Then There Was A Firefight


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Scene Title Then There Was A Firefight
Synopsis In the aftermath of a supply run gone bad, Luther wakes up to find himself in a medical unit with Kaylee by his side.
Date January 29, 2018

Resistance base camp, M*A*S*H unit tents

The first few hours of daylight were chaos.

What was supposed to be a routine supply run turned into an unexpected ambush, first by rival scavengers, then a hunter squad of soldiers. Scout teams rushed ahead, informing the camp of incoming injured. Medical supplies normally kept for such emergencies were broken out of their hold boxes, and tents transformed into triage or reconstructed into a not quite so sanitary operating room. There were procedures in place for this sort of thing. Though, nobody is every truly prepared to receive the sights of bloodied, battered fighters, seeping bullet wounds, and news that so-and-so is missing or gone.

The flurries of rushed activity have died down as the sun climbs into the sky. Light bounces off the snow pack, some places stained and trampled into muddied paths, other spaces more gruesomely pink or others colored in rainbows of fluids to be cleaned up later. The hours have passed, and the base camp feels listless. Nervous. Licking wounds and clutching weapons, waiting expectantly for the orders to have to move again.

Not so eager to move is Luther Bellamy, one of the fighters who came back injured. Though he’s been in worse scrapes before, it doesn’t deny the fact that he’s been hurt. The black coat he wears to keep in the warmth has been shed and rolled into a makeshift pillow tucked behind his head. The man tries to doze, to rest, but the throbbing pain of his stitches keeps him awake. Not that he could sleep anyway. There’s too much to worry about, and memories that come to the forefront of his mind cause a different kind of ache. The sort of loss he doesn’t like to deal with. The sort of thoughts that are much easier to deal with, with a drink in hand.

He groans in a low, pained sound but manages to push himself up to a sit on the cot he is lying on. The packet of packed snow that had been sitting on his sore muscles has long melted against the warmer-than-normal body heat caused by the ability of the man, and he drops the bag unceremoniously off the side of his cot onto the dirt. His hand tugs at the wrappings around his waist, but stops when he first feels the sting of the wounds beneath the bandages and then sees the brownish-red color of dried blood peeking through thin cotton pads. Luther stops fussing and looks up and around for the others, checking to see who had made it back.

Unsettled energy tingles in the air, and Luther can feel the charged atmosphere. The air is freezingly cold, heavy with the anticipation of more snow on the way. It’s too quiet. His older pains are complaining too, but that could just be the times. It’s the dead of winter now, and scarcity of resources coupled with stricter rationing means heading further out to secure supplies for the coalition of resistance fighters. It means venturing closer to the Outer District and going on some riskier raids.

It means getting into a fight.

As the buggies and a personnel carrier rumble their way through the debris-riddled streets, Luther tightens his grip on the rifle in his hands - a firearm pilfered from one of the “Tin Men” robots that sweep through the area. And he’s all too aware of the limited ammo inside the clip.

“I don’t like this,” grumbles a fighter, giving voice to the concerns of the group. “It’s too quiet.”

“Steele, it’s not like you got anything to worry about.” Esposito rubs a knuckle against the side of her bandanna keeping her hair out of her face. A third fighter, Krejci chuckles in a low voiced and similarly edged tone. Judging by the rosiness of his cheeks, he might still be feeling the effects of the moonshine they’d swallowed a shot of before heading out.

“Everybody shut it,” Luther snaps at the complaints behind him, checking a glance to Kaylee that’s now something of a routine between their group.

But there’s barely time to look to the telepath before Steele yelps out a singular “DOWN!” and a small fired missile impacts against the side of a nearby building, the explosion rocking the vehicle and showering heads with brick bits, glass shards and concrete dust.

A freshly packed baggie of snow is clutched in the hands of a familiar figure as she hurries forward, having caught sight of him moving as she comes back. When she comes into focus, he’ll know at least Kaylee is okay. If anything, she’ll have a few more scars on her face and a few ugly bruises. The black stitches are striking as they hold close wounds caused by flying debris. The longest barely missing her eye, laying open her cheek.

Blood clings dark in her blonde hair, pulled back into a ponytail. There hasn’t been time to clean up. Eyes red and bloodshot, with flushed cheeks. Kaylee has probably been crying over some of those they lost. You can’t spend that much time with people and not get somewhat attached.

“Whoa. Whoa whoa. Not too fast there,” Kaylee’s voice is as gentle as the hand that moves to stop him from getting up any further, sharply cold from the snow. “Medic says you shouldn’t be up until you’ve had more time to rest.” Moving forward, she leans down to carefully press the fresh baggie to the horrible bruise and aching muscles. She might be fussing a bit as she holds the snow there, not really able to meet his eyes. “They left you some pain pills if you need them.”

There had only been a moment when blue eyes met gray before the world around her exploded. Kaylee barely remembers being knocked off her feet, but she does clearly feel the sting of the cuts caused by flying debris. There is a loud ringing in her ears muting anything happening around her, so she has to rely more on her ability to hear. However, thanks to the aches at the side of her head… it’s not quite a clear. In fact, the ringing is a bit distracting, but not so much she can’t hear the hums those around her.

Only one of them really matters to Kaylee in those moments after. She clings to it subconsciously.

“Everyone okay?!” The telepath asks a little louder then she needs to, pulling herself up, rifle aimed outward. She moves towards the edge of the truck ready to jump out if need be. They needed to find cover, it didn’t take a genius to figure out how exposed they are. She can hear them out there, getting closer. One by one popping into her abilities range. “Incoming!” Too much movement for her to give Luther a good target. Something wasn’t right…

Proof that Luther still has feeling in his own exposed skin shows when he twitches away from Kaylee’s icy cold fingers. He settles back down for a moment, blinking at the sight of her cuts and the blood drying in her hair. “I’m fine,” he ultimately claims even as he senses the dulled throbbing underneath numbing cold. The snow in the bag is already melting, but it’s packed enough to stay a little while longer than usual. So he reaches his own dirt-smudged hand to take the pack from Kaylee. His gaze lingers on the telepath, a silent couple beats more passing before he asks, an undertone of concern tucked beneath the simple question, “How long was I out?”

Choking smoke and dirt particles riddle the air around the stopped truck. It feels like a miracle that the supply team isn’t in similarly exploded pieces right now. But there’s not much time to think about that. A hailstorm of bullets sprays into the dirt and concrete walls of the ruins that they’ve taken cover behind. The team returns fire, though who really knows if they’ve hit anybody or anything. Mostly, the exchange is just loud.

“Those idiots must be real sore they wasted their one rocket on us and didn’t hit shit!” remarks Esposito, the woman’s fingers unhooking a second clip from her belt and half-tucking it into a pocket for use in another moment.

Luther snorts, clearing his sinuses and a sardonic laugh for the comment before he asks, “And how do you know they only have one?”

Esposito’s reply is just as wry, because she turns to the telepath on their team and says, “I don’t! But I’ll be willing to bet Kaylee can find out.” Isn’t that right? the woman’s expression looks with askance before she’s forced to drop her head down at the ricochet of bullets nearby.

Growling under his breath, Luther knits his brow in focus. The next wave of gunfire doesn’t strike quite as intensely around them, sounding oddly weakened when the bullets hit their cover. “Got to get closer,” he mutters, planting his hands down to the ground as he starts to rise and search for the next bit of wall.

“A few days,” Kaylee admits.

The snow filled pack is relinquished easily enough, letting him hold it to the bruising. Instead, Kaylee busies herself dragging a short stool closer to his bedside, the wood scraping on the dirt floor. Perching on it, she seems a touch restless. “You lost a decent amount of blood, but we got lucky and there were matches.” Blue eyes drift down to his bandaged torso, though they don’t seem to be really looking at it. “They… “ she stops herself and shrugs a little. “I think we just got lucky.” Fingers lightly touch at her own stitches.

“How… how much do you remember?” Kaylee asks softly, hand dropping away from her injuries.

“Watch out!”

Luther is still in the act of standing, so Kaylee’s slighter weight is still able to throw off the bigger man’s balance and both go down in a heap, while being showered by chips of concrete as bullets punch into the wall where the man use to be. The smaller telepath on top, with her arms covering her head.

Once the hail of bullets stop, Kaylee’s head comes up, arms still partially over her head. Luther is able up close and personal to tell when the woman is buried in her ability. That distant look and the fact that she hasn’t really noticed she’s laying on top of the man and this close. “Just stay there you son of a…” she hisses softly, it is obvious she isn’t talking about the man trapped under her. The sudden impression fills his mind, should dash away any thought of that. That snapshot that tells Luther where the shooter is.

That revelation makes Luther pause and the next knit of his brow isn't in pain but annoyance at his own situation. "Days?" he growls in echo, then falling silent as she goes on describing just how badly off he had been. He looks distant, trying to remember.

Smaller though she is, Kaylee still presents an added weight and force that he doesn't expect and Luther topples back over his gun. His face scrapes the ground briefly, asphalt pulling at rough beard for brief bullet filled seconds before he lifts it away and stares fierce gray eyes up at the telepath. He's not gotten this close before, and the tense situation ratchets up an awkward twist in his midsection, which might just be the gun he's laying on poking at his back. But. What he's about to accuse her of knocking him down disappears as he recognizes the focused image she projects into his mental space.

As soon as he's got the snapshot, Luther moves. A thick sleeved arm wraps around Kaylee in an enveloping motion and draws her closer, but then she's being rolled off so that they switch positions and he's atop her. For the briefest of beats, she can see, when his face turns towards the action, the scraped spot in his beard where a block of hairs have been pulled away, the skin reddened further than by the freezing chill. She can feel how the heat radiates off his body, even right up along his face.

Then he's pushing up again, slinging his rifle around so it's at the ready, and Luther turns away to roar out a challenging, wordless war cry at their assailants. The man leaps over the short wall of debris, charging away and firing at pinpoint flashes of other gun barrels going off. There aren't that many of the rival scavengers, just over a one-on-one ratio.

A flash of split second light. A blood-curdling scream. A man running out from his cover towards a bank of snow, because he's on fire, doesn't make it that far as Luther and the team returns fire and one of their bullets cuts the man down.

Luther's attention returns upon remembering that moment, and gray eyes tick up to stare at the telepath. His stare studies her, taking in the sight of her injuries and disheveled, tired face. And the stitches on her cheek. "Did you take a hit anywhere else?" His look travels down the rest of her.

It didn’t really occur to Kaylee what she did until the sensation of being rolled over hits her and she finds herself pinned under the man. Even with the battle around them, the breath catches in her throat, being so close.

The return of the cold air, brings her back to herself quickly along with the loud report of gunfire. Kaylee pulls herself up to sit, with back against the wall. “Shut up, Tyler.” She snaps out breathless. “What?” She looks at the space next to her and then out at the direction they came from. What stalks them there, saps all the warmth out of her and leaves her stomach ice cold.

In the distance, metal flashes blue in the moonlight as it stalks forward, then breaks into a run. “Luther!” Kaylee shouts out a warning, her voice edged with panic, as she scrambles to her feet and hops over the wall in an attempt to catch up.

Kaylee’s head gives the slightest shake, eyes blinking just a little quicker than before. After a heavy swallow she says, “Few more cuts and scrape, but that’s it.” Knees of her jeans are torn and bloody. Even her beloved Army jacket didn’t escape some damage.

Finally, blue eyes lift, glassy from unshed tears, “I’m okay, thanks to you.” There is something in the way she says that, eyes dropping away quickly again, moving to check bandages. It is clear she’s been doing this for sometime, shown by the medics what to do and to look for.

“I’m sorry you got hurt, Luther,” Kaylee says softly and meekly.

In her rush to catch the other, the toe of Kaylee’s boot gets caught on a jutting pieces of concrete wall. It causes the telepath to go down hard, head connecting with the ground hard enough to stun her. Her forward movement comes tumbling to a stop, leaving her dazed and a somewhat beaten up.

It takes a moment for her to remember that something was after her. When she does, Kaylee throws herself over on her back and starts trying to scramble back away from the thing. Scraping and slicing the palm of her hand on some rebar. This wasn’t something she could use her ability on. Nothing for her to latch on to an manipulate and it was coming at her.

The telepath can only stare in horror as it barrels towards her, her mind blanking out even as a part of her screams to run… Even though Tyler is screaming at her to run…

Brushing briefly at the corner of her eye with the back of her hand - the palm of it looks like a mess and might have stitches as well - Kaylee adds, “And I’m so sorry I froze.” Which might have been the cause for the hurt.

It doesn’t take a mind reader to know that Kaylee blames herself for his condition.

A dissatisfied grunt follows Kaylee's report and for a split second Luther looks past her like he's about to bark out at one of the attending medics. Not for him, but for her. But she speaks again and moves closer to check his bandages. She'll recognize the wrap needs changing, but it was easier when someone else was there to help do that task. Maybe not so much when Luther's awake and watching her. He exhales roughly and looks away at her apology. "Shit happens," he rumbles lowly, and leans back to let her examine what needs to be done. "Don't blame yourself. We got to take the risk, and sometimes we got to run."

He slowly reaches a hand out to brush fingers against the back of her hand where she wiped at her eye, then moves to cover part of it with his palm. Fingers curl around, encouraging a turn over to expose the sliced palm. "I'm serious," he says with a long stare down at her cut hand. "It's not your fault."

Because, really, it's his.

Indistinct shouting travels further in the cold air. Gunfire exchanges on both sides. Luther's found a building side to lean against, but he's not firing his weapon. Instead, he's focusing on where the other shooters are pinned down. The distracted shout of his name turns his head. He doesn't see the canister so much as hears its metallic clink-clank further off, and a sudden spray of brick and drywall explodes close to his face. Luther stops to wipe his face and clear the particles from his eyes, his ears ringing from the small grenade.

The sight of her coming over the covering wall is blurry. Esposito's shouting something that sounds like "Goblin!", turned away from shooting towards the scavengers and taking shots at something approaching in the dark. What thoughts he had about retaliating against the rival scavs washes away, replaced with a gut twist of rage.

The metal creature charges, the heat from its vents glowing red hot in the night and sending waves of exhaust out its dorsal ports. It's almost atop her when the machine lurches, missing a couple of steps as the heat seems to pull away. A bolt of electricity staggers its systems seconds following, then the solid form of Luther slamming all two-hundred some pounds of himself against it to push the robot off course. Bright, crackling electricity feed back into the robot, and the man's teeth grit fiercely as he struggles against the much stronger machine. His only advantage is its vulnerability is overheating. Pulling away, Luther's hands glow with a white hot heat until he manages to melt and rip some crucial wiring out of the bot's head and disable its systems.

Luther kicks the robot away from him, chest heaving with effort to recover, and then turns back to look for Kaylee. He starts to reach a not-glowing hand down to help her up, but doubles over as he's struck somewhere. The hand that reaches for her instead smacks against the wall she'd tripped over.

Steele's voice cuts through the air, panicked. "Soldiers incoming! Krejci's down!"

The skin under his fingers is damp, but there is no resistance as he turns her hand over to show her palm; badly scraped, bruised, and a stitched up cut along the meatier part of her hand. Fingers curl as if to hide the injury from him, an act of self consciousness; but also at having the gruff man be gentle like that. Her breath catches and holds as if afraid that breathing would ruin a rare moment.

“You almost got yourself killed,” Kaylee finally forces herself to speak, breaking the momentary spell, “to save me.” Her head shakes a bit, “You could have left me there.”

It isn’t until Luther turns towards her that Kaylee is shaken out of her frozen moment. He can see the intense fear in her wide blue eyes as they turn to him.

When he reaches for her, she moves to reach for him. Until he is hit. “Luther!” Her voice shakes, with her fear for his safety. Instead of him helping her up, she’s suddenly moving to help him up. Her slight form, helping to keep him up, as they run for the last place they heard their teammates. His weight getting heavier as they cover the distance to the rest of the team.

Those moments stretch and blur, the sensation of bullets whizzing past them and wondering if the next one will hit…. It keeps them moving forward. Finally, Steele comes into view and starts to helping take Luther’s weight, while Esposito lays down cover fire. Between the two, Luther is settled down where they can get a look.

Even without touching it, there was already so much blood.

There is a sniff and something drips on connected hands, he can see the tremble of her lip, before she catches it between her teeth.

Her attention is drawn to the bandages, stained with seeping blood. The hand not being held in his rest on the heated skin to the side of it, the twitch of muscles under her fingers going unnoticed as she gets lost in the memories. Even the ghost of Tyler sitting in her periphery is ignored.

Luther's gaze remains on the hand once he's turned it over, studying the cuts and stitches, but his mind isn't focused on the injuries. She can feel the warmth that naturally radiates out from his fingers. His other hand traces alongside the stitching, the movement light. Gentle, as if he were brushing against delicate flower petals.

The words she forces out breaks the spell for him too, and he blinks, looks back up at her. The man's angled brows squeeze down and together, the bridge of his nose wrinkling as if the notion she considers physically stinks. But it goes deeper, strikes at past losses, of those he did leave behind. "Don't you even fucking… don't ever think that," he growls as he lets go of her hand, pulling back and starting to twist to reach for his coat. The motion sends a sharp, painful reminder of the wound beneath the bandage. Luther grunts low, but stubbornly snatches at the coat to start to pull it on with the mind to get up and do things. To not simply sit still.

"Go! Move!" Luther grits out as the telepath helps him stand back up. The adrenaline rushing through keeps him up and moving as they make their way to where Steele and Esposito are shoving a limp Krejci into the back of the truck bed. Bullets ping off the metal dangerously close.

"There! Over there! Behind the wall, the truck! Send the dogs!" Shouts from soldiers and scavs alike call out. The air is choked with the acrid scent of gunsmoke. But the more pressing matters are the sounds of combat boots and metal feet.

"Shit! They've got Cerbs too," Steele realizes from that sound, a terrified, tightened pitch to his rapidly decreasing nerve. "Steele, goddamnit, don't fucking let go and help me! Kaylee, grab his leg," Esposito barks out as she unabashedly wraps an arm around Luther's thigh and push-shoves him up to the truck bed roughly.

Luther clambers up with the help, but has to grab onto a handhold railing to steady himself. Turning his gaze towards the main thrust of the battle, he sights the two Gen 3 hunters accompanying the group of soldiers that have joined the fray. His focus wavers briefly, but after another split second, a crackle of lightning zaps out of seemingly nowhere, enveloping the two bots. The flash and bang stun a number of assailants, but it's only enough to buy them a few seconds of time. He tries again to focus, but the hunters turn and start running for the truck.

The looks on Luther's pale face is clear that something is wrong. He shakes his head and grabs for his rifle. "Fuckin' Goblin must have nicked me," he swears aloud. And from the glance he sends the telepath, he actually looks worried.

Before Luther can get a good grip on the coat, it is deftly snatched away by the blonde and a hand lands solidly on his chest. Kaylee can’t really keep him there, but she still presses her weight against him in an effort to get him to lay down again. There is a bit of a snarl as she tells him, “Stay down.” There is no power behind that command, though she could if she wanted too. “You stubborn man.”

The coat is dropped on the back of the stool behind her, so she can use her other hand to help her if need be. “That’s not what I meant,” Kaylee growls out. You don’t spend a lot of time with someone and not pick up a few things it seems. “I’m not from here. You make it very clear what you think of us.” Maybe not her, but she lumps herself in there, because nothing changes the fact she is one of them. Her fingers are cold, splayed out against his feverishly warm skin. “You could have left me to focus on your own people, people from your own world, but you didn’t.

There is blood on her hands. His blood. There is fear in the eyes of her teammates. Kaylee can even feel her own, but as he turns that same fearful look towards her, something happens. A sort of calm slides through her… stifling her fear. Focusing her.

Without another thought, she turns towards the flicking of minds sliding into the field of her ability. She barely hears the growl in her own voice as she…

“What I am trying to say is…” However, whatever Kaylee wanted to say catches in her throat. Jaw clenching as she finds herself unable to form the words she wants to say to him.

”Kaylee!” A voice calls behind her. “Kaylee! What are you doing? We have to go!”

”Just go! Get him out of here.” The telepath doesn’t hear anything else after that, her rage carries her forward… carries her mind and ability forward as invisible tendrils of telepathic power slide through the closest mind. Easy as butter, this one was clearly still new. She feels his fear and plays on it, strengthens it and focuses it on a new target. Her work is heavy handed, she is only interested in results and not finesse.

There is a joyous thrill in it, as she jumps from mind to mind, tearing apart all they know and replacing it with something new — It was a thrill that she hasn’t felt since that day against the Vanguard. It was the same single purpose that drove her today… She had to protect her people.

But more so, Kaylee felt an unbridled need to protect Luther.

Her gaze drops to where her hands rest on his chest, suddenly aware of the warmth and the texture of the skin beneath her fingers. Her hands come off his chest, fingers curling to stop herself from touching him again and she leans back, straightening to stand. If they are focused enough to notice, the coat isn’t there any longer. Possibly grabbed by someone to be cleaned. However, the telepath’s attention was only for the injured man.

What was she doing? Don’t get attached she was told.

Thank you,” The telepath offers instead, “for— for saving me. Again… you’re always saving me.” There is a small smile, though a grateful one. “I’m a lucky woman to have someone like you watching my back.” Kaylee couldn’t help but be attached, for all she tries not to be.

Not often denied what he so desires, Luther tics his brows down in annoyed surprise as he's pushed back, forced to plant a hand behind him on the cot to stabilize. His second hand falls back too when she presses her second palm against his bare chest, and eventually Luther tilts back to rest on his elbows. He blinks a few times under the scolding tone. It's not what he expected, especially from her.

Esposito starts to reach a hand out for the telepath, but Steele yanks her back from the forward walking Kaylee. His voice drains away, lost in the firefight, lost as Kaylee sends out her telepathic tendrils to take over unexpecting minds. In seconds, the battle turns.

A second rocket launched strikes one of the hunters, and it explodes in a brilliant fireball. Metal shrapnel flies everywhere.

One of the soldiers turns wide eyed and unloads all the rounds in his gun into the second robot. His fellow soldier looks puzzled, then suddenly turns and does the same to the first before turning to shoot towards the scavs and getting shot up in turn. Then the scavs turn on each other, and the mess gets messier.

And so, so much bloodier.

Luther stares up at her as her hands linger. Beneath her palms, his heart beats quicker for those scant moments of contact. Then as she pulls away, he breaks that stare and glances away to the rest of the tent. The flush of heat to his face is acknowledged awkwardly, but he dismisses it with a rough, mental shove of his feelings down and a low grunt and shift of his body back down. "You're not any different… you're one of us. We protect each other," he concedes quietly, the sound rumbling out from somewhere deep in his chest. Heartfelt, in its own semi-prickly way. "I'll always try to…"

He realizes the coat that was his pillow isn't there.

After a couple seconds tick by for thought, Luther levers himself back up again, looks to the empty stool and instantly is back to the flash of anger. "The fuck happened to my coat?" His gaze whips around, staring at possible thieves.

They know when the telepath is back in her own head, because she suddenly staggers, a hand lifting to press to her head, clearly in pain.

Kaylee squints passed the blinding headache to see her handy work, watching as their opponents attack each other, forgetting about the small band of resistance fighters. There is satisfaction in that, but she is also suddenly very away of the eyes on her back.

Turning back towards the truck, Kaylee runs her sleeve under her nose, wiping at a pair of blood tracks from her nose. Smearing that and blood from several facial cuts, across her cheek. There is a grimace as she turns and rushes back to the truck, scrambling back up into the back. It takes everything in her not to fall back and pass out.

Anything else said is left unsaid as Luther asks about his coat. “It’s right…” Kaylee turns back to the stool she was sitting at and finds the coat missing. “…here?” She looks out into the medical tent with a confused look. Brows furrowing a bit, she looks back down at the man on the cot. “You stay down and rest and I’ll go look for the coat.” A flicker of a glance goes to the head of the cot.

“Till then…” Slipping out of her own Army jacket, Kaylee folds it deftly and tucks it into place. At least there is a hoodie under it, so she won’t be freezing. “Move from this spot and I’ll hunt you down and make you go back.” The threat is quiet, with a touch of a challenge. “And I won’t bring you dinner.”

Kaylee watches the battle diminish into the distance, unable to look at the others. She can feel the shift of perception towards her. The sudden wariness that hadn’t been there for some time. The bleeding from her nose hasn’t stopped yet, so she presses and holds her sleeve there. It was the furthest she had ever pushed herself.

Even if they never trust her again, Kaylee would do it all over again. Blue eyes finally turn to look at Luther, a touch of worry in them.

Kaylee will always protect the people she cares about.

Once everyone's on, Steele guns the engine of the truck, wiping his forehead with a dirtied back of his hand. The roar of the diesel powered pistons shake the vehicle to life and they're racing away. Esposito's in the back, not even really looking at Kaylee and Luther now, but cradling Krejci's head in her lap and hands. The man might not make it back to camp, but she's comforting him all the same and speaking to him in soft Spanish phrases that sound like a prayer. If not a prayer, then swearing.

But, the battle is behind them and not following. The buggies that were scouting for other routes join back up after several minutes, then zoom onward towards camp once Steele's signaled them to go on ahead. Their trip back is going to be rough.

A low growling escapes Luther, "Theft is not tolerated." He intones the rule around the camp like it might be punishable by death. Or at the very least, a death stare from Luther. That could be followed by death. "If I catch whoever took it," the growling continues, but his attempt to sit back up is stalled when Kaylee pins him with a look of her own and the command to stay down. Grey eyes stare at her, watching as she shrugs out of her jacket and sacrifices its warmth for his comfort.

That she has to get close to tuck it behind him doesn't shift his gaze off of her. Perhaps even intensifies it. Her quiet threat is definitely effective; the lack of dinner certainly strikes a nerve, or rather a hunger pang. Luther grunts as he settles back. He sniffs at the scent of her soap and faintest hint of the lavender salt soak, even around the dirt and muddy snow and other camp scents. "Fine," relents Luther as he leans his head back. "Just… don't waste too much of your time on it. I know you got things to do." Settling, he starts to close his eyes again, leaving the conversation there.

With his eyes closed, Luther doesn’t see the soft wistful smile on Kaylee’s lips as she looks back over her shoulder on the way out.

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