Fake It Til You Make It


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Also featuring:

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Scene Title Fake It Til You Make It
Synopsis During a training session, Kaylee drops a bombshell on the RayTech security team.
Date April 7, 2019

RayTech campus, Physical Training Facility

Two weeks back and RayTech Security Chief Luther Bellamy has been dutifully… putting off training as long as possible outside of the basic morning routine. He’d even been late a few times, but not accompanying him these times was the fog of an alcoholic hangover.

“Chief’s late again,” observes Lou quietly from her leaning position on the padded post of the boxing ring centered in a relatively roomy workout area. She looks up from the screen of her phone nestled in her wrapped hand. A glance flicks from Bob to Kaylee, and the look is questioning. Should she call?

“So help me…” Kaylee growls out, setting the helmet she had been holding onto down a bit roughly on the stool sitting at one of the corners. He had promised this time. She wouldn’t let him leave till he promised. Standing in the doorway, with hands propped on each side, daring him to move her.

“Don’t call,” Kaylee snaps at Lou, but then quickly follows it with a soft, “Sorry.”

“Don’t worry, Boss. You’ll get your shot,” Bob reassures her from the floor, arms propped on the lower ropes. He’s shed his suit jacket, which is draped over the bench and his sleeves rolled up. “Want me to suit up?” His brows lift, questioning. “Or Lou,” he adds quick to volunteer his fellow teammate, jerking a thumb in her direction.

Kaylee sighs out heavily, shoving stray strands of hair out of her face. “No. Maybe I should have known better than to force the issue.” She starts to tug off the gloves. “Maybe I’ll just use this time to hit the pool.” Of course, they know she isn’t talking about a regular pool. Though that hasn’t been going as she’d hoped either.

The main doors to the workout room swing open as Luther shoulders his way in roughly, hurried in his entrance. He knew he was late. But as he looks up to see the gathered trio, the security chief frowns with the caught expression of apology, breathes in a deep breath and utters a gruff, “Got held up.” As for the reason, he doesn’t immediately volunteer it in the face of the curious employees. Kaylee has but to ask. Or look for herself, if she wanted. He’s at least sincere in the immediacy of his fault.

Appearing unbothered, Lou takes the man’s late arrival in stride - it’s not her place to put him on the spot - and pushes up to a more straightened posture. “G’morning Chief,” she greets him instead, “You ready to get your ass beat by a girl?” Her wry tone comes with a crooked smirk and angle of her head towards Kaylee.

Both COO and bodyguard turn, just about in unison, at the arrival of Luther. While Bob’s brows lift, the telepath’s lower a bit; thanks to a flicker of memory that isn’t even her own. Kaylee doesn't say anything, instead she looks away and reverses what she is doing; tugging gloves on again.

“Chief,” Bob greets his supervisor with an easy, if smug smile. It’s like he knows something that Luther doesn’t in the face of Lou’s own comments. Shifting away from the ring, he glances aside to his boss waiting to see how she is going to react.

Kaylee’s lips are pressed into a fine line of disapproval, as she turns back leveling a look of irritation at him. For a moment it looks like she might ask or even berate him, but the thing is… she trusts him. So she, instead of asking, lets out a sigh and shakes her head.

However, Kaylee can’t completely let it go without some sort of comment. “You know…” she comments blandly, not really looking at him. Moving to pick up her helmet. “You could just text me that you’re going to be late next time.” Resting the helmet on her hip, brows lift as she turns her blue-eyes attention back to him, and stands there patiently waiting for him. “Just saying.”

“Always ready, never expected,” Luther shoots back at Lou in a wry toned rumble. They all know Lou’s the scrappy one, a tiger in a box compared to the two men heading up the security team. That all being said, the chief of them steps forward and roll-tosses the helmet in his hand into the ring, not worried about its durability. He took a bullet in one of them recently, and that proved a few things about the equipment for sure.

Once he’s joined Lou and Kaylee inside the ropes, he turns to the telepath in response to her comment. Grey eyes flick downward to her boots, then back up. “Couple needed a jump on their car, and they didn’t have any cable,” he summarizes quietly, as if sensing the need for the explanation of his tardiness still. But why he didn’t text or call remains a sore point. Luther stoops to pick up his helmet, regarding his chastened expression reflected in the visor. “It won’t happen again.”

Sucking in a breath, he straps the helmet on and makes the few adjustments needed to align the armor before settling. “So how do you want to do this,” Luther switches in subject to their present activity. “No touch to Three, then full contact?”

Lou blows out a snort, sending a grin over to Bob and Kaylee. Specifically the latter, remarking, “Come on, Chief, you’re being too easy. On yourself. Full contact from the get-go would make this go faster, since someone was late for training.” She reaches over and smacks a fist on his shoulder encouragingly before retreating under the rope to the outside of the ring and joining Bob.

Luther grunts at the smack, not having felt it so much as heard it. He turns back to Kaylee, and thought she can’t exactly see it, she could probably imagine the arch of his angled brows in anticipation of her decision.

Whether she can see it or not, there is a a small lift of her own brow back at the man, head tilting a little in consideration. Or is she? Eyes shift just a little to one side to look just beyond Luther’s side, where Kaylee gets a slow nod from Bob. He doesn’t even try to hide the smug smile on his lips. That nod gets a little more of a smile from the telepath, turning it mischievous when her focus turns back to her friend.

“Eh… why hold back,” Kaylee comments nonchalantly, eyes narrowing a little in a challenge. Taking a moment to buckle on her own helmet, she doesn’t let anyone see the butterflies that have started to gather in her stomach. Once in place, she gives her head a bit of a wiggle to check its fit. “Let’s see how much I retained in all that downtime.” It had been a decent amount of time.

Behind Luther, Bob steps up to the ring again and resumes his lean on the ropes. As he does, he sends an amused look Lou’s way. However, unlike her, he keeps his mouth shut; ready to just watch to see what happens.

Feet are planted and the woman readies herself for the session. There is an air of confidence he might not remember Kaylee having from the last time they had been face to face. “Unless you are worried about hurting your boss, Mr. Bellamy,” she teases him. He could almost imagine a bright toothy smile behind the mask.

The way Luther’s helmet angles just so reveals the tiny voice of skepticism for this whole plan. That he may in fact really be worried about hurting the boss (or rather, his friend), and that the feeling is like a mud pie stuck in his gut chilling out. Still, he shakes out his limbs, loosens his stance.

He’s been in several more uncomfortable circumstances than this, and fought through them in the past. “Alright then,” he replies through the speakers as he activates his AEGIS armor battery pack with a twist of a knob behind him. The quick vibrations indicating it’s at full power thrum for a couple seconds.

And in those scant seconds, Luther closes the distance between them to take a fairly strong swipe at the telepath’s own with his balled up fist.

Lou catches the amused look from Bob, mirroring it partly in the shine of her eyes. Her competitive nature prickles. She’s soon absorbed into watching and analyzing the fight.

A wicked smile curls her lips when he takes the first swat, Kaylee manages to dodge it just barely, it’s a glancing blow at least, as she twists away. “Focus!” Bob barks behind Luther, sounding like he’s reminding her to do just that. However, it’s a bit more complicated…

Before Luther even finishes that swat, the telepath is balling up her finger at her side into a fist and reverses the backward twist. Bringing it up to connect with his helmeted jaw. The uppercut lands harder and faster then he is probably expecting. It throws the taller man off balance and as he starts to step back to regain his equilibrium… Kaylee manages to sweep his legs from under him.

From his new position on the floor, Luther can hear the whooping laughter coming from Bob. “She did it! That’s my girl!” What is even going on?

”You’ve done good, but since you got back from New Mexico. It’s like your head is still there with him.” Helmet pulled from his head, Bob sends a disapproving look from across the ring, his hair plastered to his head from sweat. Lou stands outside the ring, also dressed in AEGIS. “Quit worrying about the chief.” the man continues as he crossed the ring to Kaylee, “He’ll be back before you know it. When he does…” Bob starts with a smug grin, gloved fingers move to grip her shoulder. “…this is what you’re gonna do.”

A booted foot gently presses down on his chest, until the telepath is leaning over him, an arm propped on that raised leg. Luther can almost picture the smug look behind that visor. Kaylee’s barely contained pride, at managing to get him on the ground, comes through the speakers of her helmet loud and clear, as she practically purrs out the words.

“Welcome home, Luther.”

Bob's bark doesn't only serve to focus Kaylee. For Luther it harkens back to the days when he too first joined a training regimen, learning about the art of self-defense and pugilistic offense. But he finds his opponent faster, more agile and subsequently more trained than he remembers her.

The twist he had expected. The uppercut smashes his chin up, staggering him back with the blow as the battery pack hums to life, the helmet absorbing more of the shock but not the momentum carried by her weight. Luther grunts behind the mask, fighting to regain balance only to lose it when the telepath's foot catches and sweeps his legs away.

"The heavier they are…" Lou groans around an indulging grin, her wrapped fist bumping knuckles with Bob's in triumph. That's one point in the first to three. The woman fights off a chuckle, turning back to Luther. "You okay there, Chief?" The question is teasing.

The AEGIS armor only takes the physical bruising away, not necessarily the ego bruising. Luther stares up through his helmet at the telepath, and though she can't see his face, she could sense his honest surprise. "You've been busy while I was away," he rumbles out, helmet speakers vibrating in his low timbre. The security chief cranes his neck toward the ring's ropes where Bob and Lou watch. So a bit of a test, then, for them all.

It's Lou who snaps out of her moment of pride as she senses, but warns a second too late, "Watch your leg!"

Luther's gloved hands clamp onto Kaylee's ankle and calf in a controlling hold. Like a constrictor snake, his arm slides up and wraps around her trapped limb and he bodily spins about. His own legs come in and kick her other leg that then holds her shifted weight, aimed to topple the telepath onto the ring mat beside him.

In mere seconds, the man has her pinned between him and the ring mat at the lower waist, one of her legs wrapped up in his arms and held against a locked hip. "How long 've you been under Bob's coaching?"

There is no time to really react when his hands clamps down on her leg. She can only manage a gasp, followed by a yelp of surprise to reward his effort. There is no pain, since the armor stiffens up to protected her, but she still left a touch winded. Either way, Kaylee is the one left blinking up at him this time.

There is a slight wiggle, before she gives an amused huff. “Good god, what were they feeding you over there,” Kaylee grunts under his weight wiggling a bit more. “Clearly we need to up our workouts.”

His question brings about a strange reaction, the telepath goes very still and he can feel her staring at him. Her head tilts back to look at the other two… It was a fair question.

A helmet drops on the desk of the COO, pulling her attention away from the window she had been staring out of. It had been like this since that night at the noodle cart. She stares at the helmet with red rimmed eyes and then up to Bob who stands there with arms crossed, Lou not too far behind him looking a touch uncertain about what they are doing.

”Whats this?” Kaylee asks them both, her chair turning from the window to face them.

”What does it look like?” Bob asks her with an arch of a brow, he reaches down to pushes the helmet closer to her. “You’re gonna to stop feeling sorry for yourself and get back to training.”

The telepath’s face pales a bit and then cheeks flush as memories of the recent vision flood her thoughts. ”But I don’t want—” Kaylee starts, but Lou holds up a hand and steps to stand next to Bob.

”While we don’t know what happened, we get it. You don’t want to train with Luther. It’s too awkward with all the visions.” Lou motions to her and Bob. “Let us help you, cause this… “ She then motions to all of Kaylee. “This isn’t healthy.”

A part of Kaylee wants to get angry at them, but when she looks at the helmet, she realize they are right. Reaching for the helmet she picks it up, looking at it and then the pair beyond it.

”Okay.” Kaylee says with a small nod. “Let’s do this.”

However, she doesn’t answer right away, suddenly, her free leg comes up and hooks the back of his neck and with a deft twist, Luther is on his side, head trapped between her legs. This gets another cheer from the peanut gallery. However, she doesn’t give him a chance to counter… maybe she realizes the awkwardness of the hold. She scrambles away from him and onto her feet.

Only once there is distance does Kaylee finally answer. “Since… Since a few days after that night of the festival.” She admits, her helmeted head turned away some, like she can’t look at him. That night and many others were still raw for her. “I’m not like everyone else… I.. I can’t numb what happens to me…” It isn’t a jab at his drinking, so much her stating a well know fact. “I can’t forget and I can’t block my own memories. I was in a… a really dark place.” Turning to nod at the pair, Kaylee continues. “Bob and Lou recognized what was happening to me and found a way that I could let all of that out.”

“Between them, Carl, and my family…” There is a hitch in the voice through the speakers. Reaching up, Kaylee takes the helmet off, so that she can rub at the sudden moisture in her eyes. Without her head gear, blonde hair is left partially clinging to her head from sweat and a bit of a mess from being hastily put up. “Somehow, I didn’t completely self destruct.”

Bob glances a touch uncomfortably at Lou in the background, before he reluctantly says, “We couldn’t help you, Chief, but her…” He motions to her and shrugs, “Her we knew we could.” Lou nods slowly in agreement.

Her wriggling beneath doesn't get her far; Luther's pressure shows he's pretty good at this secure hold until backup arrives sort of thing. But her comment gets a grunted retort, "Can't knock those pancakes 'til you try 'em." But that does send a brief reminder of what he is missing back in Kansas City, and it's just enough of a distraction that her sudden counter and twist sends him sprawling back onto his back with a hard exhale of breath.

Luther rolls back up to his feet, movement steady - he's not hurt. But the telepath's words sting in a non-physical way. The chief looks from Kaylee to his teammates. Though they see themselves reflected in their chief's visor, they can see his stillness bearing the weight of that guilt. He'd been a burden as much as Kaylee had, if not a bit more.

Standing all the way back up, he also sheds the helmet and runs a glove over his head and face. "I'm sorry you've got that much hanging over you," Luther rumbles out after the silence. "But I'm also grateful these two saw enough and did something about it."

Lou's the one who huffs a mildly dismissing sound, bumping her wrapped knuckles on Bob's shoulder, the other man slow-nodding emphatically. "Should've seen the two of you, really. But seriously Boss, Chief," Lou replies, "We're out here for you. And we don't do what you all do, but we do what we can. Even if that means training you so you can kick each others' ass in a spar."

The proud look towards Kaylee and knowing grin from Bob says it all.

Luther barks a short laugh at that, looking back over at Kaylee. "So I see. They finally got you to crack a smile and kick my ass," he says with a rub on his gloved hand to his chin, right where she had smacked him off balance. His hand drops back down after, leveling off long enough to motion for her to approach.

"What's the score?"

"2 to 1, the boss is up," Bob replies brightly, tongue clicking against his teeth in anticipation as he turns to Kaylee. "Just one more to take him down." So go get him, girl!

“They did…” Kaylee can’t help, but chuckle when Luther laughs… it was good to see it. It made something flutter in her chest, through it’s brushed off just as quickly… thoughts suppressed. “They did.”

She sees his gesture to move closer, there is a flicker of mischief… but quickly the smile slides away as she steps closer to the security chief. Kaylee looks distracted as she closes the distance, at least till she stops and looks up at him.

Standing before Luther, eyes turned upward and helmet trapped against her hip by an arm. The telepath doesn’t move to pull on the helmet, though there was the temptation to hide away. Instead her free hand, moves to keep him from putting on his own helmet, fingers curling around the bottom edge. As close as she stands to her lover in other worlds and her dear friend here, he can see the mix of emotions that war in those blue eyes.

Then, out of the blue, Kaylee blurts out the one thing none of the others are expecting…

“I’m quitting Raytech.”

From behind her, Bob straightens from the ropes he was leaning on, shocked, clearly he hasn’t heard this news. For once, the bodyguard doesn’t have anything snappy or smart to say. He might even look hurt that she had kept it from him.

She could have used that moment to slap all three of them across the face for three points each. While Lou is the first to recover with a hard stare of incredulity, Luther’s the first to actually verbally respond. “What?” The monosyllabic query carries all the confusion and surprise that runs through the trio of the security team. The grasp on his helmet at his side loosens, drops down to the ring mat as he reaches up to take hold of her shoulders. The realization and impact of her statement comes down similarly, dropped upon them all like a weighted bag.

The only thing that really keeps his focus on her is the burning question that he doesn’t voice. Instead, Lou blurts it out, more harshly barked coming from the woman as she has the poorest response. “Why?!” Lou starts to push up the top rope, halfway into entering the ring, she shrugs off the restraining grasp from Bob to storm the ground between the security chief and the telepath. “What do you mean, you’re quitting?” It’s suddenly Lou who is up in Kaylee’s face, shoving Luther back a pace in the process and breaking the chief’s light grasp.

Her mouth is opened as she starts to explain when suddenly Lou is in her face. The sudden insertion of someone between her and Luther has Kaylee taking a step back, only to bump into Bob who had followed after in an attempt to stop the angry woman. Her own helmet is loosened from a startled grip and hits the ground.

Kaylee can’t help but feel a bit trapped and for a brief moment she feels the need to flee. But Lou in her face, forces her to focus on the woman. “I got a job offer.”

From behind her, it is Bob’s turn to utter a shocked, “What?”

The telepath steels herself and doesn’t back down. That was how she got here in the first place. Doing what others wanted of her. “I got a job offer from the NYPD,” she says over her shoulder to Bob. However, the only one who might understand why she would even consider the job was Luther. Kaylee doesn’t look at him, her focus instead shifts back to Lou, “For the SCOUT team.” To be a cop. The look on Lou’s face tells her that it wasn’t the answer she was expecting. It was quite the career change…

Finally, Kaylee looks past Lou’s furious features to where the chief stands. “I am taking it.,” she concluded softly, those words for Luther more than the others. “I’m not made for a desk,” she pleads with him to understand. She hopes he does. “I want to make a difference. I want to help people in a way other than sitting behind that desk watching everyone else be heroes.”

“No… absolutely not,” Bob snaps out without thinking, sounding like a worried parent. Stepping around the telepath, he moves to stand next to Lou. “Are you crazy?! That is a dangerous job and you have a family. Kids!” Leave it to her bodyguard to point out something like that. “Besides, you are making a difference here.” A finger is thrust at the floor as emphasis. “Look at everything Raytech has done, you are part of that.”

“That isn’t who I am though… that is who my father wants me to be,” Kaylee says, not budging on the matter.

She doesn’t need to be a telepath to know the baldfaced outrage on Lou’s expression is that look of betrayal she might have expected from Luther.

“Lou…” But it’s Luther who reaches for Lou’s shoulder, only to have his hand batted off by the woman’s wrapped fist. Lou stalks away to the edge of the ring, mirroring an action that the Security Chief has also done in the past. It’s no wonder they work so well like a team.

“You’re not even trained… not like the Police Academy level,” Lou’s reasoning accompanies Bob’s but it’s obviously more focused on the telepath’s well-being. Bob’s closeness to the Sumter family has grown by proximity, naturally. And the man has his own to care for as well.

But Luther interjects with a terse, “That’s enough you two. Lou, get dressed for the shift. Bob…” He doesn’t finish any sort of command. Bob and Luther exchange looks, however, and the second-in-command sucks on a tooth before stuffing down his opinion and turning to go. Luther watches them leave through the gym doors before he finally turns to Kaylee. Silence hangs heavily between them, then the man bends to pick up his helmet dropped on the floor of the ring. “They’ll come around,” he rumbles after he straightens. They both know the other pairing and how they could get.

Turning his helmet so that he looks down at his reflection in the visor, Luther rubs a gloved hand on a scuff mark somewhat idly. It’s stalling for time as he thinks on all the events that have only just happened within the past few months. The fact that there were interdimensional travelers amongst them. That they risked their lives to bring them here to this seemingly broken world. A dangerous world, unstable as the others.

A world that didn’t see them as a couple, either, but nevertheless in each other’s lives. His thoughts are open to her and they are filled with deeper seated worries, with the implications of her decisions. It isn’t unlike how her father must have considered all the possibilities of fate and probability, and how he sought to protect her. Luther understands the sentiment. But…

“Kaylee,” he starts after that long silence, somewhat halting. “You think you’ll be happy, there?” The question rolls out of him, earnest in the intention to know what she thinks.

“I don't know.”

It is an honest answer from the telepath as she stares at the door Lou and Bob left through, leave the two of them alone in the Raytech workout room. Guilt twists at her stomach, even as she turns away from the door to face Luther again. “What I do know is how it made her feel” Her… her in another world where a good man took her under his wing and she took up the oath to protect and serve.

“But,” Knees pop as Kaylee crouches to pick up her own helmet, turning it to make sure it isn’t damaged or really so she doesn’t have to look at him. Not standing right away, she keeps her focus on the helmet in her hands, elbows resting on her knees. “It’s a familiar feeling; purpose and calling.” Her head tips back to look up at her friend. “I felt it when I fell in with the Ferrymen. Felt it when I traveled through time with Hiro.” Even when she ended up stuck in time.

Standing slowly, her attention returns to the helmet. Brows twitch downward, thoughtful. “And I know when I didn't feel it. Everytime, I did what my father and everyone wanted me to do. Like when I hid in that bunker, while all of you were out there risking yourselves and dying for a cause.” There is shame that crawls through her when she things back on those day. Then she had felt different, but since coming back to the Safe Zone… listening to the stories of the war, she couldn’t look at her years hiding the same way. “And lately sitting behind that desk.” A slow glance over her shoulder to that doorway, has her amend that comment some. “You and the security team were the best thing to come out of it all.” If she hadn’t followed her father’s instructions, would they be here having this conversation?

Her father… Studying Luther for a long moment, Kaylee realized… It was time. Time for a truth that he may or may not believe.

“Do you know? My father wanted us to build this company.” He knows that bit… but the next bit? “Build it from the ashes of the country he destroyed with his ability just to save all of his kids.” Letting the helmet fall to bump against her leg, it frees a hand to motion to the room they were in. “He wanted us to do this… just to keep us safe and probably to set us up to help the nation.” Bitterness laces that statement. The hand drops to hang loosely at her side, when she turns to face him again, “I kept telling myself we were making a difference. That it was enough, but all I did was hide behind the desk.” In her mind… At least until recently, but she knows she doesn’t need to say that.

“After watching that thing left my mind…” she sighs and shakes her head. Clearly it wasn't enough. “I was finally free to make my own choices.” and mistakes, no doubt. “When Donovan told me I was wasted here, I jumped at the chance.”

A gloved hand moves to touch his arm and then lightly grip his elbow as Kaylee looks up into those stormy gray eyes, searching. For what, she doesn’t know. “I don't know if it will make me happy, Luther, I’m not her…” no more then the man before her was him, “but I won't know how I feel if I don't try it.” And if she doesn’t?

“I will always wonder.”

“Well that didn’t exactly answer the question, but, I’ll take it,” Luther first replies as he looks up from the reflected visage in his helmet to her eyes at the touch on his elbow. “My next question was going to be if you knew what you were doing. What you were getting yourself into.” There’s a wry turn of a smile on the man’s stubbled face, and the natural crow’s feet wrinkling at the edges of his eyes.

“Obviously not. But not that any of us know, right? Fake it ‘til you make it.”

He reaches a gloved hand over to set on her opposite shoulder, the limb set down heavy, meant to be a steadying weight rather than a burden. “I think the desk jockey life isn’t for you either, if this past year hasn’t proven that much. But you got to think about your family too, yeah?” To hearken back to the notion of Edward Ray having done all this for the sake of his family, there’s little judgment that could be passed on the man’s choices. Placing blame on a dead man’s shoulders, though, sounds like an equal folly. Luther shakes his head.

“Come on,” he says eventually, “let’s go get ready for that desk. We’ll have a talk later with Bob and Lou about what this is all going to mean.”

“And we’ll have to finish up this challenge another time. Don’t think you’ve won yet…”

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