Things, Stop Doing Them


joseph_icon.gif kaylee2_icon.gif

Scene Title Things, Stop Doing Them
Synopsis Kaylee missed Christmas, so Joseph manages not to miss New Years.
Date December 30, 2010

A Motel

Joseph's late.

She'd gotten a call on the morning before New Year's Eve, highly distracted and quickly worded, due to Joseph running out of coins, maybe, or simple paranoia. That he'd gotten to the mainland jjjust fine, in one piece, he's going to do some stuff first, what's the name of the building again, oh that ain't no time at all from the GCT, he can bring by dinner. Sentimentality had been hastily snipped from the conversation to its bare edges and corners, either because a near decade of marriage under his belt got him used to a certain lack of poetry, or maybe because things like how are you? have a few weighted connotations about stuff they haven't gotten around to discussing. And to do so over a payphone would be weird.

At least it's not the night, the very last night of a truly awful year gone by, that Kaylee can see congealing above a sinking sunset some time after Joseph promised he'd be around. Cover of night is a double edged blade, offering some amount of disguise as well as scrutiny for things that move through the streets as the hour encroaches on the point that one ain't meant to be around. Fortunately for both of them, the suspenseful drama doesn't continue on any longer than putting a wedge of wasted time in the evening.

Footsteps crunch over the gravel parking lot of the motel, greasily ghoulish green neon advertising rooms still empty creating a kind of uneasy Jersey effect on this end of town, and cast Joseph's shadows in strange shapes as he moves at a trudge, warm beneath his quilt-lined blue flannel. You don't really know how big New York City is until you have to walk it, and even then. He isn't holding dinner.

He is holding something liquor-shaped in brown paper, which was maybe the best he could do. He knocks, three times, on the door Kaylee told him was hers.

The knocks set off a nervous flutter through Kaylee's stomach, hand pressing against the dark gray fabric of her turtle neck in hopes of calming it. Even if a touch of her ability confirms who it is, why she's here is enough to set it off.

Sock covered feet, hurry across a brown tight weave carpet, worn and seen much better days. Her reflection distracts her for a moment, eyes snapping to mirrored closet. Fingers straighten the turtle neck and she brushes a hand down the hip of dark jeans. The girl in Kaylee can't help to even brush fingers through her now shoulder length long hair, making sure it's okay. Then followed by her brushing a finger under her eyes to make sure the eye liner hadn't smeared too much in her wait.

A small smile tugs up at one corner in amusement of herself. She was sure there were going to be some serious question, but still she was worried that she was presentable.

The locks are quickly dealt with, turn of this and a flip of that. The blonde telepath offers a bright, if slightly nervous smile as she opens the door. "Joseph," she offers softly in greeting, stepping back to let him in. Of course, she doesn't fail to notice the jacket, which manages to to get a delighted look. "Come on in. The heat works, you've got to be freezing."

"Nuh uh. I was freezin' for about, oh," and Joseph is making his way in as he accepts invitation inside, a hand out to place warm on her hip and ducking in to kiss her cheek, "maybe five minutes after I got to topside. Then kinda moderate for as long as it took me to remember that fugitives don't get to use taxi cabs on account o' those swipey card things? Or probably not, anyhow. I'm plenty warm now." Paper bag and bottle inside it is offered for her to take, Joseph setting about shrugging off his winter coat.

The clothing beneath that is sort of a casual nice kind of range — not exactly sweatshirt and jeans suitable for manual labour under or above ground, but a button down, slacks, coasting close to how he used to dress when his life was more churchy than— terroristy, according to some. Twin crucifix pedants spill from his collar and catch silver and gold in the light against sky blue cotton.

The kiss on the cheek is warmly received, skin warn and coloring just faintly. "Glad you got here safe anyhow." The bottle is taken and tucked against her side in the crook of an arm while she closes the door. Once locks are secured, she follows him deeper into the room, the contents of the bag checked out with a small smile.

Glancing up from the bottle, she looks slightly startled at is dress, but not on a bad way. "Looking good there, Sumter," Kaylee teases lightly, fingers reaching out to brush at the front of his buttoned shirt, giving a little tug in one spot to straighten a wrinkle.

The smile softens a little, finger tips passing over the two crosses while eyes lift to his. "It's nice to see you again." The words turn a little shy at the end, the telepath turning away to set the bagged bottle. "And — I'm sorry. You know… about Christmas." No reason to beat around the bush, it's something that's eaten at her. Especially, since she's had plenty of time to think about it.

His hand clasps over her's when it comes to rest against his chest, affection as apparent as warmth and laboured roughness. Bushy eyebrows go up in some surprise at that statement, and reserve shows in Joseph's hesitation in speaking, in the way the squeeze of his hand goes still, before he manages a smile. "Well, it's Christmas. There'll be another one next year and knowin' you was safe over here is fine by me. I just brought some champagne, even if we ain't big drinkers." Or. Even if they aren't drinkers at all.

But a glass of champagne seems like a mandatory effort for the New Year upon them in a night and a day. So it's fortunate that Eve is not tonight, when Joseph goes on to add, "But we should probably talk about that. The, uh. Why you're over here. I just can't really get my head around it."

Business isn't romantic. It's basically the opposite of romance, depending on the industry.

Never romantic, but necessary.

When it comes down to it, when you look past what they are to each other, he's still council and she's an operative. "I know." That knowledge doesn't stop her from wincing. "And I don't have a real explanation or a good excuse. Just — " Leaving the bottle on the small round table, she faces him again, looking guilty, not quite meeting his eyes. " — wanted answers.

Chewing her lips a bit with uncertainty, Kaylee tries to decide where to start. "I went to see Warren Ray… it's been awhile. When he said his factory, I didn't think— " She trails off, cause really she didn't. There is a heavy sigh and she shakes her head, deciding to just make it a statement, "I didn't think. I was just thinking about getting DNA for testing, cause he might be mine and Valerie's brother."

Eyes hesitantly lift to look at the much older of the two of them. "I didn't really realize exactly where I was, til I got there and the little robots running around and all these people working on assembling stuff." Her voice quiets a bit at the end. "He insisted that was his and they'd have know way of knowing… but I knew better."

Another sigh. "A little late, I know."

It's hard to like. Get mad and stay mad or at least stay righteous when the other person is monopolising in that area by recognising they did wrong. Joseph wanders back enough to rest a hip against some rigid furniturcal structure that supports him in his lean, listening with all the patience of someone who was once paid money to listen to people as often as he was paid money to talk to them. "Yeah, that was a mistake," he agrees — not meanly. Simply. Ruefully.

Tiredly. "Last time this happened, and you went to go see this dad of yours, you went with 'em and came back brainwashed. Wiped." Whatever it is the kids call it. His mouth firms into a line. "You're riskin' the Ferry for this— these personal things, which is bad enough, but it's Institute too— the whole network's findin' it hard to trust people.

"That includes the people in it. I know that— the lead up to the eighth was as long as five years for you, maybe not as important to you, but it was important. I should know."

Side stepping over to the bed she sits down. "I know…" Kaylee whispers, eyes dropping to her lap and hands clenching tight together. "Everything leading up to it isn't as sharp of a memory… being Ferry and all. I do remember the distrust and I just…" She sighs and goes quiet.

"What led up to this horrible lapse in judgment, is….Richard Cardinal had the blue box from my father. That's why he wanted to see me." She doesn't know if he'd remember that. Kaylee barely remembered until she saw that box.

"So the gist of it is — " Kaylee voice catches a little bit there, eyes turning slightly glassy from threatening tears. It's honestly a stressful situation for her, even if Valerie is delighted by the prospect. It roughens her voice a little as she says with a sort of mock humor, " There are two men who could be my brother. Either a deranged lunatic spree killer, building machines and robots for the Institute — or my brother is the man that may very well lead the Institute in his future, here in ours."

There is a tearful, huff of laughter. Head dropping forward to press hands over her eyes briefly, before she tries to wipe at tears as they spill over and down her cheeks. "Or they both are." She sounds so bitter, but being a telepath is hard enough without adding either of those factors to it. Trust is such a precious thing for someone like her. "Imagine how that would go over."

"If it helps any…" And Joseph moves, then, to come and sit by her with a creak of the mattress beneath him. His leg nudges warmly against her's in a comradely kind of gesture, if still intimately affectionate between two people who are. "Ferry judges actions over who y'are. Like Eileen and her friends. Redemption stories and connections. Job title and blood, bein' a telepath, and so forth, that's all just— incriminating things that only have to come up if you do things to remind people of 'em."

A beat, then; "So maybe you gotta stop doing things," is mildly teasing. "And hell, the whole council're hardened criminals now, or didn't you hear? We can't go around throwin' stones in glass houses."

"Still, if these tests come out true and it gets out, who will they look at first if something goes wrong?" Kaylee watches him sit out of the corner of her eye, not ready to meet his yet. Fingers work to check eyeliner that may have smudged and sniffling. Though his leg touching her's draws her gaze, fingers pausing in ther work, brings a small smile to her lips. A warm smile at that.

"Stop doing things?" Now that does bring her eyes up, brows lifting a little. Is that even possible? She isn't sure, so she offers a compromise. "How about… I try to remember to talk to someone smarter about it, before doing things." A little self depreciation there, but then she's never seen herself as a smart woman.

"Like you."

She leans over a little to let her shoulder touch his, resting some of her weight against his shoulder. There is that familiar tilt of mischief to her lips, marred some by red rimmed eyes, eyeliner smudge just a little. "And being a criminal ain't all bad." Eyelids lower a little, voice softening into a bit of a whisper as if giving up some big secret. "Always had a weakness for the bad boys," is her own tease, clearly labeling him as such, even if they both know the opposite is true.

"Thank y'kindly," is unnecessarily southern and in response to talking to someone, even if smarter wouldn't have been Joseph's word choice. Someone who has authority, maybe. Or just Joseph, so he knows, so he can guilt trip her into going with, or convince her not to. His arm finds itself around her shoulders, hand drifting up to touch his palm to her head before squeezing opposite shoulder. There is thought, behind saying more.

But decides not to, ultimately. "Didn't mean to make you cry," he says. "As for your brother. Brothers. Dunno. But I'm pretty sure we got worser blood ties than that. I mean, ain't Peter Petrelli the same Petrelli that's causin' us all that grief? I'd say that's a sight scarier than some scientist, or someone who ain't done nothin' so bad yet."

"I don't know know how you can say that." Kaylee studies him, brows furrowing a little. "After what happened to you? I mean… I know he's not that Richard yet…" She trails off, shaking her head with a soft smile, having sort of answered her own question. For a moment, she presses her head against him palm gently, seeking that bit of intimacy maybe cause there was none for so many year. "Nevermind… you're right. I could be related to much worse."

Her own hand drifts up to rest on the one around her shoulder, fingers lacing with his. "Don't worry about the crying." Brushing at lingering moisture, she glances at the light smearing of black on the finger tip. "Better here with you, then around Valerie. She's so excited about all this, I'm still trying to comes to terms with it, even if I like Richard alright."

"I wouldn't've been kind of mad at you for goin' if I didn't think the Institute weren't a threat," Joseph clarifies, smile a little crooked, and though she can't easily see it, she can hear it in his voice. That tone sobers a little further when he adds, "A raid on their facility had Ferrymen killed. In the double-digits. You remember. I still remember the memorial, and how I knew any one comment taken the wrong way could be like a match thrown in a powder keg. They've— they've hurt us, and me. I can't lie."

His embrace squeezes her a little. "But as far as I can tell, your maybe brothers aren't responsible, not for them or for me. And you certainly ain't. So we live with it, don't we? No point in doin' much less."

As he talks, Kaylee's head comes up so that she can really see his face. Things that are so far away for her. Things she wishes she still remembered as clearly. Bits and pieces there, like wishing she could go on that raid and help, but she was still recovering from being shot. Or the memorial, being hit and Joseph coming to her aid.

Tears start threatening again, but this time for a different reason. Maybe a part of her had to hear him say it. Some of her stress, possibly coming from knowing he was in the Institute's hands and it might very well be her brother that runs it, even if a future version.

It's awkward, sitting side by side and all, but Kaylee does her best to wrap arms around the pastor to hug him and to press a gentle kiss on his cheek. "We. I like hearing that."

Of, course a part of her shies away, uncertain suddenly. Kaylee's cheeks flush a little. "Sorry. I just — " Th words fail her a little, but then she smiles with her chin lifting a little, with a sniffle. "If you can live with it, I can." That's the important thing to her.

They are not the most self-assured and confident of romantic heroes, not now and not before, but still, there is something in Kaylee's hesitation and apology that gets an uneasy squint from Joseph, all gathered eyelashes and small crinkle in his brow. It's an expression he can smooth out easy enough in the time it takes for her to smile and make that proposition, a half smile pulling at the corner of his mouth. "Sounds kinda like a deal," he agrees, smoothing back an errant lock of blonde with his palm.

"I, uh, didn't bring dinner. Lots've places were closed by the time I was on my way anywhere, or at least they— frickin'— were where I was walking, but there's probably still time t'order. Liquor stores, though, still truckin' along, 'specially at this time of year."

A glance goes to the bottle on the table, a touch of amusement pulling her smile up a little more. Curling against his side some, maybe trying to get a bit more comfortable. "I know a place." She sounds assured of that. Even if she'd rather cook for them, she still had her talent of finding fast food.

"So — " Kaylee starts softly, eyes drifting down to his chest. Long fingers can't help but fiddle with the buttons of his shirt in a sort of shy playfulness. "Does that bottle over there, mean you're thinking of staying awhile?" Eyes drift up to give him a shy glance from under partially lidded eyes, worry melting away some.

"A day or two maybe?"

Somehow, Kaylee manages to make that question sound so innocent, as if there isn't anything else on her mind. Eyes tend to tell a different tale, even if her brows tilt up a little with that innocence. "Since something like that should really be shared on New Years Eve?"

"Y'think so?" Joseph playing coy would not look neeearly as attractive on his face in comparison to how it does on Kaylee's face, so he doesn't bother with it, more happy to play straight man lol to her leading enquires, questions lined up like breadcrumbs through a garden path. "Then I suppose that means I'm stayin' in town for a few nights at least." He falls out from embrace as well as her hand on his chest, to catch himself back on lazy elbows propping him up on the bed.

Glances around the motel room like he's surveying his new digs, expression sincere. "Y'can help me not get arrested for terrorism while I'm here, how's that sound?" Fuzzy eyebrows knit, earnestly. Terrorist ones.

One hand propped on the bed so that she can turn to look at him, brows lifted higher on her head, long gold hair falling over her shoulder. "Aiding and abetting a known terrorist?" A finger is pressed to her lip, tapping a little, as if she's giving this serious thought. What comes out of her mouth is much less serious. "Or would that be aiding and bedding a known terrorist?"

Yes, she knows it's cheesy, the grin she flashes him says so.

A knee slides up on the bed, so that she can turn and use it for leaning herself closer. "I guess if you don't mind sharing the bed, you can stay, Mr. Sumter." One hand taking her weight, the other keeping him from getting a face full of long pale curls, Kaylee finishes closing the distance between them, to give him a — testing kiss. Seeing how the water is so to speak.

He laughs. Joseph laughs because it is funny, and is still doing that a little by the time she's kissing him, to which she will find the water to be receptive, vaguely hopeful, hopefully accommodating, and divorced.

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