Being A Little Less Obstinate


joseph_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif

Scene Title Being A Little Less Obstinate
Synopsis During a discussion about the current situation, Joseph offers up his ability in the search for answers.
Date May 23, 2018

The Sumter Home, Elmhurst

Since Sibyl had been by the office, there had been an increase of Raytech security near the Sumter home. Though they were not allowed in the home, they were parked outside and even escorted the family where they need to go. This has been a point of stress for them, especially for her, when her phone rings she jumps. Kaylee keeps expecting she’ll get a call saying something happened to her family.

They had said before that they would leave for Detroit, together, but she just felt like she couldn’t leave. She couldn’t abandon her brother when he needed her most, but she also hasn’t been able to get Joseph to leave either.

Which meant she wasn’t sleeping well and was often found curled on her couch, after a long night of watching.

Tonight the kids were finally in bed and she was at the kitchen sink cleaning up from dinner. With the need to conserve that meant hand washing dishes. Scrubbing in one pan, rinsing in another, and tucking them in the rack for drying. Doing this allowed her to think, to come up with options; one of which is to move to the Raytech campus until they came up with a better plan.

Her company phone was on the counter next to her, even though service was spotty at best occasionally the planets aligned just right….

The phone dances across the counter top and chimes that she has a text message, it grabs Kaylee’s attention. Quickly, drying her hands, she picks up her phone. It was a text from Luther, her security chief.

Working tomorrow?

She had taken the rest of yesterday off after the blow up between Richard and their Security Chief. . The tension around the office had been horrible. Luther was probably just trying to plan security for tomorrow. Kaylee doesn’t respond, only sets the phone down again with a sigh.

Ever since Remi’s death and Sibyl’s warning, there has been a constant chill of fear in the pit of her stomach. Kaylee had to read that text three times before her brain finally processed what it was seeing. Remi Davignon had died. Their abilities kept them at a distance, but she had been a good woman. Even though they had declared it a Landmine, Kaylee had her doubts. Too much had happened surrounding Raytech. Someone was covering the truth.

Maybe it was paranoia, maybe it was just coincidence.

She feels him behind her, tracked his path from tucking the kids in; but, she doesn't turn back to look at him. Returning, instead, to scrub at the dishes. “If you won’t go to Detroit,” where at least Warren could watch out for them, “would you consider us moving into corporate housing? At least until we can make sure everything is safe again?” Would it ever be?

"You say that like I'm just bein' difficult."

Joseph's reply is a lodged complaint rather than an attempt to argue. Kaylee hears the sound of the fridge door opening up, of leftovers on plates, wrapped in saran, navigated inside. "Obstinate," he throws in, like maybe Scrabble points are involved, reappearing from behind the fridge door with a carton of orange juice. He's still mostly dressed from the day, formalities like jacket and tie and shoes all discarded, his shirt left untucked over his trousers.

He reaches past her, selecting a recently cleaned glass, still a little warm from the water. "When I got work here. School for the kids. Like we don't live in a place called the Safe Zone. Bein' put out to pasture usually just means the one time."

His tone is mild, given to debate and backchat and a dose of humour inherent in describing his heroism retirement, but there's a certain restless energy to it all, an undercurrent beneath his manners.

“I'm not saying—” Kaylee starts and then stops cause what she was going to say is not true. Water splashes a little and her hands drop with plate and scrubber into the water. She sighs. “I guess I am.” Saying that. Brows furrow a little and dishes are abandoned, for the moment; evident when she plucks the dish towel off the counter and starts drying her hands.

Turning so she can face him, or maybe turning her back on the nearest windows, the telepath leans against the counter. “The Safe Zone doesn't feel as safe anymore and I just want you and the kids protected.” Not her, never her. “I need you safe so I can concentrate on making sure it stays that way” and hopefully keep it safe for awhile after “and Raytech grounds are safer than ever with the new measures in place.”

The towel is tossed back on the counter and she gives a little sound of amusement at a thought. “Being put out to pasture…” she murmurs with a really? tone. “You are not old enough for phases like that. Settled, maybe. You start wearing socks with sandals, I’ll have to take drastic measures.”

Joseph stands with a hand leaning against the kitchen island and his other gripping his glass of orange juice, and he dips a look down into the latter as she speaks of protecting her family, the distinct line of his brow twinging at what comes next. Never jumping in — ever since he took up with Benchmark, his listening skills have been honed to a razor's edge of patient silence. Of course, this isn't therapy, or religious guidance — it's a marital quasi-dispute, and those patient silences can feel like traps.

Especially when he loops back to; "Now you're makin' it sound like we're the distraction, 'stead of all this business."

He splays what fingers he can free up as if to halt claim to the contrary — it's only half the point he's making, besides. "I'm just saying that protecting your family means lookin' out for yourself, too, and besides all that, I ain't even sure RayTech grounds will ever be safe so long as someone's threatening RayTech."

The thing Joseph won't ever say is that she should leave her job. Not in so many words. He goes to take a sip of orange juice instead of that, but then pauses it on its way up to say, irritated at the whole thing, "What do they want, anyhow?"

It has been long enough that Kaylee knows when he wants her to wait, though her lips were already parted with a protest on the tip of her tongue, when he non-verbally asks her to wait for the rest of his point. To which he gets a sigh.

Maybe he was right or maybe he wasn't. “It's safer cause we’re closer to everyone,” she points out. Strength in numbers. Strength in family.

Hands move to rest on the counter to each side of her, manicured nails click softly on the hard surface of the counter. There is a touch of guilt when for a moment Kaylee considers lying. However, their marriage hasn't gotten this far on a bed of lies. Teeth worry at her lower lip a little, before she states honestly, “They want me. Dead. That is what they want.”

She is quiet for a long moment after, watching him and his reaction. “Someone has decided because I’m a telepath I'm dangerous.” They are not wrong, her and Joseph both know that. “In fact, there was an attempt made.” The fact she was standing there speaks volumes.

She looks like she is going to say more, but then she stops, with a subtle shift in her features, for a moment blue eyes seem to focus elsewhere. At home, she doesn't see a need to hide when her ability goes into play. Almost as soon, she focuses on him and steps forward to rest a hand gently at his elbow to draw him away from the windows. “Then the other day,” she starts softly, “I found out that they are watching me, but not just me. They are watching you and the kids. That’s why y’all have security details. That’s why I need to feel like y’all are safe.”

It's one thing to know something generally, to sense it, and another to have it confirmed in words, a series of specifics. Joseph's reaction is that of quiet concerned, troubled beneath the surface, but not given to immediate panic, to histrionics. What it does to his heart, at the idea of Kaylee being threatened for what she can do, is the kind of thing she can intuit. He leans into their nearness, hands coming up to touch her face, to smooth back into her hair, to hold her.

"Alright," he says. "We'll do this your way 'cause you got all the facts, and I know you know what's best for the rest of us. But you have to promise me you're going to protect yourself. RayTech, the people there, whatever it is y'all are doing or have that's bringing in trouble, none of it matters if you're not safe too."

The world is saved, as far as Joseph is concerned. Anything else is a bonus.

Normally the closeness of him and his touch is calming on that part of her that remains coiled beneath the surface; but the lingering presence outside their home doesn’t let her relax. Eyes close as she tries to focus on those feelings, fingers clinging lightly to the fabric of his shirt where is sits on his hips. Still that soft voice won’t completely settle.

“I promise you, I ain’t going anywhere soon.” Kaylee says softly, “You’re stuck with me, lover. I told you that long ago, till death do us part. I do believe those were the words.” Eyes open so that she can look at him again, despite the seriousness of the conversation, she can’t help but offer him a soft smile, reassuring. “I’ll do whatever I can to protect myself,” as long as it doesn’t endanger them, she doesn’t say. “And there are plenty of others standing behind me on this.” There is some comfort in not facing an uncertain future alone.

Closing the distance, Kaylee’s lips brush his in a light kiss before she pulls back, a hand presses to his cheek, thumb brushing against the light stubble of his jaw. There it lingers for a moment as she shakes her head a little. “I just wish I knew why all of this was going on. We want to build a brighter future after everything…” Brows furrow a little, but whatever thought she had is brushed away. “None of our projects should be causing this.”

Kaylee’s eyes search his darker ones, thoughtfully, “Could it be something we haven’t done, yet?” There were a lot of pre-cogs left in the world after all, Joseph being one of them.

"It has to be somethin'. Can't be for nothing."

That thoughtful look she is giving him is reflected back at her, his hands coming to cup her shoulders, thumbs idly stroking. "Maybe they don't want a brighter future, or— maybe they don't think you can make one. Or a competitor, or some kind of terrorist thing. Both." But it's guesswork, until they can find a way to know for sure. Joseph takes Kaylee's hands in his, his attention now lowered to looking at the tangle of their fingers between them, the glimmer of wedding bands, the colour of kitchen tile under their feet.

"I, uh." Hesitation stalls his words, and she can feel her hands fidgeted with. An old enough habit that he's cut out a lot in recent years, preferring to project a sense of calm these days after having spent so much time feeling like a raw, exposed nerve. His idle fidget now is nothing like that, but still uneasy. "I don't do it a lot, anymore. Ever, really. Dunno how I feel about it, anymore, when I used to be sure. And makes things complicated besides, I always thought."

And back up at her, he tips his head. "Could make things simple. My power, I mean, if you wanted, or someone else you work with. It might not show the right stuff, but it could show somethin'."

“Richard would be all over that offer,” Kaylee quips softly, glancing up from her own scrutiny of gently tangled digits. There is a sort of knowing in her smile. “He’s always dealt with visions and futures. It is what my father was always about and it’s what got the whole lot of us in the mess in the first place.”

When she looks back down at their hands, it is not hard to see the mixture of emotions. The indecision. “I’ve always hated knowin’; yet, I can’t seem to escape it.” The knowing “It always seems to find me.” There is a soft sound of amusement from the telepath. “I wonder, sometimes, if daddy put you in my path, cause of what you can do.” It fit her father’s agenda really. Something in her tone says she doesn’t really believe that.

Fingers, cooler in degrees like most women, squeeze gently. There is hesitation, a touch of nervousness, but still Kaylee says softly, “Lets do it. I always wondered…” what it was like. Never has she ever ask it of him, denied him when he offered in the past, but… “And maybe we get another puzzle piece or maybe we get something good, hmm?” She obviously hopes for the later, but in all seriousness she knows it might not be good. “Could use a little hope.”

Joseph smiles, a little crookedy, and brings up her hands to kiss her knuckles. "Usually a mix," he says. "Good and bad, just like anything. C'mon."

Keeping one of her hands, Joseph leads her towards the living room, taking up his glass of orange juice as he goes. The couch looks a little lived in from her strange insomniac nights, but garners no comment as he sits down, drawing her along with so that they can perch there, a knee touching a knee. "And no offense to your old man," he says, "but personally, I think greater forces than even the enigmatic Edward Ray put me on your path.

"You ready?"

There is gentle and affectionate smile as he kisses her knuckles, Kaylee’s fingers tighten around his slightly at the gesture. “Well, as long as it isn’t like that one time in Eve’s head.” It was so long ago, in a drafty castle, but it still seemed fresh in her mind. “I think I’ll be okay with a mix.”

Hands clasped, she only hesitates a moment to follow him; hands suspended in the space between them. Admiring the shape of him as she is drawn along. A little sad at the circumstances, but still with a slight thrill at this new experience.

“No offense taken,” Kaylee reassures with a soft chuckle, as she settles on the couch next to him, tossing over the arm of it a knit blanket that she normally curls up with. “Though, he’d probably deserve it.” It is no secret the mixed feelings she has about the man she last saw in a coma in the depths of the Institute.

The question receives a small smile, a touch of nervousness in her light colored eyes. Her head nods a little, taking a deep breath she offers a softly huffed out, “Yeah.”

The last thing she sees is Joseph's face, the soft lights of their living room, before grey swamps her vision, slow to resolve into shapes.

Moonlight, coming in through arching windows, and glistening off blonde hair. The figure up ahead is familiar, and her surroundings unfamiliar. Wooden floorboards with a rotted rug, a cold hearth, mildewing furniture, abandonment permeated within the broad space of the building as insidiously as the damp. The ceiling is tall, but Kaylee can hear bird wings fluttering somewhere in upper levels, the cooing and scrabble of pigeons. Outside, she can see the verdant press of woodland green.

As Kaylee looks around, the woman up ahead also looks around — Tamara Brooks doesn't appear to notice her, but only because she is mimicking Kaylee's motions exactly, a mirror image. When Kaylee looks to her, Tamara looks back. A step forward, mirrored, a clench of her hands, mirrored. But then, Tamara smiles, and turns to leave, disappearing through the dark stairwell that winds up into this building's upper levels.

Although Kaylee feels Joseph's warm hands around hers, the couch bowing beneath her, she can also feel herself walking forward to follow, whether at her will or against it.

A creak of a floorboard behind her has Kaylee turning to look. Another figure, blonde, shadowed, unrecognisable, pauses and looks back in mimicry of her own actions. After several seconds of stillness and silence, Kaylee finds she has no choice but to look on ahead again and keep walking, even as those creaking footsteps behind her resume in their quiet stalk.

Darkness closes in around her, and up ahead, she sees four burning orange lights. And then another set of four. Another set of four. Another set of four.

"Look out!"

A voice, a little distorted, echoes in her ears, and a great weight suddenly knocks her to the ground while the crack and boom of gunshots sweep through the darkness. She pushes this weight off of her, and morning light begins to glow. She is kneeling amongst sand and saltgrass, out in the open, her hands bloodied, pressing down on a man's chest as blood seeps up through her fingers.

Luther's face is already pale from blood loss, gazing up at her with delirium. She does the only thing that feels right.

She kisses him.

Upon lifting her head, the person she is kneeling over has changed into someone she doesn't recognise, kiss feeling cold on her lips. A pale, feminine face, a tangle of blonde hair. No blood. Cold hands lift, and grip the sides of Kaylee's face, and steers her to look towards the water. Out in the grey ocean, a graveyard of rusting ships and boats sit impervious to the surf, occasionally groaning with long creaks of iron. And there, a more recognisable figure, is walking out from the choppy ocean, water level as high as his legs, white froth playing around his knees. Adam Monroe is well dressed, holding the Kensei sword just above the water, dripping crimson.

Ahead of him, Richard Ray is crawling out of the surf himself, hands and knees. Bleeding from the face, soaked shirt red in places. By the time he's out of the water, he's too exhausted to go any further.

Running. Kaylee is running, trying to resolve the distance between herself and her brother and the man standing over him, and although she gets closer, it seems impossible for her to get close enough.

Close enough, though, to see the way Adam's eyes shift from blue to gold. Close enough, now, to see the serpent — a recognisable serpent — slither up his arm, gazing down at Richard with its golden eyes. As one, Adam and snake look up to see Kaylee, before returning to Richard. Adam lifts his hand. It's not the one with the sword; his other hand holds within it a red apple.

"You have to go backwards," says a voice. Kaylee sees, behind her, the figure who had taken Luther's place. "If you want to move forward."

The figure is gone. Richard is gone. Adam is gone. The beach is a fitful, wet place, the sand grey and the smell of dead sea-life thick in the air. She thinks she can even smell the rust of the old ships, left to decay in the surf. At her feet, a small, dead bird lies half buried in the sand. Kaylee takes it up into her hands, and realises at once that it's not completely dead, with its tiny life glowing inside of it.

Its wings flicker, and then

And then she is back. She finds herself staring at the ceiling of the living room, lying back against the sofa. Joseph is perched anxiously next to her, but not panicked — he knows how his visions can be, but clearly this one was more intense than his usual. His hand is at her brow, stroking a thumb along her hairline.

"Dad? What's wrong?"

Hannah's little voice, coming from the stairwell.

"Nothing, honey. Go back to bed, I'll come up in a sec, okay?" The retreat of soft footsteps, creaking up the stairs. Gentler, Joseph queries, "Kaylee?"

It takes a few moments for Kaylee to reorientate herself to her surroundings, blinkings a few times before she focuses on him. She reaches up, fingertips lightly touch his jaw. “I’m okay,” she offers softly, giving him a reassuring smile. A glance goes past him to the stairs, worry creases her brow. A glance up confirms, “We woke the kids.”

Still, she sits up and closes her eyes; going over what she had seen. “That was different from that time…” eyes open and she looks at him again; this time a little confused and a bit apologetic, “… when the Company had you.” Which was true. That time had been a snapshot in time, this was something else. Imagery and symbols.

“I saw…” Kaylee trails off with a grimace. Already there is that familiar twist of pain in her stomach. “I saw Adam,” she breathes out. Her head gives a quick shake, “There was so much going on. Not just him.”

Clearly, this wasn’t a good vision.

“I don’t know if it’s a piece of the current puzzle,” why someone wants to attack Raytech or kill Kaylee, “but it’s a whole lot of pieces of something.”


Concern and a little bit of guilt are clear in Joseph's dark eyes, his hands at a hover at where they touch her, as if unconvinced she's okay. "I'm sorry, honey, I shoulda— I figured you knew how they were, these visions, but I forgot that that's the only one you had. What happened with the Company…" He trails off, dismisses it. "Sometimes they're a moment, sometimes they can be a whole lot. Here— " He glances around the room, identifies one of his notebook stashed beneath the coffee table. He retrieves it, unhooking the pen from its spine, flipping to a blank page.

He hands it to her. "Write down— well, people, anything spoken. Places. Anything that caught you in particular. And I'll go make sure the kids are tucked in." Because when one of them is awake, it can generally be assumed that the other two have roused.

Standing, Joseph kisses her brow on the way up.

“Look at who is reading minds now,” Kaylee jokes lightly, taking the notebook and pen. He can already see the wheels turning in his wife’s mind as she looks at the blank surface that will soon be filled with writing.

It isn’t the first time. Somewhere in all their things is a worn and tattered notebook filled with dreams.

Before he can get away, Kaylee’s hand finds his again, stalling his retreat. “Joseph,” she looks up from the notebook, head tilted back. “Thank you.” It was more than gratitude, it held an unspoken ‘I love you’. In a marriage that has lasted this long, you don’t always have to say it. You learn to hear it in the tone of their voice, in the touch of a hand, and even in how to look at you.

There is a small smile when she lets him go to attend the kids, a glancing going to the ceiling that the trio of now active minds above them. Kaylee wanted to join him, but there was something she needed to do.

With a click of the pen, Kaylee sets about putting a vision of jumbled imagery to paper.

She will probably still be at it by time Joseph retires to bed.

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