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Communal Apartments (5 3)

Evening, and the house is quiet. Many people are asleep, getting ready for early work tomorrow. Gregor is awake, in a chair, looking into the quiet open room, thinking in solitude for the moment.

Plants plants plants. Novikova tries to keep up with her studies, even during summers or when called home to help. She's got a book tucked under her arm. A little yawn, as she wanders in - probably to get a cup of water or - pause. She blinks, noticing Gregor. "Oh. Hello," She offers quietly.

Gregor looks up, "Comrade." He says quietly, offering a smile, "You look ready for sleep. Please, do not let me disturb you."

Liliya can be heard long before she's seen, the sound of her voice drifting up the street. Angry tones sniped back and forth with a younger female voice — her younger sister, Zoya, who has crept off instead of sleeping, yet again. The twins have been tucked in for the night.

Novikova smiles back at Gregor. "No, I thought I'd read a bit… I'm not sure how well that will work though. I didn't wake you did I?" Her voice is soft, in an attempt to be considerate to her neighbors. A wince, hearing the sounds outside. She turns her head. "Do you think we should make sure they are okay?"

Gregor smiles, "No, I was awake." He looks to the sound of the voices, and nods to Lil, rising. "Might be a good idea." He moves to the door, opening it and stepping out to look for the angry females. If they're going to end up facing the Nazis, this might be good training.

As Gregor steps to the door, it swings open, threatening to rap him sharply across the knuckles. Zoya bursts through as if she's just been kicked in the backside, caroming off Gregor. "You never let me have any fun!" sulks the girl, twelve-going-on-Satan-Herself, and scampers tearfully for the bathroom. Liliya, for her part, stands at the threshold with flushed cheeks and flashing eyes and calls after her in a low, angry tone, "You wake the twins, Zoyenka, so help me…" Trails off there, as the girl is gone.

Novikova smiles back. "Oh, okay then. And yeah…" She takes a deep breath and follows after, book under her arm. Her eyes widen as the door nearly nails Gregor. "Huh, what'd I do?" Zoya Novikova is thoroughly confused. "Oh-" As the younger Zoya goes storming by. Phew. Not the impish, silly Novikova in trouble. This time. She rubs the back of her head. "I can go make see that she is alright," She offers. Novi's fairly young herself although kind of boggled by this and for her part, goes quiet.

fingers come around the edge of the door, followed by Gregor's face, blinking as he looks from Nov to Lil, then back, rubbing his knuckles. "What happened?" He asks quietly, having been bowled over by a twelve year old.

"Supposed to be in bed, and out the window again, that's what," mutters Liliya, dark eyes tracking her younger sister even though she's long since gone for the bathroom. Dark hair tied back under one of her mother's headscarves, apron still around her waist — she took off out of the apartment some time ago, in pursuit of The Sister That Wasn't There. "I'm sorry for the noise- Gregor, are you alright?" To Zoya the Elder: "No. It's okay. Thank you."

Poor Gregor. Novikova tilts her head, but Liliya beats her to the question. "Oh. Yikes, she should be careful. Those frames aren't very steady on top of totally not listening…" Whoops. Cough. Novi looks innocent and down to her book. "Alright," Nod. She does seem concerned though.

Gregor looks around, then smiles to Nov, ""I wouldn't spread around your knowledge of such things, or she'll get better at getting out." He steps out from behind the door, rubbing his hand, "I'm fine, just wasn't expecting that."

Zoya the Younger finishes in the bathroom, pauses in the hallway to shoot Liliya the sort of hateful glance only a preteen can muster, then slinks away into their room. Liliya watches her like a hawk until the door is closed, then finally starts to relax. First step: close the door behind her, and glance again to Gregor, making sure his knuckles are fine.

Novikova, Zoya 1.0, Zoya the Elder and 'That was a very bad pun' just rubs the back of her head sheepishly. She smiles at Gregor, "It wasn't so much that as those splinters can be a hazard. Though I guess you get splinters if you're bad…" Ah, the joys of old school European fairy tales as a child. Enforcing obedience by scaring children pantless. She lifts her eyebrows at the hateful glance from Zoya the Younger. "Hm. I think she should be happy her sister caught her, instead of one of the others. I got out once and he thumped me so hard I think I traveled through time," She winces at the memory. But notably, she didn't do it again. Shiver. She yawns. "If anyone likes some water, that's what I was getting…" A peer to Gregor and Liliya.

Gregor smirks to Novikova, "No thank you, I'm fine." He looks to Liliya "So this sneaking out and coming back like this is a girl thing?" Such a guy. doop dee doo.

"Please," Liliya says gratefully to Zoya the Elder, untying her apron as she paces further into the common room. To Gregor, an exasperated: "Pfah! As long as there's been girls, they've been sneaking out for their boyfriends!" She's conveniently glossing over the fact she was dragged home by the ear by her mother on more than one occasion, herself.

Nod. Z the Elder (KNEEL BEFORE ZO- … ya!) will duck into the kitchen. It takes a few moments, but she returns with two cups of water. "Really? I liked to sneak out to use the telescope. You can see the best stars around midnight," A sage nod at that. "Least till I got thumped into next Sunday," Her nose wrinkles and she smiles at Liliya, offering a cup of water.

Sveta re-appears at the door after sneaking out -herself- earlier with an orange. Gotta make the rounds locally and show off such a prized possession cuz that's how she rolls. But she still looks pretty beat up as she walks back into the common area and settles herself back on the couch. Legs cross and she leans her head back against the cushion with a contented sigh.

Gregor looks to the door as Sveta comes in. outnumbered by women. eek. He keeps his calm and moves to sit, "Really?" He asks as he settles down, smiling amusedly, then looks tot he kitchen, "Telescope, hmm? I doubt you got into that much trouble for such things."

"Thank you." Gratefully, again, to Zoya. Liliya leans her backside against one of the side-tables and spends a few quiet moments looking around the room before drinking down her glass of water. Yelling at younger Satan-sisters is thirsty work.

Sokolof reappears as well. Albeit with no real stealth. He descends the stairs that lead to his quarters in the apartment, headed for the kitchens. His hair looks vaguely mussed and he's rather blurry-eyed. As if just awakening.

"Weelll… maybe he thought I was sneaking out to meet a boy, he didn't really ask," Novikova notes. She smiles as Liliya takes the cup and nods. "Think nothing of it." She looks around herself and settles in nearby. Might as well read in here! "I guess a boyfriend might be interesting, but /I/ had studying to do. Well I still do, so that's that," A proto-nerd if you will. She smiles in greeting at Sveta. "Welcome back." And a look to Sokolof. "Good morning. I think."

Gregor tilts his head, and looks to the stairs as Sokolof comes down. "Hello, Comrade."

Sveta nods to Novikova. "Do I still get to bunk down at your place tonight? I'm pretty sure I don't have the energy to run all over damnation to find myself a spare space of floor." She tucks her legs up onto the couch, sitting on her ankles and boots. So much for keeping a clean backside. "This seems like a pretty nice city. Is everyone else from here?"

Liliya starts to slide her emptied water glass onto the side-table, then changes her mind and keeps a hold of it, instead. She uses her apron to wipe away the moisture left behind. Clean it now and there's less to do later, Lilushka. She looks pointedly from Sveta to Novikova as the former speaks, but says nothing, clear puzzlement on her face.

"Morning? Not quite yet, I do not think. But it may as well be. Could not sleep," Sokolof says to Novikova. He pauses to deliver a general "Comrade" all around. Stifling a yawn.

A nod at Sveta, "Dah. Until they can assign you one at least. It's fine. I don't really take up much room," Novikova shakes her head. "And there's new blankets, so you can use those and I'll use the old." At least until the newcomer is settled in. A shrug at that. "It's late anyway," She notes quietly. "I've lived here most since I can remember. Except when I go to university," She bobs her head. A smile at Sokolov, "Oh. I'm sorry. Was I too loud?" She looks sad briefly. She looks to Liliyana. Even half-tired, there's still a fair amount of energy in Novi. She's the puppy that grabs a ball then falls over. But doggone it, she's not /done yet/.

Gregor nods, "Da." He answers simply, "Lived here all my life, whole family." he scratches his head, failing to offer any more at the moment.

"Thank you. I'll find my own area soon enough. Though this couch is amazing. I may just pass out on it." Even if its old and potentially very uncomfortable, Sveta apparently feels like its a little red carpet from heaven stretched out underneath her. She settles deeper into the corner and leans her head to the side along the back while she listens to the answers. "How sweet. Aye, I think this town has much potential. Its not home for me but it seems like I could enjoy it. I'd like to get down to the riverbanks at some point. Are there any museums in town?" Cultured, too?

Liliya looks from person to person, dark brows starting to meet in the center. She doesn't provide an answer to Sveta, instead asking, "Comrade? Why do you have no papers?" Between work-shifts and chasing after siblings, she missed Sveta's earlier arrival.

"The Pedagogical school has a fine library, if you are looking for that sort of thing," Sokolof answers Sveta's question. Asked to him or not. "It belongs to the college, but it is open to the public. Their selection is pleasingly broad. It is in the city center, not far from here." He putters about, disappearing briefly into the kitchen to get some water for himself, then puttering back into the main area in short enough order. The answer to Liliya's question is awaited with some curiosity.

"There used to be an old building by the library that had some bones and things. Like this one creature that looked really weird," Fingers held up to face. Perhaps a raptor or something. "But I don't know if that is even open," A shrug. Novikova ponders this. "That is a fine library," She agrees with Sokolof."I don't mind fetching textbooks sometimes, but I am only allowed to check out so many," Ponder. By now, Novi has settled in, book in lap. She does seem curious about the lack of papers herself, but given that she's apparently willing to share a bunk/apartment with Sveta, there is some trust and innocence.

Gregor looks from Lil to Sveta, curious himself, no pepers? He missed that from earlier.

"Mmm. Yes I might like to see the library. See what is about. At least look at their collection of periodicals and newspapers. I haven't seen much news in the last four or five months. Mostly just rumors." Sveta's eyes lid and she ends up blinking. A hand lifts to wipe at her nose and cover her mouth while she coughs. Shoulders fire up and fall in a quick shrug with the question of her papers. "I don't know what happened to them. I just got into town today and was sent here to find some room and board. My papers are probably burned or buried in some rubble or something. I haven't seen them in a month. But if you run across them?" She waggles a finger towards Liliya. "You let me know. I think my new political officer will probably demand them."

"I…see." Which is to say, Liliya doesn't. At all. Dark eyes move around the room again, skipping from person to person, before she adds, carefully polite, "Welcome to our home, then." She pushes off the side-table and adds, "If you'll excuse me? I must finish in the kitchen before midnight." Just like that, she's slipped away into the kitchen. The sound of running water starts up a moment later. Her family's dishes were still waiting to be cleaned.

Sokolof gives Sveta a long look for that answer about her papers. Nothing is said for it, but it does not appear to sit well with him. "Hrm…" he mutters, pulling out a chair from the table to sit in and lighting up a cigarette. The man is rarely separated from a smoke. A shrug, at Sveta's comment about the newspapers. "Reading between the lines of those is always more interesting. It is dominated by talk of the Fascists, of course. Even the papers say they will press the city hard now that summer has broken."

That makes Novikova a bit curious. "Well. I'd honestly get some replacements. They don't really like it if we forget our papers," Novi is deliberately vague on the 'they', but one can imagine just who she refers to. It's an uneasy subject. "I'll split what I have with you and you're totally welcome to bunk in though. But they do like you to have papers so we know how much we get alloted. Stuff like that," Nod. "And it'd mean you get nicer living quarters than my apartment." Grin. "But I wouldn't fret tonight." She smiles at Sokolov. A pause. The smile fades. "Hmm… That's kind of depressing. I hope not."

Gregor nods, "Mmm replacing your papers is important. This way you can claim they were recently destroyed and they can get you new ones." He seems to agree with Novikova, and doesn't seem any more unwilling to have Sveta in the house.

Sveta doesn't seem too concerned about the papers for whatever reason. Even if she should. She might even know she should be worried. "I will get some replacements when I have time and have rested. What are they going to do? Kick me out of the Red Army?" She snorts softly, smiling with her own joke. Arms cross and rest between her head and the couch, leaning into the makeshift pillow of her arms and uniform. "Bah. I don't care for politics. I'm more interested in who and where. I heard a few weeks ago that Moscow fell. Turned out to be some damned German propoganda trick." She sighs heavily. "I appreciate the hospitality, though. I'll do my best to keep out of everyone's way and pull my share until I leave again."

"The Fascists are good at spreading lies and trickery," Sokolof mutters around his cigarette. "But I hope most are not so foolish as to fall for them. It is a dangerous time to be traveling the countryside. I am most relieved you made it here safely, Comrade…?" He trails off, eyes focusing on Sveta, regarding her from behind his thin-framed glasses. "…I apologize. I am a poor one with names. How are you called, again?"

"… I don't know what they would say," Novikova answers quietly as to what they'd do without papers. She just fidgets a bit. "I suspect it'd be easier to travel with them," She notes and smiles. "I'm sure it can wait a day or two then. Resting is good," She notes. A deep breath. "I'm glad you're alright here too." Nod. She yawns again. "But-" Even Novi is running out of steam it seems. "I think I should get to bed. The store is open tomorrow and even I have to do something resembling work." She winks at that.

Gregor nods as he rises, "I believe I will retire as well, sleep would be good for tomorrows work." He says, stretching once he's on his feet and making ready to go to sleep.

"Sveta. Sveta Kornakova," she introduces. "Travelling was not difficult. I had the other men and women rolled up from my unit to travel with me. Nobody even questioned it. Some of these people I have known for many years as we were conscripted together from Kharkov for the defense." This shrug isn't as quick. She's tired and its in her eyes. A soul who has already seen enough. "I appreciate the concern. Truely. Things will work themselves out one way or another, though. Such is life, yes?" A nod to Gregor as he moves for the exit. "Da svedoniye, tovarisch."

"A goodnight, Comrade Zoya. Comrade Gregor." Sokolof offers the comrades all around. A nod to Sveta, as if jotting down the name in his head more clearly now. "Da. Such is life." He finishes off his water in a long drink, peering at the glass with a frown. "I could do with something stronger than this, I do think."

Novikova does pause at that. She tilts her head. There's a sympathetic look. She smiles at Sokolof. "Good night Comrades," A little wave. "Be well." She shuffles off to bed.

Sveta dips her her slightly to Sokolof. "Aye." But those eyes perk at the mention of something stronger. "Don't tease me, friend. Do you have something else we might drink? I've seen enough water to last a lifetime. Perhaps some potato vodka???" her head lifts from its rest on the couch and she sits a little straighter.
Sokolof cracks a slim grin, rising from his chair. "There should be a jug in the kitchen. What would Stalingrad hospitality be without vodka, eh? I shall pour you one as well." With that he putters into the kitchen. The whole pouring process doesn't take him long, however. He returns in short order, his former water glass now carrying a liberal amount of potato liquor. A second glass is offered to her.

"What would -any- hospitality be without vodka? I tell you its just tragic. But thank you. I don't like to ask for such things. Its just not right. Never know how much others have." She takes the gless in both hands and sighs at the liquid inside. A happy little smile slips across her face and suddenly those packed on years don't look so severe. Maybe she really is as young as she might one day claim. He face tilts to smell at it before lifting it towards Sokolof, waiting for the man to offer a cheers.

"Share and share alike," Sokolof toasts. With a certain sardonic note in his voice, though he seems equal parts to mean it. His glass is raised to clink with hers, and then he promptly drinks. Settling back into his chair. His cigarette is still there waiting for him, though he concentrates on the drinking for the moment. "The men and women you came here with, Comrade Sveta. They are quartered in the city now as well?"

"I will definitely drink to that, sir." She tilts her head to the cheers and sips at her own glass. Its as if Life had been swallowed. Her eyes light up and she settles back. The warmth is unmistakable. Some things can't help but make a person smile. the memories associated with this beverage must be quite strong. She sips again after his question before nodding. "Da. We just did a march. A few weeks ago the Germans took my home and we had to get out of there. We tried to break through a few times but..?" She swallows and looks to the floor. "Futility was killing too many. Most of my unit was pointed towards this building and told to bed down. I do not know how long we will be hre before we have to return to the front lines, though. Probably no more than a few days." She coughs softly and sips at the drink. "Thus, my reluctance to care too much about my papers as they will not be ready before I have once again left, I think."

"It is hard times, Comrade, hard times," Sokolof agrees, grimacing at the tale. He sips more from his glass, but then goes to nursing his vodka. His cigarette needs attending to. "For all of Mother Russia. Still, it is dangerous to go too long minus your papers." A pause and he offers, "I work not far from a government office. If you like tomorrow I could stop by and give them your name. Perhaps they can prepare some for you and bring them by the apartment, if you would like to rest further." It is highly unlikely a shiftless bureaucrat is going to make housecalls in that fashion, of course, and he does not seem naive enough to assume it a possibility. Still, he watches her curiously for her reaction to the offer.

"Yeah. Nobody has it any easier than anyone else." Sveta sips at the drink once more. At her rate, she'll be drunk in no time. But she sets it on the table and lets it go for the moment. There's a soft laugh at his offer and she shrugs. "If you can get someone to come down here, you are more than welcome to. I'll escort them down to find whoever I need to in order to verify who I am. Shouldn't take but a few moments. Worst case? They drum me out of the Army. Then I can try to get to Odessa and my family." Obviously she's been sheltered at least a good portion of her life from the more violent and brutal aspects of the party.

Sokolof eyes Sveta askance, as if trying to decide precisely what to make of that answer. His reaction is nothing more telling than a shrug and another gulp of vodka. "Perhaps, if I find the time. The day shall be long tomorrow. Odessa? I have never been. I was born in Pyatigorsk, but I came to Stalingrad to work as a younger man. It has been home to me for more than ten years on."

"Well if you find the time, I would appreciate. But, as I said, Its likely an effort in futility. I'll probably just have the Political Officer deal with it." Sveta shakes her head. "But I have not been to Odessa, either. My husband's mother is from there. She and my daughter were evacuated from Kharkov but I have not heard from them for some time." You can't fake frustration and concern like she's trying to swallow. The woman isn't close to losing it but her jaw sets and it hurts. Maybe even physically. "But I'm sorry. You said Pyatigorsk? I'm afraid I don't know it. Where is that from here?"

"Many things are efforts in futility. Yet, we press on," Sokolof says around his cigarette. His manner shows a touch more sympathy when she mentioned her daughter. Just a bit. His gaze to her is still a bit sideways. Another puff is taken on his cigarette before he sets it down in his ashtray again. "It is far to the west, and not a place of much note. I came to Stalingrad for training and work, as I said, but I've still family back there. My son and daughter are there now, with my sister's family. It is far from all this, and small enough to be of little care to the Fascists, I hope."

Sveta clasps her hands and looks back to Sokolof, even if he won't look at her straight. Either it doesnt bother her or she's used to it. "I hope for the sake of your family they never bother to care about it. I'm sure your wife is worried sick. I know I was when my husband was sent off. It makes us all turn in our beds." She clears her throat and reaches for the glass once more. "How often do you all get to write each other? Is the post still working between here and there?"

Sokolof grimaces some when Sveta mentions his wife. He replies shortly, without looking at her, "She is beyond the worries of these times. My Nadya has been gone some three years now." He drinks some after stating that, silent for a moment. It's not a particularly comfortable quiet but he shows little inclination to break it right away. He does finally reply, "I try to write my children weekly. The letters come infrequently now, especially across such a distance, but the post still runs. I am not sure if it is less efficient now than it was before the Fascists came." He smirks at his minor dig at the state mail system.

"Apologies, my friend. I'm sorry. I lost my own husband sometime last year to the Germans. But sometimes my mouth moves faster than it should. It gets me into a good bit of trouble." Sveta clears her throat and sips at the vodka again. "At least you have contact with your children, though. That's a blessing." There's a bit of a sympathetic smile to the man for his dig at the mail system. "Yet we press on," she repeats of his own words. "Do you know if there has been a general call-up of civilians here in Stalingrad?"

Sokolof waves his free hand, dismissing the apology as unnecessary. "It is of no moment. And I am sorry for your loss as well. I would say time dulls the pain, and I suppose it does. But I shall not lie, it is still a loss I feel most keenly. But we press on, yes." Drink. He finishes his vodka, eyeing the glass, as if pondering the pros and cons of another. To the question, he shakes his head. "It has not come to that yet. I suspect they will call to the militiamen and reserves before the general populace." Still, he sounds more fatalistic than hopeful. The possibility looms.

"The truth. I don't know when my husband died. I know he stopped writing a week after he left. I received all my letters to him back in bulk about five months later. For every German I killed around Kharkov, it helped a little more. Though Im not sure my heart will ever be mended." Sveta looks to the bottom of her glass. "They will probably have to. We were told we were only going to be fighting a small number of Germans. I heard rumors that the Generals knew better which is why they recruited us as they did before the fighting. I don't know what's true except that we needed every man and woman we could just to hold them for a few weeks. It was..difficult." Understatement of The Year.

"Nadya died of pneumonia. There is little to revenge oneself on from that." Sokolof picks up his empty glass but makes no move to refill it. His cigarette's smoked down, and his puts it out in his tray. "There is certainty to it, at least. These, these are difficult times, Comrade Kornakova." Yet more understatement. He still eyes her somewhat askance, but he seems more thoughtful now. And, perhaps, more troubled. "I shall not have time to give your name to the government office tomorrow, I do not think." A shrug. "The next day, perhaps. I bid you good-night." That said, he stands. "Vodka is good to help one sleep."

Sveta lifts her glass towards Sokolof with his words about his wife. "Behind every strong Soviet man is a stronger woman. We fight to stay as long as we can," she allows reverently. The axiom goes back centuries in one version or another. A quick sip of the vodka and she settles it back into her lap. "Well, if you feel you need to talk to him, I am here, friend. I have nothing to run to or anyplace to go, I fear. Sleep well and my warm dreams find you." She stays on the couch, leaning her head back. She'll probably pass out in exactly that same position.

"Sleep well," Sokolof echoes. He's housebroken enough to return his dirty glass to the kitchen before heading back up the stairs to his room. Leaving Sveta to enjoy the comforts of communal furniture and vodka.

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