Beating The Odds



Scene Title Beating The Odds
Synopsis In the middle of the night, Kaylee learns the fate of another…
Date December 28, 2018

The Sumter Home

The world is so still at that time of night, like the world was holding its breath waiting for the approaching dawn. It’s peaceful, except for one person in the house. Kaylee felt nothing but pain as she slowly clawed her way into wakefulness. There is a soft groan that thankfully doesn’t wake her husband. Rolling onto her side, she curls up against the discomfort; but eventually, she quietly slides out of the bed and stumbles into the bathroom.

Fingers clutch tightly at the edge of the basin, head hanging between her arm; as she waits for the pain to slowly fade away. There is a sigh of relief as the worst of it fades away, leaving only a faint ache. Kaylee might have blown it off as horrible cramps, but something about the dream she had been having… Pain, wanting Luther, and fleeting memories of people she didn’t know. “Kain…” she whispers the name out, head coming up to look at the barely visible reflection of her face.

It had been far longer since she had a vision… she had started to think it was all over for her. A hand presses at her stomach, the memory of an ambush plays through her head. The injury matched at least.

There is a hiss as she feels the pain start to spread again. Maybe it was just cramps or…

Her world was simply pain and darkness.


Everytime she started feeling more aware, she’d hear the faint muffle of voices and she’d lose her grip on wakefulness and fall back into the darkness again. Each time she could just make out the growl of someone familiar. A sound so angry and full of pain. It made her heart want to beat a little faster. It kept her from fully losing her grip and falling into the nothing below her. It was this voice in particular that kept her climbing, reaching for it.


This time felt different, Kaylee’s mind suddenly felt so clear; but she couldn’t focus on anything. The world swam and the pain seemed so much worse. It was enough that she almost retreated again, but the familiar hum of Luther’s mind nearby stopped her. The telepath wanted to move, to reach for him finally, to open her eyes… but her whole body felt so heavy and unresponsive. All she manages is a twitch of fingers and a soft groan of pain; which is followed by tears of frustration.


His name brushes faintly at the back of his mind, just as tired and exhausted as the rest of her.

Voices and minds hover in the boundaries of her consciousness. Even if she can’t move, her wakefulness touches upon the conversation - as much as it can be called - happening around her.

“Luther. That’s enough, any more and you’re going to lose too m—”

“Go. Away.”


“What’s the problem?”

“Doc, he’s been on the drip for more than two units. Any more and it’s going to risk infection to them both.”

The head medic reassures Jennifer with a light pat of his hand on her shoulder and sends her away to tend the patients in the next tent over. He lattices his hands in front of him next, adopting as neutral an expression as he can. An appeal to reason in his tone, the young doctor tries as well. “We have to stop the transfusion for you to have a chance to recover, Luther.”

A low, wordless growl answers the medic. Even as exhausted as he looks, the stubborn challenge in the man’s red-rimmed eyes is clear. Seated at Kaylee’s bedside on a creaky metal folding chair, Luther still looms over the telepath in presence. His large black coat draped over her, the clothing hides the majority of the skinny plastic tube that’s hooked to her, makeshift a blood drip line leading to him on the other end.

“Luther, please.”


Kaylee’s mental voice slides through him, sending a sharp prod of focus into the man. He stands abruptly, the chair feet scraping back and thudding lightly on the packed dirt. An unwise move, one that makes his head swim slightly, but he gamely stays upright.

One more fierce look sends the head medic back. Doc holds his hands up in surrender, turning and departing to his rounds again. He’ll just come back later. When Luther is passed out. Like the last time.

But once the doctor’s gone, Luther turns back to stare intently at Kaylee’s face, searching, confused if he’d actually heard her speak or if it was simply his own delirious imagination. “I’m here,” he rumbles with a reach of his hand up to cup her cheek, rough fingertips brushing. He’s not quite as warm as he could be, but still. “I’m here, Kaylee.”

Impatience wins out, though, followed by a tired heave of a sigh as he turns and rights the chair he’d been sitting on to resume the action. Luther sits in wait, his vigil continuing. A glance cast to the blood drip later, he frowns. The possibility of infection concerns him.

The touch is like a beacon pulling her mind further from the fog, not quite understanding what’s being said, but still relishing the sound of it. His touch is the best feeling in the world, despite the pain. Kaylee’s breath hitches and her throat works as emotions crowd in and threaten to drown her. That overwhelming sense of relief that he was okay… and that she got to know he was alive. There is a deep breath taken before her eyes flutter open, lashes wet with tears, some of which escape as her eyes open.

Brows furrow as she sees not the familiar face of Luther, but the canvas roof. A little disappointing.

Blearily, she blinks and tries to focus. The tickling sensation of his mental hum is what draws her attention and helps her find him sitting there next to her. The sight of his exhausted profile causes a tightening in her chest. Tears blur her vision again with the renewed revelation that… He was okay. Her movement is sluggish and torturously slow; but, her hand slides out from under the heavy coat, reaching for him. Her only goal was to touch his scruffy cheek. The fingers are ice cold as they lightly brush along his unshaven jaw. Her need to touch him, to know that he’s real, gives her the strength to manage the movement.

“Hey, drill sergeant.” The nickname is sighed out, affectionate; but, slurred; thick with emotion. “‘M s’rry if I made you w’rry.” The effort proves to be too much in her weakened state and Kaylee’s hand falls away, eyes shutting against a wave of exhaustion.

There is a shuddering breath as Kaylee slides back into her own body and mind, the emotions that followed her always overwhelming. Tears in her eyes, a hand is hastily clamped over her mouth to stifle that first hiccuped sob.

She was alive.

For a long moment, Kaylee can only give into the tears of relief. Grabbing the hand towel hanging nearby, she buries her face in it and quietly sobs. Weeks of not knowing, it took more of a toll on the woman then she knew. Even the fading pain can’t compare to the way it felt knowing she was alive. For several moments she loses herself in that feeling, before forcing herself to get it together. Scrubbing at the tears with the towel a thought flickers through her thoughts like an annoying little gnat that couldn’t be ignored.


The towel pauses and lowers. Kaylee needed to tell him…. Looking at the towel in her hands, she hesitates almost as soon as she thinks it. That happy expression and his smile — he had a nice one. What if bringing all that up took it away from him?

Look what it was doing to her.

Staring at her own reflection, debating the choice, Kaylee suddenly realizes that any decision would probably have to wait… the smell of blood and well… unwashed bodies fills her senses.

He’s not sure when he dozed off, but Luther comes awake at the ice cold touch of fingers - her fingers - on his jaw. Grey eyes snap open, the feeling ticking his longer beard hairs electric. He wants to move, to say something, but words catch in his throat and fall back down the well to pool in a sinking feeling of his chest when her hand drops away.

The initial, scrambling exhaustion-driven panic intensifies.

“Doc!?” Luther calls out back behind him. Unsatisfied with the lack of immediate answer, he practically roars, “DOC! She’s awake!”

But is she?

Luther’s up on his feet again, bending over her with his hands - drip line still connected - bracketing either side of her face. “Kaylee?” The call out to her is much quieter, if still raw in his throat, smooth as gravel. He leans down, planting a kiss on her forehead, a cheek, her lips. Fuck the bystanders. “Stay with me,” he whispers haltingly, as he’d done several times in the past weeks. Weeks in which he’s hardly left her bedside at all. Weeks in which he hasn’t dared to leave, where he’s mantled over the telepath, possessively challenging any who tried to get him to budge.

Cooper’s drawn the short straw a few times for feeding the Beast.

Now, Luther tries not to be frantic as he strokes his fingers over her cheeks. His forehead touches to hers, noses bumping tips. Where is that medic? He’ll kill him if he’s any slower. Ok not really. But really.

The shouting for the doctor and the feel of his hands on her cheeks startles Kaylee enough to get her to focus on waking again. It was so easy to slip back into the darkness a place with no pain and strange dreams of ‘what if’, so she had started drifting off. Not unlike a grungy and broken sleeping beauty, each press of his lips brings her a little more awake.

The last kiss, that brush of his lips against her own is what brings her full back to herself. Her own hands move to try and trap his fingers against her cheeks; but, her muscles are weak from disuse. So fingers can only cling lightly to his. A deep breath is taken as her mind finds itself fully awake, even if her body refuses to follow. Eyes flutter and blink a few times before opening to find his stormy ones so close.

“‘m not goin’ anywhere,” Kaylee whispers groggily, feeling certain about that.

Tired blue eyes looking into his, feeling like she could just get lost there; but the moment is ruined as Kaylee takes another breath to speak and realizes she can smell him… probably herself, too. If she wasn’t awake before, she was now.

“Ugh, you stopped bathin’ again.”

She observes this with a wrinkle of her nose. But then there is a soft amused sound, as it reminds her of another discussion about bathing… It felt so long ago. More tears start to roll down her cheeks, seeping the space between his hands and her skin.

“See… I couldn’t go anywhere, even if I wanted, you’re so helpless without me around.” There is so much emotion wrapped up into that small insult, especially, in the warmth of her slurred tone.

She can feel the warm of his palms pressed against her cheeks along with the closeness of his face. Luther’s eyes shut, but only for the span of a few blinks, lest he fear this a dream from which he’d wake up from and find her gone.

It’s her comment about his stench that truly solidifies the reality. Spackled with humor. “I was waiting for you, you know… To save water.” He sinks to a knee beside the table, an exhale released that sounds full of relief. Luther moves his hands to cup one of hers, not letting go. Not yet. Maybe never.

Her statement that he’s helpless without her gets a soft snorted laugh, not because he’s dismissing the notion but because it rings with truth. It follows with a burying of his face in her palm in spite of the cold, clammy skin. “You’re freezing,” he comes to realize after a long moment. For a few seconds, the man debates with a glance to the bed whether there’s enough space to join her in it. There’s not. Plus it’s entirely impractical.

But while there’s no room for Luther fully, it doesn’t stop him from winding his arms around hers. He’s still there by the time the head medic manages to make his way to the telepath’s isolated corner of the med tent. Luther had insisted.

The doc comes over at a brisk pace, slowing when Luther jerks his head up and pushes up to a stand. A fleeting moment of awkwardness passes before Luther rumbles out with a nod to Kaylee, confirming again, “She’s awake.”

“Well, Miss Thatcher, you really—” The medic pauses, pushing glasses up on his face, before he admits, “ Well, you really gave us a scare there.” It wasn’t really the telepath they all had to worry about, but the man looming over her and they all knew it. “Really beat the odds there,” he gives a bit of a nervous chuckle, as he shifts along the table on the opposite side of Luther. Little tighter fit, but doable. Might be an idea of what those weeks, she’s been out, have been like. He starts to lift the coat away to check her wound; but pauses, giving the other man a nervous look.

Maybe it is something that flashes through the doctor’s mind or something in his body language; but, Kaylee reaches for Luther’s hand. Fingers curl into his, giving a weak tug. “Luther,” she calls his name softly to pull his attention from the poor medic. “Sit, love, let him do what he needs too. You look about ready to dr—”

Blue eyes widen as she notices the dark red line in his arm. Fingers brush along side it, to the tube; tracing it until she feels the tug on her own. There is some alarm as she looks up Luther and then that same look cuts over to the doctor.

That” the medic starts softly, looking at Kaylee and then up over the top of his glasses at Luther, “is why you are still with us. Insisted really when we told him he was a universal donor.” Once he’s certain that Luther isn’t going to hurt him for seeing his woman half naked, the doctor finishes moving the coat and carefully works at pulling back the bandages. “You’d lost a dangerous amount of blood and we didn’t have the supply on hand…” He trails off as the injury is exposed.

Kaylee should have died is what he doesn’t say out loud.

Luther feels Kaylee’s hand tighten in his at the sight of the sizable incision along her lower stomach. “What happened?” she whispers out, brows furrowing. She know she was shot… but this…

There is a soft sigh from the doctor as he starts checking the row of stitches, fingers gentle. “Limited supplies and tools. It was a lot worse than it looked.” He glances at her out of the corner of his eye and then another look goes to Luther. Quietly, he asks permission from the bigger man to tell her.

The poor doctor has the steely stare of Luther following him the whole time he walks around to the other side of the table, and Luther’s features twitch when the man tentatively reaches for the long black coat covering her modestly. It’s a good thing Kaylee reads the medic’s hidden nervousness and reaches over to distract Luther’s focus down to her. “I’m fine,” he claims, even though his face is considerably paler than the healthy pallor and his hand less warm than she’d remember.

“You…” Luther starts to explain, but catches the glance from the doctor and eventually slides over to the metal chair to sit. Even seated, his presence feels looming, bristling as implicit permission is given with a look away from the medic and back to Kaylee. “You got shot, and then Cooper and Diaz were in the area,” he skips much of the details, not exactly thinking very much to the situation those weeks before.

“We got you stabilized,” the doctor supplies as he lightly presses the stitched up area, searching for signs of inflammation and infection. “The fragments nicked a few things, but we got them all.” He believes, anyway. Without an X-ray machine, it was with the help of a jury-rigged metal detector that they found the rest.

The medic catches another look from Luther, clears his throat, and rests the dressing back down. “The important thing is that you’re awake,” he says after a relieved breath. “I’ll have one of the nurses come by to re-dress the wound site, and bring you something. But first.” Doc gestures to the transfusion line, coming around the table and digging in one of his pockets for a small wad of cotton gauze.

As he starts to reach for Luther’s arm, intending to take the line out, Luther tenses and pulls away. The man actually bares his teeth at the medic. “The fuck are you doing?” he growls at the medic, “You’re supposed to be tending to her.”

“The transfusion can be stopped now,” the head medic repeats in a longsuffering, patient tone. Perhaps he’s gaining some confidence that with the telepath awake, he’s not in as much danger from Luther as moments ago. The medic looks back to Kaylee. A little help?

Darkness fills Kaylee’s vision again, eyes blinking against the sudden loss of light. “Stubborn man,” she quietly murmurs with a huff of amusement following after. It wasn’t hard to see what she saw in the other version of the man. Still he was much different than the man she knew. Even different from the one she witnessed in yet another world. This was filled with such pain and loss though.

It reminds her of the way Luther clung to her. How the grief poured through him. It was obvious, her — this world’s Luther had trauma of his own.

Taking a moment to run the back of her hand and arm across her eyes, she makes her decision. Quietly, the telepath sneaks out of the bathroom, a glance flicks up to the sleeping form of her husband. When he shifts, Kaylee stands quietly and waits for him to settle again before snagging her cellphone from the nightstand and retreating into the bathroom again.

With her back pressed against the side of the tub, Kaylee’s face is suddenly lit up by the screen of her phone. Teeth catch her lower lip as she starts to tap in the words. There is a twist of guilt at the fact she was sitting her in bathroom texting another man, her attention shifting to the sluggish hum of Joseph’s mind as her thumb hovers over the send button.



The growl of his name is rough, Kaylee’s voice still sluggish from disuse. He was being rude and a little too growly for her liking to the medic. “It’s o-kay.” As if to make a point, her own arm lifts towards the doctor, though it trembles from the effort.

There was a long recovery ahead.

Taking the hint - and after a brief, nervous hesitation - the doctor gently takes her arm and starts the process to remove the needle, while he does, Kaylee’s attention doesn’t shift from Luther. There is a warning in her look and it stays there even as the doctor lowers her arm to the bed and turns to the man.

The medic waits patiently. The ball was in Luther’s court so to speak.

Luther hunches his broad shoulders with the growl of his name, turning grey eyes back to Kaylee at her reassurance. Head lifting and watching the careful extraction of the blood line, he notes the slight tremble and frowns. A quashed growl squeezed back down, he eventually holds out his arm to the medic as well.

Once the needle’s out of his arm, Luther draws back over closer to Kaylee’s side in the form of standing again. While it garners a cautious glance from the medic, Luther only holds his tiny ball of cotton to the small spot and doesn’t look quite as annoyed. The worry levels are dropping. “How long?” he asks the doctor. At the puzzled look from the other man, Luther narrows his eyes. He tries, less testily, “How long ‘til she can get outta this tent and come back?”

The head medic utters a quick ‘oh’ and looks back to Kaylee. “We still want to keep you around for recovery, ah, to make sure the wound site is healing and…” A glance cuts briefly to Luther as he feels the other man’s gaze. “…Clean.”

Luther sniffs deeply, blinking from the doctor to telepath and back. “Get her off the table.”

“I’d advise against moving immedi—” The medic starts, but stops at the glare from the other man, avoiding Luther and scooting back a step. “We’ll prep a med-cot for you,” he says to Kaylee rather than the intimidating man standing at her side. What he doesn’t say is that they could have moved her sooner, but for Luther’s stubbornly obstructive mantling. “And, I’ll have the nurses come by later to change that as well as give you the full report.” There’s more to it all than he’s saying, but the medic reserves that for Kaylee only.

Angled brows lifting, Luther blinks at that. “What do you mean, the full report? She’s going to be alright. Right?” The way he asks, his rumble again shifts to a threatening undertone. But it’s checked back when he looks back to Kaylee, remembering her chastisement.

“I’m fine.” Kaylee comments from her spot on the table, hand stretching to snag his and tug him down again. While she tugs she gives the doctor an apologetic look. “Thank you. We’ll look forward to the full report.” With that she quickly dismisses the medic to flee with his life still intact.

Only once the man is gone does she turn her attention back to the looming figure. “Luther,” Kaylee’s voice softens, calling his attention back to her. “Get down here so I can look at you.” Her voice thick with emotions as she reaches to bracket his face with shaky hands. “You look like hell… you really sit here all this time just waiting for me?” she asks with a smile.

The medic takes advantage of the dismissal, gathering the transfusion tubing, checking on the state of the manual drip IV and nodding to himself before disappearing to the nearby medical tents to check on other patients. His pace is quick to take him away from Luther’s glowering.

The call of his name, the touch of her chilled fingers, turns Luther back to focus on the woman lying beneath him. “Not the whole time,” he answers her in a way that presumes he would have if he could. When he wasn’t out on some more crucial supply run mission, though, he’d been seated beside her. He lifts a hand to cover hers, to press her fingers to his prickly bearded jaw. Grey eyes stare intently into her blue, closing in the distance in a search of her lips to meet his.

“I thought I lost you,” utters the man, the confession of it still sounding raw, sensitive to admit. His throat tightens, the escape of breath shudders out. “If you left, I don’t know what…” Fingers curl against hers as his face bows close.

The brief touch of his lips draws out a soft sigh from Kaylee, eyes a little slow to flutter open again. The hand not held to his face, falls to snag on his shirt, fingers weakly curled into the fabric. Keeping him close.

The fingers pressed between his hand and cheek, slowly warms with the radiant heat, even if it is not as intense as it has been in the past. Kaylee’s thumb brushes lightly along the top of his cheek bone.

“I’m so sorry,” Kaylee whispers, her head tipping up to press lips against his forehead has his head bows. “I’m sorry I took the risk…” her voice cracks, “You were just standing there and I panicked. I could only think of that time you got hurt protecting me…” she trails off remembering all the time she set by Luther when he had been badly injured. Remembered how she felt. It had been when she knew…

“I love you, Luther,” Kaylee murmurs, her own voice thick with emotions she’s feeling, “I’m a better… stronger person with you in my life. I don’t know what I would have done if I lost you either.”

She doesn’t have to work hard to keep him close. Luther sinks back onto the chair behind him, and leans his face up against hers. Finally. Finally, there is some peace back in his posture, some calm to his tired countenance. When her voice cracks upon her apologies, her explanations, he lifts his attention back up. “Don’t,” he dismisses quietly, shaking his head, “don’t apologize. I froze too. Not too sure what happened, except that you got shot, and Tyler…” But she can feel the fingers of his hand tighten even more, this time from the guilt. How many times had he gone over the scenario in his head in the past weeks. How he can’t forgive himself either. And how he killed the remainders of that squad down to the last man.

But her profession of love swings him back and he buries his face into side of her neck and shoulder, taking a deep, steadying breath and exhaling slowly. It’s taken a lot of energy out of him, these past few weeks, but now there can be a proper rest and recovery. As long as it’s beside her. Luther’s response comes slightly muffled by the way he’s up so close, but coherent enough. “I fuckin love you too, Kaylee.”

Kaylee hadn’t meant the words to slip out, but they did…she had only uttered them once before and had been hurt for it. Even though she had always known the feeling were there between them, they never before felt the need to say it. They had an understanding. To hear them echoed back, has an instant reaction. Arms wrap around behind his neck as she clings to him, with a choked sound.

Biting back a hiss of pain, her grimace hidden from his view, but Kaylee doesn’t let go. Never would she if she had a say.

The mention of Tyler tickles at the back of her mind as she lays there, wrapped up in the man she loves… she realizes the other important man in her life is… he’s….

“Tyler’s gone…” Kaylee whispers into the darkness for her counterpart. Looking up from the now darkened phone to the figure she sees sitting on the edge of her vision. “She’s going to miss you. Did you feel it, too?” she asks of the ghost in her head, curious if he experiences the visions too. “You meant a lot to her.”


“I have that effect on people,” comes from the mirror. Tyler’s blurry and indistinct shape visible in the fogged up glass as a dark silhouette. “I guess.” He remains there, a dark shape in the mirror. Tyler’s voice has the same quality, indistinct and blurry at the edges.

“I think… I don't know how much longer I can keep this up, Kaylee.” There's a weariness in Tyler’s voice. “I'm… just a little tired. That's all.” The shadow moves away from the surface of the mirror, wandering. “I hope she's not too sad.”

“I… don’t know. I can’t imagine having someone in their head for so long…” Kaylee trails off…. Brows furrowing at her own words. Maybe she did know. Giving a small shake of her head and a worried glance at her mental ghost.

“She’ll be devastated… Now rest okay? Maybe tomorrow you’ll feel a little better.” she finally says softly, eyes blurring, knowing what was happening might be what is tearing him apart. He didn’t deserve that. Unable to look at his faint form, she looks down at her phone again, thumb sliding across it. Her face lit up by it again. “Carl will be asking for you tomorrow. Don’t want to disappoint him, hmm?”

Finally, Kaylee taps her finger on the screen. Sending the message she had been planning to send to Luther. One that filled her with so much relief. It simply reads…

She lived!

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