The Weirdest Santa


luther_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif mateo3_icon.gif

Scene Title The Weirdest Santa
Synopsis Luther comes by the Benchmark to thank an old friend for all the help.
Date April 23, 2018


Lately, Lynette has really regretted giving up alcohol. She sits in the common room, head leaning against the back of the couch so she can look up at the ceiling. She wears a dress, a casual, free flowing number— one person here knows: the more melancholy she is, the more likely it is to see her in a dress. Fashion matching feelings. Her mind lingers on that melancholy as well, circling worried thoughts and justifications as to why it would be fine if she ran out and got herself a bottle.

It isn’t uncommon, although a much less regular occurrence in the last year or so. Eventually, she’ll remind herself that she worked hard to shake that habit and she’ll get into a suit and go to work.

Or she won’t.

Such is the nature of addiction.

But she’s been holding her track record for years and in her better moments, she has no intention of ruining it. But that’s all inward, a quiet struggle that is almost mundane by this point. Outwardly, it looks like quiet contemplation. Perhaps she is pondering a new color for the ceiling.

By contrast, Luther has not given up alcohol, but neither has he made it a habit to nurse a bottle or tumbler when he is in need of his full faculties. Like in times when someone he cares about is in distress, he’s not inclined to exacerbate things with some hard spirits dulling his focus. That, and it could potentially be an expensive habit given how much he can toss back. And it’s the Benchmark he’s in. A rehab center.

Having taken the stairs to get up to the safehouse level, Luther announces himself via the opening of the stairwell door that leads into the short hallway and common room. Tucking the access key into his pocket, the man glances around first to see who’s around and, spotting Lynette, approaches the woman as she sits on the couch. The other item tucked under his other arm is a hard shell suitcase, the kind that locks, the kind that usually holds something important. He’s just lacking metal handcuff linking his wrist to the case, but that’s not really necessary.

Luther is his own security measure, in that sense. While the woman is busying herself with contemplating things, possibly ceiling colors, he dares to interrupt with a wry phrase that she’s sure to respond to. “Give blood,” the man rumbles, an amused smirk settling on his lips.

What was that about blood?

From where he’d been screwing an alarm sensor into the window trim, Mateo looks over and raises an eyebrow. He’d been installing the sensors all day. They would catch the sound of glass breaking, know if the window was moved too far up or to the side, depending on how the window itself opened. It had a downside in that, should they ever want to open these windows in the future, they would need to turn off the alarm for that particular window, but they were trying to keep everyone inside safe. And putting sensors on all potential entrances and exits were a start.

Screwing the little box into place the rest of the way, he puts down his tools and starts over. While his wife wears dresses when she’s stressed, he doesn’t have quite the same worries at the moment. He still wears his usual attire, though his sleeves are rolled up, making his tattoo visible as he approaches, looking the taller man with the case over. This one he hasn’t really seen in passing, but he seems to know his way around the place.

"I refuse," Lynette says without sitting up, her tone dry, "to use your ridiculous code." She entertained it during the war and no further. She does eventually sit up to look over at the door. "Luther," she greets with a warmer tone, “come in, make yourself comfortable.” Pulling herself up off the couch, she circles around it to take Mateo's arm. "Mateo, take a break and come meet an old war buddy," she says before she leans over to press a kiss to his cheek. She was supposed to be helping with this alarm project, so perhaps the kiss is part of an apology.

“Luther Bellamy, this is my husband Mateo Ruiz. Mateo, Luther Bellamy. I used to save his life over and over, although lord knows why. Now he’s head of security over at RayTech.” Luther gets no such cheat sheet about Mateo, but only because Lynette thinks that who he is is obvious. It’s also obvious that Lynette feel comfortable enough with Luther to tease him about a time in their lives that was certainly difficult.

Her adamant refusal to provide the response to his call gets a highly amused chuckle from Luther. He knows she won’t ever… unless there’s some head trauma or something. Maybe not even then. He steps in closer when bidden, coming over to the couch and shifting the metal case in hand so that he can offer his out to shake. “Good to meet you sir,” he says with warm reception. Lynette’s rundown of their connections gets another laugh, briefly self-deprecating before humor. “That she did, and that you still are, Lynette,” tells the woman. “The why is something that’ll probably take a little longer to explain. Over a dinner, or something.” Stories are best shared over food, at least for the man.

Introductions made, Luther then turns to metal case and lifts it to show the pair. “Brought you a present. Or, maybe I should say, payment.” The look towards the room where they’ve been watching over Alix holds the reason why he’d say that, and the turns back to them shortly. “Now legally speaking I’ve gotta ask you to show a security license for these things. But, really you can just email me.” That’s when he nods to a nearby table, moving to it so they can open up the case and check the contents. The suitcase, set down and unlocked, opens up to reveal a foam cushioned interior with a pair of XLRAD Banshee pistols and accompanying battery packs, laid inside. The white, sleek form factor shows just how high tech the weaponry is. And how expensive.

“These are for you,” he tells Lynette after the reveal. A glance cuts to Mateo, spying the man’s reaction as well given that Luther’s now known as the random old war buddy who brings sonic weapons to give to friends - the weirdest Santa.

At his wife’s introduction, Mateo takes the proffered hand and shakes it, nodding in additional greeting to the much taller man. “Nice to meet you, Luther.” His wife earns a smile in response, a return of that kiss to the cheek, almost as if he’s returning her apology right back to her because he didn’t mind doing the alarm work. He had Chess to help out with a lot of things as well, so it wasn’t as if he did it all on his own.

As far as he was concerned, she did more than enough around here. She would help keep the batteries charged, while he installed everything that he could. When the man presents his present/payment, the compact man raises an eyebrow in surprise at the legal speak and then what happened to be inside the box. He doesn’t outright ask what is that, but the glance he casts toward Lynette might say it for him.

Cause to him, it looked very much like some crazy scifi blaster pistol. After a second he can’t help but look back up with a grin. “This isn’t a— ray gun is it?” Get it?

Yeah, he went there.

Lynette smiles at the kiss, taking a brief moment to hug his arm. Just for affection this time.

But Luther and his present get her attention, an eyebrow lifting as he starts to explain. “Luther, you know that I don’t need any payment or presents for that m—“ Then he opens the case. “Hello,” she ends up saying instead of her denial. She looks from them to him, her head tilted, “Yes, of course I can email you. What did you do?” Because these are not nerf guns, that’s for sure. She might be on the verge of asking what they are, but Mateo beats her to it.

There was a time when Lynette tried to promise she’d never laugh at him and he made her take it back.

Because of things like this.

“Oh god, Mateo,” she says, her hand coming to cover what is certainly a laugh.

Luther’s workman’s handshake is a warm one, the physical side effect of his ability evident. “So you’re the lucky guy,” he chuckles, “who’s managed to withstand the lightning.” It’s more of a tease meant for his war buddy Lynette, but the comment is made sincerely. He’s happy for her and Mateo. Which is why there are these pistols in a case for them. He’s got a weird way of showing he cares, maybe, but Safety First.

A low groan of indulgence comes out of Luther for that pun, and he plucks out a Banshee with a battery pack to demonstrate the hook up. “This is the X-LRAD pistol, standing for Experimental Long Range Acoustic Device. Affectionately known as the ‘Banshee’,” he starts. The features are explained, the ranges of effect described with what the pistol can do, the purpose made clear that this is meant to be non-lethal, although “don’t think it won’t blow out someone’s eardrums or worse if it’s fired for an extended period”. A beat passes and he adds, “Don’t do that though. The battery pack lasts only 5 minutes of continuous fire.”

He flips the pistol around, presenting it to the pair for them to view, to touch, to take if they want. “Added bonus, it won’t leave bullet holes in your walls. So you can keep this lovely paint color intact.” Although, it’s likely the other side wouldn’t be as considerate. “This tech is meant for law enforcement personnel and trained security, hence the ‘licensed professionals’ bit. But…as Raytech’s Head of Physical Security, I’ve cleared it with the management.” He looks to them both, a brief drop of humor into seriousness. “Thank you. For the work you both do, for helping people. And helpin’ me out all those times. Even now, you’re really saving my ass with helping Chess out.” That last bit sees the return of the crooked smile. The man holds a strong affection for the woman he considers practically a daughter.

At the reaction to his pun, Mateo can’t help but grin. It wrinkles the corner of his eyes, even. “It sounds like a very useful weapon, I must admit,” he adds after the explanation, looking it over, but he makes no move as if he wants to try it out. Some men might reach for a shiny new toy and want to find something to shoot it at, but he’s not most men. But he trusts his wife to know how to handle it herself, or to hire those who would be better suited.

Though non-lethal certain is more appealing than lethal measures.

“I wonder if you could power it without the battery pack,” he adds an an aside, before returning his look at Luther and nodding. “Thank you.” He’ll let Lynette handle the formal thanks, but really, he’s grateful. He wanted his wife safe, his daughter safe and pretty much everyone in this place, safe.

Even the new girl who he barely knew.

"Withstand the lightning? I'm not sure I like what you're implying," Lynette says, but her chiding is only playful. She seems to understand the gesture, even if it is an odd one. The sentiment behind it is clear enough to her.

"Shouldn't that be 'ELRAD'?" she asks with a crooked smile. But teasing is set aside when he explains what the device can do. Her hands move to her hips and she nods here and there to mark where she understands. Questions are interjected as needed, but there aren't too many. Banshee explains a lot about the pistol, after all. And when it's offered out, she takes it to give it a closer look over. It's clear she's being careful with it. And the pair standing here with her, too. "I do hate to spackle," she notes, in the end. Her own version of acceptance. Of gratitude.

She sets the pistol back into its case when he turns more serious. Her head tilts as he goes on, his words get a shake of her head. Because all that, she still struggles with knowing how to respond. So when Mateo says thanks, she looks over his way and nods. "I appreciate that you did this. I'll keep them under lock and key until we hire someone with the proper licensing." Normally, she might just say to hell with the rules, but in this case, she'd rather have Luther keep his fancy new job title. "You know you didn't need to do this, right?"

Lynette’s chiding gets a quick up-down wag of Luther’s brow, a shared humor there. And with it an over the top shrug and angle of his head in Mateo’s direction for the electrokinetic’s notice. “I like him already,” Luther observes as he catches that Mateo doesn’t reach for the sonic gun. And also that the other man’s considering Lynette’s power working in conjunction with the pistol. “As far as I know, this type has been developed for use by Non SLC-E officers as well as those SLC-E whose abilities are compatible. And anybody cleared for handling it will know what to do.”

The added explanation is more cover for the awkwardness of his thanks. Luther exhales a softened rolling sigh, a hand reaching to rub at the back of his neck. “Nah, it’s the least I could do. And you know how it is. We look after our own. And so far as I’m concerned, that’s you guys as much as Raytech.” At least this time he refrains from following up with the Mud Dogs catchphrase that Lynette adores so very much. The quirked smile and crows’ feet return.

“So,” he says next with a definitive shut-and-lock of the gun case, and a turn to Mateo. “As the young kids say, ‘Give me the deets’, yeah?” His hand, fingers gesturing between the couple indicatively. “How’d you two meet?” Grey eyes flick between them as a second thought crosses his mind. “When did you two meet?”

Withstanding the lightning had never been a problem, as far as Mateo was concerned. In fact, it fueled him in many ways, which made him smile as she took mock offense to the statement that he hadn’t even responded to originally. He’d been too focused on his own joke. That his wife had so many people who supported her and helped her that he couldn’t help but continue to smile at her for a moment, until he’s turned to and asked for the ‘deets’. “Oh— we met in Mexico, in November of two thousand sixteen. The Benchmark there. I was passing through and our daughter brought us together.”

The short version might have sounded a little strange, but it was true. “I’d known Silvia before, when I had been… helping the Ferry down in Mexico.” He always hesitated on his version of helping, because mostly he’d just brought them people and supplies at times, occasionally entertained and did the odd chore to earn his keep. “She saw me in town, wanted me to meet her hero, who just happened to be the woman I was destined to meet.” He winked at her as he said that.

Yes, everything he said was the truth. If a sappy and short version of it.

He’s leaving out how she already had met him once. Almost five years before then.

Lynette makes a face as Luther's words do their best to mimic youthful slang. Don't ever say that again is written all over that look. But Luther also gets to watch as her expression softens, listening to Mateo recount their first meeting. "He also played me a song that first day. And sang. It was cheating."

It might of been, but it doesn't seem like she minds it much at all.

"Silvia was living at the Benchmark, some ex-Ferrymen swing by there now and then. Some stay. Some bring others in. She didn't have anywhere else to go." Now Silvia lives at an entirely different Benchmark because she has a family, not because she doesn't. "Anyway, he pulled me out of the dark," she says, turning to Mateo, smiling at him in a way that shows she hasn't forgotten where she was when they met and what all he did for her.

Luther, too, has an idea of how dark her dark can get.

At the very least, Luther had used the slang correctly. Painful though it may have sounded, which is why he accepts the look from Lynette with a knowing, if unapologetic, smirk. But as he listens to Mateo, he nods slowly, the smirk turning into a genuinely happy smile. A warm smile. Understanding of the love they share and show, turning humored when Lynette mentions the cheating - singing, ahem - that he used to essentially woo the woman. It only slightly falters as it sends a distant memory catapulting to the forefront, a flash of pain in remembering a different blonde woman tightens the man’s brow down as he looks between the couple and then down to ground before he forces his chin up again.

“I’m glad you were there, Mateo,” he says after the pause, looking to the other man with a regarding grey gaze. It turns back to a wry sort of look as he adds to Lynette, “Though I guess I really should brought something to give to Silvia, too. The true orchestrator.” Luther chuckles quietly as he promises, “Next time then. And you two know if you need anything… you don’t hesitate to ask, right?” This apparently includes Mateo now as well. Family units. Even if they are the oddly pieced together kind.

Asking for help isn’t Lynette’s strongest feature, but Mateo can definitely try to do that if he thinks that she actually needs it. “Just leave your number somewhere and I’ll give you a call if we need anything. But this should help a lot.” The weapon. He doesn’t know how well he could work it, or if he could get the legal permissions to, but just having something non-lethal around made him feel a little bit safer. For his wife and daughter more than himself.

Now they just needed men (or women) who could use it without anyone getting in trouble. Especially not the man who lent it.

“I was auditioning for her, so that she could know I was worth letting play for her groups. Wasn’t cheating.” Except he kinda did a love song, so maybe it had been? It’s not his fault it’s the first thing that came to mind when he sat down with the guitar in his lap…

“Okay, maybe it was cheating.”

"She likes art supplies," Lynette offers, as far as gifts for their daughter go, her lips curving into a crooked smile. As far as knowing she can ask for help, she only gives him a sidelong look before she moves to take Mateo's arm. He answers more appropriately, anyway.

When he explains about his audition, she shakes her head indulgently. Until he admits it was absolutely cheating, then she leans in to kiss his cheek.

"Come on, Luther. While you're here, have dinner with us. I understand the chef is making some sort of pasta downstairs and promised to set some aside for us." And for this, she isn't taking no for an answer. She just leads the way to the apartment and to the promise of food.

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