The Pastor's Sanctuary


s_joseph_icon.gif s_kaylee_icon.gif nightmare_icon.gif

Scene Title The Pastor's Sanctuary
Synopsis Kaylee arrives just in time to help Joseph push out the Nightmare Man and find his church. Once there, they discuss many things.. The Nightmare Man, Refrain, and the Rescue are some of the subjects.
Date February 05, 2010

Joseph's Dreamscape

Hokuto's mirror room has been out of Kaylee's grip for the last few nights, mainly due to the fact that the young woman couldn't get to sleep, worried over her young friend's welfare. Finally, tonight, she steps out of the forest darken path into a clearing with mirrors all around it. Each is cradled in the arms of fruit laden trees. Each mirror is different. Some small, others large. Some with elaborate frames with gilded gold.

Standing in the center of the clearing, Kaylee turns slowly, her brow furrowed. Her white dress is not the crisp white it normally is, it's smudges and ripped in places, but it still moves lightly around her knees. Her hair is bound ups with it's loose curls, but the leaves in her head are yellowed and brown. Her appearance a testament to how the waking world is affecting her mentally.

"Which one?"

Kaylee whispers softly, worry straining her words. But then one catches her eyes, making her pause. "Is it?"

It was a mirror plain in appearance, simple in it's construction.. but beautiful as it is cradled in the arms of an apple tree. Dirt smudged bare feet shuffle through the tall grass of the clearing. Until her hand brushing along the frame. No varnish marred the plain pine wood of the square jointed frame, but it was smooth to the touch as if it had been lovingly sanded by skilled hands.

A small smile touches her lips as relief courses through her, there was no doubt, this was his. Long fingers slide from the frame to glide over the mirror, pressing against the slick surface. Her hand slides into the silvery surface as if into a viscous liquid. Further still she pushes into it, her other hand lifting to press deeper.

Kaylee Thatcher slowly steps through the looking glass and into the dreaming mind of Pastor Joseph Sumter.

Her naked feet find summer-dried yellow grass and crisp crackling dirt beneath them, pebbles and twigs making her walk uncomfortable but not excessively. The ground tips down towards a large lake, glittering blue under a high noon sky, dots of trees casting cool shade, and no civilization in immediate sight for all that trees and the dip of hills disguise the roads and distant buildings.

"Won't be long, now, and you'll be out've here. Up with your god and your little girl and your feathery wings."

To Joseph, they're familiar words, and spoken in a familiar voice, coming together in a sinuous kind of piece of manipulation. Claira's voice is always soft, and it fills up the entire space, the whole hillside, and turns Kaylee's head to see where Joseph stands with his arms around the waist of a woman near his age. Long blonde hair pinned back from her face, and almost as tall as her husband, dressed in floral fabric and her feet clad in sandles. Her arms are looped around his shoulders as she gazes up at him. "Nearly there. But I thought I'd offer, if you feel like you're in need of a temporary reprieve…"

Joseph's breath catches in his throat, not noticing Kaylee's appearance as he stares down at Claira, both of them moving in a kind of slow turn, a very sedate and distracted dance. The wind blowing through the valley snags at and billows the light blue cotton of his shirt from his back, cinched with the belt in his slacks. Sleeves rolled up, feet bare. "Don't want anything from you."

"Sure about that?" Claira asks, her voice warm, and even from where Kaylee stands, she can see the glowing blue syringe between Claira's long fingers, just out of sight of Joseph where her hands come to join behind his neck. Claira sends a glance Kaylee's way, one of recognition, and the woman in white will feel like her guts are freezing over. "Seems to me that you could use a little time and distance," she continues to murmur. "You aren't eating. Aren't sleeping. It isn't healthy."

It takes several moments of walking, the rough terrain making it slow going and rather ungraceful, before Kaylee's vision clears enough to really see her surroundings. Blue eyes slowly blink as she gets her bearings, eyes skimming over the blue of the lake, it almost reminds her of home. Her smile wides some, that is until she hears a voice, a feminine voice.

Her head slowly turns to see Joseph and the woman who can only be his wife, her smile fades some at the sight, though she doesn't see all the details yet. The young telepath feels like an intruder on a private moment, her cheeks coloring a touch. She turns slightly as if she would leave, she doesn't want to intrude on memories of his wife, it's really awkward. However, she catches the sight of something strange. Her breath catches in her throat and eyes widen, when she spots the blue glow.

Standing there dumbstruck, the wind sending leaves across her feet, settling along her ankle, Kaylee stares at Claira. And then the weight of the woman's words hits Kaylee. "No." The woman in Joseph's arms can see a flash of anger in the telepath's eyes, the word said fiercely and thick with emotion. "Don't listen to her Joseph…" Blue eyes stare at the other woman… they've met before in another dream, in another form. "..that's not your wife." Eyes narrow slightly as she starts to slowly close the distance.

"Leave him alone." That is said directly to Claira, a dangerous edge to her voice. "This one is forbidden to you." She had been afraid of finding the Nightmare Man with in the mind of the Pastor, but now… she was just pissed.

Joseph turns — or at least, he looks over his shoulder to cast a squinting gaze towards Kaylee, as if the sun were in his eyes, or as if perhaps he's trying to remember who she is. He seems healthy and whole, despite his wife's assessment — there's a tie, too, the wind now snagging it to flutter the length of royal blue silk over a shoulder, and he hasn't dressed this well since before he ever met the telepathic woman, and he hasn't been here, near the lake out in the country, for years.

A feminine hand raises, Claira pressing her palm to his cheek to steer his attention back down to her. "Where are you gonna go, Pastor?"

Abruptly, colour bleeds out of the setting. Yellow and green of the grass beneath Kaylee's feet withers into greyness, and the glittering blue lake looks like the dip of land is filled with lead. The sky goes hazier, the sun a spot of glowing white. With a start, Joseph grips onto Claira's arms and wrenches them down from around his neck, staring at the blue syringe which has maintained it's colour.

She smiles at him as she adds, "Not back to church. Not after this." Claira's sandals slip against the bank as Joseph shoves her away, doing more to make himself stagger than her as he retreats back some feet, a hand out as if to ward her away.

Standing just behind Joseph, Kaylee doesn't touch him, even though a part of her wants to reach out and pull him behind her. Her attention stays riveted on Claira, strands of golden hair fluttering across her face from the wind. "Joseph…" The blonde telepath's voice is soft, as she turns her head towards him, even though her eyes stay on the other woman. "… don't listen to her, she'll fill your ears with whatever lies she wants you to hear. She wants to take you away from the people who need you." Moving to stand beside him, she finally takes a moment to look at him, worry etched on her face.

"You want your church, Pastor Sumter? You can have your church.. your sanctuary." Kaylee's chin tilts up in defiance at the woman and her blue glow, almost daring her. "You can cast the Nightmare from your mind." She encourage gently. Finally, a hand touches his arm, fingers slide down as she attempts to reassure him, make her seem more real. "You don't have to be his victim. I can help you cast him out. Your dreams can be your sanctuary, from the everything happening to you. You don't need to live in hell here as well."

Claira plants her hands on her hips, the syringe caught in curled fingers, although she isn't fighting to steal back her husband — or victim, depending on one's perception as to exactly what she is. The wind that had been playing at the ends of grass stalks, teasing hair and fabric, picks up like the run off from a tornado, slowly but surely, tossing the fine locks of Claira's own blonde hair around enough to writhe, stark white in the colour drain of the landscape.

Her mouth twists in a sneer. "I've lived a good life, and I'm not ashamed of anything I've done." Her eyes narrow on Kaylee, now. "Orders are orders, a threat's a threat."

The grey of the sky gains texture, clouds forming from nothing and blotting out the sun. Joseph's hand seeks Kaylee's, gripping tighter as he pulls her and himself away from where the image of his wife stands, her voice booming with a deeper undercurrent of some other voice, something bigger. The current of wind that whips around her seems to steal pieces of her apart, whirling the patterns of the air as Claira comes apart like ash. "God will judge me, if you still believe there is one. With any luck, he'll be more objective than the lot of you."


If any time passed between the hillside and the Nightmare Man's threatening words, Kaylee can't recall it. But Joseph presses his hands against the wooden doors he's shut against the black and white scene, colour leaking into being as warm yellow light displays the place they're found themselves. High windows send illumination down towards the rows and rows of wooden pews, bolted to the ground that's both clean carpet and wooden floor. The pulpit up ahead is clear of people, with an organ crowding the corner and a podium with a sign that reads, 'Guiding Light Baptist Church'.

Everything is clean, everything is polished, and the place is empty save for them. Joseph leans his back against the closed doors, letting out a sigh as if he'd been holding his breath, a hand up to smooth down his tie.

The delicate hand in his, grips just as tightly, Kaylee willing him to have the strength to fight the invader. She doesn't even fight him at all as he pulls her back, she doesn't take her eyes off the figure in the gray world. Her attention is so total, that she actually jumps when the doors slam shut on the view of the Nightmare Man. Bare feet shuffle backwards away from the door until the back row pew gooses her. Hands reach back to grip the seat backs and she leans there heavily, an equally heavy sigh of relief escaping her.

"That won't be the last time. The Nightmare Man and I will see each other again." The blonde's words are barely above a whisper, as if afraid to speak too loudly in such a place. "I'm sorry you had to face him… I… had hoped to keep him away from you."

Another moment of silence passes before, her head slowly lifts, to look at the Pastor through a light curtain of wind blown hair. There is a mix of caution, worry, and… something else there as she asks softly, "Joseph…?" So many things she could ask… none of them seem to be proper in his current situation, so she can only let the question hang there.

Away from the doors, Joseph steers a look back towards them, sunlight coming in thin through the gap between the slabs of wood and catching the familiar patterns of dust in the air, too fine to be the ash that the visage of his wife had turned into. Bemused, is a good term for what he is right now, silent in the face of Kaylee's words and questions as he slowly makes his way further inside. There's a navy jacket slung over the corners of the end most pew, and he picks it up, hesitates, pulls it on to complete his ensemble. More immaculate than was ever required of him when he worked down in the Grand Central Terminal.

"This place burned down," he says, confusion leaking into his voice as a hand wanders a gesture to indicate the empty worship hall. He looks towards the staircase that leads to his office, to the pulpit, and then to Kaylee. "Which means it ain't real. Which means you ain't real."

There is a bit of a grimace at what he says, hands pushing her away from the pew, so that Kaylee can turn and watch him. "No.. the church isn't real." The young woman glances around the church curiously, as bare feet carry her after Joseph. "This.. is… your sanctuary." She spreads her arms and turns around slowly to indicate it all. "You are safe in here from the Nightmare man and from the real world." Facing him again, her arms slowly lower.

"But… unlike the church. I am real." Kaylee says gently. "With the help of a woman named Hokuto, I was able to enter your dream world." Turning slightly to send a pained look at the door, she adds, "Good thing I did, too." The edge back at the thought of what she walked into. "The Nightmare Man, would see you dead. He almost got me a few weeks back…" The words barely audible. "I tried to drown myself to escape him." Her head hangs in shame as she admits that.

Turning back to him her head tilts slightly she watches him, hands spreading before her, Kaylee continues forward slowly, "I know it's hard to understand, but I am real, Joseph." Her tone almost pleading. "I came here to protect you from him…. and…. to give you some peace from the hell your going through." There is a threat of tears in her eyes as she mentions that last.

There's a slow kind of way Joseph takes this place in, not unlike the way he had first explored it. Fingertips find the edges of tall-backed seats, eyes scouting out the wider space as if for some kind of flaw or detail gone awry, until his gaze seeks out the plain wooden cross that makes its mark on the far wall, high up, a skylight allowing for natural sun to wash it down in illumination. When Kaylee's tone takes on an edge of plea, that's when he focuses on her again, silent distrust rendering him mute and distant.

But not for long. He sits down, aisle-side and turned to it, polished brown shoes set against the carpet as he tries to understand that this is neither vision, nor trip, not even a nightmare. "I can understand it," he finally says, looking towards her. "But it's hard to trust it. They do things… Things that play with the memories, make 'em— "

His voice wavers, and he swallows, tries again. "You said Hokuto?" he finally asks, hope leaking into his voice. "Abigail, she mentioned a lady by that name, a dream manipulator. But I haven't— tried to harm myself." A beat, then he admits, "Guess that would be kinda hard to do."

There is a slow nod to confirm that Kaylee did indeed say that dream walkers name, "She's putting herself under considerable stress so people like me to move within the dreams of others and help." Smudges bare feet make no sound on the carpet as the young woman moves passed him, her gaze moving around the church in awe. "I… never got to see this place… of course, I lost my faith a long time ago."

Turning, to look back at him, she gives him a pained look. "I heard… your not eating? Not sleeping much?" The method clear to her. Of course, at the moment sleep doesn't seem as much a problem. "There is more ways to hurt yourself then just…." She gives a dismissive gesture. "…walking into the bay in the dead of winter." Eyes drop to the ground, and she turns her back to him again. "That's what he got me to do.. If it wasn't for another person dream walking, I wouldn't be here… as it is… I nearly froze to death."

Glancing down at herself, she brushes at her dress, suddenly feeling very conscious about how she looks. She shouldn't look like a begger woman in a church. Or maybe it's just her trying to avoid what she's truly thinking… about her failures. Her back to him still, he doesn't see the sudden tears that prickle at the corners of her eyes. "I'm… sorry. Sorry your still stuck in that place." Head lowered, arms wrapping around herself suddenly, he can hear the pain in her voice. "We were… we were right there. Scouting the warehouse that they have you, but….. we realized we couldn't take so many heavily armed guards with just four of us." A hand lifts to brush under an eye to keep a tear from sliding down her cheek.

That's not healthy, Joseph. Feigned heat seems to rise on his cheeks at her assessment, uncertainty in his glance away, though it returns to her, sharply, at the news that she— and whoever constitutes we— were so close. Startlement, something like shame, hands coming up to rub at his face before they returning to his lap, fingers lacing together. "I'm eating alright. It's not— " He swallows, glancing towards the doors as if expecting them to crack open at any moment. For now, there's not even a tremor from the black painted wood. "What she was sayin' out there, they weren't her words. They were, uh. They were somethin' said to me when Humanis First had me. They were Danko's words."

She must know, is the thing. If he remembers that she does in the waking world, that will remain to be seen, but for now, Joseph connects the dots and turns a pleading look towards her. "I never started on Refrain on my own," he says, getting to his feet, unsure why it matters, but it does, and always has. "When they had me, they get slippin' it to me, and when I got out I didn't want to go without it. Then I just had had a hard time lettin' it go." He sighs, then, as if explaining himself was like drawing poison from a wound.

"Are you, uh. Are y'all plannin' to try again?"

"Yes…" The word escapes Kaylee, it's fierce and determined at his question. The young blonde turns around, tears streaking down her face. "I can't let you stay in there.. going through that.. that torture." There is anger in her tone, but it's not aimed at him. "She has no right doing that to you.. to anyone. We're going to get you out of there, Joseph Sumter. No matter what."

"We would have found you sooner if we had known… Of this.. of the meetings…" The anger starts to bleed away into hurt. "If you didn't start yourself on it, that Humanis First did it… Do you really think we would have judged you harshly?" More warm tears slide down her cheek as she takes a step towards him, a hand pressing to her chest, "I would have understood… I know others would have… And what tears me most… I helped the man who put that out there." Realizing she's berating him, Kaylee lifts hands in a stopping motion, before pressing them to her face and wiping at her cheeks."I'm sorry…"

There is a bit of a sniff as her hands slide from her cheeks. "Know what… that doesn't matter. What matters is we know where you are and your in that hell hole and worse…" Her voice catches as a large lump develops in her throat. "Colette is in there. She's — she's so young… " Kaylee looks about ready to break down then and there, but she swallows heavily forcing herself to continue. "She's in that place somewhere.. We don't know if she's safe… or…. caught, Joseph."

Golden light spilling in from on high turns pale and ghostly in that moment, and then floods with oversaturation when lightning cracks in the sky above the church, bleaching everything into film noir in crackling flashes, and thunder seems to make the ground beneath their feet rumble. By the time lightning's burst its last, nighttime has plunged the church into shadows and silvery-blue of midnight ambient light pressing in through glass, narrowing through the split in the doors.

A dramatic representation, maybe, but all of this is his, and spill off anxiety creates a storm of worrying. At least the place isn't on fire. Joseph is on his feet, arms at his sides and hands curled, knotted. Finally, he states, voice low, "Get her out. If you have to leave me behind, then— then I don't care. I'm fine. There ain't nothin' I need savin' from, but you can still rescue her. There's nothin' left for me out there, but— " Kaylee had it right the first time. Colette's young.

And not a junkie in any stretch of the imagination. Joseph's hands lift to rub over his face, before focusing in Kaylee, and just not her words. The tension in his shoulders loosens as he regards her. "I know I should've said somethin'," he admits. "To someone." Flint knew. Abby knew. But they haven't been in New York for a while.

Her head jerks up as Kaylee's eyes look skyward at the roll of thunder, worry flashes across her features as she her head lowers again to look at the Pastor. "We are working to gather people for an assault. We will get both of you out." Her tone says she will hear no argument over it. "Besides, there is plenty left for you out there." She chides him softly, a soft smile touching her lips. Smudged feet work to close the distance between them. "There are people that care about you and need you around to guide them."

Hands move to rest on his shoulders as she studies him thoughtfully, her voice soft. "Colette is one of my best friends… You…. you, believe it or not, have made me a better person." Her tone takes on a very matter of fact tone, "I won't be able to live with myself if I leave either one of you there." Her hands slide off his shoulders and she sighs.

"I need your help." Kaylee almost seems reluctant, her eyes dropping to seemingly study his tie. "I — I need information about where you are. Where they are keeping you and anything important." Slowly her eyes rise to meet his, as she says at barely a whisper, "If you'll trust me to look." There is a hint of a grimace at the corners of her eyes and her head turns away. "I won't touch your mind without your permission, though."

It's a nice tie, at least, a clear glossy kind of blue with modest navy stitching making texture more than patterns. If there was any use in resisting, insisting that the litle girl in the equation be ranked somewhere higher than he, Joseph doesn't regardless, mouth setting into a line and black eyes going listless with despondancy. There's the sound of rain above them, striking against the dipping tiles and windows, the continual growl of a storm, heaven-height violence and unease.

His hands find her's where they had dropped off his shoulders, warm, callused fingers and palms. "You got my permission," Joseph states, evenly, as if lacking the conviction in his voice would betray the uncertainty. He doesn't question as to whether she can do such a thing in dreams, how that even works — it doesn't matter.

Head turning back to him slowly, Kaylee looks somewhat surprised and then relieved. "Thank you for trusting me." She says softly, her fingers curling with his, finding comfort there. "I had hoped to get this information when we were there, but… my ability wasn't strong enough." That pained look returns, even as she stakes a deep breath. "I've used my ability in dreams before… I helped you remember… hopefully, this will work." While she continues to keep a hold of one of his callused hands in her softer one, she slowly lets go of the other.

He feels the brush of her fingers against his temple, before the tips of them press lightly there. Kaylee gives him a small nervous smile and then slowly closes her eyes to concentrate. Taking a slow deep breath, the young telepath allows the touch of her fingers against his temple to be the connection to his mind. Normally, she could make him feel nothing, but so that he knows she's there, he can feel her there like a gentle pressure.

Now… Her head tilts slightly, her mental voice gentle even if it has that tinny sound to it. I need you to think about the place your being held. Anything you think could be important. She is poised to take in the information, but she also has to work not to let her own thoughts spill into his mind… it's a hell of a balancing game.

When you're on the home stretch to forty, and a relatively well-adjusted, there's no excuse to be shy over intimacy. Joseph stands still, even if a prey-like vibe of a cornered animal is betrayed in that same stillness and unease, in his careful watching of her eyes. Oddly enough, it's her voice, that strange kind of pressure leaning on whatever mental walls we unconsciously erect around our minds, that reassures him to relax, and his eyes close just enough that he can only watch her through eyelashes and suggestion.

The flood of images is abrupt enough to push back any thoughts that might run off from her into him. The MRI room is professional and clean, a large, broad-chested older man, dressed like one imagines an orderly to dress like, moving around the machine towards a tray set with a needle, the same kind Claira had held. The image slices away, edits to show a hallway, the meandering approach of a door which she can see him reach out to open to show the minimal cell he remains in day to day.

Things blur, until Kaylee can adjust to the sensation of running. The narrow hallways wind past, incoherent in the speed in which they're traveled and the haphazard attention taken. A storage room, filled with crates. She sees an image of one suddenly tumbling down underfoot, spilling a mess of Refrain syringes, and then upwards towards where the wall doesn't quite make it to the rooftop.

Climb up and over it, the floor on the other side. The landing isn't included in this recollection, only the limping run through a huge and empty warehouse space, towards the doors which are—

Locked. The space spins to confront something chasing him. A woman in black, her hands gloved and her face hidden in a veil, pointing a blockish looking taser and a wolf-head cane in her hand. Kaylee will see the probes leap out from the muzzle like twin snakes striking, until the flow of memories cease like a dam being closed.

He can see the play of emotions across Kaylee's face, as she witnesses them in her own way. Even with her eyes closed, he can watch curiosity when it comes to the MRI, sadness at his living conditions, guilty over the Refrain… and then anger as he's zapped. The sudden cut off of memories makes her give a soft quick intake of air, eyes blinking open. The hand lays against the side of his face for a moment, her eyes full of an apology she can't seem to voice. Then slowly, her hand drops away.

"You won't be left behind." She whispers softly, "You've suffered enough with her." Kaylee swallows against the lump in her, "This church will be your escape from the harshness of it. No one can reach you here, unless you allow them. Not even the Nightmare Man." Teeth catch her bottom lip as she glances at the door. "The Refrain allows him easy access to you mind… I don't know if he'll stay away and I can't always be here, as much as I want to protect you."

"But…" Turning back to him, Kaylee smiles softly, ".. you can protect yourself with the right tool." There is something in the way she smiles at him, that says she has an idea. "Alicia.." Her voice lifts a bit, as if calling Joseph's beloved pet. "Dogs are loyal and fiercely protective of those they love when they are in danger." Her hand lifts again, but this time she only presses a single finger to his temple, and stealthily reinforce those memories. "I know you miss her fiercely, just as much as she misses you." The young telepath allows him to see her own memory of sitting on the floor of Grand Central, Alicia laying there, while the blonde talks to her, fingers rubbing at one ear.

When you need protection Joseph.. or need her comfort. Just remember her.

"She will help drive back the Nightmare man, if you believe she can." Kaylee's words continues to be soft and encouraging. Some thought suddenly hits her, "I —" Words fail her then, and her hands drop away and she takes a step back. " I'm scared about not being here to help you with him… but I'm also scared of what needs to be done to stop him. It… It's dangerous." Deadly really.

"I know what has to be done.. And I know, I may have to be the one to do it, but I don't know when it'll happen. I'm… almost afraid it'll be before I can help you get away." The words seem almost ominous, somewhat haunted. That can't be good.

As if in exchange, a memory catches like the sighting of a fish in a stream, quick and simple. Alicia pressing her cold wet nose to the thin webbing of bars to her cage, inquisitive when Joseph pokes his fingers through the metal. The memory of the animal shelter skims away again, Joseph blinking open his eyes, and homesickness is at least better than listlessness or depression.

He doesn't comprehend what she's saying, really, except for the important parts, and slowly his focus sharpens as he frowns at her, brow furrowed. "You focus on what you need to do," Joseph says, eventually. "You talk about how I'm— in hell. Gettin' tortured. It ain't a picnic but don't tear yourself up about it, about not gettin' to me in time. The worst of it was done and done a long time ago. I miss home, I miss— my friends. I miss the city, anythin' outside these damn walls… But it could be worse. I haven't given up.

"I don't think I've given up." He's a pastor, quite suddenly, reaching out again to take her hand as he tells her, earnestly, "You may have lost your faith, but that don't mean God ain't on your side. This thing that you gotta do— you won't be alone."

"I hope you right…" His words of encouragement, make her smile even if it doesn't reach her eyes… but there is hope there as well. Tears slide from the corners of her eyes again, "I also hope your right that… that I'm a good person." She studies his face thoughtfully, her worry filled eyes just.. skim over his features as if to commit them to memory, even as she holds tightly to his hand like it is a lifeline.

"I've never believed it of myself and I told myself you'd be proven wrong.. that I could prove you wrong." Eyes closes as her vision blurs with unshed tears, her head dipping down, Kaylee confesses. "But then I found that I wanted to prove you right and… I've worked so hard…" Her voice sounds almost strained as she fights not to cry. "I.. just hope it's enough."

"Hokuto…. " Her voice catches for a moment, "Hotuko says that telepaths have strong minds.. that they have a better chance of trapping this Nightmare Man.. their mind is a fortress." It almost sounds like Kaylee is changing he subject, until what she says next… then it possibly makes the rest of it make sense. "But the only way to really stop him… is he has to die with the person holding him."

"If she can't find some one else… I— I may have to trap him. I've done bad things in the past, Joseph." Kaylee whispers softly, "I'm…. I'm afraid of…" She just about chokes on the word 'dying'.

Silence lingers, but it's not the kind to try and force the word out of her, cutting shards as it goes and leaving her voice even more ragged than it began. Instead, here's a comfortable kind of lapse, or so Joseph anticipates, busy stepping forward and easing his arms around her in an embrace, a hand up to cup the back of her skull and coax her to lean. There's nothing possessive, in it, presumptuous, save for maybe the assumption that this kind of comfort is something she wouldn't shy away from, not immediately.

It's still raining, outside, whatever outside happens to be, and the church is stilled filled with midnight shadows, ghost-blue illumination through the windows making chilly ribcage patterns of the pews, but it has its own kind of comfort too.

Her whole body stiffens when she feels his arms slide around her, breath catching, Kaylee is many things, but she has never been much of a hugger. Always reserved about it really, even though at times she needs it, as if afraid to allow herself to relax. Too few people does she willingly wrap around around, one of those is Colette. .. and now….

Almost reluctantly at first, Kaylee's arms slide around, letting the hand at the back of her head guide her. He can feel her fingers at his back, griping at the fabric of his jacket, as she suddenly holds him tightly, with a soft sob. So much has been happening.. so much stress has been on the young telepath's shoulders. She never realized how much it was breaking her till that moment.

"Some people believe that every act of kindness someone does, it steers the world in the right direction." Joseph only holds, doesn't squeeze or cling or even really take a measure of comfort from her in turn — it's a solid circle he makes with his arms, secure. "That maybe there's only two futures, two that matter — one is darkness, chaos, torment. The other— the other's a lot like the one we're in now, but movin' forward, improvin' itself for every step we take."

This isn't exactly a sermon. He's not throwing the Book at her. He's not throwing any book at her. But he's a prophet. He's allowed. "I think you know that. Bad girls don't know they're bad. And if you're not gonna leave me here, I'm not gonna leave you where you wind up."

The young telepath does cling, holding on like it might be the last time. Her mind clings to his words, finding hope in them and holding it close to her heart, letting it warm her in a bleak moment in her life.

Even though her cheeks are damp from tears, Kaylee rests her head against his, "Thank you." The words are whispered against his cheek, heartfelt and full of so much meaning. Her head pulls back so that she can actually look at him, her eyes rimmed with red from crying. She gives a small sniff and swallows back that lump in her throat again. "I'm not going to leave you in there…" She promises softly. "..Or Colette. Watch out for her till we can get there?"

Glancing up at the skylight, she murmurs, "I should go… It feels like I should be waking soon." Though she is clearly reluctant to do so. Grabbing her lower lip in her teeth, Kaylee considers something, when she looks back at him. He doesn't feel her ability at work, but it's there. "When you wake, «Remember what we discussed.» It's important you do, for Colette." Leaning forward, after a bit of hesitation, she presses lips to his cheek, in a chaste kiss, before she adds in a soft whispers. "«And know it was real… that I was real.» And know we will be coming."

Only then, does she start to pull free from his embrace, a gentle smile on her lips, "Pray we all come out of this alive, if not…. know that you helped a lost woman, find her purpose and try to make something better of herself."

"I'll pray," Joseph promises, which is all he can promise. He offers her a smile, and as he steps away from the embrace, contact breaking when his hand clears from his arm, the world begins to break apart with mutual waking. The church shudders, once, and Kaylee sees it in fleeting moments as she's inevitably pulled away. The double doors break open like a gust of wind finally caught them, but instead of rain caught in the howling wind, it's blowing ash caught with firelight embers, tornadoing around her, getting in her hair, her eyes, singeing her white dress.

I'll find a way.

It's Claira's voice again, as Joseph remembers it, but it mingles with another, the original author of these words. Emile Danko is unforgettable, not just in appearance, in deeds, but in his voice, and it fills Kaylee's ears.

Then I will find you, and your children. Your parents. Your guardians and personal charges. Brothers and sisters. The people you love and trust. And I'll kill them. It only takes one weak link to talk. Only one. These witnesses you've brought - little girls. Telepaths, mind readers. I can hear it in their voices.

Beneath that, beneath those two tones, there's something deeper, and it gains volume. The Nightmare Man's voice shudders deep enough to make Kaylee feel like her bones ache from its timbre.

I'm gonna find you.

There's a screech as wood comes apart. The church is on fire, crashing and splitting open, but there's another sound, an echoing, guttural bark from a wolf creature, bearish, the silhouette of Alicia crashing through on thundering paws and bright eyes. The conclusion is not for Kaylee to see, the telepath promptly ejected into the waking world with Alicia's glossy coat shining flames the last thing in her sights.

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