Log Title: Six Feet Under

Kimber Benton

Kimber Benton

Characters: Kimber Benton, Sebastian Bludd

Location: Starlight Mansion - Los Angeles, CA

Date: April 13, 2017

TP: America Burning TP

Summary: Kimber comes across Bludd while he's digging a grave.

As logged by Kimber - Thursday, April 13, 2017, 7:16 PM

Starlight Mansion - Los Angeles, CA

The Starlight Mansion is the second and current home used by the Starlight Foundation. Both The Holograms and the Starlight Girls live here.

Under the faint light of the crescent moon, a man labours behind Starlight Mansion, digging a deep, narrow hole in the corner of the yard.

Bludd works efficiently with a shovel, thankful for the occasional wispy cloud that dims the limited moonlight. He doesn't want anyone in the house to know there was anything amiss out here tonight. In the morning the patch of scorched grass where the Incinerator's flamethrower caught the lawn will be obvious, but that's of little concern. The burns on the left side of his face will be more upsetting, he's sure. He ignores their nagging pain and continues digging, glancing occasionally at the body of the troop he's dragged over to this more concealed spot. She's not going anywhere but into this hole, he thinks to himself.

Kimber comes out into the yard. Bludd hasn't been seen in hours, and she is pretty sure she heard gunshots earlier, although she tried to tell herself there was nothing to fear. Now, however, she's worried. Her long pink hair has been combed out and is pulled back into a high ponytail, revealing the shaved sides of her head while are just starting to grow in again with a bit of white touching her natural amber. Kimber walks around the grounds, peering in corners and changing rooms out by the pool. "'Bastian!" she sometimes hisses, wanting to call out to him but afraid of making too much noise after curfew.

Bludd's preoccupied with his work and doesn't hear Kimber's whispered calls right away. When he pauses for a brief rest, leaning on the shovel, he catches a sound he doesn't recognise. He straightens, plucks up the shovel, and holds it defensively across his chest with both hands. He crouches at the side of the partly-dug grave and scans his surroundings.

Kimber hears something and comes around the corner, peering into the darkness shadowing the corner of the yard. "'Bastian!" she hisses again. "Is that you?" She approaches Bludd cautiously, glancing back over her shoulder to plan out a retreat if instead of Bludd it's someone she doesn't know. Spotting a familiar outside, she bursts into a grin and rushes towards Bludd. ""Bastian!" she calls out, a little more loudly. "What are you doing out here?"

Bludd relaxes at the sound of Kimber's voice, automatically re-checking his surroundings to be sure her movements and calls haven't garnered any attention. He lets the tip of the shovel's blade rest on the ground. "Go back in the house, Kimber," he says quietly as she approaches.

Kimber comes up short as she sees Bludd with a shovel and he tells her to go back in the house. A question springs to her lips and freezes there, as she looks around and sees something lying on the ground next to a strip of deeper darkness. "'Bastian," she whispers, covering her mouth. Her large eyes grow wider, pools of white reflecting the light of the crescent moon. "What did you do? What happened?" She takes a step backward.

"Had t'be done," Bludd replies dully, turning back to resume digging. "She woulda brought Cobra down on us. It was the only solution."

Kimber's eyes get even wider as Bludd confirms that what she sees is, indeed, a body, and what Bludd is digging is a grave. "She?" Kimber asks, voice rising. She takes another step back, but her gaze is now locked on the corpse, even though thankfully not much can be seen in the darkness. "You -- you killed her?" Finally her eyes tear away from the body long enough to glance almost fearfully at Bludd. Her voice leaves her.

The lump that rises in Bludd's throat at Kimber's question surprises him. He clears his throat quietly before responding, "Yes," in that same dull tone of voice. "I have to keep you safe," he continues, unintentionally emphasising the word 'safe' as he plunges the shovel into the earth yet again. "I didn't want to kill her. But there was no other option."

"Did you... murder her?" Kimber asks, eyes wide and hand still over her small mouth. In the moonlight she looks even more pale than usual. "What happened -- did she find us?" She moves her hand to her forehead and suddenly looks very dizzy. She kneels down on the grass, and glances back towards the house. "Do... do any of the other girls know?" she says quietly, her voice little more than a squeak.

Bludd pauses in his digging again, and turns to look at Kimber. "She was an Incinerator," he explains. "Flamethrower troop, and an expert when it comes to fire." He waves a hand at the house. "She knew something wasn't right about the holographic disguise. If I'd let her alone she would have reported the oddity to Cobra, and they would have sent troops out here to investigate." He heaves a weary sigh. "She fought me, of course." His hand goes to gingerly touch the burns on the side of his face. "Never really wanted to fight an Incinerator up close." His gaze goes to Kimber. "I dunno what you consider 'murder' in this case. Two soldiers fought here. Only one survived." He gives the slightest of shrugs.

Kimber nods slowly, trying to overcome her shock. "No, no... Of course. Of course. I'm sure you did the right thing. I'm sorry I.... I'm sorry." She takes a deep shuddering breath, and stands. Straightening up her back, she looks directly at Bludd. "Do you need any help?" she asks, trying to steady her voice. "I could help dig, or move the body, or something," she offers, voice wavering towards the end of the sentence.

"No." Bludd shakes his head. "I promised to protect you, and one of the things I intend to protect you from is the need to deal with this." He points at the partly-dug grave, gazing at it with a somber expression. "I'm -not- sure I did the right thing," he says. "But I did the only thing I could to keep you and the girls safe." Glancing at the house again, he adds, "I don't think anybody saw what happened. You're the only one I've noticed come out here."

Kimber follows Bludd's glance toward the house. "I try to keep everyone inside at night," she says quietly. "I can't really tell Taria what to do, but Anne usually listens to me, and the girls listen to her." She turns back to Bludd. "You don't have to protect me from everything, though. We're partners, 'Bastian. Right?" She suddenly doesn't sound so sure. "I can help you -- even with things like this." She bites her lower lip to keep it from quivering.

"Best to stay inside at night," Bludd agrees. "But love, this is not the sort of thing I want you to be exposed to. Death's nothing new to me. Once somebody breaks Cobra's hold on L.A., I want things to go back to normal for you as much as possible. It's already been awful for you. I was hoping to get this done before you noticed." He reaches out tentatively to lay a hand on her arm, as if he's not sure she's not going to bolt from him. "This is soldier's work," he declares. "It -is- part of what I need to do to protect you."

Kimber flinches a bit at Bludd's touch, but doesn't pull away. "OK," she says quietly. "But... I don't want you to go. Even after... even if Cobra goes away. I don't want you to be bored, but... I like having you around. Maybe you could do security stuff or something?" She glances quickly at the body and then looks away. She settles her gaze on Bludd's face, finally noticing the burns in the semi-darkness. "Oh, no!" she squeals, reaching up to touch Bludd's injuries. "Are you hurt?"

"I'd like to stay on," Bludd replies, "and do security work for your band. I'm willing to try to adapt to civilian life one more time." He curls his fingers around her elbow, holding on very gently, then releases her, lifting the hand toward his face. "Yeah, the Incinerator splashed me with that flamethrower of hers." He runs his fingers along the side of his head near his temple, then brushes them over the top of his ear, wincing slightly. "Boy, does this bring back memories," he mutters. "I can't tell just how bad it is, but it does smart some."

Kimber's large eyes widen again. "I'll go inside and get you some Neosporin or something!" she exclaims. "I'm sure we have a first aid kit somewhere..." she huffs. "Jerrica knows where all that stuff is -- I wish we knew where SHE was. I need Cal to come back so I can use his satphone." She wheels around towards the house, then turns just as quickly back to Bludd. "I love you," she says serious. "And thank you for protecting us." She stands on her tiptoes and carefully kisses the uninjured side of Bludd's face.

Bludd finds a smile for Kimber. "Thanks, love. I only wish there was more I could do for you and your family." He closes his eyes as she kisses him, turning his head to press his face against hers for a moment. "An' I love you," he adds quietly.

Kimber shivers at Bludd's expression of love. "You do more for us than you even know," she insists. "And everything will be OK," she whispers. She lingers for another moment, and then takes a step back. "I'll get you some bandages and Neosporin," she announces, carefully keeping her gaze on Bludd and not the body not far from her. "Do you mind Band-Aids with little princesses on them?" she half-jokes.

It's the first thing Bludd's found worthy of a laugh all night. He chuckles at Kimber, grinning, and then wincing slightly as the motion pulls tight some of the newly-burnt flesh on his face. "For you, love, I'll wear princess Band-Aids with pride." He looks over his shoulder at the work he's yet to finish. "I'll be in when I'm done with this," he tells her. "Half an hour, probably."

Kimber nods. "OK. I'll be ready." She steps back in to give Bludd a brief but warm hug, and then runs back to the house, not looking back. Once inside, she searches the mansion for supplies, plundering what first aid kits she can find. She sneaks around when she has to, not wanting to be seen by the others and have to answer any awkward questions. Successful in her mission, she returns to the manse's kitchen and waits anxiously for Bludd to return.

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