Everyone Wants to Talk


kayla_icon.gif veronica_icon.gif

Scene Title Everyone Wants to Talk
Synopsis …except the person they're trying to get to do the talking.
Date June 26, 2009

Fort Hero: Temporary Storage Room

Although most people are hanging out in a relatively small area for their first day in Fort Hero, Kayla has been very much least-in-sight. She didn't show up for breakfast; came to lunch, but remained a quiet presence, unobtrusive in the chatter-filled room. Afterwards, the young woman disappeared again; here, as it happens, where 'here' is a chamber designated as a staging area for supplies. It's a room somewhat off the main corridor, occupied now by an assortment of boxes that aren't yet in any logical order — just the order they happened to be plunked down in.

Dressed in jeans that almost fit well (they were probably borrowed from someone else) and a shirt that looks more like it's actually hers, Kayla opens a box, consults the packing list inside it, and hauls the container over to the appropriate pile for its contents. Repeat practically ad infinitum — with the way sweat has dampened her hair into a flat, skull-hugging cap, it seems like she has probably been doing this since lunch. And she doesn't look like she plans to quit soon.

Veronica is exploring, not in a mood for the chatter either; already having been out to explore the grounds, she's now exploring the indoor areas of the compound, or at least those open to the agents currently. She wanders through the hallway, peering into offices and nooks and crannies to see the Company's new "home."

Eventually she comes to the room in which Kayla works. She leans against the doorway, watching the woman hustle for a moment — Kayla might be aware that she's here before Veronica speaks, as she has a few scrapes and bruises here and there. "You need some help?" she asks quietly.

The footsteps of the new arrival pass unheard beneath the scrape of cardboard on cardboard, the rasp of her own breath against the edges of teeth. The box settles into place with a muted thunk, and Kayla takes the time to brush the worst of the dust off her black-gloved hands before glancing over her shoulder towards Veronica.

"Everyone thinks I need help," the woman mutters. "I'm fine." As if to prove it, she moves to another box, tugs it open, hauls out the packing list with a characteristic paper-rustle. There's a little too much force to her movements, and she is probably past the point of exertion at which most people would take a break — 'fine' is maybe not the best description for Kayla right now, words aside.

"Let me rephrase," Veronica says, a small smirk that is not totally unsympathetic curving up the corners of her mouth. "Would you like help… or maybe just company… something along those lines?" She nods toward the boxes. "I mean… the early bird gets the worm and all, but it's not like the world will stop if those don't get done before sundown today, kid. And it's not like I have a lot to do right now. Feel like I'm a kid who's been grounded, to tell you the truth. And my goddamn cell phone's not working right, so I can't even surf the web."

Kayla doesn't answer right away. In fact, as she continues with her self-assigned task, lugging the box over to join its peers in the appropriate category, the silence stretches long enough that one might think she's ignoring Veronica. But she isn't. She's thinking.

Straightening, Kayla nudges the box slightly with a foot, not really to any meaningful purpose. She turns a little, not quite far enough to face Veronica; turns away again, leaning a forearm against the stack of containers. "It's not about the work," she finally says, voice quiet and flat.

The agent watches Kayla drag the box for that long moment. Eventually Veronica pushes off from the doorframe to turn and leave the woman who clearly wants to be left alone, but then the empath speaks. Veronica turns back and watches Kayla for a moment, before pushing a strand of dark hair out of her face, trying to think of something to say that might help.

Coming up short on that task, Vee shrugs and tries anyway. "I didn't think it was… do you want to talk about it? I … you know, I'm no shrink, but I try to avoid them by principle anyway." She smirks a bit at that… so far she's evaded Dr. Salonga, though she knows she's on the woman's to-see list. "Is it about last night, or the whole… Company thing, or what happened to you before you came to us?" she asks. "Last night was rough, I know… whatever you felt, that most have been horrific. I'm sorry you had to go through it."

Kayla turns away from the stack of containers that was her erstwhile support, forcefully pulls open the top of another box but fails entirely to look at the contents. She doesn't see Veronica's smirk, which is probably to the good. "Everyone asks that. Everyone wants to talk now." Okay, so last night was a uniquely — yes, horrific — circumstance and it merits talking about. But Kayla shies away from that topic, strongly enough so that the flinch is an actual visible one. She fixes on something that is a little less newly raw, less significant, even if the caustic lash of her voice might not give that impression at first consideration. "Where were you two fucking years ago?"

Vee's eyebrows rise at the volatile response. "Everyone handles things differently, Kayla. Some people want to talk for their own sake under the pretense of helping the person they're talking to… some genuinely want to help. Some need space. I'll give it to you, if you want it, but I want to at least offer something if you need it. Whatever it is. Talk? We can talk. Quiet company while we sort tranq darts and ammunition and requisition forms and the like? We can do that, too. I'm not a talker, not about my own problems… I go running or shoot in the fire range. But if it helps you? I'll listen." She enters the office proper, leaning on a stack of boxes. "And while that was probably a rhetorical question, two years ago I was in California."

She seems to be serious about this listening thing. Kayla remains still for a moment, looking back towards the agent; returns her attention to the box, and after another few heartbeats pulls out its packing list. Towels belong over there. Kayla rests her hands on the corners of the box, gathers herself before picking it up and moving it across the room. When she drops it into place, she stays there, trying very hard not to give in and lean on anything. The aide is definitely approaching the limits of her physical endurance by now, even if the bounds of her stubbornness haven't been reached yet.

What Kayla's going to do about Veronica, well… right now 'quiet' seems to be the option in play, however stiffly.

"You need to rest," Veronica says, after another long moment of silence. "And you need to eat, if you haven't already. Collapsing isn't going to help anyone, and it won't bring anyone back." She heads to the doorway and glances down the hallway. "If you want to do something and want company, let me know. I'm in 4-M." The temporary room assignments. "Doesn't have to be talking. I'll take you jogging. Without a broken rib, I promise." And with that, Veronica leaves Kayla alone, but about ten minutes later, a mild-mannered guard brings a plateful of food and an ice-cold bottle of water to the supply room.

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