A Bit Of Company


megan_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title A Bit Of Company
Synopsis Everyone needs the company of a friend now and then.
Date April 09, 2011

Pollepel Island

It's a beautiful, sunny day. It's still chilly — 50 degrees or so — but that is a blessing right now to the redhead who stands on the highest point of the castle. She's dressed in a pair of fraying jeans, a heavy gray fleece sweatshirt with the almost absurd stitching on the right breast of the US Air Force's modern logo in black thread. There's a plastic bag carefully stretched over one of the camp chairs that she took from downstairs. Her hair is long now, and though she keeps it as well tended as she can, she's apparently decided that now is the time to simplify things in her life. With her head tipped down to look at her toes, both hands raise to the back of her neck, measuring the spot she wants. Surgical scissors flash in the sun briefly, and there is suddenly a length of silver-streaked auburn braid in her free hand.

She brings the braid around front, her barely shoulder-length remaining mass of copper slipping against her fleece. Blue eyes study the braid a moment, and it goes into the trash bag. Megan's empty hand comes up to brush through the loose, short strands while she puts the scissors down. It's a rough cropping, but it doesn't seem to concern her. What does seem to concern her is the ability to pull it back — and she tests out the ability, seeming happy that she managed to leave it long enough to continue to keep it out of the way.

"Looks good shorter."

That comes from the stairs leading up. Benjamin Ryans gives her a slight smile that deepens the redeveloping lines at the corners of his eyes. Strand of his dark brown hair bush against his forehead in the small breeze that kicks up from the water, jaw dark with a short stubble that always seems present. He isn't wearing a jacket, but the henley and flannel combination will do a good enough job in the sun.

"Thought you might like a bit of company." He holds up a mug of coffee, two are currently in his hands. Ryans thought to bring her one. "They told me where you were," as if he needs to explain why he's invading her space.

Megan turns to look toward the man coming up the stairs. She offers a faint smile, which grows a good bit bigger at the sight of coffee. As always, she's been a quiet presence around the castle. She rarely engages people in idle chatter, mainly just doing her job and offering what little information she can where it seems relevant. The failed rescue out at Miller Airfield has left her sad, though the news from the infirmary balances it out a little. "Thanks," she says quietly. "I'll have to get someone to even it out a little, I guess," she admits, walking to him to take the cup he offers. Her fingertips absently brush through the streak of pure silver that laces through from above her left eye… it's become more prominent in the past weeks and now that her hair's shorter, it's somewhat dramatic. Her slender hands are cool as they brush his in taking the mug. "A bit of company, huh?"

"Not good for a woman such as yourself to only have the sick to keep you company. Besides, this place is full of kids, nice to have people closer to our ages to talk with," Ryans reasons out, before giving a lazy shrug of his shoulder. He relinquishes the mug into her care and drifts to the edge, to look over to the greening island below. Eyes narrow against the bright sunshine as he shifts his gaze to look out over the river, wary and cautious as ever.

"I heard about Hannah and Abby." Ben angles a glance over his shoulder to the red head. "It's good news. Good news. Better then we've had in awhile. Especially, good to know Hannah survived that whole ordeal." Even though he knows the emotional trauma will take awhile. "Ferry was in need of that morale boost."

"A woman such as myself?" Megan retorts. "And people our own age?" She's amused. "You're starting to sound like Scott," she says softly, her gut tightening at the mention of her friend. For all the Ferry truly knows, Scott and Grace and all the others are dead. "I can't tell you how much weight that took off my heart," the redhead adds, shifting the topic as she comes to join him looking out over the water with watchful, cautious eyes. "Abby…. would have been the last straw for me," she confesses. "I don't… It's too much. Too many kids. Too many people dying. And not a damn thing I can do about any of it."

"Abby would have been a blow to a lot of people." Ryans agrees with a slow nod of his head. "Even for me," he admits. "She's a good kid, been through too much for her age. Much like Eileen, I have to remind myself they are only the age of my own girls."

The mug gripped in both hands, Benjamin leans elbows on the rough brick wall. "I wish none of them had to go through all this. I've done stuff like this for forty years. Most of these kids are going to have to toughen up before they should have too." He glances to her, looking a touch sad. "Not sure how well many of them are going to hold up if we do plunge into war, like these dreams suggest."

Ryans turns thoughtful, "I'm sorry Harkness wasn't there." He finally offers softly, bringing the conversation around briefly. "They out smarted this time."

Leaning her elbows on the top of the crenellation they're standing by, Megan rests her cup there as well. "No need to apologize to me for that. The intel was wrong," she states calmly. "I think we were all blind not to question whether Demsky and Harkness would actually be used as live bait as opposed to doing what they did. They used to do it in Afghanistan — use a corpse in a dead vehicle on the side of the road to lure in soldiers. Body'd explode. IED. Same sort of tactics, really…. and considering the people we're up against are all soldiers too, it shouldn't surprise us."

Megan sighs softly and glances at him, her lips twisting into a bit of a smile. "We're the ones they're going to look to," she murmurs. "To figure out how to act. To figure out how to cope. We can't afford to lose our heads. We have to give them a haven to be able to talk it through and come to grips." God, the shades of Harkness. "I understand you're going to be coming up with guerrilla tactics to hit Staten Island with," she says. "I can't keep hiding in the infirmary, Ben. I don't put a lot of stock in the dreams thing, but … I can see what's coming too. And I'd rather die with my boots on than stand back until nothing I do will help a damn bit anyway." She shrugs slightly.

A heavy sigh escapes through his nose, head nodding slowly. "We had to try though." Even if it was a trap, Ryans will stand by that position. He lets that issue lie as Megan throws in her lot for what is upcoming. Straightening, he turns to look at her, brows furrowing just a little. It's hard to know what he's thinking really.

"Francois is, so I don't see why you can't." Just cause they are medical, doesn't mean they have to be kept safe.

He studies her, before giving her a small smile, "As before I will be glad to have more experience on our side. I know there is a resistance to the idea, but… we can't ignore that they may very well have an idea where we are… maybe not exactly where, but… that patrol's ambush…" That speaks volumes.

Megan glances at him and says mildly, "I never suggested we didn't. Sitting here and hiding in our hole isn't doing us a damn bit of good. My only concern is that if we hit them on the coast nearest our own site, we're just drawing attention to 'hey, lookit, we don't want you here!' So we'll just have to bear that part in mind." She pauses for a moment and says, "Keeping your medics safe is common sense. The problem comes in that your medics, at least some of them, are also soldiers. And it's just as much use to have us on raiding teams — and sometimes more use — than it is leaving us behind. People bleed out before you get here when they could have been patched up en route." She shrugs. "It's a no-win scenario either way. So… thank you." She needs to do something more active to help. Needs time away from flu and people cannot help except to make them comfortable.

"I agree." Ryans murmurs, before taking a drink of his cooling coffee. "With hope we can make these strikes look like something other then Ferry retaliation. Don't worry. If we avoid taking anything like supplies, I think it'll help."

The old man falls into silence for a time, sipping at his coffee. "Did I do the right thing?" It's a question out of the blue, thoughtful and worried. "Getting Delia blocked from the Ferry?" It's not permanent… but doesn't make him feel any better. "My son once accused me of not caring for my family enough. Where do you draw the line?"

Megan stands there, and she's silent for a long time. There's a long sigh, and she reaches into the zipper pocket of her fleece, withdrawing a cigarette. It's a vice she only indulges once in a blue moon anymore, but if they're going to have this talk, she deserves it. A lighter appears in her other hand and she steps far enough away from Ryans to keep from contaminating his air as she lights up.
Drawing the nicotine deep into her lungs, she holds it there and savors the lightheadedness for a long moment. Lowering the cigarette and tucking the lighter away again, the redhead releases a thin stream of smoke into the gentle spring breeze while she considers her words. "Delia's out in Eltingville. Even if she has free ingress and egress," Megan finally says quietly, "she'll be watched going in and out. And they may be watching her anyway simply by virtue of who she is. So yes. You did the right thing. Some of us had to walk away from careers and family a long time ago to keep this operation running. Some of us are only now facing the sacrifices. It sucks. And I'm sorry it hurt you to do it. But it is the right thing. She's an adult… she has to make her choices on where to stand, Ben. It doesn't mean she's not a good person. Or that she disagrees with us. It means she felt she needed to be there right now."

Maybe it helps some to hear it from someone he seems to respect, he seems to relax some, head nodding slowly. "I know she's a good person." But then all parents say that of their kids. "And she wasn't really made for this life and she hasn't been adapting well. She was missing school, but she wanted to protect me." A small smirk of amusement twitches at the corner of his mouth. "I always figured it would Lucille, the model, but I'm seeing more and more of me in her every time I see her. "

He swirls the coffee in his mug gently, hand tucking into a pocket. "Hard not to go in there and pull Delia out, though. I've spent so many years protecting them, just as much at doing my job in the Company. Part of it because of my job." He looks up at Megan and his smile becomes a touch more prominent and resigned to the fact that, "I guess this is part of being a father. Doubt it'll ever change either."

Megan grins slightly. She keeps her place over there so he's not swamped with her smoke as she enjoys it. "I'd say you're a good parent. Some people are cut out to be soldiers and some are not. It's not a failing in those who aren't," she observes quietly. "The world needs all kinds to function. Fighters and healers, hunters and gatherers. We're meant to be a diverse group. The fact that you're willing to let her go her way, make her mistakes, in spite of your own thoughts…. it's all you can do for your kids."

"That's true," He agrees. Ryans looks down into the court turning thoughtful again. "Speaking of gathering. The weather is warming." He walk to where he can stand beside her, ignoring the thick smell of smoke as he presses hands on the rock wall and leans out some. "This island has the potential of sustaining itself during the warmer months." He motions to a good size patch of land hidden observation, but greatly overgrown.

"I think a garden is in order." There is something about gardening that seems to change the demeanor of the man some. "There is enough people on this island to keep something going."

Ben turns back to his companion, "A victory garden. I guess." Invoking a term not used in sometime. "I remember those."

Tilting her head, Megan looks thoughtful. She brings the cigarette back up, studying the area that's caught his interest. "You'll have to keep it behind the barrier of the trees, and caring for it could get dicey if it's too hot this summer. Tilling up the land could make it recognizable from the air as habited," she points out.

"That shouldn't be an issue." He seems rather confident in this, studying the land below. Slowly, his face falls back into those neutral likes. "Anyhow…" Benjamin pushes away from the wall slowly. "I should get back down there."

He favors her another small smile, hand moving to rest on her shoulder and give it a gentle squeeze. "I'll keep you informed as to what we're planning. Once Jensen and I bring it before the council and get approval we'll start moving on it. Til then try to not work too hard?" A brow tilts up, with wonder if she'll take that advice. "Make sure you keep taking time like this for yourself."

Putting the hand with the cigarette far from the man, Megan looks up when he holds her shoulder. "Sometimes I feel very old," the redhead admits softly. "And pretty damn near useless. Let me know what you need. I'm there."

"You are far from old, and even further from being useless." He assures her, gently. "You are more useful then you are giving yourself credit for. I know I wouldn't know what to do with half the cases you get." He points it out rather matter of factly.

"But I know what you mean. I feel every one of my fifty-eight years." Even if he doesn't look more then his late thirties. "Lately it's been weighing especially heavy on me." The hand slides off her shoulder after another brief tightening of fingers, a step taken back.

"How are you handling that?" Megan asks curiously. She steps back only to take a final drag off her cigarette and crush it out. She's been on the wagon long enough that a few draws off the thing is more than enough to satisfy the occasional craving. As she blows smoke out in another slow stream, away from him, she studies his face. "I notice this morning that this…" she gestures with her free hand at the streak in her copper hair, "is a whole hell of a lot bigger than it used to be." The observation is rueful.

"One day a time." Ryans admits ruefully himself. "It's how I've made it this far, this long." He glances out over the river and shakes his head. "There are days I feel tired and worn… in a way wishing it was all over, but I also know I'm not the retiring type. I already did that.

"Didn't take," He angles a bit of a smile her way. "This is my life. Not sitting around waiting to get too old to care for myself. Every time I see my father, I see my future." He'd rather go out in a blaze of glory.

"However," Ben amends, "I still wish a calmer and more peaceful life for my kids."

Megan laughs at that. "Yeah…. I retired once. From the Air Force. You ever notice they stick you out to pasture when you're FAR too young? And then suddenly you're doing stuff like this… and damn my bones are starting to ache. It's a pain!" She winks a blue eye at him. "If you want to talk, you know where to find me. We old farts'll just have to stick together in the face of youthful enthusiasm to blow shit up."

That manages to get a true smile and a deep chuckle from the old man, making the lines of his face deeper for a brief moment. "I can honestly tell you, Megan, it's nice to have someone that I can relate too…. well, other then Raith." That's so far been more of a business relationship. He doesn't mention Huruma, since his issues with her a bit different.

"And don't knock blowing things up," He shakes a finger at her with a smile still there. "You forget, I was a SEAL for many years. I know a thing or two about blowing things up."

Ryans inclines his head to her, a gesture of respect. "And the offer works for you as well. I'm around if you need an ear or a shoulder. Two way street and all that." That said he moves towards the stairs, intent on leaving. "See you around, Megan."

"Later," Megan replies on a soft laugh. She's got to clean up the hair-cutting stuff before she descends. ANd perhaps just spend some time in the sun.

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