It's Oh So Quiet


kaylee_icon.gif luther_icon.gif

Scene Title It's Oh So Quiet
Synopsis A look into yet another reality leaves both Kaylee and Luther reeling and the realization that this might not be a one way window.
Date November 11, 2018

Phoenix Heights

A deadbolt turns, unlocking the door for Luther’s apartment in Phoenix Heights. He hasn’t been staying there very much since the threats to RayTech emerged, but the distance was shorter than having to get all the way back to Jackson Heights. A distance he didn’t want to travel with the feeling of being bruised and battered from an earlier battle. More like a brawl.

The man trudges across to the kitchen, flicking on a single light that illuminates with a yellow tint over the modest sink that hasn’t worked since the war. If he wanted, Luther could strain enough to make his own source with his hands. But those hands occupy themselves with the removal of a single glass bottle and clear tumbler beside it from a cupboard, setting tumbler down next to the sink. The bottle’s corked top pops lightly. Luther pours out a single of the brown liquid contained within.

He swallows down the first drink without a second thought of it, and winces at its burn, then at the throb of pain over his brow where he’d been struck by the barrel of a pistol, hours ago. His vision swims a little, and he looks to the bottle for a second pour.

There’s been progress. But even with the Resistance’s victory technically secured and the DoEA forces in disarray, the pockets of fighting remain. Nightfall has seen a lull in the fighting where the teams retreated from the war-torn, bomb-shattered Outer District area to a more distant portion of New Jersey. The plan split groups into smaller teams, each making their way to the rendezvous point behind the designated safety zone where medics and transport awaited to take them mobile, away from the nuclear fallout. Smaller was better for movement, better for sneaking past or sneaking up on enemy groups.

Luther’s team split into two, with Esposito leading a larger group of non-Evolved fighters and Evolved refugees away to safety, and Luther and Kaylee bringing up the rear. Between the pair’s powerset and minimal size, they stood a better chance of bringing down any enemy forces trying to catch up and pick at the back end.

That was hours ago.

Now, with the darkness entrenched in the sky and shadows of ruined buildings, the goal is first, shelter. Then maybe some sleep. With their abilities extended to their limits, rest is the vital, life-saving key to survival.


“Clear. Here seems good,” Luther notes as he finishes his physical sweep for possible hostiles. Kaylee’s mental sweep takes care of the possible immediate living, breathing enemy. Standing on the floor of a partially collapsed commercial building, what was at some point a bank now rendered unviable for any sort of business, he determines this location as their camp by unceremoniously dropping his pack onto the floor behind the teller counter. The dust plumes are telling of how long the area has been unoccupied. But office furniture do not comfortable beds make, and so Luther goes to drag one of the couches in the lounge area around the counter. The musty, dusty cushions have seen better days. So have they. Once he has the couch positioned to where they can rest with some protected lines of sight, he eases down to a seat against one side, leaning against the couch arm.

A slight stretch brings a soft pop of aching bones resettling, and a relieved exhale through his nose.

Luther is tired.

Sumter Home

Brows furrow a little with confusion as Kaylee finds herself in her kitchen again, the lights above her harsh and bright in comparison to the dark in the vision. it was her night to do the dishes and Joseph would read to the kids. It was a duty they swapped often. At the moment, the water runs unused, a sudsy dish in one hand and a equally soapy sponge in the other. This is what she had been doing before she found herself in a world at war, with a sharp migraine.

It was so brief, but she could still smell the dust and…

And Luther is definitely not the only one tired.


There is no real reaction to the ‘all clear’ from the woman with him, she is exhausted on so many levels. For a long time, her world was just getting one moment to the next. Surviving to see the next. This was the first time she really stretched her ability this far… pushed to her limit Kaylee flinches with each movement, head pounding sharply. But she doesn't let Luther work alone to move the couch, she knows he is just as bad off.

Arms shakes slightly as Kaylee pulls the rifle off her shoulder and moves to rest it next to his within easy reach. Strands of hair fall loose around her face having slipped the braid. Cheeks smudged and dirty, but more alarming is the evidence of a nose bleed, hastily wiped during the intense fighting. Flakes of blood are still sprinkled across one cheek.

Despite how she feels, there is a tenderness as she watches him settle on the couch. Shifting a glance to the space beside her to the third member of this little group. Tyler gets a tired smile, but she is too tired to share him and what he says with Luther. Instead the ghost in her head just gets a small nod; but, even that makes her grimace.

All the adrenaline that kept Kaylee moving… kept her going…it seems to leave her all at once in the relative safety of their shelter, Shoulders and posture droop. Feet drag, scrape across the tile floor as she moves to the couch and crawls onto it with him. Almost bonelessly, Kaylee collapses on the couch, her head falling to rest on his stomach and an arm draped across him. Curled there against him, clinging to the last thing she has in this world, the telepath lets out a long sigh.

A sigh that is echoed in a small kitchen in another reality. Worried it will get dropped and alert everyone in the house, the dish is set in the sink carefully and the water turned off. It plunges Kaylee into silence… Or as close as she can get with the minds of her family in the house humming softly. The faucet drips, blue eyes watching the water ripple with each drop for what seems like a long time, but her thoughts are turned inward.

So, it is going to be another of those nights. Kaylee often wondered if others had them happen this frequently. It didn't feel that long since the last one.

Pushing away from the sink, pulling the towel off her shoulder, Kaylee trades it for a hoodie that is draped over the back of a wooden chair. Fingers linger on the stained and lacquered wood, grounding herself in her reality for a brief moment. The dining set was one of her prized possessions, built by Joseph when they first got the house. He was always good with his hands in that way.

Pulling on the old grey hoodie, the telepath pushes through the backdoor into the yard and the crisp cold of the November night, As soon as she steps out into the yard, eyes immediately going to the sky and the dancing colors above. It was so beautiful, but she feared the sight of it and what it meant for her. Arms curl around herself as the world changes around her again and she can feel the warmth of Luther’s ability against her side… Swallowing, eyes close, and brows furrow.

Phoenix Heights

There’s no ice to be had. The generator in the apartment produces enough energy to keep the lights on and heated water, but Luther uses it sparingly enough. As the vision of the deserted bank fades, he leans against the counter top, fist curling around his drink.

It’s hard to distinguish between what’s a mere hallucination of memories of his true past, lingering feelings of what it was like during the war, and what he’s come to realize is no mere vision but a window into the reality of another world. The main difference being… her. Kaylee’s presence in the visions throw a giant wrench into the man’s mental gears, and twist up his innards with a deep confusion.

His reality sees them as friends and coworkers. Luther’s comfort in seeing the woman and her family safe and happy is all that he thought he needed. Everything he meant to fight for in the war, for families like the Sumters to exist.

But, the appearance of the aurora and new visions that have plunged him into an alternate reality - realities - set Luther on a slow spiral. He turns to his drink, not remembering having poured it, and tips it back anyway. A new throb of pain in his head with the movement accompanies the crawling burn of the liquid down his throat. Eventually, he staggers over to his couch and sits, exhaustion mingling with the alcohol. Luther shuts his eyes, but he can smell the dust and dirt, the gunpowder and sweat.

He can smell her hair.

Once Kaylee's leaned on him, Luther settles further into the couch cushion. A hand slides fingers over her mussed hair, gently brushing the strays back into place. His knuckles trace down the scar on her face as he usually does, not that he draws particular attention to it when others are around.

Minutes pass in silence, only the steady, slow rise and fall of his midsection and his mind's calm indicating he's taking the opportunity to rest.

Which is interrupted, abruptly, by the gurgling sound of his empty stomach protesting the lack of something in it. Kaylee gets an earful of the complaint. Luther makes a face in the dark, shifting a bit underneath her as he tries to ignore the hunger. "Sorry," he rumbles slowly.

Having started to drift off, the loud gurgle against her ear, is a bit startling. Kaylee’s head jerks away from the sound which makes her head throb and swim. That doesn’t help her stomach at all. Despite that, such a simple thing strikes Kaylee as funny. Shoulders shake a little as she tried not to giggle out loud. A sound that may be borne from a mix of emotions and exhaustion.

“You’re lucky I learned to pack from Shaw.” The name invokes a wave of sorrow, the separation from one of her closest friends… it was still fresh. On a mission, she pushes that feeling aside as she shifts to where she can reach past him to the pack on the floor, next to the couch. “And it’s a good thing you let me pack our bag.” Using the word our had an interesting and warm feeling to it. Stretched out across his lap, the telepath takes a moment to dig through the bag on the other side of his legs on the floor. When she moves to settle back against his side, she offers him two granola bars. Nothing fancy but it was food.

“You can have mine, too.” Kaylee offers with an affectionate and tired smile. “Just the thought of eating makes my stomach turn right now.” Especially, after such an effort as retrieving the food. Her stomach twists and churns. Moving a little, she settles in a little closer, head on his shoulder now. “My head is pounding … I think I pushed it too far with that last guy.” It had been necessary for their survival and she had no qualms tearing through his mind.

Sumter Home

The ache that the other is feeling, is so familiar to her. Brows furrow and Kaylee sways a bit from it. She really did push it, Kaylee thinks to herself, pressing a hand to her head, as the faint echoes of the headache linger. However, she didn’t get to be a skilled telepath without pushing limits and no doubt it was the same for the other.

She is what we could be. She doesn't flinch from what she is and using the gifts she was given. The darkness whispers to her from the edge of her mind, with all the seduction and temptation that comes with such power. The other woman’s memories of tearing through minds and twisting perceptions, were still clear and brings with it a familiar thrill. She is what we should be. It is all there, just use it!

Kaylee lets out a huff of annoyance and shakes her head, “We— I am what I am supposed to be. Leave me alone,” she says out loud in a fierce whisper. It doesn’t, however, it lingers at the edge of her mind as always. Irritated at being dismissed.

Feeling a need to sit before the visions make she fall down, Kaylee looks for a place to do so.

Not too far from her, a swing hangs from an old oak. A swing just like they had in Kansas, homemade and well loved. This is the direction that Kaylee wanders to, further from the minds of her family, who are only a tickle the edges of her mind. If she wanted to she could push her range, but she doesn't bother. With some of the…. Intimate… visions, she hated being within range of her family during visions. The invoked memories of those moments make her stomach twist with guilt, but also flush at them.

These visions were too personal for her to accidentally share. Even though Joseph knew of them, she obviously didn’t share the details. Those… those were for her.

Settling into the swing, she uses her feet to lightly push her. Fingers curl around the thick hemp ropes holding it up just in time for Luther’s shadowed visage to start swinging into her view. The snake laughs, an irritating hissing sound, which fades as she falls back into the head of another Kaylee.

It enjoys this too much.

Luther wrinkles his nose at her obvious attempt to not laugh at his talkative gut. He looks away at the mention of her friend, a rough exhale exiting the man. He still feels responsible for her choice to leave the traveling group and stay within the world. With him. “Good guy. Tough. Wouldn’t worry too much about him or his girl, they could handle themselves,” comes Luther’s assessment. High praise from him, considering what they’d started off as.

The offer of two granola bars shifts his focus to the food, and he reaches out to partake. But he takes only one of the bars, nudging the other towards her. “Save that one for later,” he rumbles, though the for you lingers underneath the statement. They were all used to rationing, and probably haven’t had a full meal in months. “You okay, though?” The question follows her comment about the action of the last battle, and Luther abandons opening the granola bar wrapper in favor of taking her hand in his. His thumb brushes over her knuckles.

Even in the dark, hungry, tired, he notes the opportunity that for the moment, they are alone.

When he only takes the one, she starts to protest; but decides he has a point. There is a small nod of Kaylee’s head at the question, tucking the bar away again to keep it safe. “Yeah, just feels like my head is going to split open,” her voice soft and a bit scratchy with exhaustion and overuse. “Nothing that rest and a lull in fighting won’t cure.” The telepath needed time to recover, it was clear.

The brush of his thumb across her knuckles pulls her attention, even tired as she is, Kaylee is also very aware of this rare moment where it was just them. In fact, she barely remember the last time they found a moment to themselves; it felt like a lifetime ago. Tears prickle behind her eyes as she thinks of all those that wouldn’t have moments of their own like this anymore. The tears shine as blue eyes lift to find his, she looks like there is so much she wants to say; but words fail in favor for the surge of emotions. Instead, she ever so gently pulls her hand from his and rests it along his jaw, noting how his unshaven scruff scrapes lightly along the skin of her palm.

Her thumb skims along Luther’s cheekbone, as few tears escape to trail down dirty cheeks. They had made it this far together, relief fills her and brings on more tears. Kaylee shifts so that she can press a tender kiss to his lips to acknowledge what he’s feeling. And even though it isn’t her intention, the contact ignites something deep in her. The events of the day are so fresh still, the terror and the death… all of it. It makes the temptation to drown it all in a moment of primal urges very strong and for a moment the kiss reflects that sudden fiery desire. A hunger for an escape from reality.

However, the sharp twinge of pain from her exhausted ability is a reminder that she isn’t ready for that and the telepath is forced to break off the kiss, which ends up a little jarring for her.

Leaning her forehead against his, Kaylee lets out a breathless sigh; regret fills the sound. “Eat and rest. We’ve a long way to go and we’ll need our strength and our wits.”

If he was being honest to himself, Luther would recognize that he’s also out of reserves, and he’s in no shape to be doing anything more in the dark. But still. He lifts his head when she pulls her hand away, a concern first skimming the edge of his thoughts, but when she touches his jaw he angles his head to a side, meeting the kiss with a reflection of the contact between them. It’s potent.

Phoenix Heights

The contact startles Luther, his head snapping up abruptly, breath catching.

The next pour is to the brim, droplets of liquid splashing onto the table and the glass bottle thunking heavily as it’s set down. The whiskey taste is strong in his mouth, but it doesn’t erase the kiss. The taste of her mouth on his.

Luther looses a heady, thick growl, shaking his head violently as he drops the empty glass back onto the table, and staggers up to his feet. The walk back to the kitchen is unsteady, not all because of the alcohol sitting in him. Clammy palms plant on either side of the sink and he leans, head bowed, jaw clenched as he fights down the urge to let the emotions welling inside turn into something uncontrollable.

But he can’t deny the strength of that contact or his yearning for it, a connection he hadn’t felt - hadn’t allowed himself to feel - in years. One hand lifts, clamping over his mouth tightly as he wills the feeling away. It’s a sloppy wish with no real strength, weakened by the drink.

Until she pulls back first. He huffs, the sound trying to contain his want to continue, battling with the need for rest. Hands reach out and pull her deliberately into his arms, cradling her at center mass, essentially trapping her against him. Still, her common sense wins the battle. He tries to sneak a short peck on her cheek. “Alright,” he concedes after, and then remembers there was a food bar to be had as dinner. Finding it again, he opens the wrapper and though he tries to be quiet about it, it’s as noisy as it would be in the silent theater. Tugging the wrapper completely off, Luther breaks the bar in two.

“Sure you don’t want it? Could be a bit before we get something warm,” he notes in last chance tone. Or anything at all, comes that brief, dark thought. He banishes it, though, with a re-positioning of himself on the couch.

Sumter Home

A sharp gasp of breath from the sensation, is the first sign she is back in her world. Then a shiver runs through Kaylee, it’s hard to tell if it is from the sting of the night air or the strong emotions from that passionate moment that seem to thread through her own. Pressing her forehead against the rough weave of the rope, her eyes are squeezed shut, like she could shut it all out. The confusion and chaos the visions were causing over a man she saw as a friend, it left her… she honestly didn’t know.

Almost wanting? Like she wanted to run to him.

Hands cover her mouth as Kaylee tries to push away the lingering sensation of rough stubble scraping against her skin, the feel of his lips crushed to hers with a sharp need, and the way it tugged at something deep within her. Something.. Much more primal. A need. Taking a shaky gasp of air, Kaylee opens her eyes and turns them upward again, though she doesn’t really look at the silently shifting aurora, instead she tries to turn her thoughts to Joseph. Her gentle and loving husband. To the way it feels when he holds her…

To… to….

A comforting warmth surrounds her and Kaylee feels his long arms pulling her close… but it isn’t Joseph she feels…

There is no protest as Kaylee is pulled in close, the temperatures were already dropping and he was the only source of warmth; but also there was something relaxing about it. A sensation of safety that allowed her to relax. The kiss to her cheek earns him a tired smile, which he can see moments before her head settles against his collarbone. A part of her wants to reach for his mind, to find comfort there; but doing so would inflict Tyler on both of them and right now they needed the rest. So, instead, she finds comfort in the physical contact and the radiant warmth.

“I’m sure,” she says quietly, after the cringe-worthy sound of him unwrapping the bar. It is hard not to hear the darker thoughts about their situation, worry gnaws that her stomach, making the nausea rise up again. “It’s going to get far worse, before it gets better again, isn’t it?” Even though she is keeping her voice down, it seems loud to her ears, echoing through the empty building.

Kaylee sighs softly, she head shaking a bit, “We were so focused on the fight… now what do we do?” Brows furrow a bit and suddenly she feels uncertainty for their future. “They have a plan right? I mean, they must have some idea of where to go from here.” More importantly… “What are we going to do, Luther? Where do we go from here?” He can hear the nervousness in her voice, the full reality of her decision only now hitting her.

Fear and uncertainty linger as the auroras above replace the quiet bank. Wait… This wasn’t the pair they had been learning about.

“Oh god,” Kaylee whispers into the night as a sudden realization hits her. This… this was the version of herself that traveled with Liz. This was the one… “Oh my god,” she whispers out again, her feet stop pushing her to swing and she sits there, pouring over what she remembers of the visions so far.

The pain of separation from family, the fear of the unknown and being in a strange world, but over shadowing it all was a deep love for a man she had only known for a year in that world. For countless years, this woman had traveled with Liz and thought of her as family. Though of so many of others as family.

Something settles into Kaylee stomach like a brick, as she comes to the sudden conclusion, “She stayed behind for him,” she murmurs to no one. Stayed in a strange world and watched her family and friends leave for another world… all of it for him.

For Luther.

A part of her finds something amazing in that. It pulls at her heart, filling it with a warmth, cause a part of her thinks… she can see it in her Luther.

Her Luther?!

Alarm slices through Kaylee sharp enough the pull a gasp from her; straightening in the swing, hands tighten around the ropes until knuckles are white. He wasn't hers. Not in this world, here she had another love. Guilt twists painfully in her chest for just entertaining the idea of another man being hers.

Yet, just like other visions, there was a version of her, with a version of him. The same strong emotions and feelings. Nothing about her and Joseph… only her and another man. Luther. Someone she saw as a friend. Someone she— Kaylee lets out a shuddered breath, vision blurring with tears, as she is suddenly overwhelmed again by the worry and anxiety of another world, it adds to her own. Then she hears his voice in her ear, she is drawn to it…

“War’s not done.” Luther’s response is matter-of-fact, no sugarcoating of his belief that it hasn’t ended. Because one look outside would tell them it’s far from over. He takes a quick bite of a half of the granola bar, keeping the chewing noise minimal. Her worry spurs him on to swallow quickly, and then he pauses in eating. He meets the nervous tone of hers with a steadying one, and a light squeeze of his arms around her. “Hey. You’re okay. We’re good.” Even if he doesn’t personally know the plan, nor does he know exactly what the future holds, he concerns himself with her concern. The deeper ones as well. “Eve’s got them all in good hands,” assures the man with the sort of faith normally put upon prophets and the masters they serve. “That, you don’t got to worry about. As for us…”

He shifts a hand up, fingers touching at her chin to nudge her to look up at him. “I know that… You stayed. For me.” Though the details of his expression are lost visually in the dark, she can feel it in the man’s mind as he turns thought with a gut-gripped emotion. “We stick close. Through whatever comes. Wherever we go.” The serious furrow of his brow accompanies the lower rumble of his voice as he leans his head over. “I won’t leave you, Kaylee.”

Phoenix Heights

An unsteady breath escapes. Luther stares blankly at the stained backsplash of the kitchen sink as the yellow tint of overhead light brings him out of the dark of night and back into his empty apartment. Back to being alone. His stomach turns along with him and he faces away from the sink, staring out towards the couch. His eyes stay on the cushions while the mind drifts, bobbing through a sea of memories and imagination. He didn’t even need the peek into another time and dimension to send his mind swirling in a whirlpool of memories.

Past memories prickle at the edge of his thoughts, of a different woman who had done the same thing as Kaylee in this altered timeline was - is - doing. Trish had fought alongside him. Eve too, because of course that was the way of the precog. Lynette had saved his ass more than a few times. Those times, those memories, were real. Luther snorts a bitter laugh in the quiet at those thoughts of the civil war.

A blurry haze mingles, drifting in from beyond the fog of war, further back and deeper in Luther’s memory. Memories of his wife, his children. Their gentle, happy smiles and laughter like a babbling brook. Their calls to him, slurred by time and alcohol, are a bright spot. Too bright. As bright as the fiery glow of an explosive cloud of radioactive fallout.

Disbelief, though, becomes overtaken by crumbling skepticism. As much as he wants to deny it, he knows the visions feel too real to dismiss as mere hallucinations of his imagination. No illusions or dreams could produce these events, could they? And, Luther asks himself deep down, did he actually want them to be false? Maybe this was a sort of do-over. Some version of him, at least two, could be… allowed to be… His head shakes in short rejection of the notion. There weren’t such things as do-overs, not for these kinds of things. But that doesn’t answer his question, still. Did he want these realities to be real? Could he even stop them if he wanted to?

But he can feel, even through the churn of the whiskey and haze of memories, the undeniable need of her. The words of promise, a blind vow. A vow he’d made before in this world too, to others.

Promises he couldn’t keep.

It is hard to tell if his words do anything to calm her anxiety, Kaylee is so still and quiet. Thoughts clearly on the band of travellers. The only way he knows she is still awake is her fingers playing along the edge of his jacket, rubbing the coarse fabric between them. Accompanied by a soft sniffle, brought on by renewed tears. Kaylee thought she had been done with the tears for those that were continuing on… yet still they slide down her cheek and soak into his shirt. So he’ll know she is listening, at least.

When she feels his finger hook her chin, Kaylee moves to look up at him, as guided. Tearful eyes meet his stormier ones, there is sadness and uncertainty. She wants to believe him, but… “This world, just like mine… it isn't the place for promises like that, Luther. “ Her lower lip trembles slightly, teeth catching it quickly.

“But, I know what you’re saying,” Kaylee concedes. Resting her head against his chest again, forehead leaning against his jaw she says quietly, “As long as this life allows us, we’ll be together.”

The woman goes quiet for a long moment allowing him some peace to eat his bar. Then she says softly, “Think I need a new name here?” Kaylee sighs softly, “Eventually, life will get back to some sort of normal, but there is probably already one of me here. I could become Leanne Edwards again, just like the last world.”

With her being so quiet, Luther starts to wonder if she had fallen asleep. But the sniffle alerts him to otherwise, giving him a different reason to be concerned. Hence the attempt to reassure her, but her sense wins out as she reminds him of promises easily made. And in this world, easily broken. His brows tug down along with the corners of his mouth, his gaze falls to the wayside. He is reminded of losses as well.

The concession, though, and the lean of her head on him turn his thoughts back to the present. To her. Something, someone, to hold on to now that he has her. His scruffy feeling chin rests gently atop her head, though he tries not to move too much during the chewing of the granola bar. When she considers the future and talks of names, he pauses. She could feel his mind turning the name over, mentally poking at its feel.

And the reminder that there’s another Kaylee in this world. What an uncomfortable notion.

“I like ‘Kaylee’,” he responds in stubborn sounding protest after swallowing the rest of his dinner. “Even if there’s already someone named Kay. And Lee.” His frown deepens as another thought strikes him and he wonders, “Did… did you ever meet me in the other places?”

He can’t see the smile that touches her lips as he protest, followed with an amused huff. “I’m rather attached to it too, but… eventually, it will raise flags if there are two Kaylee Thatchers that look alike.” Shifting she curls an arm around him, finding space between him and the couch. “Maybe at least last name then, Kaylee Edwards. Sure we can find a technopath that can get me into the system.” Her thought trails off, as Luther poses his own question.

“No, you never showed up at the Hub,” Kaylee admits softly, “Good thing, cause it allowed me to find you here and now.”

“Though Liz…” her voice catches as she mentions the woman she thought of as her sister and the daughter she thought of as her niece. Taking a deep breath, she has to school her emotions again before continuing. Long fingers brush at her tears, trying to dash them away. As if doing so would make them finally stop. “When I told her I was going to stay, she confessed that she knew us from her world, but also the last one.” Something she found fascinating. “But the last one, she said we found each other and fell in love there too.” Tucking her free hand under her cheek, she murmurs softly, “That gives me hope.” If they were together in one world…

Sumter Home

Tears slide down cold cheeks, when Kaylee’s eyes open again. “No.. it’s not all worlds,” Kaylee says softly to no one, her tone a little bitter sweet, answering a thought that wasn’t completed. “Not here.” The telepath pulls the hood of her hoodie up to cover her ears against the deepening cold, her eyes on the faint shadow cast long across the ground from the porch behind her.

“Kaylee?” The voice of Joseph reaches her, clearly concerned.

Turning in the swing to look behind her, Kaylee manages a faint smile. “I’m okay,” she calls in reassurance. “I’m comin’ in.” He seems to hesitate on the porch for a moment, before going back in and closing the door again. How long had he been standing there? She sighs softly, feeling those same emotions for her husband, that seemed to curl around her about Luther. No here she still found a good man, but unlike Luther, a gentler one… a quieter one.

The telepath shifts her grip on the ropes of the swing, with the intention of getting up, when her head starts to ache again and exhaustion hits her hard.

Phoenix Heights

His hand covering his face, Luther presses fingers against closed eyes to no avail. The darkness of the environment within the vision is one thing. The other senses are equally unstoppable. Other thoughts. And what this pair of alternate selves had said about other selves. What had been said at the meeting, what had been revealed in Kansas, what he'd heard about in Alaska, it all came crashing together in all too personal moments of these visions. Intimate, personal moments.

Luther's hand drops away, only to reach for the bottle sitting on the floor by his feet. He doesn't remember how it got there, but it's there all the same. A swear escapes him, followed by a self-pitying, humorless laugh.

As he pours another drink, his hand wobbles, nearly falters. The bottle is set down. His hand reaches for the glass, but it all feels heavy, tiring.

He doesn't fight the vision as the darkness swoops back in.

Taking a while on the second half of the bar, it's telling that Luther has much to think over by the length of time he takes to respond. He repositions himself on the narrow cushions as she finds enough space to settle in, slipping an arm out of his coat and pulling it over a part of her. He doesn't need to worry about the cold as much as she does. "Maybe, later," he rumbles quietly, distracted from the concerns about public records and more focused on what the woman mentions about them from another world.

It's a strange concept. And yet, not entirely foreign a concept now. Luther doesn't sound too worried. "Yeah? What are you hoping for?" There, a light tease prodding and exploring, verbally nosing around her thoughts on these matters. Even as exhausted as they are, he's still on the move mentally. The tactic a common one, she'll know, as he tries to stay awake and alert for possible intrusions.

“Really?” Kaylee’s tone is flat and amused all at once. It’s too dark to really see him, but her head lifts to look at him. “You know very well what I hope,” she chides him, her head tilting a bit, considering her words. “Hope that I made the right choice.” her voice is soft, even if it doesn’t rumble like his does. “Think about it, we found each other in another world.” There is something amazing about that and it shows in her tone.

“You know what Liz said?” Kaylee’s voice deepens with amusement, because she still can’t believe it. “You were some sort of criminal in that world and I know I was a detective. Yet, somehow it worked.” Her head shakes and she gives a soft huffed chuckle. “I think about them and wonder what their life is like. Wonder if they are living the American dream in a world that accepts us and what we are, while we’re…” She looks around their quiet shelter. “Still fighting for our freedoms.” It was a sharp contrast between one world and the next. Still they found each other in both.

Quiet for a moment, she huddles into that little bit of jacket to savor the warmth. Thankful for it and him. Kaylee finally adds, “Maybe one day we will get our own home, too. Doesn’t even have to be a big one.” She starts to sound tired again, voice drowsy. “Just something we can call ours.”

She can't see his smile for the initial tease hidden by the dark. Luther's fingers find her hair just at the roots near her temple, rubbing gently as though the motion might be a soothing gesture both for him and her. The smile fades a touch when she answers his question with her remark about choice, the rub pausing as he does think about it. Her choice to remain with him, he takes it in as almost a literal life-long commitment. That it spans multiple timelines deepens the bond.

"Some sort of criminal?" The man doesn't sound offended as much as reminded of events that have led up to this point. And the notion of Kaylee as a detective, then being together in another universe, garners a low chuckle from the man, too. "We're just a couple'a living examples of the phrase 'opposites attract', aren't we?" And attracted, he is. When she starts to sound tired again, the chatter from the man fades off to the calm, quiet sounds of the night.

Her last words of getting a home of their own linger in his thoughts as they drift off with the rare sense of hope and even rarer sense of peace.

Sumter Home

Once the woman falls into a fitful sleep, Kaylee is returned to her own reality… she doubted there would be more. At least not tonight.

Shaky fingers wipe fiercely at the tears, Kaylee was a bit of an emotional sap and the tenderness of that moment… the way he treated her, just like the other one married to her in another reality… It was touching and sweet.

And the worst part was she felt jealous, but she didn’t know why. Joseph was a wonderful and loving man. They had been through so much together and even though he was content to be just a dad, he still supported her own choices. She didn’t deserve a man like him. Annoyed with her own mixed emotions, Kaylee lets out a soft sound of frustration and shakes her head as if she could rid herself of the conflict in her heart.

Pulling herself up to stand, Kaylee turns to make the short trip back to the house. She had to wonder to herself though, were her and Luther truly opposites? She always saw her and Joseph as that; but, something about Luther. He was the complete opposite of the man she married. And, she was drawn to both. Which gets a mental snort of annoyance from the darkness.

“Yes, we all know how you feel about Joseph,” she sighs out the words with a boredom of someone who has heard it over and over again.

Looking up at the house, she can see Joseph’s silhouette through the window. It urges her to pick up her pace and hurry towards the house. He was probably getting things ready so they could watch that ridiculous show River Styx. It was like watching a trainwreck, but it was their weekly ritual and they would talk about how much the BBC got wrong and what truth there was.They had lived a lot of it after all.

However, as her hand reaches for the doorknob, the world darkens around her again, sending alarm through her.

Oh no.

ElseWorld… Washington, D.C.

A single desk lamp casts orange light across the ornate hand carved desk that was probably older than her and her husband’s ages combined a few times. Unlike the desk, the laptop on it is one of the newer models. The suddenly return of brightness has the Vice President squinting. A hand reaches out and presses the lid shut on the speech she was working on.


Fingers and thumb of one hand press against her eyes waiting for the after image to fade. “You see that one?” Kaylee asks softly, to the man behind her, like it isn’t their first time. “Pretty sure they were talking about us, which means Liz made it to the next world and has successfully moved on to another one.” Hand dropping, she turns to look at the silhouette of her husband in the doorway. There is a soft, loving smile for the man she married.

“I envy them, life is so simple for them right now. Both realities really.” Turning back to the laptop, Kaylee opens it slowly, the screen brightening with the speech, eyes skimming over the words. “I miss the simpler times, Luther. I know we’re doing good, but… I’m with her. I just want a place just for us. It doesn’t have to be big. Just… ours. Where we don’t have to miss all of Josephine’s firsts.” One of her biggest guilts, the screen blurs a bit. “Watch her grow up out of the spotlight.”

A long, low sigh of breath exhales out of Luther as he regains his senses. His lean against the doorway isn't entirely deliberate; he's grateful the short peek of alternate selves is just that - short. Shoulders roll under his shirt, and he wets his lips at the faint taste of whiskey oddly mixed with old granola fading. He doesn't have to answer. She knows, just from Luther's expression when he steps through the doorway and into the orange light of the lamp.


"I'm worried about them," Luther confesses instead, coming to a stop by her side and looking down to the screen as well, even though he doesn't read the words on it. His thoughts are elsewhere, elseworld, on other selves. "And I know. But there's nothing we can do about it from here. I'm not sure, though, I'd call their lives simpler by any means."

What the public doesn't know about alternate timelines, though, they've been finding out about as well. Lives all over have grown complicated. Luther slips a glance to the speech on the screen, then to the face of the woman studying it. The bit of extra shine in her eyes reflecting the light has him reaching a hand over, fingers brushing the top of her cheek. "It's okay. Jo's got all the best around her," he reassures her. A wry smile quirks at the edge of his mouth as he adds a thought, "Plus, you know with your father and brother, there's no way we'd manage to have simpler times now."

There is a following thought that has him tilting her face up and him bending down, bringing his lips to meet hers. A light kiss, affectionate and yet drawn away before things get complicated behind it. "But? I'll see what I can do about that place you want," he utters in a softer rumble. One last brush of her cheek, and he lets go, turning to head off. "Come to bed when you're ready."

”Soon,” Kaylee promises softly, hand reaching to grab his briefly as he pulls away. Though she lets his fingers slide from her own, watching his retreat with a wistful expression.

A soft sigh escapes her when he slides from view and Kaylee refocuses on the laptop. “I worry too,” comments to no one after a few moment of staring at the screen. A glance goes to the picture of her family on the corner of the desk, “But, clearly, we are better when we are together than when apart.”

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