Day 081: Happy Birthday Kyler
Summary: Kai goes and talks to her mother on her eighteenth birthday.
Date: 18/08/16
Related: None directly
Kai 


Day 81 — Camp Jaha Mess Hall


It's not too late to chicken out. Sometimes she wondered if those thoughts came to her simply as her own way of testing her resolve. This particular thing she had failed dozens of times. Avoided adroitly. But today? Today was the day that she was going to finally do it.

It seemed appropriate, somehow, that on the day that she was supposed to die she would finally speak with her mother, face to face, about all the things that had happened, and what was likely to come into the future. And though it was it's own kind of cowardice, as she set out with sword and bow, ostensibly to hunt, she did not tell any of her new family her plans.

Stashing her weapons was more difficult in her current state than she wanted to admit, though the intention was merely to insure that there would be no complications when she finally walked up to Alpha's gates. When she asked where Katherine Adams was. Entering Alpha, was no less like stepping over the corpse of her own life, the strange sense of deja vu in walking corridors she'd once known by memory.

Had her mom always looked so old? Her hair so grey and streaked with sun, those lines so harsh under artificial light. And she? What did she look like? After eighty-one days on the surface of the planet.. the distorted reflection that swam up to her in the glass as much a stranger as anything else. Too close by half to the pictures of her father in his youth.

"Kyler?!" it was as much a sob as question, punctuated by the clatter of the tray hitting the floor. It spiked the desire to skulk away, and more effort than she liked to admit to focus on her mother. To not flinch when she flung her arms about her and clutched far closer than that nagging wound in her chest liked.

"Yes, mom." it was quieter than she wanted, more subdued as she felt herself pushed about, the noises of concern and alarm elicited by that scar in her hairline, the stippling near her eye. She chose the Baltimore MMA Club shirt for the reason of concealing as many of her scars as she could, but those she couldn't were worry enough in her mother's eyes.

"You've.. you've filled out." the tremble in her hands and the unshed tears in her eyes searched her as if memorizing her, but the sheer inanity of the statement made them both laugh in a brief and awkward fashion,"Are… are you okay? Out there? The stories I've heard."

"Never trust the stories mom."

"But you were here, with the redhead and the brunette.. bringing in those men."

"Yes mom."

"They said you were bleeding."

"I was." It still hurts. The words stuck in her throat and she gestured off to an empty table, to sit down, to give the hovering anxiety of Katherine the knowledge that she wasn't going to try and escape this time.

"Are you okay? Please tell me that at least."

"Yes mom, I'm okay." she could leave it like that, more than a small part of her wanted to, but as she continued to watch her she could hear herself saying,"I'm with the village on the other side of the lake. They're good people."

"The Tree Crew."

"Trikru. Yes."

"Why Kyler?"

She couldn't help the sigh, that was the one she knew was coming. The why. And she knew she would wait, for however long it took to find the words, searching her face and trying to pretend like she wasn't really crying,"I spent my life, trying to be what I was supposed to be. To be what dad.."

"Kyler."

She raised a hand to forestall it,"To be what dad wanted me to be. To live up to what was expected of me. And I hated it as much as I loved it. It.. I, was never good enough for him, and.."

"He loved you, Kyler."

"Well, he had a shitful way of showing it." she couldn't help the bitterness in her voice, despite the way it made her mother flinch,"I was very angry with him, mom. I was very angry for a very long time. I was angry with you, too. I was angry because you took what I told you in confidence and got Eli boxed."

"I was trying to protect you!"

"And I know that, mom. But you were wrong, and so was he. Eli's a good guy. Better than I deserved. Here I was always going to be Kyler Adams, daughter of Tyler, granddaughter of Tyler, great-granddaughter of Tyler. I was drowning and it felt like.. no matter what, I was doomed to live in their shadow."

"Kyler.."

"No, let me finish. I know you tried mom, and I'm.. sorry I didn't realize that, at the time. I'm sorry for what I said to you and the shitty things I did. But I'm not sorry, for getting boxed. For ending up here. I know it's… not what you want to hear, but I belong there… with them. Not here. And some of the things… some of the things dad and you taught me, they're still a part of me, too." she palmed the locket into her hand and set it on the table between them. Hearing the gasp and sensing as much as seeing the hand flutter to her mother's face, the hand that seemed too slender and fragile setting over hers.

"A girl, a friend so close that I consider her my sister… she kept this safe for me. She's here in this station.. this.. place. Before that, I had tried to trade it to a man for maps, so that she, and all of my other friends, might have a chance.. when we didn't know even know if there was an Ark anymore."

She didn't look up, she could hear the catch in her mother's voice and the shake of her shoulders,"Those kids. Those criminals, taught me things mom. About myself, and about how when shit hits the fan people who owe you nothing might be the only thing standing between you and death." she closed her hand on the locket and drew it back to herself to shove into a pocket.

"I still love you mom. I want you to know that. Okay? I'm okay. There are people out there who love me. Who are family in their own way. They don't ask me to pick between you and them… they've been telling me to come and talk to you for ages. And I just.. I couldn't. I'm sorry."

"I love you too, Kyler. And it's… okay. As long as you're okay."

"Always, mom. You know Adams' are hardheaded." she heard herself drawl. It was a small concession, an acknowledgment, at least, even if the name sounded wrong still in her ears these days.

"And stubborn."

"And stubborn." she let the smile flitter across her face.

"Happy birthday, Kyler."

"Thanks mom. I'll.. talk to you soon, okay? I should head out. I've got a job to do, but I wanted to come see you."

"Okay. I love you." she didn't resist the hug this time, and instead careful of her injuries and her mom both returned the hug as tightly as she dared,"Be safe."

"I love you too." there was more she'd intended, thought out, planned on… but they died on her lips and she chose to let them, slinking out of Alpha and letting the sleeping dogs lay for now.

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