Kayla’s eyes flickered towards Jai. While she was still getting her bearings straight from the healing process from hell, she did manage to catch some of the words he said. Slowly, she propped herself up into a sitting position, her cognac eyes looking at him. ”Maybe at some point, when I have come to terms with it,”
she replied to the comment. Her head throbbed, her sense of balance thrown into spinning circles as she tried to regain her other senses. When she felt her body was stable enough, she raised her left hand to go to rub the temple.
About halfway through the movement, her hand stopped mid-motion. Without her willing it, her hand - her whole body - slowly shifted towards Racheli. Much like what had happened in Sherman Square when the Hounds attacked. Kayla’s mind still bogged down from the pain, recalled the same moment when Racheli was also annoyed at that kid. That moment caused her to stop too. She also controls metals or magnetism?
But before she could follow that thought with the same question, her friend turned and left the garage. She winced as the door was slammed shut.
It was at that moment she noticed a change in demeanour in the virus in the room. Normally, she wouldn’t be bothered by the apparition, but something was different. The words that came from its mouth stunned the archer before it disappeared into thin air. In her moment of showing both Jai and Racheli that she wasn’t weak - that she wanted to feel as strong in her human form as those two - she pissed off her friend. ”Oh hell,”
she spoke, exasperated in tone. ”Looks like I need to talk to her before she disappears…”
Slowly, she tried to get up onto her feet.
Jai was near unresponsive at Kayla's remark, just shifting his dual irises in her direction with a subtle quirk of his brow. His blue eye had mechanical like circles inside it as if he was continuously analyzing the scene and her. But, the gaze shifted its focus when Racheli stormed out, slamming the door behind her. The virus's words were ominous, but he said nothing. At the moment, everything seemed well enough…
He moved when she did, hands reaching for her to hold her steady. "Steady, Kayla,"
Jai warned, gripping her forearm and shoulder. "I do not think it is advisable to move quite yet."
He blinked and his sensors were giving him the information he didn't notice before. Switching his one eye to a different view, he noted the strange electrical energy coming off of her. "She will be back in a moment, but pace yourself. I should warn you that there are changes happening that I'm not entirely sure is happening."
Leila was observing and taking notes and seemed to be very dedicated to it while she paced the room.
Kayla was surprised to see Jai near her when she tried to get up from the ground. Logically, she understood his concerns and should be following them. However, her stubbornness and determination weren’t having any of it. ”And doctors told me it wasn’t advisable to do archery ever again, but look how that turned out.”
As she looked at him, her eyes gave off a sense of deviousness to them. There wasn’t hiding the fact that she was going to ignore what was advised and try to get up. If she wasn’t to get onto her feet, then at least she could get onto the nearby chair. ”Besides, I bet you’d love to say ‘I told you so’ if I collapse onto the floor again.”
Slowly and hesitantly, she got off of the floor and moved onto the nearby chair. She wasn’t going to lie to herself and say that was a piece of cake. Her entire body ached throughout the move. When Jai spoke again, the archer looked somewhat perplexed at what he had said. ”There are changes you aren’t sure of? What’s that supposed to mean?”
The concern in her voice raised the volume slightly to make it more audible in the garage than what it would normally be.
When she rejected his aid, he dropped his arms to his sides. Still, that didn't prevent him from standing close enough to catch her if she did stumble. There's a wry smile that ghosted over his lips, a faint semblance of amusement at her words of practising archery. "As amusing as it would be for me to say 'I told you so,' I don't think that would give me or you any sort of enjoyment for rubbing it in."
The only look he received was a raised eyebrow as Kayla doubted he wouldn’t enjoy the comment.
There was a wary glance when she shifted to the chair without much trouble. Still, the sparks of energy had yet to cease. The amusement dissipates when she asks and from the corner of his eye, he can see Leila shifting, and listen in with a keen eye.
Kneeling down in front of her, his elbows on his knees, he said, "You have strange electrical energies radiating off of you that shouldn't be normal in someone who just received what Leila gave you."
His eyes darted to her and returned his focus to the woman in front of him. "Not only that, but I was absolutely certain that there was nothing entirely metallic in that injection and I'm watching—"
His eyes slide to her shoulder blade where she had been previously shot, "—where you've been previously shot slowly be filled with something metallic."
He looked away and returned his focus on her."Is there something either me or Leila should know?"
At first, a puzzled expression was etched on Kayla’s face as the information on electrical energies came up. While the nanites she was injected with could be something that is the cause of that, she doubted that as Leila had tested it before and it didn’t come up. And the concoction that Evergreen gave her that enhanced her agility? That certainly wouldn’t be the cause of this energy.
The expression changed into shock at the mention of something metallic
being in her body. She knew that the modified nanites that came from Racheli’s blood were organic, so that definitely came from something else. Her eyes widened with shock and panic at the idea that something was inside her that she didn’t know about. Her heart rate began increasing once again as panic set in. ”There’s something inside of me?!"
she gasped, her voice breaking. It certainly didn’t help her that whatever was inside of her was going back to where she was shot before. The whole thought of that night giving her something else made her nauseous. Her skin paled as her skin began to clam up.
It didn’t take long before the archer’s arms scrambled for the nearby bin and threw up. It had been too much for her. Once she finished, she slumped into the chair. She felt more exhausted than she did the moment the healing process finished. Breathing heavily, her eyes slowly moved from the bin to Jai and Leila. ”I swear… I don’t know… I didn’t know…”
Jai could only sympathetically watch when Kayla did not take the news well. But, clearly, there was someone else
intervening with Kayla and her body that was not Leila. Setting the thought for another day, he needed Kayla to focus on something else and try to move past the initial news. They need to try to figure out a way to find the answers rather than worrying about it. Though, as concerning as it was, he supposed that it was only normal. Most, if not all, do not take too kindly to finding out that there was something invading one's body. The very thought gave him pause, and he forwent the idea of further contemplation.
The soldier shook his head, glanced in Leila's direction where she gave a hard look. At Kayla, he stood up so that he could reach forward and place a hand on her shoulder as a means of reassurance. "If you don't know, then perhaps it will be best if you let Leila take a few samples from you to figure out what it is exactly you have in your body. Much like how she did for Racheli."
At her cue, Leila walked over with her arms crossed, a finger tapping her chin in thought. "Certainly,"
she said with a nod. "I'll definitely have to take samples and analyze. I want to make sure that they are not going to wreak havoc on you, but it doesn't seem to be anything alarming since it seems as though it is helping you rather than being a concern. So I do not imagine it'll be too much of a problem for the time being."
The woman hummed. "But rest first and we'll collect the necessary samples later. Don't worry, I'll take good care of you as I did with Racheli."
Jai dropped his hand from Kayla's shoulder. "You are in good hands, Kayla."
Kayla gaze sank to the floor in front of her, her mind still trying to process everything that was said. While she thought of the possibilities into what caused whatever was inside her
to get there in the first place, her thoughts instantly returned to the night she almost died. It seemed to be more than a coincidence that the place the metal inside of her was returning to the same spot of where her injuries were, but it was reopening a wound she spent the past few years trying to close. It was getting too much for her and she was on the verge of breaking down.
When the warmth of Jai’s hand touched her shoulder, she stiffened slightly. It was the first time someone outside of her family and Mr Taylor had placed a hand on her in a while. The added thought of someone else getting in her personal bubble was mixing her addled mind more. However, the touch and warmth of it grounded her tumultuous emotions to allow her to think more clearly. She failed to notice her body slowly gravitating towards the source of the touch as she zoned out for the briefest of moments. It wasn’t long before she focused back on the conversation about Leila going to examine what was inside of her.”It sounds like a logical course of action,”
she replied, her voice still choked up from the shock. Her body returned to its normal position when Jai’s hand was taken away from her. ”The sooner it is examined, the sooner it can get out of me.”
Jai isn't accustomed to touching since he's "returned" to Earth. Reappearing as he did, touch felt almost foreign to him that doing it seems almost a necessity rather than any sort of habit. Rehabilitating him when he was with Leila helped, he noted, and that was perhaps why touching never seemed to give him the same sort of initial aversion when he "came" back. So seeing Kayla relax and perhaps become grounded from his touch was something he noted to do a bit more of in the future."I suppose this is a lot to take in one go,"
Jai said with a subtle lift of his brow, but his tone of voice was almost… concerned."We'll take this one step at a time,"
Leila said, frowning. "Just focus on recovering and resting from this first and we'll tackle this another day. I'll figure out whatever it is later, I promise."
Jai crouched in front of Kayla, looking her over with his eye. While the electrical energies had yet calmed, still, it was fascinating to watch it bounce off of her the way it was. For now, it seemed harmless and he hoped it would stay that way."Like Leila said, it seems harmless and it's helping you so I cannot think it's going to hurt you. I just wanted to let you know to be on the lookout for any changes."
Leila nodded. "Mhm. You should be experiencing the things I've outlined in that documentation that I had you sign before we started all of this. If you experience anything outside of that, tell me right away."
Kayla listened to both of them as they both understood that the information was a lot to take in and it was something they would deal with. At least that is reassuring,
she thought, nodding to them as she understood that she needs to rest after the healing process. It was at this moment that everything caught up to her. Exhaustion kicked in as her energy levels plummeted. Her back slowly fell to the back of the chair she was sitting in, allowing it to support her as she fully relaxed.
When it came to the topic of letting them know she was experiencing things that were unexpected. ”Yeah, I’ll make sure I’m on top of it,”
she sighed, the sudden fatigue apparent. ”It’s certainly the last thing I want to happen, especially when the trail of the Penose is still warm.”
While she hadn’t mentioned much about it, Kayla had spoken to them about a problem she encountered prior to the Hounds attack and that she obtained some information to follow up on. The specifics of Mark’s injuries and her infiltration of the police HQ to ‘question’ the man who attacked her were left out as it had been need-to-know. Roadblock was the only one who had an inkling of an idea of the former and knew of the latter. With him involved now, she needed to make sure some of the information is correct.
It was a moment in her reflection on the Penose that she noticed Jai was looking at her, crouching in front of her. She noted the fascinated look on his face. ”Anything that eye of yours noticing?”
Her left eyebrow curled up as she asked him that question, her gaze curiously looking at his response.
Leila, at this point, had wandered off to the other part of the garage once Kayla gave her confirmation, taking a seat on one of the chairs in the corner as she recorded her notes.
Any comments either of them could've made regarding the Penose fell short when Kayla seemed to be lost in thought."To be frank, it's interesting to see how your body is reacting to both the injection and how there was already something else inside of you that is creating what I see,"
Jai answered, gesturing to the sparks that hovered over the surface of her skin. Even if she couldn't see it, he could. "It is not often that I can see the effects of something like this." And in person,
he might've added, if he were to consider his stance on the matter.
He dropped his hand to return his focus to Kayla. "Forgive my impertinence,"
he said with the shake of his head. "How are you feeling?"
Kayla listened as Jai talked about what he was seeing. She had to admit that it was interesting to hear what he was seeing, still wrapping her head around the idea that one of his eyes can see more than what she can with her own. Her gaze on him remained as curious as ever. The corners of her lips curled up slightly as her subconscious noted the gaze he was giving her as well as his hand hovering over her. She failed to notice her heart skipping slightly with his hand being close to her.
The fleeting moment disappeared as soon as his hand returned to his side. Her curious gaze disappeared and returned to a resting face she had before, the signs of fatigue returning. ”I’m feeling ok, all things considering,”
she replied. ”Tired as all hell though.”
Her eyes looked up at the clock on the wall, noting that it was getting closer to when she was due to leave. Jeremy had other business at another location he was hoping to buy, so he was giving everyone in the shop half a day. She cursed under her breath. ”And it’s almost the end of the working day too. I still have a lot to do before closing up for the day.”
Tentatively, Kayla pushed herself up onto her feet, her footing feeling slightly uneasy from everything earlier. After a few moment, her entire body was steady again. ”I shouldn’t keep you guys waiting. I’m sure you have other important plans waiting for you back at where you’re based than to babysit me.”
Her lips curled up slightly as to try to reassure both Leila and Jai that she was going to be alright. ”I’ll be fine with doing the closing and getting myself back home, okay?”
When her gaze shifted to the clock on the wall, Jai knew what she was thinking moments later. He frowned and stood with the shake of his head. "As appreciative as I am of your work ethic, you just went through a huge ordeal that I don't think it's advisable that you move when you just said that you're 'tired as all hell',"
he said when she pushed herself to standing. His hand shot out to her side, hovering next to her when she was unsteady on her feet.
It was only when she was steady once more that he slowly dropped his hand once more. Still, he didn't move too far from her. His gaze subtly narrowed and he sighed, despite the reassuring smile. "I wouldn't call this babysitting as it's more out of concern for your wellbeing."
Leila lifted her brow at Kayla once she was finished with her notes. Rising to stand, she said, "Kayla, Jai can finish up your work for you—just direct him and he'll do it for you." She glanced around the garage. "I'd rather you not push yourself this first day." She shook her head and placed her hands on her hips. "And we only did this today because
it was a halfday and Jai can help cover if need be since he was the only other mechanic in the shop that knew what we were going to do," she pointed out."Unless you don't believe I can help you finish your work properly? In which case, I have half the mind to prove you otherwise."
There was a ghost of a smile curling at the edges of his lips, hinting toward something of amusement. It seemed unlikely, given how he was just as qualified and competent as she was for the job. Still, it was what most would've considered a joke and it's perhaps the first one that Jai had ever made.
When Jai retorted to her wanting to close up shop, Kayla wanted to object. ”I’ll be fine,”
she replied back, her tone turning sterner. In her mind, she knew she was the complete opposite. She had never been fine since that night. She knew that her physical capabilities would never be the same with the muscles in her shoulder being damaged. But she endured through that and she was sure as hell was thinking she’ll endure this. And she was sure as hell not letting anyone get in the way of that.
Kayla had to bite her tongue when Jai tried to reassure her that he wasn’t babysitting but ‘being concerned’ for her wellbeing. While she knew that they do mean well and whatever she was going to say will only make her feel better, she didn’t know the impact on the words. The archer had an inkling of an idea that Leila would have picked up on the types of medication she is currently on with the condition she’s on. It didn’t help that the same medication on her medical file was wearing off and she would be needing it soon. It hadn’t helped when Leila herself interjected into the conversation and mentioned that Jai should help.”Fine…”
Kayla responded curtly, her right hand rising up so her thumb, index and middle finger pinched the bridge of her nose. There’s only so much I can hold back of my irritability,
she thought. She needed to take her medication before it wore off and her annoyance becomes too much. ”Just make sure all of the machinery in the shop is shut off for the day. I’ll get the end of shift paperwork sorted out and shut the computer systems in Jeremy’s office.”
Reaching for her bag that was by her bench, she began walking towards the office to fill in the sheet and shut the computer down.
Despite the fact that Jai suspected otherwise in Kayla's demeanor that she was anything but fine, he dropped the subject. In fact, he lifted his brow but said nothing when there was an indication that she wanted to say differently. He waited several beats before Kayla finally responded, sounding exasperated, if not at herself, but at him.
He only turned away when she pinched the bridge of her nose, and he began their closing procedures with shutting each of the machines and closing up shop. Their current cars were parked and locked, and current projects left for the next day to tackle. He did a cursory glance, switching between his visions to make sure all of the machinery were off before proceeding to doing a quick cleanup. It was a lot quicker than he expected but by the time he was done, Kayla stood off to the side, watching him."How do you like supervising me?"
he asked and he walked over to her. "I trust it meets your expectations?"
Jai glanced around the garage for another glance, but dropped his gaze back on Kayla. He knew he did a fine job, having been at the garage long enough that the closing procedures was committed to memory. Still, maybe he ought to tease the ruffled feathers of a certain archer.
Leila seemed to be finishing up her notes from where she was sitting. She hadn't moved from where she initially sat down.
Kayla arrived in the office after storming out of the shop floor for the electrical work. She closed the door behind her before resting her back against the door. The archer took heavy breaths as she finally slumped fully against the door, her body slightly shaking from the pent up emotions. She didn’t know what it was, but the way Jai teased her struck a chord in her. The shaking in her shoulders moved heavier as she raised both her hands to her head, her finger tips running through her hair. The more she thought about it, the more the question she thought resonated with what she felt. Why of all things he is doing reminds me of him?
With her body propped up against the door to prevent her from slipping down, her head slowly sank towards her chest, fighting the tears back.
Gathering a few moments to try and compose herself, the archer got back up onto her two feet and walked over to the computer. Wiping her eyes from the excess water, Kayla began closing the running programmes. Once satisfied, she began closing the computer down. With that task done, the only thing left was to sign both her and Jai out. She walked over to the clipboard where the sign out sheet was. Seeing a water bottle by the stored archery kit she had at the garage, she took a moment to pick it up. Her left hand reached in the bag to pick up the medication and deftly opened it with one hand. Shaking the contents towards her mouth so two of the tablets entered her mouth, she closed it again and drank the contents of the bottle. Once happy with getting everything done, she turned to walk out. While she thought about it, she decided that the arrows in the kit would need to be refletched. Decided in the last minute, she turned back to her archery bag and slipped the arrow tube of the case and walked out of the office.
When she returned, Jai was almost finished with the cleaning. Kayla had half a thought about watching him, though the emotional drain caused her to zone out. She was tired. She felt overwhelmed. She wanted to just be left alone for the rest of the day. Despite all that, she did want to say sorry to Jai, Leila and Rach for everything that has happened today. It was the one thing she wanted after the past few weeks: she wanted to feel like she wasn’t burdening everyone she came across. Especially in a world where there are people with amazing abilities.
Just as Jai finished cleaning up and was looking back at her, Kayla zoned back in. Listening to him, she instantly felt the teasing nature behind the words. Her head slouched forward once again, trying hard to regain her composure. When she thought she had her emotions in check, despite the redness around her eyes suggesting otherwise, they all flooded back. ”Just stop…”
she muttered, choking on the words. But the words weren’t enough to stop the emotional breakdown she was about to face.”JUST STOP IT!”
Her face shot up as she screamed in the shop. Her eyes welled up to the point of her starting to cry. The glare she was giving fully betrayed the hurt behind them. She couldn’t take this any more. The only thing Kayla wanted at this moment was to get out of here. Without much warning, she tightened her grip and ran out the door. Ripping the door open, she left without any further word and slammed the door behind her.