Your Eyes


vf_kain2_icon.gif wf_kay_icon.gif

Scene Title Your Eyes
Synopsis Two haunted people encounter ghosts.
Date April 3, 2018

Thunder cracks through a yellow-gray sky, lightning tinted by the smog flashes bright behind heavy cloud cover, a filthy rain falls down onto the blown out remains of an old RadioShack.

Squinting against the rain, Kain Zarek adjusts the hood of his plastic poncho, making sure none of the polluted rain makes it onto his skin or into his hair. Behind him, a pair of buggies are parked under a tarp-roofed enclosure, and he's one of five people carrying duffel bags full of salvaged electronics into the old storefront.

The Resistance cell he's been staying with has been operating out of the RadioShack’s basement for about a month now, using maintenance tools within to repair equipment while scout teams hit up businesses in the region to gather essential supplies. This, of all things, makes the most sense to Kain. He's done jobs like this in the past, in another world where the air was dangerous to breathe for entirely different reasons. Of all the terrors of the wasteland this was the most normal.

Resistance Base

Yonkers, New York

April 3, 2018

1:37 pm

Clomping in through the RadioShack’s bombed out entrance, Kain crunches collapsed drywall and fire-blacked routers underfoot. Old pieces of glass snap and grind with each footfall, bringing him through the sales floor, into the back supply area, and then to the bulkhead to the basement.

Ah’m koo-koo for Cocoa Puffs,” is the absurd password he shouts down the dark stairwell, rifle gripped lazily in one hand and duffel bag in the other.

Boots scuff against concrete and then thud their way over to the other side of the door. There’s a moment where there’s only the loud click-clanking of locks being unlatched, and a faint grumbling. “Another clown thinks it’s funny to take a run at my accent.” The door begins to swing open. “Look, I don’t make the damn pass—”

Kay Damaris looks straight into the face of a ghost and the words die in her mouth, as though they’ve turned to ash on her tongue. Metaphorical gears whir and click, the rifle and bag are acknowledged by a stalled brain. Supplies.

She steps away from the door and gestures inside. “C’mon then.” The tone suggests irritated, but it lacks the bite that Kain Zarek knows she’s well capable of.

There's no biting rejoinder from Kain, just a slack-jawed look of abject confusion as he stares down a woman two worlds dead to him. The visible strain he presents trying to wrap his mind around this all is little compared to the look of frustration and resentment that comes boiling to the surface, tinting his eyes pink with emotion, glassy with sadness.

Kay?” Kain’s voice is little more than a hoarse whisper, corners of his mouth dragged down into a grimace of grief that he never thought he'd be able to express, let alone be blindsided by. This was different than seeing her and Matt play the happy couple last time. This wasn't some night time peep show from a hundred yards. She was here. Now.

For a long moment, she resists looking at him properly. She’d been warned that Kain fucking Zarek was with the travelers, but they’d seemingly done their best to avoid each other. Or she’d been doing her best to avoid him. He hadn’t been at the big meeting, hadn’t been assigned to her infiltration team. Everything seemed to be going in her favor to keep her past well buried.

Her arm sweeps out to indicate the cleared out basement with the intent of telling him to just put it anywhere when she gets a look at his face. Kay’s jaw goes tight and the fire in her eyes goes out.

Tears have rolled down past Kain's lashes, across his cheeks and into his beard. "Ah' tol' you 'cause you deserved t'know, an' you deserved t'take out a holy goddamned wrath on that white-bearded fucker for what he's gone an' done." Swallowing tensely, Kain looks over his shoulder, then back to Kay.


“Christ.” Kain says breathlessly. “It's… really you.” Blue eyes flick to the side, and Kain takes a step forward, then remembers where he is and curls his fingers closed against his palm. He looks to an empty space beside Kay, then back up to her, and for a moment there's little more than silence and the soft din of rain pattering on metal.

After a moment, Kain finds his voice again. “Is— Colleen…” He hates the words as soon as they've left his mouth, hates the way they feel on his tongue, hates the implication his terminated sentence takes on; here becomes alive in the interminable gulf of silence.

Kain doesn't clarify. He's afraid to.

“Upstate. With my parents.” Kay smiles ruefully, but it lasts so briefly it could just as well have been a twitch of the lips. “Like always.” Her gut churns a little at that. All these years and she hasn’t changed a bit, has she? He called her out on that once. Called it abandonment. It was easy to dismiss then as something just too rich coming from him. Maybe it’s easier now. Her lifestyle doesn’t exactly leave much room for raising a teenager. This isn’t the life Kay wanted for either of them. It hardly seems fair to anyone involved.

It never occurs to her that there’s a life where she may have truly failed her daughter.

She reaches out and deliberately allows her hand to cover his as she means to transfer ownership of the supplies to herself, with the intent of setting them on the floor next to her once he’s relinquished. Her brown eyes don’t leave his face.

It seems strange to Kain that in a world so violent, so full of hate and suffering, that people consigned to death in his world could live on. “So…” he starts, passing off the duffel bag to her, weighty with mechanical components. “So, this’s yer gig? S’funny… how, like… how we…”

Kain stops himself, swallowing tightly and looking away from her. This was harder than he'd ever thought it would be. That his eyes have the haunted quality of someone staring into the face of the dead when he looks back is clear. What isn't, to him, is where they both stand beyond the obvious spatial placement.

“You… know Ah’m not from around these parts,” Kain wonders, “right?”

There’s a momentary dip in Kay’s posture as she takes the heavy bag, but compensation for the extra weight comes quickly. She’s grateful for the opportunity to have something else to fuss over. Anything to tear her focus away from that look in his eyes and the gymnastics taking place in the region of her stomach.

Setting the bag down on the floor, the brunette drops down a squat next to it, opening the zipper and glancing through the contents. “This’s my gig.” Her own accent comes through thick, but not in the way that it used to. Not like all those years of trying to sound New York but fucking it up around him. At the end of the world, a little girl’s hangups about being teased about her accent don’t carry over to womanhood anymore, apparently.

His question has her lifting her head and her brows. Seriously? “Well, I haven’t been livin’ under a dang rock, despite what this hole might imply.” Yes, she’s aware.

Kay's face goes so bloodless it's a wonder she can remain standing. But the more she listens, the more the color returns until her skin has turned a shade so red, it's nearly purple. "That isn't my husband in the fuckin' ground?!" There are no adequate words for this whole onslaught of sudden truth.

"You son of a bitch!" She starts to stalk toward the man, her chin tipped down, looking past sharply angled brows in a scowl.


It's reflected in Kain’s eyes too. “Why’d it have t’be here?” He asks aloud, though it doesn't seem as though he'd intended to. The humbled outburst is met with a look of embarrassed resignation, and Kain slowly scrubs one hand at the back of his neck, shoulder slack and feet as heavy as lead. “Sorry, s’just…”

Closing his eyes, Kain draws in a slow breath and then exhales a sigh through his nose. “Long time back…” He says shakily, “Ah…” then fails to finish his thought. Instead, he winces as though injured, and brings his hand down from his neck to hang limply at his side. “Ah’ dunno. Ah’d figured Ah’d have a plan by the time ya’ll came ‘round.”

Then, with uncertainty, he looks to Kay. “You got a Nuke-world knockoff’a me kickin’ around?”

Kay's mouth pulls into a sad smile. "No," she tells him. "Not for a long time. Last I saw him was the night before the world ended."

Metal scrapes across wood and the shots ring out one after another before she even realizes she's reached for the gun on the table. A pair of red blossoms burst into bloom on Kain's chest, soaking into his shirt and the jacket over it. Kaydence stares in disbelief, grip tight on her firearm, lips pursed. There's conviction there in her actions. He deserved this. He made her do this when he killed her husband. When he made her betray the principles he died for, and screwed her besides.

No. The only one who made her do those things was her. She pushes the barrel up under her chin and—


Click click click click click!

The gun clatters where it's dropped on the living room floor and Kay rushes forward to where the man has collapsed, brown eyes wide and terrified. The heat of the moment is cooling, and all she's left with is her regret. "Oh god. Oh, Kain. What've I done?"

"'Magine he found himself a shallow grave."

It takes a long time to dig a grave, it turns out. Daylight is kissing the horizon, which has flushed pink from the attention. Kay rolls the lump of a trash bag into the hole she's dug and thinks about all the ways she's going to need to cover her tracks. All the things she and her partner would catch that would condemn her. Did he tell anyone he was going to see her? Surely he wouldn't have admitted to that. Calevera might have an inkling. She needs to be prepared if he comes sniffing around.

She'll need to be able to stop crying before she even has a prayer of convincing anyone she has no idea where Kain Zarek might have gone off to. There's too many variables she can't control. It's only a matter of time before someone figures it out.

In the end, she never had to cover up what happened. Law and order sort of fell by the wayside. Kay rises to her feet and stares up at this ghost of a man, unsure of how she’s supposed to feel. "Always wish he 'n I could'a had a second chance to…" She trails off, deflating a little.

“Me too,” Kain says in a hoarse whisper, blue eyes squared down to the floor. There's a distant peal of thunder that rumbles outside, breaking up the silence between them. “S’funny, Ah’ had all’a this shit Ah’d swore Ah’ was gonna say if’n Ah’d ever seen you again…” Kain’s silence in the face of that admission says enough.

Looking around the floor, Kain slowly lets his gaze find its way back to Kay. His jaw is tense, the crease between his brows looks like it was cut with a knife out of a wood block.

"Me too." In the wake of that echo, silence passes for several tense moments. The sound of her thumbnail scratching over the fabric of her pants sounds artificially amplified, like the rain a story over their heads. This isn't the man she'd hoped to see again after all these years. After what she'd done to him. Not really.

In a way, that's a relief. How could she begin to apologize? How could she begin to make amends? There isn't any way she can conceive of that would put things right. There was rarely anything right where the two of them were concerned. And something about that is what makes it so.

First dipping down, then bobbing back up to find his mouth with hers, the meeting is not gentle. Kay's hands come up a moment later to cradle his jaw. It will never be alright, but maybe that's okay.

The peal of thunder that rumbles outside does not have an opinion on the matter. Not does the hammering rain.

Though neither will leave until long after the rain has passed.

And neither will leave the same.

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