even in the forties, the lights of New York flooded the sky and muffled the light of stars overhead. Fighting for supremacy over the combined power of neon lights and spotlights seemed pointless, yet the large floodlights of Cirque Regalis put up a fair fight. They shone directly upon the fabric of the tents-- dark violet striped on a white field. While the purple stripes absorbed the light, the white shone brighter than ever, reflecting the light cast upon it. Red flags flying overhead wavered in the lazy breeze of the night.

Almost five decades of circus-related work taught Dmitri that tonight, a Saturday in the summer of '48, would be an extremely large show. He was right, of course, for the applause at the end of the show seemed deafening. Then again, Dmitri would tell you that he was never wrong. As the performers took their last spins, flips, and bows, Dmitri too took his final bow. Perched on top of a risen platform, he stood taller than every performer, save the acrobats and those standing atop the elephants. Once, he too had been atop the large, gray beasts, but he'd been thrown one too many times in practices. The last thing he needed was the embarrassment of being thrown during a performance. To be honest, there were far more important matters that would qualify as "the last thing", but public embarrassment ranked high up for Dmitri. He had a reputation to uphold.

ImageFollowing a swift bend at the waist, Dmitri sprung upward and raised his arms skyward, grin broad on his face. Smile! The hiss of his father, thick with accent, rang in his ears. It was the same hiss he replicated for his performers now, though as a shout before and after shows, ever during, for the audience would certainly notice. Hidden behind a purposefully placed elephant, a ladder hung from the platform and allowed Dmitri quick and easy access to the ground. As the crowds above rose from their seats and trickled out, the performers also left their positions and exited via the tent flap in the back. It was through here that Dmitri exited, a slight jog in his step to remain at the head of the "pack". Outside of the loud, hot tent, the air was cooler and fresher. He paused briefly outside of the tent flap to merely bask in the chatter still heard from the departing circus-goers.

After a performer or two bumped into him, Dmitri irately started for his personal train car. His scarlet jacket, tailored to fit like a glove, stuck out in the crowd of workers and performers all going their separate ways: some to bars or clubs or their cars or wherever. Dmitri hardly cared. His private car joined on to an office car. This, of course, upset many, for most performers (if not all) shared a car with at least one other being. Again, it was of little concern to Dmitri. With a final glance back at the tent, he walked up the metal stairs into his car. Compared to the common box cars, Dmitri's car was extravagant. The walls were painted a dark burgundy, but it was difficult to tell because places not covered by windows with heavy, black curtains were blocked by tall bookcases. He stripped off his crimson coat and pulled off his tall, ebony boots in a fluid, practiced movement. Two decades of ring leading had resulted in an unshakable pattern. Next, he would subconsciously turn on his phonograph and unbutton his shirt and vest while something classical filled the spacious car. In this case, it was Hungarian Dance No. 5. The glass of wine was next or some vodka. This night, a good night, it was a rich red wine. Oh yes, his performers might have been living in cramped, disorganized conditions, but why should Dmitri Petrov have to give up the finer things in life? He sipped the wine thoughtfully. After all, didn't he deserve it?

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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Music. Some say that it is the purest form of communication, a language spoken and understood by all. Beethoven had shown it to be a language even for the deaf! For Svetlana it seemed that her violin was one of the very few ways she could communicate with others. The scrawny young woman who just barely passed as an adult seemed to always have her violin clutched to her chest, her bow always under her fingers. Unlike her elder brother she wasn't exactly the world's most interesting person. Her involuntary silence and often timid nature did give an initial air of mystery but once you got to know the poor girl, all mystery was gone. She was just a sweet person who loved her music and her family. Perhaps she would surprise someone now and again by her display of other talents such as tailoring or cooking or even making herbal remedies to cure a fellow performer before a show, but there wasn't much too her.

Perhaps that was something refreshing about her.

At this particular moment she was making her way through the crowd, offering a kind smile to those who waved at her but making no indication that she desired any sort of conversation. English was not her forté and she doubted any of the people here were fluent in reading Ukrainian, Belgian, or Roma. In fact, besides her brother and niece, Dmitri was the only person she could “talk” to. The ringleader wasn't exactly in line to win an award for Kindest Man of the Year but she felt that he had some goodness in him. Or perhaps she was just biased because he was one of the few people that didn't treat her like she was some handicapped and helpless creature. Or maybe she was just too nice. Either way, she couldn't help but to feel grateful. He did give her and Sebastian jobs and a home. And he hadn't fired her violent brother yet. But she did have a hand in that, something she didn't ever want her brother to find out about.

She took a deep breath as she came to the circus master's train car, knocking on the door timidly as she waited at the top of the three steps. Tonight's show was a good one so perhaps he would be in a good mood. Or at least what passed as a good mood for Dmitri. She momentarily placed her violin and bow under her arm to smooth out the wrinkles in her white dress from the performance, adjusting some tufts of hair so that they weren't so out of place. She smiled to herself and took her violin back into hand, curling her feet against the metal. She should probably invest in some shoes some time soon before she caught a cold or something.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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Cigar smoke filled the space within Dmitri's car as the circus's owner settled into his after-show routine. He'd swapped out his ebony breeches that he wore while ring leading for a pair a looser, khaki trousers. Oscuro cigar hanging from his mouth, Dmitri swapped out the album on his phonograph. It was Requiem in D Minor this time. It was a composition left unfinished by the composer's untimely demise at a mere age of 35. Untimely demises brought memories back to Dmitri. He released the smoke within his mouth as he thought. They were good memories, as morbid as that was, for it had meant the end of showing affection for an affectionless man.

He rested the cigar in the ash tray on his desk as he sipped at the wine still in his glass. To him it had been a good show that night. His ears were not trained enough to gauge the thoughts of the audience based upon their applause. Dmitri only heard the applause and revealed in it. He had been a boy starved of attention, so he fought to regain that lack of attention now as an adult. The smoke added greatly to the almost perpetual haze within the room, for cigar smoke was not inhaled. Dmitri was honestly not sure why the thick, rolled stick of tobacco appealed to him more than cigarettes. Perhaps it was because the former looked more professional, grander, and cigarettes were cheaper. Of course, it also could have been because his father smoked a pack of cigarettes a day.

He coughed once from the thick smoke and moved toward the car's windows to open them. From the corner of his eye, as he opened the last one, he swore he saw movement on the stairs leading to his car. It hardly fazed him. People came and went from his car as the night wore on after shows. Most bore questions or information for him. Dmitri had barely replaced the cigar in his mouth before the timid knock sounded. It was dainty so certainly not Frances or Robby who both tended to have quite loud knocks. He assumed it was a female, for not many men knocked so softly.

"Wait," he called, holding the cigar in between his thumb and index and middle fingers. Dmitri could easily speak without an accent, for he did that in the circus, but he seemed to enjoy his Russian accent and fascination Americans had with it. And so, his words were thick with an accent when he called out. The door had a minute window set in it, but he usually kept the drapes over it. After unlocking it, he met eyes with Svetlana, to whom he offered a typical smile of is. "Добрий вечір, Lana," he greeted, stepping to the side to allow the young woman to pass. "You were lovely tonight, моя любовь."

He put the cigar back in his mouth, formulating his words to her. Ukrainian was not a first language to him by any means. Sure, he could read a good amount Ukrainian words and perhaps translate spoken statements, but he had trouble speaking what was on his mind. Really, he could only do that in Russian and English. He made a soft "er" sound for a while, searching for the correct phrasing in the unfamiliar language. "ти тут для мене...або з інших причин?" For a while, he stood over by his ash tray to remove the ashy end of the cigar and waited for her response. Then, he moved closer, closing the space quite quickly between them. He brushed his cigar-less hand against her cheek in a soft, fluid motion, looking down into her eyes. He liked the girl though "like" was an extremely relative term, for he had little concept of commitment and love. She did, however, make a wonderful companion both in and out of bed.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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She wasn't left waiting too long, offering her trademark timid smile as Dmitri answered to let her in. It wasn't her first time in his train car and she was sure that it wouldn't be her last. She let her gaze wander over the familiar sights, setting down her instrument to pick up a pencil and notepad that she often left in his quarters. As she turned back to face him she was met with a hand gently across her cheek, her eyes closing. It did often surprise her how gentle that Dmitri could be. She had seen his bad side a few times before and she often recalled a few other performers warning her of his temper and harsh words. She liked to think that he simply lashed out because he was lonely. She knew from experience that he was more than capable of showing at least some sort of affection. Perhaps that's why she worked so hard to give good shows lately.

She remembered how nervous she'd been during her very first performance, being laughed right out of the tent when she froze. It had been Bastian who'd saved their act. Dmitri had been half an inch away from hitting her and his face had been soo red from screaming at her. She had only fumbled a few times after that, getting rid of her stage fright with enough practice. Dmitri had been much kinder after that. He had even been more receptive to her advances than she thought he'd be. She initially was just sleeping with him to keep Sebastian around after Dmitri threatened to get rid of him. But she had to admit that she had grown quite fond of spending time with him. He might not be as attractive as some of the other men but he certainly had his own charm. The naive nineteen year old held out the notepad with her reply written on it, placing her free hand atop of his resting on her cheek, stepping a bit closer.

Я тільки думав, що ви, можливо, потрібна компанія. Я міг би продовжувати, якщо хочете.



Translation; I only thought that you might want some company. I could go if you wish.

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A more obviously genuine smile glided across his features as she closed her eyes, lingering for a few heartbeats before it reverted into his usual smile. There were not many within the circus who still trusted the circus owner so much or at least were capable of relaxing in his company. His regular, almost constant grin certainly wasn't a feigned smile, but it was more difficult to get a read from this typical smile of his, for it translated into array of emotions that contradicted each other greatly.

He was a volatile time-bomb. To many, his anger was extreme and pointless, yet he found his bursts of anger to be quite normal and truly reasonable. To him, anger was a normal thing that humans expressed, or at least it was for a man whose entire livelihood rested upon the shoulders of others. His father had been a bitter old man, and then he had died. Dmitri knew he certainly wasn't this bitter as a child, so the anger certainly had to come with the added responsibility. Perhaps it did, yet there was no arguing (except with Dmitri) that his volatile nature was destructive.

If one were to ask him about Svetlana's first performance, he probably would not have remembered how he nearly struck the girl. However, Dmitri did vaguely remember his anger toward her as he watched her stand, dumb-struck, in the ring. Either way, he'd find his anger well-placed and justified. Forty-six years of performances blurred together, more or less, in his mind. He did, however, remember the sound of her violin as he walked along the streets four months ago. Dmitri had played the violin for years now, yet he knew he could never, despite any amount of practice, compete with the sounds she and her brother produced. The obvious response, of course, was to hire them both on.

When she had begun to stop by his car after shows, he'd been skeptic. At first, they slept together only to ensure Bastian stayed in the circus. The young man's record with the law concerned Dmitri, for he certainly did not need circus goers finding out he kept convicts in the circus. Her affection, however, lessened his animosity for Sebastian. Plus, he was still a wonderful violinist despite his history.

He laughed softly to himself as she moved closer and placed her smaller, softer hand over his. It wasn't a rude, demeaning laugh by any means. Rather, it was one of slight amusement, a laugh a parent might respond with watching a child act endearingly. He read over the note she held up, taking his time to analyze the letters before he looked back at her with a mixture of endearment and something else in his expression.

"нет," he cooed. Dmitri's thumb moved away from his other fingers then glided back to them, causing him to stroke her cheek gently again. "пробути, Звездочка." The constant transition between the two languages was most certainly confusing for both parties, but he made up for it by utilizing the tone of his voice and his body language as he'd learned ring leading. Dmitri leaned forward just slightly and rested his lips upon her forehead in a quick peck. "Ты такая красивая." He murmured the term of endearment against her skin, stressing the appropriate words to make it sound more sincere. As he spoke, he turned his hand around and intertwined his fingers in hers. Only a few steps away sat his desk, and he moved toward it with her, beckoning her with a few flicks of the wrist from his hand with the cigar.

"приїхати, красива дівчина." As he sat, he pulled her down on to his left knee, making it possible for him to support her with his left arm as he continued to smoke to cigar. "я тебе люблю, мій ангел." Love was, to say the least, a tricky topic with the Russian. He had little concept of love for anyone despite being fond of the young woman. His emotional ties were few and miniscule. They were hollow words that he repeated because they sounded good or they kept him in good favor. He'd memorized them in multiple languages. Te amo. Je t'aime. Ich liebe dich. I love you. Dmitri was notorious for his empty declarations. He could promise Lana anything, everything in the world, but what good was an unreliable promise from an unreliable man?




Translations (Russian and Ukrainian)
нет - no
пробути, Звездочка - stay, little star
Ты такая красивая - you are so beautiful
приїхати, красива дівчина - come, beautiful girl
я тебе люблю, мій ангел - I love you, my angel

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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For beginners, her moves could easily become tiring with less than an hour; Especially the more advanced movements and positions. However, Belle had been at her trade all day every day for twenty-six years. She lived and breathed movement, constantly finding new ways to push her limits and awe the people around her. As someone who'd been performing nearly her entire life she knew well enough that it did no good to do the same thing over and over. Joining Dmitri's roaming circus gave her the opportunity to get even more creative. She'd been working with Zenobia and Rozella over the past three months to teach them her movements while they trained their animals to perform with her. They had yet to approach any of the managers to inform them of their secret training, feeling it'd more appropriate to simply surprise them. Wouldn't they be ever so pleased when they brought in more patrons than they've ever had under the tent before? They'd certainly need more seats to accommodate! And a bigger tent, naturally. She would perfect the way the Silver Sisters moved their hips with a bit more...private lessons. Soon they'd be center stage, performing with the cats and snakes in ways not seen before!

She smiled with content, placing the fingertips of her right hand against the center of her chest, the fingertips of her left hand resting lightly against her abdomen just under her navel. Knees bent, she felt her movement as she isolated the muscles in her chest and hips. With little effort she popped her chest out and then back again, repeating to an imaginary beat. She moved to her hips, tracing a figure eight. Hip swaying was easy. Getting just one's hips to move while all other body parts remained still took great skill. She moved into a shimmy, one of the real attractions to her routines. It was no secret that men lusted for a woman who could move her rump. She lowered her body to the ground, her arms out to the side, moving in a wave-like, serpentine way. She rolled her hips to emphasize on her ass only to find herself being watched. She ceased movement and rose up slowly, her brow lifting at the look of awe in Evee's features.

While Belle was intent on learning all she could about her fellow performers, she had to admit that between practicing and playing with the animals, she hadn't had much time to gather too much information on everyone. What she did know was that Evee was the daughter of Anna, they were French, Anna was an acrobat, Evee hadn't performed yet because she was still training, and Evee spent quite some time around Jack and took a shine to Conner and Kieran. The Arabian offered Evee a kindly smile and moved towards her, standing a distance that most people found uncomfortably close, just inches away from brushing against her. “Ah, العزلة العضلات. ثني ركبتيك. التفاني. كل شيء في الوركين، طفل جميل. هل تريد أن تتعلم؟ أنا دائما يمكن استخدام عدد قليل من أكثر السيدات جميلة في الرقص معي.” The Arabic words rolled from her tongue, adding more mystery to her as her brown eyes gazed down at the teenager, her fingers dancing, playing with Evee's chocolate colored curls. Obviously the young girl had no clue what the dancer had said. A light giggle bubbled past her lips as she moved her hands to position the young girl. “Muscle isolation. Bent knees. Dedication. It's all in the hips, beautiful child. Do you want to learn? I could always use a few more lovely ladies to dance with me.”

“Do not frighten the child, silly Bells.” Sebastian emerged, chuckling as he moved to stand a bit behind Belle, placing a hand on her shoulder. The older woman gave another giggle, releasing Evee and placing her hand against Sebastian's. “Do not be silly; I am not frightening to anyone. Am I frightening you, little acrobat?”





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“нет. пробути, Звездочка.” She couldn't help but to smile just a little wider, biting down on her lip to keep from appearing too excited as he praised her and kissed her upon her brow. It truly was just a bit funny that she would be so giddy for a simple acceptance of company and a short kiss to her forehead when the man had explored so much more of her. She, for the life of her, could not find just what it was of the man that drew her to him like a moth to a flame. His power and money? She'd been without it her entire life and it never really appealed to her. Perhaps it was his unique charisma. She couldn't say she'd ever met a man quite like him before. He could be violent and unpredictable, sure. But he hadn't directed much anger towards her since she began having relations with him only a month ago. If anything, she liked to think that she cheered him up immensely with her presence and favors. Obviously it probably wasn't as true as she believed it to be, but it settled well in her mind. She was being useful.

Her fingers curled against his hand gently as she allowed him to guide her to his lap, her eyes bright with flagrant infatuation for the older ring master. From the outside looking in they had quite the resemblance of a stern father and his loving daughter. That only made it appear all the more strange and just downright wrong when the young woman with all the youthful appearance of a teen let her head drop, careful to avoid being burnt by his cigar, allowing her lips to brush against his just ever so gently, lingering there for moments before she pulled back enough for them to hover inches apart. There was a certain sort of high she got from being with him. Maybe that's what she loved so much about him. He didn't make her feel like a child as many others did. She had even bothered to acclimate to the thick smoke produced by the cigars he constantly had lit. She had tried to smoke one once but he had reprimanded her and told her that it wasn't attractive for a lady to smoke. She was able to actually be around him when he smoked now without dissolving into a coughing fit.

The wordless woman put down her pencil and notepad, occupying her hands by slipping one to rest against the back of his neck and the other to rest upon his cheek, her thumb brushing gently against his skin as his had done previously. She wasn't the most competent when it came to using her almost nonexistent feminine charms, having gone so far as being coached by Belle in a game of charades and simply taking direction from Dmitri. Unlike many of the other women working for Cirque Regalis, Svetlana didn't have much of her own will. That's not to say that she had no sense of purpose without others to guide her. Lana simply didn't know how to turn others down and would always act in favor of someone else over her own intentions. She was extremely pliable.

A sigh escaped her as she massaged the back of his neck, sitting in silence. There was almost always such a silence between them in these moments but that was bound to happen when there was a mute involved in a conversation. It wasn't so much that she couldn't speak; Her vocal chords worked quite perfectly, that much Dmitri could certainly substantiate. She would even mutter a word or two here or there though the people who managed to hear assumed they had heard the wind. She herself wasn't sure why she never did talk. After seeing her mother gunned down by Nazi soldiers she simply stopped speaking. Maybe she just never knew how to express the gut wrenching sorrow she felt, diving into her music to shut out those feelings. Sometimes she was afraid that she'd burst into tears if she tried to talk. The last time she'd truly spoken was to tell her mother that she loved her. But she shut all of that out for years. Performing for the cirque and spending time with Dmitri helped keep her mind from such depressing things. It provided her with a perpetual smile. That very same kind and timid smile that she wore now as her eyes sung praises for the ring master.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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The look in her eyes stroked his ego, inflated his ego. It was a look of adoration, infatuation, blindness. She was adorably pliable, like a loyal pup, and he had little trouble getting what he wanted out of the girl. He looked into her eyes, fawn-like and innocent, and offered his smile which she'd received many times, countless times. Dmitri's eyes closed as she leaned to kiss him, the smirk pressing into her lips softly at first and then with more of a passion until they parted. The Russian pulled the cigar from his mouth and released the smoke to his side, careful to not blow it into her face lest she cough or he ruin the moment.

Her hand brushed against his cheek, and Dmitri pressed into it. In a practiced move, he dropped the cigar into an ash-tray and met her hand with his own, holding her hand softly enough against his cheek that she could continue to brush her thumb along his cheekbone. For a few heartbeats, they sat in stillness and then silence as the record player clicked, indicating the record had come to an end. Her hand massaged his neck slowly, and he let out a mixture of moan and sigh in reply.

"Лапушка..."he whispered, eyes closing partially in contentment. He'd never heard her speak. Not to him, nor to anyone else. She could speak, however, for she had a tendency to become quite vocal between the sheets. Still, not a word to him neither in love nor anger. Dmitri cared little, for he didn't care much for conversation as a whole unless it was business related. His now cigar-less hand moved slowly down her slender arm, slid gently along her waist, and came to rest on her thigh. His left hand traced circles through the back her dress, then hearts. "Солнышко..." His face had moved progressively closer to her's until he only needed to, more or less, breathe the word to her for her to hear it. There was softness in his voice, a kind of sweetness that was never heard and quite artificial, but Lana didn't need to know that.

Dmitri closed the space between them and pulled her closer as he pressed his lips into her lips in a far more passionate kiss. As their lips disconnected and reconnected, he mumbled more pet names under his breath and into her lips, his breath tasting quite obviously of wine and smoke. His hand on her thigh moved upward slowly along the inside of the leg whilst his hand on her back moved lower. His breath came a bit quicker now as they pressed into each other. Dmitri was quite ready to lift her up and carry her to the mahogany bed.

And then the knock came.

"отвяжись..." he muttered into her lips, forgetting the pitch of his own voice. The knock came again, harder this time. His lips parted from Lana's in a hurried manner, his face quite red from a mixture of arousal and anger. "отвяжись!" He huffed softly after the shout, anger evident in his eyes, and waited for the sound of footsteps going down the stairs.

The knock came a bit slower this time, but it came nonetheless.

Dmitri hardly yelled overall, but he could barely contain his annoyance at whoever stood behind the wooden door. Lana had moved by then, getting off of his lap just moments before he stood and moved toward the door. "I said fuck off!" He shouted as he unbolted the door and flung it open...and stood just about face to face with Robert. For a heartbeat perhaps his face remained angry and contorted with said anger. Rapidly, in just few few more moments, he lightened up and smoothed his hair as he recognized the younger man. "Robby...ah, sorry for the outburst...come in," he said quickly, letting the man in before closing the door behind them. Dmitri found his wine glass and drained it before refilling it and picking up the cigar again. "What can I do for you?" Alternating between his wine and cigar, he perched on the edge of his bed and gestured for Rob to take the chair at his desk where he had just been sitting moments ago. Dmitri was quite visibly flustered, but he tried to play it off as a mixture of alcohol and his notoriously low tolerance for annoyance.




Translations
Лапушка - lapushka - darling
Солнышко - solnyshko - little sun
отвяжись - otvyazhis' - fuck off

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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{ In collaboration with Scarlet Loup & Little Fox }





With much on his mind, Robert shoved his hands in his pockets and made his way to Dmitri’s car. In accordance to the arrangement of the acts, he had a lot of power. It’d become an art, knowing what the crowd wanted—how’d they react to certain performances. He knew even routine like the back of his hand and if choreographed correctly it’d make a great show. As he knocks on the door, Robert is only half aware of his surroundings. His mind is littered with thoughts of spinning trapeze acts and contortionists. What would look good where and how much time was there to spare. When he’s greeted with a flurry of Russian, he’s torn from his reverie, a meek smirk making its way onto his face when he realizes what he’d just walked in on. Well, almost walked in on. Then he hears profanity and it just confirms it for him. If there wasn’t so much on the line he’d feel guilty, probably tell him to carry n and come back later. However, now wasn’t the time. He had to get Dmitri’s permission to change the set because without it-…he doesn’t want to think about it.

Dmitri opens the door, flustered and bewildered, and Robert walks in with a knowing smile on his face. “Don’t worry about it, boss. S’no harm done.” He says, his accent thick with amusement. He takes his seat where he’s escorted and spares a look around, curious as to where his ‘lady friend’ disappeared to. He doesn’t meet the Russian’s gaze until he’s addressed again and by then, he’d taken a pack of cigarettes from his vest pocket and lit one for himself. “I need a favor from you-…” he begins, taking a drag. He thinks on how to approach the subject as he exhales, smoke curling around his head. By that time, he decides to be blunt. “I want to change the set list.”

Svetlana had jerked away from Dmitri's advances in both shock and fright when a knock came upon the door. She mirrored her lover's irritation, though not quite as intensely, once it became apparent that whomever was knocking wasn't leaving without exchanging words. Whining softly, she immediately feared it to be her brother looking for her and she was filled with dread at the thought of him finding her draped over Dmitri. She picked up her dress to minimize movement complications, freeing her legs. As Dmitri rose she retreated to the closet where she just barely managed to fold herself into the space as Dmitri greeted Robert.

Robert. One of Sebastian's friends. She cringed and tried to further shrink into the closet though there wasn't much room. She could feel herself slipping, biting down on her lip as though it would keep her from tumbling off of the second shelf in the wooden wardrobe. It didn't. It wasn't a far fall and she landed on her ass and elbow.

As Lana positioned herself within the closet, Dmitri too looked around in bewilderment. Had she jumped from the windows he’d opened in the car? It certainly wasn’t too far of a drop, but Dmitri knew it certainly would have attracted the attention of the performers that milled around. The amusement on Rob’s face confirmed his suspicions that the younger man knew what he’d been up to. It hardly fazed him, of course, but it kept the red tinge on his face a bit longer. Dmitri arched an eyebrow and looked over at Robby as the younger man pondered.

“Favor” was a vague term, for it could mean anything from putting a good word in to donating enough money to pay off a debt. The Russian sucked in the cigar smoke and held it in his mouth for a while, waiting for Robby’s “favor”. The bluntness of his statement took Dmitri by surprise, and he began to let the smoke out of his mouth when a light crash came from the closet. So that was where she was. The sheer shock that came from hearing Lana within the closet caused Dmitri to breathe in quickly, drawing the smoke into his lungs. He stood, coughing to clear his respiratory system as he mulled over Robby’s words.

His was an intelligent young man, and he knew how to get things done. Dmitri probably could not have chosen a better man to slowly had the baton off to, metaphorically speaking. Yet, to change the set list would require much planning and reorganizing from the entire management team. Plus, if it were not carried out effectively, it could cause the performers to grow angry. Most of them had settled into a routine, and they were content with said routine. Dmitri pursed his lips and sipped the wine slowly and a bit dramatically perhaps.

”This is...sudden,” he remarked, sitting again on the edge of his bed as he looked back to the young Cajun. Very sudden, actually. ”I assume you have your reasons though...” He averted his eyes as he formulated his own response. Perhaps, for a brief moment, he glanced at the closet. ”How drastically did you want to change it?”

Though Robert’s attention was alerted by the soft bang, somewhere behind him, he didn’t turn his head. Who Dmitri saw on his free time was none of his business. He was just amused by the fact that the old man was getting any at all. “Now I know it sounds crazy but hear me out-…” he says, drawing the Russian’s attention to him before ashing his cigarette. “…-I’ll try to make this quick for both of you.” This he says loud enough for the person hiding to hear. “It’s come to my attention that we’re not taking the crowd by surprise anymore. At first I’d thought it was crazy but I thought it over and it’s true. They’re entertained but they’re not surprised. What I want to do is change the set list just enough to where the crowd doesn’t know what to expect, maybe give some of the acts a little more ‘wow’ factor-…you know? Give me a few days and you’ll have a set list that easy on all of us. In fact-…” he voice trails off with his gaze, his face contorting as he experiences some kind of epiphany. “I might be able to set up a system where we never perform the same show twice a week.”

The door had cracked open just a tad but Lana was still held within; It amazed her how big the wardrobe was. She pushed the clothes away from her face, struggling to come to her feet. She could hear the men talking but she had no idea what they were saying. English wasn't a language she bothered to pick up, feeling she communicated well enough with her violin and charades and notes. Even though only Sebastian and Dmitri could read her notes. The mute grunted as her dress of excessive cotton and silk continued getting in her way. It was hot and cramped and she was getting more irritated than she initially had been when her moment had been interrupted.

There was a curious spike in Rob's voice before it went back to a normal tone. He had heard her fall, of course. Sighing, she put on a brave face and inched out of the closet as quietly and gracefully as she could manage. She hated having to hide. While the reasons were justified it made her feel like a harlot hiding from her lover's wife. And she was no whore; Belle hadn't rubbed off on her yet. She glided past Rob to the bed where Dmitri sat. She flashed them both her usual timid smile before clambering back to a corner where she'd wait respectfully like a dog waiting for meal time.

Dmitri leaned forward slightly, resting his elbows on his knees while he placed the cigar back in his mouth. He listened quite intently even as Robert acknowledged Lana in the closet. His countenance retained a poker face as the smoke puffed out of his mouth. Robert was, to be honest, quite right. A line up only lasted so long before it grew too predictable or tedious, so perhaps it was time to instate a new set list. He rubbed his chin slowly, lips parting around the cigar occasionally to let smoke pass.

”Yes…” he murmured, slowly removing the cigar with an expression of deep, focused thought. ”That is almost too good to be-” Dmitri began to speak, and then cut himself off as the closet door began to open. She strode out of the closet in a delicate float toward the bed. ”Привіт, гарна дівчина.” The Russian looked at her briefly with a grin that was a bit too toothy before looking toward Rob again. ”I have faith in you, Robert. That is a lot to ask of the performers though...it will take a lot of organizing and rehearsal...but do you think you can really do it?”

As Svetlana strode out of the closet, it’d be a fallacy to say that the New Orleans native wasn’t surprised. Unlike most, he chose not to dwell on it much. Though the girl was young, clearly she was giving consent—if her smile was anything to go by. To each his own, that was Robert’s philosophy. He didn’t give her more than a passing glance before his attention was on his superior, taking a drag from his cigarette through a smile. “Do I think I can do it?” Robert laughed, “You underestimate me, boss. I’m a man of many talents and appeasing to the people’s needs is one of them. They’ll come around, trust me.” He gets up and heads towards the door, walking backwards to keep eye contact. “I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, Mitri. You put your trust in the right man. Good night to ya’-…” he tips an imaginary hat to Svetlana and smirks wolfishly before taking his leave, “…and to you too, milady.”

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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Dmitri's grin was returned with a flood of pink that rose to her cheeks. The conversation between the men went on and she was still lost in translation, deciding to mostly zone out, playing with her hair as she took it down and stared at her feet. It didn't take long for Robert to leave in a clearly happy mood - Svetlana assumed he had just gotten a raise or something. He directed a comment and a particular sly smirk her way that made her heart thump. Not for wanting him, but for fear. She expected some form of blackmail later. Which would be a lovely conversation seeing as she couldn't understand a word that left his lips.

Sighing, the petite young woman waited until he was gone for good before crawling towards Dmitri. Behind him, she knelt and placed her hands on his shoulders, letting her nimble and talented fingers press into him as she issued a massage. He tended to be stressed after a show and she did all she could to make sure that he was happy. She'd deal with the Cajun later. For now, her head dipped low to his ear where she breathed softly a moment and a half before moving to his neck. Her lips brushed and pressed against his neck, her eyes closing.

Dmitri too waited until Robert had left the car. He drained the remainder of the wine in his glass quite quickly before Lana came up from behind him. His mind lingered on the topic of conversation, for he still wondered how Robby planned to go through with it. The younger man certainly had a way with the performers, and he was excellent when it can to organizing these things, but Dmitri also knew that this was a large job for a single man. He could hardly worry about it now, though, with Lana’s hands working into his back and shoulders. In just a month, her clumsy, unrefined ways in the bedroom had transformed. The Russian sighed lightly and rolled his shoulders slowly.

He stuck the dying butt of his cigar into the wine glass and set them on the floor beside his bed as her breath tickled his ear. Dmitri’s eyes closed, and he let out a soft chuckle to himself as he smiled to himself. His hands gripped the edge of the bed while she kissed at his neck.

”Darling…” he whispered, using English even though he knew she couldn’t understand. He knew, however, she’d certainly understand the meaning of the breathed word. His hands fumbled with his belt for a few moments and then the zipper as he reluctantly stood and left the touch of her hands to remove the khakis. He faced her now and leaned forward, hands pressed into the bed with his face hardly inches from hers. ”Давай потрахаемся,” purred the Russian, saying it so his lips curled into a bit of a snarl before he knelt on the bed too and pressed his lips into hers with a rough sort of passion. His arms wrapped around low on her waist, pulling her up against his body before he half rolled, half laid down on his back.

There were times when talking came to mind. To let Dmitri hear her whisper his name, to tell her brother she missed him, and sometimes to tell Belle that she was standing too close. However, obviously, she could never bring herself to formulate the sounds. Even now as she watched Dmitri undress, a sight she was familiar with. With the rough kiss that followed his crass, but arousing words, it wasn't like she'd have the breath to speak. Instead she uttered her usual soft and desperate whine, her body quivering under his strong hands as she laid on top of him. She forgot to breathe through her nose and instinctively pulled away, straddling him as she sucked air deeply and quickly through her mouth. Her heart was thumping in her chest again as she quickly removed her dress with ease. She had a lot of practice as of late. It was cast to the side as she looked down at him, bashful as though it were her first time.

Her frame was petite, especially compared to his. She very much looked like a life-sized porcelain doll, her alabaster skin having only a hint of a tan. There wasn't a blemish to behold upon her smooth skin. Her appearance was never something the humble woman had thought about before being with Dmitri, but his praises of her beauty were sweet and filled her with some pride, giving her the sense that she was more than just a violinist. She didn't have the busty build that some of the other women had but Dmitri had assured her that it wasn't an issue.

She leaned back down, cupping his face gently as her lips brushed across his face, showering him with kisses, her eyes once again conveying silent praise. Her lips puckered so that they could press more against his skin, falling on his lips. The kiss was indeed passionate and filled with complete love and devotion. She didn't just love the man - She craved, needed, hungered for him. For his touch, his kiss, his gaze and words. Her lips parted so that she could taste him. Wine and cigar, the usual. She had grown to love it, awake late at night and reminiscing of it. She had never expected that she would come to live for these moments.

"чудовий ," he cooed as Lana pulled the dress over her head slowly. She might not have had the build of other women he'd slept with, but she had a unique beauty about her, a childlike or doll-like beauty perhaps. She peppered him with kisses, and between these kisses, he continued to breathe praise for her. "дуже... розкішний." In moments like these, he felt pity for the young woman. She was so pure and obviously infatuated with him, yet he used these emotions to his advantage and toyed with them so she slept with him. He liked her, but he did not love her in the way she evidently did.

Dmitri slowly worked the wife-beater over his head and broke the kiss to toss it aside. He still retained a relatively tight stomach at his age, but the toned abdominals of his youth had been gone for a while. His lips eagerly met hers again, and his hands worked their way down her back and along her thighs again. The Russian eased his boxers off next, first with his hands, and then a bit more awkwardly with his knees and feet. His arms wrapped around her again, pulling her against his body, her ivory skin against his slightly weathered skin.

The Russian’s hands roamed her body hungrily, tracing along her waist, around her hips, and down her legs. Dmitri moved them upward again, retracing his path along her body at a painfully slow pace before his fingers latched on to her bra so that he could undo the clasps and remove it. He broke the kiss then, his chest rising and falling rapidly with excitement as he looked her over.

He was excited, she could tell. She often worried that she may sooner or later begin to bore him and that he might move on to some other, prettier young girl that would devote her love and attention to cater to him or perhaps to an older and more experienced woman that he had no need to train. Her fears would always subside when she saw the way he looked at her though, with some adoration and kindness. She was never quite sure if he held the same feelings for her that she held for him but he treated her kindly and made her feel like a woman. There was a glimmer of something in her eye, something not quite identifiable, as he disrobed completely without her ever getting off.

As his hands did wander she closed her eyes and rested her forehead against his shoulder, her body reacting to his touch by pressing further against his hands. She aided him in the removal of her bra, blushing a deeper shade of red as she lifted some to cast it aside. She was a tad cold - That much was obvious. She sought her warmth by moving back down, pressing against the old Russian once more. Her hands traced along his body, her fingertips gently caressing his muscles as a smile flickered across her face. While not quite as toned as someone like Jack or Robert, he still had muscle. He took care of himself, yet another thing she so loved about him. A sigh escaped her as she nuzzled against his neck tenderly, kissing just beneath his earlobe.

Her mouth then moved to his ear where she breathed as she did once before. Her heart clenched for a few short seconds and she quickly moved her lips to his, hands on his shoulders as she licked at his smirk. There was a pause as her eyes opened and she looked down at him, her lips hovering just barely over his. One hand moved to his face, tracing over every inch slowly, her thumb caressing his lips. She looked at him as though he were some precious treasure. Her lips parted slowly and she just stared. There was a sort of anticipation hanging around them as her heart beat faster and her body began to tremble, fear mixing with the love in her eyes.

“Я люблю тебе ... Дмитро.” Unsurprisingly, her voice was just as soft and delicate as the rest of her. It wasn't the voice of a child, but of a woman, that much could be told despite the fact that she had whispered. There was innocence and purity in it. She had long since almost forgotten what her own voice sounded like and there was some surprise at it in her own face.

Her touch was soft and delicate, but it felt like electricity sparking beneath his skin as she moved along his body with her hands. Dmitri tilted his head back, basking in her touch and kisses. He felt his stomach turn, but it turned with anticipation, not adoration like her heart clenched. His eyes opened slowly just moments after hers, and he watched with a glint of lust in his eyes as she traced a thumb over his lips. His smirk broadened as she did so, his subtle laugh lines showing. Lana’s gaze was one of the things he craved the most; she held him in her gaze like he was perfect, incomparable.

She visibly seized up, and he worried for a moment that she’d had second thoughts about going through with it. Her whisper was soft, yet more mature than he’d imagined. In fact, he’d imagined she would speak with a soft, child-like voice when words finally came to her. His mouth parted slightly as he looked back up at her and fought to form words. ”ви говорили...” he whispered, looking up at her with a broad smile of approval. She’d spoken to him. If her gaze conveyed adoration, then her words truly proved her devotion. ”хороша дівчинка.” He leaned up and cooed the praise in her ear.

There was still a smile on her face, yet it had only grown wider as he approved of her words. She had held some degree of fear that he might have pushed her approved way. She'd never said - well, written - that she loved him. She was afraid that he might call her a silly girl despite the fact that he continuously praised her and said that he loved her. This acceptance filled her with only more joy and deepened her feelings for him.

She captured his lips in yet another rough and passionate kiss, more hunger and love driving her. Their limbs became entangled with one another's as they rolled about in a passionate embrace, their lips and hands exploring one another in a more heated moment than they'd had yet. Their various sounds harmonized to create a symphony of sex, warding off those wandering about outside. Those who thought of interrupting for any reason changed their minds when groans became screams and the train car rocked here and there.




Translations
Давай потрахаемся - let's fuck
чудовий - gorgeous
дуже... розкішний - gorgeous/beautiful girl
Я люблю тебе ... Дмитро - I love you ... Dmitri
ви говорили... - you spoke...
хороша дівчинка - good girl

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn
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A week had passed in almost mundane normality for the performers. Almost being the key word, of course, for nearly every act had been changed in just the course of seven days. The train ride from New York to Pittsburgh had been full of meetings and confrontations as the management team reworked the show that hadn't changed for years. The opinions of the performers were, to put it generally, mixed. That mattered little to Dmitri, of course. The performers could do what was asked of them, or they could leave. The problem was, of course, that Dmitri believed they would not leave even if they were quite vocally disgruntled, for in his mind, it was an honor to be a performer in Cirque Regalis.

As the performers readied themselves for the day and the upcoming performances, the ring leader wandered around the grounds, silently observing. He had taken a break now, though, and stood beside the lions' cage, watching the large, white beasts move around. Rigel tugged on the thick, pale mane that surrounded Orion's face. Dmitri gave a grin and fished a small package from his trouser pocket. In a few quick movements, he unfolded the piece of paper around the cut of meat and crouched beside the metal bars. Once, Orion would have lumbered over, but now he merely watched the man as Rigel loped over. The ring leader pulled the meat apart and pushed small pieces through the bars for Rigel, who nibbled them up eagerly. Occasionally, the little prince grabbed Dmitri's fingers by the flesh of his palms, but neither party seemed too fazed. Dmitri reached a hand in slowly and brushed it against the cub's head quickly before retracting it again just moments before Rigel gave a soft mrrow of protest and nipped upward. The cub looked up at him, eyes flashing with indignation and tail swishing. Like father like son. The grin on his lips soured rapidly, turning into a look of disgust. Dmitri pursed his lips and rose to his feet, crumpling the piece of brown paper he'd wrapped the meat in.

Like father like son.

He was nothing like that man, the man who had pretended to be a father. He meant nothing to Dmitri now. He was merely the damn fool who wasn't even sober enough to see his son raise the crow bar above his head and--

As Dmitri left the menagerie tent, he tossed the rest of the steak toward Orion. He wove in between performers preparing for upcoming performances, occasionally extending a hand to prevent one of them from barreling into him. Hands in the pockets of his trousers now, Dmitri gave an expression of disgust as his boots squelched in the mud that was created by the many passing figures. His hazel eyes darted around, taking in his surroundings effortlessly yet closely. He spotted her quite easily.

White cloth and white skin against the earthy tones of the ground made Evelyn stick out even more than usual. If Svetlana was pale, the albino was ghost-like. Dmitri approached the lone girl casually, watching her practice with rapt attention, eyes studying her like a child might a new toy. Her performance was usually nothing more than parading about with an occasional twirl or something similar. Now, however, she moved more fluidly as if she were channeling The Desert Rose. It was nothing compared to Belle's flawless swiveling of hips and stomach, but it was certainly a start. Her damned raven circled around, shrieking in an obnoxious manner. Dmitri stopped behind her, hands in the pockets of his pants, and cleared his throat audibly. "You move well, Miss Ward," he said. Few, if not none, knew her last name. It brought him a certain sense of accomplishment to see the anger flash in her eyes as he used the surname she had forsaken when she joined the circus. Her hatred for it was endearing. He was reminded of a child growing angry over being told they were too young to do something. Dmitri met her gaze with a closed-mouth smile as he began to move about slowly, working in a slow circle around her. "I am surprised you did not try this in your act before. You make a good dancer."

The raven aimed a harsh laugh at what he swore was his direction. "Such a...beautiful bird," he cooed, voice just about dripping with sarcasm. Both parties (and even the raven itself) were aware of the less-than-peaceful feelings between the bird and the ring leader. If he didn't want the albino in his circus so badly, he might have wrung its neck and thrown the damn bird off of the train himself. "I hope these changes were not too overwhelming either." Whether or not he spoke the truth was difficult to gauge from his tone. Really, it was hard to deduce anything from his tone of voice. "I certainly wouldn't want to upset you, little dove." His teeth exposed themselves as he parted his lips and gave the smile more presence on his face.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn
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What a fool.

She looked ridiculous twirling around like this, pitifully mirroring what she had seen from Belle..

Evelyn would be practicing in her car, but there wasn't ample room to try and experiment. She only got reassurance from Vladimir as he sat on the floor, hopping around to watch from different angles as he cawed playfully, or attempted to mimic the other animals of the circus.

The change in act had been expected, but that didn't mean she was pleased by it. She didn't have the stage presence or confidence that the other performers did, which was most likely due to not having positive attention as a child and never having much of a performance to build from in the first place. Occasionally she would pause to look around, making sure no eyes were on her before she resumed her pitiful attempts at dancing. It would have probably been easier had she not almost toppled over at the sound of someone behind her.

Letting out an audible gasp she stumbled, balancing on the ball on her left foot before lowering herself back onto two feet as she turned to Dmitri. Her eyes widened slightly as he addressed her by her last name, but she quickly found the dirt beneath her feet more interesting as she curled her toes, only managing to make them dirtier. A lump in her throat formed at the compliment, lifting her eyes and murmuring a small “Thank you Mr. Petrov.”

The albino cringed at the comment towards Vladimir, moving closer to the bird out of instinct and biting her lips as her eyes met his. Evelyn only nodded at the reference to the change in performance, smiling nervously and flushing scarlet as he smiled. Her heart thudded and she shook her head hesitantly. “No.. It… It was no trouble..”

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn
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He watched with a hint of amusement in his expression as she started forward before managing to catch herself in a fluid motion. Dmitri had waited for that widening of her eyes, that sign that she had heard him address her by her last name. He might have done it again merely to see the expression flicker across her almost childish face. Doll-like enough to make her look innocent, but mature enough to appear her age. She obviously avoided his gaze and busied herself with the dirt on the ground.

He might have tried to redirect his attention back to him, but Dmitri also knew that that would benefit neither him nor her. It would only unnerve her further. Dmitri did stop his pacing though, but he ended up tapping his boots against the flattened grass instead. He knew she wouldn't see it, but the ring leader continued to smile as she acknowledged the compliment. "You are very welcome, Miss Ward," the Russian replied as if they were having a normal conversation. As if he weren't flirting with a girl he was old enough to have fathered.

His first experience had been with an older woman, a performer in the circus who had seemed so perfect to him. He had been certain she was the one. That was decades ago, of course. Dmitri wasn't half as childish now. There was lust, but there was no love. Love was an idea created by those who lived under the illusion that we all have another half, a similar spirit that was destined to be with us. Dmitri knew better. Even the man and woman who had called themselves his parents knew better. His smile fell for a moment, and he rubbed his tongue over his front teeth in a look of mild disgust at the comparison between himself and them.

The feelings of contempt dissipated quickly, though, as he watched her move toward the raven. "Vladimir...right?" he said, breaking the silence. "Its name is Vladimir?" He had no need to ask the question, actually. Dmitri hadn't forgotten the bird's name since he first heard Evelyn refer to him by the name. "There are many good men named Vladimir...Lenin, Nabokov, Horowitz. It means 'ruler of peace'." She looked up at him finally, her gaze conveying discernible unease. Dmitri met her uneasy gaze with half of a smile, turning up only the left side of his mouth in a less imposing manner.

The blush on her cheek stood out against her cheeks much like a rose petal against the snow. Had it been Lana before him, he might have reached out to brush a hand along her cheek. He knew Evelyn would shy away if he were to do that. "I am glad to hear that," Dmitri said, sincerity in his voice as he nodded back at her. He pulled a leather cigar case from his other pants pocket and slid out one he had already cut. As he lit it with a butane lighter, Dmitri casually spoke. "Do you smoke, Miss Ward?" He smiled to himself and gave a short laugh as he puffed on the cigar. Once he was certain it had taken and the end was smoldering slightly, he held it out to Evelyn, the end for smoking through pointed at her.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Ana Howell Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Evee Howell Character Portrait: Sugar
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#, as written by Vix
{In partial collaboration with Scarlet Loup}

{Outfits}


While quite a few of the performers were grumbling through the entire week about the upcoming changes, Belle had absolutely no problem with switching up her routine. She had promised Robert and Dmitri to deliver performances that would have the audience begging for more even more than they already were. Over the course of the next seven days, The Desert Rose had devoted every ounce of her time when she wasn't sleeping to training and practicing. Sebastian and Svetlana were getting better and Evee was off to a good start. Zenobia and Rozella were also fairing well and their darling creatures were working well with Belle's cues. She enjoyed working with Orion and had even gotten him to prance around while she bent herself into strange positions and balanced upon his back all the while. He truly was a magnificent creature. His mate didn't care too much for her but that was alright. She hadn't had much time to herself but that was alright as well – The better her performance went the more money she was paid.

Rides on the train were never boring. Sugar regaled her with stories of her trouble making days in Lynchburg – But then she'd ask for one of them to escort her to the car where the twins were so she could ask for another balloon animal. When the twins said they'd make her a whole zoo, they certainly seemed to mean it. Svetlana and Belle both thought that it was simply adorable the way she was so infatuated with the two boys. Of course, Sebastian wasn't quite sure what to say on the matter so he'd often chuckle and nod nervously when Sugar got to chatting about them. Svetlana had been pining something awful, Belle had noticed had been going on for at least a month when they hit the road. She knew that Svetlana would sometimes make trips to Dmitri's car and stay for an hour, sometimes three or four, but she never showed signs of knowing anything. The poor girl seemed to be going through withdrawals though it didn't show much to those who weren't so observant. She didn't talk and always looked timid and frightened either way. Besides being away from Dmitri, she hadn't yet had to chance to play her game of blackmail and charades with Robert. She actually hadn't seen him since he made the announcement of changing up the performances. Everyone seemed to swarm him with questions and protests and ideas after - The poor girl couldn't make it through the crowd of folk.

Sebastian, however, was having far more luck in bedding others than his sister – As was Belle. The two were often absent from the train car through the ride as they found their way towards their usual partners. Belle, taking her turn with the Silver Sisters, Sebastian having his fun with a particularly talented Sword Swallower named Marissa. Svetlana had the pleasure of being Sugar's human doll while the small, dark skinned girl practiced putting makeup on her and doing her hair. They were all ever so pleased to get off of the train and get some fresh air though. Sugar was the first to burst forth, barreling out as though she'd been launched from the cannon as she shot off to search for the twins, calling out their names. “Kieran! Connuh!” She felt extra pretty since Belle and Lana had straightened her hair, bearing the fading burn marks on her ears from the bumps and shakes encountered while riding. She had no shoes on, mud squishing under her small feet, her little red dress and ribbons fluttering behind her.

Belle slunk out of the train car next, wearing (as usual) next to nothing. Pittsburgh was so dirty and ugly. The connoisseur of all things beautiful let her nose wrinkle before heaving a sigh and stepping onto the ground, letting her toes curl into the bit of grass that was there. She let her gaze flicker, watching everyone else as they filed out, stretching and basking in the sun. She stretched out as well, arms extending to the sun. That stretch became a bend as her feet came together and her head slowly went behind her back until her hands were against the ground. Oh. That felt great. Smiling and well stretched, she took off at an easy pace, giving her fingers a little waggle as a wave to those in passing. A few winks were thrown her way and returned with a brow lift that implied a “maybe later”. She had no time for any dillying or dallying at the moment. She had set out to find Evee though she could see that the young girl's mother was watching her like a hawk. As much as she'd love to have the teen as part of her act, how was she supposed to do that when she knew for a fact that Ana would outright say no? It was absolutely tragic. She sighed wistfully and headed away from the acrobats to find someone else to bother.

Clay.

Now there was a decent target.

The man was always so happy and Belle found his talent quite interesting, to say the least. She looked about for him, wondering whether or not he had exited the train yet. ... Oh, there he was. She spotted Clay sitting on a barrel nearby, sliding safety pins into his forearms. With a sway in her walk, Belle didn't take too long to reach his side, standing as close as she usually stood to people, just close enough that the slightest movement might cause them to brush against one another. “I've had a question I've been meaning to ask. You wouldn't mind if I bothered you a moment, hm?” She gave him her best smile, a gleam of mischief in her dark brown eyes as she pushed her blonde locks over her shoulders. Clay studied his arm as he wove a safety pin in and out of the soft skin of his underarm. Argos, curled at his feet, was the first to notice Belle's arrival. Still, he did not look up until she came to a stop and hovered beside him. With a quick movement, Clayton's head turned upward and the pin he currently held ripped through the skin.

"Hey," he greeted, nodding his head toward her. He met her smile with one of his own. It was a familiar smile, one that always appeared in the company of others. He turned on the bench, holding his thumb over the wound. "I don't mind. Whaddya need?" Belle took a moment to appear deep in thought, as though searching her mind for the question she meant to ask. “You do not feel pain. At first I thought it might be certain points of your body that you use to avoid it. Like the acupuncture they do in India. But I watch you and there is no precision...Technique. You simply jam things into your body without a care and without flinching. If you do not feel pain, do you feel other things?” Whether she meant physically or emotionally, she didn't let on. She simply smiled, bending down so that she was at his feet with Argos, petting the large dog's back and looking to Clay for an answer.

Clayton's brow knit, and he leaned forward slightly to wind his fingers in Argos's thick coat. Everyone knew what he did for his act, yet it was different when he tried to explain it. It was as if he were disclosing something personal. Then again, it didn't matter. He wasn't the kind of person to keep secrets. "Well, I can't feel heat..." he started. He knew what she meant, though. He was naive, but he wasn't stupid. He looked up and met her gaze which was almost level with his as he leaned further down. "I can feel things, of course...and I can feel...pleasure." She remained calm as she spoke, but Clayton' face turned a soft, pinkish color as he spoke. The flirting thing really had never been his strong suit. There was a strong possibility that Belle was taking quite a bit of pleasure out of this conversation, feeling rather satisfied as Clay's face began to flush with pink. It was so cute to see a tattooed man blush. She retained her nonchalant position and tone, tilting her head some. “I hadn't meant that, per se.” She gave a light giggle and shook her head, looking down before looking back at him, placing a hand on his thigh.

“But... Thank you. For letting me know that. I'll have to keep it in mind.” There was a playful tone in her voice now as she toyed with him though it was obvious she held no malicious intent.

Well, shit." Don't assume. It makes an ass out of you and me. That saying came back to him just as quickly as the blush spread and darkened. She wasn't angry at him at all, of course, yet he could not ignore the embarrassment. His jaw moved soundlessly as if he meant to speak but couldn't formulate words. The tattoos on his chin danced up and down slowly, pointlessly. "S-sorry," he said finally and opened his mouth to speak again. He cut himself off as she rested a hand on his upper thigh. Oh yes, he could certainly feel that. "Right...you're welcome."

The smile appeared again, for it had wavered at the thought of that blunder. Clay tried to look at her hand as nonchalantly as possible, and he looked down at the dog quickly before meeting her gaze again. What the hell was he supposed to say now, damn it? “For a man so handsome, I assumed that you might be a bit more...smooth,” she teased, giving him a wink and giving his thigh a squeeze. “You act as though you aren't so used to female attention -” She leaned closer so that she was quite directly in his face, the tip of her nose against his. “- or affection.” His breath caught instinctively as she squeezed his leg, and Clay hardly had time to react before she was closer than before, his nose touching hers as he wavered slightly with an exhale. "Well - ah -," he murmured, fighting to make his voice quieter because she was so close. "Driving a skewer through your cheek doesn't really turn people on." He tried to give a soft laugh but stopped as he remembered how close they were. He might have reciprocated the touch, but he still wasn't sure if this was merely Belle being Belle or...something more.

“On the contrary -” The Arabian's features softened as there was a sort of feeling of pity for the man. Clay was indeed handsome and quite friendly. It was a shame that he didn't receive more attention from women. Belle thought that he was quite charming, basing from the relatively few conversations they'd had. Again, not the smoothest pebble in the river, but he was a good man. She would have to remedy his ailment. “I find you quite attractive.” Her hand moved to his cheek, his skin just as warm as it was red. “I think those other women don't know what they're missing out on. Don't you agree, Clayton?” He pushed his cheek into her hand without thinking, savoring the feeling of her palm. "I...guess," he said softly, thoughtfully, as if he hadn't thought so before. Hell, he really hadn't even thought of it before. "I find you attractive, too. You're real gorgeous." Clayton bit his lip softly as his gray eyes met her brown ones again. From closer up, it was probably quite easy to see the numerous puncture wounds on his cheeks, but now he certainly didn't care about them, for she had told him she didn't care. Hesitantly, he reached upward and rested a hand just barely on her cheek. Rather, it hovered just above her cheek as if he were afraid to touch her.

He was so shy and that was something that Belle had yet to encounter in a man. All the men who dared to approach her were very bold and confident in themselves and their ability to woo a woman. Clay seemed so hesitant, almost as though he were frightened he may say something to anger her or make her run away. Such a sweet southern man. Being around him might make one fear that he'd give you a cavity with his personality alone. She let her eyes wander over his features, taking them in. There were a lifetime's worth of scars from various things he put under his flesh but it didn't mar the beauty of him. It only added intrigue and gave an air of danger. Belle thought it was quite a turn on - the scars, not his habit of poking himself with sharp things - and knowing how sweet he was and his poor luck with women only made her feel a bit more pity. But perhaps pity wasn't the right word. Empathy. Ah, there was the word. Her head turned a little more to the side, resting firmly against his rough hand as her own hand moved to brush some hair blown into his face by the wind. “You are quite kind, Clayton. Maybe you should come spend time with me more often.” She leaned in closer than she already was, pressing a soft kiss against his lips before pulling away. “I'm good company to keep. Or so I've been told.”

He looked up at her, dumbfounded, as she pulled away. The blush still colored his cheeks, but the smile had fallen into a look of pure child-like confusion. "T-thank you," he replied, still whispering as if she were close. Clayton cleared his throat to raise his volume as he continued. "I - ah - might have to take you up on that offer." He pushed a hand through the messy, dark hair on his head. "Nice talking to you, Belle." Clayton nodded at her again and forced the smile back across his lips. It wasn't that he was upset, he was merely too overwhelmed. The smile came quite naturally afterwards.

Belle stroked his cheek gently with her thumb before rising up and moving away. An interesting man, indeed.

Svetlana was sore from head to toe but at the same time she had never felt so great in her life. Belle had talked her and the other two into doing yoga with her, assuring them that it was great practice for easing into contortion. And it was true – She found her flexibility and ability to hold poses for extended amounts of time greatly increasing, something she was sure would please Dmitri. She watched Belle stretching for a moment, again wondering (as she had many times) if Belle did such things to show off or she just simply did everything she did because it pleased herself. She wished she was more like Belle. Well, there weren't many women that she'd met so far that she didn't wish she was more like. Ana was so smart and caring, even though Evee often said her mother was overbearing. She could relate – Sebastian was the same way. Frances was a woman who knew what she wanted and how to get it and she knew how to bend people to her will. Evelyn was so pretty and exotic. They were about the same age but Lana never could find much time to approach her and when she did she never really knew what to do but stand there and feel awkward. That tended to happen when you tried to get a shy girl and a mute girl to communicate with one another.

She adjusted the green silk dress that Belle insisted that she wear. They had bought it before leaving New York City and her dear friend insisted that the tailor make sure it hugged what little form that Lana did have. She had a jacket that went with it because she didn't like the idea of the top of her breasts being flashed to every passing Tom, Dick, and Harry. Belle told her that she was being silly and far too self-conscious when she noticed while Lana had been trying it on she was trying to shield her clevage from exposure. There was a moment when Lana wanted to ask Belle if she knew what it meant to be faithful to someone that you loved. But she never did ask. Because Belle didn't speak Ukrainian and Lana didn't speak. Much.

Sebastian walked on by her, sporting his new outfit as well. No doubt he was off to see what Sugar was up to. Lana smiled to herself as her elder brother took long strides, following the sound his daughter's voice. It was cute, to see him unsure of how to deal with Sugar's infatuations. He knew that he wouldn't find her smooching up to any of the boys she gushed about any time soon - she was eight - But he still wasn't quite sure how to quite deal with it. He didn't want to encourage it. She was so young and didn't fully understand such things. But he couldn't tell her that it would never be. It would crush her. He was very much like a lost puppy. Lana shook her head and went on her way, clutching, as always, her violin to her chest. She wanted to find Dmitri. She knew she'd need to communicate with Robert eventually. As far as she could tell, the other man hadn't said anything to anyone about what he saw. Which was a good thing.

Playing softly, she offered a smile to those passing by, pausing every now and then to play a request before both parties moved along with their previous objective. Moonlight Sonata. There was a beautiful piece of music that she could simply never tire of hearing. Chin well placed, her right hand moved fluidly with the bow, the fingers of her left caressing the strings as she brought forth the haunting, yet beautiful and soothing melody. She did so absent of mind, zoning out as she heard other melodies in her head. She could almost see the music notes floating out in front of her. She had yet to take pen to paper for such melodies, unsure of how the audience would react to the new music. Sure, new styles were coming out every other day. But she didn't want to face criticism or rejection.

There was a light sigh that left her as she zoned in and out of her mind, doing her best not to bump into those bustling about to set up and practice and talk with the managers. She hadn't even noticed that Belle, who had left Clayton to silently pursue the mute from afar, was watching her with a curious smile. She did notice Dmitri though. It wasn't just Dmitri she had noticed, but Dmitri offering a blushing and smiling Evelyn a cigar. Her music hit a wrong chord as her arm jerked in light surprise and a bit of frustration. It seemed almost immediately that her stomach clenched into a knot and her breath caught in her throat. Was he flirting with her? Why wouldn't he? She was young and pretty and exotic. She was certainly more gorgeous than the plain violinist. A small pout formed on her lips as the foreign emotion of jealousy confused her. She certainly wouldn't wish harm to Evelyn but she didn't understand what was going on.

It wasn't as though she could march over and ask. Nor would she dare to ask Dmitri later in private. Dmitri told her many times before that he loved her and she had told him that she loved him. There couldn't be anything going on. Besides. Evelyn didn't even like Dmitri. Right? Lana had never seen the two interact amicably before so she wouldn't know. Then again, she and Dmitri didn't act quite like lovers in public either. Her head was starting to hurt as much as her heart the more she thought about it. She eventually concluded that she was being foolish and delusional. She chided herself mentally for doubting Dmitri. How dare she question him after all he had done for her? Still pouting, mostly upset with herself at this point, she made herself scarce and attempted to disappear into the crowd, careful not to drag her feet and dirty her green shoes.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn
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"Y-Yes."
The albino choked uneasily, shuffling nervously in her spot as she listened to his factoids. She was hardly taking in his words, only worrying about Vladimir and her own emotions at the moment. That feeling of excitement, from last week when she felt his eyes boring into her, returning as her stomach did backflips. Evelyn seemed to go blank at the moment, her body and her mind battling over how wrong it was to have these feelings when she already felt the same way towards another, and the fact that her body was crying for it desperately. But... She wasn't really sure what it was.

Something beneath her stomach was stirring and giving her the compelling urge to squirm in her spot. Her face went redder, making her give an involuntary giggle, her eyes widening in embarrassment as she ducked her head down. It was obvious she had never had any interaction with the opposite sex that was returned in the same fashion.. Not that she had feelings for Dmitri. She thought she didn't at least. She tried to make her feelings known to Conner but she wasn't stupid enough to believe that would go anywhere. Evelyn gasped as the question reached her ears, looking up at him with a jolt and shaking her head.

"Uh.. No..."
She murmured, holding a hand in front of the cigar to show she really didn't want it. She despised smoking actually, she had no reason too but she never liked the smell or idea of it. It just didn't seem right to her. Evelyn bit her lip, looking around nervously at everyone else, who had seemed to have trailed off from their practice all at once. "Sh-Shouldn't we still be practicing?"

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Jack Connolly
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He couldn't help but grind his teeth slightly as the random facts he spouted off flew over Evelyn's pale head. She didn't care, damn it. She cared about her bird more than she cared about the man who paid her. He did like that giggle though. The soft, tinkling sound that escaped her parted lips rang lightly. It might have been missed if he weren't paying attention. But he was, of course. Dmitri paid close attention to the details. He smirked, and the smirk deepened the laugh lines between his lips and cheeks. In his case, however, they couldn't really be called laugh lines, for even Dmitri failed to recall the last time he truly, fully laughed.

From somewhere on the circus grounds, Dmitri heard a few notes of Moonlight Sonata drift through the bustling crowds of performers and workers alike. He knew not why it cut off, but he recognized the wrong chord and frowned to himself before focusing again on Evelyn, who had held up a hand in front of the cigar. He nodded, physically not shaken of course, but mentally quite surprised.

"To each his own, no?" he replied in his accented English, making light of the rejection as he placed the rolled tobacco between his lips. Dmitri spoke again through the cloud of smoke he released. "Have to keep that pretty skin looking beautiful, of course." Only as she mentioned the others did he begin to look around, hazel gaze piercing and overwhelming to quite a few. "Go on, back to work!" He offered a sharp, dismissive wave of the hand to a few who continued to gawk. Once more, he turned to Evelyn and studied her, allowing himself to take in her appearance slowly. "Good luck, little dove." He began to turn and then stopped. "My car is always open to others." Dmitri flashed her one last smile before he turned and walked away, confidence permeating from him. She would come around in time.




ImageImageThe Russian's fingers moved over the buttons of his vest with ease, fastening them with ease as he had for half of his life now. The vest was golden this night, and it matched his bow tie just about perfectly. The scarlet jacket he shrugged on, similar to the others he had within his closet, was expected by now, but it was typical of ringleaders and the Russian felt the performance was incomplete without it. His ebony breeches contrasted the bleached, white dress shirt wore beneath it all. Dmitri pulled the softened, black leather boots on after and zipped them before standing up straight to examine himself once more in the mirror.

Perfect. This night was to be perfect. They'd worked on their new set for a week now, and though the performers took a while to get used to the chances in their acts, he had faith that they would pull it off. They ought to, at least. He'd been promoting the afternoon show since before the train entered the station. The promoters were few in number, but they moved quickly and got their job done always one town ahead of the circus.

A final stroke of a comb through his peppered hair, slick with pomade, was apparently all he was lacking. Dmitri gathered up his top hat deftly as he exited through the door of his train car. He hardly wore it now, but it was also a piece of tradition within the circus, or at least it was to the ringleader. He moved once more with a confident aura as he wove his way out to the smaller tent that served both as dressing room and menagerie. The Russian did not give pep talks or reassurance to many, but he did walk past the Kolmykovas and offer a subtle tip of the hat as he placed it atop his head. He might have lingered to offer a word or two in Ukrainian, but he was suddenly quite aware of the hush that befell the crowds that had been packed into the amphitheater. "Smile!" he shouted once. That was the most personal he would be with many of the performers. He turned forward and smiled himself as he pushed through the heavy canvas of the tents.




In the sudden darkness that befell the circus goers, it was quite easy to hide Dmitri's movements as he clambered up the few steps on to the ringleader's stand. It was a grand thing, really. It stood at about his height and though it was merely a wide cylinder, it had been painted with sharp-toothed cats and prancing horses. The spots hit him harshly, and he might have squinted if he didn't know better. Besides being a platform, the stand had been rigged with a microphone years ago, and the microphone stood now, clutched in the thin stand that had been adjusted to perfection. Discretely, he cleared his voice before approaching the microphone.

"Ladies, gentlemen," he began, voice sliding easily into an accentless tone. Without his accent, Dmitri sounded like a new person. He spoke slowly, his voice caressing each word carefully so that the anticipation grew. Between his words, the air was filled with a deafening silence. "Tonight, you will be amazed, stupefied, for we have gathered for your entertainment men, women, and animals who defy the limits set by nature itself. Tonight, let us overwhelm your senses with acts never before performed in front of an audience!" He would go on only a bit longer to feed the growing suspense before, suddenly, the spotlight on him would cut along with the microphone, and the spotlights would direct themselves toward the first act of the night: the horses.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Clayton Sullivan Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov Character Portrait: Sugar
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“And now, Cirque Regalis presents.... Sugar the Wünderkind! An eight year old with talents hand given by God himself!”

The lights went dim, moving in sporadic patterns as if searching for the next act. Sugar, carrying her little stool, made her way in silence to the center of the ring, ignoring the completely expected symphony of boos, hisses, laughter, and scoffs. A piano was pushed in behind her by one of the circus' equipment handlers quickly attempted to escape the spotlight. Sporting her dress from earlier, the young African-American took her place as the spotlight hit her. Silence befell the crowd as her small fingers began to dance across the keys, producing a beautiful and foreign melody. Her eyes closed as she allowed herself to get lost in the music that Svetlana had given to her for the performance. With her talent it hadn't taken Sugar long to master the song. Actually, it had only taken a few hours, if that. The song went on for five and a half minutes before it died down and she began a new melody.

“Allow your ears to be delighted in ways you've never before imagined. Feast your eyes on these almost fey musicians! The Sensual Melody and The Silent Melody!”

There were gasps of surprise and soft claps when duel violins joined in and the spotlights focused on two faces in the crowd.

Sebastian had taken a seat among the crowd on the north side of the tent, having hidden his violin within the seats prior to the audience's arrival and remaining there. He now stood tall and proud, his face pulled into an expression conveying sensual desires. As the women swooned at his exposed chest, baring his carefully chiseled torso and all the tattoos he possessed, a few that weren't too busy swooning were so bold as to reach out for him. He responded by moving his body in the directions needed, allowing their hands to press firmly against him. His hands moved in precise and delicate motions, movements that seemed to defy his large hands and muscular build.

The man enjoyed this. Every moment of it. Women swooned for him; For his body, his music, his talent. Men too, though they were few and fewer brave enough to say so. People adored him, chanting for an encore and begging to see him after his performances. Sebastian had come so far in life and while the circus life might not have been the dream life for most, it was his life. He had money (though not much) and friends, always traveling to see new people and places, and plenty of fans (many of them who were willing to bed him) so he couldn't find a reason to want any other life. Of course it was preferred that he hadn't lost the majority of his family and friends and he could have gone without killing people. But life was life. Nashti zhas vorta po drom o bango. - You cannot walk straight where the road is bent.

The ruggedly handsome man moved through the audience, speaking loudly through his eyes to the women, biting down on his bottom lip to draw more reaction.

Svetlana had done the same as her brother, taking to the south side. While her brother drew mostly looks of lust from women, Svetlana drew the attention of most everyone, indeed appearing as fey-like as advertised. Her brown hair was pulled back into an intricate flow of curls, waves, and braids adorned with small flowers here and there. While usually a klutz, she always used every ounce of focus she possessed to amaze the crowd with her grace and talents. Barefooted, she walked through the crowd with partially closed eyes, swaying so that her dress swished around her legs. A few spins here and there, every now and again dipping or bending backwards for extra applause. She got a few extra whistles as she took a seat in the lap of a rather dapper young man, leaning against him while she played. She didn't stay too long before she was gone.

Her moves with her brother were coordinated and they drew closer and closer to the middle until three spotlights became one, all three Kolmykovas standing in the center of the big top. As quickly as their song drew to a close and the applause thundered, they began anew. More foreign melodies filled the air as they started playing a new song. A few moments passed before a spotlight moved east, highlighting a woman sashaying into the ring. She helped herself to stepping on top of the piano. “Behold... The Desert Rose!” Truly no introduction was needed for this sultry vixen dressed in white and black, allowing her curves to be seen to the world.

As the drums began, slow and steady, her arms lifted until they were parallel to the piano. Tracing her hips in a figure "8", her arms moved in a wave motion as though there were no bones within them. Belle could feel the vibrations of the piano being played tickling her feet and making her want to smile wide though she kept her usual sultry expression as the drums began and she began to move her body in ways she knew best. First, her chest. The buxom woman moved her chest side to side before popping it in a forward and then backward motion in a way that forced her bountiful bosom to bounce. Her hips were next, moving in snake-like and rolling motions before she switched it up into a shimmy, her arms still moving as the coins and beads strung onto her outfit jingled and jangled.

Assorted gasps and claps floated through the audience as the drums came to a halt later and Belle paused. There were some shrieks of fear as King Orion rushed through the tent, roaring. There was her big boy! She smirked as she drew attention back to her by unclasping her skirt and letting it fall onto the piano, wearing now only what appeared to be embellished bra and panties. She jumped down from the piano and held her hand up in signal of stop, the white lion skidding to a halt and sitting in front of her. As the crowd held their breaths, the Kolmykova's creating a perfect atmosphere of tension and mystery with their music, Belle knelt before the King of the savannah and touched his nose gently with her hand. She maintained eye contact with him as he opened his maw wide. She placed her hand in while many looked away in terror, fearing that he would eat her alive.

He didn't.

She removed her hand and smiled as he appeared to kiss her forehead. She petted him gently and stood as he stood, moving to his side. In a single swift motion, she placed her hands onto his back and hoisted herself up. Palms firmly against his fur, letting her fingers curl a bit for grip, her legs went straight into the air. She had promised the managers a show that would bring them money and more patrons, and she was going to deliver that. Orion padded about slowly as she switched between positions, letting her chest down against his back and curling her legs to place her feet against her head, using only one hand to support herself, even standing on one foot while holding the other against her shoulder from behind. The crowd cheered, filled with delight as Orion trotted back to the center. Sugar and her piano had been removed, allowing all to see.

While Orion moved to sit on his haunches, Belle carefully and quickly walked up his back, balancing herself until she had made it to his shoulders. She bent down and placed her hands on her feet before moving her feet back and letting her hands grab onto Orion's “shoulders”. Again, everyone held their breath. Her hair tumbled down as she stood upside down, feet straight up, Orion moving to stand completely on his hind legs. There was a standing ovation as Sebastian and Svetlana ended their music and finally left the ring. Rasala, Nevara, Mikala, and Rigel all trotted in, forming a line as they took stances on either side of Orion with Belle standing before them.

A hoop was lowered from above and everyone waited to see what would happen. She was joined in the ring by Joshua Stokes baring many a “gift” for she and her feline companions. The first she took from him was a book of matches. Holding it up for all to see, she struck the match and touched it to the hoop that was soon set ablaze, becoming a ring of fire. Orion and his lovely ladies were quick to jump back and forth through the hoop as it turned while Rigel watched quietly. Belle wanted to get him used to having a loud crowd about rather than training him in silence. She knew Rasala would keep him in check.

Their show carried on, twenty more minutes of the crowd enjoying the sight of Belle wrestling with the felines, the silver cats forming a tower, and even the children and those adults brave enough coming forth to pet the adult cats. She and her fur babies took bows (a few of them giving a roar or two) before Belle mounted Orion like a horse and lead them all out of the tent. Riding by the managers, she gave a light smirk and soon passed off her beloveds to her helpers to be put back into their cages for the night. She was headed for her train car but saw Lionel rushing past with things in his hand, quickly stopping him. “Oh! Heya, Belle! I'd love to talk but Mister Sullivan needs these.” He rose his hands some to show her what he was holding. Smiling, Belle took them from him.

“I'll take care of him, actually. Why don't you go find Sugar and you two can tell the Silvers that I said you can play with Mikala?” The boy seemed quite excited and eagerly rushed off to find the other circus child. It didn't take Belle too long to find Clayton, a smirk working its way to her face. “Why don't you come to my car? It'll be more comfortable there.” She showed him the items she had taken from Lionel, her voice soft and kind as she canted her head in the direction of the train.

She didn't worry about Sebastian, the man having snagged a woman from the crowd and disappeared into the darkness of the nearby woods with her. Svetlana, however, was headed elsewhere. Clutching her violin, she gave a nod and smile to her fellow performers as they smiled and told her “Good job”, something she actually did understand. She was startled, jumping a bit when a hand grabbed her shoulder from behind. She spun around to face the young man from earlier, a smile on his face. “Hey! I don't know if you remember me. You sat in my lap. And I'm kind of a big fan... I saw your show in New York. But you probably don't understand a word I'm saying. Everyone says you're mute and don't speak English, but you don't need to to understand this.”

He produced a bouquet of red roses and handed them to her. She took them, her face as red as the flowers he gave her. The young man took her free hand, as she was holding everything in her left, and placed a gentle kiss against her soft flesh before meandering back off into the big top, flashing his ticket to get by. Flustered, Svetlana quickly and quietly made her way away from everyone else and directly to the place nobody (except one) would search for her: Dmitri's car. She simply sat there, unsure of what quite to do. She had acted on a whim, sitting in that man's lap. Dmitri wouldn't be pleased, though it did garner audience support. Still, she had to smile. All songs played that night for their performance were her compositions. Sebastian had talked her into doing them. Sugar could learn them in a heartbeat, Belle never choreographed anything and could simply "go with it" and Sebastian already knew them. And the crowd loved her music...

Setting

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Dmitri made it a point to watch Lana as she wove through the crowds. Yes, Sebastian was good, but she was almost surreal when she swayed and spun. He watched her with a gleam of pride in his hazel eyes. He was a lucky man to have a woman so young and graceful bend over backwards for him when he said so. The melodies her violin played were foreign to his ears, but they were pleasant nonetheless. In the darkness that surrounded him, he moved to announce Belle while his eyes remained fixated on the young woman's lithe form. He could have and probably would have felt jealous watching the crowds gaze at her in awe. She was his, and he was overwhelmingly proud to say so as the notes rang through the tent. His. She was his.

He was an intelligent man. It took brains to run a circus so successfully for this long. However, Dmitri continued to be excessively ignorant. Not ignorant from lack of knowledge, but ignorant from his own hubris. It was like him to assume Svetlana had no need for another man with him in her life. It was like him to assume she wouldn't be attracted to the sharp young man in the audience. Yet she settled in his lap and leaned up against the man, who was certainly much closer to her age, as she played.

He was quite suddenly and startlingly aware of his age. Dmitri was forty six, and Svetlana was merely nineteen. Hell, he would have been twenty-seven when Svetlana was born. This younger man in a dapper suit obviously enjoyed the way she pressed against him. The Russian's jaw tightened as those around her emitted high pitched whistles of approval. He seemed to relax slightly as she stood again, but the anxiety still remained. Even at a distance, Dmitri knew the young man was attractive. When their song came to a close, he made a point to clap along with the crowds even though he knew no one could see him through the darkness. His fist clenched by his side as he gripped the microphone harshly with the other like he was pulling on a leash, drawing something back toward him. His accent broke through as he announced Belle.

When the afternoon show ended and he had bowed as per usual, Dmitri exited the tent quite swiftly. Top hat in one hand, he ran the other through his hair, flattening what had become tousled by the hat. Damn hat, damn hair. Was this the mute's way of non-verbally communicating a lack of affection for him, of ending things between them? Did what he'd done for them, taking them in, mean nothing to the girl? He entered the car quite violently, opening and closing the door with much gusto as he spoke in hushed Russian to himself. He might have walked right past Lana had the roses not caught his eye. He stood still, the brim of his hat clenched in his hand as he looked from the flowers to Lana and back again.

Image"що це таке?" he asked, pointing to the bouquet as he tossed his hat on to the desk. Dmitri moved about the room, stripping down to an undershirt and briefs before pulling on a pair of charcoal trousers. "Are they a gift from your American piece of cock?" He felt more in control speaking in American, for he knew she would be unable to translate most of it. Still, the harsh tone of his voice as he spat the last word would convey his anger. Little did he know that he'd hit the nail on the head.

He moved about the car in silence for a while, the only sounds being of performers outside, as he poured vodka over some ice before taking a seat in an armchair he usually used for reading. He stared into the tumbler in his hands while moving it in slow circles. "Це як я погасила для прийняття вас в?" It was like him to speak like this, twisting the actions of others to make himself appear better. He tried to make her seem disloyal, but was he not the one who had been flirting with Evelyn earlier that day? He sipped from the glass and pressed his lips together tightly as he thought. He looked up at her finally, his hazel eyes meeting her brown eyes if she met his gaze. Did he feel bad as he noticed how flustered she was? He quite simply did not. Had she not, however, come to his car after the show instead of simply running off with the American? Regardless, he was overwhelmingly anxious. "Чи є моя любов не вистачає, Лана?" He arched an eyebrow and looked at her, expression void of the love he spoke of.




Translations
що це таке? - What are those? (Ukrainian)
Це, як я погасила для прийняття вас в? - Is this how I am repaid for taking you in? (Ukrainian)
Чи є моя любов не вистачає, Лана? - Is my love not enough, Lana? (Ukrainian)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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{Collaboration between Scarlet Loup and Little Fox}
Translations


Dmitri would be angry. She knew he'd be angry. He always watched her perform and this one would be no exception. She didn't know what she was thinking when she sat in the young man's lap. She wanted her audience to love her, to adore her as they did Bastian and Belle! They let the audience touch them. What she did was harmless and only an act. How could she explain that to Dmitri though? She knew that he was a jealous and possessive man because it was one of the very many things that she loved about him. She was in the process of mentally berating herself, almost to the verge of tears when he stormed in and began questioning her. He wasn't yelling but he didn't really need to in order to get to her. He knew that. He knew that she was so very fragile, especially in the case of how he treated her. She nearly worshiped the very air he breathed.
She cringed back as he spoke and remained in silence, letting her violin and bow clatter from her hands, onto the floor of his train car. He thought... That she didn't love him anymore? This was enough to make her nearly outright sob, her chest growing tight as she choked back a sob. She had made him angry before. More than once even. But she had never hurt him or betrayed him. She never had any intentions to, though perhaps the thought was on her mind earlier. Perhaps there was a small part of her that wanted to seek out the young American man after the performance. Again, she mentally chided herself before walking to Dmitri. For a moment she did nothing. And then she seemed to simply lose it. Crying, she began to tear the roses to shreds. At least, as much as possible. She was nicked plenty by the thorns but the sight of thin lines of blood didn't deter her until not a single petal was left upon stem.

Her chest had only grown as tight as the knot in her stomach and she wobbled a little as she grew lightheaded. She hadn't been so upset about anything since she was a child. No... She had never been this upset. Even when her parents were being ripped away from her. She felt sorrow and then emptiness. But now there was a raging storm of emotions inside her and she didn't know how to let them out. She obviously couldn't keep them in and she didn't think she'd have time to right it all. She didn't know how much longer Dmitri would stand her presence. Svetlana couldn't help but to collapse from sheer exhaustion, her knees slamming against the floor painfully as she placed her face into his lap and sobbed out in rapid words.

“Я люблю тебе, Дмитро. Ти єдина людина в моєму житті, і я зроблю все для вас, якщо це означало, що ви були б щасливі. Ви моя муза і моє життя ... Я ваш ... Але. Я тендітна. Слабкий. Нерозумно, навіть. Я бачив тебе раніше з Евелін і я відчував ... Ревнощі. Я ніколи не відчував це раніше, і я не подобається ... Вона така гарна, і я боявся, що ви ... О, Боже. Будь ласка ... Будь ласка, вибачте мене. ”

Dmitri made an expression of mixed surprise and maybe even concern as she tore the roses apart in her delicate hands. Even as blood began to bead on her hands and smear on the already red flowers, she continued to mutilate the bouquet. As he became appear of the fact that his expression was disclosing his thoughts, the Russian raised the vodka to his mouth and sipped from it again. It went down in a bit of a choke, though. Was that remorse he felt? No, of course not, he would tell himself. He truly hadn't imagined his words would slice into her as they obviously had.

She emitted harsh sobs that seemed to rock her fragile figure. Did he feel pity for her? Hell, he wasn't even sure anymore. When she collapsed, he jolted slightly and moved as if preparing the stand. However, he settled back into the chair and merely watched as she sobbed into his lap.

He couldn't help but smile as she spoke frantically to him. He was able to discern the majority of her words between the choking sobs, but he assumed anything he missed was only further praise. For a woman who had previously never spoken a single phrase to him, she was suddenly, overwhelmingly vocal as the tears streamed down her cheeks and began to soak into his pants legs.

"Shh," he cooed after a while, though his voice came out a bit harsher than a normal, loving coo. Dmitri drained the glass and put it on the floor beside his chair as he leaned forward far enough to rub a hand against her back briefly. He retracted his hand and, using both of them now, took her face in his hands and held her head up so she was looking into his eyes. "Я тебе дуже люблю." Dmitri stressed each word as he stared back into her eyes.

"Ми нічого не робили більше ніж говорити. добре?" He sighed as if mentally exhausted and slowly let go of her face so he could brush his fingers along her jawline instead. "Я прощаю тебе. Ви не дурні. Ні, ви прекрасні, і я не можу дивитися, як ти встановити себе на горі в цьому роді." A smile flashed briefly across his face before he leaned forward to kiss her brow.

She was comforted by Dmitri's touch, her sobs somewhat dying down as she tried to stop crying, almost sounding as though she were being strangled. She tried to look away as Dmitri lifted up her face but she couldn't bring herself to do it. His words were a warm blanket cast around her, soothing her previous doubts. Lana turned her head to look at the mirror on her left, her face contorting into an expression of distress. She looked like a mess, her face bright red with splotches and her eyes likewise rimmed with red and glistening with tears. She looked down at the blood on her arms, her chin quivering as she seemed to be ready to cry again. She could feel them welling up in her eyes as she looked down, ashamed of herself. Dmitri's words made her feel better about him but far worse about herself.

“Будь ласка ... Не залишай мене,” she whispered softly, clenching her small hands into fists. “Я люблю тебе ... Я не можу втратити тебе. Ти мені потрібен.”

Again, he gave her a subtle, sad smile as he looked down at the girl. Dmitri took her fists in his hands and pressed them against his lips gingerly. They lingered there for a moment as she whimpered about needing him. Slowly, he raised his head and looked back at her. "Я не залишу тебе. Але для цього потрібно довіряти мені, дорога." Dmitri pressed his lips together slightly, noticing the blotchy redness of her face. [color=787a78]"Дихайте, Лана. Ви прощені."[/color] He grabbed for the glass on the floor beside him and stood with it in one hand. He extended the other hand to her, offering it so she could pull herself back on to her feet. She was a mess to put it bluntly. Her crying would soon attract the unwanted attention of passing performers, and he truly didn't need that. "Хочете щось випити?"

Trust him? Of course she trusted him. She didn't trust Evelyn though. In her mind, that was the enemy. How unlike her to think such a way. Svetlana had never held a grudge before or wished harm for people. Nazis, sure. But that was a given. Lana was a person who liked people. But she didn't like the way Evelyn looked at Dmitri. Of course, being so far away she hadn't really seen Evelyn doing anything besides blushing. Either way, the albino was a threat to her relationship with Dmitri. What would Lana do to eliminate the threat? … Nothing. What could she do? She would only make herself appear that she didn't trust Dmitri and push him away from her.

She gave a light sigh and ran her fingers through her hair, sending some of the small flowers woven there to the floor before taking his hand and pulling herself up. He offered her a drink but she merely moved to lean against him, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and burying her face against his chest. She inhaled deeply, taking in his scent. He smelled of the circus and cigar smoke as usual, the smell of his fancy cologne buried beneath it and tickling her nose. She was silent once more, unable to find her voice again, still weak in the knees and lightheaded. She gave a light whimper to indicate that she wasn't feeling well before releasing him. Removing her dress, she left it on the floor and crawled beneath the soft and comforting duvets of his bed, pulling them up to her chin and nestling into the plush pillow.

He held her against him firmly but not too roughly. It was merely a show of protectiveness or, perhaps, possessiveness. Dmitri moved slowly in a rocking motion, still making soft "shushing" sounds. He placed a hand on the back of her head and stroked her hair slowly as he rested his head against the top of hers. Dmitri was genuinely surprised when she pulled away from him, and he watched her with an expression of, just maybe, concern. He refilled his glass and turned to face her again. He moved to the other side of the bed, but only to sit on the edge beside her. "Ти в порядку?" Dmitri cocked an eyebrow at her as he sipped from the glass.

Was she okay? She didn't quite know the answer herself. She was relieved that Dmitri had forgiven her and allowed her to stay, assuring her that he wouldn't end things with her. But her body felt weak, her knees hurt, she wanted to vomit, and her head was spinning. Despite this, she gave a light nod as she sat up and looked over to him, letting the blanket fall just enough to reveal her bare upper body. She reached for him, her small hands beckoning him to come to her in the way a child does for their parent when craving attention.

Dmitri finished off his drink as she sat up. His smile to her this time was more sincere and perhaps lustful than the purposefully sad smile he'd worn earlier. Obviously she had been receptive to his words, but he couldn't help but wonder if he'd upset her too much. It certainly was not like her to curl up submissively. Still, he nodded to her before reaching to put his glass down on the nightstand. There might have been a time when he reached out for a parent the way she reached for him. If he had, for he certainly would have forgotten, the attempts to achieve his parents attention were met with sharp scolds. Dmitri pulled his legs on to the bed and lay on his side of the bed while gently pulling her down beside him. Though he lay above the covers, he placed an arm around her shoulders while he leaned over to place a soft kiss against her temple. "Ти моя, і я люблю тебе." The Russian sighed and looked up at the ceiling. The large, painted leafy-pattern in the center looked back at him. He'd painted that there long ago as he had with a few of the hung paintings in the room. Others were merely replications of the great paintings from time gone by. "Ви були красиві сьогодні."

She issued a sigh of comfort and exhaustion as Dmitri held her, holding him close as though she was still scared that he would get up and leave. A smile flickered against her lips as he praised her, his words music to her ears. She muttered a soft thank you before wriggling and maneuvering herself so that she was lying on top of him, looking into his eyes with more adoration than usual. She moved her hands shakily to place them against his face, holding his head gently. She was still unable to find her words but she was content with her silence and simply being in his presence.

He placed his hands over hers and lifted his head up slightly so that he was looking into her eyes once more. Dmitri’s smile morphed into one of satisfaction as she stared at him in extreme adoration. Had he ever met a woman who could be manipulated so much in just a few words? ”Pauvre fille,” he whispered softly in French, a language he was certain she did not know. ”Vous êtes trop souple pour votre propre bien…” He spoke the words lovingly, as if praising the girl, when he truly wasn’t. Deep down, he did pity the young woman. She hardly knew any better after all. For a while, he lay with her and stroked her hair slowly. As time passed, though, he began to grow restless. Dmitri sat up slowly, causing Lana to sit up in his lap. ”ходити зі мною?” he inquired, cocking an eyebrow as he picked her up slightly, only to set her back down once he stood up.

Being a mute had its advantages. One of those advantages was that nobody tended to know what languages you understood. Svetlana and her brother, Bastian, were quite fluent in many languages; Ukrainian, Roma, a little Russian, some German, a little Belgian-French, and French. The only language the older gypsy understood that she didn't was English. It had been some time since she'd spoken, written, or even heard the language Dmitri spoke now, so she was a bit rusty. As Dmitri held her she processed each word in her mind, spacing out. As he asked her to walk she remained where she was before suddenly going rigid.
Poor girl? Too pliable for your own good?

Her plush lips that were usually curved into a smile now became a tight and thin line, her face mirroring Dmitri's usual visage of displeasure. She wasn't tough though. Even in this... Anger. She cried. Not so vocally as before, merely letting tears trickle down her face as she tried to process what he could mean along with such new and negative emotions, foreign to her psyche. “Бідна дівчинка? Занадто податливим для мого ж блага? Що це має означати? Можливо, я не невдячним один тут!” She stood quickly, wobbling a bit as nausea rushed over her. Still, she snatched up her dress and began to put it on furiously, rather ungraceful in the process and nearly tripping herself as tears blurred her vision.

His expression fell into one of dread and concern as she shouted back at him. Tears streamed down her face once more as she spoke to him. For a few moments, as he fought to regain his composure, Dmitri merely watched her dumbly as she dressed. "Lana..." he started to say, moving toward her slowly and then a bit quicker as he tried to intercept her. "Lana...нет, подождите, Лана." He backed up against the door of the car, hands held out in front of him in a gesture that could either be used to calm her or push her backwards. He hoped it didn't turn into the latter. Dmitri spoke in frantic Russian, for it came more easily to him than Ukrainian. "Я не это имел в виду, малыша. Я люблю тебя. Вы знаете, я люблю тебя, Лапушка. Я просто имел в виду вы ... восприимчивы к достижениям таких людей, как, что один на выставке сегодня вечером. Он тебя не любит, как и я, драгоценный. Ты так чиста и невинна. Он воспользоваться этим." Dmitri managed a smile again and tilted his head, and he moved toward her slightly, lowering his hands. Perhaps, if she looked closely, she might see the crease in his brow or the sweat beading on his neck.

“Я не якийсь ... Щеня. Або іграшки, які можна маніпулювати і тренуватися! Я люблю тебе, Дмитро Петров. Я люблю тебе всіма фібрами своєї істоти ... Але я не буду використовувати і розглядаються як якийсь безглуздій маленької дівчинки! Я жінка!” Lana's voice was uncharacteristically cold, though the despair was more than clear as she tried to move past him, pulling the strapless dress up some more over her breasts. She completely disregarded his attempt at an explanation, doing her best and damn near failing to keep a straight face. Her chest was in a knot once more and her face regained its former crimson tint as she breathed heavily.

Ukrainian was not a first language by any means. Like previously, he was able to discern the majority of her words, but Dmitri did not process the language as well as he spoke it. Still, he could sense the sincerity of her words as his brow furrowed while he translated her words. His jaw moved soundlessly as he fought to form words, but he was at a loss for a moment, for once in his life, as his mind raced. "Лана...не делай этого." As she tried to push past him, he instinctively reached out and held her by the shoulders. "Я не это имел в виду." He spoke slowly and perhaps a bit too loudly, face void of emotion except for a shred of panic visible in his widened eyes."Вы женщина, вы правы. Вы красивая женщина, Лана. Вы неправильно меня поняли, Лана." He quickly moved his hands so that he cupped her face instead. "Я люблю тебе"

Lana tried to pull away from Dmitri as he grabbed her but she didn't have the strength or the will. She didn't want to look weak in front of him, something in her screaming for her to hold onto her anger. Yet she knew he could feel her body trembling beneath his touch, though not in the usual good way. In fact, she looked like she was about to faint. She regarded Dmitri's words with an attempt to frown, looking away until he cupped her face. She could see the fear in his eyes, a reflection of the fear that had earlier been in her own eyes. She immediately felt remorse for her words, once again ashamed of herself for hurting Dmitri. She parted her lips to speak, only capable of whispering out fervent apologies, begging for his forgiveness once more until she doubled over. Her body wrenched involuntarily from his hold as she got down on her hands and knees, dry heaving. Was she possibly dehydrated? Maybe it was just stress. Whatever the case, she felt ill. She moved away from Dmitri, crawling weakly towards the bed. She didn't want to leave. No, she couldn't leave.

He could have left her to crawl back herself. He could have watched, and he could have used it as a punishment to further demean her. However, there was still a shred of humanity within Dmitri Petrov. He sighed, brow furrowing, and walked after her slowly. Even if she fought back, Dmitri reached down and gathered her in his arms to carry her the short distance to his bed. He laid her down and finagled the blankets a bit to pull them over her. The Russian sat on the bed beside her and reached out to stroke her hair slowly. Again, that sad smile showed, and it might have even betrayed some worry for her. After all, she'd never been this shaken before. Dmitri leaned down and pressed his lips against her cheek, just centimeters from her lips. Looking down at her now from only a few inches away, he whispered. "ви прощені." He moved away from her slowly, running his hand along the length of her body from above the covers as he passed by and moved toward his armchair where he sat down with a book while watching her still.

She didn't fight back. She didn't want to. Nor did she want him to let her go. She didn't know what was wrong with her and she didn't much like it. Svetlana had never been a sickly person, not even as a child, though her appearance often suggested otherwise. She had caught a cold once or twice but that was about it. She had never thought herself mentally unstable before either but she was about to get a wicked case of whiplash from the ridiculous mood swings of only the last twenty minutes. Looking back at her words, her actions... That wasn't her. She would never speak to Dmitri that way. The young woman was filled with regret - among other things - as Dmitri tucked her in. She glanced at him as he sat with his book, grateful that he hadn't simply thrown her out. She did worry that perhaps later he would decide to tell her that he didn't want to see her anymore.
The weakened woman turned onto her side, searching for her pad and pen within the drawer of the nightstand. Pulling them out, she squinted as she wrote, giving a light yawn that she was unable to force down. Finally finished writing, she held out the pad towards her lover, a half smile on her lips as her eyes dulled a bit.

Я не відчуваю себе дуже заслуговує вас. Я не знаю, що зі мною не так, Дмитро. Я відчуваю, що смерті, але це так несподівано. Чи будете ви мене тримаєте?

Dmitri couldn't help but frown subtly as she reverted to writng a note to him instead of speaking. He'd felt more important, perhaps, when she had begun speaking to him instead of anyone else. Instead of opening the book, he merely sat there and waited, face molding into one that betrayed little emotion or thought. He nodded in response to her note and stood slowly, setting the book on the seat of the chair instead. Again, Dmitri crawled into the bed beside her and took the young woman in his arms beneath the covers, holding her more closely this time. He remained quiet as he kissed lightly at the back of her neck, not in a sexual manner, but in, just maybe, a loving manner.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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A month passed, and then a second one in quick succession. The summer of 1948 blurred into familiar schedules Dmitri Petrov had been living by since he was born. They never spent too much time in a place. It made for bored performers and then bored audiences, a toxic combination that Dmitri had learned of from his father quite early in life, before alcohol became the most important thing in Vladimir Petrov's life. It hadn't been learned directly from him, of course. It had been picked up during one of the elder Petrov's drunken stupors.

Mid-August heat hung about in a thick, humid curtain. Most performers hadn't bothered to leave the refreshing chill of fans within the train cars. Dmitri, on the other hand, had made his way to the menagerie tent, also kept quite cool for the benefit of the assorted creatures. He had unbuttoned his white dress shirt and rolled the sleeves past his elbows already, exposing an undershirt of the same color. Dmitri had already begun to regret wearing the dark charcoal pants. Then again, he didn't have to worry about the sun beating down on him under the tent. He didn't have to worry about anything besides his pencil, which had just broken.

It snapped and rolled down the page, leaving an ugly mark on the forehead of a figure he had been drawing in the middle of a landscape he too had drawn. It was a wintery one, some view he recalled from his youth in Russia. An exasperated sigh left through his parted lips as he stood. Should have brought a sharper, damn it. Dmitri stood slowly, closing the small sketchbook with a quick flick. He passed by the animals leisurely, looking into their enclosures. Occasionally, he ran the pencil along the bars of a cage, provoking the few animals who weren't lounging about.

The Russian pushed through the flaps of the tent and into the heat of the day. Few milled around, so it was far easier to spot Evelyn when he turned toward the train. As per usual, she was dressed lightly, and she held a parasol above her head, shielding from the sun. She spoke with a young, fire-haired young man. As Dmitri moved closer, he recognized Conner...or the other one. He hadn't managed to learn their names, for they were merely a pain. Dmitri kept them only for Robert. The Russian might have continued to move past the two had he not heard her soft giggle. He looked up, jaw clenching. She had laughed for him, but it had not been in the way she did now. She toyed with her hair like a child. Like a girl in love.

He was foolish to believe she would fall for him as passionately as Lana had. Jealous rage bubbled in him, and his knuckles whitened as he gripped the sketch pad. The damn clown. He had done so much for them. In a split second, he could have them thrown from the God damn train. He could easily solve this problem by doing so, but he knew Robert would quickly resign if he did so. It was a predicament he'd run into multiple times, especially when the boys decided it would be a wonderful idea to begin pranking the Russian. He'd come close to losing Rob as he shouted at them in a mixture of English and Russian.

He realized that for once in his nearly half a century of existence, he would be fighting for the affection of a woman. Normally, it would have seemed trivial and quite immature. If he wanted a woman, he would go into town, or he would simply blackmail a performer. This was a different case. Evelyn was different. It wasn't that he loved her, but he had never been so set on bedding a woman, especially this young compared to him. Well, it wouldn't be too difficult. He had a world of resources at his fingers, power and money being the most prominent. Dmitri could easily sell the circus now and never have to lift another finger.

Conner began to move away then, and Dmitri wondered, for the briefest moment, where he was going. He quickly realized it hardly mattered. The clown was nothing but a nuisance. If only he could get rid of him. Conner moved past Dmitri, and so the Russian ended up in Evelyn's sight as she watched the younger man walk away. Dmitri smiled back at her and nodded his head briefly in acknowledgement, holding the sketchbook tightly still in his hand before he walked off to his car. He could not bear to be inside today, despite the heat. Perhaps he suddenly felt vulnerable, as if leaving Evelyn alone for too long would cause her to move further from him, figuratively speaking.

Instead, he sharpened the pencil within his car and then emerged to perch on the bottom-most step leading up to the door of the car. After hurriedly erasing the mark left by his eraser, Dmitri resumed his sketch. The figure remained untouched, however. The black-and-whiteness of it made it difficult to tell if those were Svetlana's mousy brown locks tumbling down her shoulders or Evelyn's snow white ones.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Dmitri had just settled back into drawing when he heard the violinist speak to him in Russian. The Russian was a surprise, first of all, for not many ever spoke to him in his native tongue. In fact, it was almost strange to hear Dmitri speak in Russian. Without his accent, one would be unable to tell he had lived there until he was a teenager. However, if one listened closely, they would be able to hear muttered Russian curses quite often from him. Not many tried to get that close to Dmitri.

He blinked against the unforgiving sun and looked up at Bastian, lips curled into a bit of a sneer. It was difficult to tell if the expression was a result of the sun or of the extremely personal way the man spoke to him. Boss man? Few had the guts to speak to him, let alone refer to him in such a way. ”No,” he replied. The familiar language rolled off of his tongue easily, certainly more quickly than his Ukrainian. "I have not seen them.” He wished he were lying, but in reality, he hadn’t spoken to the girl in at least a month. Dmitri had also briefly thought that perhaps Sebastian had heard about his involvement with Lana. Either way, he wasn’t concerned. If Bastian tried anything, the Ukrainian would be thrown on to the streets in a heartbeat.

He had looked back down to the sketch pad as the younger man spoke of Sugar, going off on a tangent. The Russian’s pencil moved in quick strokes, creating tall grass. As the Ukrainian spoke again, he set both the book and the pencil on the step beside him. At first, he had certainly been concerned about Svetlana’s lack of visits. He assumed that he had upset her too greatly that time, two months ago. Since then, Dmitri had caught only glimpses of her wandering about. She was wider now, more filled out. It wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, for he had been with women of every size. Still, it was impossible for him to not make mental remarks. "I can not force your sister to seek medical attention.” He noticed Bastian’s gaze divert to the sketchbook for a moment, and Dmitri stood up, placing his hands in his pockets. The Ukrainian stood roughly half a foot taller, but it only fazed the Russian for a moment if anything. He was the one with the authority here.

"Neither of us has that power. And yet, he couldn’t just let her go unattended. It wouldn’t weigh on his conscience if he was the reason for her demise, but he couldn’t bear the thought of losing such a talented performer. He’d certainly noticed she wasn’t performing lately. His lips pursed as he looked up at Bastian. "I shall call for a doctor tomorrow. He shoved his hands into his pockets and looked past the Ukrainian as if something caught his attention. He looked back suddenly. "Alright?"

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn
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Another audience came and went that evening, and they made little difference in the life of Dmitri Petrov. Few had managed to, and few ever would manage to. He was dressed impeccably again, of course, for there was never a show in which he would look anything like a mere performer. Dmitri was the ringleader, the kingpin, and he deserved recognition for it. Something was different this night. He broke his pattern.

He was a leader, never a follower, so it would have made sense for Dmitri to remain ahead of the others as per usual, nudging aside slower carnies if necessary. This night, however, he didn't. Instead, he lingered about and followed behind the others, for he wouldn't be caught up in the middle of the swarm either way. Polished black boots dulled slightly as he kicked up dust inside of the tent. Performers milled about, either to gather belongings or to make plans. He, of course, already had plans. They weren't, however, with Lana. The Ukrainian had been, it seemed, avoiding him over the past month or so. Her visits became less and less frequent until she just about stopped visiting his car. No matter. It was her loss.

White fabric fluttered as figures moved about, generating miniature breezes. It was the twenty-eighth of July, only three days before her birthday. Her eighteenth birthday. He moved quite agilely about, sliding past tables and performers, animals and piles of costumes until he stood by her own station which really wasn't much. Vladimir's harsh cry gave away his position before he could formulate the best way to begin. "Miss Ward," he greeted softly, inclining his head to remove the top hat. "First of all, I must compliment you on your act. You certainly never fail to impress the crowds." Was it the truth, a lie? It was impossible to tell, for he attacked more pressing matters quite suddenly. "Secondly, I would like to invite you back to my car." A smile twitched at his lips, and then it broadened, exposing teeth. "Rumor has it that your birthday is coming up, and I happen to have a nice Lambrusco just waiting for an occasion. Would you do me the honor?" He finished the question with a slightly cocked eyebrow as he tried to gauge her reaction.

Evelyn hurried, trying to weave in and out of the crowd as fast as possible to get to her car. She was desperate to spend more time with the twins, she was almost ready to tell Conner how she felt. Her hands reached out to the handle of her doorm but she jumped at the sound of Vladimir and nearly toppled backwards into Dmitri. His voice sent chills down her spine, something like disgust moving through her. Twirling a strand of hair nervously and resisting the urge to chew on it, she turned in her spot and gave the ringleader an uneasy smile. "Ah.. Th-Thank you Mr. Petrov."

The girl cringed a bit at his offer. Going to his car seemed so wrong aside from the obvious fact that she wanted to go see Conner and Kieran. "Well.." She whispered, what could be so bad about a little birthday celebration, right? "Of course." Evelyn smiled, releasing her strand of hair and shuffling in her spot. "L-Lead the way."

She was afraid, and that was obvious. It only added to the sense of satisfaction, though. The white hair twirled about in her white fingers quickly, uneasily. It wasn’t the ideal reaction. He would have preferred a blush, a look of admiration in her eyes as she looked up at him. It would have to do. Dmitri tried to ignore the cringe, but he wasn’t one to simply ignore unpleasant facts. A sheltered lifestyle was hardly a lifestyle at all. ”You are very welcome, Miss Ward,” he said, his words slathered in his typical Russian accent. It was as if he did not notice the cringe, for he merely smiled back at her, the corner of his mouth quirking slightly to expose a few teeth.

It would be an understatement to say he was surprised by her willingness to join him. Dmitri had assumed more convincing would be needed. He certainly wasn’t complaining, however. He was quite glad. The smirk expanded, and he nodded back at her. The shuffle of her bare feet only confirmed her apprehension. They walked off toward his car, easily spotted at the head of the train. The Russian stopped her before the stairs and opened the door quickly, peering in. If Lana were inside, it would have been catastrophic. Perhaps a part of him actually wanted her to be in there. Perhaps he craved the rush that such a conflict would bring in his mundane existence. The car was empty.

Holding the door open, he beckoned for Evelyn with a flick of his index and middle fingers and then an open palm presenting the room to her as if it were something to be awed at which it was, especially to a performer who had no such place to themselves. Dmitri slid past her fluidly, allowing himself to brush his hand against her arm in an action that might seem accidental. It wasn’t, of course. As she acquainted herself with the room, he rummaged about in the small fridge within his room for the sweet wine he had acquired when he first thought of his ingenious plan. It was opened with ease due to practice and poured into glasses that he had put out before the show that night.

As the Russian rejoined her, he extended one of the glasses toward her, causing the red wine to slosh slightly. ”We both know you are not legally allowed to drink,” he said as she took the glass. ”But we also both know you are certainly mature enough to handle it.” Dmitri held his glass up. ”To a prosperous year? Success in our careers?” He suggested the toasts with a cocked eyebrow, waiting for her to choose what they would toast to. He needed to make her feel comfortable. How else would he get what he wanted?

Another cringe came as Dmitri touched her. But it was just an accident, easily forgivable. She fidgeted uneasily as she glanced around the car. She felt like she should be impressed but she only felt uncomfortable. It would have been better to decline now, she could tell, but it would have been rude. Evelyn gave a small jump as her attention was torn back to Dmitri with a small smile. Reluctantly a blush spread across her cheeks at his comment about her maturity, giving him a small giggle to validate him. "How about we toast to happiness..?" She suggested innocently, biting her lip as she stared down into the liquid as her heart sped up. It didn't feel right to break the law like this, but she was safe, wasn't she?

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Night had fallen rather quickly over the city and the circus that sat on the outskirts. As the performers all took their bows, the audience cheered before slowly clearing out. Among those clearing out was Svetlana. She had decided to watch the show, having not done so in many weeks. She wanted to more than just hear the reaction to her music… She wanted to see it. She smiled as an anonymous face in the crowd as the patrons fell into a state of trance. She had to admit that the music was played beautifully by her older brother and niece. They were so fabulous. She could see that they spotted her and returned their smile before disappearing. She only hoped that Sebastian wouldn’t be too hard on her after what she planned for later after only the circus performers and workers remained.

She returned to her train car quickly and began to doll herself up as much as she could. She would deliver the news tonight. Her hand was shaky as she applied her makeup and tears began to form in her eyes already. Belle appeared behind her and gave a gentle smile, Orion not too far behind. The lion sat on his haunches and watched as Belle gently began to do it for her. If her hair was darker and skin lighter, she could have passed as the girl’s mother. Lana gave a grateful smile as the Arabian expertly applied a lighter hue of rouge to her lips, complimenting the pink dress that soon graced her figure. It had been a gift from Belle earlier that week and Lana was sure that the woman had stolen it. She wasn’t judging. She had noticed that Belle hadn’t gotten any checks lately, assuming that her checks were being used to pay off the train car. Plus, it wasn’t too long ago that Lana was out and about picking pockets and robbing homes.

She was finally ready to go, having slipped on a pair of slippers meant to look like ballet shoes but wear like clouds on the soles of your feet. Apparently Belle “knew a guy”. Svetlana distracted herself from what was to come and the “dead girl walking” jeers that followed her as she strode a bit absently towards Dmitri’s train car with random thoughts. Her stride was hesitant and she almost didn’t hear Belle and Robert walking behind her with Orion’s heavy footfalls not too far behind, no doubt to make sure that all went well. The feared for her, she knew. But they had nothing to fear. Dmitri wouldn’t hurt her. She knew so deep within her heart. He had never hurt her.

Her slender fingers curled tighter around the brown folder that was in her hand while her free hand pushed some of the curls out of her face. She had thought she would grow increasingly unattractive in her pregnancy but Belle made sure that she looked beyond her very best every day, even though most days she never even left her train car. She was grateful for everything that everyone was doing for her, knowing just how much they were risking for this. She would never be able to thank them enough. She would show her appreciation somehow even if they told her that she didn’t have to. She wouldn’t have much money or material possessions to offer them but she could find something that would help them. Favors, perhaps. But wasn’t that what she already did? Since she had arrived, had she not done everything asked of her by anyone that ever asked her help? Perhaps, she thought, she deserved their silence. Out of courtesy and payment back for her help. Yes. This was her collecting her “payment”.

The lightest of smiles played on her lips as she beheld a vision in her mind. She saw herself lying on a bed. She looked awful but so happy. Dmitri entered the scene, his visage adorned with the widest smile he could manage. Bundled in his arms was their baby. He cooed down at the baby and they spoke in hushed but happy tones of what to name the child. Sebastian was there. Sugar and Belle were there. Robert was there with Conner and Kieran. Her small family.

Oh! Such a vision it was! It made her wonder what she was even worried about. Of course they’d be happy for her. They both loved her and nobody could be sad over a child being born. And if they weren’t happy with it then they most certainly would feel the child move in her womb and smile. They would indeed be happy when her precious offspring came into the world. They would smile when they saw the face of pure innocence. The face of hope. A tad dramatic? Yes. But she just knew that it would be so. Her stride quickened as she placed a hand over her stomach and raced a bit faster towards the ring master’s train car. There was a happy smile on her face, finally conveying the look of an expecting mother waiting to tell the family the news. This would change everything for her. Oh, and she would finally no longer have to sneak around with Dmitri. She wouldn’t have to wait until they were safe behind closed doors to whisper her love to him.

These thoughts in mind, she quickly ascended the steps to his mobile abode, pulling open the door. And just as quickly as her happy thoughts had come to her, as wide as her smile once was… It was all now shattered.

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There was a long pause as she simply stood in the doorway, quiet as she had ever been. Her brown eyes showed a lack of emotion though inside her was a storm. She had no words for the sight before her. Well, actually, she had quite a few choice words to say though she couldn’t bring herself to do anything but watch. She wanted to scream at him. She wanted to hit him. She wanted Bastian to hit him. She wanted her brother to kill the Russian. She never wanted to see his face again, she knew that. Her body was trembling beneath the stress, horror, anger, and absolute sorrow and disgust that overwhelmed her. Everyone was right; she had been a fool. She had been a silly, naïve girl to have ever believed that Dmitri loved her. She didn’t even know if he was capable of loving anyone at this point. He just knew how to hurt. She could look back and see it now. The empty words, promises, and gestures. He only cared about getting beneath her clothes. He wanted her around because she worshiped him as though he were some perfect god.

But she saw quite clearly now that he was so far from it.

She watched as Dmitri’s hands roamed Evelyn’s body. She watched as his lips caressed her neck and cheek while she wore a goofy smile. He was muttering under his breath and she was sure that he was whispering to her all the praises he once sung for her. His lips moved to hers and she could see just where it was headed as he let out a moan. Until his head turned and their eyes met. She couldn’t bear to stand there any longer, finally shown to be the fool. The last thing she wanted to do now was to appear weak or immature but her hormones began raging, taking over. She threw the folder at him, papers of sheet music created a flurry for a dramatic exit as she quickly took off with tears in her eyes. She stumbled and tripped on the last step, caught by Robert’s strong hands. Instead of accepting his help she simply broke into sobs and pushed him away with a vicious attitude before taking off to her train car with her friends not too far behind. She didn’t want them there though. She didn’t want anyone there. She didn’t want their comfort or their pity. She just wanted to be alone.

She wouldn’t get that though. As soon as she shut and locked the door behind her, she turned to see her brother waiting for her. Bastian looked at her with concern, placing a hand on her shoulder only to have her jerk away. His temper began to spike, though he wasn’t mad at her. Obviously someone had hurt her deeply and when he found out whom it was he was going to smash their head in before curb stomping them. He didn’t like seeing her upset. Her arms wrapped about her body as makeup ran down her face. It killed him and he quickly attempted to approach her again, this time more cautious.

“What is wrong, little one?” He spoke in gentle and soothing tones, placing a hand on her shoulder once more as he sat next to her and attempted to wrap his arms around her. She jerked away again and lowered her head. When he persisted she pushed him away with the same animosity that she had shown Robert. Sebastian’s lips creased into a deep frown as he rose his voice to her, grabbing her roughly by the shoulders and giving her a light shake, hardly caring a bit at this point if she was sick or not. He was sick too; sick of her acting this way. “No! You have left me in the dark for too long! I am your brother and I raised you, Svetlana Anastasia Kolmykova! You will tell me what is the matter with you. You have been hiding something from me. All of you have! You will use your tongue and you will speak to me!”

She remained in silence, thinking long and hard. He was right, she knew. He deserved to know everything about what had happened and what had been going on behind his back this whole time. She took a deep breath, still not making eye contact as she forced herself to speak. Her voice came out in a choked sob like the sound of an animal being strangled. Months ago... Dmitri was going to fire you because of all the fights and constantly needing to bail you out. But I went to him and... I slept with him a few times and made him promise to keep you or else I would go too. I didn't want it to be any more than that, Bastian. But I fell in love with him. Madly so. He made me feel so special and so beautiful. I adored him and I grew to hate being away from him. I feared what you would do so I said nothing. I wanted to tell you but you have such a temper..."

There was an awkward silence as she expected there would be. She tried to speak further but was hushed by Sebastian raising his hand. It was rare that he actually thought deeply and it was always a bit amusing to her. But it wasn’t funny this time. It certainly wasn’t funny when he quickly stood and brought the back of his massive hand against her face, slapping her as hard as he could manage. She tumbled from the bed as pain shot through her body and she let out a horrifying cry of pain that echoed with the sound of his hand meeting her face. She could hear the others beating on the door from outside but she was in no position to let them in as she crawled to her brother’s feet as if to beg his forgiveness.

I'm pregnant, Sebastian. Dmitri is the father. But I... I don't know what to do. I haven't spoken to him in months and he is now with Evelyn. I don't want my child without its father but I don't know if he even wants to be a father... If he loves me still. If he ever loved me. I hate him so much right now but my heart still longs for him.

And there it was. Sebastian’s face contorted into a look of pure disgust at the thought of his sister giving birth to Dmitri’s child. What did she see in him? Surely not the money or power? She had never been so shallow. Certainly not for his looks. The man was old enough to be the father of them both and Bastian wondered if the man had any bastard children running around. But he wasn’t just angry at his sister, he was angry at Dmitri. He manipulated and used his sister like she was just some young whore ripe for the picking. She had no will of her own against others, everyone knew that. He took advantage of his sister. Ah, but no. She was to blame as well. She had made this choice on her own. She was the one that had approached him. She sought him out to have sex. That stupid little whore!

“Svetlana... You stupid, stupid little girl! After all I have done for you, this is how you repay me?! You go behind my back to sleep with a man that is old enough to have fathered us both? You lie to me and keep secrets now? You have a child out of wedlock? Mother and father would be disappointed with you even more than I am! You have allowed yourself to become a whore! And now you will raise a child alone and no man will want you. Tell me, do you know a man that will marry a girl with a child? A girl who can barely even find her tongue to speak? You stupid girl! You've disgraced our family name. And for what? So you could feel special and beautiful? You are special and beautiful and you don't need a man's dick in you to know that! I have spent my life protecting you from men like him! Men that just want to fuck you and cast you aside like old fashion! This is how you repay me?”

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He had snatched her up by the hair, grabbing close to her roots and destroying her hairdo without a care as he roared at her, spit flying in her face as he cursed and degraded her. He eventually tossed her to the floor in his rage after slapping her again. How dare she! He had spent his life caring for her in the place of their parents, doing all he could to ensure that she was safe and as good of a life as he could provide. This girl in front of him was not his sister. His sister was smart, kind, and innocent. His sister would never lie to him or sleep with old men. He could not shake the look of disgust as she finally turned a glare to him with a red face. “I'm a whore? I love Dmitri, Sebastian! You don't know what love is! You couldn't even dream of the love that I have for him. You have a different woman every other night while I have stayed true and loyal to one man!”

Ah, yes. Despite it all, despite the sight she saw, she couldn't deny in truth that she didn't still love him. She wanted her first to be her only and she was more than willing to fight for him. Of course she needed to gather her thoughts first and she knew there was no guarantee that he would even still want her. She still questioned whether he loved her or not, whether he ever had. But she so desperately wanted him to at least try to love her if he didn't already. She wanted him to help with their child. To be in the baby's life. Children brought new beginnings and happiness and that's what she wanted.

Sebastian grew more enraged, drawing his hand back and hitting her again. “Don’t you dare speak to me that way! I am your brother! I might as well be your father! You are very much still just as much a child as you are a stupid whore! You are lucky that I’ve not renounced our blood ties! We will leave and you will see no man ever again and you will raise that child. I will help you because that child needs a real father in its life. And you’re a fool if you still think Dmitri loves you. All he loves is money, power, and sex! You were just a faze and now he’s moved on to the next pretty face! You think he will raise that child with you? Ha! Don’t kid yourself.” He switched to English, knowing she couldn’t understand and wouldn’t reply. He didn’t want to hear another word out of her mouth. He would kill Dmitri if it was the last thing he did. And then they would run.
He wasn’t big on thinking things through completely, having always believed that fighting was his way out of all of his problems. Not once did it cross his mind that anyone would try to stop him and turn him in. He would simply kill Dmitri, taking Sugar and Svetlana, and they would run. But someone would stop him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Just one drink, she told herself. Well, another couldn't hurt. Dmitri was so much sweeter than usual now, maybe one more drink. Her vision was bleary as she rested in Dmitri's arms, giving weak moans of acknowledgement to the words he murmured despite the fact that she wasn't listening even when he spoke in english. In the back of her mind she knew there was something she had promised herself to do today, but right now was all that really mattered. Evelyn turned to Dmitri as she felt a slightly forceful tug and she watched him start to undress her through half-lidded eyes.

Her lack of experience with alcohol made it easier to get Evelyn to do what he wanted. She was certainly as pliable as Svetlana. In fact, she was far more pliable especially under the influence. His hands moved along her body hungrily, and his lips grazed along her jaw and neck slowly. His breath, thick with the smell of cigar smoke and wine, came heavily now as his excitement got the best of him. Dmitri murmured words of love and praise, in various languages, between kisses. A low, yet loud, moan escaped from his parted lips as he pulled her a bit closer and toyed with the first button on her dress.

And then the door clicked open, and he opened his eyes slowly, as if caught in a dreamy trance.

It was for just a moment, yet it tore apart the moment for him almost as much as it did for Lana. However, he was not the one having his heart torn from his chest in a metaphorical sense. Her body shook with some toxic mixture of emotion that even Dmitri could not pinpoint. His lips slowly parted from Evelyn's, and his mouth merely hung open, face void of emotion and eyes speaking hundreds of thoughts. Most of them were dread.

”Lana…” he began, unsure if he was merely speaking her name or attempting to explain himself. Even his silver tongue would be unable to weasel him out of such a situation. Dmitri had ruined it. He had soiled the façade he had worked so hard to create. Oh no, he certainly was not a god. He was a horrible being, a disgusting being. He was a parasitic creature with little worth once he was stripped of his money and his power. That was all he was.

Papers fluttered like fallen birds, and they fell to the mahogany floor slowly, lingering in the air for what seemed like millennia. Dmitri’s lips moved rapidly, fighting to produce some excuse. He only managed to utter her name once more as she turned and left in a cloud of papers like a magician disappearing behind smoke. He held Evelyn in his arms as he watched Lana leave, heart thumping in his chest so loudly that he wondered for half a moment if the organ was failing on him now. Dmitri didn’t have regrets, but he knew when he had messed up. He had royally screwed up, for he knew that there were many who loved the young woman, who cared for her like a little sister. Dmitri also knew that there were many who wouldn’t mind seeing the Russian himself beaten to death much like the previous owner. The best choice, it seemed, was to follow her, convince her he was sorry.

And so he moved and set Evelyn down on the bed like a child might set a doll down. He added a soft “don’t move” and moved after Svetlana, once polished boots crushing the papers as he half-walked half-slipped across the sea of sheet music. She was already locked in her car when he made his way down the steps. Cheerful circus music still echoed across the grounds, but there was nothing cheerful about this moment. There was a gaggle of them outside of her car, standing solemnly as if waiting for her to come out again. Dmitri moved toward them, taking note of who was there. The twins. The Desert Rose. Robert. He wondered who the young Cajun would side with if it came down to that.

Then there was a cry. It was a horrible, gut-wrenching cry that caused even Dmitri to flinch. It mingled with the sound of flesh meeting flesh, but sharply, harshly. Suddenly, the group rushed at the door, and the Russian merely stood and watched, unable to process what he was witnessing. He heard Sebastian’s voice, and he heard Svetlana’s cries, and suddenly he knew what was going on…somewhat. He had no idea what was being fought about, for their voices were too muffled to make out the Ukrainian they spoke. He understood some of what Sebastian said in English, including the mention of a child, but he obviously assumed he was referring to Sugar. The sound of a second slap brought him back into reality, and he moved once more, pushing past to the door. His fist came down sharply on the door. ”Open the fucking door!” he bellowed, his voice coming out harsher than most had ever heard it. He repeated himself in Russian and then in Ukrainian.

Evelyn, meanwhile, remained in a daze. She heard something that seemed like it was miles away, but she couldn't bother to acknowledge it as she simply slumped forward in Dmitri's arms. Suddenly the girl was lifted and her eyes snapped open at the sudden movement, giving a small yelp of surprise. She blinked, and the ringleader was gone the next second. Did he say something before he left? Her head turned towards the door and she sobered instantly.

She still felt Dmitri's hands on her body, and lips on her neck, but now she felt like she could vomit. Everyone she cared for was standing there and watching her. The albino moved a hand to her neck and felt traces of the kisses left, trembling as she locked eyes with Conner.

She was a whore. And now everyone knew it. Tears welled up in her eyes as she balled her hands into fists and gripped her dress tight to her body. What fraction she had left of her life was gone now, she was sure of it. Against her own will her legs moved and shoved her out of the room, a strangled, watery apology escaping her lips. Evelyn pushed herself as far as she could, her legs burning as she attempted to reach her car before anyone got to her. She would have to leave. There was nothing left here for her now. Her heart felt like it had been torn in two. It was foolish to think that things would ever get better when she told Conner of her feelings, especially after he had seen her giving her body up like that. Nobody would believe that the alcohol had rendered her mind useless. Speaking of the alcohol, it was starting to disagree with her body after the sudden exercise. Evelyn stumbled to the door of her car, gripping the handle tightly as she tried to stop herself from emptying her stomach and failing to do so, leaving a mess outside her dwelling and hurrying inside. She lifted her head weakly at the familiar calling of her raven, the only friend she assumed she had left now. Carelessly forgetting to lock the door, she shut it and wiped her mouth with her dress before slumping against her dresser in defeat.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Belle Character Portrait: Evelyn Character Portrait: Robert Mason Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova Character Portrait: Sebastian Kolmykov
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Sebastian left his sister cowering in Belle’s bed where she had managed to scramble after he had hit her again, her back against the corner of the wall and plush pillows barricaded in front of her as though they would save her. She watched her brother fly about in a rage, packing hers and Sugar’s things. Outside, the others watched Dmitri bang on the door, demanding that it be opened. Robert reacted first, grabbing the Russian and prying him away from the door with help from the twins. Dmitri fought against them, jerking back toward the door as he tried to free his arms, but he certainly wasn't as strong as Robert and the twins combined. They had been ready for this moment – Though it wasn’t Svetlana that they were expecting to get hit. Nor were they expecting her to be locked in a train car with the most violent man Dmitri employed. Belle spoke in rapid Arabic to Orion who growled while she banged on the door. “Sebastian! We’re holding Dmitri for you! Come get him!” Dmitri looked about in bewilderment, eyes and mouth agape, face twisted into an expression of absolute confusion. Had this been the plan the entire time? To draw him in so they could take him down? She quickly cleared way of the door as the gypsy man yanked it open and set eyes on the Russian. He had murder in his thoughts and immediately set to charge. Again, Belle spoke in rapid Arabic. Before Bastian could make it to Dmitri he was charged by the lion. Orion let out a roar as he sat on top of him, growling deeply.

Sebastian’s hatred parted for fear to give way as Orion’s maw opened to reveal a massive set of sharp teeth, daring him to move. He cursed at the lion under his breath before glaring at the others gathered around. “So you will defend the monster that impregnated my baby sister? After everything he’s done to her, you stand by him?!” His voice rose as he struggled against the lion with no luck. Robert released Dmitri, giving him a look of disgust before going to kneel next to Sebastian, drawing his fist back and driving it into his nose, satisfied with the subtle crunching sound followed by the man’s howl. Dmitri had ceased to struggle once the news of the pregnancy had come out. Instead, he merely met Robert's look of disgust with one of feigned disgust. Perhaps he was disgusted at this betrayal, for Rob had always been one of the only ones in the circus that he trusted and had cared for. Who did he have to trust now? “I understand your desire to protect your sister, trust me. But she is not a child. Naïve, yes. But not a child. Had you not sheltered her so much and let her make her own mistakes in life then perhaps we wouldn’t be in this situation. But we are. She adores you. She loves you. She never wanted to hurt you but her life is her own to live and not yours to dictate. Dmitri has wronged her many times but nothing he has done to her so far comes even close to what you’ve done. You have humiliated her in front of everyone who cares about her, called her a whore, and you put hands on her. What kind of man puts his hands on a woman? His pregnant sister, at that? … You’re through here, Sebastian. You want to leave, then go. But Svetlana and Sugar will stay here. If you try to take either, you will be going to jail. You have no place here anymore.”

Robert spoke with firm authority while gripping Sebastian by his jaw. The two men tested each other with gazes, seeing whose would waver first. Sebastian finally looked away with a snarl and the Cajun released him before standing up. He regarded Dmitri with a look of disdain and disgust before motioning for the twins to let him go. Dmitri returned the look, but it was truthful this time. At least he had never harmed Lana. The boys nodded and released him with a bit of a shove to take off with their adoptive father. Kieran split to find Sugar and keep her occupied while Robert and Conner made haste towards Evelyn’s train car.

Belle was busying herself with consoling Lana. Or, trying at least. The young gypsy mother-to-be didn’t want to be touched, cringing at every bit of contact as she burrowed deep beneath Belle’s blankets. It took some coaxing but she finally got her to sit down. The Arabian stripped her down to her bra and panties and began to examine her. Busted lip, bruised, cut, and swollen left cheek, bruised left arm. Her side was a bit bruised too but it seemed he avoided her stomach. Belle’s hands slid across the swollen belly as she rested her head against it with her eyes closed. The baby would be fine, she knew. Sighing, she fetched her little medical kit and a rag she then soaked in whiskey before she began to clean up her friend, shushing her as the gypsy kept muttering under her breath.

Alone now except for Lana and Belle, Dmitri stood still. The only movement he made was the rise and fall of his breath, which was heavy from the sudden rush of adrenaline. And then something hit him. Perhaps it was the excess of drama or the intense confusion. Or, perhaps, he was merely overwhelmed by everything. Regardless, he was completely and utterly overcome by the moment, and he did something he hadn't done in ages. He laughed.

It wasn't a happy laugh or a relieved laugh. It was a crazed laugh, some sort of coping mechanism that hardly helped. The Russian chose a place to sit at random and took it whilst pulling out a cigar. Shaky hands lit the cigar, and he took his time puffing on it to calm himself. He looked, to put it simply, unnerved. "So..." he began, fighting to formulate words as he stared first at the ground and then at the girl. "The child...it's mine?" Again, he laughed and shook his head. "The world is so full of irony. It's amazing...should I change my name to Vladimir? Buy the child a crowbar?" He laughed at his own, sick joke that neither woman would understand.

The smoke curled around him each time he released a cloud of it from his mouth. "When the fuck were you going to tell me? After your psychotic brother killed me?" He slowly stood again, having finally regained his senses, and walked toward her, one hand in his pocket. "How long has she...? How old is it?" He addressed Belle this time, assuming Lana wouldn't speak to him.

Belle shot Dmitri a glare as the scent of the cigar smoke wafted under her nostrils. “No - That is very bad for the child.” She indicated for him to put it out or step outside, one hand still rubbing Lana's stomach as the young woman lifted her head up to give Dmitri a teary eyed and confused gaze. Dmitri merely continued to smoke the cigar as if he hadn't heard Belle speak. Belle sighed, reluctant to leave them alone though she knew Lana wanted to speak to him privately. She had cleaned most of the blood and smeared makeup up and smoothed down her hair so she didn't look like she'd just been hit by an automobile. Now Lana's skin was just bruised and blotchy from the hits and her excessive crying. Belle kissed her on the forehead before standing and heading towards the other end of the car, quickly taking the cigar from Dmitri as she did and putting it out in a glass of water on Lana's table. She wasn't leaving.

“Of course it's yours...whose else would it be? You were my first and only, Dmitri...”
Her voice was timid as she replied back in her own language, looking back down. She couldn't meet his gaze because all she could see was him with Evelyn. This prompted her to move further back onto the bed, clutching at her stomach gently.

“Did you ever even love me... Or was Sebastian right? I'm just another pretty girl to play with until you get bored. What does it matter now when I was going to tell you? I was coming to tell you earlier but you seemed a little busy. Thought I'd come back later.” She was whispering now but there was pain, betrayal, and accusation in her tone as she wrapped her arms around herself as if to hide her body from him. “I loved you. Even though everyone thought I was a fool for it. I still do even though I should hate the very air you breathe. Every time we fight I always blame myself... I have done everything you've ever asked of me and then some. I gave you everything and now I've lost Sebastian. And I wonder now if it was even worth it... I'm keeping my child and you don't need to be in the picture. Women don't tend to take to men with baggage.”

Her words and attitude grew bolder at the drop of a hat as she turned the glare of a lover scorned at him. She tried to look as angry as possible but she just looked hurt, confused, and tired. Her jaw clenched as her knees drew closer to her chest with his every approaching step. She didn't want to look weak in front of him. She couldn't. Belle watched carefully, letting Svetlana get out as much as she could. She knew the girl had been holding a lot back. She didn't like complaining to other people or confiding her feelings. Clearing her throat, she made her presence known again as she answered the older man. “She is nearly four months. Almost to her second trimester. If she makes it to next month then there should be little fear of miscarriage.”

He shot a glare at Belle, still visibly annoyed that she had taken the cigar from him. "Well, that's great, isn't it?" he replied, repeating himself in Ukrainian. His voice was laced with sarcasm both times. Without asking her first, he perched on the edge of her bed with a sigh. He ought to tell the truth, really. Then again, he certainly wasn't known for doing what he should. Dmitri did not glare back at her, but his gaze was not loving either. "Baggage? Is that what you call it? Adorable. No, I can not simply abandon you and a child. People will talk." He moved to fish the cigar out of the water before settling back on the bed again. He didn't bother to light it again, but he placed the end in his mouth and gnawed on it slowly.

"I do not want a child, but I certainly will not let your brute of a brother raise my child either." Dmitri looked over at her, expressionless. "I assume...there is nothing between us anymore." He wondered if his own father had said these same words to his mother years ago. The similarity was striking and, honestly, quite unnerving. He chewed on the cigar again and bounced his foot, sighing softly. Evelyn was gone by now, he was sure of it. Hell, this had been one of the longest relationships he'd carried on in. Perhaps he felt remorseful, but he wasn't entirety sure.

“Answer my question. Did you ever actually love me? Do you...feel anything for me?” She was persistent for an answer, uncoiling her arms from her body and moving just a little bit closer to him. "I don't know how you feel about me, if you ever felt anything at all, but I'm always going to love you. Even when I hate you.” The usual gentle quality of her voice had returned as she shakily reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder. You could say many things about her but you could never say that she wasn't loyal.

She wanted to slap him. To kiss him. To yell at him again. To hold him. Dmitri had a tight hold on her even when he didn't try and she knew that it would take a hell of a lot to fully separate her from him. She moved her hand to place under his chin, tilting his head so that their eyes locked. There was still love in her eyes as she gave the smallest of smiles. She no longer saw some godly man before her. She saw the Dmitri that intrigued her. She saw the Dmitri that she fell in love with. He was organized, funny, affectionate, caring, and to the point. But she also saw him as lonely and distant. She didn't want him to be. She wanted to be there for him.

Her fingers moved to stroke his cheek while her other hand took his and brought it across his body, pulling him towards her. Rather than leaning in for affection, she lay on her back and placed his hands on her belly while retracting her own hands. She wasn't far along enough for kicks but there was still something so special and magical about holding her taut and distended belly. She wanted him to feel the life he created within her, hoping that she might seem some change in him. But she had learned not to get her hopes too high. He didn't want a child - their child. It hurt, yes. But she had five months to change his mind.

He couldn't blatantly lie to her now. Dmitri was not a man with morals, but he knew it would be wrong to lie now. She was so genuine now, so strong. She was not the woman he had taken advantage of for months. He knew that she saw right through him now, and it made him feel vaguely vulnerable. "I do not know." He spoke softly partially because of his unfamiliarity with the language and partially because he was still thinking as he spoke. "I have never loved another, but perhaps it is different with you. Love is tricky, you know." Was that love that made his throat tighten when she ended up placing a hand beneath his chin, or was that guilt? Both were foreign emotions.

Dmitri let her guide his hand along as if he had no will of his own, yet he still fanned his palm out when his hand rested upon her stomach. He hadn't thought he would be as receptive to the unwanted child. Perhaps it was an unshakable instinct. This certainly wasn't the first life he had created, but this one was different. This child that developed inside of Lana marked the beginning of something that Dmitri couldn't name in any language he spoke. He remained expressionless, but he could not help but marvel at it for a moment until reality set in. His life had come full circle, it seemed, for now he was most certainly in the position Vladimir Petrov had been in forty six years ago. There was a child developing within this girl, and he had the choice to accept it or reject it. A smile flashed across his features, but it was his smile, and it was hard to tell what it meant or why it was there. Dmitri shifted himself and leaned across to kiss Lana on the cheek, carefully, gently. Perhaps it was even in a loving manner.

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Character Portrait: Dmitri Petrov Character Portrait: Svetlana Kolmykova
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His hands still smelled like the lotion even after washing the excess from his flesh. Perhaps it was just that everything smelled of the lotion. After all, it had been ever present that night as he tried to rest beside the girl. Though Lana had managed to fall asleep after the events that had transpired, Dmitri had lain beside her with his mind racing. Occasionally, he would find himself being pulled down into the heavy depths of sleep only to be awoken when the door shuddered or a figure shouted outside. Dmitri had lost count of the number of times he stood up to check the locks on the windows and door.

It wasn't that he was trying to keep Lana in; he was trying to keep Sebastian out. Dmitri had seen them chase the Ukrainian off, but he had also seen the look of absolute hatred within his eyes. He knew he didn't stand a chance against him if it came to that. He had never been this paranoid. Never. Suddenly, now, he was absolutely consumed by a dread that ate at him. Sebastian would not be quick to leave. Dmitri was smart enough to realize that. It probably also did not help that he had brought Svetlana into his car.

And so he found himself sleepless, staring at the ceiling with a blank stare, mind racing against his will. Sometimes he would toss on to his side, facing Lana, and he would merely watch her for a bit, her fuller figure silhouetted by the moonlight that filtered in. Dmitri wasn't sure whether the news of the child should bring joy to him or anger. Perhaps he was still in some state of shock. He had tried to plan for this. The Russian hadn't kept in contact with those he'd had outside of the circus, and those within were usually quite promiscuous themselves. He often lacked morals, yet there was no part of him that would want for a child to go through what he had.

When the sunlight began to filter through the window, he stood, gathered up his cigar case and a lighter, and slipped out of the door leading into his car with a panicked look in his eyes. He half expected one of the various carnies to be waiting for him when he stepped out, but he was alone for the time being. As he settled down on the bottom most step, Dmitri worked on lighting the cigar. But it brought him little comfort. Each passing worker or performer had certainly heard of the events from the night before, for they all looked at him with an expression he couldn't quite place. And then it hit him.

Revulsion.

He had expressed it himself on many occasions, but Dmitri Petrov had never been the recipient of this strikingly obvious look of disgust he was receiving. One worker lingered a bit too long for his liking, and Dmitri suddenly stood, cigar pinched between a forefinger and thumb as he moved toward the much younger man, arms raised in a shooing motion. "Fuck off!" he snarled, and the man's expression only showed his disgust more evidently as he moved away, shooting glances back at Dmitri. He turned, moving suddenly again, and made his way back into the train car, popping the cigar into his mouth violently.

Dmitri closed the door in an equally forceful manner, and he stood facing it for a moment, moving the cigar around with his lips as he thought. His forehead pressed briefly against the door, and he muttered something in hushed Russian to himself. Either he heard her moving, or he suddenly sensed he wasn't alone. Either way, Dmitri turned, back almost pressed to the door. "You...are awake," he said slowly, slower than usual, in Ukrainian. He moved about, setting the cigar down in one of the few ash trays around the room before he sat down in his armchair, fingers pattering to an unknown melody on a book he had left on the end table nearby. "How are you feeling? You certainly took a bit of a beating." He couldn't help letting is eyes linger on her stomach as he spoke, as if he still could not comprehend the idea of his child growing within the teenager. Slowly, he stood up again and moved slowly toward her, mouth pulled into something that resembled a frown. "I wish I had been able to stop him from getting to you." His eyes flickered to the mirror and then back at her, though he tried to make sure that when, or if, she turned to him, he looked slightly to the side of her head.