A Wendigo's Story


huruma_icon.gif lynette3_icon.gif

Scene Title A Wendigo's Story
Synopsis Huruma finds out one of the side effects to friendship.
Date April 17, 2018

The Benchmark Center

Every day at the Benchmark seems to hold something new. New volunteers, new classes, new groups, new boarders. Huruma has been a fairly common sight during the times she stays in the Safe Zone, holding some amateur self-defense courses when she makes some time. Thankfully she keeps a close circle of friends as well, which keeps her well grounded to the place. Less lurking. Less wandering a place like the Safe Zone. More time spent with people such as Ryans, Megan, Lynette, Nicole— Pippa— and the others living here that hold places in her heart.

It feels something like home, already.

Midday finds group sessions in full swing. There are always a few going on of differing types. Support for those taking care of loved ones battling addiction, generalized group therapy, different meetings for certain drug use, anger management—

Huruma sits outside of one of the closed doors on a hallway bench, a paper on the glass to signal the group meeting there; the sounds of a session are going on inside. Half a dozen voices. The smell of tea having been made.

She isn't going in, however. She remains out of reach and outside, listening and leaning against the wall, hands held loose between her knees.

The day after the open house has been a strange one. SESA was upstairs, being as discreet as possible as they looked over one of the rooms upstairs. But now that they're gone, Lynette has come downstairs to see them out. And then through the hallway that Huruma lingers in. Seeing her there, Lynette comes over and drops onto the bench next to her, letting out a heavy sigh.

"Sometimes I really regret giving up drinking," she says, instead of hello. Her emotions are similar to those inside the room. Exhaustion, desperation, regret. A sense of feel adrift that isn't usually there. But it used to be a normal occurance in Lynette as she once was. As Huruma well knows. "Are you okay? Avoiding talking or just waiting your turn?"

Huruma did not ask why SESA came, but she had a fair idea that turned out to be likely. She still isn't sure who the old man is— just that his existence is a tumultuous one. Once the agents leave, she feels Lynette nearing before she even finds her there in the corridor. At first it seems like Huruma may be ignoring her entirely— listening to the start and stop of a voice.

"I still do, sometimes overrated. What did SESA need?" Huruma mutters on the topic of a Drink. There is a rather abrupt tension in her muscles as Lynette settles there, her eyes skating past the window on the door; the sign's lettering reads 'ASCA & SAS Meetup'. She looks back to Lynette, jaw working. "Both."

"You say that, but I really miss it." Drinking she misses. Refrain she does not. Which is something of a blessing. Lynette looks over at her, her head tilting. "Apparently one of our clients is a wanted man." She feels torn on that point. Believes it, yes, but there is a thread of lost hope, too. "I suppose seeing the agents in attendance yesterday spooked him."

She glances toward the sign, then leans back again. "Fair enough." She's been avoiding the meetings lately herself.

"Martin. Or whoever he is…" Huruma confirms that she paid attention before, if just. He was definitely scared. But of what? People? "I could feel him turning on his heels on the inside. Hopefully he finds somewhere else." He was, after all, on his last legs.

To the glance and Lynette's acquiescence she gives a slow blink, cheekbones sharp in the hallway lights. "I have avoided it for this long, anyway." Being all— nice and comforted— that seems to make things change. Somewhat.

"He wanted to change," Lynette says, her hands brushing down her pant legs. "He was trying. I know the law doesn't— " She stops there, shaking her head a little and looking back over to Huruma. "I hope he does, too. How many people do we know who successfully turned over a new leaf, Huruma? All of us?" She spreads her hands, helpless.

"So what are you avoiding, then? I know I shouldn't encourage you to skip a group session, but," she says, gesturing to the hallway they're in, "it's just us here."

"I am the entire tree sometimes, aren't I?" Huruma raises a brow at the analogy of turning a leaf, knowing full well what she meant by it. Her head rests back against the wall once more, fingers kneading at the base of the other thumb. Lynette is right— there are all kinds that have changed.

"Avoiding… all of it. I've never even been—" Huruma's eyes move to the door, then flick away to examine the ceiling. Her voice is low, but devoid of its usual velvet. "To one of these. I just sit out here and listen."

"Me too, Huruma. I think I've turned about half a dozen new leaves. Rinse, repeat." That drifting feeling deepens, and Lynette seems to realize it because she casts an apologetic look Huruma's way. But when she explains, Lynette's expression turns sympathetic. "Oh, I see. And I understand." There's a glance toward the door, then back to Huruma. "Do you want me to go in with you? Sometimes it's easier with a friend. You don't have to talk if you don't want to, but just going in can be a first step."

"I don't know." Huruma's lips purse tightly.

"You…" There is a tentative look Lynette's way, gauging her features and posture as well as her mood. "You do realize what this group is, right?" Huruma's question is by no means challenging, only curious; the fact that Lynette seems to understand her hesitance says a little, but she knows she has to ask— because sometimes people just want to help that badly. That they jump right in. On one hand, bless those people. On the other, sometimes they get more than they bargained for.

"I make the schedule," Lynette says, which is an answer, if an indirect one, "Assign the rooms. All that administrative stuff." She gives Huruma a sad smile, but she doesn't seem worried about what she'll hear in that room. Huruma can feel her shoring up her own sorrows, shoving them off to the corner to make room for someone else's. "If you want a hand to hold, I'm here." This pain is not her pain, but she feels willing to help carrying it.

Administrative stuff. Right. Huruma lifts a hand to rub at her forehead above her nose, cheeks pinching inward. She can feel Lynette shutting the closet door on her own feelings— for her sake, and it's not painless to read that there.

"Lynette…" The name is a sigh, Huruma's dark voice a touch weaker. Putting burdens on others has never really been her Thing. Turns out that having friends changes that. "What would I even…"

"You go inside, you pick a chair. It sounds like nothing, but believe me, it's the hardest part." Lynette reaches over to put a hand on Huruma's arm. A warm squeeze follows. "People will talk, cry, or they won't. Then you come back next time. And you keep coming back. You find a room of people who understand and who never ever question. And when you feel ready, you'll tell them about what happened, maybe you cry too. But in there, there's only acceptance and support. That I can promise you."

Hand still against her head, Huruma seems to absorb Nette's words and take it in stride. It sounds like the unquestioning is right up her alley, but she still fails to really say it. "You make this sound easier than it is." Despite this, the hand on her arm is taken up by Huruma's free hand, fingers wrapping around Lynette's. Gentle but firm. Insistent. "But I suppose that is what you do, hm?"

"Simple," Lynette says, returning Huruma's squeeze, "not easy." She moves to stand, keeping her hand in Huruma's, her own movement also insistent. "It is. Usually not personally, but you get the VIP treatment. You tell me if you feel overwhelmed. We can take this at whatever speed you're comfortable with." No shame, no expectation. Only acceptance, just as promised.

The mantra 'Simple, not easy' is a more powerful one than it seems. Huruma gives Lynette a more personal smile when she admits the VIP treatment, the expression fleeting and sad for all that she is pleased by it. The speed she is comfortable with is no speed at all— this is not something she's tried before. It's foreign and new and nerve-wracking, even for someone like Huruma.

She is not unbothered by the world, she only appears that way. Lynette's hand finds itself pressed against forehead, a small, almost innocent gesture of knuckles to brow.

"Mimi ni bahati sana." Huruma murmurs back. "May we just… go inside? I do not feel like a speech…" But maybe sitting, like she said…?

Lynette looks over at Huruma, her smile dimmer, but no less present. "You don't need to say anything until you're ready," she says softly, then she leans in, wrapping her free arm around Huruma in a hug. "I'll be right next to you the whole time." And when she steps back, she gestures for her to follow, but that's as close as she gets to pushing.

There's always more than one story behind a monster, and she is no different; the one kept closest to the chest came out when least expected. Maybe it was just the right timing— the right mixture of someone to coax it out, and someone to tell her that it's okay not to talk.

A wendigo's story had to start somewhere.

The embrace serves to finally get her to follow suit, her frame under the touch warm and tense. Huruma pushes to her feet, posture slackened. She turns towards the door and grinds her teeth together, ivory eyes boring into the window.

Last chance for her to back out.

Like she always has before.

Something's got to give, even if it takes thirty years. Huruma rests her hand on the doorknob, tension up to the shoulder when she quietly pushes it open.

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