Beggars And Fugitives Can't Be Choosers


megan_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title Beggars And Fugitives Can't Be Choosers
Synopsis Ryans and Megan are on horse patrol and they talk about… stuff.
Date April 21, 2011

Pollepel Island

Benjamin Ryans has always prided himself on never making others do what he's not willing to do himself. That included patrol duty in muddy conditions. Thankfully he doesn't have to slog through the mud, that's for the horse to do. While the weather is warmer there is enough of a chill that the former agent is wearing a hoodie. Brown to match the scenery.

"Easy there," his deep voice rumbles, hand patting the thick neck of the horse, as she picks her way through as rather muddy spot. The gooey brown stuff making an audible sucking noise as hooves lift and are pressed back down. Already her lower legs are speckled with it.

When the man he was suppose to go out with had to suddenly do something else… he had gone to one of the people on the island he knew he could enjoy a rather bland — if nerve wracking — duty with.


The conversation has been light between him and his patrol partner. Talk of what's happened while he was away, tho' he hasn't broached the subject of what happened with Nicole. Not yet anyhow. Ryans glances over at her now, with a bit a smirk. "I knew it was going to be soggy, but I didn't think it was going to be this bad." He sounds almost amused by it.

"Then you haven't been paying attention on the way up from the docks," Megan retorts mildly. The redhead has her hair yanked back into a bouncy ponytail that takes years off her face though the streak of silver is far more prominent in that style. She's wearing a pair of scuffed khaki cargo pants that are not in the least flattering and a dark T-shirt covered by an equally dark hoodie herself. It's chill but not cold really. "We're going to need to do something about the path from the dock to the castle if we don't want to get spotted," she points out. "It's starting to show a trail." It'll give away people traipsing up and down. Ever practical she is.

Glancing skyward, she closes her blue eyes for a moment when the sun peeks out from behind clouds and offers a dappling of bright spring sunshine into her face. Megan soaks in the sunlight, pulling her mount to a stop for a long moment just to enjoy it. And then she looks around the area they're patrolling. There's minimal "beach" on the island, the forest mostly going to the edge of the water except a few locations where there's flat sand. The foliage is starting to come in, and its screening effect is coming into play. "We're going to have to alter the patrol routes soon, too — adjust for the visibility."

Once the horses footing is solid, Benjamin brings her to a stop, turning her so that he can look out over the island. With the work out from the mud the horse is content to stand there with head hanging low. He rests a hand on the pommel of his saddle and shifts his weight a bit to find a bit more comfortable of a position.

"It's being discussed." Seems like things are always being discussed. "The path to the docks is easy enough a shift in travel and making sure the worn areas are seeded with stuff that keeps it looking over grown." Benjamin almost sounds distracted, brows seem looked in a perpetual look of uncertainty.

Megan's horse remains standing in place and she looks toward him with a questioning look. Though they've been talking off and on as they ride, he's had that look several times. "Wanna tell me what's on your mind?" she asks finally. "And don't tell me it's patrol routes. I could have just told you the salmon were running up the west side of the island and you'd have said, 'It's being discussed.' You're paying attention, but only about half." A faint half smile quirks one side of her mouth.

He glances sharply her way, pulling his attention off the river. He looks like he might say something to the effect of 'Nothing,' but stops. There is a long pauses, gaze lingering for a time, before he lets out a long sigh and looks away again. "Something odd happened when I was in the city." Ben almost sounds reluctant to talk about this.

"These… dreams." He gently pulls the reins to turn the horse towards Megan a little more. His hand tugs a folded piece of paper form his pocket. He hasn't let it out of his sight since it was handed to him. "Lynette brought this too me from Delia." with a nudge of his heels he moves to offer over the copy of a grave rubbing. "I don't know what this means… I keep hoping she'll come talk to me one of these nights." In his dreams. He trails off eyes on that paper. "She says it was… will be her daughter."

Megan's head tilts and she nudges her horse so that they're side by side and she and Ben can talk face to face. When he offers the paper, she's listening. But it's the grave rubbing that draws her eyes. Megan's jaw clenches. "I…. don't understand. I thought they were dreams. Like back in November." She looks up. "How'd she get a tangible piece of evidence? Nakamura jumping his ass in and out again?" Most everyone in the Ferry knows about Hiro Nakamura even if they've never seen or met the man.

"I honestly don't know." And that clearly frustrates him. However, Benjamin does have his suspicions. "Someone has to be tossing out these dreams… if there is evidence like this, then clearly we have someone traveling in time again." If he hadn't had his own kids going back into the past to save his backside and countless other happenings in his lifetime in the company, he'd be a touch more skeptical.

His head nods at the paper, "Lynette said that Delia thinks that girl dies of the flu." He says it as a sort of warning. They might have it somewhat under control at the moment, but… "Seems it shows up again in the next year or so. A new strain to put fear in the people and kill off a few more of them while it's at it."

"Oh well isn't that just bloody brilliant," Megan retorts sharply. This last round darn near wiped the woman out with the lack of being able to do a damn thing. She holds the paper back out to him. "Christ, Ben," she sighs heavily. "It's never going to end, is it?"

He doesn't react to the sharpness of her voice, only Taking the paper from her gently. Benjamin shakes his head slowly. "It doesn't seem that way," he grimly admits. He folds it again neatly and slowly, brows still furrowed.

"I met Nicole Nichols. Little Colette's sister when I was at Grand Central." The paper is tucked back in his pocket before he looks at Megan again. "She's not officially one of us," yet. "Her dreams seem to be about the Ferry, however."

Why does this have anything to do with it?

"She told me one dream was about the death of her future husband…" Here Ryans is clearly hesitant here. Lips thinning out into a line, but saying softly, "Said his name was Ben. Didn't know a last name. That they had a daughter named Ingrid." He shifts a bit on the saddle, suddenly uncomfortable again. There is something like maybe fear… uncertainty… something. "Might not be me.. but…" He can't help but wonder.

Megan tilts her head and studies him. "Lot of guys named Ben, but… not many in the Ferry," she agrees quietly. Her brows are still pulled together and she studies the man. "Look…. visions of the future, as we well know, don't have to become reality. I'm walking proof — originally, I was supposed to get chucked into Scott's freakin' crazy Evo pocket when the military came busting into the Hangar. Didn't happen. I'm here instead. Huruma's hopefully not already been exposed and isn't stupid enough to take the chance because she's been warned now. So… probably that won't happen." She shrugs a little. "We can't control every outcome, we just… gotta do what we gotta do, Ben. There's nothing else to do."

"Still surreal," Ben grunts out roughly. "Last thing there needs to be is another child for me to screw up." There is a small smile tugging at the corner of his mouth as he bashes on himself.

"It's hard to look at her and think that there is a future with her… I don't even know her." His head shakes slowly, disbelief maybe. "Hell, I find myself self questioning about me and Lynette. She's a bright, smart woman. Does her job admirably enough as council… but something is missing there."

He doesn't say it's something he realized since meeting Megan. She's his friend, as much as Huruma is really. He straighten in the saddle and shifts the reins in his hands, ready to start moving again. "Starting to wonder if Mary is going to keep haunting me."

Megan is oblivious. She brings her horse around to continue on their patrol path. "When you care about someone, they always haunt you," she observes quietly. "You've lost enough friends to know that. Hell, you've lost enough soldiers to know it. Every death leaves its mark." She kicks her horse into forward motion. "And life finds a way."

Fingers twitch and grip the horn of the saddle, to prevent him from reaching out to stop her. Benjamin watches her start moving on before he urges his own mount to turn and follow. Urging her into a short trot to catch up to the nurse. "Those other deaths were not like her."

What he tells her he's only told Delia. "She was going to leave me, the last time I left. She was tired of me being gone all the time. Never knowing when I'd be back… the Company was unpredictable like that." He listens to the rhythm of hooves on soft ground and the shift and creak of leather. "But I left. A diner full of murdered people… I couldn't settle down." That's added as if a defense for what he did.

"She died in Midtown." The words are solemn, but time has taken a lot of the edge off the pain. Still hurts to think of it. "I'm not the easiest man to live with. I know this. I can't not be who I am." Ben levels a look at his friend, expression unreadable. "I tried to step away, to put all this behind me, but… I can't." He lets out a long sigh. "I was going to let her go… Not the first time."

Megan listens attentively as he walks his horse next to hers, giving him the courtesy of most of her attention. But pulls her horse to a stop once more at the words that his wife was killed in Midtown. "I'm sorry, Ben," she tells him sincerely. If anyone understands how hard being away can be, it's a soldier. "I've watched countless military marriages fail, mostly for the same reasons," she comments quietly. "It's one reason I never really let anything get that serious. Maybe she really thought she could handle it and just… couldn't. It's not an easy life." Her blue eyes turn from him and she looks over the woods. "August was supposed to move in. We'd… finally decided to make a go of it. Right before the last flight he took over Staten. It was a government sanctioned flight… or so I'm told," she finally says. "He knew I was involved with some things out here… we didn't really talk about it. But… he understood what it was for." She shrugs a little and looks back at him. "I like to think he would have wound up here with all of us; he had the right mindset, I think. I hadn't really broached it to Scott yet, and then… it was pretty much moot." She pauses, reaches out to put a hand on his forearm, and says softly, "We know he brought his plane down and he didn't die in the crash, but I'll never know exactly what happened to him. We all have things that haunt. But … you can't let it keep you from living either." Megan squeezes lightly.

Ben looks down at the hand on his arm, his own progress halted shortly after she stopped. His hand finds hers, pressing it to his arm gently. She can feel his thumb brush across her hand in a gesture that could be considered intimate or comforting. Maybe a little of both. "I know." He says softly, tho' he still sounds uncertain about it all.

"Maybe these dreams, just have me on edge. Never like knowing what lies ahead. Makes it feel like things are set in stone where I might not want them to be." He gives her an apologetic smile. "Even if I know better."

Fingers curl around her hand, capturing it really. It's a bold move he makes, when he lifts that hand — smelling of dust and horses — to press a quick kiss to knuckles. "Come on," he starts after releasing that hand. "We have a patrol to complete," he says it rather casually as if he hadn't just done that.

Well, even an oblivious woman can catch that clue. Megan's hand tightens around his for a long moment when he kisses her knuckles and then she chuckles softly. "You are just full of surprises, aren't you?" she murmurs. It's something she'll think about though! She takes her hand back and seems completely at ease. "There's a spot around the next bend I thought might work for an herb garden, if you were thinking seriously about the gardening thing. There are a number of medicinal herbs that could be useful to us when we're not able to get hold of medications." She urges her horse forward once more. "I asked Francois to see what he could do about finding more information on what would best suit for us while he's on the mainland."

"I assure you, I am very serious when it comes to gardening." He really is. It's genetic really if you look at Russo. There must be farmer blood in his heritage. "If this place is more long term," the dreams seems to say so. "It stands to reason we could benefit in the warmer months. Even sneak planting some citrus trees. Maybe others. Dot them around this island. Other fruits good for canning for the winter months."

Ryans eyes wander to the castle, barely visible through the trees, with amusement touching on his features. "So an herb garden for medicines and other such things would be good. It would blend easier then a lot of what the vegetable garden will hold." Though he's been working on a plan for that.

As they round the edge of the path, Megan points to an area slightly deeper into the woods. A dappled clearing that still has a lot of overhang but gets enough sun to grow low-lying growth. "To most people, herbs just look like wild vegetation, so blending them in is easy enough. I don't know what ones would work best, but I'm betting there's a book somewhere or some holistic Web site out there that will have plenty of information." She doesn't get him to stop, though.

He glances where Megan points, with clear interest. "It's a good spot." She can probably see him already thinking about what needs to be done. "I'm thinking about seeing if the vegetables will do best spread out over the island. Patches here and there. It'll be a bit of a pain in some ways, but allow us to plant more, without drawing attention to it. Hard part will be leaving the weeds." That last is delivered rather blandly. He was always about keeping the weeds out of his garden, but here the weeds serve to hide their presence.

Letting the horse have her head, Ben relax a little into the movements of the horse. "It's not the most ideal of situations out here, but I find that at times I like it out here." As they continue down one of the paths, with large tress lining each side, leaving mottled patches work of light on the ground. He looks over at her with a smile. "A little like camping and brings back memories of playing knights and castles when I was little."

Megan laughs at him. "Riding horses on patrol, living with no power and limited hot water. Reminds me of living a hundred years ago — or out on manuevers in the field. It's not so bad sometimes," she agrees easily. "There's a simplicity to being away from it all, I guess." Even if it means wondering when they'll get raided constantly.

There is." Ryans agrees softly, glancing up at the tress as they pass under them. Birds flitting from branch to branch and signing. Of course, the sight of them makes him think of Eileen and wonder if she's watching. It's a slightly creepy thought really.

"Of course, I can still remember when technology was still pretty young." He is after all pushing sixty. "Before that it was sitting around the radio and listening." There is a sort of fondness to those memories. A simpler time before he was thrown into the jungles and stopped being innocent… so to speak. "Worlds so complicated now."

"Ain't that the truth," Megan snorts softly. "I used to wish I didn't know. That I hadn't… stuck my neck out for that kid. I used to have such faith in the government, you know?" He must know — he worked for them too. "I still have faith in most of them, but the people at the top? They're making a lot of bad decisions these days."

"Not all are bad." He can say that with confidence. "But your right, the ones giving us the headaches seem to have the most control right now. The ones that captured and slaughtered a good many of the Company's ranks." There isn't a day he doesn't think about putting a gun in Grant's hand an asking the dying man stay behind and cover the retreat. Or carrying Martin's body out, even as he died.

"I will admit it's overwhelming." From Ben it means a lot.

Megan glances at the man and says quietly, "I think those of us who've lived a different kind of war… maybe have a perspective that's lost on the younger kids. They … don't seem to have too much trouble with this kind of rebellion." She looks back at the woods as they move, as at home with the gun strapped across her back as she is with a needle in her hands, and says, "Until last November… there were a few of us who'd sworn we would never raise arms against soldiers coming after us. They're just doing their jobs. They are who we were. Back when life was simple and the line between good and bad was clear. We couldn't fault them for that." She sighs.

"Now it's just a muddy mess." Shaking his head slowly, Ryans is hard to read. "Now it's about surviving what's coming… if it's even going to happen." Knowing ahead of time like they do, it might not happen if they can figure out what needs doing to stop it.

"I can't and won't make that sort of oath now." There is somewhat an apology to those words. "Job or not… I just…" He trails off and sighs heavily, looking away and on the path ahead. "I can't afford that kind of mercy anymore. Too many lives to protect now and the stakes too high."

When she looks at him, the redhead's gaze holds a tired kind of acceptance. "I know," Megan tells him baldly. "They deliberately infected a group of civilians with a flu that has an 80 percent mortality rate. That is not the government I worked for." There is a kind of loss in the way she says it. As if, like many others, the core of her belief has been shaken. "None of us can afford to make that sort of oath now." She turns her horse to the left, following the path that will lead back around to the starting point of their patrol route. They've got another couple of hours out here still. "You asked me what I wanted when you next went to the mainland," she comments to him. And glancing over her shoulder, Megan shoots him a smile. "Something really wickedly chocolate with caramel in it would be positively decadent."

After such a somber subject, the request catches Benjamin by surprise. He stares at her as if he wasn't sure he heard her right, but then gives a deep chuckle. "Your wish is my command, dear lady. Everyone is allowed their selfish wishes now and then, especially hard working nurses, tucked away in drafty castles." There is a flash of white teeth as he smiles at her, lines at the corners of his eyes deepening for a long moment.

"I'm certain I can find something like that on the mainland. In fact, I do believe one of the council owns such a place." His tone is lighter, as he latches on to a subject not so dark.

Megan's got a wicked twinkle in those blue eyes. Much like the men of Special Activities, she knows how to compartmentalize. And there's jack and shit she can do about the bad stuff except what she's already doing. So you know what? Flirting with a man who just kissed your knuckles? Sure seems like a viable alternative to that issue. She winks at him. "Maybe when you bring it back I'll say thank you properly…. but only if you keep checking out my ass in that very flattering manner in spite of ridiculously awful clothes," she teases him. Because yes. She's caught him looking a time or two now.

There is no blush, he's not the type, but Ben does tucks his chin in a bit and stare straight ahead. He looks like someone that's been caught. "Well… sometimes, one can not help but notice these things." He casts an amused glance out of the corner of his eye, smirking just a little.

A part of his brain is telling him not to flirt, that there is someone else… possibly two if you go by dreams…. but it doesn't stop him from leaning over enough to touch the streak of gray in her hair. "Just like I notice this and think how much it suits you." He settles back in the seat of the saddle, studying her for a long moment. "I like it and I hope you don't ever feel the need to hide behind color."

He does that and she looks startled. Megan lifts a hand self-consciously to the streak after he removes his own, not blushing but looking a little nonplussed. "Thank you," she offers with a smile that is just a hint on the shy side. "Not like I have time to worry about coloring it anyway," she chuckles, and then she offers a shrug. "I'm just counting myself lucky at this point not to be freakin' bald from stress," she admits with a cheeky grin.

"You and me both." Fingers brush through his own hair. Not that Ryans is really any sort of vain, but he notices things. "I could almost swear I have more gray now then I did the last time I aged." There are hints that it will gray along his temples before reaching the rest of it. "Didn't seem this bad." He shrugs lazily in return, in a sort of 'what are you going to do' way.

"Ah well…. Considering how many people would kill to look like you do at your age, I don't guess you get any sympathy from me, mister," Megan retorts with a smile. "Handsome men aging well don't get to complain." The banter is easy once more, a refuge from the severity of the problems the group as a whole faces regularly. Patrol isn't usually what one might consider a stellar 'first date' but hey…. beggars and fugitives can't be choosers, can they?

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License