Here's To Free Will


isis_icon.gif kaylee3_icon.gif

Scene Title Here's to Free Will
Synopsis Two women. Just looking for answers. Simple. … Right?
Date May 4, 2019

Cat's Cradle

The room is large, a mid sized stage with tattered curtains hanging around it and two spotlights that face it. There were a number of mismatched theatre seats arranged in a half circle facing the stage, a long dark purple rug running through the middle of them. A chandelier that is sometimes on and only lights up halfway hangs in the center of the room. Even when music is not being performed people congregate around the stage, drinking or smoking. A 420 Friendly sign hangs near a mirror hung up behind the bar.

The bar area has a few mismatched chairs and boxes for chairs. A lone armchair is placed near the bar, the owner usually occupies it when she is in. The bar is a bunch of wood and steel welded together and repurposed as a bar, there is a black glass that is fitted around the middle of often smear from people’s knees and boot heels. A really old television set with a VHS player sits behind the bar propped up on a stand. The bar is as well stocked as you can get nowadays, there’s even an exotic alcohol or two rumored to be under the bar. A modest grill stands in the corner right next to the bar, nothing fancy just greasy food.

In the corner of the room near the stage and it’s green room door is another door that is usually locked.

This was not the sort of establishment that Kaylee would venture into… well, at least not in the last seven years or so. There was a time she used these places as a sort of hunting ground for one night stands. Standing just inside the door, Kaylee can’t help to fall on the old habit of brushing against mental shields. It takes no time to know which would patron would be easy to manipulate. There is a small hitch at one side of her mouth at the thought. There was no hissing voice telling her she should. So… she doesn’t.

Free will was an amazing thing.

Approaching the bar, Kaylee looks like she fits in with her old worn leather jacket, jeans and boots. Though the shirt she is wearing is a bit dressier than a t-shirt. So distracted by the hum of minds around her, the telepath doesn’t really notice who is at the bar.

To be fair, so distract is she by the ebb and flow of tending bar that Isis barely recognizes the patron in front of her as the blonde telepath from her youth. “Evenin’. What can I- OH!” What have we here? “Kaylee! Long time no see.” The redhead reaches out to wipe clean the surface directly in front of the old acquaintance as she lets her hazel gaze flick curiously over the other woman. “Good to see you. Can I get you something?” Business first. She doesn’t assume Kaylee came here for her, afterall.

The voice pulls Kaylee out of her thoughts, brightening as she sees the woman behind the bar. “Hey! Isis. You work here?” She moves to hop up on one of the chairs, legs crossing. Considering the woman on the other side curiously.

“How cool is that? Eve’s good people. In fact,” Kaylee casts a glance into the club, as if the crimson woman was going to pop up suddenly. “ I was hoping to find her here. She in?”

Something about Kaylee’s reaction is catching. Pleasantly surprised by Kaylees warm greeting and the use of the rare, Goddess-inspired moniker, the redhead gives a warm smile of her own. “I do! Funny that I was looking for the Sc-Eve and a job and found them both at the same time.” Isis holds out her pale hands to either side in a gesture towards the Cat’s Cradle in general. “I gotta admit, it’s been… pretty friggin’ perfect.” She turns a brief, considering look over the establishment before a fond nod brings her attention back around.

“She’s not, at least not that I’m aware. Generally she’s pretty hard to miss what with all the -…” Isis holds her hands up by her head and makes spirit fingers. “- crackle-crackle, hiss-hiss, PFVVVVT.” The last sounds suspiciously like fizzle fucked a fart.

Isis continues smoothly. “Something I can help you with?”

The description of Eve’s affliction makes Kaylee laugh, the sound short and quickly stifled by her hand. It was fairly accurate. Once the telepath knows she isn’t going to laugh anymore, the hand comes off so that she can admit, “You have a point.” Amusement coloring those words.

At Isis’ offer, there is a soft… “Ah…”

Kaylee considers saying no, but then the memory of their last conversation bubbles to the surface of her mind. “Hmm. Actually, you might be able to help.” Turning where she can fully rest both elbows on the bar, Kaylee leans forward a little. “I was curious if you guys had gathered anymore information on Adam.” This time there is no flinching or paling.

“No.” Kinda. “I mean, I haven’t heard anything from Eve.” True dat. “In fact, she asked me similarly not too long ago. And, too be honest…” Isis pushes the bar towel off to the side and rests her hands on the edge of the counter between herself and Kaylee. “Your brother was mighty unhelpful, too. What’s his deal?” It’s a question that relays more than a hint of her annoyance, her hands turning over to reveal empty palms.

“Anyway, it seems like most of the original Adam-ites have all turned over a new leaf.” She raises one up-turned hand to Kaylee by way of example. “Ash isn’t even Ash any more. This Huntress Huruma apparently is some sort of Wolfhound.” The redhead leans forward and looks a little disheartened by it all. “It almost makes me miss the good ol’ days, you know?” She tips her head to the side and gives the blonde woman a lopsided smile.

Then, more than a little belatedly: “Wait! Oh-shit-Kay, don’t pass out on me. Or go green. Or whatever it is you do.” Isis straightens and reaches out in case she has to try and steady or catch Kaylee from across the bar.

The reach to steady Kaylee, earns Isis an amused look. She looks just fine. “I’m okay,” the telepath reassures, reaching to pat an arm, briefly. “It took almost dying, but a friend managed to figure out to get rid of my affliction.”

There is a touch of disappointment that nothing new was to be found, though. “Pity,” she sighs out and props her cheek on her hand. “I’m not sure if I miss the old days, only because of what I have now.” He family of course. “But I’m glad that I can talk about them without puking or ending up in a coma.” That alone was a relief.

“And sorry about Richard being like that, I was hoping cause I sent you to him… Well, that he’d help out,” Brows furrow a little, because he often does. Kaylee offers an apologetic look. “I’m sorry for the wild goose chase, he tends to get information… like out of thin air.” Okay, not really.

Red locks jostle and dance under the quick head quirk. Isis considers Kaylee with a curious expression from this canted angle. “Rid of the ‘affliction’?” Well, isn’t that convenient. Wonder why the didn’t do it bef-… She doesn’t finish the thought, but assuming Kaylee continues running with her firewalls down, the thought easily transitions to a more tactful approach to be vocalized. “Perhaps he was less helpful because you sent me? I dunno. Seems so many people wanted to keep you away from him. Did you know Dio plotted to kidnap you away from the Big Bad once upon a time?”

Isis smiles. “It’s his weird way of showing he cared, I suppose. But, if you ask me, it all seems a little… controlling - what everyone did, or tried to do.” Blink. “Wait, you didn’t ask me. This is really not my place. Especially after all these years. I’m sorry, Kaylee.” With a quick check on her ability, Isis gently pats the back of the blonde’s hand before slithering out from under the touch and straightening on her side of the bar. The redhead goes about casually fixing a drink, the measure of a few different liquors skimming over the forefront of her thoughts as she inquires casually, “What would you do if you found him, anyway?”

“Did he?” Kaylee’s amusement at the idea is apparent. “Dio always had roundabout ways of showing it. I remember. I got out of there though. Found a group that I could do good with and did, married a.. a good man…” Left him too, she doesn’t say. “Found my real family.”

Chuckling, Kaylee waves off the apology. There was no need for it. “I mean… you’re not wrong, but while everyone was controlling, they were only looking out for me. Protecting me.” Kaylee watches the other woman work, unable to really answer that last question without some sort of thought. Even so, the only true answer she can give is… “I don’t know what I would do if I saw him.”

“Even if he walked through that door right now,” Kaylee gestures towards it, expression a mixture of emotions, “Not sure how I would react. Would I be happy to see him? Angry?” Her head shakes slowly. “What I am, though, is terrified. I left him,” why didn’t matter, “He about killed the person who saved my life.”

Isis gaze is overall stony with only the subtlest of changes as Kaylee speaks. The term ‘real family’ elicits the subtlest tension around her vibrant eyes. As the blonde goes on to describe the good intentions of controlling influences in her life, Isis’s own thoughts become more clouded - surface thoughts slip away to some deeper, emotional tap that makes their reading harder. Hell. Good intentions. Emotional manipulation. While still placid, theses hinted sentiments color the edges of her expression with an insider’s bias - revealing some vague hint of pity and indignation. After a moment, hazel-green eyes flick down and find a sticky spot on the bar that needs extra attention.

“As I understand it, you were something special to one another, no?” The redhead shrugs, the motion moving into a bit of elbow grease at the bar. “I’ve always found the family that is chosen, not obligated, to be the more …” She pauses, and tips her head to the side, lips pursed and expression thoughtful as she considers the door through which Kaylee suggested a phantom might appear. “- accepting. Timeless, even.” Her gaze turns on the blonde then, unforgiving in its intensity. “But, we’ve lived very different lives you and I.”

“I hope we find him. Me for my answers and you for yours. Seems you have some questions yourself - about yourself…”

“Who?” Kaylee asks, even though she knows the answer. “Me and Adam?” Her head nods a little in affirmation. “Yeah, he was the first person to pull me off a pretty bad path.” Not the last really. “Took me in, gave me a new purpose. We cared about about each other.” Maybe it was their shared past with Adam that made her at ease talking about him and the connection she had with him; even if there had been a bit of a rivalry back then between her and the redhead.

“Just before I got..” Kaylee flicks her fingers, “cursed, Adam named me an heir. I was so happy and felt kind of… I don’t know. Not alone? Understood?” A sigh escapes her, head shaking. “Then I had to run away to live and spent years building a life that wasn’t criminal with people that loved me. Not all my family is blood, but also filled with good people that I shared a cause with.” Her smile tips up a bit further on one side, turning rueful. “But yes, he meant the world to me and probably helped influence who I am now. I also think he might be the one person that could answer my questions.” It felt like she had so many.

Money is tossed on the counter. “Can I get a soda?”

Suddenly Isis isn’t looking at the Kaylee-of-the-now, but she of 10 years prior. The thought is vivid enough that the telepath probably picks up on the youthful reflection, a few small details distorted by the redhead’s perception and time. Outside the time capsule thought, Isis’s brows knit together as she tries to merge what was with what is, superimposing the young blonde onto the business-practical mother and wife here before her now.

“Hm? Oh, yes, right…” A quick scoop of a ice and soda-gun squirt later, Isis sets a glass of cola in front of Kaylee and garnishes it with a orange wedge with a playful enough smile.

Isis leans forward, resting elbows and forearms on the bar, to lace her fingers loosely together. She turns her gaze down to where she’s picking at her short, unpainted fingernails for now. “That sorta thing doesn’t go away - that impact. At least… I hope not.” There’s a sense of the bartender turning that hope inward and curling in on herself to try and hold it fast. Her tone is more careful and quiet, as if speaking too loud would make her uncertainty more painfully obvious. “Maybe… possibly… Well, perhaps we could look together? If that’s what you want.”

She looks up, the lowered position of her head allowing her to consider Kaylee from beneath the gossamer lines of her dark lashes. It’s a tentatively measuring look, but probing and serious. “Just you and me. No grumpy brothers. No Scarlet Spirits. None of…” she waves a hand back behind her head. “The drama. Simple. Two women just looking for answers. Just answers.” She ends her suggestion with a popped arc of a brow.

It was an offer that Kaylee wasn’t expecting, the drink pauses in it’s path to her mouth. “You and me?” The amusement can’t be helped, considering the pair’s past, but… it was the past after all. Water under the bridge.

The telepath’s blue gaze falls to the drink in her hand, there is a flick of conflicted emotions. “You are right, that sort of impact doesn’t go away and… and I have so many questions for him.”

Eyes narrow a little when she looks up, scrutinizing the other woman. After a moment, Kaylee gives a firm nod and smiles, “Sure. Why not? I’ll share what I learn and vise versa. Maybe between us, we can finds something.” The idea of no judgement was nice. “Get those answers we need.” It helped that Isis didn’t seem like someone who would be worried about her affliction being gone and what it could mean. Kaylee was precariously balancing on a fence between the two sides of the Adam issue and she wasn’t even aware.

Hazel eyes speckled with tiny stars of gold linger on Kaylee’s face a moment longer. It’s a wariness, but not of the blonde. Instead, Isis seems to be weighing her own words - her own invitation to join forces as it were - as if she considers retracting them altogether. After a moment she shakes her head and leans aside. A quick moment later she pulls up a little shot of something smelling strongly of cinnamon.

“To answers. And free will.” She holds tiny glass in a tipped salute towards the blonde. With a quick tip of her head she downs the sample of liquor with a pleasant hiss. When she sets the glass down, it’s with a renewed certainty in her expression. “I’ve got a trip coming up. Short thing. Maybe be some leads, maybe nothing. I’ll let you know if it pans out.” And just like that she begins to make good on their partnership. Simple. Like she promised.

“And, well… if you need anything in the meantime, you know where to find me.” Isis sweeps her hands out to either side, indicating the bar. “Just like old times, hm?” Back behind the bar. Back plotting with Kaylee. Now, some decade later, the fiery tension that once rippled off of Isis in Kayle’s direction has been replaced by a less heated sense of nostalgia.

“To free will,” Kaylee agrees, holding up her own glass. “It feels so, damn good. You never realize how much you didn't have, until you suddenly have it.”

“Seems like everyone is getting ready to go off on adventures,” Kaylee grouses, but then chuckles to show it doesn’t bother her. “I’m stuck here finishing up my academy and patrolling the streets.” Then she realizes that Isis probably hasn’t heard. Straightening a bit, she hold her glass up. “Oh! Hey! Speaking of free will. I was asked to join NYPD’s SCOUT.” Clearly, she accepted.

“So, almost like old times,” Kaylee says with a apologetic look. “However, on the Adam front, I’m looking at getting into the Kensei collection that Yamagato has. I didn’t really look at much last time I saw it, cause it brought up memories and that meant getting sick.” There is a grimace at the memory.

“NYPD?” Isis tries not to shiver, but it doesn’t matter. There’s a brief mental image of handcuffs and a distorted image of Aude’s sneer if Kaylee is attuned to picking up on such things. “That’s hardcore.” She brushes her errant, garnet waves back from her face and fixes Kaylee with a simple enough smile. “You got the grit for it,” she surmises with a single, serious nod.

A brow goes up quickly, though. “Kensei collection? Like… on display?” She looks clearly surprised. “I’ve only been to the Park once.” And recently at that. “Do you… want company?” She has all the awkwardness of a pre-teen asking someone out on a date. Smooth. Real smooth. This newfound kinship is clearly catching even Isis off guard.

“It was on display,” Is a reluctant correction, “I saw it when I was at a gala; but something happened at Yamagato and it’s been closed off to the public since then,” Kaylee sighs and shakes her head slowly. “I keep hitting red tape and walls trying to get back in to see it. Which sucks since I think some of my answers could be found there.”

The phone in her pocket dings, pulling her attention away from the redhead. “Speaking of NYPD,” Kaylee comments, after a glance at the screen. “I have study group coming up, I came into the program last and they are making me work for it.” Isis gets a rueful smile, the phone getting tucked away. “I’ll let you know if I find a way in,” she offers up, “And if I hear anything useful to your own search for answers.”

Holding out her hand, Kaylee asks, “You have a pen?” A napkin is drawn close at the same time.

Porcelain features adapt a contemplative frown at the explanation of the Kensei collection.
“Study group, huh? Good luck.” Without much ado, Isis fishes a pen from a hodgepodge collection speared into a glass nearby. She hands it over and watches Kaylee with mild curiosity.

“Mmm,” Kaylee says with a nod. “Study group. Two words I never thought I’d ever say again after I graduated college.” A grin is angled up at Isis as the telepath jots down a number and an address. Once done, the pen is set on top and the napkin is slid across the counter. “My personal cell number and my Apartment number at the Raytech campus. In case, you need to reach me.”

Sliding to her feet and snagging a quick, final sip of her soda, Kaylee is clearly on her way out. “Glad I stopped by. It’s good to see you again, Isis.”

The napkin is taken gingerly, both brows raised a subtle distance above hazel eyes. “I’ll text you my number as soon as I get off work,” she promises before folding up the napkin, tucking it away, and finally turning her attention on Kaylee. “I’m glad you stopped by, too,” she admits wholeheartedly.

“Be safe out there, officer,” she teases friendly enough.

Isis smile remains intact as Kaylee takes her leave, the Cat’s Cradle door giving a soft, worn-wood thud behind the departing officer-to-be. And then…

Well, the smile only deepens, drawn up into a pursed and bemused sort of expression as the redhead keeps her gaze upon the threshold and pulls up a small cellular device. It’s with some obvious effort that she finally pries her attention from the door and down to the phone in hand.

She’s cured. She misses him.
Here’s to FREE WILL.

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