Whiskey Talk


vf_kain_icon.gif vf_kaylee_icon.gif

Scene Title Whiskey Talk
Synopsis A visitor comes seeking the wisdom of K-Mart, and brings tribute.
Date November 14, 2011

The Hub

Quietly, Kaylee Thatcher waited in the shadows, just outside tunnel that will lead her to a man nicknamed K-mart, watching the flow of people in and out. She missed being able to sneak a peek at what they were thinking, something to occupy her mind, rather than the tinnitus like silence of the negated ability. The heels of her boots thump softly against the wood of the box she was currently perched, in an attempt to fill that void; while waiting for things to thin out a little.

People were not fond of being around her. They knew who her father was and that could cause problems with K-mart’s business, since many liked to avoid Edward’s crazy eldest daughter and her fascination with getting out of dodge.

Or maybe that is her own paranoia talking. When you can’t find out the answers easily, the mind makes things up.

To her this wasn’t a place of salvation, it was a tomb. Everyone within it was dead… they just wouldn’t accept it, yet. It was a cage she wanted out of and tried to get out of…often… hence her constant state of negation. Daddy knew better then to trust her to stay negated, so he held a special trump card over her head.

Damn him and his predictive models. Probably, even knew what she was up to right now.

Sliding off the box, Kaylee reaches back to pluck up a bottle of whiskey she had managed to get ahold of. It was a precious commodity, but she worked a little magic. Not a huge flask of it, but it should be enough to get her some sort of information and him drunk if he wants. Better taste than moonshine, anyway. Or that’s what she’d been told, since she doesn’t drink much. The flask is tucked into inner pocket of her old worn leather jacket with the rest of the stuff, she didn’t want to give away all her cards.

Sliding through the doorway, after letting a pair through - getting a distrustful glance for her efforts, Kaylee puts on her most convincing smile as she completes the journey to supply. Her approach is slow, but she finally comes to where she can lean on the fence a little, fingers gripping the chain link lightly. Smile is a touch flirtatious, old habits die hard. “Howdy, K. I hope I ain’t bothering you.” Her accent isn’t as thick as his, coming from a woman who has moved around a lot in her youth, but with roots firmly in Kentucky.

“Business treatin’ you good I hope?” There is a familiarity in the words; as if, she’s been right there, talking to him many times over in the past several years they have been trapped down there.

The sight of Kain Zarek — K-Mart — implies that things probably aren’t good. Kaylee finds him sitting outside of his chain-link walled cache of salvaged goods, sitting on an overturned milk crate with a metal cup of Isabelle’s paint-peeling moonshine in one hand, more unshaven than usual and eyes downcast to his feet. She recognizes the slouch of his broad shoulders, the lines at the corners of his mouth. He’s unaware of Kaylee’s presence until she calls out to him, and for a moment it looks like he mistakes her for someone else from the haunted look in his eyes. Then, brows furrowed and eyes searching for anywhere else to look, Kain sarcastically raises his tin cup in a toast.

“Cheers, Buttercup,” Kain offers in a grumbled tone, tipping back his mouth-burning moonshine for a swig, followed by a sharp crack of breath. “What brings you ‘round my scrap heap?”

The normal – if faked — enthusiasm slides away and settles into one of mild thoughtfulness. Her eyes narrow as she considers the shape of him, trying to decide if she should just turn and leave. Finally, Kaylee slowly crouches, fingers slide down the cool links making the fencing softly rattle. They hook in, giving her a point of balance. “Just the normal,” she offers a touch blandly. The normal being stories from up top…. maybe a little word play as she again unsuccessfully tries to convince him to let her join him in scavenging…. But… “But seems I came around at a bad time.”

A brow arches up as she tilts her head a little, a touch of a smile curls at the corner of her lips. “Penny for your thoughts….” Kaylee offers to him something rarely given… “Seems like you might be needin’ an ear.”

Kaylee might, in her own mind, owe him for being a pest at times. “What is on the mind of a handsome fella like you?”

“Ah’ve ju’ got some… stupid shit on m’mind.” Kain dismisses as he sets his tin cup down on the floor. “An’ no matter what any of them other ladies might’ve said, Ah’ ain’t that cheap.” Hands on his knees, Kain pushes himself up to stand almost as soon as Kaylee had come to sit, and brushes off the back of his jeans. Tongue sliding again the inside of his cheek, he looks Kaylee up and down and arches one brow slowly.

“Does ol’ Blue Eyes know you’re down here with us rats?” Kain asks, turning his back on Kaylee and walking through the open door of the cage that holds his scavenged stockpile. “‘Cause last Ah’d heard, he didn’t want you hangin’ round folks like us. Not after what happened t’Hana.” Reaching up to a shelf, he pulls two items wrapped in newspaper from a box, unwrapping them to reveal a pair of dusty whiskey glasses.

“But Ah’ ain’t no snitch,” Kain affirms as he comes back out of the cage, a glass in each hand. He eyes Kaylee, a dark brow raised expectantly, and offers a glass out to her. “Ah’m also not a cromagnon.” He waggles the glass around. Intending her to split what she’s brought.

“Let’s not mention, he who shall not be named. Please.” Her tone is flat and pretty much saying what she thinks of her father right now. “Luckily, if all the rumors are right, then I’m a free bird… at least for a bit, till he gets bored.” She turns to drop and sit on the concrete floor, back leaning against the chain link.

“Not like I give a rats ass about what he thinks,” Not the complete truth, else she’d be skipping her negation pills or some other sort of thing. “Y’all are far more interesting then the sheep.”

“Serious tho’. Cheap? You?” That thought gets a bark of laughter from Kaylee, as she fishes out the whiskey, even giving it a bit of a wiggle to slosh the contents; mischievous smile a little smug. “I think, I know firsthand, you ain’t cheap.” She gives a dismissive wave of her hand, before opening the bottle to pour. “Don’t you pay them any mind. They just ain’t hung around you as much as I have.”

Kain snorts at the comment, watching Kaylee pour the glass out. When she stops, he ambles back over to his milk crate and settles down on it with a jingle of the chain-link fence. When he settles down, Kain is quiet for a time, looking out over the spacious storage facility’s sotrance, then over to the daughter of the boss with a side-eyed stare.

“Y’shouldn’t joke around like that,” Kain grumbles, “someone mistakes you, hears the wrong thing…” his eyes close, head shakes. “Ah’ ain’t about t’mix business with pleasure, ‘specially not with a kid.” The last bit is an intentional jab, intended to rile Kaylee up and keep her off-balance for what he really wanted to ask her.

“Exactly what kinda’ rumors’ve you heard?” Kain asks, tipping back the glass with a slow sip.

“Kid?!” She does sound rather insulted by that, and for a moment there is a flash of anger, but… then, a thought trickles into her brain. Of course, to him she’s a kid. There is a sigh and a shake of her head. “Sorry, Kain,” It’s genuine, at least coming from her. “Not tryin’ to bring my daddy down on your head… or make people” women “think the wrong of you or nothing. I wouldn’t do that to you, who the hell would talk to me if you didn’t?” Okay, there would be others, but none as interesting…. Well… except one and he probably thinks her a kid, too.

Kaylee sits there, swirling the whiskey in her glass, but not really showing much interest in drinking it at the moment. “I’ve been hearin’ about some strangers. New folk.” Not that she’s tried to see them, yet. She would rather not draw attention to herself. “They’ve been seen around Ray quite a bit. Causing some exciting chatter around the hub.”

There is a tick, before Kaylee asks quietly, worry furrowing her brows, “Speakin’ of people my daddy don’t approve of me hanging around. You know what happened to ‘Dessa?” Her tone says that she wasn’t really sure herself.

Kain’s eyes avert to the floor at the mention of Dessa. He purses his lips, stare goes distant, and he takes a too-large swig from his glass and holds it in the back of his mouth for a moment before swallowing. “She’s dead,” Kain flatly describes, as if mentioning she’s out for a walk. “Went out without her injection, caught the virus. We couldn’t let her back inside…” he looks to the wall, index finger scraping a nail across the rim of his glass.

“Edward had me haul her ass into the river, since we had a guest in the incinerator an’ Poncho’s been busy with…” Kain finally looks at Kaylee, brows furrowed. “The new kids.” That much comes with a grousing uncertainty, the kind of rumble in Kain’s voice that says boy, do I want to talk about this with the begrudging but my parents told me no.

“What d’you know about ‘em?” Kain asks, eager to move the conversation away from Dessa immediately.

The telepath had a feeling, a gut feeling…. But…. Her head tips down, letting long lengths of blonde hair cast shadows over her features. Though it doesn’t completely hide the pained expression at those words. Odessa had been an actual friend, something that Kaylee rarely allowed herself. Paranoia and trust issues really making it hard… knowing that people might just die on her another.

“I was afraid you were gonna say that,” she murmurs softly. Kaylee had been a coward… too afraid to stop taking her meds. Doing that would risk more than her life, still… she had been jealous. Even more so knowing Odessa went out there…. Seen the sky.

Clearing her throat in an attempt to clear the emotions that were choking her, Kaylee shrugs and croaks out, “Not much…” There is a tick before she adds, “Yet.” Eyes lift, a little shiny with tears that will never be shed, but the curiosity is in them. “Only the whispers. That people don’t trust them. That the guy is a bit…” her head wobbles a bit as she tries to find a good word. “Odd?”

Kaylee climbs to her feet, moving to where she can offer her own glass to Kain, leaning against the fencing. Seems today is one of those days she doesn’t feel like drinking.

She might not have her ability, but she is her father’s child… she notices things… hears things. Brows furrow a little bit, “I… “ She starts… stops… sighs. A hand rubs at the side of her head, a flicker of sadness for something lost. “Dammit…. what I wouldn’t give to be able to get into their heads.” It’s no secret that Kaylee misses her ability, even if it saves guys like Kain from her idea of fun. “I can’t help but feel like something is off with them.” Her head lulls to one side as she considers him. “And I don’t think I am the only one….” Eyes narrow as if she could read his thoughts.

“Who isn’t off ‘round here?” Kain asks with a side-eye to Kaylee, dismissing her comments. “We all got our baggage, some’f us just have more practice in hiding it.” Blue eyes divert back down to the dark liquid in his glass, and Kain takes another swig. “Yer a good kid though, smart, good head on yer shoulders…” He looks back over to Kaylee, brows furrowed. “Word t’the wise? Don’t go poking this bear. Ol’ Bug Eyes has his mind set on some cockamaime project with them, an’ it’s dangerous t’get between him and whatever he’s obsessed with at the moment.”

Finishing his glass, perhaps faster than he should have, Kain sets it down on the ground with a soft clink of glass on stone. For a moment he’s quiet, like he’s considering something, but ultimately doesn’t act on it. “Ah’ don’t know what it’s like t’lose somethin’ like what you got,” Kain admits after the silence. “But you know Ah’ understand loss. So…” he draws in a deep breath, then slowly reaches out and sets a reassuring hand on Kaylee’s shoulder. “Ah’m sorry ‘bout Dessa. You two were friends, an’ they didn’t even have th’ courage t’tell you what was what. Life’s a sack’a shit, sometimes.” Kain pauses, hand slipping away. “Maybe more.”

“I kinda doubt there ain’t many of us who don’t know at least somethin’ about loss.” The comment is bland and flat coming from the young blonde, though her gaze shifts away from his, looking off at nothing. “I dunno why losing her hurts more then my own mom…” There are no more tears, they are useless in a place like this, but the sadness is there.

She waves it off, “Don’t matter now. Just gotta move on right?” It sounds like she is trying to convince herself.

Kaylee makes no comment about getting her nose into her father’s business… She couldn’t make any promises like that. It would nag at the back of her mind… unless she finds a distraction.

Fishing the bottle out of jacket again, she offers it to Kain, “Thanks for the chat, K…. “ as an after thought she adds, “and the advice.” Kaylee offers him a small smile. “I know I am just some kid to you, but… “ She pushes away from the fence and chuckles. “….you often make more sense then the rest of them… More fun too. So you ever need an ear, I’m around… not like you don’t know where to find me.”

However, before he can say anything, Kaylee gives him a wink and a grin as she jokes, “Sure you don’t want to stick it to the old man and take me out there with ya?” She know the answer, but it wouldn’t be a typical visit if she doesn’t ask.

Kain watches Kaylee stand, a genuine smile briefly flashing across his face. “Ah’ll be honest with you.” Which is a heck of a statement from him. “All them people I send outside? Ling, the Brit, all’a them. Ah’ don’t care much for ‘em. Can’t. How many’a my folks died in the last year? A dozen?”

There’s a derisive snort that comes from Kain at that. “If Ah’ don’t send you out. Sneakin’ or not, keep that in mind.” His eyes divert to the floor, briefly, then back up to Kaylee. “Ah’ ain’t as heartless as people make me out t’be. But Ah’ve got a very selective heart.”

There is a look of shock on Kaylee’s face, not expecting that kind of answer. A moment of distrust flickers, before eyes cutting away looking to make sure no one is in ear shot. She still can’t quite get herself to look at him as she says, soft enough that only he can hear. “Kain.” there is almost a warning to her tone, eyes finally meeting his again. Is that worry? “It’s dangerous to be selective like that with me.” It is easier for her to keep people at arms length or them her, Odessa was just another piece of proof.

However, just like that, he rendered her unable to ever again ask him to risk her life like that… even in joking. Another avenue out of that tomb…. gone.

Reaching out to take his hand, Kaylee presses that bottle into his hand and folds his fingers around it; she had gotten it for him after all. Letting go once she knows he has it, not lingering, her easy smile returns, tone of her voice holds false amusement. “Don’t drink it all in one setting, alrighty, handsome? I had to jump a hell of a lot of hoops to get that” for you. It isn’t said, but it is implied. “Next time, it’ll probably be Isabelle’s Moonshine.” Her nose wrinkles a bit as she mentions it, clearly not a fan of it.

Kain just smiles away her concern, as if he didn't have a care in the world. The gray in his hair and the bags under his eyes say otherwise. Taking the bottle, he tips it toward Kaylee in a mock toast gesture, then sets it down on the floor next to the cups they'd used. He doesn't get up, or look like he's going to for a while yet.

Stay safe,” Kain offers quietly.

But only long after she's already gone.

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