Stuck Inside of My Head



Scene Title Stuck Inside of My Head
Date What is time?

The last thing Kaylee remembered was the sting of the needle against her shoulder and the world quickly upending and sending her on a tailspin. If she still had her ability, the medication they used to sedate her would have done serious damage. Especially in the middle of that hospital. A place filled with minds screaming with worry, joy, pain, and anguish. Normally, that many minds at once would have killed her.

But she didn’t have her ability… she’d tested out as a normal human being.

All there was now was a tinny, buzzing silence in her head and a world outside that was far louder than she remembered. It was horrifying and terrifying for her. Those emotions fuzz away, making her light-headed as she succumbs to what they gave her. Kaylee is left to float in that soundless void for what seemed like an eternity, straining to hear.


When Kaylee’s mind finally starts to feel clear again, she knows something is wrong. Something was very off. She can hear the voices, but nothing works. Nothing… works. She tries to picture the tendrils of her ability reaching out, but finds emptiness. Her head aches, just behind her eyes, as if those tendrils are a phantom limb her brain was fighting to make work.

What happened?

“I need to call the family,” someone sighs wearily.

Who? The voice is to her left. Kaylee hears it, but her head… her eyes won’t turn. Why won’t it turn?

There is a sound to her right, the sound of rustling paper and the rough fabric of a scrubs or… or maybe a lab coat?

“You sure th-?” This new feminine voice fades out in and out. “Catatonic Depression? Seems ex-”

Kaylee screams in frustration, but there is no sound, only the conversation around her and the sound of her own breathing. She knows what it feels like to turn her head, the neurons fire, but somewhere they slam into a wall and can’t go any further. The wall is there, a disconnect between mind and body; but it’s more than that. Her mind feels like it was filling with cotton, the more she tried to figure out what happened the denser the mental fog and there was an uncomfortable pressure.

“It’s been days and-”

Days? Days since when? What happened? When she tries to think about it, there is that pressure again. Kaylee’s mind didn’t want to remember.

“Fine,” the voice on the right sighs and starts to move towards the other voice. “I knew I should have put in for that vacation, I would have avoided all this. The sooner we can dump these Americans on their own government the better.” The voice was getting further away. They were leaving her?!

Where are you going? What’s wrong with me!? Kaylee wails soundlessly into the void of her mind.

The door closes and the voices fade. Whoever they are, they’re not there to see the tears that blur in expressionless eyes.

Please don’t leave.

It’s so….


Date: I…. I don’t know… All I know is the silence.

Time: What is time anymore when you are trapped in your own body?

A soft knock comes at the door before someone invites themself in.


It's not a nurse who comes back.

It's someone dressed in the drab greys that Kaylee herself had been brought in, someone who refuses to wear a hospital gown because pride won't let them be coddled into doing so while the other clothes they were provided are down at the laundry.

"Thatcher," Asi greets from the doorway, looking at the room rather than at the woman who occupies it— seeing how it differs from her own. "I wanted to get your contact information. There was a clipboard being passed around amongst everyone who went through what we did. It's not… a support group forming, necessarily, just…"

She trails off as she looks back to Kaylee, seeing how unresponsive she's been so far. Asi's demeanor shifts, something more cautious entering into it. Was this a bad time?

"Should I come back later?" she wonders aloud, carefully minding for a sign that maybe later is best.

But Kaylee gives her very little indication at all one way or the other. When she finally turns her head to look at her, the would-be technopath sees moisture glimmering in the eyes.


"I overheard—" Asi starts to explain before abandoning it entirely. She abandons her position in the doorway, too, moving to the bedside. Kaylee responds very little at all, but she pulls over one of the chairs in the hospital room anyway, lifting it rather than dragging it so a modicum of quiet is kept. After she sits, she tries to meet Kaylee's eyes again. "How are you doing?" She'd heard by virtue of being in the next room the crescendo of adamancy and panic that had lead to the initial sedation. And though she'd heard very little sound at all since, she'd not come to see for herself. Not until now.

After enough silence passes, Asi simply takes Kaylee's hand.

She turns to look toward the window, watching the light stream in through the blinds with a thousand-yard expression. She listens to the distant sounds of the floor while nurses make their rounds, one room to the next, and then the next. She continues to hold Kaylee's hand.

"I know." Asi whispers vacantly in reply to nothing at all.

And she stays a while yet.

Date: I… think I’ve slept some… I can’t… think…

Time: There is light. I feel it on my hands…


The hallway is quiet with a hushed, oppressive sense of silence. It is a silence interrupted by first, a regular tapping of soft shoe soles on the hospital flooring. Then, the chirping of a wheel bearing in need of greasing. Louder still, the beeping of a pulse monitor and more footsteps joining the first pair. Then a clattering. A swear.

"You alright?"
"Yeah, just dropped my pen."
"Ah. Where you off to?"

The pause of progress through the hall allows for a view through her room window. Shaw stares blankly with half-lidded dark eyes that seem to be missing the light of life. His pale pallor looks grave yet, with various plastic tubes and IV drip bags hang off thin metal poles surrounding his gurney. He doesn't speak, not with the oxygen mask placed over his nose and mouth.

"Labs. Have a few more tests to run. The SLC-RPs all came back neg, and that… that can't be right. You?"
"Oh this one? Docs want to see how he's doing on post op. Heard they pulled a metal pole through him."
"Urgh. Poor man."

He finally he sees her sitting. Eyelids twitch.

Shaw blinks. Hello.

"Yeah, right through some vitals but thank God for miracles. Though, prognosis still guarded."
"I bet. Well good luck to him."
"Mm. And see you later."

The chirpy wheel starts up again, the noise fading away along with the beeping.



Date: A steady beeping lulls me to sleep. Is that my heart?

Time: I… I think I can smell… bacon?


Light footfalls sound on hospital linoleum before Nova sinks into the chair meant for friends and family. She’s neither, but somehow fate has thrown them together in this strange situation. There is a camaraderie borne of such trauma — or so Nova tells herself.

She certainly feels linked to Kaylee and the others in a way she can’t explain, especially given she knew none of them before they found themselves at that crashsite.

“Hi,” she says softly, pulling each of her slipper-socked feet up onto the chair with her, and wrapping her arms around her legs. She rests her chin on her knees, watching Kaylee for a few moments with those wide blue eyes.

“The nurses said you can probably hear people, and I didn’t know if anyone else has come to visit you, so I came. I mean, obviously.” Nova rolls her eyes at herself. “We didn’t really meet. I’m Nova. You’re Kaylee, right?” Of course, there’s no reply to the question.

She sighs, studying the unresponsive woman’s face. “I thought you might want to listen to something besides the monitors and stuff. I’m not sure what to talk about, though, so I brought a book to read. I hope it’s okay if I read it aloud?”

The words lilt into another question that goes unanswered.

“Nothing too real, I promise,” she whispers, dropping her feet to the ground and reaching behind her to pull the slim novel from the back pocket of the secondhand jeans one of the nurses brought her.

“In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort…”

Date: Unfamiliar voices have been filling in the time. Now it’s gone… I miss it.

Time: The world is quiet. I feel warm and tired.



Isa sits by her side, hand almost touching the other woman's but she falls sort and just places it on her lap. "To think years ago a piece of me would have been happy to see you harmed. Being the daughter of Edward," She's as candid as ever and wraps the large hoodie tighter around herself, the hood over her head hiding brunette hair. Her scar doesn't glow now, something she's reconciling with. Among other things.

"I never would have dreamed we would be this close, which is why I have to tell you."

She leans closer and smiles softly, "You're gonna fucking pull through or I swear to god I'll fuck you up." Wiping her eyes before any tears can manifest, a reflex she's quickly learned now that tears don't evaporate upon touching her skin.

"You fucking pull through."

Date: I hear it again. The squeaking of a wheel? The steady rhythm of voices… are… are they reading? The squeaking is back again.

Time: I hear the birds. Eileen? Is that you?


The squeak of rubber heralds Daphne’s arrival on Kaylee’s room. The former speedster had put off coming for some time, wrapped up as she was in her own feelings of bitter loss.

“You probably don’t remember me,” Daphne says as she approaches Kaylee’s side. She doesn’t park the wheelchair but instead moves in it constantly, a couple of inches forward, a couple of inches backward. Every motion taking what seems to her minutes, hours even, despite being just a few seconds of time.

“We only really met a couple of times. Once in 1890 and the other up here,” she explains, tapping her head. “Where you are now, I guess. I kind of feel it’s where I am, too. This whole thing’s just been a nightmare.”

That is probably not helpful, Daphne decides, and cuts off the self pitying commentary.

She sighs, her eyes flitting to the window, watching the sky outside for a long moment, before she looks back to Kaylee, her dark eyes narrowed with her own anger, her own desire to escape the situation she’s trapped in.

“Hopefully you’re somewhere nicer than Hokuto’s nightmare castle, but I hope you make it out soon, yeah? You have people who care about you,” the speedster says. “And I know you’re stronger than this. The only one stopping you is you.

The wheelchair squeaks as she makes a hard turn to exit the room without another word.

Date: Squeak Squeak SQUEAK! Beep beep BEEP! Make it stop!

Time: I smell… food. Too many smells to know what it is.


After a call of hands, Agent Cesar Diaz was amongst the team of agents selected and sent to interview the crash victims. When more than one of their own was among the number, that solidified the reasons. Discovering Kaylee's condition, he had come away from the case no less than disturbed than ever. There was some sicko out there with yet an even more terrible means of torment. Such is the way the world has always been, though. The more he's seen of the shadowy underbelly, the more he's fought for bringing things out into the light and justice.

As he nudges the door open, he attempts to counter the weight of the world's darkness. The first step, turning on a light. "Hola chiquita," Cesar greets her first. The scents of a hot meal trail up from the tray he carries laden with a small entree, a cup of fruits, and a steaming coffee. He offers a bright smile, even if it feels the slightest bit forced. The dot of negativity washes away from him as he closes distance and sets the tray down on the nearby table.

"Thought you might like something. Class just got out, you know? We tried mofongo today." Fingers in a jazz-hands show wiggle around the small yellow mound of mashed plaintains in the middle of the dish piled high and around with cuts of braised pork and grilled onion, accompanied by a quick side salad. "The Puerto Ricans love it… and will never admit it tastes better comin' from the hands of a Cubano." A quiet chortle escapes, and then he steps over to help her up.

"C'mon. You're gonna by sayin' wepa like the best of 'em after a bite."

Date: How long….? Something new is happening. Something is different.

Time: The world is orange, but slowly fading to gray.


When Raytech had flown out to pick up one of their own, Bob had been on that jet. Lou had wanted to go with, but he argued that they needed her there helping Alia figure out what the fuck happened and how they circumvented all that security. Even though no one was blaming him, Bob blamed himself. He missed having Bellamy there, it felt like everything started going wrong when he stepped down.

While Richard was outside talking to the doctors about his sister’s condition, Bob stepped inside to get a look at how secure the room was, but more so to see Kaylee’s condition for himself.

“Who are you?” asks a nurse, paused in the middle of taking the vitals of a figure sitting placidly in a wheelchair.


“Babar Barazani, Raytech Security chief. I’m here to pick up Ms. Thatcher.” He gives a firm nod at the woman in the wheelchair. The nurse only nodded and finished up her notes so she could leave.

Bob hadn’t known what to expect, moving to crouch next to the wheelchair in an attempt to see her face, only to find a blank stare behind a curtain of blonde. “Kaylee,” he says softly, as if maybe a familiar voice might wake her. He doesn’t even bother to hide the worry at the stitches down her temple, reaching out to touch the back of her hand. “I heard the news, my friend. I’m so sorry to hear that you have lost what Khuda gave you,” his voice was quiet. “But it is okay, your brother is here to bring you home. This, we will figure it out.”

While Kaylee doesn’t react or flinch at his touch, Bob doesn’t miss the tears that escape the corners of her sad, vacant eyes.

Date: Something did change. There is rumbling and the feeling of lifting and falling. Familiar voices around me…. Richard? But I’m still alone.

Time: There is warmth and light in front of me. I can’t take my eyes off of it.


Richard told her it was bad. Elisabeth hadn't gone to meet the plane only because she was afraid too many people could be a problem for Kaylee. But even with constant contact with her husband and a full description and explanation (or as full as can be gathered), she wasn't prepared for the small, almost frail appearance of her sister(-in-law). "Oh Kaylee," she breathes out softly.

With the permission of the nurse, Elisabeth wheels Kaylee's chair out into a small alcove where the sun is brightly shining through the window. She positions the wheelchair next to an armchair, which she lowers herself into.

"I'm not even sure you can hear me," she admits softly. "But if you can, if you're just stuck in there and need a lifeline to find your way home again… use us, Kaylee. Use me." Elisabeth slips her hand into the lax one of her companion, her fingers warm against cool skin. "I miss you. I'm not… I don't know if I'm strong enough to keep losing people, Kaylee." The words are low, almost whispered.

"It's selfish as hell to put it that way. I should be telling you Carl needs you." She pauses briefly and says firmly, "He does. Your girls need you. Aurora needs you. I need you. You're Richard's sister by adoption… but you're my sister too." And she's already lost that once. For a good reason, more or less. But still. "You're my partner." She swallows hard. "Please come back?"

Words won't bring Kaylee back, but… maybe a voice will. And that, Elisabeth certainly has.

~All that you've seen up to now
Brought you to the crossroad
All that you've lived up to now
Proved you can carry the load

A dark night of the soul only leads to the light
You still have the choice to stand and to fight
The road stretches before you like the vast Milky Way
Take that one step and you're back in the fray~

Date: Beautiful music… I heard it. It cut me deeply with the emotions it invoked. I want to hear more.

Time: There is light less and less everyday.


A different day, a different technopath. Alia quietly slips in, giving a little smile perhaps. The woman looks to the person she'd worked with, almost called family in a weird sort of way. Then she sits down. She doesn't ask questions. And Alia never was much of one to small talk. So instead, she reaches a gloved hand out, and just… holds Kaylee's hand, a supportive grip.

Finally, she speaks, a simple sentence, "Here for you." And it's heartfelt. Then, there's a hint of amusement to her voice. "You, maybe you, could figure out the murmur and headaches." Then Alia falls quiet once more, and lets herself lose track of time.

Date: Voices in and out. Familiar and not. I scream, but they don’t hear me.

Time: Tick tick tick… I hear the clock passing time.


The door to Kaylee’s room opens just a little bit, allowing a blue eye to peek through looking to see if she’s alone. Only when he is sure she’s alone, Carl slips into the room. He was supposed to go straight to his dad after being dropped off by the school bus. Instead, he had made a beeline to her room. “Mom?” he calls quietly, making his way across the room to where his mom lay, curled up into a miserable ball, with one hand tucked up under her cheek. Someone had made sure his mom’s hair was brushed and her clothes clean. So she didn’t look like she was as bad off as the grownup made it sound, but her eyes refuse to focus on her son.

“Mommy?” he tries again, his voice a little thicker. Pulling his backpack off, he sets it on the ground next to him as he kneels next to the bed. Carl sits for a long moment, before he rests his head on the pillow near her face. He reaches out a hand to touch the hand half tucked under her cheek. “What’s wrong?” It was hard for him to really understand. “I heard daddy say you were hurt. They took your power away and it hurt you.”

Carl’s chin trembles as she continues to stare at nothing, seemingly completely vacant. “I miss you, mommy. Please wake up,” he whines. He really missed her and his visits. Sitting up again, he wipes at tears, while he drags his back pack close. He opens it so that he can pull out a slightly crumpled drawing from it.

“I made you something,” Carl says quietly, holding it up to her face. “You didn’t have any pictures here, so I made you one.” Pulling it close to his chest, he starts pointing to the stick people in it, behind them looked like a Ferris wheel. “It’s you, me, and Mr. Luther when we went to the park.” He sighs, “He misses you too. Pretty sure he’s gonna starve without you. So you gotta wake up, okay? We both need you to come back.” Scooting a little closer on his knees, he props the picture on the pillow next to her, just in case she does wake up.


The young boy startles at his name being called down the hall, turning to look at the door. “Times up. I gotta go.” Carl bounces to his feet and picks up his backpack, but when he starts to put it on again, he pauses. Reaching into the pack again, he pulls out a raggedy old red dragon, Bubba. Carl glances at his mom out of the corner of his eye.

The backpack is dropped so that he could have a serious conversation with the toy, holding it between his hands. “Okay Bubba, I have a mission for you.”

“You mean you’re finally putting me in the field, sir?” Bubba asks via Carl talking for him… like any kid does by deepening his voice.

“That’s right. You earned it. I’m giving you the most important mission of all time,” Carl says so seriously. The dragon toy is turned so he could see the catatonic woman on the bed with his own black beady eyes. “You are going to stay here and protect our momma.”

The toy nods, again thanks to Carl, “I won’t let you down, sir.”

“Good,” Carl comments with a nod of his head and moves to tuck the dragon under Kaylee’s arm. “Bubba is gonna protect you, since I’m still too little. He’s fierce and will keep you safe.” He gives another glance at the door, before pressing a kiss to his mom’s temple.

“I love you mommy.”

I love you too, baby.


Time: I don’t fucking care anymore. I just want to hug my baby.


It's the sight of the dragon that gives Amanvir pause when he's let into the room to visit. It's set in Kaylee's lap, and he can't help but wonder the circumstances that got it there. He stares for longer than he ought to, uncertain of what to do with himself, be he finally clears his throat.

He forces a small smile as he steps inside. "Didn't realize you had company already," he jokes with a small gesture toward the dragon. The smile persists for only a few moments more once he sees that lack of response entirely from her.

"I'm sorry, Kaylee. I'm so sorry to hear about what happened." Stepping closer to the reclining chair they have her sitting in, Aman crouches before her in the hopes of better snaring her attention. Maybe she doesn't have the energy to look up at him, so he'll make himself the most available he can to her. "I'm sure you know you've got a mess of people here looking out for you, but I wanted to make sure I came."

He looks to her hand for a moment, shifting it off of the dragon so he can take hold of it. His brow furrows when he doesn't feel what he should— feel her ability underneath. Even negated, he should be able to find it. "I'm sorry about this," he repeats in a murmur, but this time it's because he's reaching out with everything he can, trying to steal something from her that isn't even there to be stolen anymore.

What he'd give to be able to have a glimpse into her mind at the moment. To talk with her and be with her in a way that was more meaningful than this.

Emotion moves him to look away, eyes closing. Even so, his hand tightens around hers. "You were there for me when I needed help. Then you came for me, months later, and dragged me out of my head, made me realize I needed to start living life again." His head shakes as he looks back up to her. "I know you didn't do that part fearlessly. You didn't even do it selflessly. But you still did it, and it still meant so much to me, Kaylee." Voice lowering, he clarifies, "Means so much to me."

Aman lifts her hand to press his lips to the backs of her knuckles. "I'm not sure I can do anything here for you that they're not already doing," he confesses. "But I'll come visit you. And when you're ready to go home, I'll help— with whatever you need, whatever space is left over that someone else doesn't already have covered." He looks up at her again, thumb brushing over the backs of her knuckles.

"You've got so many people pulling for you, Kaylee. So many, there's practically a waitlist to come see you." He chuckles, if not for her sake, then his. "You've got a whole village rooting for you. And we're here for you, as soon as you're ready to let us in."

Standing, he presses another kiss to her forehead. Resetting her grasp on the dragon toy, he leaves his hand on top of hers for a long moment. "Fight through it. You're more than this moment. I know it." Reluctantly, he lets his hand slide away. "I'll come back soon."

Date: Please! Help me, Aman! HEAR ME! *rattling of cage door* I’m here!!

Time: The light is fading. No! Come back! I don’t like the dark!


Sitting beside Kaylee's bed, Colette Demsky isn't sure what to do or say. She's been here for almost an hour, hunched forward with her elbows on her knees, loosely holding a square of cardstock. Her eyes are vacant and unblinking as she stares into the middle-distance toward the foot of Kaylee's bed. The only sound she makes is the occasional snuffle, accompanied by a messy swipe of one hand under her nose, or a dab of a thumb at the corner of her eyes.

There's flowers in abundance on the table beside her bed, cards stacked up from everyone at the Watchtower. Colette fiddles with the card in her hand, picking at a dog-eared corner of it. She slides her tongue across the back of her teeth, then lifts one hand up to pinch fingers at the bridge of her nose. The small, strangled sound that builds in the back of Colette's throat is a weak and terrible thing. She sits forward, forehead in hand, and breaks down crying.

Colette's shoulders shake, her mouth twists into a grimace, face flushed red with emotion and eyes wrenched shut. After a moment she pulls herself together, wiping her face dry with a balled up sleeve, then angrily stands and claps the card in her hand down on the table beside Kaylee's bed and storms out of the room, throwing open the door with as much force as she can before rushing out into the hall. She can't do this.

The card left beside Kaylee's bed isn't new, it didn't come from a store. It's a small, handmade thing just shy of a decade old. There's fish on the front, drawn in ballpoint pen, smudged charcoal, and a couple colors of crayon. But they aren't a child's drawing. It's a reminder.

On the inside the card's text is handwritten. It isn't Colette's handwriting.

When I heard they brought you back from
Mt. Natazhat I cried. I know things have
been hard between us, I know things hurt,
but I don't want that for the future.

I miss you. I miss my friend. I miss what
we had. When you get better, when you wake
up, we're going to catch up on lost time
and put the past behind us. You're my friend
and I don't know what I'd do without you.


Date: *intense sobbing*



There's the sound of a hand lightly rapping on Kaylee's door; a moment later, Isaac Faulkner's head pokes in. He looks around for a moment, confirming that no one else is there before he steps in.

He's wearing a dull gray hoodie — it's one that looks at the very least suspiciously similar to the one from the plane crash. His hands are stuck in the front pockets, and his movements seem… oddly reluctant as he shuffles closer to Kaylee, laying on her bed at the center of the room.

Once he reaches her, he stares for a minute — trying to reconcile what he's seeing with what he remembers. Trying to find words. After several uncomfortable moments, Faulkner takes a deep breath and starts to speak.

"Hey," he says, a bit awkwardly. "I'm, uh. Not really great at the whole bedside manner thing. You'd think talking to someone in a hospital would be exactly the same as striking up a conversation anywhere else, but… something about hospitals. They just kinda… creep me out," he says, chuckling awkwardly.

"I like to think I'm getting a little better. I pay a visit to Shaw every now and again. Sometimes he's conscious. Sometimes not."

Still no response. "It's hard. I still remember you coming by, when Aman was all blissed out. You dropped by and saved the day when all I could do was try to get everyone shepherded out of the way. And now…"

He pulls one hand out of his pocket and rubs at his forehead. "I'm… trying to dig into things. Trying to figure out what I could do to straighten this mess out. But, I mean… let's be honest here, I'm a glorified mailman. This is… kinda out of my league. But you! You're a cop! And you've got ties to a megacorp. You could do a lot more than I could. And… and we need all the help we can get…"

He falls silent, regarding Kaylee with irrational hope for a few moments… but then, if heartfelt pleas could wake her, surely she wouldn't have been catatonic this long; he knows for a fact Aman has been by. The hope on his face fades, leaving behind only a wry smile.

"Well. I guess we're not going anywhere. So… take all the time you need. I'll keep poking around. Just… know that whenever you're ready to come back… we could definitely use a hand, if you're willing."

He lets out a single laugh, shakes his head, then slips away.



nicole3_icon.gif zachery2_icon.gif

“Hey,” Nicole murmurs as she steps into Kaylee’s room, as if they’re about to strike up a friendly conversation. As though things weren’t so incredibly fucking wrong. Her husband steps in behind her, reticent as ever as he makes his way forward on his crutches, his broken leg still in a hard boot. “Sorry I’m late,” as if this is a standing meeting and she’s fallen behind. “Had a lot going on today.”

Only once Zachery’s been settled in an armchair does Nicole move to perch on the edge of Kaylee’s bed. She takes one of the woman’s hands in both of her own and smiles. “Gosh, you’re nice and warm,” she tells her with a squeeze. Her hands aren’t cold, but they always feel it to her these days. The loss of her ability has had its own impact.

“I wish I could say I have some answers, but…” Nicole shakes her head sadly, treating this as much like a two-way conversation as she can. “I’m working on it. I’m looking into some things and I just wanted to—”

Zachery clears his throat, breaking Nicole’s stride. He fixes her with a reproachful look. He does not like where she’s headed. With this conversation. With her actions. But she holds his gaze and he’s the first to flinch away. She’s determined and there’s not a lot he can do about that, he knows.

I just wanted to," Nicole repeats firmly, turning her attention back to Kaylee with a smile that has more sunshine to it than anybody in this room actually feels, “let you know that I’m going to be out for a bit. I’m on vacation. But I’ll be back, and I’ll be sure to tell you all about it when I get back.” Nicole’s expression falls flat, her tongue presses between the inside of her lip and the front row of her teeth. “I can hear your eyes rolling, Zachery.”

That does not stop him from doing it harder.

Anyway,” Nicole grabs hold of the conversation that she’s single-handedly maintaining, steering it back in the direction she wants to carry it. “Someone should be by soon to bring us a chair. Then we’ll go for our walk. It’s nice out today. Some air will do us all some good, I think…”

Date: Just… just go away. Leave me alone. Let me just die in this cage.

Time: I don’t even fucking care anymore.


"No, you can't quit now. She needs you. You, Bob. … Lou's tough, but it wouldn't be the same if you—"

Luther pulls the device away from his ear as he enters the room unbidden, grey eyes searching out the woman within the inner sanctum of the Benchmark. Spotting her, he turns and approaches, and once closer he holds the phone out. A finger taps on the screen once to set it to speaker.

Unbeknownst to the RayTech security head on the other line that there's now a hot mic, Bob lets out a series of muttered swears in Urdu that surely both Luther and Kaylee have had enough context to understand over the years of knowing the Pakistani man. Bob was definitely not happy.

"Tell him, Kaylee," bids Luther with a frustrated snort of his own, holding out the phone screen, "tell him he can't quit over this shit situation before it at least gets fuckin' figured out." It just so happens that Luther's new phone still has Bob's contact photo as a contrasting one of the other man's current mood. The Bob on the icon is happy, smiling, goofy. The Bob on the other side of the speaker is tense, frustrated, angry. Mostly at himself.

"«Luther, look. This job, there's one main responsibility and that's keeping the Rays alive and healthy. And Detroit? What the fuck are we doing? How many times this year, now? If I can count them on my fingers, that's too fucking many, Luther. I'm not even jok— »"

Luther blips the speaker off and back into private mode, but he drags over a chair to plop into as he listens to Bob on the other line. The man's beard has been trimmed to a more manageable level compared around the same time last year. Still, he scrubs it with his free hand and runs his fingers over his head in a common self-soothing motion. "Okay, Bob, okay. We'll talk later about it, alright? No, no I'm fine, good. Yeah. Yeah, you can tell her I'll stop by later. Maybe after the kids 're asleep. Okay."

He's not been so eager to hang up a phone line in maybe ever. Luther tucks the device back into his pocket and sags back into the chair, blowing out a breath. Gaze tracking back to Kaylee, the shared silence lingers between them more than a few minutes. In that time he studies her features over, same as every visit previous since her arrival to the Benchmark. And eventually, same as every visit, he levers himself up to tidy up the room a bit. Gifts and cards arranged, flowers checked, Carl's drawing (framed now) and Bubba dutifully set in a prominent place. By the time he's done, Luther sits back down with a glass of water and pulls out his phone again, and this time along with it a soft eyeglasses case. Reading glasses settled, he slips the case back into his pocket and thumbs through the phone until he finds what he's looking for: the continuation of the story he's reading aloud.

Date: Wait… Warmth… feverish. I know it. He’s back again. Please don’t leave me again! It’s so lonely and I'm scared. Please.. Please Luther! Come back!

Time: The sun dips low… Wait… how did I know that?


“Thanks, Lynette,” Nick says over his shoulder as he’s shown to Kaylee’s room. He has a cup of coffee in one hand and he looks a little uneasily at the room’s resident before he steps in.

“Alright, Kaylee,” is more a rhetorical question than a real one, as he settles into the chair across from her. He’s quiet for a moment, brows drawing together as he considers what to say, how to visit with a person who isn’t fully there.

It’s something he has a lot of experience with — a few years worth, when he used to go out to Pollepel island and speak to the birds, knowing — or believing, anyway — they carried a little of his sister’s consciousness split among them.

This is different. But the same idea applies.

“I’m sorry this happened to you,” he begins, looking down at his hands rather than at the pallor of her face. “I know we don’t see one another very often, but you’re one of the few people I consider a friend in this world.”

Nick chuckles, running his free hand through his hair, nervously. “Shit, I wish I could have a cigarette. You don’t think Lynette would mind, would you?” he asks, a bit conspiratorially, but shakes his head. “Best not. She’s scary when she’s angry.”

After a sip of coffee, he leans back in the chair. “Never been a great talker. Hopefully you don’t mind if I just sit here and enjoy your company a while.” He reaches to take her hand, giving it a squeeze, then holds it as he sits in companionable silence.

Date: Memories are starting to drift through my mind. I hate it. It hurts! Make it stop!

Time: My stomach’s growling and I smell coffee. I remember the taste of coffee. Mmm.


Running her fingers along the thick vines and branches that cover the wall, Delia searches. She’s been walking around and around for countless days, trying to find some clue. A door, a window, even a peephole would be nice but there isn’t one. Normally, she could just fly up and land right inside but here, she can’t. Not this place, there’s something, someone, keeping her out.

“I can hear you,” she calls out, causing enough of a commotion to scare a few birds into flight. The rapid, rhythmic flap of their wings breaks the disquieting sounds from inside the walls. “I brought you something,” she continues, “you used to grow them in your old garden.”

Then she pitches it, that thing in her hand.

The apple soars, up, up , and arcs beautifully over the wall. Delia can’t see where it lands, she can only hope it didn’t actually hit Kaylee.

“Come on Thatcher,” she yells, a little louder this time, to cover the noise. Not the noise of birds or other wildlife, but a cry that sets her blood curdling. A wail. If Delia were superstitious, she’d take it as an omen, but she’s not, and she refuses to lose anyone else. “I’m going to sit here until you come out.”

Date: An apple? I’ve been staring at it for awhile. I dare not touch it. Why is this so familiar? Why does it scare me?

Time: There is a chill against my skin, but where the sun hits, there is a faint warmth.


When a blonde head pokes itself in past the door to peer into the room, it’s with uncertainty. Is this the right place? And if it is, should she even be here? The answer to both those questions is yes, and so the door pushes open far enough to admit the figure of a woman just a little shorter than Kaylee, dressed fashionably in a slouchy grey sweatshirt and a pair of black sateen shorts over black nylons. The soles of green Converse high tops squeak quietly as she pivots to close the door behind her. Her walking stick clicks over the tiled floor as she makes her way inside.

Taking a seat next to the bed, the unfamiliar woman stares at the face familiar to her. “I… heard you were here,” she says softly. Expecting neither recognition nor response, she continues on, settling her black handbag in her lap and reaching inside of it. “I heard you’re not really talking to anyone, and that’s okay. I brought a book instead.”

It’s a well-read copy of A Memory of Tomorrow that she pulls out of her bag before setting it aside. There’s a sticker on the front cover, identifying the book as being property of the Brooklyn Public Library system. “You’ve probably already read this one. I haven’t, so I was hoping maybe we’d read it together.” The visitor looks over to the blonde resting in bed.

Tears well up in her own blue eyes. It’s difficult to see Kaylee — one of the strongest people she’s ever met in her life — like this. “I know you don’t recognize me,” she says softly, starting to open the cover of the book. “And I can’t… If things were different, you’d know me.” She smiles sadly. If things were different, she wouldn’t have to be here, right now, preparing to read a romance novel written by a mutual acquaintance.

“So… I’m just going to try and come back as often as I can. Until I get through this book. And… any others it takes after that. Until you’re ready to talk.” The stranger smiles and reaches out briefly to take Kaylee’s hand, brows furrowing as she tries so desperately to reach through this veil between them. To bring Kaylee back to her. The tears spill down her cheeks now. “I’m sorry,” she whispers. “I never can seem to be there when it counts, but… But I’m here now.”

She feels the despair so keenly. The confusion she can’t dispel. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.

“Kaylee, I love you.”

Indulging in her own pain for several minutes, she finally forces herself to recover some of her composure when she hears footsteps out in the hall. They pass by the door, but it reminds her that her time with her friend might be shorter than she likes. Wiping to tears from her face, she turns then to the first page, clearing her throat.

“Chapter One…”

Date: Has it been days? Or months? I… I just want to hug my son.. Or… What’s that?!?

Time: It’s bright, yet cold. His warmth holds back the chill.

The last few months have dragged on since Kaylee had returned from Canada, following an event that has left her a mental mess. Doctors had been holding out hope that she'd come back on her own… but as the world has moved on, with trees changing colors and the smell of pumpkin spice is filling the air, the former telepath continues to be lost inside her own head.

Those doctors can’t understand what it was like to be her. To live almost her entire life with her ability. More than that, they don’t know what has gone on in the last few years. Things they can’t know… The event that occurred in Canada was possibly the last straw and it broke her mind.

With the onset of fall, the words “long term care” are starting to be thrown around. Hope of her snapping out of this horrible depression is dwindling, holding by an unraveling thread. One of those few that keep the thread intact was off getting coffee at the moment, leaving her alone in the room.

Kaylee hated being alone. Even if she was surrounded by things brought by friends and loved ones. Reminders, that she really wasn’t alone. Still the physical loneliness was terrifying on its own.

The only thing keeping her from falling into her despair again is that Kaylee could still feel the warmth of his hand on her’s… even though he’d gone what felt like forever ago.

It was a little thing. Something she could focus on. The world outside of her own body was so distant and blurry. Most of the time her thoughts felt sluggish, like she was swimming in tar.

At the moment she is so focused on the fading warmth she is completely oblivious to the world outside.

She didn't want to cloud in, at first but after a healthy debate with Hot Hands. It was decided (by Eve) that this might actually jolt a reaction out of the former telepath.

And so, the window that was opened a crack suited her purposes quite nicely. A red mist begins to filter in but Eve had learned herself, she knows not to get too close in this form. There's a lightning bolt of an idea but she shakes it away, nahhhhh.


On the other side of the room Eve materializes in a plain white dress, a hood attached covers her head but that wild midnight mane still peeks out. "Miss Mind, helllooo," She whispers and tip toes forward barefoot. "Come come, you have slept enough."

She expects Hot Hands in 3…2…



If there's something Eve and Kaylee both know well, it is the concept of debate from Luther. Healthy or not. The man has his opinions, formed over decades' worth of a unique, if erratic, life lived. But one thing that doesn't ever need debating is his dedication to those he cares about. Found family is family. So, words like long term care, social workers, and the like get a gruff, blunt reply always. "Fine." "Sure." "No."

Some of those replies aren't always so polite, but they do sometimes match in monosyllabic (if at times blasphemous) nature.

Today's is, "The fuck?" In Luther's hands, a couple mugs of coffee made in the common room kitchen, away from view of the room, but still within sprinting distance if anything ever needed the man to move fast.

But hot coffee would truly be the least of their problems if Luther sensed a threat. He doesn't see that it's Eve at first, only a strange woman covered in white and a hood that hides her face. That bit of failing to recognize Eve raises the invisible hackles. Luther steps back in to the room, one aggressive pace at a time.

Something…. Something was different. But she wasn’t sure what. It was like having a word at the edge of your tongue… you know your mind knows it, but it stays just beyond her grasp beyond the bars of her mental cage. Kaylee stands at the edge of her mental cage with arm and fingers stretched as far as they can.

Outside of herself, Eve can see a twitch of her brow and a curling of her fingers in her lap, without someone helping her. Was it working? Only Luther knows that it’s the most emotional response she’s had since she’s been back. Even when she cried it was with no real emotion.

The voice was familiar, but the face was just there out of reach in the shadows of her mind. Please… please…. When the tip of her stretched out fingers touches the shadowed form it clears…. Eve Mas raises a gun in her face… No…. not hers.

“The princess,” Eve cocks her Desert Eagle swinging it to point at the man’s temple, grabbing his blood splattered coat with a pale hand holding him at length. “Is in another CASTLE!”

Eve pulls the trigger a crazed look in her eyes mouth hanging open just slightly.

##BFA877|“We’ve gotta get out of here before — “ and then Elijah Carpenter is dead. Whatever warning he was tearfully trying to convey to Kaylee is lost when Eve pulls the trigger of her gun. There’s an explosion at the side of Doc Carpenter’s head, a spray of blood and bone against the wall beside Kaylee, and the doctor slouches into her arms and then his weight drags him to the floor.#

Kaylee stumbles back from the memory, away from the edge of the cage, coming to sit with her back pressed up against the bars at the back of it. She stares at the wild-eyed woman as she fades away… along with it the memory.

For Luther and Eve, that brief flicker of lucidity falls away and Kaylee’s features smooth over to that same blank, emotionless slate.

"Hi Hot Hand-" Kaylee begins to stir and Eve's expression brightens, she doesn't experience what the former telepath does and so she doesn't know to feel bad, sorry in this moment.

For Eve this is a sign.

The wide eyed stare is returned and Eve holds her hand as Kaylee fades away again. "Well, you know once you show me. I won't be able to say no. It's time to wake up Miss Mind. That will always be your name, you must remember," Eve's voice lowers to almost a whisper though it's loud enough for Luther to hear.

"I once lost the Whispers as well. The Echoes. They have been there for us as long as we can remember, no? Something we leaned on, something sometimes feared. But that is not all we are. There is still trouble in this world and //you were not given a pass to sanctuary." Eve's voice grows louder.

"So wake up Miss Mind, this world needs you. So do I, so does," a look towards Luther and a smile. "My dear friend."

Eve promptly slaps Kaylee on both sides of her face. Smack. Smack. "I have risen myself from the grave but don't think I won't raise the very dead right this instance." Smacksmack. "Wake up, your duty still calls!"

"Wake up! Your children want for their mother!" Smack.

Eve is now straddling her friend and raising her hand again though she figures Luther will pull her off any second but all she needs is to get through to her. Smack. "Wake up! Wake up! You are not useless! Wake up! You are loved! Wake…" Eve closes her eyes and lifts her chin to the ceiling, mouth hanging open.


Luther's forward stalking stalls as Eve turns and addresses him with the familiarity of the nicknamed she's ever used. Facing the pair of women, he spots the brief twitch from Kaylee as well but just like before, there's doubt in getting hopes up too high. Luther always has treated this situation with slow, steadying presence. With time. With understanding.

Which is why, when the exact opposite appears in the form of Eve, the man looks puzzledly at the former seer. He's not the precognitive of the three, but something - perhaps Eve's rising volume, perhaps the look Eve has in her eye when she smiles at him - sparks alert in Luther. Shit.

"Ducky, wai—"

The first slap, a starting gun.

The crash of a pair of ceramic coffee mugs shattering on the floor kicks off the sprint forward.

Rest in Puddles, coffee.

Luther seizes Eve's raised wrist in rough arrest of movement, following with his other arm wrapping around to wrench her up and away from the catatonic telepath. "The FUCK, Eve?!" He steps backwards with his arm-bound burden. But it's over and through the wild black mane of hair in his face that he looks, shooting a worried glance in Kaylee's direction.

Deep in her mind, Kaylee feels the sharp sting. What… what was going on? Each slap is hard enough that the whole cage rattles from it until…. a squeak of hinges draws her attention to the door of her self inflicted prison.

It was open.

Kaylee… was free.

However, the moment she steps forward, the wild-eyed Eve is just beyond it with the gun still aimed at her. The telepath feels the twist of fear, painfully in her gut. You’re not real… that isn’t Eve now. Then she hears it… a voice just over the wild woman’s shoulder. It’s that voice that gives her strength to close her eyes and dive through the door.



They hear her voice soft and trembling, like a woman teetering on the brink of breaking and desperately looking for a rock to hold onto. His name is rough from a throat that hasn’t been used in some time. “Luther?” Kaylee repeats again, blue eyes lift to look through strands of hair displaced, with cheeks reddened by Eve’s slaps. They move from him to Eve and the tears well up in her eyes, chin trembling. Not because of the memories that tried to keep her, but she remembers… all the things her mind tried to protect herself from.

Normally, the strong one among her friends, Kaylee crumbles as she realizes that matter how she reached Luther and Eve’s minds, it was like her arms had been severed. Only her own panicked thoughts greet her and a gaping void of nothingness.

“It’s gone!” Kaylee tells her friends, through her tears.

Whoever did this had successfully crippled the telepath.

Kaylee buries her face in her hands, only to then shift them to grip at the sides of her head as if that act alone could help her hear the mental hums of her friends again. Tears fall on the soft fabric of her sweatpants, turning it a darker shade of gray. No matter how she tried, she couldn’t get them to stop.

Maybe she made a mistake, Kaylee wanted desperately to escape back to her cage.

Date: September 6, 2020

Time: 9:36am

Oh god… help me. I'm not ready to face the pain of my new reality.

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