The Talk


des_icon.gif kaylee_icon.gif richard_icon.gif

Scene Title The Talk
Synopsis They're not mad. They're just very, very disappointed.
Date March 14, 2018

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office - CEO's Office


It’s probable that the shout from Kaylee can be heard out in the hall from Richard Ray’s office, which is where a certain Doctor Desjardins has been called for a conference with two members of the Board of Directors.

When your safety from extremely angry paramilitary personnel depends on your job, this may be mildly worrying to said Doctor.

Richard is at his desk, leaning forward to rest his weight on folded arms as he nods, “Yeah. I know. Outside of the building, no supervision or precautions— she was with Eve, for Christ’s sake!”

Ohhhh boy. Maybe she should just go pack her things and get on the next bus out of town? Or something. Why is it that facing the disappointment of her friends is so much scarier than facing down psychotic murderers ever was? Something seems off about that.

Des hesitates outside the door for a moment before pressing on and stepping inside. “Look, I can explain.” She isn’t high any longer, so the gravity of what she’s done has begun to sink in. Frankly, she’s a little impressed with herself, but also mildly terrified. “After what happened when you two…” Des waves her hand nebulously in the space near her head as she crosses the room to sit down across from Richard. “I didn’t want to risk either of you getting hurt.”

Heaving a great sigh, she also adds the most important component: “I’m sorry.”

The telepath is a bundle of nerves, her whole body is tense, arms crossed tight across her midsection…. She couldn’t sit down if she even wanted, too. It’s rare to see Kaylee this mad. She often mentioned her mother’s temper… this must have been what she meant.

There is a deep breath, a silent count before Kaylee says softly, “Didn’t want to risk….” She looks at Odessa like she grew a second head. “So you traipse off with Eve of all people. A woman who is so volitile and unpredictable that she’s happily march your ass up to the MPs if she suddenly had a vision of her doing that… or worse… blow your head off.” It’s obvious that she’s barely holding her volume down, thankfully, she doesn’t mentally project that anger, too.

“At least here, Richard could shoot her if she tried something like that,” Kaylee isn’t joking there. “And do not get me started on Refrain.” The word is spit out like something disgusting.

“What my dear sister is referring to is that the team that we sent into the Arc to recover what we could and rescue the people from it… well, they had a list of scientists that were being held there against their will. You know. Like you,” Richard says, fingers rubbing between his eyes, “Eve made certain they all died. She shot Carpenter in the head in cold blood.”

That hand drops, and he looks at her seriously, “I understand what you were doing. And if you’d come and talked to us about it… we probably could’ve worked something out. Under controlled conditions, with safety precautions.”

“I thought you trusted me more than this, Des,” he finishes, brows raising a little in disappointment.

“She’s not responsible for all of them, to be fair.” Des glances between Richard and Kaylee and then sinks down in her chair. Right. Whether or not Eve killed all the scientists is irrelevant. “And I didn’t know about what she did to Doc.” Eesh. She might have had a different opinion if she’d known that before. But now? Well, she’s not actually sure how she feels about Eve now that she has this knowledge.

“She’s heard the voice.” Des looks at Kaylee, hoping she can understand what she means. “It said some of the same things to her that it said to me. I just…” She has no defense for any of it, honestly.

Looking down at her hands, she’s suddenly very afraid. Des swallows hard, or tries to. She feels like she can’t actually get that lump in her throat to go down. “Are you going to turn me in now?”

There is a bitter bark of laughter from Kaylee at that last bit, it happens without thinking. “Of course, not… I’m furious… I’m disappointed… but I’m not turning you in.” The telepath glances at her brother, “Either of us.”

Arms unwind from her waist so that she can press fingers to her own temples as if warding off a headache, moving to rest a hip against her brother’s desk. “You are, my friend…This whole… fiasco doesn’t change that,” She feels the need to reaffirm this for the other woman. “You just need to learn to think beyond yourself… look past your own nose and see that there is so much more at stake than just risking yourself, anymore.”

Kaylee almost looks somewhat hurt as her quiet rant winds down a little, “And Richard is right… you should have trusted us.”

“We’re not going to turn you in, no, although only God knows what Eve is going to do, and who she’s going to tell,” says Richard with a grimace, leaning back in his chair with a soft creak. It could use an oiling, but he likes the way it speaks when he moves.

He motions to Kaylee, then back to Des with one hand, “What if you’d overdosed… or worse, your ability ran out of control and drew attention? You’d be in the hospital, or in jail, and they’d eventually realize who you are. That’d probably blow back on us and while we could play it off probably — you’d be fucked.”

“I don’t want to see you in jail, Des,” he sighs, “I mean, Kaylee doesn’t properly appreciate the Marx Brothers.”

The fear wanes some, but doesn’t fade entirely. “I’ve… Nobody’s ever cared about me before,” Des says in a soft voice, remorseful. “I’m not used to it. I don’t know how to account for it. I just… do things because it’s just me.” She still can’t bring herself to look up at either of them. “I didn’t do it to hurt you. It’s not that I don’t trust you, I just… I was trying to protect you the only way I understand how.” And that’s by keeping her distance.

There is a little nod at Ray’s assessment of her, “He’s right… I don’t” There is a shrug, “I can’t. I tried.” He gets an apologetic and even mildly sympathetic look from his sister.

It’s clear that first burst of anger is running its course, her shoulder seem to be losing that tension. Finally, Kaylee sighs heavily, “I know… I know this is new. It took me awhile to really understand that people actually cared for me and cared what happened to me.” Pushing away from the desk, Kaylee rests a hand on Odessa’s shoulder. “To understand that when they were yelling at me, it was because they were scared for me as much as them.”

The shoulder gets a gentle squeeze, “You know the first person to do that for me? Eric.” The pointed look Kaylee gives Dess, says exactly which person she means.

“Let us decide that,” Richard says, leaning forward again and folding both hands on the table, “We’re your friends. I mean— shit, put the fact that we’re also your bosses aside, we’re your friends, Des. We’re in this together, good or bad. Let us decide if we need to be protected… because God knows we’ve both been through hell and back. Same as you.”

Mention of Eric is immediately followed by a noisy sniffle. Des presses her lips together and buries her face in her hands. Her shoulders shake with silent sobs. She tried for so long to reform the way that he had, and never quite seemed to get there. She feels like she’s letting him down again.

“You haven’t let him down…” Kaylee might have heard that. “I know you have come pretty far from when I last saw you.”

The telepath moves to crouch next to the chair, where Des can’t really avoid looking at her. It’s a little tough in flats, but she manages it. “Look…” Her hand slides from the woman’s shoulder to rest on her arm. “Next time you feel like doing something like that, talk to us? I told you I was going to do what I can to help you… both of us have.”

A heavy sigh, and Richard pushes himself up to his feet, stepping around the desk to Des’s other side - reaching a hand to lay on her opposite shoulder, saying gently, “We don’t want you to get hurt, Des. No matter what the benefit might be.”

Okay, now it’s starting to freak her out a little bit. But only a little. Des wipes at her eyes with the inside of her sweater cuff. “I didn’t mean to upset you.” Her voice is still trembling from the emotion she’s trying to get under control. “I warned you I’m not good at any of this. I’m not a team player. I’ve never had friends. Or family. And I can’t promise I’m not gonna fuck up again.”

If there’s one thing she can promise, it’s that she will. “I…” Des takes a deep breath to steady herself, wiping her face one more time before she lifts her head and turns her attention to Richard. “I saw Arthur Petrelli.”

“None of us can really promise that…” Kaylee offers with amused reassurance. “Not really.”

Brows lift a little at the name, it’s familiar. It tickles at her memories. “Peter’s father…. Isn’t he? Dead?” Kaylee gives Cardinal a confused look. She only ever met the guys mom… so she doesn’t know how to react to that.

“We’ll be here for you when you do fuck up. Just try not to kill yourself or anyone else in the process, okay…?” A wry note to Richard’s voice, and then that other statement’s said, and he feels his blood go cold for a moment.

He stares at Des, but answers Kaylee. “I.. did. I killed him about as dead as somebody can get.”

That might be news to Des.

“I— wait. Do you mean another Arthur? From a different string?”

“It was a memory.” Des runs her tongue over her teeth while she thinks about what she wants to say. “It was another me. She had… I think I killed Hiro Nakamura. I had his sword.” She always knew she was destined to hold that blade. “I… It’s not really his sword, though, is it? It’s Kensei’s.” If she calls him that, it feels like he’s a different person. Not the one she’s afraid of. “I had a memory of my time with the Company. And where we traveled, he was there. And then his sword. I… I don’t feel like that’s all coincidence.”

Which is unsettling, to say the least. Adam Monroe is one of the last people Des wants her fate tangled with these days.

At the mention of Hiro, Kaylee stands, brows furrowing. She hadn’t thought of that name in awhile. “So another line…” She says softly, as she steps away thoughtful. An unease hand presses to her stomach.

“If he was alive… probably the Pinehearst timeline,” says Richard with a frown, looking to kaylee and then down to Des, “Adam. Twice in one vision. No, that… that can’t be a coincidence.”

“I wish it was, but it’s probably not.”

“He was definitely alive. He was telling me about people having escaped to the past… Eric was one of them. But that Elle had come forward. He was going to send me back to the past with her.” That never happened. At least not in this timeline. “This is really starting to…”

Des frowns. “The memories aren’t all mine, but they feel like mine, and it’s getting to be a bit like tangled spaghetti in here.” She taps the side of her head with two fingers. “You… don’t think the timelines—” Her head shakes back and forth several times. “No. I’m not even going to entertain that thought. Things are… fucked up enough as it is.”

Her eyes shut tightly a moment as she considers what they do know. “Why are my visions tied to Adam? Why was I drawn to him in that time? And why that memory of the other timeline?” Des casts a guilty look between her two friends. “Could I borrow a lab?”

“Because….” Kaylee resigns herself to the fact that she will be discomfortable during this conversation, her stomach twisting painfully at all the Adam talk. “There is just something about him.” Experience really… “I crossed him in the 1890’s… all of New York and… “ Kaylee spreads her hands. “I couldn’t help myself and talked to him.” A lovely conversation, too. That she keeps to herself.

“There could be a meaning, or it could simply be the fact that you were so close to him. Subconscious, maybe?” There is a grimace finally, it’s hard not too when something in her head makes her body die when thinking anything, especially, positive about the man.

After a particularly annoying wave of nausea passes, Kaylee clears her throat and asks, “What do you need a lab for?”

Richard gives his sister a concerned look, and then he looks back towards Des for a long, steady moment.

“You aren’t using Refrain again, even in a lab,” he says firmly, “Until you can come up with a full god-damn proposal for experimental procedures, precautions, and the like. And get both me and Kaylee to approve it.”

“And you are not doing it with Eve.”

“Oh, come on!” It’s the outburst of a teenager, but that’s sort of how Des feels like she’s being treated. “The less documentation I put together for this, the better. You know you don’t want a paper trail for this.” She folds her arms over her chest and frowns petulantly.

“And she,” Des tilts her head in Kaylee’s direction, “needs someone who can get in her head and remove whatever’s been placed there that messes with her whenever we talk about that blond jerk.” She remembers well what happens when Kaylee’s close to him. She didn’t realize it was so bad that they couldn’t even talk about him. “Obviously someone was able to do it in the first place, so that means someone can fix it. Maybe a healer? I don’t know, that’s not my—” She stops herself just short of swearing. Her irritation is getting the better of her, but also her concern for her friend. “I’m worried about you, Kaylee,” she finishes in a quieter voice.

“I have this feeling we aren’t going to be able to avoid him. That means we need to get this problem fixed.”

“Well… then I better get used to it…” Kaylee states blandly, moving to sit heavily in a spare chair. It’s obvious that the subject bothers her. “I’ve already tried, there is no way to fix it. The person that put it there, Susan Amman, is dead…. And as far as anyone, even former Company founders, are concerned, I’m screwed.” There is a huff of irritation from the telepath, “But right now, that is not here nor there.” She tries the wave it off, even though she looks a little pale.

“And no Eve.” Kaylee adds. “Took long enough to stop having that nightmare every night.”

“Then you’d better do it on paper,” Richard says firmly, “And in pen.”

That way he can burn it afterwards. Probably in front of her.

He slants a look past Des, hesitating before stating suddenly, “Delphine Kuhr could fix it. But then, she could fix a lot of…” He gestures vaguely between them, “This. Nobody’s seen her in years, though, so that’s probably not going to be a solution we can access.”

“You can’t get used to it, Kaylee. Your organs literally shut down. Your body tells itself to die.” This is the same argument she gave to Adam right before he pulled a gun on her. Des sweeps an arm out in Kaylee’s direction, looking at Richard. Tell her.

Is this what it’s like to deal with her? Yiiiikes.

“I’m not writing a proposal. I am goddamn adult and I can make my own choices! You said you’d support me.” In her mind, support does not mean defend your thesis. “It’s going to happen whether you want it to or not, so you may as well sanction it.”

She is playing a risky game right now. Des holds her breath and waits.

“Excuse me,” Kaylee says, suddenly sitting up straighter. She stares at other woman and then at Ray, only to look back at Odessa again. “Did the whole conversation before the whole… “ She clears her throat, “Adam thing… Go in one ear and out the other?”

Blue eyes narrow a little, as she says slowly, “You realize, this is a business…. A legitimate business. This means paperwork.” This is pointed out with a raise of her finger. “Questionable or not to you, Richard has a good reason to ask for a proposal. It also gives you time to actually think about what you are asking to do and the risks you are taking. It gives you an avenue, to convince us… especially, because both he and I… we’ve dealt with addicts.” There is a frigid edge to the next thing she says, “That includes months of watching people suffer from Company experiments with Refrain… to include… my husband.” At least, she doesn’t mention by who’s hand that was by.

Richard tilts his head over in Kaylee’s direction, leaning his hip against the desk and folding both arms across his chest. “Were you actually sorry at all for anything you did, Des, or were you just trying to convince us of that,” he asks dryly, “Because right now, you’re acting like you weren’t. You’re acting like you’re addicted, which you probably are.”

He glances back up to his sister, “We had to forcibly de-body a Brian once when he tested it out. The physical addictiveness of the stuff is pretty fucking awful.”

“I know what addiction feels like.” Des is insulted, hurt. “I am sorry I went behind your back before. I don’t want to do that again. But I also want answers. And I want to figure out how I can unlock my ability.” Kaylee can hear the whispers from Odessa’s mind. The woman doesn’t seem to notice them, though. There’s no wince, no attempt to drown them out with louder thought.

“I’m not itching to shoot up,” she insists. “It’s not about that. It’s not about getting high.” Des doesn’t want to feel numb, she wants to feel powerful. She’s never found a drug that can do that for her. Suddenly she snaps her fingers. “Oh! There was that one time with the opium! Maybe it’s not the memory effect at all?”

Okay, so maybe she does sound like an addict. “I didn’t do the opium by choice.”

“There has got to be another way…” Kaylee comments blandly, glancing at Richard. How long do we fight this? She covers her face briefly with her hands… We are going to end up pushing her into doing something desperate… We have families Richard. When they fall away she looks exhausted.

“I understand why you want to do, it… I really do, but there has to be a better way to unlock it.” Kaylee has an idea, but… is it too risky? They still didn’t know.

“I didn’t say no, Des,” Richard says with a shake of his head, “I just want you to go into this with a plan, and with a clear head. Which means turning that brain of yours to figure out how to do this properly, and with maximum safety precautions.”

Firmly, he notes, “You’re older. You realize that, don’t you? Whatever you did aged you. I don’t want you finding your answers only to die of old age.”

Clearly, he’s hit on a note that Des has been in denial about. She’s buried her head in the sand when it comes to the physical evidence of what that little experiment did to her. Her fingers curl into loose fists, lips draw into a tight line, and the look in her eyes betrays her fear. “My age has always been… relative.” How many hours, days, months, or even years did she skew as she would remove herself from the time stream to focus on her research over the years? The two run-ins with Stevens certainly didn’t do anything for consistency.

“Fine. Okay. I’ll… I’ll write up a proposal. I’ll detail the benefits and the… risks.” Des closes her eyes and lets out a quiet sigh. Richard’s forced her to think about the consequences of her actions, and it doesn’t take Kaylee’s ability to know that she’s rattled.

There is relief when Des finally caves, Kaylee’s shoulders relax a little. “Thank you, Des,” she says softly. “Hardest lesson to learn is to be patient and not rush head first into something.” A lesson Kaylee learned a lot in her time with the Ferrymen. “And right now, we don’t have to rush.”

While there is a hint of something coming, it is not the same life or death it was all those years back.

“Okay.” Richard gives her shoulder a firm squeeze, “We’re not trying to punish you or to keep you from what you’re trying to accomplish, Des. We’re just trying to make sure you don’t die in the process.” Wry, “I can see how this might be surprising, though, given your previous employers.”

A pause, “Alright. How long has it been since you ate? We should get dinner.”

There’s a flash of a smile at the joke about her previous employment. Des’ track record there has not prepared her for anything she’s experienced since she joined Raytech. Friendship and concern are still strange concepts to her that she doesn’t quite put her trust in, but she’s getting better.

“I… forget to do that sometimes.” Actually, Des often forgets to eat. If Barney didn’t pop his head in to ask if she remembered to have lunch, she’d probably work through the whole day without it. “Dinner would be good, I think.” She reaches out to grasp one of Kaylee’s hands. “Thanks for… being willing to save me from myself.”

“Sometimes we need a little intervention by those that care about us.” Fingers that clasp Odessa’s are cool to the touch, but at least Kaylee is looking healthier again. Amazing what a shift of topic will do. “If it is all the same, I’ll skip dinner. I’m not sure I have much of an appetite for it.” Her nose wrinkles a little at the thought.

“You aren’t pregnant again, are you?” It’s teasing, from Richard, even as he pushes away from the desk, “Alright, dinner for two then — and hey, we’ve saved the world plenty of times. How much harder can it be to save one person?”

Much harder.

So. Much. Harder.

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