Car Keys


kaylee_icon.gif luther_icon.gif

Featuring a very tuckered out:


Scene Title Car Keys
Synopsis After trial and tragedy, Kaylee and Luther find their friendship still intact and a new future ahead of them.
Date March 2, 2019

Outside the Winslow-Crawford Academy

The event at Peyton’s academy had stretched well into the day. Tile painting turned into tile laying, which Kaylee hadn’t expected. Especially, Carl’s enthusiasm to help with everything he was allowed, too. Add in a new buddy in a blonde little girl…. The day was full of excitement and messes. All of which left Carl in a zombie state, covered in paint, plus grass and dirt stains. She is also pretty sure one cuff of his jeans is stiff from the cement used to place the tiles.

This meant that Kaylee is left holding the…. Well, left holding the kid. At nearly seven years old, Carl was not as light as he used to be. She was going to feel this in the morning, arms holding on tight even as small arm are draped haphazardly over her shoulders.

“You…” she hitched him up a little higher on her hip, “…are getting too big for this.” Kaylee grunts as she shifts him enough so that she can unlock the car. Fishing the keys out of her pocket, she realizes just how much she has been relying on Bob as of late. Well

The little boy is too tired to even lift his head, a hand scrubbing across drooping eyes. He shifts his head to lay his cheek against her shoulder. “S’rry mommy.”

“You’re fine, baby,” Kaylee murmurs softly, even as she works to get the key into the lock. Of course, about the time she thinks she has the key in the lock, she fumbles and drops the keyring which clatters on the ground loudly. Just as tired as the boy in her arms, the telepath looks skyward and sighs.

Having taken time to say hellos and goodbyes for the few familiars, Luther emerges later from the academy with another couple of faces in mind. He half-jogs, half-lumbers towards them once he’s spotted the woman and her son, and looks relieved to see they haven’t disappeared yet. But for all the eagerness he approaches the telepath’s vicinity, he slows when he’s close enough for conversation.

A glance goes to the boy in her arms, a softer edged smile twitches up a corner of his mouth. “Here, let me get that,” Luther rumbles as he moves to help pick up the dropped keys. His own movements aren’t as smooth, signs of ongoing recovery present, but he’s not in too much pain. Nothing he couldn’t handle. After he retrieves the keys, he helps to unlock the door and pulls it open for her to slip the sleepy son into place.

That he’s got a hold on her car keys isn’t intended to be strategic, but once Luther realizes he has them, he keeps them in hand for now.

The telepath knows he’s there before he even speaks, Luther’s mental signature drifting into her field. A part of her wasn’t sure she was ready for this yet, but she still offers him a strained smile. Strained, because her son is so damn heavy. “My hero,” Kaylee says softly, stepping back enough so that he can open the car door; then moving in again to set Carl on the seat and help hook him in.

“Hi, Mr. Bellamy,” is murmured sleepily and not very coherently by the child. Though before the door is even shut, Carl’s head is resting back on the seat, mouth slightly ajar.

Her son secured, Kaylee turns to face Luther with an appreciative expression. “Thank you,” she sighs leaning against the car a moment. Shoulders are rolled testing the level of soreness. “Still seems like yesterday he fit on my hip. He is growing way too fast.” Turning just enough to see her son is now out cold, there is a touch of relief. Some peace tonight, maybe?

Pushing away the car, the telepath attempts to take possession of her car keys again. “It was really good seeing you out and about, Luther. People have really missed you around here.” A roundabout way of saying she really missed him. “Can we expect to see you at the office soon?” Sounds like Kaylee winding up to leave.

“Hey Carl, I saw your tile and it looked great,” Luther responds to the kid, leaving their conversation off at that once the boy is inside and tuckered out. He retreats back up a step on the curb, gaze still on the car, but blinks once he notes the keys are still in his hand. As she reaches for them, he clears his throat and not so subtly curls his fingers around them.

A bare nod answers her first question. Luther swallows mich of the rest, but she can feel his mind brimming with several thoughts. Among them, the relief to see her alive and well. “I’ll be back in soon,” he finally says to confirm it, “Doctors in Kansas City did a bang up job. I don’t feel like I got run over by a freight train anymore.”

He then turns a bit away from her, looking up the street. “You, uh, you doing okay?” His mouth flattens with the concerned air he takes on. “After all that happened, and after…” The world broke and the man before the telepath felt like he had lost control, in his view. Luther sucks in a steadying breath.

“You want to grab a bite?” The question comes abruptly with hope behind it. “Doughnuts and baked goods are great, but.” He casts another glance to Carl in the car. Oh, right.

Brows tick upward as fingers curl around the keys, blue eyes go from his hand and up to his face curiously. Slowly, her hand drops to her side. So, it’s going to be like that. Okay. Kaylee lets out a breath and looks away herself and back to the building they just left. The question about food brings out a smile. She can’t help it. Even though he gets it, she says quietly, “I’d love too, but… Maybe next time?”

Finally, Kaylee steps back to lean against the car again, arms crossing. Looking at the asphalt at her feet, scuffing at it it a little.

She knows she could lie, but… she finds herself saying, “If I said yes. That I was just fine. That wouldn’t be the truth.” She doesn’t look up, just back behind her, where her son sleeps. So peaceful, but so very uncomfortable looking. “Nothing feels the same anymore…” There is a moment, before she adds, “..for me,” quietly. “And I’m still trying to wrap my head around it all.”

A pang of guilt slips through Luther, straightening the man’s back at first and tightening his hold on the keys. His grey eyes turn from Carl to the telepath and she can sense the apology before it makes it out of him. “I’m sorry. If things were… if I’d handled it better…” New Mexico wouldn’t be on fire, for one, he knows.

But more than that. Luther hitches his breath, pausing to compose himself. “Ducky, and Rowan, and the teams, they’d be…” He exhales sharply and slowly holds out her keys. If she wanted to leave, to avoid him, she could. “I know we’re not supposed to talk about it. But they all deserve something.” And in that look, it’s an askance. For forgiveness? Permission? Advice? Or all three.

The jingle of keys pulls her attention back, bringing her focus up against to Luther. He can see the pain and guilt she’s holding onto as well. Her gaze doesn’t linger on his long, dropping to the keys and her chance for escape from the uncomfortable conversation.

Kaylee takes the step it takes to bring herself close enough to gently take the keys from him. Her own fingers curling around them, noting the warmth left by his. However, she doesn’t turn and run from him; instead the keys are tucked into the pocket of that worn leather jacket. “I’ve been doing everything I can to make sure the families of those we lost get something.” Eyes lifting again to meet his.

“But, not everyone ended up lost like we thought.” Reaching out to gently touch his arm as Kaylee delivers the news that, “Eve, Lynette and Mateo. Luther, they’re alive.” A ghost of a smile touches her lips as she continues, “When I passed out, I was following the Ruizes into… well…. the where isn’t important.” She isn’t sure he’d fully grasp it. It was tough for her and she was there. “What is… I followed them. While I returned shortly after everything… they returned to our world only a couple of days ago.”

Here is where her smile falters a little and there is a hesitation by the telepath to go on. “However, the thing we released, it changed Eve… She… “ Kaylee’s eyes screw shut and brows furrow as she has to deliver this less pleasing news. “She’s alive, but the thing stripped her ability away and remade her into something much more volatile. Dangerous. I went and saw it with my own eyes.” Her head shakes a little, eyes glistening with tears. “I had to see for myself, Luther. After seeing her, I’m scared for her. She seems so much more fragile.”

Nothing has truly eliminated the visceral images, the memories of what Luther has seen. But little could compare to the most recent of shared visions and witnessing the disintegration of those they once knew. He meets her eyes as she says she’s making sure the families are, as the government would put it “compensated” for their loss. A mixture of guilt resurges but chases with relief.

Then as she touches his arm he looks back down to her hand… only to abruptly glance back to her face when she relays that critical information. “What?” Luther’s typical downturned, angled brows jump up - surprise, mixed with joy and confusion. The but how? slaps itself on Luther’s features. “You mean they’re…” But he hushes as she goes on, riveted to what Kaylee explains.

But, she can see his gaze upon her intensify its focus as she describes what has happened to them, to Eve. “But she’s… present. Conscious?” He starts to frown and blinks at the telepath. “Sentient?” He not asking if Eve is okay, given Kaylee’s explanation. Luther’s opposite hand moves to cover Kaylee’s on his arm, the steady warmth that he used to have having returned. “Where is she now, do you know? Is she with Lynette and Mateo at the Benchmark?” His first guess and the most hopeful.

There is a slow shake of Kaylee’s head, at the mention of Benchmark. “Eve is too dangerous to be someplace like that. She is out on Staten. Whatever the Entity did to her, it made her volatile… literally explosive.” Fingers curl a little tighter under his hand, her own anxiety over the woman’s condition apparent. “She’s… well, she’s in pain. She can pull herself together, but it doesn’t last and then she explodes back into this… this” How to best describe it… “cloud of energy?”

Despite the description a smile can’t help but tug to one side. “And despite it all. Eve is still Eve. Still looking for answers and Adam. Recruiting new people into the search as well.” Kaylee can’t help to be amused at that. It was encouraging.

“She isn’t the only one who’s been changed by this whole thing. So much changed.” Something she is saying… She might be implying that she is one of those changed. “Lynette and Mateo are a mix of two versions of themselves. It is going to take some time for them to adjust to having a mixture of memories like that.” Just like the two of them there do, though for the Ruiz’ it is on a grander scale. “It was all so surreal, to say the least.”

Arching a brow at “cloud of energy” more than the statement that Eve explodes, Luther rumbles a wordless note that’s laced with curiosity in addition to his concerns. Kaylee knows the look, the kind likened to a pit bull sniffing at a treat with a mind to take the whole hand. It’s by her continued remarks about Lynette and Mateo that regain the man’s focus.

His hand pulls away but only to tuck into a pocket, and Luther hunches slightly with the motion to force himself to relax a little of the tension, to pull away from the darker and disturbing thoughts of what that sort of merging could do. “And… how about you? After all that happened,” he asks, breathing in deeply and looking just past Kaylee to the boy sleeping. “You got to come back to them. And they don’t know anything about what happened.” He shakes his head slightly, exhaling a sigh.

“Where do we go from here?” wonders the man aloud, the question sounding both rhetorical and literal.

Eyes drop to the hand covering hers as it pulls away, Kaylee draws back her own too, as much as a small part of her doesn’t want too. “Something changed in me, too.” She admits softly at his query. The hand is tucked into her jacket pocket, where it then fiddles with the keys nervously. “The entity took a part of me when it jumped into Eve… It took the voice in my head.. The snake, that I thought was me becoming like my brother.” Which he was one of the few that knew about it.

“I feel different,” Kaylee continues after a silent moment and a hard swallow against the emotions threatening to creep up on her. “Everything… it just… My world has changed so much and I can’t tell them.” Fingers brush through her long curls and tucks them behind her ear. “I don’t know where to go from here, Luther. I’m having a hard time not questioning every decision I ever made; now and in the past. I— I guess we just have to take it one day at a time.” Finding herself blinking a little too much, she silently curses herself for being that weak.

So Kaylee shifts the focus a little.

“I’m honestly, relieved you’re okay,” she says quietly, not quite able to really look at him, eyes focus on the facial hair along his jaw. “It…it was hard to see you laying there. You ended up like that protecting us all and I pushed you in that position…” Kaylee trails off, realizing what she is doing. Looking away to a point on the ground, she takes a deep breath and refocuses herself, forcing herself to look up again.

Watching him watch her son, she says softly, “Carl really missed you. He’s so used to visiting you in your office.” The question is, does she really mean just her son? Doubtful. Kaylee smiles a bit, “He’ll be happy to start visiting again. If you still want him too.” Want her too?

Luther’s focus slowly turns back to Kaylee, brows lifting when she reveals her internal shift. He’d heard the snake before, too, and its absence creating a visible impact on the telepath has his attention then. “One day at a time,” he echoes, nodding in agreement. But, with her description of him back at the hospital he shakes his head. “I was doing a job,” he replies. “A job that was understandably risky, but…” He trails off. The thought that questions whether or not the risk was worth the reward goes unvoiced. He’s aware, though, she’s a telepath and could sense or read his misgivings. What had truly happened that day, what had been unleashed, what had been affected, all these things remain yet to be determined in Luther’s mind.

“I bet,” says the security chief of Carl and he turns up a corner of his mouth in a wry smile for the boy. “But of course he can visit. Door’s open, so long as his mom lets him come around.” Luther switches his glance from the kid to the mother, the smile not fading as he understands the implication. “Wouldn’t mind another half a sandwich either.”

“Doesn’t matter if it was a job or not…” Kaylee starts and then stops herself. With a heavy sigh out of her nose, she doesn’t continue that thought. Even if he had voiced the question, she isn’t sure she could answer it either way. Even after talking to the travellers, she isn’t sure what to think in that regard. There is a hefty amount of guilt that goes with that too. All those lives would add the pile that sits on the Ray family shoulders.

“And you know damn well, I’m not going to keep Carl from you,” Kaylee forces a smile back to the Security Chief, before looking back at her son on again. “He adores you and the security team.

“His mom does too,” she admits. There is something in the look that meets Luther’s again. A mixture of emotions, things she was trying to keep buried, guilt and anger. It was all there. “Raytech is better for having you heading the security, but… you shouldn’t be risked like that. They shouldn’t have been risked like that. For personal ventures… outside of Raytech.” A part of her didn’t like how the story was spun, making it a thing Raytech was doing for the government. Most of the people that worked for them didn’t even know what had really happened. “Even you, Luther. Though I think the casualties would have been far worse without you there.”

Taking a step away from the car towards him, Kaylee continues, eyes searching his face. “I’m a part of that family and I have a duty to them,” plus she loved her brothers and sister. “You’re not and you don’t… not even to me. Things are not going to get any easier, in fact, I have a feeling they are only going to get worse.” The man looming in front of her can feel her reluctance to say, “You can walk away at any time.” But that feeling was a selfish one, so she gives him that out.

The duration of the smile on Luther’s lips remains short when he recognizes the forced feel of Kaylee’s. He’d been around the telepath long enough to know that look, and it came out more and more as the months with the auroras and the visions drew on. That, and he recognizes the guilt and anger buried beneath because he too had - has - that tucked away into a large portion of his being. A long, slow sigh escapes him and he thinks on all the faces and names that have passed through and away. The casualties of this venture remain a source of guilty responsibility, a memory that will yet be processed and contained.

But, her misgivings pause his own. Luther’s grey eyed gaze switches back to her searching expression, meeting it with faint furrowed brows. “What are you saying,” he rumbles quietly, even though he understands what she implies there’s still a part that wants the confirmation. That it would be okay. And it comes when she says those last words. Still it stings where the pride lies within, and the security chief shakes his head.

“You say that like…” He swallows down roughly as a spike of defiance straightens him. “Like you’re letting me go.” In what way does she truly mean it, though? Luther scrubs a hand over his jaw as he turns that thought over, and he tilts his head as he eyes the telepath over. Confusion writes into his features. “And I don’t want to, not like this. As you said, things could get worse. After all that’s happened, you want me to, to walk away?” His gaze narrows, angled brows pinch further down. Teeth grit, and he practically growls out, “I don’t abandon friends.” The statement accompanies a surfacing of other memories, those faces returning of years ago and mixing with those lost barely a month ago to mix with those he thought were lost until today, and finally coalescing into the sight of the woman standing before him.

“And I don’t want to lose you as one, either,” he says, the bite in his rolling rumble lessening with a glance past her to the sleeping child in the car and back.

Eyes shut tight against the look and the growled words, Kaylee’s head dipping down with the weight of it. It was hard to convey what she was trying to say without letting too much out of the box she’s built around her emotions. “It isn’t that…” Kaylee starts and then stops, brows furrowing a little. Looking up again, blue eyes moves to meet grey; she gives a light sigh of frustration.

“Luther…” Reaching out to curl fingers into the fabric of his sleeves, Kaylee gives them a light tug to make sure she has his full attention. “You will never lose me,” The words are spoken quietly, measured, and emphasized with a tiny tug of his sleeve at each word. “I’m a telepath… I don’t have a whole lot of friends.” She could make them if she wanted. “True, honest to god friends who see me and not just my ability.”

Realizing what she is doing Kaylee lets go of his arms. Hands fall to her sides with fingers curled in to keep from doing it again. “Besides, after everything we’ve been through? You think I would walk away from our friendship?” A single brow tips upward, questioning.

“I just… I want to protect you.” Arms cross and Kaylee turns away from him, to look at that little boy in the car. “You’re too important to me.” Her head slowly inclines towards the car. “To him, too.” Twisting slightly to cast a look back over her shoulder, Kaylee adds, “And right now, I need my friend more than ever.”

The small tug successfully recaptures Luther’s attention from it settling on Carl within the car. Her first words cause his brows to push upwards at its firmness, meeting her gaze with initial surprise. Once physical contact breaks away, he breaks from the stare to look down where her fingers had taken hold.

After everything they’d gone through… “No, I didn’t think we’d gotten to that point. Of walking away,” he replies to her questioning glance up at him. Still, he can’t bring himself to stare directly at her again, not in that moment when he’s still settling in to the notion that she wasn’t pushing him away.

Her next words, though, do shift him back. Luther’s jaw sets tightly, a deep welling filling his chest in emotional density. Without another word, the man steps in while she’s looking over her shoulder and reaches out his arms to draw her into a tight hug. The gesture carries all the worry that had weighed on his shoulders since he’d come back to the Safe Zone. All that he feared he would find, gone. But that a friend was here, now, was a small step to a long road for relief.

The sudden sensation of someone close has Kaylee already turning back when he pulls into her into that hug. “Luth- ” Whatever she was starting to say in surprise is lost as she’s trapped. A soft surprised gasp escapes as her breath catches, finding herself wrapped in his arms. He was so warm! It brings back so many memories, the eventually focus on what he looked like laying in that bed and how it felt to kiss that chilled forehead.

A small whimper of sound escapes the telepath as her own emotions catch up. Fear and anxiety are dashed away and replaced with relief. He was himself again. Arms unfold and Luther soon finds her holding onto him just as tight as he is her. Long fingers cling tightly at the fabric at the back of his shirt, her face turned away so that her cheek can press against his shoulder, feeling the radiant warmth.

It is hard to tell if she is crying or laughing as she says, “I’ve missed you.” Just saying it, her eyes prickle hotly with unshed tears. “I’m so glad you’re alright.”

He’s not aware of the warmth he’s giving off at the moment; Luther himself feels relief. Both from the telepath and from an inward sense of now knowing that his world hasn’t completely shattered as it had three devstating times before. “Thank you.” The words come out whispered from an emotion-squeezed throat. A throat that eventually clears as he unwinds his arms from her, even a touch reluctant for the letting go.

“We should grab lunch sometime,” he states after, without any of the awkwardness as they had regarded each other with in the past months. Luther pushes up a smile, the motion crinkling the skin along the corners of eyes. “Sandwiches?” It’s a suggestion with obvious precedent.

When she feels Luther letting go, so does Kaylee with that same reluctance, even putting a bit of distance between them by backing up to the car. Fingers search blindly behind her as she wipes away tears with the heel of her hands.

Even with the tears, there is a genuine bright smile that touches her lips at the suggestion of lunch. “Nothing could keep me from it,” Kaylee says affectionately. Fingers finally find the handle and she pops the door open. However, as she start to get into the car… Kaylee stops and looks back over at Luther over the top of the car door, one foot in.

That smile, turns a bit mischievous as she asks with an upward tick of her brow, “If you are back, then I can expect you in the training rooms on Monday.” There is a glance down at his clothes and then back up again. “Dress for jogging.”

He doesn’t get a chance to protest. Kaylee ducks into the SUV and doesn’t look at him again until the car comes to life. Only then does he gets a smug grin and a wink before she turns away to focus on the trip home.

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