Talk To Someone


kaylee_icon.gif luther_icon.gif

Also featuring:

barazani_icon.gif lou_icon.gif

Scene Title Talk To Someone
Synopsis Luther's drinking is getting out of hand and two of his guards call on Raytech's COO for a little intervention.
Date June 03, 2018

Church of the Ascension, Elmhurst

6:48 AM

“Do you want to call her?”
“No, obviously. But look at him, we can’t just…”
“Maybe we should.”
“Bob, she’s getting on a plane to Detroit in less than 24 hours. And she’s telepathic. You want to say we didn’t find him? I’m not going to risk it.”
“Fuck it, I’ll call her.”
“Alright Lou. You call, I’ll get the Chief up. But before you do, help me grab his legs.”


Lou’s call to Kaylee was short one, not necessarily by choice. With the Safe Zone being highly limited in available cellular service areas, fortunately the central area near the hospital had service. Raytech’s campus in Jackson Heights, however, is another story and thus the location arrangement to meet was later done through text.

The pair of security guards for Raytech have found their chief since he took off early the previous afternoon and failed to make arrangements on an otherwise routine scheduled check-in. The process which Luther himself set up followed, and on down the chain they went. However, calling Kaylee was not part of this. So the two wait for the Raytech COO to show up. They’re sharing a sandwich between them, a pair of coffee cups sitting atop the car. Luther has been hauled into the slid back passenger seat, buckled in place even.

It has been long established that Kaylee Ray-Sumter is not a morning person, especially, not on her days off… which a Sunday such as this. Which might explain the hesitation of the guards to call her. Luckily for them, they got her husband first and as such, the path to her was smoothed over. This meant when the sound of her tires over gravel reaches them and the car pulls up in front of them, she at least doesn’t look ready to kill someone.

Still, when she steps out of the car, Kaylee doesn’t look pleased. “Where is he?” But at least, she sounds somewhat concerned.

Being the weekend, this means she doesn’t have to even bother dressing nice, so she is in a simple outfit of jeans and a tee shirt. Kaylee has always been something of a tomboy. Though spending years in the past softened that and starting Raytech meant being more feminine, there were some days you just want to be you.

Both get a flat look as she approaches; boots, more at home on a biker, than a COO, crunching on the bits of gravel. Her plan had been to stop and talk to the pair, until she suddenly notices that familiar mind in the back of their car. So she moves past them, blonde curls bouncing with each purposeful step, till she can see her Security Chief, “Shit, Bellamy. What the hell…” She hisses out under her breath, and looks back at the other two. “How long has this been going on?” Even if she wouldn't, they know she could find out the answer herself. Yet, she is giving them the chance to tell her the truth.

Bob and Lou clear a path, parting like the sea before Biker Moses. They’ve grabbed their coffee cups, standing aside when the COO looks in to the company car to find the unconscious, but stirring, head of security. The man who normally acts as Kaylee’s bodyguard during the week is next in line according to protocols for when Luther is not available. But that hierarchy usually only applies on the weekdays. Usually. The pair are dressed for the weekend too, Bob in a comfortable shirt that’s left unbuttoned at the top and jeans, Lou in… what she usually wears to work, even. The difference might be a few more accessories and slightly mussier hair than her usual.

“We found him at the Church of the Ascension,” reports Lou after a sidelong glance from Bob. “He’s been hittin’ the bottle pretty hard since…” And there the report pauses with a glance back to Bob for confirmation. “Since we didn’t nab Miss Desjardins, really.”

Bob interjects with a slight shrug, “Since he punched Mister Ray. But a little later after that, he was saying he was taking a short trip outside the Safe Zone. Came back.” There, Bob shakes his head and shrugs. “He looked like he went outside and saw a djinn… er, a ghost.” Well, that’s something. But it also doesn’t tell her what Luther was really up to, which might be a worrisome concept that the man has something he’s hiding, too. Or simply trying to drown in the bottom of a bottle.

The irritation and frustration sort of bleeds out of her for a moment, when she sees him sitting there. He looked so damn pitiful and she ends up feeling sorry for the guy. There is even some guilt for what happened with Des. She didn’t know what her brother had planned, but after the fact… As for the punch, “Yeah, well, Richard fucking deserved it and I told him so.” Kaylee will be the first to admit she had been a bit of a bitch to her brother after that happened.

Her eyes don’t come off of the Security Chief, as she points at Bob, “You — you of all people should have told me sooner,” she accuses, finally looking at her bodyguard. Would she fire him over it? Hell no. But she’ll be pissed about it.

Admittedly, a small part of her was jealous that people like them, they could lose themselves in a bottle. The next step could end up being Refrain… that alone scared her. Popping open the door to the car, Kaylee leans in and — wow — her nose wrinkles a bit at the smell of him. “How much have you been drinking tonight, Luther? You smell like a cheap ass bar’s bathroom.” She reaches over and gives his stubbled cheek a few pats, “Wakey wakey…” Long fingers then capture his face to force the drunk man to look at her, “You and I. We’re gonna have a talk.”

Lou knows better than to argue when there’s this sort of atmosphere going on. But she does come to Bob’s defense in mildly stating, “He managed to check in every day since. Sometimes the hours were odd, but…” And then she quiets because Bob just shakes his head and motions with a hand for Lou to cut it out.

As Kaylee opens the door and leans in, the heavy, heady smell of whiskey rolls out like an invisible (or nearly visible) cloud. Even with the cracked car windows, the distinct odor clings to Luther’s person. The initial pokes and pats stir him to wakefulness, but the response is groggy, voice hoarse with sleep and liquor. “Get outta my tent,” he growls, words accompanied by a slow attempt to swat her hand away. An attempt that fails to launch more than a few inches off the center console of the car.

He makes an incoherent noise when he’s made to look at her. Face scrunching as eyes have to adjust, focus at the growing light that penetrates the haze. “Wha…?”

Probably a good thing that Bob silences Lou, because there is a glare shot her way from over Kaylee’s shoulder. Letting go of Luther and straightening, she says very carefully with measured words, “And yet you knew he’s been drinking himself silly.” Much like her brother, the telepath actually cares about the wellbeing of those in her employ, especially those she has gotten to know, like Luther. Someone, who tips closer to friend. “We could have headed this off sooner. You’re both lucky you didn’t find him dead in a ditch.” Yeah, she’s pissed.

Grabbing the edge of the door, Kaylee looks at the drunk Security Chief and gives a resigned sigh. “Being out here like this does him no good.” She gives the door a good shove, slamming it. A little cruel to create a loud sound like that near his ear, but the fact that she was here having to deal with this, instead of a wonderful Sunday with her husband and kids… she might feel he deserves it. “Take him home, I’ll follow you.” She wasn’t done with her security chief, yet.

“Go through one of the fire exits. Fewer people to notice. And lucky him, it’s early sunday morning.” Ain’t nobody going to be out of bed yet. Last thing Kaylee wanted was employees seeing the man in charge of protecting them blitzed out of his mind. “If you don’t have the key to disable the alarm, he more than likely has it on his keys.” Have fun fishing for those, Bob.

Bob and Lou endure the tongue-lashing with the quiet guilty silence of understanding. A shared look between them confirms as much, where neither or them actually think they could have stopped Luther from doing what he did. Although there is the wonder of what would have happened had they gone to the COO and overall personnel executive overseer sooner. Too late now, though. What’s done is done.

And the slam of the door startles even the drunken man out of his stupor, who can be seen rubbing a hand down his face as he tries to orient himself. Bob’s the one to nod and move to a separate car - the original one that Lou and he had driven to search for the security chief with - while Lou opens the driver seat to slide in beside the security chief. The little caravan of cars makes its way back to Jackson Heights and the Raytech campus housing.

Raytech Industries- Corporate Housing

Fortunately they don’t have to look very hard for Luther’s keys, but Bob does have to jostle the man to reach them. Once the keycard’s swiped and the alarm is disabled, the two of them haul the taller security chief into the main room of their team leader’s apartment. It’s not a complicated place to stay, largely barren of decoration save for a few houseplants set onto the windowsill. It’s a place that looks like it doesn’t see the inhabitant of it all that much. The most lived in item appears to be the couch, which at present has a folded blanket and pillow set atop it. Luther at least keeps the place relatively neat by the sheer property of having a lack of material property to be in it.

“Place could really use a woman’s touch,” observes Bob as he hangs on to Luther’s one arm around his shoulders. He and the security chief start to make their way towards the couch. Lou hangs back though, watching the door just in case anybody has seen them and decides to come snooping.

They will find the way free and clear, but unknown to them, it is mainly due to the telepath that follows behind them. It takes little effort to redirect someone in a different direction and to do so unnoticed. It is a part of her ability that has been around since the beginning. This means they won’t run into anyone that Kaylee doesn’t want them to. She absolutely hates doing it, but in this instance, she doesn’t have much choice.

As soon as she walks through the door, Kaylee realizes that this isn’t really his home. Which wasn’t unusual. Even her family has lived off campus and will again; despite having a family unit for them there at Raytech. Not everyone liked living at work, though their apartments were still pretty full. The fact that his place was like this, meant that there wouldn’t be any interruptions.


The Raytech COO is very quiet while she watches Bob flop Luther down on the couch heavily. The guard is even so nice as to make sure that the security chief is laying down with feet propped up. Kaylee lets him; but as soon as Bob has stopped fidgeting and straightens…

“Now get out.”

Kaylee’s tone is flat and laced with barely contained anger. When she says it, she doesn’t even look at her bodyguard, she is watching Luther.

Bob looks at her with complete surprise and Kaylee can almost feel Lou’s eyes on her back, though she can definitely feel the surprise in the woman’s mental hum. Bob glances behind her to Lou, then back again. He sounds almost hesitant as he offers in protest, “That’sa bad idea, boss.” He looks at Luther and then to their superior. “Tha rumor—”

“Are you kidding me? Not you too,” Kaylee snaps out in irritation. “Get the fuck out, Bob! Both of you. Nothing is going to happen.” Before he knows it, Bob has a very angry telepath only a few inches from him. Now her voice was edged with ice and eerily calm. “I’m simply going to have a conversation with my employee and neither one of you need to be in here for that.” Her head slowly turns from Bob to Lou, brows lifting. “Am I making myself clear?”

“Absolutely,” though Lou doesn’t look at all happy about it.

For his part, Bob looks ready to argue more. Maybe argue that she should wait till he is sober for disciplinary action… aka: the asschewing of a lifetime. However, the smarter part of him snaps his mouth shut when she looks back at him and he only nods in affirmation. Though just like Lou, he is not happy about it and lets Kaylee see it.

The apartment as barren looking in the main room as it is, it’s a wonder if Luther even has a bed set up in the bedroom just down the short hallway that they could have put him down on there. But now that they have the man, semi-conscious, on the couch, Bob and Lou only offer their protests long enough to make their points. A worry about rumors and reputations. A slight worry about Kaylee’s own mental state. There’s been a lot of stress going on at the company of late.

But the pair of security finally take their leave. Bob casts a quick glance back over his shoulder, then shuts the front door. Their receding footsteps accompany the receding mental signatures. And then, she and Luther are alone.

Arguments and movements have stirred Luther’s awareness enough that he’s registering bodies. Kaylee’s face in profile, though her manner of dress is not the normal way he’s used to seeing her around the building. That’s confusing. Not including the dull throb, familiar but never welcome, of the hangover he has presently. “Kaylee?” The man’s voice slides out of him in a stupor’s pace, but he’s coming around. Slowly.

His hand starts to pat his torso and pants down, searching for items he recalls he should have on his person. Keys. Wallet. Phone.

“Yeah, Luther. It’s Kaylee,” she sighs out, throwing the locks on his door so that they are not disturbed. Pacing back to the couch, she throws down the belongings, passed over to her when the guards left, on the coffee table. She watches him for a moment with lips thinned in irritation. This wouldn’t do. She needed him a little more clear headed. Looking towards the hallway, brows lift at a thought.

“You look like, shit.” The words are extremely blunt, as she reaches down to grab his arm and hook it over her shoulder. “Come’on. Let’s get you lying down.” She is a slight thing, but this doesn’t seem like her first rodeo. It will take a few tries, because he is a big guy, but she’ll get him on his feet. There is a slight grunt of effort to keep him upright enough and shifting her grip on him. “God, man… you weigh a ton.” A arm, moving to rest around his back, with fingers curled into his shirt at his otherside. “Or I need to work out more… I think we should both work on this problem.”

“You’ll be lucky if you haven’t destroyed your liver,” the telepath grouses as she half drags and half guides the drunk man towards his bedroom. It is a process with them stumbling once and her just about losing him. Instead, they find themselves very awkwardly up against the wall, when she has to pin him to the wall with her own body, so that she can adjust and regain her balance. She is suddenly glad that she sent the guards off, cause that didn’t look bad.
Though it seems like they are destined for his bedroom, they take a sudden turn. Her foot nudges open the door and a hand fumbles for the light. Like any of the apartments in Raytech’s quarters, there is a tub and shower combo. This is where she drags him.

What happens next is almost a blur, for him. Kaylee turns them, so that the tub hits him in the shins and ruins what little balance he has. He is going down, but at least Kaylee manages to… barely… slow his fall. The only thing that keeps her from joining him in the tub is the hand that smacks against the tile at the back of the tub. There is a huff of air that puffs out there telepath’s cheeks as she straightens. “Next time, I’ll have Bob do that,” she pants out, taking a moment to recover her breath.

She then plops herself on the edge of the bathtub, reaches over and flips on the shower as cold as she can. Should Luther try to escape the cold, he’ll find one of her hands planted squarely in the middle of his chest to keep him in the frigid spray. It’ll mean her getting a little wet herself, strands of blonde already clinging to her cheek. However…

Kaylee Ray-Sumter is not in the mood to play nice today or caring what others think.

Upon the confirmation that she really is here, Luther groans. "Fuuu…" His regret is coupled on like a rattling caboose to the hangover making itself known the more awake he becomes. It takes great effort on her part, no doubt irritation lending power and efficiency to the actions of hauling the security chief up onto his feet and moving him down the hall.

He's no lightweight, in both physical weight and how much drink he's had.

The trip-up into the tub results in a loud and hollow thudding of Luther's into it. A colorful swear issues out, followed by painful curl away from the tiled wall. There's probably a bruise forming somewhere in the area of impact. That and the tub is too short for the man's height, so he winds up propped partly against the corner opposite the showerhead.

And then the water comes blasting out at the cold pipe temperatures, spraying right into Luther's face and upper body. That definitely gets another bout of swearing and sputtering, the man raising his arms first to ward off the splashing. His attempts to move, to get up, are prevented by her firmly planted hand.

Luther paws at her wrist, at the water, wincing and grimacing as he turns his face from the spray and takes the brunt of it to the top of his head, to his temple, his ear, anywhere. "Turn it off," he requests over the constant rush.

The bathroom's going to be a wet mess. The both of them as well.

The water stays on a moment longer, as she growls out, “Do I have your attention, Mr. Bellamy? Your head clear enough for you to understand me?” His name comes out in precise and measured syllables.

She doesn’t wait for him to answer, she decides to have mercy on him — and her too, cause damn that’s cold — shutting it off. Both of them are left a mess, but her hand is still firmly on his chest; ignoring the drip of cold water from the ends of blonde hair on one side of her head.

Leaning a little closer to make sure that he can see the anger in those blue-eyes and he can feel the tremble of her hand as she barely contains that same emotion. Kaylee half snaps out, her voice just barely above a whisper. “What the fuck is wrong with you lately?” She watches him, studies him as she talks. She listens, but not closely. She’s listening for the changes in his mental tone. “Where the hell is the man that I hired to protect my family and my people? Cause the man sitting right here is not him.” That said she pushes away from him, as if disgusted with him, leaving him to lay there in that tub by moving to sit on the closed toilet lid.

A singular nod against the stream of water indicates Luther is conscious, even if not entirely sober. That will come in time. The stink of whiskey is less obvious, but not gone. Once the water's off, he's left sitting in silenced submission with the trickling streams of water running off his soaked clothes and sliding down the drain. At least it wasn't one of his suits. But that may be a worse concept, seeing as he'd have changed out before heading to a bar or a local liquor source.

With Kaylee up in his face, Luther stays silent under the force of her stare. The hand on his chest shouldn't be enough to keep him there, but it does. It feels heavy to him, anyway. But that's the press of guilt adding to the physical feeling.

Her questions are a harsh stab to the open wounds of his thoughts. He has no capacity to hide them from her as possible responses come to mind. That he's failed. Failed in protecting Remi, failed in the apprehension of Odessa Knutson, failed in being the leader of a team of people who shouldn't be counting on him.

And that he failed her. Seeing Kaylee there, the fresh reminder of another blonde woman of his past, Trish, bubbles up unbidden. There's a faint, familiar signature that Kaylee's encountered before lingering in the man's mind. Dangerous grounds that evoke fear. Her voice is a sound he doesn't forget. Please, Luther. Please…

Luther takes in a sharp breath, his body tensing, jaw trembling with the restraint of a withheld urge to sob. His head drops low, arms drawing close to his body. All he manages is a quiet apology. "I'm sorry."

There is so much more that Kaylee wants to say in that moment, her mouth even opening, but something in those two words… the chaos of his mind that beats against her defenses, it saps the energy right out of her. Especially, when she notices that familiar sensation, one that was in the minds of the Lighthouse kids. Her first instinct of to cringe away from it, her ability avoiding it at all cost.

“Shit,” she hisses out, covering her face with her hands for a moment. “You’re infected by it.”

Then rather suddenly, the telepath is on her feet and out the bathroom door; hand hooking on the door jam as she goes around the corner. Luther can hear her opening cabinets, until she finds what she is looking for.

Back in the bathroom with Luther, she tosses a towel at him and retakes her seat on the toilet. Her attention is on the floor tiles between her feet for a long time. While she knows he is infected, it didn’t change the fact something was wrong beyond that. “Look… Let’s put aside the fact that I’m your boss and you are my Security Chief.” She brushes that away with a sweep of her hand, finally focusing on the man huddled in the bathtub. “As a friend, I don’t like seeing you like this.” In fact, it was heartbreaking for her to see a normally strong man like him, reduced to what was before her. It reminds her of watching her own husband struggle with his inner demons. “Talk to me, Luther. Please.”

Sighing softly, Kaylee leans forward to rest elbows on her knees, “You know…” she starts softly, “You are not the only one who has had a lot of bad shit happen to them and you won’t be the last. Difference is, some of us can’t hide in a bottle and have to face those demons everyday.”

The voice echoes and fades away back into the ether of the subconscious as Luther sobers. His body shivers, not from the cold although he's clearly not focused enough to do more about the general body heat that emits from him. He tilts his face away as if to try and hide it from her, brow furrowing when she says he's infected. He doesn't know what she means by it, but the word resonates within him, threatening a pull of another strong memory of his past out of the muddied mental waters.

That one doesn't surface, but it comes close in the form of the feeling of a hangman's noose. The scratchy rope drawn tight around his neck. He struggles to find his breath, and a wet hand rubs at his throat, fingers clawing. The infection, as she describes it, still feels fresh. Enough so her telepathic withdrawal, then physical withdrawal to find a bath towel in the linens, is a good idea.

He doesn't exactly catch the towel, but when it falls to him, he takes it and curls his hands into the fabric. Clinging onto it like a totem to anchor him to the present, he slowly shifts his gaze to Kaylee as she leans forward. His eyes linger on her for a time even after her remarks. For her to call him a friend, it's a statement that is far more sobering. That she and others face their demons without assistance from spirits, another prod. He breathes in raggedly, swallowing the knot in his throat.

"I know." His voice comes out low, quiet, a bare level above a whisper. "And I'm sorry you had to… deal with me." His shift inside the tub is slight. The man's boot soles squeak against porcelain. "I'm not— not trying to excuse my behavior." Perhaps because there's hardly a place he could start that doesn't sound like he's making himself into some sob story. The man shakes his head again, finally raising the towel to face.

“Deal with you…” Kaylee huffs that out in a humorless chuckle and a slow shake of her head. “I swear I am getting a sense of deja vu.”

Shifting back over to sit on the edge of the tub, so that she can rest a gentle hand on his shoulder. “I’m not asking you to make excuses,” Kaylee starts softly, her head tilting a little to try and catch his eye. “I want you to own the fuck up and talk to me. Hiding it all away behind a bottle is not the answer.” Her head shakes back and forth slowly. “Never is. You have friends. People who will listen and even be a shoulder to lean on.”

The hand on his shoulder slides away and rests in her lap, her attention on the wall in front of her. “When I was younger, around the time I met my husband…” She smile a little at the memory. “Closing in on nine… ten years ago… I found myself dealing with a lot of friends, including Joseph and one of my dearest friends Colette, that were being torn apart by addiction. Someone used them as experiments,” Kaylee knows who it was and that person was employed with them, “left them in that state,” There is a sadness and pain to her voice as she speaks remembering. “I spent a lot a days holding hands, wiping brows, and rinsing out puke buckets. Being pushed away by the people I loved and cared about the most in this world.”

With a grimace, Kaylee gives Luther an apologetic smile, “Sorry. I know you are wondering what that has to do with you. I’ll tell you.” Taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly, the telepath tips her chin up a bit. “I did my best to be there for Joseph. I made sure he didn’t have to face those demons alone, even when he rather I didn’t. That is what your friends can be to you. If you let them. Talk to them.” She gives him a small smile, “Talk to me. I’ll hold nothing against you. I mean, really. I am not one to throw stones at glass houses.”

The towel comes away, leaving Luther’s face and expression dry and dulled. At the rest of her hand on his shoulder, he turns to look at it and then slightly up. The emotional state, the fear, the chagrin, hasn’t left him. She can see the moment he starts to respond, but a different, darker thought strikes and he balks with a shift of his eyes to the shower tile. Of course the alcohol is not the answer, and he agrees at least in mind. It’s the easiest way to go if one doesn’t want to answer to those questions, and the hard truths.

Slowly, though, as she goes to to tell him of her story, he turns away from the wall and to her. The mention of addiction and experiments finds Luther focused with a frown upon that tidbit. There’s a flash of discomfort when she mentions her days of caretaking for those she wanted to help. He recognizes the similar situation now. Just that for now, there’s not a puke bucket to rinse out.

But when she entreats him to talk, he drops his gaze down to the rest of him and the wet mess he presents. Guilt hangs overhead, a dark and invisible cloud that need not drop its rain yet. What she says rings true in the general way. But he wrestles with the notions presented; talking meant digging into the past. Exposing skeletons he has kept buried for years or drowned with a sea of alcohol. And in that moment, he still thinks of how, right at this moment, he needs - wants - a drink.

Despite the story she’s told and the compassion she’s shown in it, Luther shakes his head and says, “No. You don’t want to hear this. There’s enough shit going on with you, your family. With Natalie Gray. The company.” They don’t sound like excuses on his part, even though he’s leveraging them as such. He places a hand on the edge of the tub, attempting to push himself up to a position that he can lever himself up. It’s a deflection, an attempt to ignore the problem as a grizzled veteran might write off a bullet wound.

“Maybe,” Kaylee doesn’t deny that there is a lot going on. There is no immediate move to help, watching him struggle for the moment. “Maybe there is a shitstorm of problems barreling my way, but guess what.” She spreads her hands wide. “This has been, it feels like, my entire life.”

“And yet… here I am, in this tiny bathroom with you,” it’s pointed out gently. “You know why?” Kaylee asks, brows lifting a bit.

“Because I need you, Luther.” It feels weird saying those words out loud, but it was the truth. She had known it on the trip to find David Cardinal, when they sat in that diner and talked. It was a feeling of camaraderie that she hadn’t felt since Eric Doyle, probably the best friend she has ever had and someone she misses everyday. However, Kaylee didn’t know how to explain that.

“I love my brother, but he has his own problems and I can’t always look to him to have my back.” Even if she knows he would. Only now does Kaylee rises to her feet and wrap hands around arm to steady him and give him a little leverage. “And I’m not sure he sees the same things in you that I do. The same potential.”

Once he’s standing, Kaylee grips his arm and gives him a bit of a shake, forcing him to look at her. “You’ve been drug into all our shit, why not let me wade into yours and help you?” Reaching up, she rest a hand against his cheek briefly, nothing lingering. “In other words… I want to hear it.”

Her peace said, she steps back, giving him room to step out of the shower, but also ready to help him should he look like he is going to fall.

With visible effort, Luther gets his feet under him and manages to at least kneel steadily on one. The man stops there, though, because her words are spoken gently enough and he’s listening. Even in the hungover state, he’s tuned in. And struck by the woman’s statement like she’s boxed him in his ears.

She needed him.

Luther hitches in breath, blinking eyes laced with inner conflict. His demons, they’re laughing still, echoes of past faces flickering through his memories. People he’s let down. People he could not protect. The circumstances may have been out of his control, but the sense of duty remained. The same sense that he’s approached the job of being the security chief with, but, it is more. Kaylee mentions her brother having her back but it’s not the same. Luther’s jawline twitches, a different immediate guilt for punching the man slipping through.

“Shouldn’t count on me,” Luther continues his protest even as he accepts the help up to his feet. Her grip on his arm, the shake to gain his eyes, does. Grey eyes edged in the puffy redness of emotion turn to meet blue. “People who get close, tend to get hurt.” He doesn’t say they tend to die, but the meaning is right there beneath the surface.

As Kaylee steps back, he takes a step, unsteady and braced along the wall, out of the tub and shower. He’s soaked from head to toe, clothes squelching at the bottom, heavy with water. The survivor’s guilt is even heavier. He stands there for a long moment in silence, eyes unfocused but on her like he’s trying to figure out what to do or say that might result in what he’s pushing for, like the silence can quietly build the wall he’s half started with the drinking. The only trouble being that he also has the urge to reach over the wall, to reach for the hand she’d offered.

In the end he lurches forward, physically trying to move, but unsteady legs don’t cooperate too well and he stumbles over his own feet. Arms and reactions slowed by the alcohol, Luther’s misstep sends him crashing right towards the woman and the sink beside her.

There are so many people in this new world who have been left with that kind of guilt. Her and Joseph deal with it all the time, especially on the anniversary of the fall of the Ferry’s last stronghold. How is it they survived when so many friends and colleagues did not. That understanding makes her frown a bit.

“Will you quit being a stubborn a— “

The sentence doesn’t quite get finished in favor of self-preservation, as Luther stumbles forward and loses his balance. In her head, she has this. It’s going to be fine. Feet are braced for impact, but clearly, he is much bigger than her much slighter form. For a rather shaky moment she feels like they might be okay, arms wrapped around his trunk, leaning in to counter his fall.

“I gotch—”

However, in that same moment, it dawns on her, that maybe she doesn’t have him or herself even. Despite her valiant effort to keep them upright, Kaylee’s knees buckle under the full weight of him. Her shoulder strikes of the edge of the sink, with a hiss of pain and instant tears against the flash of pain. That will be one hell of a nasty bruise later. In the end, they end up in a wet and pitiful heap on the floor of bathroom.

Her head is down and ropes of damp hair cover her face, but yet he can feel her shaking, shoulders jerking with it, while it might seem like she is crying, it truth….

Kaylee bursts out into laughter at the ridiculousness of the situation. There are tears in her eyes as she looks up, but she laughing. “You okay?” she manages to ask still chuckling, after she regains at least some of her composure.

Even half drunk, Luther has presence of mind to realize he's falling. The man reaches out to grab for something to catch him, but that something happens to be Kaylee. His weight at full force would be a struggle for someone twice Kaylee's size, so it's not a real surprise that she buckles. He reflexively curls around the rest of her, so while she bangs her shoulder on the sink, he hits the floor first with his knees, then shoulder and side.

The fall knocks the wind out of him, and he lies there with a thin groan of pain before the rest of him catches up. Drunks never really know how much pain they don't feel, until they do. The laughter throws him off from the throbbing feeling radiating from the points of impact. There's definitely going to be some bruising. And an ache that will last a while.

But, she's laughing. And it's contagious. Luther's chuckle is an echo of hers, a breathy huffed sound of acknowledgment to how messed up it looks. And that's followed by a realization that it is. Awkwardly he pushes himself off of her, now sitting on the floor of the bathroom instead of the bathtub. Eyes averted down, he rubs a hand on the back of his neck and apologizes, "Yeah, I'm alright, sorry. Are you okay? Like I said, people around me tend to get hurt." Whether he means it or not. The man swallows thickly, daring a short glance to her.

Legs are pulled out from their awkward position under her and she shifts to rest her back against the doors of the sink. Legs are pulled in to bend at the knees in front of her, with booted feet flat on the floor. Her head bobs ever so slightly in affirmation that she is okay. “A little bruised, but alive,” she says out loud for his benefit. “Pretty sure I’ll live to see another day.” Yeah, that was a tease.

When he glances her way, he’ll find her staring at the wall in front of her, expression thoughtful. “You know…” Kaylee starts off quietly, “you can’t keep pushing away people, because you think they will get hurt.” Her head rolls along the cabinet to look at him, so that she can give him a matter of fact look. “Hear me out.” A hand lifts to stall him from saying anything till she is done. “To start, that is a really lonely fucking existence.”

Arms are folded and settled around her knees, curling Kaylee forward. “For another, by pushing them away, you might not be there when they actually need you. You need to realize there are some things that are outside of your control.”

A blonde brow lifts as she studies him. “Would you rather stand back and harden your heart to people as they step into danger, or…” She leans a little his way and says softly, “You stand by them and do your damndest to make sure they come out of it alive? Even if doing so means you risk caring about them.” That last bit, she leans over had gently stabs a finger at his chest. She knows it’s a little unfair, but she is trying to make a point.

“We all get hurt and we all die, Luther,” she points out matter of factly, “I’ve been shot, stabbed, and attacked in more ways than I can count. I have to face those physical and mental scars everyday. In many cases people I cared about were lost, but— “ She takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly, “Yeah, the pain can be unbearable, but I would do all of it again. All of it. How much worse would it have been if I pushed them away, cause I was afraid they would get hurt?”

She points at the doorway, “And guess what I’m already running straight into it again. Yeah, I might die… they might still die, but not doing anything would be worse.”

“Besides,” Kaylee unfolds her arms and gets ready to push to her feet, “it’s too late. I already care about your stubborn ass.”

Luther, also with arms dangling off his bruised bent knees, sighs ruefully at that bit of teasing. But with it is an undercurrent of relief, and release of some of the tension that has been working its way back into him gradually. The more sober he becomes, the more thoughts returning. The more worries that threaten to crawl back and settle in.

When she starts again, she heads off his protest aptly. The hand held up, the comment about a lonely existence. There's no doubting the truth to it. Then as she studies him and posits her question, he looks back to her with a quiet stare layered with inner conflict. "I've done both," he utters quietly to her, "Tried to keep my distance. Tried to step in. Wished I could have done more." But she didn't want him to. There was only one last thing that she asked him to do…

His chest rises and falls, face turning away and a hand falling back to knuckle at the wet corners of his eyes.

Something within what she says next turns his attention and gaze back. Maybe it's when she points to the doorway and mentions running towards the death and danger, because doing nothing is worse.

Maybe it's the part where she says she cares about him.

Both statements cause a flutter of distress.

As she makes to rise from the bathroom floor, he looks up at her and belatedly starts to unfold himself too. A lingering dizziness strikes and he makes a face, a hand reaching for the sink counter. A long beat passes before he completes the stand. And he braces, leans on the sink counter with a slow exhale, a brief close of his eyes.

Then, they reopen and turn back to Kaylee. "How did you get in?" It's a much simpler puzzle to solve than trying to piece together the broken past. That would take far more time.

Fingers curl around his upper arm, offering him steady support when he is on his feet. She knows she can’t keep him upright, but maybe she can keep him a little more balanced. “You know how many times I wished I could have done more? Life sucks, Luther, you have to learn to go with the punches. Easier said than done, even I have a hard time with it some days.” Once she knows he isn’t going to fall over again, she lets go.

The question about how she got in… it takes her a moment to really understand what he is asking her. In fact, he can see the confusion. When it, finally, dawns on her, there is complete surprise on her face. “Wow… you… “ Kaylee gives a short huff of laughter, smile brightening with the humor of it. “Bob and Lou found you passed out drunk and called me,” she explains, “I had them help me bring you here and then I kicked them out so I could talk to you.” A short and simple explanation.

Taking a step back, Kaylee nods behind her out the door. “Should get you laying down. Before you fall down and do some real damage.”

“And I’ve got a few years on you, so that I’ve got a one-up on,” Luther replies without looking at her. The statement doesn’t have very much bite to it, more like an old dog’s grumblings. He doesn’t exactly express the gratitude for her supportive arm by word, but he looks to her steadying hand on his arm, then to her face. The thanks is there, muddled though it is with his slow growing sobriety.

When she looks confused about his inquiry, he looks confused right back. The man truly doesn’t recall the events of the morning except in hazy snatches of incoherent blurs and voices. Hours lost, no doubt, to time and whiskey. But when she relays her summation of the events that got him to where he is, Luther grimaces, cheeks flushed in color. He’d apologize again, but stops shy of doing so given that his two team members aren’t present. Later, he makes a mental promise. Hopefully, he remembers that one.

The man steps forward again, a little steadier save for the throbbing of bruised knees and body, and grips on to the door frame of the bathroom. A leaned glance over his shoulder to the wet mess in the bathroom and look down to his still sopping wet clothes, and he mumbles a low swear meant for himself. “I oughtta clean up this mess,” he says in response, the bit of clean up that he feels needs to be done coming to mind.

Stepping out of his way and into the hall, she follows his look over his shoulder to the mess. There is a twinge of guilt that knifes through her stomach. “Just go get out of those and crawl into bed,” Kaylee half orders, shooing him towards his bedroom; giving him her best mom look. Don’t argue with her. “I’ll get the mess in the bathroom cleaned up and let myself out. I created.” Which isn’t wrong and she recognizes the fact with a half smile.

Before he can move passed her and down the hall, a hand suddenly is pressed gently against his chest. “Hey, even if you ignore everything I said today… You have to stop this destructive behavior. You’re no good to help anyone like this. If something happened right now….” She trails off letting that sink in, what could happen if someone broke in right now.

“Talk to someone, Luther. Okay?” Kaylee’s words are gentle. “My door will always be open. Take a few weeks if you need it.” Then she does something he did for her once —

She hugs the man.

He honestly doesn’t have to be told twice to get out of the wet clothes that suck away the heat from his body. Luther doesn’t argue back when leveled with the mom look, although he shakes his head at her statement that she created the mess. “Leave it, I’ll get it later…” is what he says as he starts to step around her. Both his movement and his words are paused by the hand to his chest. She’ll feel the radiating heat that normally accompanies the man’s form, making the shirt he’s wearing slightly warmer for it. He looks down to her hand, then up at at her face.

Her words do sink in, weighing like the wet clothes on his person. Silence meets her gentle words, though the expression on his face shows he’s heard her. Every word.

Just as he’s about to say as much, she steps in to hug him and he goes still. At first, he feels tense in a reminiscent twinge of earlier awkwardness. But the warmth of the embrace and, he’ll later admit to himself, the softness of it, break past the initial paranoia of being so close to another. Gradually he returns the hug, arms wrapped around tighter than she might expect. Clinging. His breathing shallows, which he fights back and down the welling of emotion that threatens to take over. Not yet. Not here.

But he does speak again eventually, and his words are low, quiet, thoughtful and grateful. “Thank you. I… thank you.” He never was very good with wordy proclamations. And when he pulls back from the hug, he faces her with a faint but genuine smile. It’s going to be alright.

Then, nodding once, he slips around her to head to the back bedroom and get out of the wet clothes he’s in, and into the bed that actually does exist there.

Returning that smile and stepping out of his way, Kaylee watches him to make sure that he at least gets to the bedroom. Ready to help if he falls again. “What are friends for?” she softly says to herself, before turning to let herself out of the apartment and spend what was left of the day with her family.

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