A Transient State Of Mind


huruma3_icon.gif liza_icon.gif

Scene Title A Transient State of Mind
Synopsis Before the evening crowd comes for a holiday gathering, Liza wanders over to keep Huruma company. Both of them somehow benefit.
Date December 31, 2010

Bannerman's Castle: Dining Hall

The room converted into Bannerman's dining hall, although long and narrow, can accommodate up to one hundred people, but despite the amount of use that it sees, it isn't hooked up to the castle's electrical grid, which means that after dark it's lit up by gas lanterns strategically positioned on the wooden tables with bench-style seating that occupy the space. A giant hearth set into one of its walls provides the hall with additional light and warmth, as well as a place for the castle's residents to convene when it isn't in use during the hours when breakfast and dinner are being taken.

The walls themselves are bare stone with no decoration except for the four windows opposite the fireplace, and these are covered with heavy pieces of plain canvas cloth at night to prevent the light from leaking outside, where it might be visible from the shore or the air. During the day the canvas is pulled back to brighten the room and make the gas lanterns unneccessary, but on mornings and afternoons when the sky is overcast, there is very little to combat the gloom and so the fuel is burned anyway.

There seemed to be an unspoken note floating around the castle today; once everyone realized that it was in fact the last day of the year, dinner was a bit drawn out for everyone, and most people seemed keen enough to stay longer before moving off. By now, later into the evening, the hall has been cleaned up and swept, and at first there were only a couple adults milling around. Huruma being one of them, having helped to clean up the mess left by dinner hour. She skipped the bit of wine they had out on the solstice with dinner, preferring to watch the Eclipse instead. New Year's Eve is a different story, in a sense- there is no red, full moon, all that is left a literal sliver of crescent- and no reason for her to stay prudent the entire evening.

Huruma may have had a bit to drink, and kept a glass around for after she was finished helping out with cleanup; no big deal, as long as she doesn't try to, you know, kill anyone. At this point she wouldn't dare think about such a thing. The Ferry has been a mixed blessing for that part of her. In the usual denim and pale flannel shirt, Huruma sits facing the fireplace at one of the tables, a half mug of wine on the hardwood near her, boots out as if she might warm them past the leather. It's not working, obviously, but at least she's warm enough already.

There are a small handful of adults at another table playing cards, familiar faces from either the boats or those in charge of keeping supplies around. They are boisterous enough that it makes sense, given the night.

Liza was usually sticking around to help clean. Bannerman was home now, and considering there was little as far as a lot of things she could do, she was happy to help out. She's got her own cup of alcoholic beverage, which she sips at, slooooowly, but the blonde seems a little restless. Sure, cleaning up gave her something to do, but she was done with that now. She glances over at the card players, perhaps contemplating joining them, but there's something up… she's spotted Huruma. She heads over towards the woman with a steady pace, coming to stop a couple of feet away. "Hi!" After all, she's by herself, so she must need some company.

Huruma can see Liza coming, unsure of whether she should pretend she was falling asleep or try to slink further down the bench. It isn't that she doesn't like Liza, just- not- in massive doses, right? Her pause does little to help, and there she is, the young woman chirping practically in her ear. Hggah. It is an indignant little noise, at first, before Huruma turns her head and eyes to peer at Liza. "Hello.", comes the reply, pointedly. She glances over to the card game, a vague search for something to distract the girl with. No luck coming her way tonight. Maybe.

"Is there something you need?" Huruma's voice is low, though moreso in the contented sense than anything threatening. If Liza is going to be here, may as well be nice.

"Need? No. I just thought you might need company, you were by yourself over here." Liza takes a seat on the bench but then hesitates. "Unless you really don't want company. I was just bored and you were all the way over here…" She shrugs a little bit, then glances back towards the dining hall.

Huruma has the feeling that Liza was expecting more out of this. More than she was, anyway. She passes a look towards the card game again, at a loss, and searches for something that might be worth asking . "Ah, well… no, it's not that." The dark woman sits up now, feet flattening onto the floor. "Usually people do not come t'me unless they want something." Her hand searches just behind her for the stained white coffee mug, and she peers into it to check the level of liquid.

"I am still getting used t'aving friends in th'first place, you see. I don'quite know when it is real."

"When it's real?" There's a slight from from Liza as she turns towards Huruma, shaking her head a little. "Well, if you want me to have some reason for coming to see you, it's to make sure you're okay." She sips from her cup. "You don't get lonely? I mean, with the whole not-having-friends thing?"

"I'ave'ad a few… stick it out." Huruma mutters. "But when I can count m'good friends on one hand, maybe there is something wrong wit'me, an'not them. Many of th'people here see me more as a guard dog, I think, than someone t'make friends with. Per'aps it woul'be easier if I looked like you, instead." The thought is actually mildly disturbing, but she is not going to say that out loud. "I neve'got lonely b'fore. I do now, though. When what few I'ave are not around, I can feel something in the back of m'head telling me about being lonesome. Silly, isn't it?" That she is only lonely after she gets friends.

There's a small blink, and Liza tilts her head slightly. "A guard dog?" There's a frown. "That seems very… dehumanizing, if you ask me. I think all of us in here need to stick together, so getting to know people is a good thing. We're all calling here home for now, so… I don't know. These kind of things have always been important to me." There's a pause. "And I don't see why my physical appearance makes a difference. I think it's more of… your demeanor. Most of the time I think… I think people are just afraid to approach you. I usually go talk to people anyways, so I guess that's in my favor." She does laugh at the idea of being lonesome. "I think it's because you have the opportunity to have friendship and enjoy it and then when it's gone you realize how much you miss it."

"Would people really think me less intimidating if I acted happy?" Huruma snorts loudly, taking a sip from her mug. They would find it terrifying, given that if Huruma acts like Liza, there is probably something morally gray behind it. Oops.

At the second part, however, she pauses long enough to regard the girl appraisingly. "I think you hit that one on th'head. I hadn't considered it woul'be such a thing." High cheekbones shift as her jaw sets firmly, lips taut in a small frown. "You are probably wiser than I'ave been giving you credit for."

"It's not really the lack of happiness that's intimidating, you just…" Liza trails off for a moment, searching carefully for words. "I don't want to offend you, but you come off a little standoffish. You appear a lot like… well, like all of what you do is very purposeful. Very business-like. I cannot fully judge you because I don't know you well, but… it's the impression I get." The blonde scratches her neck lightly. "I'd be willing to guess that those you consider good friends are likely very confident, competent individuals in whatever they specialize in." There's a sudden laugh. "I don't mean to psychoanalyze or anything. I'd thought about taking psychology as a minor when I was in school but… a bit out of the picture now."

"You should'ave." Huruma's response is slight. "B'cause you are being very accurate." Maybe it isn't too hard to guess these things, but hell. She's right, and that is the point. No wonder she was with the Company, right? "Those I tend to learn t'trust are- like me. Maybe it comes tha'much easier, maybe I jus'love m'self too much, I don'know." Her tongue runs over the back of her teeth, expression still guarded, to a point. The wine is probably helping keep her mouth going.

"I am not as business-like all th'time. I think only Benjamin seems t'realize that, though, and, even then-" An inwardly pinched movement flickers over her face, followed by a sad, small sound of a huff. "Even then, it is not much. I'ave been trying here, t'be less prickly." As evident by the spending time with the kids, and the awful illustration of a horse amidst their drawings, with Huruma's name scribbled on it. Likely by little Mala.

"That is quite silly too, I can be open when I'ave a purpose t'be, but when it comes t'any old day…" She is just- really backwards, it seems. Natural setting for her.

"I can understand trusting those like you. You can count on them. People like you can be dependable and come through when it comes to a tough situation. It means they're trustworthy, at least, and less likely to misuse your trust. You just might want to open your eyes to people who aren't quite like you. You might appreciate in others the qualities you might lack," Liza says. She studies Huruma for a moment, then smiles again. "Well, perhaps you're just making your purpose too serious. Your purpose could be as simple as seeing someone alone in a dining hall and heading over to see if they want company."

Huruma buries her nose in the circle of mug, for the interim of Liza's words. When she draws her face back again, it is with her tongue drawing over a stray droplet on the edge of her bottom lip. Hm. "It is easier said than done." That much is true. "I'ave only ever'ad t'know people like me. This is as new as my having family, an'these people here." The small layer of wine in her cup gets sloshed to and fro in her hand, and her ivory gaze wanders down to watch it.

"Figures, th'empath has trouble wit'emotions." Sounds like it might be more than this, though, judging from her tone and the very indignant look she is giving the wine in her hand.

Uh oh. Huruma said the magic word. Family. There's an odd look on Liza's face, it doesn't seem all that negative. Really, she smiles slightly, but it's just… odd. "You haven't had a family before?" Clearly, this is a tragedy. The blonde looks concerned as she sips from her cup.

"Not in th'sense you are thinking." Huruma narrows a look at her, making a further attempt at reading into what exactly is going on in that head of hers. Might as well say it now. "Was left t'fend for m'self when I was eight or nine, trial of errors had me end up with twins when I was young. I tried t'kill them." Running this through is making whatever warmth was on her face slink away again, as if truly shamed. "Last year I ran into m'grown son in Madagascar. His sister is alive too. She is upstate now. Found m'grandmother too, an'it turns out that I am one m'self."

So, in essence, Huruma didn't have a family. And suddenly, and abruptly, she did. Faster than she got friends, for sure.

"You… tried to kill your children?" While Liza might be able to understand the loss of family and then the return of them, she's a little confused about the details on the whole, you know, killing kids part. "It's… it's really good to have family though. It might be a little strange to have them, if you haven't had them in a while, but… family's good. Probably one of the most important things in my life."

"I was very young, an'knew no better." Which is probably a slightly less jarring version of 'I had to do it'. Huruma does, however, seem to shy away when Liza reacts like that. A mark like a big red sign on her back. "It must unsettle you t'ave lost yours." She is trying to understand it, at least. An effort is what matters. "But I suppose tha'you'ave a new family now. Here. Like me."

"It is unsettling, yes," Liza agrees. "It's… it's strange, not having the people I cared for around. Not to have anyone to look out for me. I wonder, sometimes, if I'm just going to lose people again and again." Sure, a depressing thought, but she's soon smiling again. "But you're right. There's a new family for me here, and I'm going to do my best to help everyone how I can. People are… a lot of people are miserable here. They're worried because we have to hide out, but I don't know. I like it here. I like the people who are around. It feels like a home. At least, when people try to make it that way."

"After a while you mus'look after yourself… I hate that I'ardly know what a home is." Huruma finishes what is in her cup and sets it aside, the ceramic clanking on the table. "All I can hope for now is that everyone knows I am doing m'best." She gives a shrug, broad shoulders sinking down as she leans back. "I'm learning, et cetera, et cetera."

"I do look after myself," Liza points out. It's not like she's dependent or anything. "It's just… it's a relief to know someone's got your back. That someone'll notice if you don't come home or if something happens." She sips her own cup, looking at what's left of hers. "You're trying, and that's more than I can say for some people. So I'd say you're doing good."

"Ah." Huruma doesn't say anything else immediately, preferring a few moments to listen to the cardplayers and the crackle of the fireplace nearby. "I think I am glad to'ave people like that. Who would give a hoot." She smiles, just a sliver of white. "Most of them'ave bigger problems than my well being. So I'ave never really noticed it. Love is such a complex mess, I am tempted t'give up understanding it." Her voice hovers down to a murmur again, just for Liza to hear over the fire.

Surprisingly, the silence isn't all that awkward. Liza listens to the fire and the hum of voices in the background, the sound of cards hitting the table. "I think it's the little things that matter. Tiny things like that. They mean the most to me." The petite blonde's lips curve into a bit of a frown at Huruma's mention of love. "I can't say I fully understand it myself. I don't think it's something we can ever fully understand, but it doesn't mean it's not present or worth pursuing and having in one's life. It's something worth fighting for."

"I'ave been studying human emotions for …twenty five years?" Huruma rubs her fingers over her nose, brow creasing heavily. "I know what it is when I see it, when I feel it there. But it is- unconditional, wit'pieces of everything that makes a mind, a mind. I know it, but I cannot understand it, and I am th'one that is supposed to. I cannot control it like I can control lust, b'cause it is so much a part of everything in there."

"Worth fighting for. If one knows how to, I suppose. I am no good at pursuing it either." Huruma laughs dryly, looking Liza over. "It seems like when I feel it sprouting, m'instincts try t'smash it apart." Lesson of the night, empaths are messed up.

"Studying emotions…" Liza laughs a little. "You make it sound like there can just be a text book on feelings and emotions." She finishes up her cup. "I think the idea is that emotions really are contextual. Sure, you can identify them, but if you don't understand why they've come about, then you can't understand them. Take me, for example. If you want to know why I feel so strongly about having a sense of family, you just need to know how much I've lost in the past. It's been a whole trail of losses, something building for a long time that's made me realize how much it means to me to have that love and support." She taps a finger to her chin. "Have you tried pursuing it, or it something you're afraid of failing at? You can't be any good at anything if you don't practice."

"I'ave never really needed to." She admits this kind of curtly, and it is clear she hasn't felt the need to actually think about it before either. "I think I may be fearful of failing at it, yes. M'son is trying t'be a good son, m'daughter is too simple t'understand, but I know that I love them, when I look at them both. M'grandson too."

Huruma sighs, and crosses her arms in front of her, the gesture being one of universal guardedness. Liza has gotten this far. "I feel it wit'others too. It is those I am most fearful of."

"Love can come across in a lot of ways. It doesn't always have to be an obvious act of love. It doesn't have to be affectionate. Sometimes it can be as simple as making a sacrifice for someone." Liza blinks for a moment, seriously thinking about what she says. She wasn't expecting her own words to hit so close to home there. She smiles again, setting her cup aside. "Anyways, it doesn't have to be so hard, you just have to think about what it really feels like, what love means to you and what it would make you do." She shrugs.

"Love can come across in a lot of ways. It doesn't always have to be an obvious act of love. It doesn't have to be affectionate. Sometimes it can be as simple as making a sacrifice for someone." Liza blinks for a moment, seriously thinking about what she says. She wasn't expecting her own words to hit so close to home there. She smiles again, setting her cup aside. "Anyways, it doesn't have to be so hard, you just have to think about what it really feels like, what love means to you and what it would make you do." She shrugs. The blonde leans forward a little, looking back at Huruma. The body language there is pretty obvious. "What is it you're afraid of? Are you afraid for yourself or for them?"

"I have thought about what it makes me do. And I know that I have done a great many things I wouldn't have otherwise." Huruma states this clear and for the record, tucking in her lips to wet them. She looks back at Liza when the girl leans closer. What are you doing like that? Is the look she gets in return. "Both."

"For someone so strong I'm surprised you'd fear something like that. It can hurt, yes, but the whole point is that it's worse to just ignore it. You won't ever get the joy of it unless you put yourself out there in that dangerous territory," Liza folds her hands in her lap, and it's clear she's leaning forward to express her seriousness as she looks at the other woman. "I don't like to hurt other people, or making them awkward. I spend a lot of time thinking about people and I'm very conscious of what I do most of the time because I don't want people hurt… but love is one of those things you just have to dive into. Sure, you can be a little cautious. It never hurts to test the water before you jump in so you aren't surprised, but… I don't think you can ever prepare yourself from it, you're almost guaranteed to be hurt at least once, but when you finally get ahold of it… it's one of the best things we can do, as human beings, I think."

Huruma swallows softly as she listens to Liza, the warm fuzz in her head seeming to settle in comfortably, and leave her with a buffer zone where the girl's words can penetrate something. If she hadn't been in such a mellow mood to begin with, she probably would have brushed Liza off ages ago. But as it stands, Huruma probably needed this. There aren't many people that would bother, so maybe she got lucky too.

"Maybe I am scared of being burned jus'that once. My moods are fragile, and always have been." She lifts a hand to rub at the side of her head, what dark hair she has providing a neatly trimmed shadow of black on ebony. "It gets more complicated when it is a triangle. Or square."

"It's hard. But you've got to. You either do it or you give up, there's no middle line." Liza watches Huruma, and she frowns a bit. "Well, the problem with triangles and squares is that there's an awkward situation continually unless someone does something. If nothing gives, then there's always that continual chain of relationships that draw tension and pain and fear. You push it, you make a change and at the very least, you aren't continuously trapped in a situation like that."

"Even worse when I am th'only one tha'sees it. I am th'extra wheel nobody'as noticed." Huruma does laugh a little at that, maybe because she just pictured everyone turning into wheels- "Is it still something I should touch? Even if it could ruin what single friendship I count on having?" Getting a little specific, perhaps. Maybe Liza is as sharp as she thinks, maybe not- but whatever got Huruma going in this particular direction has surely been on her mind for a time.

"So you aren't even in the square," Liza muses on this for a moment, then offers a small smile. "I can understand that, being on the outside. I get that a lot. It's not for lack of trying, though. Different contexts, but the same problem." She taps her chin a little, as if searching for an epiphany. "How sure are you that it'll mess things up?" The blonde lets out a breath. "And it never hurts to see. It never hurts to lay the foundation for something. My favorite kind of love, at least the ones I see in books and movies and stuff, it's 'best friend love'. Two people start as friends, really close, and then eventually they realize that their love is more than that. You count on having that friendship… so you just need to be careful. But if you just sit there and watch, you'll never get anything and you'll never know where it could go."

"He only just learned t'trust me." Huruma opines, without much context at all, though Liza's 'favorite' love gets a small laugh. Oh, boy. "I tried t'kill him too, once. If I'd'ave known I would be here thirteen years ago, I would'ave jus'ran away." At least she is talking about it, which is better than if she were to keep putting her boot in her mouth during the courses of other things. Over, and over, and over.

"I am no'sure what I should do, an'here I am, talking to…" Huruma narrows her eyes at the little girl a moment. "Blondie Love-Yoda." That does not even make sense.

"Trying to kill someone would put you on a bit of a bad list, yeah… I can understand learning to trust," Liza agrees. "You can't always predict the future. I can't say it's impossible cause I've seen and heard some strange things, but for most of us, you can't predict it. If he's smart, he'll understand the circumstances of why you tried to do that. Maybe he should know that you feel this way, at least about killing him. Showing him a change of heart could be a good move. You… you come off very gruff and guarded, and if you trust him, then maybe you should show him you trust him. Let your guard down." She offers a bright smile. "Maybe I should have been a therapist. I'd help people a lot more now with that than I can otherwise. I should have gone to school for that instead of criminal justice. Kind of hard to put that to good use when you're running and hiding, huh?"

"I think you've been doing jus'fine. I've tried to let my guard down, you know. There'ave been a couple times. Discussing family, how much both of us have changed, what we do here. He was there when I came back from first seeing m'daughter. It was not much, in th'middle of th'night, but he could'ave left m'alone in th'kitchen instead of …staying there." Which in itself, was a big thing to do, and Huruma knows it. It mattered to her. A lot.

"It's the little things," Liza brings up her earlier point, then smiles. "That's the kind of love I like… little things like that. It mattered, but it wasn't some grand feat of caring. So he's shown you some kindness… I think you just need to find an opportunity to do the same for him. If he hasn't noticed before, maybe it will make him really think about you, think about potential."

"I have been like a pet, following him around for almost a year. I didn'realize it was b'cause of this though. Not until this autumn." Huruma lifts her hand again to rub at her eyes this time. Tired, like always these days. "I'ave been very kind t'him and his family, all things considered. Many little things…"

Liza looks a little concerned as Huruma wipes her eyes, and the blonde would put a hand on her, but she figures it's best not to. "Then he's blind. Perhaps he just needs something a little clearer. Men are…" Here, Liza laughs, struggling to finish the sentence. "No matter how much we can ever learn about love, men will always understand it a lot less than we will. Sometimes the little things might mean a lot, but might not get him to realize that there's more than just kindness in your actions. It's why there are times you have to take a risk."

Tiredness mistaken for mist is a first for Huruma, and she can feel Liza's trepidation and concern bubbling. It causes her to look up, her eyes only slightly red in the usual way that alcohol can do. "Men are idiots. I am shocked that I want t'bother with one like I'ave never bothered with one b'fore." Huruma laughs now, a deep chuckle, Liza's laughing making the sound come much more easily. "My life is already full of risks, and I fear one more. Pah."

"Emotions are an entirely different kind of risk. So long as you don't kill yourself from them, you won't really die or anything. The worse that happens is you hurt for a while. Totally different kind of risk. But it's worth it. If I had a chance like yours… I'd go for it. Especially if you've been following him around for a year." Liza grins, and if she weren't being so cheerfully serious she'd almost look like a mischievous pixie. "You take it one step at a time. Feel it out. See what you can see. And if there's a hint of something there, don't hesitate. Just be sure."

"I suppose by now it is obvious who I am talking about…" Huruma laughs just a little more, and it does reach her eyes, but only for a split second. "But if I keep on this road I will be thinking all night and I will get no sleep. Maybe w'should join that card game, I see a couple of them ducking out."

Liza smiles at that, giving a nod towards the cards. "Perhaps that's a good idea. The only men you have to worry about there are the kings and jacks, and if they annoy you, you can always turn them over and pretend they don't exist." The blonde pauses, then laughs. "That… wasn't quite the analogy I had hoped it would be, but… suffice to say, cards require a lot less thought than men."

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