huruma2_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title BITE ME
Synopsis One man's storage is another man's treasure.
Date March 27, 2019

Elmhurst Hospital

Elmhurst Hospital is one of two operational public hospitals servicing the entirety of the NYC Safe Zone. Elmhurst is the most newly reopened hospital and also the shortest staffed and least well supplied. This facility is based out of the run down and still partly condemned Elmhurst Hospital building which was scheduled for demolition prior to the civil war. The newer Elmhurst Hospital, which was supposed to be constructed adjacent to this old campus, was never finished and the infrastructure that was laid before the civil war rapidly deteriorated in the decade since. Elmhurst struggles to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Safe Zone population and is in a constant struggle to balance the needs of its patients and its often too-short supply of essential medication. In spite of this, the hospital was donated a brand new MRI by Yamagato Industries and are partially supported by recurring charitable donations from the corporation and other sponsors.

There are days when Elmhurst Hospital itself seems sleepy, in its own way. It's been a busy day of patients filtering in and out of the care that the understaffed hospital can provide, only for the setting sun to bring with it… something else. A reprieve from the busywork, the struggles and the feeling of that neverending upkeep of human lives. Those who have not had the chance to grab a meal for a while have grabbed the opportunity to stow away in quiet corners to attempt to replenish their energy, while patients sleep or are tended to in peace. There is, for once, a moment of quiet.

A perfect time, then, for potential trouble. Walking briskly down a second floor hall of partially opened patient room doors is Zachery, in his scrubs, just doing his work. As an orderly. Absolutely. Name tag on his chest and everything. Except maybe he shouldn't be here today, on account of being told to stay home for a few days while the wound underneath a square pad of taped down cotton over his left eye heals a little; the reddish brown starting to slowly creep through the bottom of it seems to imply that not nearly enough of that healing has been achieved.

And yet, here he is, his right eye fixed on a door at the end of the hallway. His destination. He's got it all planned out. And he's walking with PURPOSE, chin up and shoulders rolled back. Let's do this. He's got places to be before the brunt of his painkillers wear off.

Frequent visitors to the hospital tend to get around without terrible trouble; in Huruma's case, she is here quite a lot for her friend Megan, and if people spot her they do not tend to stop her. She never gets into anything, usually in and out with Nurse Young for lunch or a ride home. Sometimes, she does take to a detour. Never anywhere she shouldn't belong, at least yet.

She may decide to break that unspoken promise today. The furtive sensation listing around in her sensory field is innocent enough… until it keeps moving with PURPOSE and abandon. Curiosity wins out, as per usual.

At the end of the corridor in the orderly's wake, Huruma stands in the shade of a corner, watching down the length of the hall. The quiet makes following him much easier.

The plan's all done, the route has been chosen, the greetings rehearsed— it's amazing what a mind trained in stubborn perseverence can get away with handwaving. It's running across a tightrope, though not for fear of falling. Maybe for fear of not reaching the end in time, otherwise.

In any case, it doesn't matter. What matters is that Zachery feels like he has all of his ducks in a row. And the sooner this is over, the sooner he can take it easy. A restless hand reaches into a pocket a little early, fingers gripping around a set of keys as he steps nearer to the door, attention on little else.

It doesn't need to be. He's GOT A PLAN. And he's supposed to be here. And he's lying to himself. Or maybe he's not? Maybe it's fine. It's only when he reaches the door and places his hand on the doorknob that he briefly seems to hesitate— before unlocking it with renewed conviction and peering into a pitch black storage room of surplus devices big and small, mostly older, and furniture piled this way and that. Much of it the direct result of the failed renovation attempts of the last decade, and the administrative troubles that come with the area's less than ideal conditions.

The closer he gets to ther door, the more his emotions seem to swell and excite. Huruma observes his unlocking of the storage door with a narrow-eyed sort of skepticism.

Only when she is certain he is heading inside does she move again. For her frame she is silent, footfalls muffled by decades of practice doing this very same thing. Though she cannot be certain what lies in the room beyond him, it is clearly interesting enough that he has gone through all of this stress to get there.

One more breath, wholly unaware of what is going on anywhere but right in front of him, Zachery stuffs the keys back in his pocket and GOES IN. He's prepared. He's been in this room. Everything is ready.

After some minimal clanking of metal on metal, and the room's invader stepping over unwanted items, there's two CLIK noises of the breaks being taken off of wheels, and mere second later, a brand new operating table is pushed out into the light. Zachery is braced against it, because the thing is damn heavy, and he's— well. Basically having to put all of his strength behind making this thing move at more than average walking speed. Out out out out. From quickened breathing alone it might be clear that this is not his to take, and he absolutely knows it. But he's damn well going to try.

The door to the storage room shuts behind him as he makes it out into the light.

"Not even an I.O.U. Tch." Huruma leans up against the wall where the door had been wide on its hinges, arms crossed and eyes on Zachery's back. She clicks her tongue against her teeth, pupils pinning against white. She takes one long step forward, all leather moto jacket and boots chic. "And my… you don't even look like a surgeon. It is almost as if you weren't trying."

"HKH—" That's all that Zachery seems to manage to splutter at the voice behind him, his white-knuckled grip on his end of the table slipping as he loses his balance immediately. Maybe he didn't think it all though. Maybe he was a LITTLE bit on edge. Maybe there's too many ducks and now they're just fucking going everywhere and he may have to SHOOT them to get them to ever sit still again.

At least he doesn't fall, though the awkward stumble into his 'borrowed' operating table leaves his spin around to face Huruma looking decidedly less than collected. His one available eye focuses on his observer— a little too low, at first, then adjusts for the unexpected height. Oh. Hello. Before he manages to regain any composure, the auto-pilot part of his brain seems to kick in just in time for him to ask, deadpan, "Hi there, can I help you?" It's clinical. It's thing he's said a thousand times. Beep, leave a message. One hand still on the table, as if it'll be taken from him if he lets go.

"Oh, no, you have this turned around." The smile Huruma gives him is slight, lifted just at the edges. "How can I help you? I felt you lurking about like some sort of weasel all the way from downstairs." She takes a few steps nearer, circling around the side of the table.

"To be frank I thought you to be a rogue patient. Or are you?" Even with the name tag, she takes the time to pinpoint a gesture at that healing eye. "You've got a bit of, mmm, right there- -" Huruma motions under her own eye.

You've got egg on your face.

There are several moments that seem to help Zachery regain some amount of self-control. The first, is being called a weasel. Maybe this particular comparison isn't a first, for him; it sends a ripple through his entire being, destroying that forced veneer of belonging from within like towering waves coming violently down on a freshly constructed beach house. Its splintering straightens his spine, and curls the fingers of his free hand into a fist.

The second thing is her starting to circle, which is when his hand still present on the table slips off so as to give him full range of motion. His expression, so far kept intentionally blank up until this little confrontation, settles into the beginnings of a sneer, before his eye narrows and a dry swallow leaves his jaw muscles tensed, and mouth pulled back into a straight line. The third is, simply, her pointing out the obvious. At the obvious? "I'm…" He starts, his posture unmistakably one of defense, even if his mind seems equally pulled in the directions of both flight and fight at once. "Not a patient," This is said through gritted teeth, "and I need this." This table? Probably. At least.

The thin piece of glass that kept attitude from acting shatters, and as soon as it does, Huruma's eyes spark. Her tongue runs over the edge of her front teeth, feet stopping on the otherend of the table. Unless he tries to run her over, he probably isn't going anywhere soon.

His hands are off of the table, and hers move onto it; she leans on the slab, shoulders wiggling just so, a sharp grinning suddenly fixating on him. "Convince me."

So eager to convince her, Zachery is, that he immediately opens his mouth to answer her, but the sharp intake of breath in preparation for an answer is all that sounds. Hmh. Both of his hands are plopped BACK onto the cold metal of his prize, though he does not attempt to push it. He's not that stupid.

His proverbial ducks are gone. He'll have to catch some new ones. But once he accepts this, the words come a lot easier— "I've paid for this in spades. In time. In effort. In skill. In patience." He could keep going, honestly, but that's probably a long enough list to pull straight from the core of him, without thought. Especially here, in a hallway, when he's in the middle of some thievery.

The risks of which are slowly starting to creep back into his mind, and a quiver interrupting his breathing betrays it all too easily, even if his determined face stays the same. "I— could use it for something better."

She's missed people like this. The defiant ones, easy to sneak up on and even easier to rile up without forcing it. Huruma's grin eases into a thinner smile, senses catching those droplets of composure he finds.

"And what about the rest of them?" Hasn't everyone here paid in blood, sweat, and tears? Huruma visibly focuses on the stutter of his breath, the timing too coincidental to be otherwise. "Oh? Better, hm? And what would that be? Please, enlighten me on your theft." She says, as if she's never cat-burgled in her life. How dare you insinuate.

A life of filters through which to live and speak has left Zachery weighted down, in most situations. It's not as though he needs to say anything, but he'd be lying if he said it wasn't nice to shed the extra skin, occasionally.

"I don't give a flying fuck about the others." This leaves him a little too quickly and a little too loud, the muscles in his arms pulling taut as the eyelid of his visible eye jerks upward in a wince. His voice is lowered again, as is his head, to watch Huruma from beneath crumpling brow. To anyone else, it might look like he's just pissed. "They're on their paths. I just want to be on mine." It's not a 'please', but… it sort of is. Nor is it a real answer to her question, and he is fully aware of this.

His palms leave the operating table, but his fingertips stay on, pushing slowly forward across the cool surface— not enough friction to move it but more in an idle and unintentional show of just how badly he thinks this thing needs to be out of here. He'd have been halfway down by now. And he's clueless. And he's saying the wrong things, probably. And there goes his breathing again, this time just… stopping. Caught.

As a person of independence, Huruma at least understands him. Her hands remain on the table, but her lean forward regresses. Her own breathing is steady and unbothered, pale eyes hooding under lids as she examines him once more. She looks right through him.

"And what is your path?" Huruma's words are far less accusatory than moments ago; she wants to know.

"It's that way." The orderly's head is nodded past Huruma. A joke. An attempt to hold those cards close to his chest. Her wants mean very little to a person who has not has had very little luck with his.

Prompted only by his words, Huruma drives a sharp nail of fear into the man on the other side of the table, teeth showing, eyes snakelike. The nail is jagged, twisting at his anxiety and fright.

"Try again."

There's an actual, audible crunch of the tape straining to hold the blood-stained cotton to Zachery's face as his expression wrenches into one of shock— his breath is released in a shudder, and he pulls away from the table as if it was the thing that hurt him.

There's confusion, obviously, hands raised as though he's expecting Huruma to jump at him from the other side of that table. Maybe he is, a little. But fighting to gain the upper hand is something much more… oppressive. The sort of realisation that sets his blood boiling but leaves him with nothing but a wrinkled nose and trickle of blood running down his cheek to show for it.

A losing streak. A dagger plunged into a surface to carve yet another score. The waves from before recede. His right hand reaches for his left cheek, his gaze finally leaving Huruma to stare at the red smear across his fingers. "… It's fine." A pause. He steps back, focusing - for the moment - only on his breathing. That, maybe, and the annoyance and shame of defeat. "I give."

Huruma's lips curve into a smile from her own sneer, an amused hum in her throat. Aw, look at that.

"Let us try this one more time," She starts, fingers listing against the edge of the table. The fear in him steadies at a level where it feels like the gentle pressure of riverwater. "I can be benevolent. Mmm, your path have anything to do with that beautiful piece of work there?"

If anything should be clear by now, regarding Zachery's relationship with fear, is that it has a home in him. A carved out hollow it fits into all too easily. Yet even when its intensity lifts, he's still trying to fight it. Not to be rid of it, necessarily, just because it's vile.

Huruma's words make his attention snap back up, the bloodied hand reaching up to gingerly press up at his cheekbone as if the pressure will relieve some of the pain. "It's got nothing to do with anything." He lies, knowingly. There's a practised conviction in his voice, something to carry his doubts across an edge so as to start steadying his breath again. So as to not just turn and walk. So as to tie a ribbon around uncertainty and leave it as a present for another day to unwrap.

It's becoming clearer from his voice alone that maybe he doesn't know the answer to what he's being asked, and the struggle comes through in the way he tries, once more: "I just want to start over." Then, taking a step toward the operating table once more, "I deserve to start over."

As she lightens the pressure, Huruma studies the space left behind; he struggles against an invisible weight even still. The comparison is apt, in a way, considering his moments of weakness, and his attempt at self-explanation off the top of his head. Zachery has a stubborn insistence in him that feels just a tad familiar.

His turmoil, too.

Whatever he says seems to mean something. Huruma circles back around the side of the table, footsteps lazy, hand on the metal surface at her hip. Deliberation.

"I can respect that." She stops next to him, looking down at his face. From here he can smell the leather of her jacket, a newness to it. Huruma lowers her voice, narrows her eyes down the cast of sharp cheekbones. "I have been you." Nothing further. The woman steps away from him back towards the closed storage door.

"Best go before I change my mind."

Remnants of wanting to fight something still spark out at Huruma's approach, and there's a stiffness to Zachery's limbs when she speaks. The excess energy is instead put into another swipe at his own face, this time with a wrist. If he wants to get out of here, after all, he can't be walking around with.

This has been a strange encounter for which he was not prepared. He doesn't necessarily understand it, and though the way he starts pushing the operating table is slow at first, it's determined. This isn't the time for thinking. He'll figure it out later. Huruma is not addressed further— too strange of an entity to process in the moment, clearly, though her presence does inspire him to push the table HARDER than before. Some real elbow grease, this time, with that slowly returning sense of purpose.

How the fuck is he going to fit this thing into the hearse.

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