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[He rather liked the winter. And it was one of those perfect snowy days where one could bundle up and just get out and about. For once there was no scheme on the go, no madness to be resolved - just peace, and quiet.]

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Next to summer, winter was Jackie's favorite season. Not just because of Christmas, but mostly for the snow.

At the moment, she was sitting at the top of a long hill of it, decked out in winter wear, coat, scarf, hat with a braid on the top, strapping on her snowboard to her feet.

There's a familiar figure walking up the hill. Jackie grins, getting herself up and snowboards down towards him.

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[He had just been wandering really. In his thick coat and boots, both of vintage style, he looked like something out of a Pushkin novel. He'd try his hand at skiing later, perhaps. Just to see if he could do it.]

[Then there's another form coming towards him, on one of those snowboards. He looked up, a little bit startled as his hat muffled the sound.]

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[Jackie leans back, expertly sliding to a stop in front of him, her breath frosty through her smile. "Hey tall, dark, and moderately creepy. Rasputin called, he wants his hat and coat back."

She only teases because she likes him. And it's not like she has room to talk, there is neon colors everywhere on her outfit. You could practically see her in the dark if you had to.

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[He looked her up and down for a moment.]

They're shooting the snow bunnies movie on the other side of the ridge. [He thumbed over his shoulder]

If you bring your own hairspray, it really will be the 1980s again.

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"Oh, if that were only true..." Like her cousin, Jackie was extremely fond of the 80's.

She hops a bit, angling her board so she won't glide away while talking. "I think this is the first time I've seen you out in the day." Even if that vampire tale was false about daylight. "Are you out looking for the abominable snowman next?"

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"Day off," he replied, a bit crossly. "I take them now and again."

Once every few years, at any rate.

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"Oh....you don't sound too happy about it." Days off were supposed to be fun.

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Okay, fine, ordered out of the Sanctuary so he wouldn't be moping around because he was between projects with nothing to actually do.

"I'm more of an indoor sort," he replied, defensively.

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She nods sympathetically. "Well, now you're sort of outdoors. Got any plans? Skiing? Fort building? Extreme hot chocolate making?"

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He looked momentarily at a loss.

"No?" he said, finally, then looked at her. "Please tell me extreme hot chocolate making isn't a real thing - after pet rocks I take no chances on what the species will do."

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She gives him a mock look of shock and dismay. "Pfft, what? Of course it's a thing." ...as of two seconds ago. She will find a way to make hot chocolate extreme once she gets back to the lodge.

"Well then, what do you do in the snow in...where you're from. Serbia?" They have snow there, right?

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He smiled, and nodded. At least she knew that much, right?

"It's been a rather long time since my boyhood days. And they did, rather a lot. Up in the mountains. We did everything one did, really. Sledding, snowballs, snow angels. That sort of thing."

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"Wow...pretty normal standard stuff. Never been snowboarding then?" This could be a loaded question.

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And isn't he aware of it.

"No," he replied, slowly, looking at her board. "I generally like more control when hurtling down the side of a mountain."

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"It's not that bad," she says a tad defensively. Of course, she had more control than, say, a beginner but still. "It's a lot of fun, you should try it. Plus, it'll make you look really cool. Especially if you can manage to drink a Mountain Dew while boarding off a cliff."

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He grinned at her, shaking his head.

"You realize that I already look cool, and the last two aren't exactly positive ideas at all."

Though he had premonitions about his future, given her enthusiasm.

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Cool in a Russian mafia sort of way? Sure, she'll go with that.

"Don't knock it till you try it. In fact..." she was looking farther down the mountain at the lodge. "...we could pick you up a board and go try a few bunny hills. Nothing too challenging."

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He looked at her for a long moment.

Then did something surprising, since he knew her - she'd talk him into it.

"Oh, very well. Lead on."

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She catches herself from nearly doing a victory dance, trying not to look excessively happy about this idea. "Great! Come on." She carefully angles the snowboard so she can coast gently down towards the lodge. He'd better be following...if she has to, she'll ride the lift back to the top and find him again. It's not like he could hide with that getup on the mountain.

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He was, slowly, glowering just a bit at her suppression of her enthusiasm.

"Great, I'm partying with a snow bunny. Fantastic." There was no real edge to the statement, however. He was, really, growing accustomed to her already. He was also vaguely surprised she hadn't sprouted a tail, wings, or come down with some strange disease by now.

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She laughs with a shake of her head. Somehow, she couldn't picture him 'partying' in any sense of the word.

Please don't voice that, she's hoping this meeting will come off without such things happening. "Don't get too far away," she calls over her shoulder as she coasts down towards the lodge. There wasn't too many people up here yet but as the day went on, there would be more newcomers to try out the slopes.

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Now it was time for him to show her something. Because he can, really. He moved with his vampire speed, racing down past her, even on the board.

And then looked back and waved.

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Her jaw unhinges, completely shocked to see him blur past her and end up at the lodge before she can get there. So much so that she forgets to pay attention to her snowboarding and trips up, going head over board into a heap. "Whoa! Oof!" Headfirst into a snowbank.

"....meant to do that," she groans, pulling herself out and trying to brush the snow out of her hair.

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He helped her up, giving her a bit of a look.

"I'm sure you did, Busterina Keaton. I'm sure you did. So what's the plan?

He did, of course, possess an appreciation for physical comedy.

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"Wow...way to rock the old school." Because seriously, that reference was very nearly dead on its feet and he pulled it out.

"Ok, part one, comma....we get you fitted for a board and a pair of actual snow footwear. Part two involves the ski lift, part 3 is fuzzy but I'm sure it involves flailing in some way. We end number 5 in the lodge with hot cocoa with tiny marshmallows."

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He sighed. "Just because it isn't on American Idol doesn't mean it isn't good. Have some appreciation for the classics."

He listened to her recitation and, at the end, nodded.

"Well, sounds like a valid plan. I'll even choose not to question the lack of part four in your five-part-plan."

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She grins, reaching down to unbuckle her feet from her board. "You catch on fast. Never question the lack of part 4, you can never plan for that part."

Jackie leads the way to the lodge and soon they're trying to pick out a board for Nikola. "Hm...you're probably not going to ride goofy so regular stance it is. Any preference on the design?"

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"You're one of those people," he said, starting to follow her, "that always has a widget left over when they're done assembling furniture, aren't you?"

Later, in the lodge, he was inspecting boards with some curiosity, though with absolutely no clue what to look for. "Whichever one comes with a parachute and a foldable drinks tray," he responded, with a slight grin.

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She really was. "Everyone knows they send extra parts with those things."

Jackie runs a hand along the stack of snowboards before pulling out one with a grin. On the underside was a picture of an atom in blue and white. "How about this one?"

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He took it, gave it a good shake, then shrugged.

"Well, looks suitable to me," he said, with a grin. "Come along, then, kiddo, we're going to give this a try."

Because, despite himself, he was getting enthusiastic.

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She's glad to see him getting into the spirit of it. Jackie heats the board to the counter to rent it and get it fitted with boots.

And then it's back to the slopes! But not the top, Jackie is starting them at the bottom. "OK, lesson number one..." she puts his board in front of him. "Falling down."

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He raised a hand, finger extended.

"Question from the peanut gallery - shouldn't lesson number one be not falling down?"

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"Nope. Falling down happens no matter if you're a beginner or an expert, you need to know how to fall correctly." Jackie is strapping herself into her own board again to show him.

"If you happen to fall and don't turn the right way with it, your ankles twist and could break because you're attached to the thing that's tumbling down the slope. You want to learn how to fall with the board.

Now give me a push." She wants him to knock her over.

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He listened, but the last part was the most interesting. He grinned at her.

"Ok, I'm really going to like this part," he said, then reached out and gave her a small shove.

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She gives him a look even as he's pushing her over, which she lets him do. This is to demonstrate proper falling technique. Jackie falls back easily to land on her behind, her feet and snowboard still flat against the snow with her knees bent. "That's the right way to fall. The wrong way involves your board twisting one way while you twist the other."

Jackie gets up, brushing snow off herself. "If that happens, try to twist with the board instead of against it.

Now...your turn." She grins, giving him a push backwards this time.

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He enjoyed knocking her over like that. He was tempted to do it again. But, well, learning first. Always.

When she pushed him, he mimicked her as best he could, sitting up after making a small snow angel. Just to be him.

"Well, that works. Shall we?"

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Jackie smiles and offers him a hand up. "Yup, lets go." She unbuckles her feet so she can carry her board and leads the way to the ski lift. Easier than trying to lug the board all the way to the top by foot.

At the top, she sits in the snow to strap it back on, watching him to make sure he's doing alright with it on his own. It's not like they're difficult straps but she hadn't taught anyone to snowboard before. It was something you just...did.

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Learn by doing, and mimicry - simple enough, frankly. He also had invented wireless electricity, alternating current, and more inventions than most people could imagine. He could manage a snowboard. He also was taking a definite view of the mountain from where he was.

"Well, what a glorious view," he said, then turned to face the slope. "After you, I suspect."

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Well, you know what happens when you assume....

"Uh uh, you first. Last thing I want is to find out you can't stop and have you run into me." Jackie grins at him from sitting in the snow. If something did go wrong, she could follow from behind and intercept him. She stands up carefully, keeping from sliding down the mountain just yet. "Remember, keep your knees bent slightly to help keep your balance. And falling is ok if you can't stop, just do like we practiced. It's all flat till you get to the tree line there..." she points out the right side of the slope. It wasn't terribly dangerous but it would be bumpy if he drifted too far that way.

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He rolled his eyes.

"I created alternating current, I think I'll be just fine." He waved that part away. He gave the rest a cursory listen, then set off.

This was precisely how his ego generally got him into trouble.

The first few dozen meters were fine. Then balance failed him entirely. And he forgot about falling. Instead, he had the bright idea of putting up his EM shield instead. Which he'd never used in snow. Snow simply began to stick to it, creating a larger and larger snowball. Which flew headlong into the trees.

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She lifts her hands, "Okay, Mr. Alternating Current....go get em."

Jackie watches as he starts down before following behind him at a slow pace. He wasn't doing half bad....and then the snow started flying. Jackie wasn't even sure what was going on, he'd suddenly become a cartoon snowball hurtling down the mountain. And into the trees. Trees were dangerous, you couldn't grab onto them and they could hit you really hard.

Jackie zooms after him, hoping he could still see where he was going. "Fall down! Tesla, stop!" she calls after him, avoiding trees herself.

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Which is precisely what happened really. Right off a tree. The scary part was that he sat up a few moments later, shaking his head.

"I am beginning to hate trees," he stated.

Vampiric durability and healing. Can't beat it, really.

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She brakes hard, unstrapping as fast as she can to run over. Thinking the worst.

But when he sits straight up as she reaches him, Jackie just about has a heart attack of her own. Slapping him in the shoulder arm. "Don't do that! You scared the living daylights out of me!" Jackie sits in the snow next to him with a relieved sigh. "Anything broken?"

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"Ow!" he replied, with more annoyance than anything else. Then he looked down, a bit thoughtful.

"Broken leg, four ribs - but they're better now. Let me tell you, ribs regrowing? That's a weird feeling. New one."

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Okay, now she was a little more sympathetic, crouching down on her heels to talk. "...you can regrow ribs?" There was always something new with Tesla it seemed. "You want to limp back to the lodge and forget this snowboarding thing?" She's not going to make him go again if he's going to be hurting himself this badly. A broken leg was serious enough when you were human, how long could it take to grow back?

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"Can regrow most anything," he said.

He stood up, flexing his leg a few times with an audible pop.

"No, I'm good with another try. Clearly..." he paused, and sighed. "I hate admitting that I should have listened to you."

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Jackie winces on his behalf, hissing through her teeth. "...make you a deal. Don't break anything else and you don't have to." Giving him a hand with standing.

"Maybe we'll start a little closer to the bottom of the hill this time."

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"Aren't you sweet," he replied, with a grin.

"Closer sounds better. I don't fancy becoming a projectile weapon a second time, after all."

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"That was insane, you were like the human snowball..." Wait, strike that. "Or vampire snowball." Two words that have probably never been said next to each other.

Jackie helps him get unstrapped from his board and walks back to her own.

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He laughed, sighed, picking up his board.

"Well, we live and learn. And, occasionally, look a bit like Wile E. Coyote."

He paused for a moment, clearing his throat.

"Didn't mean to give you a scare, there."

Which was about as close as he got to an apology these days.

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Jackie's half smile looks a little more genuine this time and she bumps his shoulder with her own. "No problem. Just don't do it again, you'll break the teacher at this rate. And I don't heal as well as you do."

Second attempt is closer to the lodge, Jackie next to him this time to show proper stopping technique. "You turn the board, like you're turning a car to the curb." Demonstrating.

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"What, don't feel like being the snow bunny with the bum leg? Sitting it out in the lodge, people all impressed with your dedication?"

He grinned, following her as before. The second time, he paid very, very close attention.

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"Tempting...especially if I had a cast for people to sign. But I think I'd miss being able to snowboard for a whole month." That would suck.

"Good, okay...ready to try again?" Jackie taking it slow to follow at his side on the way down the mountain.

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"Absolutely," he said, with a grin.

"Oh," he said, just before they set off again, "thanks for the patience."

One of only a very few rare times he ever said that.

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A grin in return. "Thank you for not dying horribly."

In truth, they put up with each other quite a bit. But somehow it works out in the end.

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They started out again, and it was starting to feel like a better run. He only fell twice, and he did so properly this time, not causing any massive disasters as he went.

And he was grinning.

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Jackie was quite pleased with his progress, letting him go on his own after awhile. She can do quite a bit more in the way of tricks and movement on the hills. Taking a ledge with a hand to her board as she jumps it and lands easily.

He looked like he was enjoying himself. "Ready for another run?" They were going to go back to the top of the mountain this time.

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He, for his part, was impressed by her athletic prowess.

At the end of one run, he brushed some snow from his coat, and grinned at her.

"Oh, absolutely. You're teaching me how to do some of those tricks."

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...back the truck up. He wanted to learn tricks? After only just learning how to stay upright?

Jackie tries not to pull a worried face, "Iiii, don't know...if that's such a good idea..."

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He was Nikola Tesla. After he got the basics of a concept, he ran with it.

"It's a great idea. Come on, don't worry about it. Only time you'll ever get to teach me."

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"....you just want to break the other leg, right? Matched set?" It's not like she'd really be able to talk him out of it. Jackie makes a show of sighing and starts leading the way back up.

"Regular jump to start, nothing fancy." They were starting from halfway again. "Two parts, the take off and the landing. Both have their own difficulties. Hitting the ridge correctly is the first bit." She demonstrates without moving just yet. "Keep your knees bent slightly for shock absorption. The landing you have to hit without having the board go out from under you and landing on your rear or worse."

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"I heal fast. I also learn fast."

He mimicked what he had seen her do, and what she had explained, and on the next run down, he performed the trick in a bit of a wobbly manner.

After that, he started to weave down the hill, adding basic maneuvers as he figured them out. He even went backwards for a short period of time, a grin seemingly plastered on his face.

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Jackie was slowly starting to look less worried, seeing him take to it quicker than she thought. Soon, she was smiling too as they wove a pattern back and forth down the mountain. He wasn't kidding when he said he caught on fast.

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This time when he got to the bottom of the slope, he swung wide, spraying up a tremendous amount of snow with a grin. He laughed, turned to her, and grinned.

"Ok, let's go higher."

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Jackie waves a hand in agreement. "The man says higher. Lets go." Walking the rest of the way to the ski lift. As they get on, she says with a smile, "We'll make a surfer of you yet."

"...of course, the dark hair will have to go." She's kidding, by the way.

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He laughed at the first comment.

"Pretty sure you won't be able to manage that particular trick, kiddo. And the hair stays the way it is, thank you very much."

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"We won't shave it...just give it a few highlights." Wouldn't his coworkers be surprised when he showed up in his lab looking like that?

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(deleted comment)

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She gives him a mock critical look, holding her own board. "Alright...who are you and what have you done with Tesla?"

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Jacqueline Ann Spencer

2017

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