Learn To Enjoy The Little Things


vf_kaylee_icon3.gif wf_luther_icon.gif

Scene Title Learn To Enjoy The Little Things
Synopsis No one deserves to be alone on Christmas Day.
Date December 25, 2017


The name is softly hissed outside the man’s tent so it doesn't wake others in their little traveling troupe. The world is showing that first sign of waking. Breath plume white before her as she calls his name, the fact she is up this early during the winter is insane. Huddled in her hoodie and pilfered army camo jacket, her arms are curled around herself in an attempt to stay warm. Ducking her face into the pile of the knit scarf around her neck, she finds herself missing the winters in a warm apartment. Shifting foot to foot, the fresh blanket of snow crunches under her booted feet. He will probably growl at her for this intrusion this early in the morning, but… she had a purpose.

Speaking of Luther…

For a man who is rumored to never sleep, it was awfully quiet in his tent and the hum of his mind wasn’t as active. Feeling a touch of mischief, Kaylee Thatcher looks around her to make sure no one sees what she does next.

Fingers catch at the flap of Luther’s tent and tugs it aside just enough to take a peek inside. The dark and silence filling the tent is convincing enough, but it’s the steady rhythm of the man’s breathing that seals it. Luther Bellamy was fast asleep. Another myth about the Beast of the Resistance is completely busted. Letting the flap drop again, her expression is one of amusement. The man has been such a fascinating puzzle, surrounded by a thick cloud of rumors, and the telepath was enjoying uncovering the big picture one piece at a time. Dispelling the myths and rumors one at a time to uncover the true nature of the man behind the mask.

Kaylee clears her throat and calls a little louder “Luther. You awake?”

He's large for the size of the tent, which itself is not fancy to-do camping gear but a quickly assembled or disassmbled affair. The blankets piled atop the sleeping man disguise much of the rest of his form. But he's still and only the quiet sound of steady breathing accompanies her peek within.

The mind inside the tent startles awake at her second attempt, abruptly and immediately annoyed at the disturbance. But with it comes a wariness in the beats of silence following. The experienced would know he's reached for a weapon out of caution. Like a bear emerging from his cave, Luther huffs and grunts and growls as he shuffles around inside to ultimately emerge with a throw of the flap outwards. If she's not careful, she'll likely get smacked by oiled canvas.

The tent flap displaces a lock of hair, but for the most part is misses the woman completely. What greets him on the other side is darkness and a brightly smiling telepath; who should not be that awake at that time of the morning. “Come on, grumpy bear. Get your stuff,” Kaylee quips, voice kept low not to wake anyone. Tugging the strap of her rifle and pack higher on her shoulder, it shows she’s already got her own stuff. “I want to show you somethin’.” There is a touch of mischief when she says that, one corner of her mouth tugging up at the corner.

Taking a step backwards, the telepath motions for him to follow. “But we gotta hurry. So come on.”

Kaylee will wait — a bit impatiently — for him get his stuff, before she leads him out of camp. Her path taking them towards the silhouetted shapes of dilapidated and bombed out buildings near where they are currently situated.

Still blinking rather blearily, Luther levels a look at the telepath that normally would send some members of the group skittering away. It’s not uncommon that he’s seen drinking the moonshine-level alcohol that comes from his and Lynette’s distillery setup in the camp kitchen, resulting in some terrible hangovers. If one were to stop drinking it, anyway. The side effect of that high concentration of alcohol is that it does cause lingering drunkenness, as Kaylee has known others to have experienced the similar situation as with Isabelle’s bar back in the Hub times.

But. Upon seeing Kaylee standing there, her rifle and pack all readied and waiting for him, the man narrows his gaze, evaluating her appearance and searching for physical clues of motives. His retreat into his tent sees him gathering merely a rifle, an empty sack (that he emptied his meager possessions out of) and his coat. Because the snow is cold.

She’ll notice, though, he doesn’t make any complaint as he’s lead on. There is a curiosity slipped behind the man’s frowning features, one hidden by hooded eyes. “Where ‘re we going?” Luther finally asks after some distance. “Mess is back the other way.”

Having had to deal with the likes of Kain, the looks, the sneers, and the snippy comments never seem to phase her, he often gets an amused and knowing look. Like she knows something he doesn’t know about himself. Maybe she does or maybe she doesn’t. Either way, his question receives that look cast over her shoulder, “That is cause we’re not going to mess. We do that first, we’ll miss it.”

There is a pause as she looks around, he can hear her murmuring to herself when he gets close. “No. Pretty sure it is this way.” A look up one way and then the other. “No, I’m telling you. It is definitely this one.” It’s like she’s having a conversation with someone that isn’t even there. He’s witnessed it before, on other runs.

She could simply be one of those folks that talk to themselves.

Mind made up, fingers snag his jacket sleeve and pull him into one of the buildings. It’s tall, with one side crumbled away from a bombing. In fact, they have to climb over some of the debris. “I found this place when I had some free time.” Once inside, he’ll be forced to travel up several stories before the telepath throws open the door to what use to be an office. The outer wall has been blown out, allowing unrestricted view of the world beyond and it likes like possibly the ocean. The bite of the morning chill is harsher up here. Snow blankets part of the floor. Untouched. “Isn't snow just beautiful?” Boots crunch as she moves to the edge of the crumbling floor. The sky is lightning to the east… the glimmering tells Luther's there is water definitely out there.

“Good. We made it in time.”

Kaylee works to brush snow off the top of a generic metal and wood desk. A blanket… her own blanket is set on the desk before she moves sits on it, folding legs in front of her. Pack clutched to her she motions him to sit, the desk is big enough for them both to sit. “Come watch the sunrise with me.” She says softly, brows lift a bit questioning if he will. “You spend so much time working to protect and take care of everyone else in the Resistance… you need to take a moment to yourself and enjoy the little things the world offers.”

Lifting up the pack a bit, she adds brightly, “I even brought our breakfast with me, so that we wouldn't miss out.” Opening the pack to show him the contents. Tupperware containers with oatmeal and fruits; two of everything. Plus, wrapped bread and cheeses to share. It would be too much food for most, but the two of them were known to eat rather healthily. “And you do not want to know the trading I had to do to get this..” She pulls out a thermos and offers it to him, “Coffee. I hope you are okay with a lot of cream and sugar cause that's how I drink it.”

Her plan unfolded, Kaylee waits to see what the man would do.

Luther sounds dissatisfied by the notion that they're not going to the mess tent. The man's routine has been disrupted plenty of times before, but the comfort of food and drink is one he happens to cling to. He really has little else. As such, he shifts demeanor as they slip further out from the safety of the camp perimeter and he observes her murmuring with an arch of his brow.

He's not commented though, leaving it as one of those quirks. Some people do talk to themselves. Like Woods.

In the middle of comparisons between the telepath and the other man, Luther blinks as he's tugged along. Grey eyes sweep around, evaluating the bombed building as they move, caution covering his expression and his ability reaches out for any lurking robots. There aren't any, that he can sense. Luther relaxes just a little.

Once they've climbed up the flights, and stepped into the exposed office, Luther furrows his brow at the snow, then at Kaylee for her question. "Sure," he concedes after a silent pause. "'Til it gets into your boots or you gotta trudge through it." Which they did for a bit. As he's bid to come watch the sunrise with her, Luther hesitates, brow furrowed. He looks as if he's going to speak a protest, but her next words quiet him. He listens, watching as her hands reach into the pack and pull out the food she's brought with her.

It's a lot of food, and the sort that doesn't come from a can or has to be scarfed down without looking at it or tasting it. Though Luther's stern expression doesn't soften too much, it tints with a different tone. Not just hunger, but wonder. Slowly, he steps over and though at first he merely stands besides the desk, looming over her and the offering, eventually he leans down into a seat along its corner. Some space still separates them, but they're close enough that it's easier to see that he's settled into a more neutral look.

"Is that a 'you don't want to know but you should', or 'you don't want to know so don't ask'," he says, gaze turned towards the brightening eastern sky. The hidden question of why all this goes uncommented upon.

“More a… it’s a long story with doing favors for multiple people.” Kaylee comments with a chuckle, thought her nose scrunches a bit, “Within reason, I mean… that Cooper guy, I get the impression he thinks mostly with his—” trailing trails off as she realizes where she is going. Clearing her throat, Kaylee looks aside, away from Luther towards something(?) else. “Uh.. anyhow, I don’t use sex for bartering, either way. His price kept tipping that direction.”

Busying herself with pulling containers from her pack, Kaylee offers him one of the oatmeals. It wasn’t hot, but it was at least warm enough to still be good. “I got good at bartering in the Hub, back in my world.” He’s offered a spoon next.”Since daddy declared I wasn’t allowed outside for my own protection, I had to be creative to get things I needed. Everyone has something they need, a vice they can be bribed with. My buddy, Kain, taught me that.” There is a coyness when she hands him the container of sliced fruit, giving the impression she might know Luther’s vice.

To be honest it’s not hard to figure out.

“Home is where I also learned that, you never appreciate something until you can’t have it.” Everything else is set on the desk between them, for easy reach, before the pack is dropped on the snowy ground.

Kaylee gives a firm nod towards the sky which is starting to turns gold towards the curve of the earth, rays of light turning wisps of clouds gold and red, hinting towards the suns eventual arrival. “Take that,” the telepath’s words seem to become a little more subdued. ”I spent years underground. Just wanting desperately for just a glimpse of the sky.” The woman goes quiet then with her own oatmeal wrapped in her hands, lost in the past of what she left behind. Kaylee doesn’t even realize she’s done it, the brightness of her mood sliding away into something more solemn and maybe even a little sad.

Luther does his best not to comment about Cooper outside of a brief wrinkling of his nose. He knows exactly where the trail heads for that one, and definitely veers off the path with a short snort and a tilt of his head as he eyes the telepath’s statement. “Oldest profession in the world,” is his note, lacking in judgment for it from his part. It’s neither here nor there for him to say at this point in society’s ruins. And he’s not one to say what Cooper wants to try and bargain with at the other man’s peril. Surely, he may have almost made the mistake of trying that with Lynette once and it didn’t go over well.

Still turned towards the landscape displayed through the open, crumbled office wall, he watches out of the corner of his eye as the containers of food come out. He takes the offered oatmeal, blinking at Kaylee as she goes on. Fingers clamp around the spoon, and he doesn’t exactly stand on ceremony. While he chews on the biggest scoop of oatmeal, he pauses mid-motion as she mentions vices. The container of fruit gets taken a little more carefully, examined with a lingering sense of appreciation for the juicy morsels.

At least he remembers to swallow before speaking more. “Your world,” he echoes of her words, but with the hollow tone of some skepticism lingering in the bottom, swimming through murky opinion. He turns to look towards the sunrise, too, but eventually turns back to the telepath when she goes quiet. “Who was your ‘daddy’ and why was he such a controlling jerkwad?” His question comes off with more growl than there ought to be, but she already knows that while Luther is tough, he generally gives people the space to do as they please. They’re adults, they can care for themselves. And if they can’t, they stay back with the others to care for things around the camp.

There is an actual short bark of laughter at the mention of the oldest profession, or so it seems. “Might work for some, but doing that as a telepath. No. Far too intimate…” Again she trails off and laughs. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why….” She presses hands to flushed cheeks, head shaking slowly at herself.

“Okay….Moving on,” Kaylee comments firmly, more for herself than anything.

My father…” The telepath says around a bite of her own oatmeal, nose wrinkling a bit at the speed that it is cooling off. However, she is not one to waste, so she continues to eat. “He- uh - Well, he was a bit like Eve, but his ability worked around information. He took that information and was able to calculate the future. He was fairly accurate with it.” Of course, he got it wrong sometimes. The spoon is waggled thoughtfully. “He kept saying that if I went out I'd get the virus and die. The most important thing to Edward Ray was his family. Which ended up meaning me stuck in the hub while my brother Richard got to go.” Shoulders lift a bit and drop again. “Dad wasn't wrong. Before we made the first jump, I did catch it.” A glance is cast Luther’s way, brows lifted a bit, because she - clearly - survived it.

“I’ll never forget when I snuck out finally, looking up.” Her eyes lift upward a bit, “I saw that blue sky and felt the breeze.” Kaylee give a content sigh. “Now I do this when I can, because who knows what tomorrow will be like.”

Reaching over, she taps his shoulder with her spoon, “Thank you for trusting me enough to come with me.” There is a soft smile. “Things like this are better with friends.”

Too intimate? Luther's thoughts cross and double back to some old memories, ones that make his already gruff expression darken as opposed to Kaylee's coloring cheeks. The man lifts a brow when she laughs, glances down to the oatmeal in the tupperware in his hand. The silence lends an awkwardness to the beats that follow, when they're both watching the sun rise and turn the sky into a dull blue blotched with the dirty brown-grey cloud cover that threatens more snow on the way.

His question of her father and the subsequent answer turn his attention much more fully upon her. Luther eats, listens, and looks surprised when she ultimately talks about a virus. The virus. A flicker of tension - fear - twitches on the man's working jawline, causing him to chew on another large mouthful of the oatmeal. She can see by his expression, feel in his thought pattern, the questions that arise. Who is, was, Edward Ray? So her name is Kaylee Ray? And a brother, Richard Ray? What happened to the rest of them? Probably dead. And the jumping timelines thing Eve talked about… The man processes, but for him it doesn't feel real. How could it possibly? The notion that she's from an entirely other world is already far out there. Much farther than he currently cares to ponder.

But, she strikes on a sentiment that he does relate to, ultimately, when she remarks about looking at the sky and feeling the breeze. About feeling the moment, because 'who knows what tomorrow will be like'. Luther looks up too, but doesn't quite see the beauty so much as think on their lot in the world at present. "The people who live in the Dome," the man's voice pitches low, quiet, contemplative. "don't see the same sky." It's an unpleasant thought, brushed aside by the tap on his shoulder which turns his focus back to the woman seated next to him.

She says the F word. Luther's expression shifts again to a frown, sets down the meal and he pushes back up to a stand. A hand moves to his rifle, the cold metal of the gun providing the feeling of comfort. What she sees is a cold front from the man, but his inner thoughts are in turmoil. No, no they're not friends. Can't be. She's gotten too close. She was talking about vices. And now she's talking about trust… Something's not right. Maybe she's a spy?! It all happens in the brief, tense beats.

Luther swings his rifle up, pointing the barrel at her, finger crooked around the trigger guard. Grey eyes stare hard at the telepath, a flicker of confusion mixed in with the glare. "Who are you?" he demands, the words come tightly through gritted teeth.

Interesting fact about telepaths….

She knows what he’s going to do, before he even moves, but Kaylee doesn’t move and lets him do it. Eyes focus on the end of the barrel pointed at her, the expression on her face is unreadable. As she looks at it, she takes another bite of her oatmeal. Chewing at it, she looks up at him with an arched brow. “Really?” She asks softly.

Her attention turns back to the sunrise, nodding towards it. “You’re going to miss it and your food is getting cold.” Spoon scrapes against the side of the dish not watching to spare anything. “I haven’t changed from the person you rescued.”

Her head ticks to the side abit as if she was hearing something. “I’ve got this,” she hisses under her breath. The container in her hand lowers her to lap, eyes on it. “I’m exactly who I said I am. My name is Kaylee. If you need to know, Kaylee Thatcher. My mom raised me alone and until the virus hit in my world, I didn’t know my dad up until then. He kept me captive for ‘my own good’ until Liz and Magnes showed up and showed us we could get out of that place.” Fingers lift and trace down the scar on the side of her face. “With the Vanguard picking us off one by one we made the jump into a world that… was pretty much perfect.”

There is a small huff of amusement and a glance to that space beside her again, “Well, perfect on the surface. So we had to jump again and ended up here. Which is a lot like home, but with robots and less dying from getting sick.”

Blue eyes lift to definitely meet his, her chin lifting a bit. “We’ve been working together all this time and now, you decide you’re not going to trust me, because I wanted to share something special and personal to myself?” For once, Kaylee was doing things the hard way and clearly failing at this making friends and impressing guys things. Regret bleeds into her expression, eyes studying his face. “What has this world done to you? All these rumors, but… I think there is a lot more to you then what they say.”

Attention focuses on the rifle pointed at her and she suddenly looks sad. “I know what is like to be judged like that. I’m a telepath after all. Not many people trust telepaths.” Finally, she turns back to the sunrise. There might be a glimmer of tears in her eyes when she turns away to watch what’s happening out there. She might be more terrified than she lets on.

“If you’re going to shoot me, can you at least wait till after the sunrises?”

As tumultuous as the man's thoughts might be at present, Luther presents a flat, almost distanced look. The kind that a feral animal that feels backed into a corner shows, the whites of his eyes bright against the dark of his expression. The gun barrel doesn't waver even as she goes back to eating, only his eyes, dipping to the food he's left on the desk, then back up to her face.

Though he listens, a lot of what she says doesn't entirely sink in. He sees the shift of her eyes, hard stare meeting regretful look, and Luther growls out with a pressed and uncomfortable tone. "I don't care what they say. They can talk if they want." The man's eyes narrow further as he reckons with the statement that not many people trust telepaths. Yet, he'd been dragging her out on supply runs for weeks now, implicitly trusting his own instincts about the travelers and the people he's met along the way. There wasn't a logic to it, as far as Luther was concerned, just a sense of things.

A sense that was now out of whack.

His rifle muzzle jerks up again at her request, holds, then eventually drops down to his side. He doesn't need the gun, necessarily. In a pinch, he still has his power he could draw on. Little does he know what she could do to him. Or, perhaps he does know and that has him thinking too. If she had wanted, she could have… but Kaylee hasn't lifted a finger - physical or mental - against him or anybody in the camp.

"So you bring me out here, fancy eats and all," he rumbles out as if to try and force a logic to her actions, squeeze out an ulterior motive. "To look at the sunrise? Because… we’re…” But try as he does, the statement doesn’t complete. Luther blows out a rough exhale and he plops back onto the desk corner, turning his gaze upon her in a sidelong stare. More silence passes, and he reaches a hand for the abandoned oatmeal.

“Mmm,” Kaylee manages as a confirmation what he is trying to say, though she doesn’t fill in the blanks. Spoon in her mouth, Kaylee bobs her head in an affirmative. Popping the eating utensil out of her mouth she adds, “And it’s Christmas morning.” She probably should have mentioned that before.

The first sliver of sunlight starts to peak over the water casting light across the surface making it glitter. There is a small smile are she watches. “No one should be alone on Christmas morning. Even people like us.”

Empty oatmeal container set aside, Kaylee picks up the one containing her share of sliced fruit. Popping it open, she takes a moment to savor the smell of fresh fruit. “It’s been awhile, since I had oranges. Seems like apples are plentiful though. Not a huge fan of them,” She says plucking a slice of red apple from the bunch, “But better than granola bars all the time, like back home.”

A bite is taken of the slice and she turns rather thoughtful. “Know what I really miss?” She glances at Luther out of the corner of her eye. “Pizza,” Kaylee states with a knowing look. “Not just any… Meat lover’s pizza.” The other half of the slice is popped into her mouth. “No. Wait. A supreme.” Cause veggies are important. “And milkshakes. I would kill for a milkshake.” Not literally.


Luther reacts to the news that it’s Christmas morning with a low growl, not aimed at her but carrying the feeling of old Ebenezer. Rather than comment further, he buries his mixed feelings via the spoon in oatmeal, shoveling the cooled lumps into his mouth to occupy it. But it’s too late, given the effect of the holiday mention sets him off thinking. A feeling of guilt weighs down inwardly, and he casts his gaze towards the light breaking over the horizon.

The sound of the container opening and the scent of fresh cut fruit shifts his attention over, and then she has to go and mention that. Luther gets a real pained look in his features and she knows she got him good with that one. Pizza. The memory of those deliciously warm, cheesy slices. “I… kinda miss hot dogs.” He’s slow to confess, but eventually does once he’s polished off the serving of oatmeal. Nothing goes to waste as he scrapes with the spoon, then with his finger for the remaining bits. “There was a cart, near where I worked. In Midtown. Ate there so much, guy gave all of us a two-for-one deal to sell off the day’s dogs.”

Words drop off as Luther realizes the memory takes a sharp downward turn as far as the mood of the moment. But eventually he sets the empty oatmeal box down, following it with a sling of the strap to his rifle over his head to set the gun against the side of the office desk. It’s still within grabbing range, but he appears comfortable enough to leave the firearm alone. The man opens his given container of fruit too, looking down into it.

“What flavor?”

Of milkshake, that is, even though he doesn’t specify that’s what he’s referring to.

There is a little smile when he starts talking about hot dogs, though Kaylee keeps her head down enough that he can’t see it. It felt like a win to get him talking about something as simple as food. So she takes advantage of that little breakthrough and leans towards him, just so she can whisper, “Chili dogs.” In solidarity about hotdogs.

“There was a place near the university campus, before the world went to shit, that made the best chili dogs. Not just that…vanilla milkshakes.” Digging a slice of orange out of the container, she works at digging the seeds out of it as she talks. “I love a good vanilla shake. Simple, but delicious.” Satisfied all seeds are gone the slice is eaten.

“Mom and pop restaurants were the best finds, but I do miss my Granny’s fried chicken,” Kaylee has a bit of a wistful smile. A little sad, but almost 10 years later the pain from all those losses had eased some. “She was an amazing cook. You really can't beat home cooking.” A pained look flickers across her features. “Not that I am any good at cooking. My culinary skills are eating out or microwaving my food.”

A questioning brow ticks up as Kaylee turns her attention to him and asks, “What about you? Any good at cooking?”

Chili dogs. Just goes to show Luther’s hearing is pretty sharp still when he hears the first whisper. He can feel his stomach - or rather, his mind making his stomach - ripple with a pang of longing. He does miss a good hotdog something fierce. The man doesn’t fuss over his fruit the same way, popping a couple of slices of orange into his mouth and chewing on the whole thing. Seeds included. Not until he looks over to see that she’s picked out the seeds that he seems to remember some decorum, and swallows down the slice.

“Probably still got all that in the Bubble,” Luther notes about shakes and fried chicken as he continues to look towards the rising sun. Eyes squinted against the light, he meditates upon the light and the telepath’s words. Her voice. His answer to her question comes in late reaction. “Used to be decent enough. Eggs and stuff, for the k—” His tongue catches as his mind does. The talk about family acts like a sharp prod in his back and he straightens considerably. Luther turns back to eye Kaylee, then looks away and down to the loaf of bread and cheese. And the thermos of coffee.

He reaches for the items, but his hand hesitates, hovers, over the coffee. “Were you always living underground?” He finally grasps the thermos, twisting it open, pouring a decent cup and taking a long sniff of its aromatic contents. The man exhales slowly, like the scent of it might be a vice in and of itself. He sets the cap-cup down within her reach.

Nose wrinkles at the mention of the dome. “Give up my freedom, my right to have kids one day, and ability just for junk food?” Kaylee asks blandly, looking over at Luther with an arched brow. Picking up the bread unwrapping it slowly. “No. Thank. You.”

Laying the cloth in her lap, the telepath grasps the hand size round loaf of homemade bread and tearing it apart. “I’ll happily eat granola bars for the rest of my life. Got to draw the line somewhere.” Offering him the larger half, Kaylee gives him a matter of fact look. “Besides, makes you appreciate a meal like this.”

When Luther seems to stumble over his words, Kaylee doesn't pressure him to continue. What flashes through his head is enough to stay her tongue, letting it go.

“Thank you” is murmured when the cup is set within her reach. Pulling her gloves off, pink tipped fingers are wrapped around the cup once she picks it up. Cradling it in her hands, the telepath seems to enjoy the radiant warmth of the cup, before taking a sip. There is a small wrinkle of her nose at the taste, but she doesn't complain.

In fact, she rarely complains.

Finally, ready to speak about home, she sets the cup between then again and works her gloves on again. “For a few years. According to dad it was the best place to survive. We had it pretty well fortified, with procedures in place. People had jobs… Scavengers were required to be quarantined for the length of time, when they came back from a trip. They wait for the time it takes for illness to set in. No illness you were let in.” Here her voice lowers, a haunted look settles into her expression. “Show any sign of Illness you were banished to die alone.” By the sound of it, many people were turned out. “Negation was necessary to keep it at bay, too.”

There is a slow sigh from the telepath. “Only abilities like my brother Richard’s… couldn't get it. Like when he turned into literal shadow. Was always kind of jealous about that. I had to negate and it was… lonely.”

Realizing she is rambling, Kaylee shuts up and turns her attention to cutting the small chunk of cheese in half with one of her knives. Again he is given the bigger half.

Luther's brows lift right back at her as she lists off the rights and freedoms and luxuries she would give up to live in the Dome. And that one of those things doesn't match with the other two. Junk food, that is. Although it's arguable that junk food is more important than…

He glances down to the offered half of the loaf, reaching over to take the piece in exchange for the coffee. This time, though, Luther appears more subdued about partaking. Her words about appreciating the meal have sunken in. But besides that, he's listening to her talk about her original world and time, eyes narrowing when she describes the nature of their procedures, of the illness that destroyed the world. "We have to be careful out here too," he remarks to that, "people getting sick or hurt ain't good for the group. Aren't that many doctors who want to rough it out here." Or really that many doctors who are still alive, probably. He glances back over to her though, checking her over as he notes, "But we don't toss you out either." There's barely enough of the Resistance to go around as is.

The confession of her life being "lonely" gets a slow, singular nod of empathy as he remembers his own existence not that long ago. He doesn't press either, assuming from the way she speaks of her brother in past tense that the fate that befell him wasn't good. Little does he know.

Looking down to the half loaf in his hands and then the offered chunk of cheese, Luther takes both and takes a moment to consider. After a pause, he reaches across to the knife she'd used, cutting a slightly larger chunk off. His attention turns on the task he's set upon, as he uses his fingers to split the larger hunk of bread open and stuffs the cheese into it. The bread loaf is closed around it. Hands press together, holding the loaf closed and then she'll sense his focus shift away from her. Eventually, she'll smell it. The bread, slowly but surely heated - toasted - and the cheese inside melts. After a minute or so, Luther inhales a longer breath and exhales, releasing his ability back to its neutral state. His hands rip the bread loaf and pull, splitting the piece in two with a gooey cheesey center. And then he turns one half over, holding it out to Kaylee.

“As bad as it sounds, it was necessary, since there was no cure,” Kaylee explains, though she isn’t happy about it, a glance going to the space next to her as if she is telling this to more than him. “It was highly contagious and an extremely painful way to die, especially for those without abilities. People like you and I died of normal flu like symptoms… but them.” Kaylee gives a shudder at the memories. There is no offer of details because they are eating, but she does offer, “It’s the closest thing to zombies you’ll ever see. It is a horrible, horrible of a way to die.”

Any other thoughts are dashed aside as he starts working, Kaylee’s curiosity gets the better of her and she watches him with a slight tip of her head. The telepath doesn’t even hide her fascination with what he’s doing. Then she smells the cooking bread and she sits up a little straighter.

She is after all, just as motivated by food as he is.

When he offers her part of the sandwich she hungrily reaches for it, but pauses short of actually taking it. There is a glance up to meet his eyes as if in a way asking permission before gently taking it from his hand, more subdued in her action. There is a shyness in the smile she gives him and the soft “Thank you.” she murmurs.

He gets the satisfaction of hearing that little sound of pleasure when she bites into it. “Oh my…” She doesn’t finish that, taking another bite. “It’s like you’re a human griddle. How do you do that? I thought you could only suck energy and explode things.” She blurts out the question without thinking, regretting it immediately. Her head ducks down and takes a bit of the grilled cheese, trying to curb her enthusiasm.

Holding out the half sandwich for her, Luther blinks at her hesitation and pushes it a little more towards her hand in silent insistence. His arched brow lifts slightly as she takes the first bite, and the little pleasured sound that escapes. A hint of amusement, and yes, satisfaction, flits over his features as he turns to take a bite out of his bit. A little bit of Christmas-y cheer hides in his chewing. And much better topic than zombies and flu and death, even though he’s still not quite acknowledging this other timeline at the moment.

At this moment, there is a delicious cheese sandwich to be devoured.

“Most of the time, I do,” Luther says around a mouthful of bread. The human griddle swallows the first bite, nodding in the direction of the rising sun. “If there’s a source of energy around, I could take it. Hold it a while. Let it go a different way: fire, light, electricity, exploding things. Read a book about these superpowers before. And some physics textbooks.” He rolls his shoulders, a short shrug dismissing the oddness of reading material choices. The entertainment of the Wasteland makes for interesting reads. “Got the idea to try different things after that, like… Microwaving. Figured, if it’s all energy, it’s handy to keep food warm too.” And not want for a kitchen stove, as it were.

But at another glance away, back to the sun, Luther then looks down to the sandwich and a mixture of thoughts slip around. Why did he feel the need to explain? And had he said too much? That little niggling feeling of misgivings about revealing too much twitches mentally. Luther outwardly clears his throat and goes for the coffee. “Don’t know how it all works though,” he adds quickly. “Only about trusting your instincts.”

“I don’t think many of us really understand how it works,” Kaylee offers up in agreement, after a big bite of her own sandwich. “I couldn’t really tell you how my ability messes with people’s heads, but it does. It’s like… I dunno… a second limb?”

Popping that last piece of grilled cheese in her mouth, she watches the world wake, listens to the birds starting their songs even here in the middle of winter. “Still, that is an awesome ability,” she says, offering him a brighter smile. “Far more useful in this place.” Is that a hint a jealousy? Maybe. “What I’ve seen has been pretty… wow. And that is only on humans.”

Plucking out another slice of apple, she studies it with a small frown. There is a glance to the side of her, before she looks at Luther. “Can I tell you something?” Speaking of feeling the need to tell things and explain them. There is a touch of nervousness to her. “I dunno if you’ll believe me, but…” Kaylee starts to say more, but something seems to stop her. Her head shifts ever so slightly as if she is listening to someone.

Uncertainty flickers over her features, furrowing her brow a bit… finally, there is a soft sigh and Kaylee shakes her head a bit, “Know what… actually, should probably get back, before people start to wonder.” Unwinding her legs, she slides off the desk. “Keep the thermos. My present to you.” The shift in her personality is a bit jarring, almost as if her mood sank suddenly.

Luther narrows his gaze slightly at Kaylee, her compliments to his ability being taken in much like the energy his power naturally draws upon, absorbed and stored away to be manipulated with later. For now, he makes a noncommital noise to dismiss it and turns it around with a shrug. “Yours too.” Her telepathy, that is, being useful. “Saved us a lot of bullets and bandages already. That’s more useful than…”

His words trail off as he spots her frown, her nervousness. Eyes ever watching her actions, studying the way she appears to be listening to someone or something, Luther looks puzzled as she doesn’t finish her thought. His own brow furrows, and the man pushes up to his feet too shortly after her. He doesn’t move to pack up immediately, though, instead stepping around so predict her path of retreat and step in the way.

“What?” he utters, his tone gruff and regaining thin lines of tension as his posture reads with the mood. “You went through all this trouble to tell me something? Well? What is it?” The backstop thought that crosses underneath and behind his tone hints at nebulous concerns for what people will start to wonder. As the sun rises, the camp is likely to begin waking any minute now if they’re not already.

Pack snagged and thrown up on Kaylee’s shoulder as she is prepared to leave. Turning around, she is brought up short by Luther standing in her path. Her head tilts up to look at him, meeting his eyes for the briefest moment. Then her eyes flick away, with a touch of guilt.


In her attempt to preserve the moment, she made it worse. “I know.” Kaylee huffs out to no one at all. “I just — “ There is a sigh and she backs up to sit on the desk again, perched at the edge. “You remember the day you and the others rescued me from that harvester?” She lets the pack slide off her shoulder and drop back to the ground. “I had an accident with my ability.”

“Yes, I’m calling it an accident,” Kaylee hissing unthinking at the space next to her, blue eyes glaring at something… someone(?)… next to her.. “Look. I didn’t plan to — ” Realizing what she’s doing the telepath buries her face in her hands. “Fuck. The signal words is muffled against her gloves.

It was too late now.

There may be the first hint of tears in her eyes, when her hands drop away. “I know how you all look at Woods… So I haven’t told anyone, but during the jump into this word, a man named Tyler Case was shot when he was helping us. I tried to ease his pain, but he was yanked away from me.” Unable to look at Luther, she looks past him and motions to her own head. “I ended up pulling his mind into my own.”

There is a soft, sad chuckle for something that Luther can’t hear, and another glance to that space beside her, “Yeah I know. I ended up saving your life, cause your body died from blood loss and trauma..” There is some relief in being able to speak directly to Tyler, rather than ignoring him when he pops in unexpectedly around others.

With a hard swallow, Kaylee turns back to Luther with eyes filled with anxiety, probably at the idea of how he will take it. “I know I sound crazy, but it’s true. I guess just like I can jump into your mind, I can pull people into mine,” she says kind of like ‘go figure. “I wanted you to know, cause—” Does she or doesn’t she say it?

“Cause you deserve to know.”’ A swing and an emotional miss by the telepath; unable to risk having her feelings stomped on. Or is she sure if she is really feeling anything.

Does he remember? "How could anyone forget," grumbles Luther, the everpresent curmudgeonly mixture of tone and shrugged shoulders. On one hand it really was like any other day of the Wasteland, but on the other, the event changed all their lives. But as Kaylee goes on, as tears spring up and she confesses the presence of another in her head, Luther leans his head down and stares at the telepath. He doesn't hear Tyler, but watching her interact with some invisible person is… curious at best. Crazy at worst. Luther has seen a lot of crazy since being dragged out of cave by a seer and her second-in-command.

Yet, the man doesn't seem phased. Not by Tyler's presence in Kaylee's mind, but by the description of her ability. "So you got an imaginary friend," he rumbles as he straightens, relaxes almost. That could have gone worse, though, still he asks, "Is he going to be a problem?" Luther's angled brows arch up, eyeing the telepath evaluatingly.

“He’s not imaginary.”

Kaylee’s tone is flat and filled with annoyance. “That is like saying I am making him up. I'm not making him up.” Standing up from the desk, the telepath is on the defensive. One hand clutching at the strap of her pack, knuckles white, she settles it a little more comfortable on her shoulder. “He is… I don’t know. Bodily challenged?” Eyes narrow a bit. “Phy-sically handicapped?” No… “He’s a hitchhiking ghhhh- disembodied mind.”

Clearly, Tyler is saying something, because Kaylee looks that direction again. A brow ticks up and she looks slightly amused. Suddenly, there is a choked sound from the woman. Was that a stifled laugh? A hand comes up to cover her mouth to cover a smile.

“And no,” Kaylee finally offers once she schools her expression. “He won’t be a problem, unless you keep insulting him. He has…” Lips press together against another chuckle. “A very strong opinion on that. Besides, have you noticed a problem before?” She leaves out the part of Tyler crunching apples in her ear at the worst time, since she had a very serious discussion with the dork about that. Plus, that wouldn’t help the impression of him not being imaginary.

At least she doesn’t seem angry anymore. There is a forced way that she doesn’t look in the direction that Tyler is supposedly.

Imaginary friend or not imaginary, the telepath's defensive and annoyed tones about the strange case of Tyler Case causes Luther to bristle back as he appears uncomfortable. He steps a half step back, yielding a slight bit of ground to her as he ponders. What is she saying? The man doesn't seem to truly understand the implications of Tyler being real, or denies it long enough that he decides he's not going to ruin the moment.

Even when Kaylee tries not to laugh at something amusing that Luther doesn't hear. And thinks maybe it's something he said.

Luther shakes his head in answer to not having noticed the problem. "No. But don't let 'him' become one," he forewarns. "Last thing we need is Funnyman to put you or the team in a bind." Then, he turns and moves back to the desk to gather up the remnants of the meal, and takes a long chug of the cooled down coffee from the thermos mug's cap. It gives him a chance to turn over the thoughts he has on the matter. If Tyler's real, but without a body, what happened with Woods? Are they in the same situation, Woods and Kaylee? It'll be something to consider for the future. Assess and deal with it.

Once things are packed up and shoved into available pockets or packs, he shoulders his things and nods at the telepath. "Let's head back," he rumbles after, including a somewhat indulging but still skeptical glance to the empty space beside Kaylee. "All of us."

Something about Luther’s reaction sobers Kaylee, the smile sliding away into a more thoughtful look. “Shut up,” she hisses to the man in her head. Once things have been moves off the blanket, Kaylee retrieves it and folds it to stuff back into her bag. All this is done quietly, with glances aside to the tall man.

“Yeah,” Kaylee agrees, moving to join him, but then stops to look back out at the scenery beyond. There is a small little smile, “We should be getting ready to go out anyhow, right? I heard supplies are running a little low in the kitchen.”

Reaching over, Kaylee touches his arm to get his attention, before looking at him. “I’m sorry. For… acting the way I did. This is just… all new to me. I’m still figuring it all out.” Dealing with the situation with Tyler would wear on anyone. But was that what she was talking about?

“Anyway…” Turning for the door, Kaylee pauses again with a squint at him. “Hey, you have a little…” she motions towards her own chin and then shakes her head, “Let me just…” Reaching up Kaylee brushes a bit of cheese off his chin. “There,” she says softly with a grin and turns to head out. “Come on, let’s see what we can gather up today. Maybe scrounge up a book that actually has a plot.” There is a shake of her head, clearly for all her protest, she did read Mean Heat. Clearly out of desperation.

“You said you wanted it next right?” she asks over her shoulder.

A singular grunt remarks upon the status of supplies in the kitchen. Supplies are always running low, especially when the travelers first appeared and put a strain on the rations. To counteract it, though, Luther and other teams have gone out more frequently. Which is why this 'Christmas breakfast' is all the more surprising to have had it, and he recognized the telepath's efforts. He glances down to her hand on his arm, then to her, and her apology earns her a puzzled look like he wasn't expecting neither the touch nor the apology. He doesn't reply, but doesn't pull away. The end result is an awkward stillness to his silence, an uncertain tentative cast to his grey-eyed gaze as he stares at her.

In doing his final checks, Luther didn't notice the bit of leftover schmutz on his face either. So when she speaks again, and then actually reaches for his chin, he tilts it up and angled away at first. "What are y—" Luther's hands being full of rifle and thermos and pack, he endures the second touch with a squint of his eye at her. Oh. Cheese. Luther lifts his hand, rubbing a knuckle where she had brushed him and eyeing her as she turns to head out.

Luther lurches back into motion after a beat, stepping after her. "Well if it's not any good," he starts to say, but relents upon deciding that he's also just as desperate for something entertaining too. A title like Mean Heat could be all that bad, could it? Sounded exciting. "I mean, sure. Worst comes to worst, I'll use it for kindling." At that thought, Luther twitches his mouth corner up in a wry smirk and heads on after Kaylee, long stride catching him up to her side in short order as they head back to camp.

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