In the Dark Recesses of the Mind


des2_icon.gif kaylee4_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title In the Dark Recesses of the Mind
Synopsis …a disease known as fear feasts upon the souls who cannot overcome its power.
Date March 7, 2018

Raytech Industries: Laboratories

It’s with no shortage of apprehension that Des has come down to one of the research labs today - one with a door that locks from the inside - to conduct the most risky experiment of her life:

Allowing Kaylee telepathic access to her mind.

She’s seated in a cushioned chair with padded restraints. They aren’t monsters here. Anyone in need of such a thing is meant to be humanely treated. It only comes to this if the person presents a danger to themselves or to others. Desdemona can’t help but wonder if this lab wasn’t set up with her in mind.

Especially given that the walls are painted an almost cheery shade of pale yellow. She can appreciate the fact that they aren’t hospital green. Or despair grey. Maybe it’s meant to be calming, or invoke a sense of optimism? Or maybe Valerie chose the color scheme.

Des swallows nervously and scratches at her neck absently. Her turtleneck sweater is folded neatly on a nearby table, leaving her in an blue tank top a shade of cobalt that actually compliments her eyes. It leaves her scars exposed, which is a rare occurrence even down in the labs. Her nails rake over too-bright and uneven skin across her throat.

“Whenever you’re ready,” she tells Richard, setting herself in position. Fingers curl around the ends of the arm rest. Des flashes a weak smile that’s meant to be reassuring.

"Whenever I'm ready?"

There's a dry note in Richard's voice as he drops himself down to sit in a chair beside the other, hands resting down on his knees in a slouch forward, "I'm not the one about to have their brain doven into— dived into? What the hell is the future-tense verb form of, bah, nevermind. Anyway. I'd say more whenever the two of you are ready."

"You're doing the heavy lifting here," he says, "I'm just along for the ride, so to speak."

“Who is going to be doing the heavy lifting here?” Kaylee asks blandly, as she moves to gently restrain Des, long fingers making deft work at those straps. “Not too tight I hope?” A finger gets pointed over at Ray, though she isn’t looking at him, “I hear that thought forming. Shush.” A preemptive strike, maybe.

Stepping back, for a moment, long blonde hair is pulled into a loose ponytail to keep hair out her face. “And yes… if she is okay with it, I could pull you in there with me once I get past those triggers.” She gives him a bit of a smile. “I don’t think you have yet dealt with my ability.” A brow arches.

Normally, Kaylee place herself in front of someone; but, with Des’ triggers unknown, she stands behind the woman. “Alright…” she murmurs, finger tips moving to press against the woman’s temple, a gentle pressure. Eyes are closed as she moves to examine the mind before her. Des won’t feel anything, the touch is very light, searching for those irregularities.

Des quirks a brow at Richard as Kaylee begins to fasten the straps. “Well, yeah. I thought you’d want to do the honors.” At his sister’s pointed warning, she’s flashed a look. “He likes me in restraints, doesn’t he? I see how he is.”

This is what happens when girl friends get together. The brothers are always picked on.

In this case, it’s the defense mechanism against fraying nerves. Des slides back on the cushion, tipping her head back slightly to rest on the seatback behind her. “I’m fine if he comes along.” He’s seen this much of her crazy, he may as well get the whole picture.

The fingers of one hand stretch out subtly toward the man, wrist still held in place. Des doesn’t look over to see if he notices the gesture or not. Instead, she closes her eyes and takes a deep breath.

At the teasing about restraints, Richard brings both hands up, fingers pressing between his eyes. May God give him patience with his friend and his sister, because he's going to run out of it eventually.

"Most people prefer not to go into my head," he quips, "Including you, sister dear…"

The gesture is noticed, and he reaches out, one hand covering Des's own restrained hand— fingers sliding between hers in a warm clasp. "If you can, Kay, but don't tax yourself. Or endanger either of you…"

The light exploration means that Kaylee is still aware enough to hear what’s said, an eye cracks open to look over at Ray. “Don’t tempt me,” she says softly, a mischievous glint to her eye, “I doubt that your mind is the worst I’ve seen. I’ve been in Eve Mas’ head.” Her tone says clearly that she hopes to never do that again.

That said, her eye closes again and she is focused on her work again.

When Kaylee reaches into Desdemona's mind, she finds herself in a grey room. Cold cement floors, colorless walls. One wall is a bank of flickering monitors. Many show static, some have distorted images like an old VCR that needs tracking.

It isn't just the physical nature of this place that's oppressive. Even over the hissing static of the televisions, there are whispers. Indiscernible, indistinct, but menacing and promising. They echo off the walls and from the halls beyond the steel door to this cell.

Curled up on the floor and bound in chains is Odessa. A prisoner in her own mind. But this isn't to keep her locked in. It's to keep the monsters locked out.

There's a keypad on the wall. The way out. "Four, eight, one, nine, eight, four." The prisoner says in a quiet voice.

This is the security checkpoint, and Odessa is granting Kaylee access to the rest.

Finally, oriented to the room, Kaylee feels a little thrill… something in her seems to uncoil from itself. «Thank you.» It’s offered both telepathically and spoken out loud. There had been a plan to wait, but something whispers to her to do it… do it now… So before Ray knows it…. He can feel his sister’s ability latch on to his mind and pull him in. Just like that he will find himself in that room, held steady by his sister’s hands on his arm, until he orientates himself.

Once, she knows he is firmly in the mindscape of one Odessa Price, she turns towards the keypad. «Sorry…» She does finally offer somewhat sheepishly to Ray, the word echoing around them, while fingers tap out the numbers in sequence.

While, she waits for the door to open, her head tilts back a little, eyes closing as if savoring the feel of her working ability. «How I have missed this feeling.»

That ability latches onto Richard Ray's mind, unmooring it from its home and drawing it into the mindscape of a woman who has gone by many names in the past. Des serves as well as any, for right now.

The edges of his form blur somewhat into shadow, even his self-image darkened by that inborn ability he's lacked for almost as many years as he had it as he looks over the room. "…well, this is interesting," he murmurs, stepping after Kaylee once he's caught his bearings, attention lingering on Odessa there, chained to the floor like the guard dog of her own mind.

It says a lot.

Odessa lifts her head and looks at Ray with tired eyes that seem sunken too far, rimmed by redness and dark circles. “This is Moab,” she explains. “Or… what I remember of it. This is where I hide from…” Her gaze tracks toward the door as it opens.

Chains rattle as narrow shoulders come up in a shrug. You’ll see. She tips her head to indicate that he should follow his sister out into the hall.

What lies beyond is not a prison, but a long white corridor, lined with various doors. No two are the same. The first door the pair come upon is ajar. Two little blonde girls chase each other around an office, giggling and squealing with delight. No older than five or six.

Odessa and Elle.

The scene shifts. The same office, but suddenly the two girls are older, pre-teen.

“Your dad likes me better,” Dessie taunts. She doesn’t have time to regret her decision before Ellie’s hand lashes out, grabs her by the arm, and hits her with a jolt of electricity that drops her to the floor, convulsing and gasping for air.

Her eyes find the two in the doorway and she pleads silently.

“They’ll come to terms another day.”


Odessa’s voice sounds from behind them. No longer wrapped in chains, no longer brunette, she stands there in her white lab coat over a grey sweaterdress. Her golden hair hangs down just past her shoulders. Odessa Knutson.

“It’s strange. I can’t… imagine what happened between those years to make us spend so much time apart… We were friends once.” And then they weren't, due to the manipulations of Elle's father. That much Odessa understands.

Kaylee recognizes it. The ages shifted so drastically between memories because there are no memories in between. Something has been stolen from her.

Everything seems to freeze around the trio, as Kaylee catches it. «Wait… here.» Her hand lifts and with palm out, she swipes to the side, bringing back that moment when the memories jumped. It stops again. «There.»  For her it is almost like looking at a long film strip, sliding between her hands. «Spliced… like a piece of film.» Turning, though the scene is all around them, she holds the piece where they can see it. The memories have been removed.

«I…I cannot fix what isn’t there.» Kaylee sounds almost sad as says that. Finally letting the memory go so that it can play again, the world around them moving again. «I can block memories… this is far beyond even me. It is like those memories never existed.»

"They were never exactly… sparing about using the Haitian's power," says Richard Ca— Richard Ray he reminds himself— with a frown as he watches the memories reverse, then play forward again, "But what could be so bad that they'd tear out so many memories of a child, though…? Why would they do this at all? That's… am I seeing this right? Years?"

So many questions unanswered. All of the possibilities that come to mind? Terrible.

“They always told me the world was dangerous,” Odessa murmurs beckoning for Kaylee to join them back in the hallway. She closes the door on her fractured childhood friendship. “I realize now that the danger was me.”

Now she leads, further down the hall. There’s a swinging door to an OR, but they don’t need to step inside to see it. There’s an observation window set against the sterile white corridor. A young Odessa is performing surgery on a man.

Something goes terribly wrong. They can’t hear, but they can see the teenager pleading with the senior surgeon in the room, and then everything stops.

Then the volume of the whispers grows. It’s like the sound of a fan, a tinnitus sibilation. There’s no words that they can understand, not in any language. Odessa slams her palm down over a button on the wall and a shade drops over the window.

The whispers don’t stop. Without words, it speaks of power unimaginable. Control. The ability to take whatever their hearts desire. The whole world is yours, it promises, a buzz in the backs of their minds.

“It lies.”

There are tears running down the blonde’s face now. This is what she hears inside her mind constantly. Kaylee’s heard it at the edges of her awareness before in those moments when Odessa seems the most upset. The most like her old self. The woman in service to Adam Monroe.

«It always does.»

That from Kaylee, he expression haunted…. It was like listening to something familiar. Looking down at her hands she can see them trembling, even though they are not really her hands… just a figment of her mind. «It whispers all the time, doesn’t it?» Looking at Odessa, Kaylee realizes her vision is blurred.  «When you give in… it… it feels so satisfying.»

Reaching for Odessa, Kaylee’s hands press to each side of woman’s head, touching her forehead to other woman’s… then it happens. For only a moment, the slithering silkiness of Kaylee’s own demons, mingle with her friend’s… Richard, gets to witness that part of Kaylee people rarely hear… unless in dreams and even that is not even the extent of it. It seems to echo Dessa’s own, dark thoughts. Promises of her heart’s desire.

«I understand.»

It only lasts for a moment, before Kaylee let’s go with a gasp, leaving only Odessa’s inner voices to fill the mind around them. «I-I-I shouldn’t have done that… I’m sorry.» She presses a hand to her head, expression filled with pain.

It's a voice that Richard's been told of, but hasn't heard; not until now, the whispers at the window as time itself is seized into a single frozen moment. He turns his head towards the blonde, but before he can speak, or say anything…

"Careful…" A raise of his hand, "Let's— let's not give any inner demons company in here, shall we?" He doesn't know what would happen if they both lost control while he's inside their heads but he's pretty sure it'd be bad.

There's no judgement, though. No fear, no scorn for the monster in Kaylee's head. Nor Odessa's.

They've all seen his already, after all.

“Yes…” is whispered in response to Kaylee’s question. Yes, it whispers all the time. And yes, it is so satisfying to give in.

A terrifying clarity seems to seize Odessa when she hears the familiar-yet-not sound of Kaylee’s own power. The sound of it hums in the space around them. The telepath withdraws, but her previous movement is mimicked, Odessa grasping the sides of Kaylee’s face and bringing their foreheads together again. Holding her. Her eyes are too wide, too wild.

“We could have everything, Kaylee. You and me. It would be so easy. No one could stop us.” Odessa’s mouth curves in a wide grin. She’s giddy at the prospect of teaming up with her friend to… Rule the world? Or destroy it, maybe? It’s hard to say what this awful energy wants from them both.

It calls to Richard as well. It recognizes what once lived inside of him. What he was once made of. He was the stuff that dwells within them. The very darkness that could overshadow the light. Forever.

Dark blue eyes shut and she leans in so close she could kiss the other woman. Instead, their lips just barely brush. The power is symbiotic. The demons feed one another. That power sings in the air now, dissonant and agonizing. It promises the moon and the stars to the two women if they just give in and do what they were born to do.

The power is maddening.

Then, there’s a terrible shrieking sound that doesn’t come from any of the assembled consciousnesses. Odessa is staggering back, horror etched into her expression. Trembling hands are held out in front of her to ward off any attempt to steady her. She looks helplessly between the two siblings. “I’m sorry.” It’s all a whisper again.

«Shhhhh.» It’s shaky, but there is power to that sound, calming. Like a mother telling a child that they are alright. A finger tip is brought to her lips. «Shhh. Calm… it is okay.» It is as much for their benefits as her own… even if she can’t be affected by her own ability. Her eyes are closed, a hand reaching out, not to steady Des, but to steady herself; as fingers latch onto her brother’s upper arm. An anchor of sorts, it’s how she fights that madness, but also she prepares to kick him out of Odessa’s head if need be.

«Yes, lets… not do that again.» Finally echos, eyes opening again, reddened from tears. Letting out a shaky breath, Kaylee presses a hand to her temple, «Time is running short.» She motions for Odessa to guide them, further.

Richard feels the call, singing to his bones, to the empty places in him that once held the darkness-that-was-not. It's a familiar temptation, though, the same drive that he watched turn his alternate to madness and destruction.

His jaw sets, and he steels himself again those hungry whispers.

"It's wrong, anyway," he says, a hand coming up to clasp over Kaylee's own on his arm… and then reaching out, offering it to Odessa.

"There's always someone to stop you. In the best of worlds, it's you. Come on, Kaylee's right. Let's go."

Odessa nods her head, her mouth ticking into a little smirk as Kaylee mentions time. This is the one place where she doesn’t have mastery over it. She can’t extend this moment into infinity, thought it often feels like it when she’s alone with her thoughts.

Still somewhat shaken, Odessa leads them further down the hallway. Past another observation room where she’s smiling sweetly at a very confused Peter Petrelli. Past another where she’s checking the vitals of an unconscious Niki Sanders. All from her time with The Company. It’s a jumbled mess without chronological rhyme or reason. Maybe it makes sense to a temporomancer like her. Or maybe it’s just the result of her fractured mind.

There are two doors now, across the hall from one another. Unrelated. One is for an apartment, the numbers 404 nailed to its surface above the peep hole. On the other side… Well, there’s something wrong with it. Like none of them can bring it into focus. Odessa stops, but doesn’t look at the doorway, like she doesn’t realize it’s there.

But there’s sound behind each doorway. Behind 404, it’s the sound of a struggle. Her own panicked voice cries out.

”Adam, please! Stop! You’re hurting me!”

There’s a heavy sound of something hitting the floor and Odessa flinches. Shakes her head. “We can’t help her,” she says quietly. “I need those memories. I need them to be sharp like a knife between my ribs so I can remember to hate him.”

Beyond the door she doesn’t seem to notice, there’s music. The sounds of a piano. At first, it’s very basic pieces. Like someone just learning.


“Where’s that coming from?” Odessa asks, confusion etched into her face. “You… can hear it, right?”

Just the sight of Peter gets a negative reaction from Kaylee, where once they had parted on good terms… the fact that, in his way, he had a hand in Valerie’s injury… It left a twinge of anger in her. Though nothing compares to the twist of pain that Adam’s name provokes, it makes her shudder. There is no worries about her stopping. That was another nest of snakes that did not need to be beaten.

Unlike Odessa, her problems with Adam were not created by her…. They were placed there by another. To make her suffer.

The sound however, the drifting of notes, Kaylee latches onto that and the pain eases, melting away as she focuses on something different. «I don’t….» The telepath reaches out mentally to coax out the memory.

«Remember,» Kaylee’s ability whispers to Odessa, a sensation of silk on skin or a soft whisper against a lover’s ear, as it brushes along the woman’s mind, attempting to bring focus. To Richard the word will only sound strained… a hint that his sister is feeling the effects of what they are doing, because, the coaxing is not for him… only Odessa.

It's like a litany of faces, of names that pluck strings in Richard Ray's heart. His jaw tightening in anger at the sight of the man he blames for Valerie's injury, softening at the sight of Niki unconscious - lingering there a moment before he steps more swiftly to catch up.

Then something makes him actually growl under his breath. "Fucking Monroe…" A dark look is shot in the direction of the door as he hears Odessa cry out from beyond it, "I'm glad I fucked you over, you sonuvabitch," he mutters lowly, "I just wish I'd've done it more permanently."

The music, then, and he looks over uncertainly. "Piano… like, someone learning, maybe? There's a door I— I think?" One hand reaches out, touching Kaylee as if to lend her strength and support her.

Odessa looks over to where the other two can almost see the shape of the entryway. “What door?” She doesn’t see it.

At Kaylee’s psychic prompting, Odessa’s eyes close and she seems to relax. The shouting behind the door at their backs now quiets. The whispers quiet.

The music swells.

Slowly, it builds. The piece becomes more complex. A second part is added. There’s dissonant chords - mistakes - and a far away sound of laughing children. The music starts again. With each false start, they get a little further, until it all comes together in perfect harmony.

Though it’s just her projection, Odessa’s breathing begins to quicken. Her chest rises and falls with each short inhale and exhale. “Right side gets the pedals. Your legs are longer than mine,” she says. It’s not the first time. For some reason, it sticks there. A memory she can’t place. Something without context.

The door takes on not so much a shape, but some sort of odd tangibility. A brass knob finally seems to come into focus. Their chance to go inside. Odessa opens her eyes and turns to her friends. Tears are running down her face, but she doesn’t wipe at them or sob.

“I don’t understand.”

«What is there not to understand?» Kaylee’s mental voice is gentle, a smile on the woman’s lips. She motions to the door, moving past Odessa to stand by it and turning back to look at her. «You wanted help… This is me helping you.» Clearly, she won’t push the woman through the door, that is up to Des.

However, before Odessa even thinks to move to touch the doorknob, Kaylee lifts a hand. «Once you open this door, I can’t close it for you… at least not permanently.» Well, in honesty she could with a push for someone like Gillian, but you can’t always give someone a quick fix. «Either way, we will be right here for you.»

That said, Kaylee takes a step back and allows Odessa to decide.

"There was something blocking this memory off… it wasn't erased, though," Richard slants a look to Kaylee, a brow lifting. Trauma? A wordless question, before he looks back to Odessa, to the door.

"We'll be right here," he assures her, echoing his sister's words, "There's nothing you have to be afraid of in there but memories, Des. Whatever happened, happened. We move forward together."

“What are you—” Now she sees what they see. “There’s never been a door here before. It’s always just been this… blank space.” Odessa steps forward uncertainly and places her hand on the knob. Twists, and pushes the door open.

At first, there’s nothing. Just a white nothing. Odessa steps inside and sees a glow to her left. A television screen.

A blonde girl in pigtails lays on the floor in front of the screen. A boy with darker curls and darker complexion wanders in. There’s nothing but the two children and the television. No carpet, walls, nothing.

It really was no miracle.

What happened was just this.

The wind began to switch— the house to pitch and suddenly the hinges started to unhitch.

"Do you have to watch that every day?" A soft boyish voice says, looking down at her from where she laid in front of the TV. He wears a white t-shirt with AGENT OF SHIELD written on it, a man smoking a cigar with a gun in one hand and metal claws jutting out of the other. He sounds like he's teasing her, and from the grin he probably is. He reaches down and ruffles her hair, blonde locks loosening from elastic and falling haphazardly into her face.

“What is this?”

Odessa reaches behind her, beckoning her friends closer. Looking for their support. “Why don’t I remember any of this? Before now…?” The children have their backs to them, but still, “I know him.”

There is a push against the block, it crumbles away before Kaylee’s assault laying bare that memory. All of it. Her head throbs sharply with the effort, making her momentarily feel a little queasy. Still, she moves to take Odessa’s hand a show of her support, giving it a squeeze, but also subtly using it to steady herself.

«Someone blocked this… much like before where your memory was taken… this…» She motions the the memory. The hollow whisper of her voice is showing strain, but she continues. «…is what I can do to memories. Never really gone, just… hidden away.» The telepath falls silent to allow Odessa to view what she thought lost.  

Just as he'd promised, Richard is right behind her; one hand reaching up to rest on her shoulder reassuringly as he looks past her to the children in front of the television, listening to them banter and then to her confusion.

"I'd… guess that's you down there," he says, guesses, "The other— I don't know, a brother maybe? Someone else that grew up in the same house?" Back to Kaylee, he frowns, then looks back to the scene, “Someone didn’t want you to remember him.”

“I didn’t— ” Sure enough, there’s deep red shag carpeting, foil paper peeling on the walls, a sofa a few feet away from the television. “—grow up in a house.” Odessa turns her back on the memory so she can look at Kaylee and Richard, bewildered. “This never happened,” she insists. “It- It couldn’t have. I’d know about it!”

She’s pleading for an answer, like it might be written in the lines of their faces, but there’s nothing. There are no answers, only more questions.

The scene shifts, Odessa feels the ripples and turns around again. The little girl is seated at a formica table. A woman’s figure stands in the kitchen, just out of sight, mixing something in a bowl. There's piano music coming from another room. Debussy. A man comes in from outside and enters the dining room. Most know him only as The Haitian.

The little girl smiles at him, and he crouches down in front of her and places his hand on her head.

Everything goes white again.

“Why would they make me forget him? Why would they make me forget this life?”

«The Company, right?» Kaylee asks looking at the Haitian as he steps in, the sight of him makes her uneasy. Maybe it is the way he carries himself.  «If they are a bad as you all say they are, it could be anything…. Maybe even that boy.» Brows furrow a little, eyes going distant as she retreats into her own thoughts a little.

Her body turns a look at she looks behind her, only a motion as she is thinking back to earlier. «Why have that memory…» Behind her the little boy shimmers into view briefly, before she looks to the scene in front of them again. «…blocked, but the rest completely wiped out.»

Kaylee gives Richard a curious glance, knowing he’ll understand this train of thought. «A hurried job maybe? Or do you think she was suppose to remember that boy…eventually?» The telepath herself has experienced similar instances, orchestrated by her own father.  

"It could be that the earlier years… they were removed some other way," Richard says quietly, "They call him the Haitian… he worked for the Company, for the Institute later. He can erase memories. There're probably other Evolved who can wipe out memories too… I don't know."

As everything goes white, he looks into the great blank for a moment before saying quietly, "But we know who we have to ask for information, though, don't we? To find out who ordered this, and why."

"We just need to find the the Haitian."

“He’s not my biggest fan these days,” Odessa admits with a shrug of her shoulders. “I stabbed him once.” No big deal. He was such a baby about it.

There’s a shift in the air, though not their surroundings. The light in the room starts to become less harsh. Starts to dim. Odessa takes a step backward and bumps into Richard. “We need to go,” she says quietly. “Now.”

He knows what’s coming. He can feel it in his core. Familiar.

The shadows grow. Coalesce into something living. This is not a memory. Not in the way the others were. This is a manifestation of something in the broken woman’s psyche. It figures this would be the form it takes.

"Run!" Odessa shouts, pushing Richard and Kaylee from the room and back into the hall. "The security room! Go!"

There is a hesitation as her ability takes a moment to feel the shadow… or try to, before Kaylee does take a step back. Reaching out to grip her brother’s arm and pull him back. «That isn’t something….» She looks at him with a touch of fear, before turning to head back herself.

Maybe it is the pounding of her head, the fact that in the outside world blood is slowly sliding from her nose now — a sign that she has over extended herself —  that doesn’t have her yanking them out of Odessa’s head. She isn’t thinking clearly in this moment, all that she can think of is… «She’s right. We should run.»

"You think?" Richard is not about to stay and see whatever promethean shadow has unearthed itself from Odessa's subconscious, dragging the others along if he has to into that hallway again, to head back towards the security room that served as the entrance to her psyche. "Move!"

Doors that were once open slam shut as they hurry down the hall, shutting out the monstrous shadow that gives chase. Odessa is a short ways behind them when they reach the door to the security room.

She’s just about through the door when the shadow overtakes her. Her feet are pulled out from under her, but before she can be dragged away, she reaches into the room and slams her hand down on the keypad. The door begins to slide shut on its own.

Then she slams up against the wall and they can see her struggle, screaming as the shadow forms into a human shape. But not the shape they may expect. A woman’s hand closes around the pinned woman’s throat. Odessa’s hand.

Because she is the monster.

Then, the door shuts and the screams are gone.

Chains rattle. Odessa lifts her dark head from her vulnerable place on the floor. “I’m sorry.”

The monitors show the shadow devour the other version of herself, and then everything cuts to snow.

«No!» Kaylee’s instinct screams at her to turn and help, but the door slams in her face. «Dammit!» The telepath slaps the door with her hand, somehow that action has her reeling back, fingers clutching her head. Clearly, she just tried to get past it and failed.

Her grip on Odessa’s mind starts to unravel slowly, but the telepath is determined.

Turning, the other two only get a cursory glance before she spots the monitors. Kaylee hurried over to one, gripping the edges of it and watches.  Richard, by now, might know the look of his sister studying a puzzle, an obstacle. Something that needs to be beaten. Lips press tight as she watches.

When the screen goes to snow, Kaylee finally lets go of the breath she has been holding. Eyes close and her forehead thumps against the screen. Only then does she see droplets of blood falling in a steady drip, hitting the dreary gray of the floor.

Time’s up…

All three, snap back into their own heads without warning… well, no warning for the other two. Now in her own head again, Kaylee get’s the full brunt of what she has done, her head feels like it is going to split in two. Like several spikes have been driven into it. The world swims and she feels nauseous; fingers slide away from Des’ temple and her friend collapses with a sound of pain. There is no loss of consciousness, as the telepath, is on hands and knees trying to keep her nose from bleeding all over her brother’s floor.  “Shit.” She whispers under her breath, how had to not realized.
"— uck!" Richard's hands come up to cradle his own head, face screwed up in a grimace as a headache hits him as well from being snapped back into his own mind after that ordeal. It sinks forward slightly, his eyes tightly closed. "That was— that was my ability, my old ability, how did you… Kay!"

His eyes open enough to see her on the floor, and he's all but lunging from his chair to crouch beside her, reaching to try and help her to sit up, "Kaylee, talk to me, you okay?" Deep concern for her, the headache pushed back for now as unimportant.

Des slumps forward in the chair, held in place by the restraints as consciousness of the real world returns to her. Dark hair is matted to her face with cold sweat. Her breathing is slow, eyes unfocused. Whatever just happened to her in there, it was traumatic, and has a physical effect on her.

So very slowly, Des turns her head to one side and tries to see behind her out of the corner of her eye. “Check her pupil dilation.” It sounds like it takes tremendous effort for her to speak, but she has to. Her friend needs help. “Her pulse. How’s her breathing?” She has to pause for a deep breath every third word.

With Richard’s help she manages to get to her knees, but a bloodied hand comes up, trembling slightly, to have him stop. The other is presses against her mouth, fingers holding closed her nose. Yeah, she’s a mess. Kaylee doesn’t look at either of them, her eyes are shut trying to get the world to stop spinning. “I’m fine,” she finally says softly, pulling her hand away just enough so she can, sounding like someone with one… hell of a hangover. “I pushed it… I really pushed it, but… I had to see.”  See what happened.

Eyes finally open and she glances at Odessa’s back, wincing as the world takes another spin. “Let the poor woman out the chair,” giving a meanful look to Richard, though appreciative for his help. “I… just need to not move… right now.”
Despite the protests, Richard makes sure that his sister is actually okay… enough… before with a frown he rocks back on his knees. Still a bit unsteady as he rises, but he's in better shape than either of them as he leans over to undo the restraints on the chair.

"You both," he says firmly, "Are going down to the infirmary and getting looked over when we're done here."

He looks between them, "Can I get either of you anything…? Water? Ibuprofin?" A pause, “A bucket?” Somewhere to throw up that isn’t his floor.

“A gun to shoot myself with?” Odessa leans forward slowly, as if to tuck her head between her knees. “I’m fine. I just… I just need to rest.” For a moment, all she does is sit there in that slumped position, eyes closed and breathing deeply. It looks like she may have passed out.

One blue eye cracks open so she can peer at Richard, and answer his previous question. “That’s Samson Gray’s ability. One of them.” The one he’s used to get into and out of her apartment in the past. He used it at the hospital when he attacked Hiro Nakamura all those years ago. It’s how she got the scar on her forehead.

It terrifies her, and so that’s the form the monster in her head takes.

“All three…? And maybe ask Sera to reschedule all my appointments tomorrow?” Kaylee says finally pulling her hand away from her face, both at covered in blood along with her lower face. She grimaces at the sight of them.  “Ugh… I don’t even want to see myself right now. I… don’t think I want anyone else to see me either.”

The back of her wrist is pressed to forehead, with a sigh, as she gathers her thoughts. A flicker of memory… “I knew I recognized… “ furrow under the pressure, trying to remember a time. “He showed up at the Petrelli mansion once.” The memory is fuzzy as it’s been so long, but she remembers going up against this Samson Gray… the smoke man.

“Hell of a defense,” Kaylee offers as a bit of a compliment. “If we ever hope to give you back some of your past, I need to figure out how to get past it.” Meaning, despite the fact she looks like she lost a fist fight, the telepath is willing to one day do it all over again.

The mention of that particular name briefly washes the idea of getting water and buckets and ibuprofen from Richard's mind as he snarls out, "That sonuva…" He turns and steps away, fists clenching by his sides, "Fuck. Of course it was him. Of course. Who else would have that ability aside from the bastard that killed me for it. Motherfucker…"

He stalks off just as suddenly, probably off to get the aforementioned supplies. Probably.

Guess he’s not a fan of Mister Gray.

“I’m so sorry, Kaylee…” Des doesn’t shake her head because it would make the world spin. She swallows hard against a wave of nausea that comes along belatedly. “I thought that when I granted you access, it would keep it at bay, but…”

The question is why did her defenses trigger, isn’t it? “Grey killed my parents,” Des explains in a soft voice, sad. “It’s because of him that I am who I am.” That’s partially laying the blame at someone’s feet, but there’s a grain of truth to it as well.

It follows that Desdemona Desjardins’s greatest fear would be Odessa Price. The woman she used to be, no better than the monster that created her.

“How many times has he died anyway?” Des asks after Richard’s left the room, trying to lighten the mood a little bit. “He sounds like he’s trying to keep up with my score.”

“Never be sorry for that,” Kaylee states firmly. “I knew that going in there, I could find things… Clearly, there is something you are not ready to uncover.“ scary things. “Tell me you at least remember what we did uncover?” Then she could at least mark it a success.  

The question about her brother gets a glance at the door… a mistake as the world flares with fresh pain. Still, a smile tugging at the corner of her mouth. “I’ve lost count of the stories.” She has never witnessed or had to experience those, but she has heard things. “And it depends on the version.”  

Richard isn’t gone long before he shows back up with a bucket, setting it down roughly between the two and pulling out of it two bottles of water and a rattling pill-bottle of painkillers in offering to the suffering of the pair.

He may need some of the ibuprofen himself, but, he comes second.
“Here you go,” he offers quietly, also offering a towel to his sister, who could probably use it at the moment.

“I remember.” There’s so precious little to remember, but it’s something. Proof of something. “I need the full Company records. Or the Institute’s files. Dr. Luis told me once that their file on me was more extensive than what the Company had.” She wishes she’d tried harder to get her hands on that file now, but it would have meant sending Liette back to that confined life. At least she was free in the end.

Des lets Kaylee have the painkillers first, focusing on taking small sips of her water. “I’m sorry, Rich. I wish you both hadn’t seen that part of me.” But maybe he understands now why she always seems to think he should be so ready to send her away. So ready to turn her over for something of real value.

“I think I’d like to go home.” And sleep for a year. “I know someone I can call to stay with me, if that will make you feel better.”

There is so much appreciation and affection sent her brother’s way when he shows up with a towel. Kaylee had been cursing herself for not asking for. “You read my mind,” she teases, with some relief mixed in. The towel is set in her lap so that she can take the water, which she leave pinks hand prints on, and the pills. She already tastes blood, so a little more won’t kill her, so there is no hesitation in downing them. After a swig of water, she offers a soft. “Thank you,” before scrubbing at her face with the towel.

The towel is lowered a little as Kaylee, turns a little to really look at Des in the chair, “You.. realize, Des.” The telepath’s voice is soft, she works at scrubbing blood off her hands, so she can motion to Ray to help her to her feet. “What we saw in there…. We all have our own dark secrets. Our shadowed places.” She takes a deep breath and adds, “Our own Grey’s.”

There is flicker of sadness at a thought, a memory of her own, “Monsters… tend to know their own.” Despite her life, the man she married or the fact she was a mom, deep down… that is what the telepath sees in herself. “We understand, Des, and we just want to help.”  

"I seem to recall you punching me in the face when you realized what… another version of me did," Richard reminds her gently, his eyebrows lifting a little, "We've all got our demons, Des. If we didn't, we wouldn't be here."

A tilt of his head, and he admits, "I… really don't want to leave you alone right now. I mean, we'd be happy to stay with you, but— I mean that's up to you." Wry, "I can understand if you'd prefer someone who hasn't been in your head today."

“I think you’ve both had enough of my crazy for one day,” Des says, tone light. She knows they would gladly sit with her all night if she asked, but she wants Richard to look after his sister. She has someone who can look after her.


It occurs to her that she might be presumptuous, but… Des lifts one hand and points to the table where her sweater is folded. “My phone.” It’s an older style flip phone, but a sturdy one. Glass screens tend not to last long with all the trouble she seems to find. “Mateo. Call Mateo. If you tell him it’s for me, I think he’ll come.”

In all that had been going on, she hadn’t thought about him. The call of his ability too… just like… “You know Mateo?” Kaylee paused in her scrubbing off the dried blood on her hands. There is a touch of wonder and curiosity as she asks that. A glance to Richard, prevents her from saying anymore… asking what is forefront in her thoughts. How much did Des know about the man.

Finally, she moves to try and get up. Reaching for her brother’s arm to help steady her. Once she is on her feet, her eyes close again as her head protests the movement. Kaylee will definitely, not be into work tomorrow. “Lynette, his wife was… is a friend of mine from the Ferry,” this is mostly offered to Richard. “She runs Benchmark.” Where Joseph works. “Their good people,” she reassures him.

The name isn't one that Richard's familiar with, and he looks from her to Kaylee and back… a single brow arching. "Mnm. Well, give him a call," he says, supporting his sister with one arm, "I remember Lynette — did some business with her, back in the day. What's his full name, I'll get him cleared through security to come visit."

The fact that there's suddenly someone that Des trusts to come see her like this, well that's surprising… but it's a conversation for later.

“It’s… a long story. I’ll tell you another day, I promise. But he can be trusted.” Des finally gathers the courage to lift her head and sit up again. The room swims in her vision and she looks pale. After a couple panting breaths, she nods her head weakly to signal I’m fine, and takes another sip of water.

“Mateo Ruiz.” Des smiles faintly, like just the mention of him brings her some measure of happiness, peace. Maybe it does. The smile fades and she looks to her friends in turn. “Thank you both for what you did for me today. I wish I could have had better control, but… I appreciate your understanding.”

“He’s already cleared.” Kaylee states simply like it is no big deal.

Letting go of Richard, she moves to rest hands on Des’ shoulders, “I’d do it all over again.” In other words, “Your welcome, my friend.”  There is a little sway as Kaylee straightens a little. “I think I’m going to go sit in my office for a bit, before I attempt to go home.” And try to explain her state to her husband…. It’s been awhile.   

That brow goes up even higher than before, and Richard looks between the pair with the vague suspicion that he's missing something. Still, they both seem to trust the man, so…

"Alright," he lifts his hands, "Okay. Kaylee…" A hand to her elbow helps her balance, and he looks to Des, "Both of you get somewhere to relax on the double, alright? Kaylee, have someone drive you or I'll call Joseph."

“I think I’m just gonna sit here for a while,” Des groans. “Wait for the world to stop moving.” Her hands come up to cover Kaylee’s and squeeze gently. This is so strange to her, to have friends. People she can rely on that aren’t paid to do it. Aren’t bullied into it by superiors. People who don’t consider her an assignment or a burden.

It’s nice.

“See her off, okay, boss? You can walk me back to my apartment after.” She flashes a knowing look to Kaylee. Stubborn recognizes itself in others. “I’ll be right here.”

There might have been a protest there, but the look stops it. Instead they both manage to get a chuckles from Kaylee. That might have been a mistake, hands moving to press at her temples with a cringe. “I dare you to call him. Then you get tell him what we were up too.” To add insult to the threat, she leans over and plants a sisterly kiss on the cheek. This is followed by a pat that say ‘there’s a good boy,’ before making her wobbly way out. Thank god, she didn’t wear heels.

There is a pause before she steps out of the door, Kaylee turns back, “Des. When you talk to Mateo, remind him to bring that resume he promised. Have Sera leave it on my desk?”   

"Mnm." Ray fixes Des with a serious look, insisting, "Actually be here when I get back. I'm not going to let either of you go walking around unassisted right now…"

Then he's stepping along with Kaylee to the door, an arm used to help support her as he comments dryly, "What, that you were using telepathy to help someone recover lost memories? You really think Joseph'd be upset that you were trying to treat someone…?"

"Now who's this Mateo guy we're hiring?"

Des’ brows jump up when Kaylee mentions Mateo’s resume. Then she immediately winces. How can such little movements be so painful? This is bullshit. “Yeah, sure. I’ll do that…” She shrugs to Ray. Hell if she knows what that’s about.

“Don’t worry, Rich. I’ll be here.” She waves the two off and quips, “I might be making you carry me home.”

Eyes roll skyward and Kaylee sighs, though her tone is amused, “Damn you and your reasoning, Richard.”

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