aura_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif

Scene Title Badabogo
Synopsis Elisabeth gets to see just how tempered out Huruma has become- - and Aura makes a friend.
Date March 14, 2019

Raytech Industries - Housing Complex

Though the last few months have been a whirlwind rollercoaster for what seems like everyone, there are always small moments to stop and smell the roses, as it were. Huruma would rather it was already springtime, speaking of roses.

She never really has trouble getting onto the Raytech campus anymore; of course, security checks her ID, but now they know her. It's likely they've just given her an R&D credential as she loves to come break things. For testing purposes.

Huruma finds the apartment with no trouble at all, and that's not even because she can sniff Elisabeth out behind closed doors. When she raps knuckles against the door, she shifts a bag under her elbow to do so; it's been warming up outside, so no intimidating dark coat this time. Just a short jacket, jeans, and a shirt that is (probably) purposefully a few inches too short. There's a faded 'University of Rochester' on the front. It's stylish, aight?

The smells coming from the apartment might indicate that Elisabeth is doing some baking. WHen she opens the door, she's wearing a pair of flour-smattered jeans and a blue T-shirt liberally sprinkled with the same. Her feet are bare, her hair's hauled up in a ponytail, and the air holds the scent of cinnamon and sugar. "Hi," she greets the new arrival with a grin. "C'mon in. We just pulled some cinnamon rolls from the oven."

Gesturing Huruma inside and closing the door behind the taller woman, Liz's glance toward the dining room table is quick. A petite, sandy-blonde pixie — also liberally dusted with white over her black leggings and peach-colored T-shirt — is hovering over a cooling rack of cinnamon rolls with an avid expression. When Huruma's arrival, her hazel eyes turn to take in the dark woman inquisitively. "Huruma, meet Aura. Aura, this is Miss Huruma."

The look the little girl offers holds perhaps more wariness than most children her size would convey. "Hi, Miss 'Ruma," she says politely. "We made cinn'mon buns for you."

Huruma is silently examining the content little mind beyond Elisabeth's when the door opens up. A little more intense than some of the other children she knows. A bit precocious, as she said. The smell is enough to entice Huruma inside, a closed smile of greeting for Liz. Pale eyes flick up to the girl at the table with her soon to be prey. Huruma knows what long waits look like.

"Hello, miss Aurora. Or… do you prefer 'Aura'?" Huruma leans down more towards the little girl's level with a curve of lips, hands on her legs and brows lifting back to hazel eyes. Her own are bright, pupils wide and dark. "They smell delightful. How did you know that I had a sweet tooth?"

Seeing Huruma with a child harkens right back to the days of the Ferrymen when she learned to actually like them. It appears that she has honed her skills for the better over the years. Too many babies not to.

Aurora's eyes widen slightly, as if Huruma is asking something unusual. "Aura," is the reply. And then she climbs down from the chair — she could easily pass for a year or two younger than her actual age, slender and small. But she's healthy, if more watchful than most of her age group. Caution such as Huruma is already familiar with in the Lighthouse children and probably those in her own lands as well — children of conflict.

"I like how you talk," she tells Huruma baldly. "Mummy said when peoples come to visit, it's nice to have snacks. An' since we have stuff to bake snacks now, she maked them!" Aura pauses. "But I put the milk in an' fwosted them!" She wouldn't want their guest to think she hadn't helped!

Tipping her head, she asks curiously, "Can I get as tall as you?"

Elisabeth is mentally facepalming.

Despite her typical use of full names- - if Huruma knows someone prefers another, she will use it. The answer gets a certain nod, serious enough for a child to see she means to stick to it. She listens intently to the rest, chin nodding in approval as Aura explains. Mhm, mhm, exactly.

Whatever she had intended to say about Aura's excellent frosting job gets put aside at the question. Huruma flashes a toothier smile over at Elisabeth, a smooth, deep laugh coming out of her chest. Very cute.

"Perhaps." Huruma stands up straight, and then tilts her head as if comparing their heights. Brow furrowing, she considers the contrast. "But, you must eat all of your dinners and drink all of your milk. I have the feeling you do this already, hm? You seem like an excellent listener."

Elisabeth hmmmmmms at that one, casting a skeptical eyeball on the little one. "Or something," she comments drily.

Aurora, however, nods sagely. Miss Ruma is clearly a discerning adult! "I do listen real good," she agrees earnestly. "Unca Kain teached me to listen on the radio for squawkin' an' robots buzzin'. I can tell the diff'ence between real peoples and 'lectronic ones. An' I can hear when Mummy an' Daddy is whisp'rin' wif kissin'. Cuz kissin' don't have a color."

These are not things Liz wanted to hear and she can't help the laughter that bubbles out of her. "Good God," she mutters. "Huruma, would you like some coffee?" The other woman might need it! "Aurora, why don't you grab forks and we can have those cinnamon rolls, okay?" Distract! Distract! There are plates already on the table by the cooling rack for the pastries.

"Yes, please." Huruma manages to get this out past her amused, cheeky little laugh, lips in a smile.

"Whispering and kissing, hm?" There's no escaping this, sorry Liz. "Kissing doesn't have a color? That's fascinating. It always has a color to me. A taste, too. Pink, red, orange, shimmery and sweet. Sometimes, wild and crazy." Huruma's voice is a gentle velvet as she describes the emotion behind most kisses. It is in terms that the little girl will understand, which she hopes draws away some of that wariness that ghosts in her.

"Let us get those forks, shida. Before your mama scolds me."

Wench. Elisabeth's expression clearly conveys the sentiment as she laughs.

Aurora takes it literally and shakes her head. "Naw," she informs her new friend, taking her hand and leading her to the table before fetching forks. "you sit here. Kissin' don't have colors. Mummy an' Daddy have colors that look nice togevver, though. An' they get all runny togevver when they's whisperin'."

God, Liz might have to blindfold the child from now on!

Aura blithely continues, "An when Daddy goes Birdy, he's much darker purple — which is my favorite color — and when Mummy sings, she's much darker blue. An' then when they do togevver, they's almost the same color as Daddy by himself when he's reg'lar."

Aurora's hand is pretty much dwarfed by Huruma's strong palm and long, slender fingers. It's disarming. She allows herself to be led by the fingers to the table, listening and giving Elisabeth innocent glances. Shrug.

Huruma settles where Aura has told her to, brow lifting back at the girl darting back and forth with forks. "Birdy?" She's not sure what that means, obviously, but it's something to do with Richard. "Purple and blue sound like a night sky to me. What do you think? And I think that your papa is absolutely a purple person. Good eye… and what about me?" The dark woman leans her head on her knuckles, angled towards Aura to get the scoop. Tell her more, sweetpea.

"He's only dark purple when he goes Birdy," Aurora explains. "Back home — I din't know Shadowbirdy was Daddy. Not til he showed me shadowbirdy here!"

That makes Elisabeth pause, startled. Wait, what? It's something she didn't know, clearly, and blue eyes sharpen on the little girl.

"When we was back home," the little girl prattles on, "he telled me bedtime stories after Mummy an' Cassie tucked me in. An' he made shadowbirdy onna wall. But he never telled me he was Other-Daddy. An' den when Daddy showed me his shadows, he was the same color!" She was very excited by this, apparently. "When he's reg'lar body, he's more blue-purple mixed togevver, just like when he's shadows and Mummy's singin' at the same time. An' it does look like the sky, on'y no stars!" She pauses and considers. "I bet if Miss Abby an' Mummy an' Daddy all got togevver, it would look like stars! Cuz she's glittery silver!"

Setting the forks in front of Huruma and climbing up on the other chair where she can Snoopy-vulture over the cinnamon rolls again while waiting for Mummy to hurry up with coffee and her milk, she tells Huruma earnestly, "You has pink. But not like Miss Devi pink or Unca Felix — he's sparky pinky-orange. You gots this really light pink-yellow. It makes me happy!"

The explanation of Birdy catching Liz off guard has Huruma tipping a look up at her, the confusion registering as easily as a glance. Aura's tale no doubt adds to it. Huruma is not quite as shocked; it sounds terribly like something Richard would get up to. Mention of meeting Abby, however, grabs her attention back.

In time to tune in on Aura's description of different people. The answer she gets is not at all what she expects to hear. Huruma hesitates, pale eyes squinting dubiously. Still a smile, despite it.

"I had no idea. I would have never guessed. Like flowers…?" Huruma finally answers, truthful when she does. "Abigail is one of my favorite people. Did you meet her daughter Kasha? I'm her auntie." In layman's terms.

For Elisabeth, the explanation obviously makes some amount of sense and she presses her lips together, looking down to finish fixing coffee and pour Aurora's milk. A surge of grief rolls through her with the comprehension of what her daughter's explaining, but there's naught but a brief glance at Huruma as she joins them. Tell you later.

And then she has to smother a laugh. Another voice color that doesn't quite match anything she expected to hear. Huruma? Baby pink and yellow? Like…. Plumeria flowers? Well… .maybe she can see that after all.

Nodding enthusiastically, Aurora continues on with her captive audience. "Just like flowers!" she agrees. "It wraps around and feels nice when I see it." Not because of empathic power, but just because it soothes the little girl, those colors. "Kasha din't talk a lot, but she seemed nice. An' Miss Abby an' Mummy cried a little. But it was happy cryin'," she informs. "I has aunties. Aunt Izzy an' Aunt Kaylee an' Aunt 'Laine an' Miss 'Nette!"

Later is fine. Though they aren't close, Elisabeth knows Huruma has an ear for her, and vice-versa. Friendships form somewhere in-between.

Mention of an 'Aunt Izzy' causes Huruma to squint again and angle one more look to Liz. No, what she thinks just can't be right. And yet… Huruma's mind moves to 'Amelie'. "I gave Kasha her name when she was a baby. Abigail became her mama after that. You girls are lucky to have so many aunts and uncles. I have even more nieces and nephews than just Kasha." is what she decides upon. It describes a lot of things in simple ways. The community is interconnected, as Liz will find.

"My favorite flower comes in a hundred colors, and sometimes in pink and yellow. There are some red ones at the Garden in summertime." For all that she is still a terror, Huruma is… tempered glass, now.

Elisabeth has always been aware of the interconnectedness, having been heard to mumble "Six degrees of separation, my ass!" on various occasions when it comes to the 'community.' She meets Huruma's look and shrugs just a little. There's definitely much to tell. She sets drinks down in front of Huruma and Aurora, and then she joins them at the table, putting gooey cinnamon rolls on plates while her daughter gives Huruma the child's-eye view of things.

"Mummy named me Aura cuz of the lights inna sky made her 'member my Daddy," Aurora comments. "An' Morgan cuz of somet'in' wif birds." She has no real idea of the legend of the Morrigan and her ravens, which were the closest Liz felt she could really get to a 'cardinal' at the time. "An' Ivanova cuz Unca Felix." She sagenods. "That's me. Aura Morgan Ivanova Cran—- no, Harrison." She keeps forgetting she has a new name. And it's becoming clear that maybe she can't quite get 'Aurora' out clearly enough so 'Aura' is because it's what she calls herself when people ask her name. "An' I gots lots of cousins — Evie an' Manny an' Addie an' Cam. Cam, he's wif Unca Felix. An' I gots a two bruvvers an' a sister - Josh an' Ricky an' Lili. Josh is wif Other-Mummy. I on'y seed him once. An' Ricky an' Lili are here!"

Nodding once in thank you for the coffee, Huruma gets the rundown again from Aura.

"That is quite the list." She considers a moment before adding, "I don't know if I have any cousins." Siblings, yes, but she doesn't mention that. "I have a son and a daughter, and one grandson. He is much older than you are, though. Speaking of… I have something for you before our fingers get covered in sugar."

"I would like to see you share this with your mama." Huruma takes the paper bag she has had tucked under her arm and offers it out to Aura. Inside is a hardcover book filled with photo album pages, with room for more. The cover has a gilded, leafy tree over it. "This way you can make a whole book with your big family in it."

Elisabeth quirks a brow. A grandson? That's…. An image that she's never really related to Huruma, though the tall woman mentioned it when they met up. It's only now that it clicks in her head. And she smiles faintly as it hits her again how little they ever knew one another despite the easy camaraderie of their trip to Alaska. She sips her coffee, watching as Aurora takes the bag and opens it curiously. When Huruma explains what it is, the lump in Liz's throat precludes her speaking to Huruma, but Aurora as seems to be her usual, takes it in stride.

"Ooooh! We had lots of pictures at home," she tells Miss Ruma. "But they din't come wif us. We couldnent bring much wif us. Mummy an' me each hadda bag an' I got to bring Bossum. He pertects me, just like Unca Kain. Unca Felix gived him to me." She grins at Elisabeth. "Now we can put lots of new pictures in! Daddy has one of you in his office, an' Grampa has one of me an' you an' Nana, 'member?" Jared took one of his three ladies together after they arrived home. "An' we gots one of you an' me an' Daddy now, an' one of Nana an' Grampa, an' one of all of us!"

Elisabeth's raised brow is answered with a purse of lips and a slight glitter of Huruma's eye. Now you're paying attention? She observes Aura's present opening skills for now, hands folding around the cup that Liz set out for her. That little knot can be felt swimming against the confines of the other woman's mind, several veins braided together. That sort of feeling is complex.

Aurora's reception is much more open; the empath's eyes seem to swim with absorbing that childlike excitement. It is a healthy snack for a psychic vampire, especially when compared to her usual fare. A sweet tooth, indeed.

"It sounds like you already have all sorts of pictures and decorations you can put in there. When you make new friends at school you can put them in too." A look goes to Elisabeth, short yet reassuring. The gift is absolutely as much for Mama as it is for the Little.

Aurora is entranced enough by the photo album that she's actually managed to forget the cinnamon rolls. "Mummy can I put some in now??!" She's bouncing in her seat. Her excitement is contagious, and there's genuine joy at seeing the little girl's reaction coming from the mother.

"Sure, go ahead," she says softly.

Clutching the book to her chest, the little girl literally stands up in her chair and bounces off it onto the floor. Then she stops and comes back, wide hazel eyes on Huruma and says, "Thank you, Miss Ruma!!!" And then she darts into her bedroom with the prize, seeking out some of her cherished pictures.

Elisabeth waits until she's safely in the other room and, though she also sound barriers the bedroom's doorway so that she'll have warning in case they're talking something sensitive when the child makes her return, then says to Huruma, "I would never have thought to give her something like that." She smiles at the other woman, a soft heartache in her chest over it. "She lost… so many things when we had to run. I had her baby album with me the first jump, but … the second jump, we landed in water. It was ruined." That hurt. Not as much as Aurora damn near drowning, but the loss of the pictures had been a blow. She'd hoped to bring them home for Richard. "Thank you so much for thinking of it."

"You're welcome, Aura." Huruma, however, did not forget the cinnamon rolls. Though she isn't about to eat hers, she does wait til the girl's out of sight before she dips a pinky finger across the side of it, licking off a piece of icing. Ssh.

There's a quiet tick of Huruma's eyes when she feels some of the ambience shift when Liz puts some barriers up. She doesn't know what it is, exactly, but she is attuned enough to notice. Her lips pull back in a smile, flashing a sliver of white.

"You're welcome too, Mama." There is no need to really describe any further how she's feeling; sometimes it's nice to not have to, but not everyone is Huruma. "Something I've noticed the last several years… is that all of us never really had the time to think of these things either. You two came a long way, and we did too- - just metaphorically." She lifts her coffee to taste it, brushing some levity between them. "And now that there is some measure of peace, I've come to realize that I have very little as well. My own fault, mainly…"

"I have a storm-size cloud server now. I don't want to forget, like I used to, once upon a time. Some things are harder to commit to record than others, admittedly." Huruma taps her nose, smirking. "But I am very good at sneaking."

"You should go ahead and eat it, if you want," Liz laughs. "She won't get her feelings hurt when she remembers they're out here. I give her ten minutes, max. Then she'll remember there are snacks and be back." Sighing out a long breath, though, she does sip her tea with pleasure. "It's good to see her like this. Some days aren't nearly so pleasant." She shrugs slightly. "She's seen too much. Having good memories on images … it's a good thing for everyone, I think. It's so easy to forget the small moments."

Slanting a look from the corner of her eyes, Elisabeth does tease, "Just don't get too close when you sneak up on me. I was… a little alarmed that night when you found me, I have to admit." There's a pause and she admits, "I'm not entirely sure we didn't bring trouble with us."

"You're the hostess." Murmuring back, Huruma chuckles softly and picks up a fork to pry loose a piece; it smells as nice as it looks. "I know when to expect a bad time." Her only response to not sneaking up on Liz in the dim and dark is this, and a pop of the fork into her mouth. Just a little sass.

"It happens. Trouble. We will cross that bridge when it comes. Though some people seem to think it's much too late for that and we're going to be burned alive by some sort of- - nether-creature." Huruma does not explain. You're welcome for that too, Liz. "I think that she'll find what she needs." Pale eyes move to where Aura scampered off. "I was only a few years older than she is when I found myself alone. It took me far too long to find what I needed."

Given the way she lets her gaze linger on the child's door, Elisabeth might get some idea of what that could be.

"I think… after seeing you and Ryans work together just that one time… that you have what you need now," Elisabeth comments. It could have come across as a sly kind of woman-speak, but it doesn't — what she saw between the two was a trust that spoke to her. She's not implying anything more or less than that bond, nor is she presuming it is or isn't something else. Just … accepting it. "I would envy the friendship that the two of you have… it's been strong in more than just this place. But I'm lucky enough to have one person who is that for me, too. And getting home to find Felix in one piece has been a blessing."

She smiles a little, and then teases, "Is it too nosy to ask if it's more than a bone-deep partnership?"

She's opening the door to being teased in return — and given that Aurora has supplied all kinds of ammunition already, it's a clear invitation Elisabeth is extending.

Huruma is glad her mouth is full by the time Liz gets around to teasing mode. She had been on-board before that; the empath knows when people are being facetious with her. Liz tends to keep things honest, or so she's found. Eyes carrying a hint of approval and a bit of self-satisfaction blink once back at the blonde and shift right to furtive. It doesn't manage to last for long. Huruma looks back, eyes half-lidded, invisible cat's tail swishing.

"Depends on what you mean by 'bone-deep'." Huruma nonchalantly stabs the cinnamon roll with her fork, eyes still on Liz.

She waits precisely long enough for a reaction- - and another piece of roll breaking off before adding, "Just kidding."

"He is my dearest friend foremost, regardless of anything else I might feel. We tried a little bit of a… thing. It didn't go where you might think." At least she moves on from that train of thought, in a fashion. "We are already family, have spilled blood for each other, the whole nine yards. " Huruma waves her hand, gesturing vaguely.

"At least I don't have to worry about anyone hearing 'whisperin' wif kissin''."

Elisabeth laughs outright at the return quip and her laughter continues to roll even as she blushes just faintly at the last part. With both hands wrapped around her coffee cup, she simply nods to the explanation. "Sometimes those things work out, sometimes not," she observes easily. "You seem to have what Felix and I have — the connection that is just… lovers or not, doesn't matter. You are partners in the deepest sense of the word. I could see a lot of that even back then. I just wondered if you ever gave it a thought," she admits with a smile. "And I'm a nosy bitch some days, so eh… why not just ask?"

Her amusement has a bright quality to it — good-natured, there's nothing to it but genuine admiration for the other woman and the man they're discussing. "As to whisperin' wif kissin', well…. She'll just have to get used to it," Liz retorts. The emotions that she doesn't realize she may actually have to work to keep muted for Huruma roll off her — they're more conflicted than they were seven years ago but her love for the man they're now discussing has a depth that it didn't have before as well. Different than the emotion that flared as she spoke of Felix, though that too was deep.

"Like you and Ivanov, we are connected and I love him. I gave it a thought for years, but fate had other ideas, you know?" Partners. Huruma smiles for all of Liz's laughter and brightening, entertained. "Though the girls seemed into it." She considers them family too, of course. Extra daughters. "Pippa is only a little bit older, but I hope that Aura gets to meet her at school. Tiny blondes will be the death of me, I imagine."

'Get used to it' coaxes a laugh from the dark woman, putting Aura's description away in the back of her mind for later. Children have a way of saying things. "I can tell.", she remarks on those feelings ebbing from Elisabeth.

That makes the audiokinetic blush a bit more still, and Elisabeth says, "Oh God. I have no idea if telepathic training will help keep that from bleeding over. I'm so sorry!" Because now it hits her that part of what makes Huruma so alert and aware is the empathy. "Geez… that's a little … embarrassing." Not embarrassing enough that she doesn't still feel it, but she does make some kind of attempt to use what Kaito taught her about shielding her thoughts. It may have zero effect on shielding her emotions, and she can't really help that. "I didn't mean to emotionally bleed all over you."

She's clearly had a lot more exposure to the effects of people's powers in the places she's been. Elisabeth just shrugs a little, her smile abashed. "Pippa is Ben and Nicole's daughter, right? I expect that they'll meet… and I'd have to say, considering what we all learned back in '09 about the propensity of our offspring to follow in our footsteps? It would behoove every one of us to keep eyes on the tiny terrors who are now of an age to form their own little posse of 'oh my fucking God what were you thinking??'" Cue the eyeroll there.

"It won't." Huruma closes her mouth over another forkful, looking pleased with herself. "It requires a different touch, though similar. Still, ultimately, difficult even for someone like Ben." A person who otherwise has themself in check. "Emotion is more …instinctual."

Offering a nod of confirmation for Pippa's lineage, Huruma laughs around cinnamon and bread. Don't make this a choking hazard. "All within a few years of one another, it's unavoidable. "Kasha and Emily are the the eldest, I think. But, I think Carl may be the one to keep the others in check. He is very astute." Kaylee is lucky for that. Huruma angles another look towards where she can feel Aura's little… aura running around. "It will be fruitless to try and keep them from forming a posse. A test of your parenting skills, at the very least. A crash course, at the worst. Badrani, my grandson, does not have many friends his own age- - I am not certain if that is a good thing or not." Her mouth flattens a touch into a frown.

"Don't remind me," she groans. "Richard once commented no kid of his was going to be a time traveler." Elisabeth grimaces. "One's time traveled and one's dimension-hopped multiple times before she was 7, for fuck's sake."

"Where is your grandson now?" Elisabeth asks curiously, trying not to think about the posse formation of the next generation. She isn't sure exactly where Huruma is from and has never been in a position to really ask much before. "I didn't know that you had children, much less that you were anywhere near of an age for grands, there, Huruma," she observes in amusement. Of course, she doesn't think of herself as being technically old enough for grandkids either!

"I oughtn't be, no." Huruma leans an elbow on the table; while her mood doesn't plummet, her humor seems to calm to a simmer. "But I am."

"He is in Madagascar with his father." Since Elisabeth has been home she has done her catching up- - and mention of Madagascar no doubt pulls up images of a country that is nothing like it was before Alaska. "Dajan leads the Avo Mpiambina, it is Madagascar's FRONTLINE. My daughter Juwariya is a junior diplomat to the U.N. If you remember Operation Apollo- -" She at least knows Richard absorbed a blast in Antarctica, right? "… that was the first time I had seen my son since he was a baby. Badrani was already around Aura's age, back then." He would be a teenager now.

The math is… allusive.

Immediately sensing she's put her foot in it a bit, Elisabeth doesn't tease again. "Sounds like they've done much good in the world. It must be very hard to be so far away." She doesn't apologize, if only because she couldn't have known, but she does sympathize with what sounds to be a very hard situation.

There's a faint huff of laughter and Elisabeth murmurs, "Yes…. Yes, I remember Operation Apollo." The years have gentled some memories, but others are still as sharp as the day they happened. "I was on the Russian team. I'm … not sure that I ever knew exactly who was on the other teams. I knew some, but…" Madagascar, particularly, she has at best sketchy knowledge of.

"I am as proud of them as I am allowed to be. I had little hand in making them the people they are." And it sounds like Huruma has come to terms with that. Time marches onward. "'Wolves of Valhalla' has chapters dedicated to Apollo. The things that weren't redacted, anyhow. But it is a long read and the internet still exists. Madagascar suffered greatly as a nation, and Apollo made everything they have now, possible."

The thought brings her a small smile, tame and accepting. "And thank goodness for that. Someone needed to pick up the slack on this planet, and all the better that it starts in Africa. Phoenix, ashes, et cetera."

Indeed — it does seem somehow appropriate that rebuilding comes from the cradle of humanity. Elisabeth nods thoughtfully. She doesn't belabor the children question, simply acknowledging, "I started reading it. It's… a difficult one for me. And then there's the new book out, too, that I just spotted." That one has somewhat thrown her. "Did Francois really…?" Because … wow.

"Do all of those things? Likely, given what I understand of him." Huruma fields a guess about the other woman's question, brow lifting inquisitively. "Volken is universally hated. Especially by those he hurt personally. I'm not the best equipped to answer questions about the book, though. You would have to talk to Francois."

"And whoever says it is garbage needs to be thrown from a ledge." She adds with a mutter.

Elisabeth snorts. "Anyone who says it's garbage and made up is lucky enough to have not fucking lived our lives," she points out. "They understand nothing. And it's probably better that way." She looks down and drinks her coffee, fighting momentarily against the annoyance at people so privileged.

Aurora comes flying back into the room, breaking Liz's thoughts by virtue of breaking the invisible sound line. Though it wasn't necessary — the little girl's accompanying feet-thudding would have announced her approach. "Miss Ruma, lookit!" She brings the album back to Huruma to show her the pictures that have already been slipped in. They're not taped in there yet and she says solemnly, "I need tape, Mummy."

Hmmmm. Elisabeth eyes her. "On the pictures only," she warns. Tape is the best toy ever. But she moves to go find the small roll she has so Aurora can secure her project with Huruma's help, which is obviously expected.

"Probably is." Huruma agrees, eyes lifting from mid-sip before the tiny girl comes in like a rocket. When Aura reaches her side to show her work, Huruma leans over to pull her chair closer and pat her palm across it.

"Ahh… let me see how you're doing." With an expression of minorly exaggerated seriousness, Huruma takes a look over the progress with a nod, a hum, a nod, approving noises. "Yes, yes, , quite a good job.", as if she is an authority on this. While she is grading the child's work she also gets her turn to peek at the pictures they were able to save, and any new ones since getting back.

"Hmmmm…" This sound is more consideration, one eye on Aura and a hand idle at her chin. "I wonder if there are any old cameras at the market. Perhaps if you saved up you may be able to get one? And then you could take your very own photographs."

As pleased as the girl is with other people's pictures… maybe a hobby could be what she needs. Aside from tea parties or hide and seek, anyhow.

Amid the photos are images of Aurora with Richard, with the twins, and with a couple other people like Cassie and Kaylee. All of them look to have been taken either in the Raytech housing levels or some utilitarian space more like a hospital or barracks, based on the decor.

Surprisingly, however, there are just a few — half a dozen — of Aurora as a baby. Two with her mother, several alone on a baby blanket. One of a still lean but well-fed, happy Felix Ivanov holding baby Aurora and Liz with dark hair pulled up in a knot — they're outdoors and look happy. Somehow these few were salvaged or otherwise protected during their flight from one world to another.

Aura looks surprised. "I could take my own pitchers? Primal!"

Elisabeth looks a bit nonplussed — she didn't think of that for someone Aurora's age either. She's really going to have to realign her thinking a little. "That would be pretty interesting," she agrees. To see the world and what's important in it from Aura's eyes.

"That's your Auntie Cassie?" Of course, the one thing she asks when she finds the first one. Huruma seems a little puzzled, and gives Liz a glance, but it must be just like Remi. In more ways than one. Poor Agent Baumann.

"Mhm." Aura gets a widened smile for her excitement over the idea; Huruma lies the book atop the table between plates so that they can put little tape strips over the edges. Her voice is a low yet comforting thing, and she speaks with the practice that only can come with looking after other children. Liz will probably find out that Pippa has Huruma wrapped around that tiny finger, just like her old man.

"There are so many things you can take pictures of. People, places, things you like… Yamagato Park has a Cherry Blossom festival coming up." Elisabeth knows what that is, but Aura, likely not? "They have the nicest parties there."

Elisabeth catches the slight shift in tone at the query on Cassie and offers a subtle nod to Huruma. Just like Remi. She knows of Agent Baumann's death. Sipping her coffee, she smiles faintly watching Huruma with Aura… and adds one more person to her mental list of people the child will trust if her usual people can't get to her.

"Ooooh! What's a cherry bossum? Is it red?" Aurora's dog has the name Blossom, but she understands it's another name for a flower. She's never heard of a cherry blossom, though. "Parties?" She sort of perks up but casts a wary look toward her mother, as if seeking reassurance. The last time someone said party, it was a "welcome party" with guns and bleeding and screaming and hiding under tables. She doesn't really remember parties too much. Maybe a little? They didn't used to have bleeding, right?

Elisabeth sets her cup down and reaches out to touch the child's shoulder. "Like community day at the school when you painted," she says gently. "Parties in the park have music and lots of kids and stuff to do. Sometimes balloons too."

It's the balloons she remembers from the park back home, and Aurora visibly eases.

"Your Papa had one last summer, I think it was… When he opened these buildings up." Huruma's field keeps faint track of the ups and downs when Aura reacts so hesitant to what she had said. Luckily, Elisabeth knows what to say, because of course she does. "Last time I went to Yamagato, they had a carnival, lights, pretty autumn leaves…" The tall woman folds her hands on the table and leans in towards Aura near her side.

"The trees will turn pink, like the color of cotton candy." An attempt to paint a more vivid picture is made, Huruma's eyes widening at just the right times to imbue that sense of something wonderful. "If it is like other ones I've seen, there will be music and dancing, even picnics on the grass. I think my favorite will be the day everyone flies kites. I think you would like that one too."

"Pink trees will be pretty," the little girl enthuses. Kites. Does she remember kites? Aurora tips her head and then nods suddenly, her face brightening. She hasn't seen balloons or kites in a long time, but she remembers them. "Unca Lee taked me an' Cam to fly kites. I 'member cuz Cam's got stuck inna tree," she giggles. "An' Unca Lee said a bad word an' hadda climb the tree to get it down. Will you come an' fly kites on kite day, Miss Ruma?"

Elisabeth smiles slightly. Huruma has apparently been adopted into their little clan — their not-so-little clan. There's a sudden pang in her heart, because some of their clan are still missing. Newer members like Miles, longer-term members like Ling, members from before dimensional shenanigans like Eve. She has to force herself to shake it off. "I bet Nana and Grampa will be back from the cabin before that party too," she points out.

Aurora looks ecstatic at that idea, and she jumps up and down in front of Huruma. "Are we gonna go see cherry blossoms with Miss Ruma too???" The eyeroll and grin from her mother is enough of an answer and the excited pixie throws her arms around Huruma since the tall woman is still so close to her and hugs enthusiastically. "YAY!" she shouts in Huruma's ear.
Huruma deserves a wee bit of credit when the child jubilates right in her ear; when Aura comes diving in, strong arms are there to catch her tiny frame, and the hug serves as a distraction from a ringing eardrum a second later. The child weighs next to nothing, at least, so Huruma has no issue with getting crawled on.

"Ach, easy on my ears, batadogo." The dark woman laughs, eyes narrowing down at Aura's face. "We will see. I may have to go to work. I have a very important job chasing down bad people with your Uncle Felix." Huruma's explanation of Wolfhound is very bare. No need for details. "If I can come visit that day though, I would love to see blossoms and fly kites with you and your mama. Maybe you will have some new friends by then too, hmm?"

And just for measure, Huruma boops Aura on her little button nose.

"You work wif Unca Felix?!" Oh that just cements Huruma's status among Aurora's new friends. She sagenods and then grins. "My Unca Felix awways catches the bad guys. He runs real fast, though. You gotta make sure he eats lots, Miss Ruma," she instructs solemnly. "Cuz he's too skinny an' Unca Lee would be real mad an' say bad words cuz he's all skin an' bones." Then she pauses and frowns a little. "On'y Unca Felix don't have Unca Lee here. Or Cam. So now we gotta take good care of him, cuz he's too sad and skinny."

Elisabeth closes her eyes and looks at the ceiling. Jesus fucking Christ, from the mouths of babes.

"What's a badabogo?" Aurora asks, having caught the word but never heard it before.

'Too sad and skinny' sounds about right. Huruma nods some when Aura asks her to keep an eye on him too. From one cat to another, anyway; she shows respect as one would, too.

"He is a fussy one, but I will try." She says very seriously. A softer laugh comes when Aura repeats the little nickname. "Batadogo." A little slower. "It means 'little duck'. Where I'm from, ducks do not quack, they go, bata bata bata." Huruma makes a bird with her hand and even gives the sound that bit of ducky rasp. "And since you tell me so much- -" Talk, she means. "And you followed your mama aaalll the way here… I'd say you were a duckling."

There is a fast nod of agreement — Unca Felix is really fussy sometimes, she knows it. "Ba-ta-do-go," Aurora repeats slowly. And then again several times under her breath. Then she grins. "Do they waddlewaddle like ducks here?" she asks, interested and easily diverted by talk of baby animals. "I din't really follow Mummy, though. I rided on Unca Kain's back inna backpack! It was scary," she admits. "An' I din't wanna go the last time, an' we din't have a backpack so he carried me. An' then we landed here an' Daddy was here, but he promised we don't gotta use the doorways no more, so I don't gotta follow Mummy like a duck no more."

Elisabeth crosses her eyes at Huruma and starts laughing. "You started it," she observes on a chuckle. "Aurora, how about you go draw Miss Ruma a picture, okay? Then she can take it with her and have something you made her."

That thought has the tiny one leaping out of Huruma's hands and heading for her room at full speed again! Like most her size, she's rarely still when her mind is on doing things.

"Yes, they waddle. Some of them even march. Hundreds of marching ducks." The picture Huruma paints there is- - odd, but it must be something. "Maybe Kain thinks you're his little duck instead." A laugh for Aura, and then Liz gives her suggestion and the sprout hops away again. Pale eyes trail after her as she darts back to her room.

"So, mama, regale me with some of your adventures." Huruma turns her head to Elisabeth with a crook to her smile, and mischief in her eyes. "And maybe I can do the same." It will, at the least, give them some interesting things to talk about.

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