Dread And Breakfast


aman_icon.gif luther_icon.gif

Scene Title Dread and Breakfast
Synopsis While hiding out in Kaylee's apartment, Aman unexpectedly encounters the other potential occupant.
Date February 22, 2020

Kaylee's Apartment, RayTech Industries Campus Housing, Jackson Heights

6:38 AM

Aman sniffs and rolls over, sprawling on his back instead of facing the wall. He's been sleeping light, and a shift in scent brings his eyes to roll under their lids. His arm above his head shifts, fingers twitching, which in turn brings him closer to wakefulness.

His eyes open for just a second, then close again.

Moments pass.

Suddenly he sucks in a breath, brain finally processing that visual stimuli that had flickered its way into his pupils in the dim light of dawn. His eyes snap open wide, posture tense and frozen as he looks straight up at what's looming over him.

It's not the big furry face of Willy the tomcat, but still he's a different sort of stray. Luther has had many years of practiced experience in moving through environments that have required discretion and stealth, but also strength and intimidation. Both are useful in the protection of one's territories. Whether it is the mean streets of New York City before the war, the country during it, and in current moments like these, the specific spots where one could camp out or couch surf, the importance of body language shows so much more than mere words.

But in this case, words might help.

With his large frame silhouetted in the half light, Luther looms over in semi-hunched state. He's already shrugged off his jacket, unbuttoned half his shirt and left it to hang open, a fresh scar from a bullet burn exposed, all intent to collapse into an overly soft mattress and sheets pocked with girlish purple flowers. But like the bear come home to find Goldilocks sleeping, that notion has stalled.

His current calm expression belies the intensity of a studying stare down at the unfamiliar man sprawled and prone before him. How long had he been standing there remains unknown. The change of scent in the air may very well have been the smell of the drink emanating from Luther's person, likely evaporating from the stray drops on his beard. And in response to Aman's electric frozen tension, Luther's low timbre rolls out in a verbal thundercloud.

"Y' like eggs?"

Does he… what?

Brow pinching together in confusion, Aman's still-asleep arm flops down to rest across his chest, all the better for it to start getting feeling back in it and help him scramble upright if that's a thing he still needs to worry about shortly. He's more bewildered than anything, head pushing back into the pillow like it'll help him get more of Luther's frame into view and process it better.

Who are you? he wants to ask.

"Y… yes?" Aman answers instead, one of his legs slowly pulling into a tented position while he peers up at Luther with skeptic caution. He glances for just a moment over at the dresser and the clothes abandoned there before back to the lurking bear of a man. Clearing his throat but keeping his voice low to not rouse Kaylee in the next room, he interjects as amiably as he can, "You must be…?"

The first answer seems to pass the starting toll. The looming man continues to do so for a further set of long, unnerving beats of silence. Luther doesn't answer Aman's polite inquiry right away, to the point it might even seem like if he did, it would have been long enough to come up with a lie. Instead, he sniffs in deeply, blinks once and scans over Aman slowly once more.

A low, gravelly mrowl interrupts the staredown from behind.


Luther breaks off his hungover study of Aman and turns to glance down at Willy sitting in the doorway to the girls' bedroom. The cat's kinked tail flicks impatiently, but the feline doesn't deign to enter past the frame. For Reasons.

The man scrubs a hand through his beard as if to match the feline's exasperated state, returning to face the man in the purple flower bed. "Someone with a key," Luther answers finally as he steps closer, his expression bearing a suspicious scowling tint in an otherwise neutral expression due to steeper angled brows and heavy jowls. "Who the fuck're you?" His tone brusque, demanding, clear that not even respect for the cute pattern florals will shield Aman should the man answer wrong.

Well, if it's gonna be that way…

Aman frowns as he pushes himself up onto his elbows, uncomfortable with lying prone given the conversation and its tone, now that it seems likely he's not going to be stabbed. "A… friend of Kaylee's." Despite Odessa calling the two an item, there was nothing romantic currently going on between them. Somehow, they ended up on okay footing, but he was beginning to doubt his chances of regaining lost ground. "I'm going through some shit at the moment, and she suggested I stay here for…"


"At least for the night." Aman drags his hand down his face, rubbing the corners of his eyes. "What fucking time is it?" he wonders.

No matter the answer, it's definitely too early.

Luther doesn't offer a response first, because Aman's question is answered by another insisting, gravelly mrowl from behind the man. Willy expresses the dissatisfaction and hungry demand from the threshold leading into the room. The cat's eyes narrow by half, staring to the stranger on the bed.

But in that vocalized interrupt, Aman is saved. Luther turns his attention to look over his shoulder at the cat, the man's tense stare snipped and retracting. He sucks a tooth. "Yeah," he rumbles after the pause. "She's got a habit of doin' that… All the Rays do." There's a her especially and a myself included mixed in wordlessly, resolved when Luther twists away and lumbers back towards the bedroom door.

"'Bout 20 'til 7," adds the man at the doorframe, and he bends down slowly to give the grizzled tomcat a short scratch between the scarred ears and rubs at the tabby's cheek for a moment. "Time t' rise and shine." Yes… even on a Saturday morning. The expectation is Aman will do so, though for now there's no forcing wakefulness. Only the lingering knowledge that someone else, someone very much not Kaylee, is now present in the domicile. Maybe good sleep was never an option.

Maybe, but it doesn't stop Aman from sinking back to the pillow anyway, eyes closing. Just a little while longer, maybe. He counts long seconds, the ending number known only to himself. And then he lays there just a little while longer.

It's changed and fully-clothed that he stumbles down the hallway, his path an arcing curve as he struggles to get his feet under him and his head properly on his shoulders. His fingers fumble with the tan vest he's pulled on over the heathered blend of red and white of his v-necked shirt, ultimately leaving it hanging open. He's working on making a good impression, apparently— or at least a better one?— but this will have to be put-together enough for the moment.

He's lured by the smell of what's on in the kitchen, lead by his nose. He even gracefully avoids the cat without incident. "Name's Aman, by the way…" he says as he steps into the kitchen, glancing to Luther and then inviting himself to check the cabinets for plates. He'll make himself useful somehow in this situation. "Anything in particular I should call you, or are you fine with just 'hey, big guy?'"

Jacket has been shed on to the back of a dining chair. The tantalizing scent of toast and bacon wafts from the kitchen coupled with the sounds of sizzling meat, lightly clinking metal, and a quiet hum of something that sounds popular albeit not on the local radio. The humming stops when Aman enters, and Luther turns to look over his shoulder, assessing the man again now that he's upright and purportedly less vulnerable. Judgment: acceptable.

Tucked somewhere in a corner, however, Willy has retreated with something to assuage the offense to his territory and to watch the stalled introduction of the humans still slowly unfolding.

Unperturbed by Aman helping with table setting, Luther rewards the other man's effort with an acknowledging nod. Though it's said a watched pot never boils, the cook currently proves the saying wrong as he attends the metal deep sauce pan atop the stove's burner. His own hand emanates visible heat waves, coaxing the pot along. "Luther," answers the man draped in an apron over rebuttoned shirt, his tone faint due to focus on the task. The relaxed safe space provides no fear of abilities usage, and the act feels almost second nature for the man. He's no longer focused on Aman's intrusion or harboring further suspicions. Not outwardly, anyway.

The hand withdraws back to him once the water bubbles and roils far quicker time than any normal setting suggests. He wipes his hand on the apron lightly.

"Coffee's in the cabinet there," Luther adds without looking over. The trio of eggs beside him receive his attention next, cracked and loose white lightly drained before they're set into the hot water with a swirl of a spoon to poach. Only after the eggs have been added does he finally turn back to Aman. His brows inch up. "You're here because of a Ferry type situation?"

Aman's movements with the plate-gathering effort slow as he notes the heat from Luther's hand, a shot of a look going up to the man himself before moving on. Rude to stare, right?

But he's surprised. Been running into more and more folks lately with various gifts, which encouraged him in turn to be more mindful of his own.

He sets two plates out before grabbing a third, glancing over his shoulder to see if Kaylee's roused yet, or if she's still getting sleep she deserves but her schedule may not allow for. Rather than pass any comment, Aman merely lets the third plate come to rest on the countertop aside the other two with the quietest of clinks before he reaches for the coffee and relevant fixings.

The question catches him off-guard, pausing mid-scoop of grounds. Aman starts to reply, but his expression mellows instead, tapping the first of three lumps into the coffee filter. "Yeah," he admits finally, sounding dissatisfied with that response nonetheless. "Something like that. Unwittingly crossed someone who'd love to see me dead, and a … mutual friend of mine and Kaylee's warned me he might be looking for me, told me to find someplace safe to go to."

"And Kaylee," said with a nod back in the direction of the doorway, "Decided the safe place would be here. I don't know if I agree with that, with putting her in danger, with putting her in…" Aman rolls his jaw, minding his words, "In this position, but I couldn't argue last night. I just didn't have it in me."

After a beat, Aman glances back to Luther. "You met her brother?" he asks, an idle question except that it's not.

Luther's grunt to the first half of Aman's anecdote leans just this side of neutral but angled on agreeable with the statement. The monosyllable encompasses his opinion on the matter, that Kaylee's decision of sheltering a wanted man puts her in potential danger. But there's little can be done when the telepath is not present to argue with. All that can be done is breakfast.

Poaching eggs swirl slowly as he fades his quick-heating power back to regular flame. The question about her brother gains a twitch of a mouth corner up, a wry smirk. "Which one?" he counters in a not-question tone, turning back to study Aman for another half a minute to run the clock. "The Rays and I… we go a ways back. Her brothers are the ones I met first."

The memories that bubble up draw down the man's brow, however, and he blinks a few times at the thoughts of old times. When he looks back at Aman, he shakes his head slowly. "I used to work for them. Custodial first, then security." He makes no big deal of the position, the better not to draw attention to what could be gleaned later with research if there was a need. "Left last year to… pursue a different direction." Luther lifts an idle, no longer superheated hand to scratch at his beard, clearly turning over and evaluating the decision made months ago and its results since then.

"Who wants you dead?"

The question abruptly pierces through Luther's clouded thoughts. He levels his storm grey gaze upon the other man.

Right. Brothers plural. Aman makes an exaggerated wince when asked which one he's met, glancing back to Luther. He's wading into uncomfortable territory, but he points out, "The one living in New York. The, uh, other's— more in Detroit, right?"

Not that he's looked up the Rays or anything.

There's a flicker of surprise when Luther admits he was security, causing him to think back for a moment and full stop in the middle of what he was doing. Luther… Bellamy? The former Security Chief slash suspected terrorist from the news last year?

That loosens him up a little on his answer.

"It depends," Aman shares blithely. "Mostly on who knows what. It changes what level of fucked I am. Is it just a homicidal maniac who some woman tricked me into vigilante-ing into a prison cell, or, is it worse than that and other powers that be are aware of what the fuck happened there?" Rubbing at his face abruptly, he looks back up at the cabinets, clearly considering topping off his early morning coffee with a touch of the alcohol hidden up there even as he finishes setting the coffee pot up to run. "Don't really know," comes from him unhappily next. "Des didn't really say."

With a stream of a sigh, he shakes his head.

But then his breath stops short as he backtracks. The terrorist group that Luther Bellamy had been suspected of involvement in with…

Slowly Aman's eyes track back to him. "Hey, uh, you aren't actually with Mazdak, are you, right?"

The very same, Aman, the very same. If the angled eyebrows slanting together over a stormy colored gaze are a giveaway at all, all he has to do is tack on the beard and add a fingertip's length to the hair. Maybe a little more sprinkling of tired, hungover gray to everything at the moment. One of those qualities is being worked on as Luther tongs out the bacon from pan to plate, plucks and places toast with a smidgeon of care for presentation.

It's not the terrorist organization question that creates the pause of the tongs over one plate. His mention of Des acts the spark that pilot lights an invisible leak. A minute tightening of curled knuckles over the utensil might go unnoticed, might not. Luther considers, tempers his reaction and as he turns his attention back to Aman, straightens to fuller height in an impression of what the former RayTech Head of Security had been. Somehow, he still manages to look troublingly fearsome in an apron.

"No, I'm not." He states flatly, the low timbre rumbling through the light touch of teeth tips. He's clearly unconcerned whether Aman believes him or not at present.

But more importantly is the distance closed between them as Luther presses forward, one step advancing. "What did you do with 'Des'?" His half of the exchange seeks honest answers too, as the greasy tip of tongs lifts at Aman like a microphone. Or a knife.

Aman would like to be able to blame his lack of sleep on the lack of awareness that has lead him to this moment in time. He realizes seconds too late that the web of relations he's found himself in the middle of almost undoubtedly include Luther Bellamy. And when it does, his expression slowly slips blank.

There really isn't an expletive that appropriately covers his thoughts, though many come to mind. Luther's intimidating hulk somehow doubles its presence when he wears that look while dressed in a way that shouldn't be threatening at all.

Every answer's the wrong answer, but lying twists the knife worse. If he's going to run the risk of those microwave hands turning on him…

Not that Luther would, here, in the middle of Kaylee's kitchen. But— not that he wouldn't, either.

It's those few seconds of calmly silent panic that let him get control of his tone before speaking again. "Nothing," Aman replies plainly, at once a lie and the absolute truth. "After PISEC, she laid low at my place a couple days, then someone came and got her, took her— to this… boat down in Bay Ridge. She fucked up and got picked up last night, so I need to let that guy know what's up before I…"

His expression mellows, averting his gaze from Luther. Rather than mellow in the conversation, he instead begins raiding the cabinets for cups for the brewing coffee. "I don't know. Des used her phone call to call me instead of her lawyer, to warn both me and him we needed to run— and not from the feds. From the guy the oni betrayed, because he somehow got free of the cell we stuffed him in on the way out of PISEC."

The nothing reply gets the barest twitch of bacon greased tongs that translates all the way up Luther's arm into his stiffened jaw. And then, as Aman has the audacity to continue acting casual about the felony described with such loose terms and phrases as the guy the oni betrayed, Luther stares with more incredulity than ever. He doesn't completely short out. But, he abruptly steps in and reaches over Aman to grasp the coffee mug from the cabinet.

"I got it," he states evenly, the low timbre rolling out of him quiet as distant thunder. "Grab a plate. Sit." The insistence drops heavily from Luther. The mugs, though, they're in steady hands. "This guy. His name's Redd, isn't it? If he's the one you've got on your tail…" trails the man as he recalls the state Redd's alternate showed up in at Cat's Cradle no long ago. It doesn't bode well for Aman; Luther's expression when he turns back to Aman leans towards grim neutral.

"How much of this have you told her?" Luther angles his head towards the back bedrooms.

Aman's hand twitches back when Luther suddenly intervenes, ordering him to sit. He doubletakes but ultimately steps back. And for a lack of knowing what else to do in this strange power dynamic, grabs a plate for himself after all, because he is hungry. The bottom of the plate scrapes just barely against the surface of the table as it's set down, attempting quiet under the premise of letting Kaylee sleep longer if that's what she wanted— needed. And maybe to give him and Luther both just a moment longer to finish this conversation.

Wherever the fuck it was headed. Although, he has a pretty strong feeling it's going to end with a subtle or not-so-subtle encouragement to take a hike.

He tears a bite of bacon off, chewing before he replies. He needs the moment it gives him after Luther casually throws out Redd's name on a description alone. "Yeah," Aman replies. "Dark, scraggly, murderous— has an ability that makes people not see him and anyone with him." He'd drink from his coffee if he had it in hand already. Instead, he drops the rest of the bacon piece to his plate.

He rolls his jaw before sighing, "Everything." in reply to Luther's second question. "She knows everything I've told you. Her brother popped in in the dark before we got some shut-eye, so he knows… basically all of it, too. About Des, and about Redd, and…"

Definitely not about Mohinder, but Aman really enjoys living.

"And… yeah." He sighs at that, tiredness making itself apparent on him. "She told me I should stay here, that she'd get a SPOT robot to watch the door, to be alert if Redd showed up. She figures it should sense him just fine, but that's just a guess, and if he really does track me down, I don't want her life to rest on a guess." The corners of his mouth pull back in a small grimace as he looks down, voice toning back a notch quieter still. "She seems ready and willing to dive in on this, to… to prove she meant it when she told me if shit ever went wrong to call her and she'd help, but this…. this is just unfair to her. Even if she practically volunteered herself for it."

There's still some degree of honor and trust lingering between them by virtue of Luther having his back turned to Aman once the coffee pours. Perhaps it's easier to hide the troubled expression Luther wears while he contemplates the names and relationships Aman has detailed, and how it tangles together here in the moment. How Kaylee's handled it too, the assigning of a SPOT watcher and the willingness to help. And Richard's aware. That's somewhat of a relief. He schools his expression back to a disturbed-leaning neutral before he turns back to Aman. Try though he might, his angled brows remain furrowed.

One mug sets down beside Aman's plate, and the other remains in his hand. It's soon followed by a small jar of sugar, a second jar with creamer, and a teaspoon.

"This place ain't a bad one to shelter in. But, eventually, you'll have to deal with it. Or, have someone deal with him for you," concludes Luther with a short sip of the hot coffee, black for now, and joins Aman at the table with his own plate by seating himself across from the other man. "At least you're not alone in that department. Given the man's rep and choice of occupation, he's probably got plenty of reasons to look over his shoulder, too." Silently, Luther adds his group of vigilante-styled friends to the mix of those reasons.

"What's your plan, then?" he asks, punctuating the inquiry with a short crunch of combined toast, bacon, egg.

A barely audible growl from Willy gets ignored for a few beats, followed by Luther splitting attention on the discussion between the men long enough to break off a piece of his bacon strip and hold it down off the side of his chair. The inner debate of the ever-scavenging old tomcat ends with a wary approach, a snag of the offering, and hasty retreat away down the hall.

"There's this teleporter in town whose ability I might be able to borrow, help me get someplace safer. And beyond that, I need to not assume they don't know who I am anymore. So, it means I should look out for my family, too. I'm from upstate, and I need to…" Aman trails off, watching the cat scurry away with a small frown.

"I don't know," he admits more freely, more honestly. "I feel like it's the right thing to do. Stick with them without letting them know what's going on, but if trouble comes knocking, I make sure they get out safe. But if you've got any other suggestions… " He glances back up to Luther, letting his food sit until he's received that advice, if any is forthcoming.

Willy's apparently recused himself from the conversation, one sided though it becomes when Aman trails. While the other man's plate goes untouched, Luther doesn't have a problem methodically dispatching what's in front on him. He chews slowly, watching the troubled man with the schooled, inscrutable placidity. The only break to the expression comes when angled brows tick up as he realizes Aman's hunting for hints.

Luther looks briefly off of Aman towards the hallway Willy's retreated down, the same that leads to where Kaylee's asleep. After a pause, grey eyes shift their focus back to the man on the run. "If you got family, you do what you need to do to protect them," he rumbles out finally after swallowing. His reply may be unsatisfactory and without detail. Perhaps on the account of the lack of them, or perhaps because of purposeful distancing.

When did the man's food disappear? Because Aman's plate looks full still, and Luther's lifting up the last corner of his toast to sop up a bit of runny yolk and not content to leave crumbs. "You said, you know a teleporter whose ability you might borrow?" Similarly, he picks up on the crumbs of information Aman shares.

It's reluctantly that Aman takes to eating his breakfast before it gets cold. Luther taking his time with formulating his reply in turn keeps the ability thief from feeling particularly rude about inviting himself to eat, too, so there's that. But he's barely several bites in when Luther's plate has vanished.

Then comes his question.

Ah. Hell.

"Y… yeah." For the first time, Aman seems properly hesitant to offer up any information, looking off. "He's a nice enough guy. Recent father. Kid was born earlier this month. He's, uh— got a form of nervous teleportation, he calls it. Can only teleport places he's been before, but the moment his anxiety kicks up…"

Aman makes a quiet pop and a gesture of his hand indicating a shift from one place to another. "So anyway, he's been under a lot of stress, and he was looking to to get it negated one way or another so he quits accidentally flaking out during some pretty fucking critical moments in his life." Looking back to Luther, he explains, "If he goes through me, he gets to stay unregistered, and as an added bonus, not have to worry about medication and side effects. The downside is, the longer he offloads his ability onto me, the more he doesn't really learn to fix his problem. I'm not a permanent solution."

A forkful of egg later, a swish of coffee to down it, he supposes, "But maybe that's more of a later problem, if I need his ability now, and he needs to be rid of it." With a twitch of one brow, Aman's voice lowers. "Might just make his fucking day if I agreed to take it long-term for a reduced rate."

Silent sips make Luther's coffee disappear at a steady drain. There is a short pause when Aman reveals some detail about the teleporting source. Luther's brows shift up initially, softening his normally stern expression with what can only be amusement with something the man across the table said or did. The feeling eases back to a sympathetic neutral along with Aman's lowered tone.

Luther lowers his coffee mug. A beat skips. "Must've really shifted himself when he saw the kid come out," remarks the man, "or worse the first time he had to change the diapers." Ah, fatherhood.

He blinks a few times, glancing down to the empty plate and mug as if to contemplate refilling the void. "How long does it last, your… power rental?"

Signs of wordplay from the intimidating hulk that is Luther is as clear an indication as any that Aman is out of the line of fire of his ire.

For now, anyway.

"Lucky for him, I had it when that went on." Aman pulls his mug back to himself with a flicker of a smile, dousing it out with more coffee. "Just barely that long, though." He lets out a sigh through his nose at that, distracted by other thoughts when Luther first poses his question.

It's a beat later that Aman looks back, an eyebrow raised. "I mean…" he ventures quietly. "As long as it needs to?" But that's not what Luther's asking, necessarily. "My rates are daily, and I cap at seven days except for special circumstances. So…"

"Why," he wonders with a lighthearted lift of his tone. "Sick of being able to cook a carton of eggs just by looking at them?"

Luther arches an angled brow up upon Aman's self-prescribed limitations. Curiosity keeps his gaze on the other man, but further questions remain silenced. Perhaps he finally realizes the rudeness of asking what would be something quite personal for some with special abilities. A mentality he shares, given past negative experiences when said superpower was revealed to the world.

He snorts in mild humor with the lightened tone and not entirely serious offer. Honestly the eggs likely don't last long around Luther, it's true. "I'm good, thanks," he says as he pushes up to bus his plate. Empty plate goes into the sink for now, and then he moves to fix a third plate with the remaining egg, bacon, toast, and plucks another mug from the cupboards for the coffee. Someone isn't afraid of waking a telepath in the early hours. Or at least, he's prepared with offerings when he does.

"C'mon Willy," calls the man to the wary tomcat lurking nearby. He sets the fresh filled mug onto a tray. A pointed look pins on Aman next, the sort reminiscent of a drill sergeant expecting full cooperation. "Stay. Eat." Not that he's anticipating Aman to teleport away all of a sudden, but Luther's rumbling carries a touch warmer tone than before. An invitation, almost, rather than command. "We'll figure stuff out some more once Kaylee's up."

Then he eyes the cat, tilts his head and starts down the hall. Luther talks to the tomcat as the pair go, his voice quieting with the growing distance.

"Maybe you'll get lucky yet with her, an' she'll give you the bacon."

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