A Shitty Christmas


aman_icon.gif kaylee6_icon.gif

Scene Title A Shitty Christmas
Synopsis Respective revelations come to a miserable head for both Aman and Kaylee on Christmas Eve. But at least the evening ends as one neither one spends alone.
Date December 24-25, 2020

It's been one month and twenty days, and Christmas is shaping up to be the strangest this year it's ever have been. Rather than sit out and work through this in his living room, where Isaac might see, Aman sits with yet another bottle of beer, elbows on his knees. He blinks carefully at the floor.

This has gone beyond the dinner earlier and the drink to celebrate Christmas Eve. This is something more upset, more mournful.

His tongue rolls against the back of his teeth and the side of his cheek in a painful decision. It's late, right? Maybe it's okay if he calls late. Or maybe because it's late, it's too late to call. By the time he circles back to that logic, though, he's already hit call; the phone is already bubbling with a dialing tone.

"Fuck," Aman breathes to himself, glancing to the clock at his bedside that reads well past eleven, then to nothing at all while he waits. When it sounds like the call might've connected, he asks, "Kaylee?" into the air.

He tries to play it cool. The alcohol in him does him no favors in disguising something might be wrong.


The voice on the other end is groggy, but filled with worry and confusion. It was an odd time to be calling and that instantly has Kaylee worried. She might have also had a few drinks on her own, since this wasn’t exactly a fun holiday for her. It was a lonely one, despite a visit from her family and Luther.

There is a rustle of sheets as the woman turns over onto her stomach and props herself on her elbows. Leaning over to squint at the clock, she continues groggily. “It’s the middle of the night. Is… are you okay? Is everything alright?” Her voice seems to be clearing a little as the cobwebs of sleep are slowly brushed off by concern.

"Oh, you're asleep," Aman reflects out loud, apology in his voice. "Shit, shit, shit. Sorry, Kaylee, I—"

He lets out a humbled, self-deprecating laugh, one hand hanging off the back of his neck. "I didn't realize how late it was. That's my bad. I was just— gonna call you, ask you if you got to spend the holiday with everyone you wanted. Though maybe that's tomorrow?" He sounds thoughtful, then distracted. "And if you hadn't, if you'd mind company from someone in the same boat."

A beat passes.

Harshly, toward himself, he messily acknowledges, "That sounded a lot better in my head than it does now that I've said it. Sorry, it's—"

"It's just been a day. A month." With a bit more gloam he tacks on, "A year."

"Felt like hearing a friendly voice," Aman finishes in so quiet a mutter it's barely picked up by the receiver.

With a humorless huff of amusement Kaylee’s face drops into the pillow. Rolling onto her side, she sighs out and rubs at her eyes with the heel of her hand. “I didn’t, not really. A friend came by for a few hours, but… ” It was the downside of her situation. Divorcee who lost full custody of her son and had feelings for a guy who was emotionally unavailable. “Anyhow, tomorrow my family tends to push me to do at least Christmas dinner, but that’s it. Everyone else has their own families.”

The words are bland and full of self loathing and loneliness.

There is another sigh, before she says softly, “So, yeah, come on over.. I’m free. Definitely, sounds like you need a friend.” She might need one, too, she doesn’t say. But it’s obvious she’s worried about him.

Aman lets out a hard sigh when she signals invitation, uncertain. Guilty. "Are you sure you'd… I could come by tomorrow in the morning or something." After all, she's asleep, even though they're talking. In his head, she's resting and he's a bother.

"You should get rest," he apologizes. "All this'll still be here in the morning."

He might be sober and possibly more likely to be mum on some of the issues, but…

Aman… just come over.” The tone he gets isn’t irritation, she has made her decision and will hear no argument. Kaylee has spoken. “I’m up anyhow,” she states as she flips off the covers and rolls up to her feet.

“I’ll be cross if you don’t,” she adds as motivation.

Catching sight of herself in a full length mirror, Kaylee grimaces and combs fingers through her hair. “When can I expect you?” she asks, stepping up to the railing at one end of the bedroom so she can look down into the apartment proper. She’s quick to notice the small mess of food containers and a half drunk bottle below her.

She'll be cross if he doesn't. Aman lets out a wounded laugh under his breath. "Can't have that. You know where I live. You'll come find me." He shakes his head to himself, considering his bare feet before lifting his eyes and sighing. "Give me… Thirty-ish minutes. I'm too drunk to bike and it's too cold anyway. I'll grab a rideshare and see you soon."

He swigs what's left of the bottle on the nightstand for a final dose of liquid courage.

"See you soon," Aman mutters on repeat before clumsily hanging up.

Kaylee's Residence

Raytech Industries Campus

He at least doesn't ping-pong ball his way down the hall, bouncing from one side to the other. The line he walks is straighter, owing to the time period since his last drink and the blast of cold going on outside. They were supposed to be getting snow right now— the first White Christmas in years— but that, too, has proven a disappointment. Wind and accumulation came, but in the form of rain-come-sleet-come-rain again.

It felt apropos of the general Christmas mood this year.

"Hey, Kaylee," Aman greets with an attempt at warmer disposition, one she's more deserving of than his shitty mood. The red scarf wound round his neck over his brown and faded-color jacket is theoretically cheerful, even though it did little to cut the cold. "Merry Christmas."

“Merry Christmas,” Kaylee is not fooled by his attempts to seem cheery, but still offers him a smile in return. “Vodka? Whiskey? Maybe be some beer in the fridge. Or I’ve coffee or tea.” Shutting the door behind him she motions him into the apartment, “Choose your poison.”

In the time between the call and his arrival, Kaylee’s managed to pick up and get the place into better shape…. At least the food containers are gone. Herself however, less so put together. So he gets a sleep deprived Kaylee with finger combed hair in a messy ponytail, leggings and a bulky gray hoodie with NYPD in dark blue.

This apartment at the new Raytech campus housing is nothing like her other one. It was roomy and airy, very open concept, though she’s cut down on that with some long gossamer curtains. If it hadn’t been dark, he’d notice all the windows… lots of windows and skylights. Especially in the living room.

What was there that he could see a lot of? Plants. Lining the living areas and setting on various surfaces.

It was a lot different then her small cozy place.

Aman winces at the thought of more alcohol, but it's better than the alternative. "Maybe I can have one more beer before I hit the water. Or coffee. Or tea."

It's weird that…

"It's fucking weird still to think you have alcohol just… lying around now." Observation which should have been inward now outward, he takes a moment to at least appreciate the new layout. He's not seen it in the dark, needs a second to familiarize himself with items he needs to avoid walking into.

To that effect: "Where's Willie?" Aman asks with suspicion.

Almost as if on cue, there is a familiar graveled growl, but this time from above. Looking up he can see the old cat loafing it on the wide banister of the upper level. Those half-lidded, suspicious eyes stare down at him, while his tail tip flicks unhappily.

Kaylee herself gives a short laugh, “Yeah well… once I learned I could drink.” She motions him to sit if he wants as she brushes past the curtain into the kitchen that cuts through the center of the apartment. The curtains are sheer enough that he can see the former telepath open the fridge. “I’ve… probably been drinking too much.”

On the table is glass partially filled with orange juice and more than likely Vodka. Seems she might have already started. She doesn’t hand it to him directly, but dips down to set it on the coffee table. Next thing might be unexpected.

Kaylee wraps arms around his waist in a tight hug, her head dropping to his shoulder. “I’m sorry today sucks…” she murmurs a little sadly. It’s a wild guess, but she still throws it out there.

It does take him by surprise. His arms lift out to allow her in, and after a blink, he wraps them around her shoulders, one hand laying on the back of her head. "Me too," Aman admits quietly. "I'm sorry it sucks for you, too." He takes a moment in the quiet, firming the hug around her for her sake rather than his own. For a good beat, it's not himself and his problems he's focused on.

"I'm sorry I feel the way I do about it, too," comes from him once it ends, his embrace easing. "Half-part relief, one part confusion and regret, another part… different regret?" He leans his head down, cheek against the top of hers as he shifts his hand down to her shoulder. "It's dumb. It sucks and it's dumb." Finally he lets go of the hug to slump down into the couch, leaning back into it. He tries to keep an open awareness of the cat which could potentially enter his view, but his senses are dulled. He picks up the beer bottle and lifts it up in cheers.

"I made a mistake last month," he admits with some misery. His brow lifts, head tilting as he amends more flatly, "Technically the mistake started long before that but it came to a head then."

Released from the hug, Kaylee watches him sit and retrieve his beer. She doesn’t hide her concern. Moving around the table, she grabs her own drink and sets on the other end of the couch.

Leaning forward, she touches her glass to his bottle.

Just because they haven’t seen or talked as much lately, doesn’t mean Kaylee doesn’t care or worry. She always has. “I don’t think I’ve even seen you this… off before.” Tucking a bare foot under her as she settles in and asks, “Tell me what happened?” Without her ability, she’ll have to rely on him telling her what was wrong.

It'd almost be worse if he didn't have to say a word to come out with it. Aman's glad for that one, small kindness the universe has done them through the unkindness of Kaylee's ability being stolen in the first place. Their glasses tap, and he takes a long sip from his drink.

"Do you remember… in February, when Des showed up at Isaac's when I was hypnotized?" He looks to Kaylee directly, comfortable and open with the topic at this point. "She knew where I was because her ability somehow linked her to me. She was aware of where I was at all times, aware of what I was feeling, and she knew something was wrong that day— so she risked showing up because she felt something was wrong."

"That link— that emotional bridge— it runs both ways." Aman presses his lips together with a small shake of his head. "Sometimes she can turn it off, but she can't break it. So we've been connected ever since then. Through her being in prison, through everything that's happened since, she had another person in her head and I had another person in mine."

This isn't his information to be sharing, but at the same time, isn't it? It feels so liberating to be able to talk about it, to explain finally why Odessa was on his mind at all the times she shouldn't have been. Especially when he was with Kaylee, and she deserved anything but to hear that constantly.

"We bonded, sort of, through that. And then— one thing lead to another, and last month she told me she had feelings for me. It…" Now Aman begins to struggle, because this is messier. He can't look right at Kaylee anymore. This is regret, and shame, and so much that he still doesn't even know how he feels about. "She said all this shit how she wanted out of her relationship she was in, how she wanted to be with me, and I felt how bad she wanted that. I got drunk, I lost sight of where her feelings ended and mine began, I slept with her, and when it was done I told her if she broke up with him, that I'd be there."

He begins to shake his head, looking down to his drink. "She got so fucking happy, Kaylee. She made it seem like she'd go home and end things that night."

"Now," he says with a quaver in his voice, "It's been over a month. And I swear, Kaylee, each day she's getting happier. And I could be relieved— glad for her, even, if she finally found what she was looking for— but I'm fucking in it now. I got scared she actually would break up with him because I didn't know what I'd do then, but she didn't, and I didn't realize how bad that'd hurt, too."

"Merry fucking Christmas to me, right?" Aman mutters into his beer before taking another drink. He asks into the bottle, "What's the phrase— play stupid games, win stupid prizes?"

There is a silence that sits heavily between them. It was a lot of information, but it also explained a lot. “Jeezus…” she breathes out, shifting to sit back against the couch almost stunned by those words. “That.. is..” The laugh that bubbles up is one of disbelief and pity, her head shaking. “That is really fucking messed up, Aman. Gawd… even I need a drink after that.”

Which she does, downing a decent portion of it. Leaning forward she set the half empty glass on the table. “I gotta ask.. Did you even want to play the game?” Looking at him, she studies his face, “A mental connection like that is… it’s fucked up… Especially, if you don’t have any control over it.”

Kaylee's head shakes still as she looks away, only stopping when something occurs to her. “You had that when we were dating? Fuck… It all makes so much sense now…” That last said softly and almost sadly, half to herself.

Her jaw clenches with remembered emotions. “Especially that day at Isaac's.” Even with so much time passed, there was still some hurt over that.

Aman's mood dips as he nods, glad it's all in the open even if he regrets it took so long. He finally looks back toward Kaylee, that guilt in his eyes. "I'm sorry. I tried to keep it to myself, to… handle it and not let it get in the way. I told myself I could do it. Keep everything separate."

He shifts his weight as he leans back, bottle on his thigh. "I didn't sign up for the link. She's apologized a dozen times for it. For putting me through her ups and downs. And for a long time, I was okay with it. It… felt right to be there for her. To not fault her for what was an accident, to try and make the best of it." His eyes wander. "And when she was in jail, it was like… penance, for me, almost. I got away and she didn't, so the least I could do was provide moral support. Right?"

This is how he justified it, anyway. "I got used to it. Her ups, her downs. We could communicate somewhat through the …" Aman struggles for the right word, fingers waggling in the air. "Shifts. Pings? I don't know." He's never really given word to this before.

"But I'm done now, I think," he clarifies in a voice that's suddenly raw. "I wanted to help her get out from the mistakes she was making, and if she wants it too, then I guess I still do, I just—" He lifts up then puts the bottle back down on his leg in frustration, grinding it into his thigh. "I can't do this anymore. I got upset earlier tonight after she went home and started having an amazing fucking night with Ace, and I'm the fucking bad guy for it. And that… that's not fair to either of us."

"I'm not the man she put up on a pedestal and wanted to be good for. And she…" He seems pained, even as he tries to shrug it off. "She can't see anything but him when she's with him anyway. It's all lose-fucking-lose."

“You’re not the bad guy, Aman,” Kaylee says with an edge to her voice. Even though she was trying not to show the anger she was feeling in his defense. “She has the control and the fact that she let you feel that. Fuck, man. That’s torture.”

Swallowing against the emotions that all this has invoked in her, Kaylee can’t help but feel… pain for him. Maybe, also she can relate on some level. Which makes her have to blink back tears. “You deserve better. Odessa… “ Kaylee sighs out and lets her gaze fall to a point on the floor. “If I had known, I would have warned you that she has a type and good guy like you are not it.” There is an apology in the look she casts his way.

“And I can’t…. No….” Kaylee leans forward to grab her glass again, the liquid sloshing. He can hear her frustration over the situation. The helplessness. “I won’t believe there isn’t a way to break the connection.”

Aman tilts his head back and laughs openly when he's described as Not Odessa's Type. He grins at the ceiling, palm coming down flat on the top of his bottle. "Fuck," he sighs upward. Because if he doesn't laugh, what will he do? Still with that smile, he shakes his head and looks off.

"Kaylee, I took money and used a stolen ability to help with a terrorist attack. I've helped people steal before. I nearly helped you steal things important to you straight from the government." He wraps his fingers around the neck of the beer again. "Stealing, lying, cheating with someone— those don't all sound like good guy traits to me. Fuck if I don't try to do good things every now and then, but could the two of you stop putting me on a fucking pedestal?" He takes another good drink to keep him from going further on that line of thought, glancing furtively at her when he's done.

Not with guilt, though. Not for this particular subtopic.

"I realize with the whole world-ending-world-saving ouroboros train the two of you live your lives on that your perception of good and bad might be a little skewed, but don't give me credit I don't fucking deserve."

Aman leans forward to set the bottle's dregs down back on the coffee table. "If she wasn't motivated before to find a way to cut it off, I'm sure she is after I ruined her mood. She put me on mute earlier, which was new. So."

He draws a face, looking down between his knees and then back up. "I don't know," he slurs.

It’s Kaylee’s turn to laugh, about choking on a drink from her glass. Brushing a hand across her face and looking at the orange juice clinging to her wrist. “Aman. I’m not putting you on a pedestal, but compared to the ones I know about, you‘re a saint.” She points out, before licking at the orange juice at the corners of her mouth.

Getting up to retrieve something to wipe her face, she continues to explain, “Being a good guy doesn’t mean flawless or… or… perfect. It means you don’t go around planning genocides or kill someone because they are different from you. You actually feel something when you hurt people. And buddy,” she pauses leaning on the counter and giving him a flat look, “you’re not the only one to assist terrorists in this room.” Her words seem to slur a bit… and she’s probably saying too much about herself… but…. “And I’m talking more than Ferry. Everything you described is child’s play to the shit I’ve been in the middle of.”

After quickly wiping her face and hands, Kaylee tosses the towel on the counter, replacing it with a bottle of vodka. She brings it with her into the living room. Motioning at him with the bottle, she says again. “You are a good guy and deserve better than her.” Giving him a look that dares him to argue with her, Kaylee drops back down on the couch.

He does.

"Kaylee," Aman says more solemnly than before. Serious.

"Good men are the kind who sacrifice their lives for others, who live their lives in service. They're the type of men who fight in wars for freedom for beliefs that aren't even their own. Good men are the kind who donate their time, money, and labor to seeing that the community around them doesn't go hungry, doesn't go underserved. Good men, like you said, are saints."

"And I have done nothing better men have, men who won't even be remembered as good men because history forgot to write their names down." His brow comes together as he stresses, "Because when it came time to fight, I didn't even declare a side. I didn't—" Unexpectedly emotional about this, his voice cracks, and it brings him to a stop. A note of surprise leaves him and he shakes his head. "Don't fight me on this. Please."

"I'm not self-centered enough to think myself evil, just among the morally-grey mire of most mere mortals," he argues just as solemnly as he started. "And I'm no better or worse than Odessa is, or you are. We're all just lucky to have come within each other's orbits in the first place."

For a moment it looks like Kaylee is going to keep arguing with him, but Kaylee can only roll her eyes and sigh out a “Fine.” But something about the look she gives him says she won’t stop believing what she believes.

“You deserve better,” is the only thing Kaylee says, stubbornly, adding more vodka to her glass. “Especially after that bullshit she pulled.” Picking up the glass, she gives him a matter of fact look, “There are plenty of morally-grey fish in the sea.”

There is a grimace after she takes a drink, “Ooooh, I should have gotten the orange juice too. Wow.”

Settling the glass back down, she turns sideways on the couch and props her elbow on the back of the couch and rests her head against that arm. “What am I going to do with you? What are you going to do?” Kaylee asks, that concern for him returning. Reaching out she touches his arm. “One thing I know, you’re gonna be okay. Might not feel like it right now, but… you will be.” She gives him a lop-sided smile, but it fades and her eyes grow distant.

“I should know,” Kaylee says softly.

That good part of him she's knifing him about threatens to rear its head when she adds vodka with no chaser to her mixture. Aman allows, "Yeah, I deserve better than the hole I dug myself, but that's the thing about holes…" but he dithers after saying as much.

Her as close as she is, he finds his hand lifting, knuckles grazing her forehead to push her hair back from it. He gives her a small smile. "I'm hoping you'll forgive me for crashing your Christmas. And as for me…" Aman's smile becomes less sure. "I don't know."

"I'll be fine, I'm sure," he agrees. "But I feel fucking awful how all this has played out. It wasn't supposed to be like this. She was going to leave him, I was going to get my shit together… like I said, I was scared, but…"

His eyes close in a wince. "But no, I told her she needed to shoulder the weight of leaving him on her own. And now this." His hand lifts away to gesture loosely at a nebulous everything.

"All this."

He sombers again with the melancholy of a drunk, but the spirit of an optimist. "Wasn't all bad. I'm not sure I'd have had the nerve to go on that first date with you if she'd not told me what a good person you are. Down-to-earth." Aman's smile is a wavering thing, self-conscious on its return. "No matter how crazy things got, I'm glad we got what we did out of this."

While she doesn’t pull away from the touch, her eyes droop and then close. It is the middle of the night after all and she’s clearly been drinking beyond what he’s seen her drink. Up on the landing, Willy growls out a warning… but that’s about it.

“The thing about holes, Aman,” Kaylee murmurs sleepily, her eyes opening again to look at him, “is…. you can fill them back up and start over somewhere else. You just gotta decide when you’re ready to start shoveling it back in.” Who knows if that makes sense, but there you have it.

“And there is nothing to forgive,” Kaylee says about the intrusion, with a small chuckle escaping. “Just two people having a shitty Christmas together.” Brows pop up as she asks, “What else are friends for?”

Aman manages his small smile a while longer, it stabilizing as he watches her. Willie's growl is a warning heard but not heeded. He's the cat and they're the humans. They set the rules and the cat will deal. (Disclaimer: Amanvir Binepal has never lived with a cat in his life to know just how wrong he is about opinion.)

He slides the cushion of distance between them, weaving his arm behind and around her shoulders. There's no hesitation as he settles in, leaning his shoulder to hers. Just two people having a shitty Christmas together. "That's a nice thought," Aman says of filling in holes. He sighs afterward, believing it's not that simple but not wanting to dedicate any more energy to it. Not now. Not this evening.

"You doing okay?" he asks, turning to look at her a bit better. He's a master at giving people space, always realizing too late it might've been too much and his support could have been needed sooner. "Been a while since we caught up."

Lucky for Aman, it doesn’t seem like Willy is that into stopping him. Above them there is a thump as the cat jumps down off the banister into the bedroom. It’s up in the air as to whether the cat comes down the stairs or just goes to curl up on the bed.

Doesn’t seem like the former telepath is worried though. There is a sigh as Kaylee settles in against Aman’s side, her head resting on his shoulder and her messed up hair brushing against his jaw. “If I said yes… I’d be lying,” she says blandly.

Pulling her legs up, she curls her arms around round them. “I.. don’t know what’s going on with me… what I do know there’s tiny robots in my head and that could just end up killing me,” Kaylee’s voice trembles slightly. “It’s the one thing I haven’t said to Luther… he… he’s lost so many people.” Swallowing hard, she shakes her head just a little. “I’m scared, Aman. What if there is no fixing this…fixing me?”

About the time that she gives a sniff, he’s registering the warmth of tears on his shirt. “What if the next stroke….” Kaylee can’t seem to say it outloud again, because saying it makes it all the more real.

"Hey, hey, hey," Aman shushes her, his embrace of her becoming a more firm thing. His brow knits in concern as he lays a hand on the side of her head, beginning to rock them both side to side while he figures out what to say.

He can't lie and tell her it'll all be okay. He doesn't know enough to make any kind of assertion like that, and she'd probably hit him for it anyway.

"You guys are working so fucking hard to dig at this and learn everything you can. You're doing everything right after having something horribly wrong happen to you." There's a thin pain behind his voice too as he wishes he could do more than cheerlead. "The last thing you should have to worry about after everything else that happened is not being able to be here on top of it."

He draws her closer still. "I want to tell you there's a way to fix things. But it seems like everything comes with its own risks. The most you can do is keep trying. Keep… pushing forward. Don't— don't give up, all right? Because then whatever the hell this is is sure to win." His fingers brush through her hair as he shifts the settle of his cheek on the top of her head. "And you deserve so much better than that."

“Beg to differ,” Kaylee says with a watery huff of amusement, pulling the exact same thing as he did earlier. Of course, she’d feel like she deserves it.

“I feel like…” What did she feel like? Kaylee lets out a heavy sigh and lets herself be pulled closer, even though her arms stay wrapped around her legs. “I feel like no matter what we learn, it’s not enough… Like hitting a fucking wall,” her voice sounds miserable. “This wreckage reading… I’m so worried it’s going to be another fucking dead end.”

It’s a good thing he can’t see her face and pain and hopelessness that crosses it. “I’m so tired, Aman,” Kaylee sighs out, sounding like it too. “Tired of nightmares… of staring at all these pieces trying to figure out how they fit, of feeling helpless, of trying to hold onto hope… I just… want to go back to being me.” Each word becomes softer and blurred by alcohol and lack of sleep.

"I know it's not the same," Aman says, turning his cheek to press a kiss into her hair. "But you can be yourself around me. No need to hide it all or put on a brave face." He sits a little more upright, shifting his arm around her to get a better visual confirmation she's nodding off apart from her words. "Not that I think you are. Definitely not right now."

He huffs out a small smile, rubbing her shoulder. "Come on. Let's get you back to bed." With a gentle nudge, he starts to ease her in that direction. "Up, up."

Lips tremble as he starts to try and move her, arms unwrap from around her legs so she can grab the arm that isn’t wrapped behind her. “Can… Can we just sit here a little while longer?” Kaylee pleads softly around the tears, her head not moving from his shoulder. “Please?

Kaylee didn’t realize how much she needed her friend until she felt that arm around her shoulder. Or how much she had cut herself off from letting others give that to her, acting like she was just fine. Now that she had a sense of comfort and safety, that realization she could just… feel what’s been bothering her…. it was amazing how fast the tears flowed.

Aman stops in his shifting when Kaylee grabs hold of him. He blinks a look down to her, what of her he can clearly see with how she redoubles her lean into him. When understanding hits he stills then softens his posture, drawing her close again. "As long as you need," he promises. He lifts one hand only to grab with his fingertips the blanket on the back of the couch to pull it down and over Kaylee's curled-up form.

"I'm here," he murmurs, rubbing her shoulder and providing a spot to lean on. His eyes drift to the window, his own pain suspended in the face of hers. There's enough room in him for both things.

A soft sigh comes from him as he hugs her more tightly. "I got you." Even if she falls asleep like this, soul-tired from the cry. He runs his palm down her bicep in slow, comforting waves. Over and over.

Over time, Aman's posture shifts, his head curling to rest his cheek on Kaylee's hair again after she quiets. After a time passes looking out into the dark, ruminating on their respective circumstances and their shitty Christmases, he lets himself rest, too.

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