Perspective From A Paper Crane


des2_icon.gif luther2_icon.gif

Scene Title Perspective From A Paper Crane
Synopsis Luther and Des talk about a time, a place, and a task from long ago.
Date April 25, 2018

Raytech Housing, Des' Apartment

The door opens into a tiled entryway with a coat closet on the right and leads into the apartment at large. The living room lies ahead, with the kitchen around the corner to the left. The fridge and freezer and a glass-front cupboard that serves as Doctor Desjardins' liquor cabinet are on the short arm of the L, with the stove, oven, dishwasher and other cabinetry on the long arm. Across from this is an island that separates the open kitchen from the living room.

The walls of the apartment are painted dove grey. A black upholstered sofa sits against the wall opposite the kitchen. There's a coffee table in front, where it's just as likely for it to be clear as it is to be covered in work-related files. On on end is a small table with a black and white photo of Isabella Sheridan in profile, her chin in her hand, looking over a report. It's one of the only personal touches in the place. Even the pale yellow throw pillows on the couch and the matching shag rug over the hardwood floor can't make it look less like a show model instead of someone's home.

There's two doors further down from the sofa. One leads to a half bath and the other leads to the bedroom. The bed is an excessively soft queen sized pillow-top with more pillows than are strictly necessary for any one person. The master bath lies beyond. The waterfall shower and the deep tub are her favorite features about the apartment. The master suite is truly the Nightingale's nest.

Raytech's Security Chief has been industrious to say the least of his activities. Especially when a power outage, followed by the appearance of a friend to the company's employees showing up with gunshots at their doorstep, sent the security team into a whirl. But for those who have seen him around in the building since before their official opening, that's been Luther's way of things. There's not been a want for work ever since the man returned from the side trip upstate. One of those things that has been nagging at the back of his mind, a personal running to-do list, has been something that required less hammering, but perhaps no less amount of deconstruction.

Which is why Luther Bellamy shows up not at the laboratory work space of Desdemona Desjardins, but at the campus housing apartments where she's known to inhabit. A couple of polite knocks on the door, and the man steps back so his taller frame can be seen through peek holes. He's still in his suit of cool, dark navy and white shirt, though the top is unbuttoned now and the tie's been put away.

The door is opened in short order. The woman on the other side is who he expected to see, though the man is not who she expected. “Richard, what brings— Oh!” Des blushes faintly, the broad smile on her face falling away to something less assured. “Sorry, I don’t get many visitors. I assumed…”

Des steps back into the entryway and gestures into her apartment. “Please. Come in, Mister Bellamy.” Assuming he’ll take care of the door himself, she makes her way to the living area and snaps shut her laptop, setting it aside on the end table next to the couch instead. “Can I get you anything? Cocktail, water, soda, coffee?”

The initial mistaken comparison with Richard gets an uptick of Luther’s arched brow. Whether it’s an amused one or not is hard to tell with the man. At least at first. “I’ll take that as a compliment,” he remarks as he steps through, eyes sliding his gaze around the apartment. The offer for a drink gets a pause of decision, then, “Sure, whiskey? Get yourself one, too, so I don’t look like an alcoholic.” A low chuckle rumbles out of him as he finds a spot to linger in. He doesn’t sit.

“And please, Luther’s fine.”

While she’s getting drinks, he finds the photo of Isabelle Sheridan, reaching to pick it up and have a little closer look. The frame is still in his hand by the time she returns.

She returns with two glasses of whiskey. Since his hands are occupied at the moment, she sets them down on the coffee table on a pair of coasters. “She’s very photogenic when she’s not trying,” Des says of the photograph. “I couldn’t resist. She usually looks so serious. This was different. I think everyone needs a chance to see themselves the way others see them.” Even if that’s something she struggles with herself.

“What brings you by?” There’s a few reasons security might knock on her door, but it wouldn’t be for a social visit and asking for whiskey.

Her words turn his attention away from the picture, and he re-sets the frame where it previously was. A low thanks is spoken for the drink as he takes the glass up. And sits down, finally settling once she’s returned. “That,” he says in reference to her comment about Sheridan, “is sort of why I’m here tonight.” Though it sounds like he doesn’t mean to be cryptic, the moment feels awkward to say the least. Hesitant, even, uncharacteristic in the way that she knows Luther. The chief of security doesn’t normally present such a lack of certainty.

So when he takes a long drink of the whiskey, swallowing down some liquid courage, it is a little worrisome. “I have some questions,” he starts again, but finds himself failing to figure out where to begin with them, “that could come off kind of strange. But please, hear me out.” Finally he sighs, setting down the glass and reaching into a jacket pocket.

“I’m a scientist,” Des murmurs, a small smile on her lips. “I’m all about figuring out the strange.” She sits down on the opposite end of the couch and draws her knees up, letting her skirt drape over them, brushing against the tops of her bare feet.

The fact that he seems out of his element puts her a little ill at ease, but she does her best not to show it. A good hostess, she’s read, makes her guests feel at home and comfortable. “Take the time you need. I’m happy to answer whatever questions you have.”

What he takes from her positioning on the couch is a slight comfort. At least she’s not retreating. Not yet. What he takes from his jacket pocket is his wallet. A normal, brown leather affair, he extracts from it a folded piece of paper that has seen the wear and tear of age, and kept inside its folds a slightly yellowed photograph. It’s clear from the way he handles both items that he’s taken care not to damage them as much as possible. That he hesitates, just for a moment, brow furrowed as he first wordlessly offers them to her, tells of the reason of his discomfort.

“What does your science say about time travel?” he then asks quietly, eyes on the paper and photograph, then on her. “That question was more rhetorical than literal.” He gives her a moment to unfold the square paper that has bears the telltale mountain and valleys folds of a piece of origami. Written upon it, though, are the words: She will need your help. She has needed your help. And the accompanying photograph would be a familiar face, given that it’s her own. More blonde. Younger. Of a different past, perhaps of one she’d like to forget.

Luther reaches for his glass. “A man named Hiro gave that to me,” he says with the name sounding identical to the word ‘hero’. “Several years ago… actually when I’d first started working with Richard.” A ghost of a wry smile is there when he remembers a moment from the past. Something that humors him, associated with said paper. It doesn’t necessarily dispel all the discomfort, but it does help to ease his awkwardness.

When the photograph of her younger self is revealed, Des takes a long drink from her glass. Blonde hair, blue eyes, a smile. It’s almost jarring to see. “I didn’t know photos of me like that existed,” she muses.

There’s a smile that touches her lips, almost fond, as he begins to explain himself. “Ah, Hiro. That figures. He can’t help but… Well, never mind.” Her grievances with Hiro Nakamura aren’t relevant to this discussion. “I’m sorry. If we’ve crossed paths before…” She gestures to the photograph to indicate when she was younger, “I don’t remember.”

She tries to think of a time when she would have been in trouble and been assisted in some way. Unfortunately, there are many of those.

A second long sip is taken, and Luther rolls the glass back and forth between his fingers. “You’re very photogenic when you’re not trying,” says the man after, a brief phrase but sounding a touch humored for the turn of it. That she doesn’t freeze, tense, or sound confused or even sigh with the name of Hiro earns her a thoughtful glance. Her apology about having crossed paths deepens it. The man’s furrowed brow creases further. He shakes his head, unsure once again when he chooses his words.

“Then you know he was - is? - a time traveler,” Luther says into his glass. “And he brought me to a place that was important in a way. It took me a while to figure it out, but, I had time on my hands.” When he wasn’t polishing Redbird’s floors and dusting shelves, that is. “And what I found was that he’d taken me to a house. In Odessa, Texas.” The beat following is long, as is his look up from the glass to her. “April 8, 1984.”

Slowly, his exhale rolls out. It’s followed by a crook of a smile at the edge of his mouth. “Weirded out yet?”

Des chuckles quietly when he turns her words back on her. He’s not wrong. All her ID photos with the Company had been dreadful. The Institute and her DoEA cover had been worse. Although that could just be her perception; she never liked herself much with the scars and the white hair.

“I do,” she confirms of Nakamura. “We’re… We were fairly well acquainted. He had a habit of flitting in and out of my life. I never could fathom most of the reasons.” Some were obvious, but Hiro worked in mysterious ways at times.

But when he mentions Odessa, Texas, her breath leaves her in a sharp exhale. “Jesus.” She shakes her head slowly. “Weird isn’t the right word for this. I’m… surprised, to say the least.” She was there too, after all. And she doesn’t recall seeing him there. “What happened?”

Her question of what happened sends the crooked edge of Luther’s smile away. Fingers toy with the glass holding the last gulp of whiskey. But it still doesn’t lift to his lips. “A murder,” he confesses straightaway, not exactly holding back truths now that there’s been several other strange things said. “There was a man who had been killed. The killer was a man I later was told, known as Samson Gray.” He scrubs a hand on his jaw, blinking. There’s no hatred there, oddly enough, but the memory of a violent scene and his disturbance of it.

But then he turns back to Des, looking straight at her when he then continues, “And a young blonde woman hiding in the upstairs bedroom. She was pregnant.” That final gulp lifts at last, followed by a slide down his throat and a hard swallow.

“And she looked a hell of a lot like our Sera.” That last bit, spoken quickly, like he’s trying to chase the whiskey with it. Because he’s still struggling to get that one down.

Blue eyes go glassy with the first signs of tears. “That was my father,” Des confides. “Or, it seems reasonable that it would be. Samson Gray murdered him and attacked my mother the day I was born. She died of her injuries.” Although… she isn’t so sure what the truth is anymore. That’s the truth she’s been told by the Company and by Samuel’s people, so it’s the only truth she has.

What she doesn’t say is that she witnessed the aftermath of it herself. The man’s body broken on the floor, his head crushed and torn apart. The bloody footprints leading to the back yard. The fact that she was nearly murdered for her power on her own birthday.

“I’ve seen photographs of my parents.” Des draws her lower lip between her teeth and worries at it a moment. “Sera looks nothing like my mother.” Richard’s told her Sera looks almost exactly like Rianna Price, but she isn’t sure admitting that to Luther is the most sound choice yet. She watches him with confusion in her eyes. Everyone sees Rianna as Sera except for her, it seems. What that means, exactly, she isn’t sure.

The moments of silence that pass serve as Luther’s sentiment and condolences. But still, he speaks with sympathy. “I’m sorry. I thought I…” He blinks a few more times, straightening in his seat as a wash of guilt sweeps over. “I managed to get a hit on him I guess. He had a shadow power, I did what I thought would work. Stalled him enough to get the woman out. But she was in labor, and Hiro… he pulled me out then. Said in the papers that a man driving by found her by the side of the road, and the house burned down.”

When she mentions that she’s seen photographs, that Sera doesn’t look like her mother, in a way Luther seems relieved. But that doesn’t dispel the confusion. “I guess she just has one of those faces,” he concludes with a slight scratch of a finger on his temple. And then he’s looking at her face, his own not exactly one for poker either, looking like he’s studying it to compare with the photograph from before.

It’s like he catches himself staring too long. Grey eyes avert, and his hand moves to set the empty glass back on to the coaster. “Listen,” he starts up again after the pause. “Richard told me about some stuff that happened to you. It sounds like it was rough.” He winces slightly in realization that that word was maybe too light a way of putting it. “But… I’ve kept that paper crane a while. Thinking maybe, I don’t know, that I’d figure out what it meant someday.”

“I think I got an idea what it means.” His gaze returns to her, and the smile from before too. “So long as you’re sticking around, if you ever need anything. Miss Desjardins… I’m here to help.”

“It’s okay.” Tears fall when Des blinks, but she doesn’t start openly weeping at least. This wound is an old one. She’s had time to reconcile it. “The fact that you intervened at all… It means that’s why I’m here. She made it to the hospital and… here I am.” What happened after that? She can’t say anymore.

In the staring match, it’s Des who looks away first, down to the glass in her hands and the amber liquid she’s swirling there. “I’m not sure what he said, but… Rough is a good word for it.” Even if it isn’t strong enough. “I’ve… lived by other people’s rules for as long as I can remember. It’s different here. I feel like I’m finally allowed to figure out who I really am.” Her face scrunches up like she’s bit into something bitter. “That sounds… really juvenile when I put it like that, but… I hope you understand what I mean.”

Dark hair falls over one shoulder as Des tips her head to the side, sympathetic to him and how Hiro’s errands can leave one with more questions than answers. “I hope I’ve at least been able to give you some closure. I…”

She sighs, tipping her head back now to look at the ceiling. “You know, for years, I felt like Samson Gray made me. That I was just a creation of this monstrous act he committed. Now… I’m not here because of something so terrible. I’m here because someone brave did something selfless.” Her attention turns back to Luther.

“It’s a different perspective.”

Luther shakes his head slowly in that way of empathizing when someone has said something understandable if unpleasant, when she mentions that her words sound juvenile. “Nah,” he rumbles quietly, “I don’t think it’s that terrible to want to figure out who you are. Some people spend their whole lives trying to put that together.” Brows knit, then he adds, “Not… that I’m saying you’re going to be one of them.” He sighs and scrubs a hand on his neck. “Richard’s usually better with this words thing. Smoother,” the security chief huffs as he can only offer a short shrug.

When her attention turns back to him and her words for him come, a flicker of embarrassment colors his face. Luther ducks his head, then pushes himself up to a stand. From a different physical perspective, he looks down to the dark haired woman on the couch. “I hope it’s a good one,” he tells her after a beat. “A clear one.” It’s with that note that he starts to carefully fold the paper and photograph back into its originally extracted configuration, replacing it back into the place it’s been kept for years.

“Thanks for the drink,” the man says after its put away, with the same hand motioning for her to stay. She looks… comfortable? Maybe not totally, but enough. “See you at work,” he adds as a farewell, and starts to turn for the door.

There’s a demure tilt of her chin, a silent apology for embarrassing him with her words. She forgets sometimes that people can be that way. She’s still not good at people. “I know what you mean,” she assures. “Thank you.”

Des starts to rise when he does, but stays when he motions for her to remain seated. She nods once. As you wish. “Don’t be a stranger. There’s more whiskey where that came from,” she teases softly. “Take care. I’ll see you tomorrow, I’m sure.”

When he’s left and she’s alone in her home once again, she drains the last of her drink smoothly and sighs heavily. What an unexpected revelation.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License