Her pupils dilated, she stared blankly at a vaguely familiar doorway. Was it the door to her apartment? An exhale. Turning her head she tossed it to one side and then the other doing her best to come back to her senses. The last three days had been a whirlwind of emotion - memories she wanted nothing more than to forget and ones that she didn’t understand. Able to still hear the echoes of harsh laughter, screaming (was that her or someone else making those horrible noises?), the footfalls.
As usual she had left her home on June 1st, same as any other day she ventured out. Work was on her mind, keeping herself busy. The house needed another deep cleaning and Fitz needed fresh sheets for his bed. She had been saving her money up to buy him new ones as a surprise. He did so much for her and she felt as if she repaid so little to him.
But then something happened out of nowhere. She had been carrying a pot of coffee. Out of the corner of her eye came a blur of green and everything went black from there. When she awoke Kyrie was in a cell. A small square of dirty, white walls with peeling paint, concrete floor, and a cot which substituted as a bed. There was no toilet or sink, only walls. Only bars.
The first hour was spent screaming. Her throat was raw, hoarse.
The beating on the bars came next. A dent was put into one, and then another. That was when the electric shock came. Baton through the bars touching her skin. A welt appeared on her skin, the voltage. Never had she been shocked before in her life until then.
Concrete floor had become her best friend. Time was nothing there.
Fingers of a guard would graze the metal of her cage, a sideways glance, a crude comment. Kyrie made herself small and hid beneath the cot to sleep rather than upon the top.
And then after the third time the sun rose she was free to go.
Gates slid open. Without a question she was up and rushing out, frantic. Another jolt sent her to the floor and the guards escorted her out by the arms, tossing her onto the sidewalk like garbage.
Still clad in the clothes she had been wearing on the first day Kyrie stood at her front door, or what she thought was the front door. Fingers wrapped around keys shook hard. She was struggling to hold everything together doing her best not to break down there on the stoop. Key into the lock after four tries, paint on the door scraped deep around the keyhole. And then the door was flung open and she all but collapsed in the threshold. Door closed with a foot she lay there in the foyer, curled into a fetal position, finally letting herself cry.
Ben was at work so the lights were off and Fitz was running around in cat form again. Hearing the door open he bolted from the back room, mid-way he shifted and almost slid to a stop next to her on the floor. “Kyrie!” He said, shocked as he laid over her, holding her.
When she hadn’t shown up after work, Fitz had gone out looking for her. He searched everywhere he could think she’d be, but no Kyrie. Ben had come over to sit with him and try to keep him calm. He stayed the night as he curled in the strong man’s lap for comfort and eventually fell asleep. Two more nights he stayed. Fitz had no idea how he could repay the sweet man who only left him alone when he had to go to work, and came back every night to wait with him. Of course, everyday Fitz went out to search for Kyrie, asked around online to those he trusted- but no one knew.
Now she was back, he wasn’t going to let her go.
The mess of woman and man laying on the cold floor would have been a sight for anyone outside their circle but she took comfort in the familiar weight of her friend, his scent and the sound of his voice. He was all she had thought about while in captivity - what he could be doing, if he was safe.
Her body shook hard with her sobs. She sniffled, moved toward her friend and slid close to him. Arms wound around Fitz, fingers curling into his shirt.
She wouldn’t leave the house again any time soon. Kyrie buried her wet face into his shoulder doing her best to regain control of herself managing only to shake harder.
He held her there for a long moment before he finally moved. Strong arms, thanks to his diligent work outs, lifted her and carried her into her bedroom and gently laid her on the bed. But Fitz didn’t go anywhere. Once she was down, he slid on the bed next to her and let her continue to hold on to him- not that he wanted to let her go either. “I’m sorry.” He whispered into her hair.
Curling into Fitz, Kyrie made herself as small as possible. She trusted him. Being carried wasn’t a task that usually occurred but she found that it was more comforting than anything and that was something she needed right now. Moisture reddened her eyes, tears stained her cheeks.
Days in captivity meant she had went without even a shower but trying to function normally was a challenge she couldn’t face yet.
Her bed was soft, the way she remembered it.
Burying her face in his shoulder her arms went around him. Kyrie clung to her friend.
At his apology she did lift her head, blue eyes dark. “For what?”
“Not being there.” He said softly. There was a moment he’d thought the worst, that he’d lost her too. Fitz clung to her- probably a bit tighter than he needed to- he wouldn’t let that happen again. “What happened? I tried to find out, but no one seemed to know anything.” He brushed his hand over her hair as he looked down at her.
Shaking her head she felt a wave of emotion crash into her core; god forbid Fitz be discovered, be locked away with nothing but a cot in a cage. Nobody deserved that except for people who hurt others. The cool metal of the bars sent chills down her spine, hard concrete cooled muscles through clothes.
Glad for the tight embrace Kyrie breathed. An exhale, she closed her eyes. Behind heavy lids she relived the nightmare.
Light eyes would pop open. Her lips quivered and a sharp inhale would be taken to fight off tears. “I don’t —“ she started, voice thick with emotion, “— don’t know what I did to deserve that.”
Swallowing thickly, she made herself recap the tale. “The guards took me to jail. I don’t know why. One second I was pouring coffee, and then the world went black. When — when I woke up...I was there, and. Oh, it was the most awful place.”
“You did nothing to deserve it.” Fitz told her. “Nothing.” That’s one thing he was certain of.
His lips pressed firmly on her forehead. “You’re back now.” He said softly. “And I’ve got you.” Fitz’s mind was already running through plans. He’d adjust his route, stay at the diner during the day when she worked. Get a faction neighbor to keep and eye on the apartment and he’d do his other rounds when she was there. Someone else could keep an eye on guard change outs and patrols to track changes while he camped out the diner. The big boss would just have to understand.
Fingers twisted into his shirt. Never one to protest Kyrie nodded, her eyes dropping in shame. She’d done something -something - because people didn’t lock other people away for no reason. That couldn’t happen, could it? Nothing in her wanted to believe that was true and yet some small bit of her did.
A labored exhale heavy with emotion escaped her and Kyrie once more buried her face into his shoulder.
For all it was worth she was glad to be back here in their quiet home. Something was mumbled into his shirt and then she heaved a sigh before leaning backward to speak softly, “I’m sorry that I worried you.”
The idea that he had been worrying was probably an understatement - she would have been near frantic had it been a reversed role.
“You have nothing to be sorry for. It’s those who took you who need to be sorry.” Fitz replied, a bit more emotionless than intended. He wasn’t sure how yet, but he was going to find out who’s been responsible for taking her, and he’d made them pay.
He may dislike resorting to violence as a first step, when his sister was in the line, all bets were off. Something this serious, he’d find something just as serious to get revenge.
There was no recollection of which guard it had been; she couldn’t even say how they’d knocked her out, but it was a good assumption to say that someone had witnessed the encounter. Whether they were brave enough to come forward or not. Kyrie never wanted to think about it again but that was impossible. There had been many times since her arrival that she wished for a way to wipe away the grime and debris from her memory and leave only the good things behind.
His words sounded like a challenge. Worry creased the lines of her face and shimmered in the liquid pooled in her eyes. In that moment he reminded her a lot of Ezra - her brother would have been clawing and fighting his way to any answers had he been there too.
Another nod would come. “If I can remember anything I’ll tell you.”
His gaze softened as he looked back down to her. “I don’t want you to worry yourself.” He told her, running his fingers through her hair. “I’ve got it taken care of.” Fitz had resources she didn’t know. People who knew of a man who sometimes went by Fitz, sometimes Henry Johnson. But didn’t know who he was. Faction members who could talk with others, kept and eye out for things. He just had to spread feelers out. It may take weeks, months, but he’d figure it out… eventually.
“I love you and don’t want you to have to worry about anything.” Fitz smiled softly at her. “Are you hungry? I can make you something.”
Finally she felt like she could breathe. Another nod would come. She understood and she was grateful to offload the burden on Fitz though she knew she would always regret it. “Thank you.” It was all she could manage. Whatever resources he had she would never know about but she trusted him all the same.
“I love you too.” He was as close to a guardian angel as anyone could probably get and Kyrie had no idea what she would do without him.
Her arms wound tight around Fitz and she held him close. Upon mention of food her stomach rumbled before she could utter a single word. A laugh came tumbling out instead, short but true, and she nodded. “Starving. I haven’t eaten in days.”
He felt a little lighter hearing her laugh, a sign she’d be okay. “How about you take a nice warm shower and I’ll cook you up something?” He offered, not letting her go until she released him.
Not eaten in days. Fitz felt as if he could kill someone hearing that. He had one real job in life. Keep Kyrie safe. He’d already failed to get her off the island… now this?
No. He wouldn’t let himself be dragged down that hole. He needed to be there for Key at this time. He could beat himself up later.
His suggestion resonated within her and she nodded again. “That sounds nice.” A warm shower was just what she needed. A moment longer she clung to him, a kiss was pressed upon his cheek and then she finally let him go. It took a moment to make her fingers untwist from his shirt - almost as if he would vaporize into thin air if she let go too quickly - but she managed to release him.
Fitz was too good to her. An angel.
She waited until he had moved away before she did the same, rolling across the bed toward the edge. Her feet went to the floor. Shoes came off, then socks. She didn’t want these clothes anymore but clothing was scarce and so she began to make a pile.
Fitz nodded. “You need anything call and I’ll be there in a heartbeat.” He told her as he left the room to let her change. As he got to the kitchen and started to pull out items he remembered that Ben was going to come over to sit with him again. He grabbed his phone and quickly texted the man to let him know Key was back. Then, he started to pull out something to make. It had been a few days so he wanted to do something filling but light and found a can of potato soup. That would work. He could add some shredded cheese for more protein.
“I will,” she replied.
Standing, she took her time finishing the task and then making her way to the bathroom. The shower was quick but filling - just what she needed to wash away the residue of the last three days. Here and there the welts scattered across her skin were in various stages of fading. The warm water stung but she washed and cleansed regardless.
Water finally died away and Kyrie toweled off. A quick trip to her room and fresh clothes were adorned before she made her way to the kitchen.
The smell wafting down the hallway was enticing, she was curious as to what could smell so good. At that point she would have eaten rancid meat if there was something sitting in her stomach.
As she came out he placed a bowl of soup on the table with some cheese already melting into it. “Go slow.” He cautioned her as he pulled the chair out for her. It would be a while until Ben go off work he thought- not entirely conscious of how long they’d just been laying there. Part of him hoped Ben would show. Help him support Key. As he juggled between anger over what happened, fear that it could happen again and relief that she was there he was also trying to pretend none of that mattered because it had happened to her. He wanted to protect her, but it had been nice the previous few nights- not being alone in his concern.
“It’s not much, but it shouldn’t be too much for your stomach… just don’t eat it too fast or you might make yourself sick.”
Sitting down at the bowl Kyrie nearly groaned at the dish of soup - she lifted her fingers and nearly grasped the bowl but refrained because of the steam. She was ravenous. Spoon was taken up. Kyrie breathed. The metal plunged into the soup and she took it slow.
“Okay.” She could do this. Slow, taking it slow.
The soup was warm, melting on her tongue. It was simple but exactly what she needed. It was a feast compared to the last three days. She would never have bad thoughts about the rationed food again.
He’d made sure to cook the soup enough that the potato bits would be soft enough. Fitz kisses the top of her head and took a seat at the table. When his phone buzzed he looked at it. “Ben asks if there’s anything special you want- or need.” Fitz said softly. “He was worried too.” He was so god damn glad she was home.
She ate until she was full - while she could eat a lot Kyrie had grown accustomed to small rations of food and so her eating became less - pushing the bowl away. Sitting back against the chair she made herself smile, shaking her head. “Not that I can think of, but thank you. Please thank him for me, too.”
Kyrie was glad for Ben. The man was thoughtful and he brought Fitz friendship and joy. That was all she needed in the world. Her brow furrowed however upon mention of Ben being worried about her. She didn’t like to worry anybody.
“It means he cares, and likes you.” Fitz said, recognizing that look of doubt on her face. “I’ll let him know.” He took up the bowl and put the leftovers in a container for the fridge. “You sure? I’m sure he’d be willing to get some ice cream or something from the bakery for you.” Sweets weren’t typically part of government rations, so in order to get them you had to buy them with your per diem or work for the money.
“I know. I appreciate it,” she replied.
She was aware that Ben considered her in those precious few he cared about and she cared for him in kind. Something bought for her in mind would be nice but she hated to think she was imposing. Asking too much.
“That sounds nice, actually.” Something sweet. Ice cream, or a donut, a piece of sweet bread. Never was she allowed sweets until recently, sugars and carbs were unnecessary and they kept her from fitting into her dresses.
Ben breathed a sigh of relief when the text came through that Kyrie was back home and safe. Although it wasn't all that long since they had first met he was already thinking of her as a friend, someone who wasn't judgemental and appreciated him for who he was. After the past six months of loneliness is was a welcome change.
Once the yoga class was over he walked to the bakery in the Marketplace, getting four of the delicious looking cinnamon bear claws that were tempting him from behind the glass. After acquiring the pastries he got on his bike and rode to the apartment where he had spent the past few nights, now that Kyrie was home and the lights on Ben still used the key that Fitz had loaned him to let himself in but he'd give it back tonight. It was more for show than anything, one does not simply open the door on a supposedly empty house and go in. "I come bearing pastries." He announced.
Fitz was sitting on the couch with Kyrie curled against him again. His soft fingers brushing through her hair lovingly. Focusing on her meant he wasn’t going to do anything stupid. When Ben entered he looked up and found himself smiling- those canines showing. He couldn’t help it, even though things had been very emotional, seeing Ben made him smile. “Thank you.” He said, looking down to Kyrie. “Looks like you’ve conjured the pastry fairy.” He teased. “How’s your stomach feeling?” They’d been sitting there a while, just not letting each other go. Fitz has definitely lost track of time.
They’d relocated to the couch. Kyrie’s legs had pulled up, tucked beneath herself to better curl into her friend. Her head rested upon his shoulder, eyes closed. She could hear his heart beat even there resting against him. Fingers had found their way into his shirt, twisting at the fabric.
At the door handle and the sound of the key her eyes flew open and without realizing it she had begun to shrink backward into Fitz’s embrace.
A breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding was exhaled upon seeing Ben and the tension in her posture eased. Making herself smile Kyrie nodded, lifting a hand in a wave. “Thank you, Ben. Hello.”
Her hand fell to her stomach. She looked down at it for a minute and then back up at Fitz, “Feeling okay.”
Walking over to the couch Ben smiled back at Fitz, for the first time in several days, the man looked happy, as well as relieved that Kyrie was safe again. Sitting down lightly on the edge of the coffee table, he held out one of the paper bags that he was carrying which held two of the four pastries.
"Bonjour Kyrie. I brought some cinnamon bear claws. They looked sticky and tasty and completely against anyone's diet." A treat now and then rarely hurt and this was a cause for celebration. "Is there anything else I can do?" He added, Ben had originally planned on staying the night again but now that Kyrie was safe and Fitz was calmer he knew he didn't have to stay, in fact he was almost feeling like he was interrupting. "I won't stay long."
Fitz held onto Kyrie until she relaxed and smiled at her. “Good.” He took the bag Ben offered and opened it up, he broke one of the claws in half and handed it to her. “Like before, don’t push yourself, you can always have the rest later.” He was maybe babying her, but he didn’t want her to hurt herself and she wasn’t used to going hungry. Sure, meals were smaller on the island than they’d been back home, but they still ate enough. And yea, her mom had her on a strict diet, but she was never starved- to his knowledge.
Fitz set the bag on the table and squeezed Ben’s knee. “Thank you.” The time carried weight, it wasn’t just for the pastries, but for being there.
“I hope you don’t mind. I have Ben a copy of the apartment key. He came over like he was checking on your place every night and it would have looked strange if the door was unlocked for him.” He explained to Kyrie.
That greeting warmed her more. “Bonjour” she replied, leaning toward the items Ben had brought. At the question she shook her head, “You have done plenty already. Merci.” Sitting back against Fitz and the couch she took the part of the treat offered.
She ate slowly and shook her head. “I don’t mind.” And to Ben she glanced up, “Stay as long as you’d like.” She didn’t care if the other man was there - she was safer for it and felt better with the two of them there.
The quick and gentle squeeze of his knee brought another smile to his lips and he rested a hand on both Fitz's leg and Kyrie's as well. "My pleasure, it was no problem at all. Someone has to keep an eye on this one.” He added in French, glancing over at Fitz.
Once Kyrie started eating at the bear claw Ben got up and moved over to an armchair that was nearby. "There's one in that bag for you, mon amour." He said to Fitz, getting one out of the bag that he was still holding and ripping a piece off, diet be damned.
He nodded. “Thanks. I’ll have it later. I’m not really hungry right now.” Fitz hadn’t actually eaten much that day, but his nerves made the thought of food feel like something that was a bad idea.
Kyrie laughed a little at Ben’s remark in French, nodding at him. Someone did need to watch out for Fitz when she couldn’t, she was glad he had someone like Ben to look out for him. Hopefully they could watch out for each other but this experience told her that anyone could disappear at any moment without a reason.
She ate the sugary piece of treat slowly, working through it. It was almost too sweet on her tongue but she liked it just the same.
The sticky frosting and the richness of the cinnamon in the bear claw was a much sweeter than Ben’s usual tastes but they could all use a treat, even if Fitz would eat his later on. Having Kyrie back safe and sound was reason enough to celebrate, if only with a pastry. He was also glad in a small way that tonight he could go back and sleep in his own bed again, not that the hadn’t enjoyed the past few nights curled up with Fitz (all things considered) but sometimes there was nothing quite like your own bed.
“I am so glad that you’re okay Kyrie, if you’d like me to get you anything tomorrow just let me know.” He had a good feeling that Kyrie wasn’t going to be leaving the house if Fitz had something to do with it, though with what had happened Ben wouldn’t be surprised if she didn’t venture outside much at all now.
Fitz watched Kyrie with a small smile and then looked to Ben. He mouthed ‘thank you’. “Ben, could you let her boss at the diner know she’s back? And that she’ll be taking the rest of the week off?” He asked, wanting to make sure Key was recovered before going back to the diner.
A nod would come. She finished the morsel in her mouth before speaking, “I will. Thank you.” She spoke to Ben amidst the sugary stickiness of the treat doing her best not to be rude.
When Fitz mentioned speaking with her boss, her eyes widened, “Oh! If you see my friend Jakob, would you tell him that I’m alright, too?” Her cheeks reddened. Jakob might not even care that she was gone, but she hoped that wasn’t the case.
Her attention went back to the treat and she finished what remained.
Ben nodded, he didn't mind going to the diner in the morning and telling Kyrie's boss that she'd be taking a few days off, the boss should understand especially as Ben had gone in the day after she went missing to ask when was the last time they saw her, so he was sure everyone at the diner would be happy to know she was back.
"Jakob… the one with the tattoos?" Quite a few people had tattoos but if it was the guy that he had seen her talking to at the Memorial Day barbeque then he had them up and down his arms and shouldn't be that hard to find. "If I see him around I'll let him know."
Fitz smiled and gave Kyrie a little nudge. “Making friends.” He smirked. “I told you, you could do it.” Granted, he didn’t know this ‘Jakob’ person and would have to check him out if he was going to be spending time with his sister.
“Thanks.” He nodded to Ben. “I will admit some of this stuff is a lot easier with someone who can go talk to people on ‘my behalf’.” He chuckled. It saved him from having to use his faction contacts.
Kyrie nodded at Ben. “Yes, that’s him.” She wasn’t sure who knew who, even she didn’t know every single person on the island. But there were some who stood out a bit more than others. Jakob was one of those people considering the display of artwork up and down his arms.
She was glad for Ben, too. It was like having her own brother back in a way. Fitz was more her brother than anyone else on the island, but Ben reminded her a little of Ezra. “Jakob is a good person.” The statement was offered so that neither of them would think he was up to no good around her.
He didn't mind acting like a go-between, it was a lot easier now compared to when he was a teenager, passing messages and notes along between his best friend at the time and the girl who lived next door that said friend had a crush on, that just got awkward sometimes. "It's no problems, makes life that much easier for both of you. Just don't make me pass along love notes, I'm not the postman." Ben said with a slight smirk.
He turned his head slightly, "What about you Fitz, is there anything you need from in town?" If he was going to go to the Marketplace again he might as well get everything done in one go.
“The only love notes I’d-“ Fitz started and stopped, not entirely realizing he was speaking aloud. It wasn’t something that happened a lot, but being a cat 80-90% of the day when no one could hear you meant a lot of talking to yourself. As human he didn’t always remember to filter himself. “I mean. Yea, I’m okay right now.” He said glancing to an empty space on the couch.
Her cheeks lit up. Kyrie bit at her lip and shook her head. Love was a thing she felt for Fitz, her family, but not anyone else in that sort of a context. What she had with Jakob was a friendship. She liked him, he was easy to be around and he didn’t judge her.
And then her eyebrows arched at Fitz. “Love notes?” She wouldn’t press him. He seemed not to want to talk about it. A hand would go to Fitz’s knee, she squeezed it gently.
To Ben her eyes would turn. She smiled, “Thank you for all that you’ve done for us.”
He had meant the love notes quip as a joke, remembering something from his youth, but saw that it caused a bit of awkwardness, especially for Fitz. Ben turned his attention back to Kyrie as she thanked him yet again. “Any time.” The two friends seemed to be comfortable and he took this as a cue that he should probably get back to his own place. Standing up he walked over to the couch. “I should be getting back home…”
Fitz stood up- probably too fast. “You don’t- you don’t have to.” He said placing a hand on Ben’s arm as he looked down at Kyrie trying to read if she was okay with it. “I mean, if you want, but you don’t have to.”
Her eyes went to Fitz, and then to Ben. “You should stay.” There was an unused bedroom there that Fitz had when he wanted it. Ben was welcome to it if he wanted to stay and she wouldn’t protest. Who was she to say no to what made her brother happy?
She could go to her own room and try to sleep. Maybe she would. Maybe she wouldn’t.
“Please stay? For a little while.”
Ben shook his head when they both told him that he could stay. Leaning forward he gave Fitz a quick kiss on the lips. "Kyrie is back home and she needs you. If you need me, you know where I'll be." He said softly, feeling a bit like a third wheel.
"You should try and get some sleep, mon amie, I'll drop by tomorrow after I finish work." Ben added, bending down to give Kyrie a kiss on the forehead.
Fitz let his hand linger in Ben’s for a moment before letting him go. “Okay.” He said softly. Sitting back down on the couch. Maybe it was a good thing Ben was going. He’d started to get used to curling against the man each night, being held in those strong arms. Though, having help dealing with everything would be nice. A second set of eyes- part of him felt that if he took his attention off her, she’d be taken again.
“Yea,” he nodded, looking for Kyrie to Ben. He couldn’t help but think about the what if’s and how he should fortify the apartment. “You can come by any time.” Or not leave at all. Hold me up so I can hold her? “It’s a bit late.” It was not. “Are you going to make it to your place okay?” He asked with a look of expectation in his eyes.
It was usually with gentleness that she was amiable, agreeable. But the moment the decision had been made to let Ben go her expression became wrought with desperation. She did not think that Fitz was incapable of protecting her in any capacity, but Ben was someone that they both needed - she for the friendship and the other set of eyes, Fitz for comfort and satisfaction.
Kyrie’s hand shot out. She shook her head and tugged gently, scooting over from FItz as she did so to make room. “Please, stay.” The phrase was said again. Blue eyes would turn to look up at Ben, that desperation pooled in her gaze.
She would understand if he refused but she felt safer with each of them there.
Her touch- although gentle - was still stronger than he realized, it didn't hurt but it was much stronger than he'd ever seen from a woman of Kyrie's statue. Ben came to the conclusion that he wouldn't be leaving that night so he sat down in the space that was made on the couch for him.
"Okay, I'll stay." He said,how could he refuse the two pairs of blue eyes that had looked at him so sadly?