Been Too Long


kaylee5_icon.gif odessa_icon.gif

Scene Title Been Too Long
Synopsis No matter how much time passes, the bond remains.
Date August 20, 2019


Finally settled into her new job, Kaylee couldn't put it off any longer. There were no more excuses why she shouldn’t go see Odessa, no more reasons to put it off a little longer, and no more avoiding the guilt that has been weighing on her.

Stepping out of the PISEC building and into the sunlight, Kaylee pulls the sunglasses back over her eyes, they were a gift from Luther. It had been his absence recently that had been the tipping point. Without her friend’s presence she had a lot of time alone to think. Mainly on how she got where she was.

And her thoughts always circle back to Odessa. Of course, the pang of guilt was always close behind it.

Kaylee pauses just a few steps out, letting her eyes adjust and taking in the garden itself. The scent of late blooming flowers and green hits her, taking a moment to just breathe it all in. There was no denying that there was something very relaxing about the garden. It didn’t look all that bad of a set up.

Okay, maybe she was just stalling a bit longer.

The badge clipped to her belt shines in the bright midday sun, her top a light purple button up, her jeans a dark blue… and of course a comfortable pair of sneakers. She didn’t really look the part of a detective, but then again… she probably never would. Fingers brush nervously at long blonde locks, shoving it all away from her face and making sure everything is in place. Only then does she makes her way into the garden looking for Odessa.

At first, it almost looks like perhaps Odessa had moved on from the garden before Kaylee had a chance to arrive there. Then, that head - almost unfamiliar with its blonde hair - pops up over a blind of foxglove. A weed is haphazardly tossed over one shoulder to land just next to a pile of others that have been pulled.

One hand comes up, the back of the wrist being rubbed against one cheekbone to scratch an itch. A smudge of dirt is left behind from the gloves that have been digging bad roots out of the earth.

The presence isn’t acknowledged right away. Odessa’s gotten used to being watched while she works by guards and other inmates alike. It’s when the attention doesn’t shift away after a moment or two that she looks up to see who it is. She had expected to find Voss waiting to pass down some new edict. Instead, she finds her friend.

“Kaylee!” Pushing to her feet, Odessa has the foresight to strip off her gloves before she comes in for a hug. “Oh my gosh, it’s so good to see you!” Her hands rest on the other blonde’s shoulders as she takes in the sight of her friend, noting what’s the same and what seems new or different.

For the telepath the reaction is jarring and awkward, though Kaylee hides it well. Only a little of her nervousness coming through in her words, “H-h-hey! Been awhile.” She endures the once over, even though she looks the same for the most part, there is just something different. Maybe it’s the badge.. Maybe it’s the lack of gold on her finger, but it’s more in the blue eyes that study Odessa in turn.

Standing there in front of her friend, Kaylee realizes that nothing has really changed in how she feels about the woman in front of her. That realization breaks whatever restraint she was showing.

Which means that Odessa will find herself in another, tighter, hug. “God, I’ve missed you.” Kaylee hugs the other woman tight. “I tried to be mad about the… stuff, but I just couldn’t. I’m sorry it took me this long to come see you.” Pulling away finally, she lets all that shame and guilt show, while she just blurts out unable to stop it, “And I’m sorry I didn’t testify. I’m a shit friend.”

Odessa returns the second hug with as much fervor as she gave the first. “I know,” she assures. Kaylee isn’t the only person who tried to be mad at her. Some succeeded with flying colors and others find the woman Odessa is today to be at odds with the woman accused of her crimes.

“You aren’t a shit friend,” Odessa insists with a squeeze of her friend’s hands. “You were protecting yourself and your family. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The idea of you risking yourself for me…” She shakes her head quickly. “I wouldn’t hear of it.” Odessa firmly believes that the other way around is always how it should be. Odessa will always risk herself for her first friend’s well-being.

Her smile is bright and wide as she finally releases Kaylee’s hands, her shoulders bouncing once with a heavy exhale that has more energy than a sigh would. “I can tell we have a lot to catch up on.” Odessa gestures toward a set of shaded benches on the other side of her garden patch. “Come on. Let’s get out of the sun.”

“I suspect more me than you,” comments Kaylee quietly with a mixture of guilt and uncertainty. It hasn’t even been a year and the telepath has totally flipped her world upside down in that time. There was a lot or maybe it only feels like a lot.

Motioning for Odessa to lead the way, Kaylee follows checking out Odessa’s new prison. “I guess it could have been far worse,” she says about the place. “I’m glad you were able to land someplace like this at least.” Instead of some dank dark hole.

“I hope they are treating you well.” The statement turns into more of a question by the end of it. Kaylee clearly worries about the woman.

Odessa’s smile is kind as she takes her seat on the bench, pulling her knees up to her chest and resting her heels on the edge of it, rather than letting her feet dangle. “They are. This place isn’t so bad, as far as places a person can be locked up goes. I’ve certainly been in worse. My room has a window. I see sunshine. It could be much, much worse.” That she’s able to be cheery about it says something about how comparatively better these conditions are, as well as how she’s able to cope.

The smile fades into something more serious, but still soft around the edges. “Tell me all about it,” she solicits, folding her arms together to rest on the peaks of her knees. Her head tips to one side, spilling blonde hair over her shoulder as she blinks blue eyes and waits to hear about her friend’s troubles. It doesn’t take a telepath to know that things haven’t been all sunshine and roses since she’s been away.

When asked to describe what all has happened to her, Kaylee hesitates. “Ever since…” Well, she knows. “I’ve changed.. So much. Remember that voice in my head?” Her brows arches up a little, questioning. “It all started with that. It’s gone. Whatever…” she pauses looking around and dropping her voice. “Whatever came out of that portal pulled it out of my head and absorbed it.”

There was a sigh after that, “After that…” Kaylee shakes her head slowly. “I took on a job with the NYPD, left the company, and left my husband and family.” There is a lot of guilt in that last choice. “Basically, turned my world on it’s head and I’m starting all over again.”

Kaylee was going to leave it off there, but then it occurs to her that there is a couple more things of interest. “Oh and the curse is gone and Adam visited me.” Grimacing and looking away, she adds, “Then threw me aside like nothing. Just like everyone thought.” It was something that hurt far more than she would openly admit too. “But… don’t tell anyone? Okay? Nothing came of it, not answers… just my humiliation.”

Odessa nods along at the explanation about the voice in Kaylee’s head. She remembers and it stirs something in the back of her own mind, although it’s more an absence felt keenly. Her own head is far, far too quiet. She can imagine it’s much the same for her friend.

There’s an audible gasp at the revelation that Kaylee’s left her family. One hand comes up to cover Odessa’s mouth, which has fallen open in shock. There’s no time given to ask all the questions that come to mind regarding such a surprising change in her life. The mention of Adam derails anything else she might have intended to say.

“You… How? He just showed up?” Slowly, Odessa lowers her feet to the ground and reaches over to capture both Kaylee’s hands in her own. “I know that… many of us said that’s what would happen, but… I’m sorry. That’s awful.”

Honestly, Odessa thought Adam Monroe would be keen to repossess Kaylee, given the chance. It’s a mercy and a relief that he apparently tossed her aside like yesterday’s newspaper. Still, she’d feel awful if the same thing happened to her. Somehow it would feel worse to feel the man’s indifference than his anger.

“Not in person mind you,” Kaylee says with a nod, fingers curling into the others. If any of her friends would understand, she knew it was Odessa. “It was a projection. He…” Kaylee’s brows furrow a bit, “He called me tainted.” It’s clear she isn’t sure what he meant by that, but it might contribute to her mood about the subject.

“I guess I shouldn’t have tried to get him on our side against… against that thing we let out,” Even after all those months, the thing made of red electricity is fresh in Kaylee’s memories.

“Maybe, I should tell Richard,” Kaylee says with a sigh, after a thoughtful moment. “He said the Company made the same mistakes he did.”

“Richard has a lot on his plate,” Odessa murmurs almost absently. Her attention comes back into full focus as she lifts her head. “I’m not saying he shouldn’t know, but… You know how he likes to take the ball and run. He thinks if a play needs to be made, he needs to be the playmaker. He’s got tenacity, but I worry about when he stretches himself too far and he snaps.” Which isn’t an indictment against her friend, but an honest concern.

Tainted. The word rings in Odessa’s mind and she closes her eyes a moment as if to consider what that means. “If you’re tainted, I can’t imagine what he’d think of me.” Presuming they’re correct about the influence he believes has tainted Kaylee. All that is, however, is speculation. “You did the right thing. It would have been foolish not to try and make an ally of Adam. For all that he is, weak isn’t one of those things. I’ve always felt it was better to be with him than against.

“You’re not wrong,” Kaylee says with a huffed chuckle. “He feels the whole of the world's problems are his to bear and solve on his own.” There is a pause, eyes dropping to clasped hands, brows furrowed in thought. “I blame my father for that.”

Lips press together briefly before looking up again, letting resolution settle on her features. “I’ve been looking into Adam’s past more. I’d learned so much from helping Richard with his stuff, but… I feel like Adam’s past has clues to help us. He pretty much said it himself.” Cheeks puff a bit as she sighs out a soft, “Or I hope it does.” He had said that the Company repeated his mistakes. If they knew those mistakes…

“Now that the curse is gone, it is much easier to follow my hunches.” Kaylee explains with a bit of a smirk.

That lightens Odessa’s features some. That her friend can find a smile in the middle of all this means there’s still a bright side to things. “I used to make him tell me stories, you know? When we were both on Level Five.” One side of her mouth ticks up, but the smile is more full of rue than cheer. “I wanted to know everything about the outside world, and he seemed to have been everywhere…”

She shakes her head. “I don’t know how much of it was true. He… I mean, no one spins a yarn the way Adam does.” It’s freeing to be able to say the man’s name without watching the pall of death come over Kaylee. It unburdens her soul to finally talk about those days with someone who understands, after some fashion. “I wish I could remember something relevant. I always wanted to know frivolous things.” Fairytale stories were always Odessa’s favorite kind.

“I wonder how the stories, he told you, match up with the displays at Yamagato. I know what the snake showed me doesn’t match up with what I saw.” Kaylee turns thoughtful, before reaching into her jacket and pulling out some folded papers offering them to her. “The guards looked at me weird about these. I explained you like history.” It was an excuse to keep them.

It was a trio of papers were actually photos from the Yamagato display about the Eclipse. “On that note, I think I might know around what time frame you and Eve showed up on your… uh.. Trip?”

She taps a highlighted bit at the bottom of the close up on the plaque. “Mainly, this talks about piles of bodies left in the valley. Sounds like the ones you guys crawled through.” Kaylee gives a small shudder at the memory of viewing that memory. “What I’ve been shown of it, was too mangled from the Refrain, so I don’t know if there was an eclipse… but… ” She motions to the papers, there you go.

“I need to talk to Richard about the displays, but I don’t know if he’ll listen,” Kaylee says quietly. “Or if he’ll think it of any importance.” Again her own insecurities shine through, taking initiative on these things was still new to her. Stepping outside her brother’s shadow was harder than it looks.

Odessa smiles at this little secret shared between the two of them. This lie, or stretching of the truth used to bring this information to her. Her gaze lowers to the papers she takes in her pale and slightly crooked fingers. Her brow furrows slightly as she begins to ascribe significance to the images.

“It could be,” she admits in a soft voice, running the tip of one finger over the surface of the photograph as though she could read it like Braille for additional context. “If you bring it up, he’ll recognize they’re important,” Odessa assures. “Richard trusts your judgement.”

Swallowing back a moment of negative emotion brought on by her memories of that trip to Japan, narrow shoulders come up in a shrug. “I can’t help but think it means something, even if I don’t know what. And if there wasn’t an eclipse… “ She’d be surprised, for starters. “I don’t know what happened or how. The woman said we shouldn’t be there, and apparently knew where we did belong.” Seeing as how Odessa and Eve managed to make it back.

“I wish I could help more. I’d love to dig into this. I wanted so badly to see that museum.” It’s no secret that Cinderella was disappointed to miss the gala. “I need to understand how things connect back to Adam.” Especially how she does.

“I think that woman was Yaeko, known by Joy now, possessed by the Entity… who… I think is the Dragon from his stories. Her ability seems like Peter’s.. Or even Gabriel’s.” Kaylee offers a smile of understanding. They both want to understand the man who they both had history with… though her own interest goes beyond that. “I’ll see if I can get the rest of the pictures to you. Then you can let me know if anything stands out. A few things did for me already.” Her head nods to the page, “This and an account of a man who could manipulate a person’s spirit. I think he might have held the entity first or one of the conduits.”

Reaching over, Kaylee taps the blackened sun on the picture. “But I can’t shake this feeling that this is the most important link, but I need to go search for more information.” Shoulders lift a bit with a smirk, “I know they had Post-Cogs working on some of the findings. I thought I’d try to see who worked on the project and try for an interview.”

Leaning back against the bench, Kaylee looks skywards an eye squinting against the bright light, “I know Eve was searching for answers in Japan, too. Luther told me, he was over there with her. I’ll make sure you get those too.” They both deserved answers.

“Thanks,” feels almost like a dumb thing to say, but it’s no less genuine for its simplicity. After a last long look, the pictures are handed back to Kaylee. Even if she could keep them, Odessa still doesn’t trust this place and all the people in it. And any extracurricular interest shown in Adam Monroe is, at this juncture, ill advised at best.

“I shouldn’t be telling you this,” she begins in a hushed voice, glancing around at first and then closing her eyes to feel for something more tangible than what her eyes can show her. When nothing seems to ping her proverbial radar, she opens her eyes again and continues, “but I’m working on something here. Something big and related to Adam. They’ve got all the scientists on this project. Be careful who you let know about what you’re working on. The government would probably love to get their hands on every piece of information you can scrounge up. I don’t want to see them use you.”

And, honestly, she doesn’t want them to get their hands on Monroe. Dangerous as he is out in the world, Odessa knows better than anyone what the man is like when he’s caged.

The warning gets Kaylee’s full attention, jaw tightening a little before it relaxes again. “Not many know about these photos or my thoughts… to be honest, I’ve been mostly keeping them to myself.” Mostly.

“And… they’re not the only ones with spies,” Kaylee says a touch softer, suddenly aware again of where they are. The pages are tucked away, before there is a subtle touch to Odessa’s hand. “Trust me, I know.” There is more to those words, something only she would get. A warning, before Odessa finds herself aware of Devon’s predicament and the two way link binding him to a potential clone in the hands of Adam Monroe.

“I’ll be careful and figure out how to get the information to you. Either way,” Kaylee offers with an encouraging smile. “Because, either way I could use all the help I could get as I gather more.”

The sudden influx of information has Odessa blinking rapidly as though it might help her take it all in. But at the same time, she simply knows and understands what it is that Kaylee’s imparted. “Jesus,” she breathes out. She and Devon may have always been at odds, but nobody deserves to be exploited like that. A lesson it took her a long time to learn.

All the same, she returns the smile, quick to convey that everything is normal and that nothing strange has passed between them. There’s so much more she should tell her friend, but she’s not ready, and now may not be the time. Kaylee has her own burdens. “I’ll do everything I can for you,” Odessa promises with a quick squeeze of the other blonde’s hand. “I always have.”

Fingers squeeze back, Kaylee’s smile waning a bit, “Thank you. Good to know that people still have my back. It’s been… crazy. My choices haven’t been the most popular… Joseph’s been talking about moving away with my babies, because of everything happening… I just… “ she sighs and shakes her head “… can’t blame him and agree with him. This city isn’t the safe haven we once hoped it would be for Carl and the girls.”

Releasing the other woman’s hand, Kaylee tucking curls behind an ear and pulls her sunglasses down, hiding a hint of moisture. “Add that Luther had been gone, the snake is gone, and… the world is slowly going crazy again. I have just been feeling lost lately, but… I think I made the right choice… I just wish I felt better about it.”

It’s Odessa’s instincts to get her hackles up on her friend’s behalf and proclaim Joseph the villain in this situation, but she can’t quite muster it. It’s hard to reconcile the remorse she feels in her chest. The feeling is a familiar one, given her givens, but the flavor is different. It isn’t hers. Kaylee’s is different.

“I’ve kind of come to find that our lives are defined by our hard choices. Making the right decisions. They’re so very rarely the easy ones.” She knows that better than most. “You’ll get through this,” she says with certainty. “You’re… You’re so lucky to have them in your life. And you know that whatever happens, whether they’re in the city or not, they’re still a part of you. You’re still wanted.

The envy is solely her own, Odessa can recognize, and knows she needs to learn to start letting go of her own pain…

But not today.

There is a grimace, pain isn’t always hidden in the words. The simple hum of Odessa’s mind gives it away and it fills Kaylee with guilt. “You’re right, of course. It’s easier said than done, but you are right.” Taking a breath and letting out in a huff, “It’s just… new. I’ll get used to this new order of things.”

Kaylee looks over at Odessa with an apologetic half- smile. “I’m sorry, Dess. I shouldn’t be laying things like that at your feet, especially when you’re situation is far worse.” Even if i is a prison of Odessa’s making, the telepath has seen what she could be… and wanted to be. “It’s unfair of me.”

There is a glance around at the others in the vicinity, too far to over hear… thankfully. “Anyone interesting in this place with you?” An attempt to offer a change of subject, a bit less painful as Kaylee’s own love life.

Eager to get her mind off the person who’s not with her, Odessa is quick with a smile that, while not genuine in sentiment, is at least earnest about banishing her own melancholy. “Some of the brightest minds of our time, honestly.” And she’s not so modest as to be excluding herself from that grand association. “I’m sure you already knew about Mohinder Suresh.” He’s possibly the most high profile prisoner in the facility, even if nobody really knows what this place is.

“All the Institute geniuses that could be rounded up wound up here,” Odessa confides. “We’re all paying our debt to society by using our brains for the government.” That smile of hers turns rueful. “We all thought we were saving the world before. We only have their word for it that we’re actually doing it this time.”

Luther warned her to use that brilliant mind of hers to think critically, and not just blindly follow for once. “So far… I guess it seems to check out. I trust Richard will come knocking our doors down if we’ve been duped again.”

Brows twitch up ever so slightly and then furrow, a sign of Kaylee’s ongoing struggle to really trust this new government. But after a moment, Kaylee takes a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I really hope you’re right and they keep you all focused on doing good. I wonder if they realize how close we are all watching them.”

The mention of her brother gets a lop-sided smile. “There are a lot of us that would break down some doors and knock some heads together. There is still some fight in these freedom fighters.” Kaylee points out with amusement. “And I know you’ll let him or someone know if they do start something shady.” The woman’s faith in her friend was unshakable.

“Because, you and I both know that this country is just holding on by a thread,” Kaylee murmurs watching the guards nearby. Their time is probably coming close to an end. “In fact, I always feel like I am holding my breath waiting for something to happen… It’s not a matter of if,” blue eyes shift back to Odessa, “But when, it’ll happen and that is the worst feeling, cause I don’t want my kids growing up to be us.” Or them… the kids from the future.

“I know,” Odessa murmurs, her own brow furrowing. “We just… We have to keep doing what we do, so they’ll never have to know what that’s really like.” She can’t claim to really know what it’s like to be in Kaylee’s shoes. But while she has no children of her own, she does have nieces and a nephew to be concerned about. She wants to protect them the way no one protected her. The way she couldn’t protect Julie and Liette.

There’s a moment where it seems as though Odessa is going to crumple, pitching forward just enough to wrap her arms around her friend. “Thank you so much for coming to see me. I’ve missed you so much.” And she’ll miss her terribly again when she’s gone and until the next time. Withdrawing, she fixes a smile onto her face, amazed at how keenly she feels Kaylee’s concern and how it twines around her own. “I love you.”

Despite a hint of what is to come, Kaylee didn’t expect it to turn into a hug. So there is a brief hesitation, before the hug is returned with a soft huff of awkwardness as she admits that… “I love you, too, Dessa.” The arms wrapping the other blonde tighten briefly before loosening.
“You started the effort to save me and here I am… I just…I’m sorry I never returned the favor before…” Stopping herself, the telepath pulls back and looks around them to indicate where they are without saying the words. They both know the route she took.

A glance passed Odessa, tells them their time is up as a guard closes in. Kaylee’s expression falls when she looks back at the other woman and hugs her again. “I’ll be back. If you need anything, let me know?”

The smile doesn’t fade, it only takes on an apologetic sort of quality. “It’s okay,” Odessa is quick to assure. “Really.” This situation is of her own making, and it’s not even close to what she deserves.

Kaylee’s request is met with a nod. “Of course. I’ll reach out if something comes up.” Odessa briefly squeezes the other woman’s hands before allowing their contact to fall away entirely. “Take care of yourself. I’ll do the same.”

Odessa takes a step back. “And if you see him again,” Adam, “tell him I said hello.”

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