joseph_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif

Scene Title Propitiation
Synopsis After an unsuccessful dog walk, Joseph and Kaylee get around to talking. It's different in the flesh.
Date February 17, 2010

Grand Central Terminal: Tunnels

It's been a while since Joseph's gotten lost down here. But it's been a while since Joseph's been down here at all.

Fortunately, he won't be lost for long. On the bleak, curving walls of the tunnels, chalk marks make dusty tracks on the damp stone, effectively bread crumbs in case the pastor did get lost in the woods, and he has. He told them— too long ago— that he needed to go stretch his legs before he hit someone or went crazy, whichever came first, and took Alicia with him in demonstration. Whoever was guarding at the time didn't sense any particular lie in these words, no particular inclination to break away and get some fucking drugs, not when the doctors themselves have Refrain on hand and Joseph in particular hasn't been crying out for a higher dose.

In truth, he really did just want to walk his dog. An hour ago.

The glowstick, Halloween orange in all the black shadow, is dimming down, and Joseph can't bring himself to care, having discarded the stalks of chalk without intention to go forward anymore, currently simply summoning up the will to go back. Alicia was patient enough, lying down as she waited, and then started to whine, pulling at her leash. She'd been released, and for the first five minutes, had stood there in uncertainty, before beginning to head back home whether her master was coming or not.

He'd left the gift crucifix in his room, gleaming dull on the Bible he'd been also given, when Kaylee had checked his empty room. His sleep clothes had been discarded and crumpled into the corner, and the room itself— dank and beginning to smell of old sheets and sick people— was empty of pastor. But at least faint chalk marks, a dog, and then finally the dwindling orange glow along the tunnel, catching its skanty light on an angle of leg, are adequate signs of life.

He might actually feel the mental brush of the telepath, before the scuff of her boots echo along the concrete walls. Long fingers trail along the wall under the chalk line which she can hardly see in the darkness, having used it to look for the glow. The first sight of his legs in the soft orange glow, receives a soft sigh of relief, and a softly spoken, "There you are." The young blonde leans a shoulder against cold wall, briefly a physical showing of how worried she was.

The medical staff has kept the young telepath so busy, to show her what 'her' raid resulted in, that she hasn't been able to check up on Joseph, very often. So him being gone.. and finding out he had left some time ago had scared her a bit, not that she'd openly admit it.

In the eerie orange glow, the dark line of the bullet graze held by butterfly stitches stands out. In fact her clothing in general looks black in the dim light. Using the glow, Kaylee studies the pastor quietly for a long moment, clearly worried. Finally, a shoulder clad in a soft maroon sweater, leans against the wall, fingers of both hands tuck into the front pocket of her jeans.

"I'd — ah — asks if your okay…. but in light of everything. I'd say that it's a pretty dumb question." Kaylee's words are just barely above a whisper, but even that sounds loud to her ears. The blue of her eyes is a muddy brown in the dimming glow, they search over his features much like they did in that nightmare.

He's seated on the floor with his back against the wall, orange glow coursing up the rippled material of his pant leg, dimming up the front of his sweater, and fortunately, everything turns bronze in this light and so paleness is hard to measure. But that's about all the flattery he gets, with his arms tight over his abdomen and voice creaking. "Not yet." Joseph answers the question anyway, even if it technically was never asked, his voice strained. While perhaps not the ghastly, scattered inmate they found in the facility, he's still no where near the kindness that dreams granted him, whether in youth or in health.

Or spirit. "I got turned around. 'm headin' back soon." There's grease on his face, too, or that's how it looks, a sheen of sweat on his forehead and the same kind of smearing beneath his eyes, although from the way he drags the edge of his sleeve against wan cheekbones, there's more to be ashamed about there than fever symptoms.

Pushing her shoulder off the wall, Kaylee shifts closer so that she can kneel next to Joseph. Hands slide out of her pockets and press to the denim clad thighs as her knees drop to the ground. Her head tilts to one side as she watches him wipe at his cheeks, then her eyes cast to the small bit of ground between them.

"I know…" Is murmured softly, fingers curling on her legs as she settles her seat on her heals, as if avoiding the wish to reach out and touch him. Colette had reacted so badly to her, she's fearful of the same reaction with him. So she sits there, completely still. "Gonna take time. I just…." Her head turns to cast a side way look down the dark hall, "… got worried when I came to check on you….. and you were gone. And then I saw Alicia……" Probably a good thing he can't see the coloring of her cheeks in embarrassment, her words trail off.

Kaylee motions on her shoulder and one knee starts to lift. "I could go…. I didn't meant to intrude on you if you were looking to be alone."

"I'm not much company." This he can admit. Melancholy silences, the worst of his withdrawal, mood swings— and of course the Joseph Sumter school of wanting to suffer in solitary silence. This is probably a little different, in that he glances at her, now, dark eyes seeking out lighter ones in the dimness for a glance. Somewhere, water is leaking, dripping, and rat claws are scurrying down old metal pipes over head and under feet. He shivers, and shakes his head. "You can stay. I didn't come out here for that."

Loneliness, that is. Had he been given a choice, he would have gone undiscovered — but that damage is done. "I stayed in the same room f'the better part of two months. Just havin' a hard time— hard time doing it for any longer, so I was lookin' for topside. But then the pain came back and I figured I'd— just wait it out."

Which probably does something to explain the curled up posture among other signs seen by fire-colour glow, a hand up to scrub against his face shakily, push lank locks back from his forehead.

"You've never been around Eric, clearly." She keeps her tone light when she says that, "Especially when he's moody." There is a small lift of one corner of her lips when she says that, but it fades quickly. "Seriously though, you were gone for two months…. I think I'm thankful for any company at this point, even if it isn't much."

Silence rules for several long moments, eyes on the ground again as she turns thoughtful. "Nothing wrong with wanting to get out." She ventures, taking a deep breath and letting it out softly. "Truth be told… I don't know if I could have survived it all." Eyes lift to glance at Joseph, again. Seems to be a lot of that… glancing.

Without a thought, gentle fingers touch his cheek and a thumb brushes away shimmering wetness on his cheek. Of course, as soon as she does, eyes widen slightly and she pulls her hand away quickly and murmurs a soft, "Sorry…." Those same fingers tucking long length of her hair behind an ear, before folding with the other hand and forcing them to rest on her lap.

"You were definitely missed by everyone…." She is quick to try and brush off her moment of awkwardness.

There's no recoiling. Desiring to be alone isn't the same as having a barrier when it comes to such gestures, although it's a double-edged blade — it's hard to have shame after two months of being a subject to medical and scientific study. The corner of Joseph's mouth hooks up a little in a wry, halved smile when her fingers seek out too-cool skin, letting his attention drift until he's bringing up both hands to wipe at his face properly, a visible shudder going through him before he settles again, head resting back against brick.

"You would have survived," he says, sniffing once. "They don't give you a hell of a lot of choice. Kept us as healthy as can be. What you saw— the day you got in. She'd stopped dosing me to try an' get me to talk about who was comin'. Before that, I was just fine."

He doesn't mean it, uncharacteristic shards of bitter in his tone, before he swallows around his words. "I heard Colette took off."

There is a grimace, Kaylee turns to press her back against the cold wall, and lets her legs stretch out in front of her, the scrape of her boots loud in the silence. It leaves her sitting next to him, close to be comfort, but not too close to be a bother, or…. at least in her head."Yeah…." There is stress in the young woman's voice once she's settled, eyes closing for a long moment. "I… don't know what happened to her in there, but she's reacting a lot different then you are."

Hair slides over her shoulder, when she looks at the man next to her, "She… reacted so badly would I just.. touched her," A light touch goes to his shoulder, briefly, as if to demonstrate. "… her head…. she was just over and over…. 'Don't hurt me.' " Her voice hitches, back of her fingers pressing to her mouth, trying to stop it. Eyes close for a moment as she schools her emotions. It's the last thing he needs right now.

Finally, the hand drops to play with the collar of her sweater, "But.. yes… she left. Didn't feel like it was my place to stop her, didn't know how to stop her, really…. Without making her, but then I wouldn't be much of a friend." Kaylee's lips pres together tightly, despite her fight with her emotions, unshed tears shine in the soft orange glow.

"We didn't have the same experience. An' we're different people."

After this observation, Joseph is silent for a while, eyes shut as he listens, and that he doesn't talk afterwards is designed to promote more silence than a prompt for further explanation. He's thinner, since he went in, and he could use a shave and probably a decent, lengthy shower, and food that stays down instead of coming back up. His chest swells with a breath taken in, steam wisping out into the icy air that hangs stagnant in the tunnel, smelling of brick and water and rust.

"Let her— let her walk it off," he says, opening his eyes again, though not meeting Kaylee's. "And if she can't, I'll talk to her, whether'm better or not. This was my fault. After the meeting, he just came right up to me, talkin' about this— this damn program and askin' me to sign papers. I knew better, but I wanted to see what was goin' on and take it back to the Suresh Center, but I waited too long. Tasered me before I could get outta the car."

He swallows, a harsh breath drawn in as muscles clamp, punishing, and Joseph neatly smacks his skull back against the brick wall as if that might help. "Then when she was in there, Colette, the Madame was sayin' what she'd do to her, kill her and leave her somewhere to be found, if I didn't go and tell her who was comin' for us, and I thought she might, she just might go and do that but I still didn't say anything…" His voice trails off into a whine, slow panic finally manifesting in the edge of his voice, breathing shallow.

The young telepath seems content to let him have his silence, watching him while lost in her own thoughts. There is pity for him and what happened to him, but more….. shame and guilt. Kaylee's felt this guilt since they talked to David and he touched Joseph's stuff.

"I tried to get her to at least say goodbye to you." Knees bend slowly, bringing her knees up so her arms can wrap around them, pressing her cheek to one of them. But the panic in his voice forces her head up again, and she's reaching across herself, fingers curls around his upper arm, when she hears that panic in his voice. "Don't blame yourself… Please, don't." The pad of her thumb, brushes lightly in comfort.

There is a small shake of her head, "If… your to blame? I'm doubly so." Her hand slides away slowly, going back to holding her legs. "I was there the night Refrain was stolen out of Pinehearst, helped load it on the van for my boss at the time, Adam. Was his pet telepath…." She grimaces, looking away to stare at her knees unable to face him as she continues. "I was sitting at the table when it was sold to the Dragons to be duplicated and sold on the streets." Eyes close tight with a pained look, her forehead drops to her knees as she whispers, "I am so…. so sorry that I was apart of any of it. I just can't even begin to express how sorry I am." Forehead rolls back and forth across her knees when she shakes her head. "But by god, I am paying for it now…. the people I care most about are suffering for my stupidity and mistakes."

A small, breathy bark of laughter skitters out, compulsive, grates its echo uncomfortably off the walls. "Guilt don't go away if you spread it on others. Oh, Lord." These last two words are sighed out, hands up again to rub his face, the back of his neck, waiting for it to pass, the rush of irrational fear and the way his heart is pounding. Can he blame her? It wouldn't make him feel better. Probably. But there's a certain amount of silence that passes by, words of absolution unwilling to come.

Then gently, "There is no one deed, no task, no sacrifice in the world that can appease the wrath of God. The only thing that could was an act of God Himself, through the sacrifice of his Son. In that, we're forgiven eternally. The only people payin' for your mistakes are the people on the end of the action."

It's not quite comfort. Not unless you're a psychopath. But it's a bleak truth, for him, that he offers. "Help me up. Maybe valium'll do somethin'."

"Sure…" Unwinding arms, Kaylee pushes to her feet, boots sliding under her, crunching on gravel as she straightens. A hand goes to the wall to steady herself, before she offers the other hand to him, palm up. She gives him a small smile, thought it doesn't quite reach her eyes. "I'm getting to know guilt really well… Seems like every time I turn around my involvement with that man kicks me in the teeth."

"Your the last person I expected to be hurt by my actions." Kaylee admits softly, "Last person that deserves it." Her mouth pulls to one side, into something almost like a smirk.

Once he has the glowstick in his grip, Joseph's other hand clasps tight around her wrist, levering himself to his feet, cautious, as if the action hurts — in truth, it doesn't, action seeming like it has little to do with whatever is going on in him. "Dunno about not deservin' it. I never had to take Refrain. I knew well what it was and took it. Lied about it. Hell, stole it at one point." He bites his tongue against saying more, if only because the run off of a bad mood doesn't have to get on Kaylee.

He simply keeps a hold of her arm and lets her lead them back. "I'm sorry your hurtin'," he says, after a few steps, voice gruff.

The knit of her sweater is soft in his grip, the arm beneath it warm, when Kaylee helps him to his feet carefully. Once she knows he's steady on his feet, the young woman, starts to lead him back. A matter of fact look is leveled at him, their progress halting… "Joseph…" Her tone is actually firm… "Don't be afraid to talk to me." There is a scuff of a foot and she has them moving again, her eyes going to the wall to follow the bread crumbs. "You listen to me… I'm more then happy to listen to you, too."

"Hell… all you have to do is think about it and I'll hear you."

A sly little look going his way, before she lets her gaze wander back to the task, "And… I'm not hurting like you all. In fact… I shouldn't have said anything about my involvement… I dunno. " Blue eyes drop to the ground, head turning slightly towards the pastor, the gaze never reaches him. She gives a sad little laugh. "Guess I still trying to prove I'm a bad person."

Brows drop into a frown, as a thought crosses her mind, "Life was easier when I didn't care about anyone but myself.. Took what I wanted.." Again at that moment she's thankful the orange glow doesn't shoe the flush of her cheeks. "Even when it came to men…." There is hesitation in that admission.

"I know I can talk to you. Or think at you," Joseph admits as they walk, going a bit like an old man for the first several feet before his meander becomes more normal. Maybe movement helps after all. His hands fall away from her, tucking under his own arms against the chill in the tunnel as they move. "But I don't trust whatever it is I got to say right now and I ain't interested in throwin' around a bad mood. I'm just tired, and in pain." And addicted to brain damaging narcotic. The thought is too clearly articulated to not be kept into his own skull, and he shrugs apologetically.

This last sentiment does get a glance, vaguely uncertain, concerned. "Well… yeah. I can imagine it'd be easier that way. Just don't go so hard right you start not carin' about yourself. It's okay to be a little selfish now an' then."

"A little selfish… " For some odd reason she finds the idea amusing. Kaylee tucks her fingers into her pockets again once he lets go, eyes on the ground, she kicks a small chunk of cement out ahead of them.

"I — I left a bottle of Gatorade in your room. It was one of the reasons I stopped by," The conversation takes that drastic a turn, Kaylee glances over at the pastor with a lop sided smirk, bold face change of subject. "Believe me from experience that when your having a hard time keeping things down. It's the best thing cause of what is in it.." She gives a wrinkle of her nose and adds a touch blandly, that bit of cement is given another little kick sending it clattering noisily down the tunnel. "Not as bad as most stuff when it comes back up, either."

"I was really sick for a month… Made it bearable. Popsicles too.. but keeping something like that is impossible."

The change of subject isnt protested, Joseph nodding along as he guides their steps with the glowstick that barely does more than light up the center of the shadow, showing the wavery texture of the gravel-crumbled ground and the iron tracks, unused, that follows their direction. "Thanks," he says, and manages to put enough in his voice to cover not only this small offering towards his health, but getting him out, worrying about him for two months, and continuing to do so. Maybe soon, he'll have actual words for it.

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