Blowing Off Steam


huruma_icon.gif lucille_icon.gif

Scene Title Blowing Off Steam
Synopsis Lucille's feeling the sting.
Date August 30, 2018

The Bunker

The Bunker’s training hall is filled with the rattle of music from speakers; a boombox placed on a chair, belting out the sounds of growling rock and grinding metal. Loud enough to fill the gym space, not quite loud enough to drive people crazy. It gives this space of the bunker a mood. The rumble inside the training area vibrates in metal and bone, tingling on skin.

Wham, wham, wham
Whump, whump, whump
Thump, thump- -
Clang, thud, rattle- -

Something cracks and hits the floor hard, muffled against padding as it lands. Under the music and ambient sound is the breath and beat of a Hound in the midst of a session.

The Hound is Huruma, and her foe is fallen. One of the punching bags which previously hung from a metal bar on the ceiling is now on the mat, covered in chips from where the bar lost its mooring. The other one sways faintly a span away. Her fists are clenched in their light padded gloves, breath coming heavy from the span of her chest. The sheen of sweat shines around compressed top and shorts, a bead flowing down her brow and getting swiped with the back of a hand. A distinct heat moves off of her, the warmth of hard work and the breathlessness of an abrupt halt.

Tension rises and slithers in the lines of her back and shoulders, muscle defined under her dark skin. Her features betray an otherwise conflict; weariness, anger, determination, ache, some of it.

Sliding into the training hall silently, Lucille Ryans takes a look at her Aunt/mentor but doesn't say much. Her pale blue eyes study her form, head canting. Huruma has always been impressive, through the years has only amplified Lucille’s admiration for the taller woman’s skills. Rubbing the back of her head she stays still, bruises evident on her arms and a fresh one on the side of her neck.

Besides the obvious signs of a struggle that Lucille walked away from alive, at least. She looks whole, the emotions behind the mask though threaten to cloud Huruma’s view. Sorrow. A deep mournful dose of it filters in with the pale woman. Her tank top is scrunched up in her free hand revealing a flat stomach marred with scars, trophies from the war. Lucille hasn't always been so calm and collected.

And that is the woman that stands before Huruma now, emotional and broken but her steady stream of wallowing gets a break as she eyes the fallen punching bag. “It never stood a chance.” The punching bag, their family. However.

Breathlessness lends itself to slow response, and even when Lucille slipped in the gym she offered nothing of value; when the bag lies on the mat for those few moments, Huruma glowers at it instead. The young woman’s voice seems to tug her back down. White eyes tick upwards to Lucille, pupils pitch and exertion stark from cheekbones to chin, jaw set. Unblinking, it feels almost robotic.

Air vents out through her nose. Huruma leans forward to grab the girth of the fallen bag and heft it up. She tosses it offsides towards the wall. It lands hard, like dead weight, a not so insignificant force behind the throw. The dark woman’s ribcage still rises and falls with deep breath, the muscles along her sides and core relaxing once the bag is out of the picture. The tension eases, if only just- - the pressure and tightness along the struts of her spine lets out.

“That it did not…”

Padding slowly along the wall, Lucille runs a hand to trail behind her. The emotions behind her eyes seeping into her expression at a slow, agonizing place.

Gaze averting to the punching bag now thrown against the floor and she doesn't speak, the muscles in her jaw clenching. Lucille has always been a bundle of emotions to Huruma, the woman was in constant distress and episodes of depression when they first met. Only in the recent years has her mind and emotional state calmed thanks to her training and meditation but tonight she feels just like that young twenty something year old barely able to contain herself.

She wants to run.

“So you've heard.” If Huruma has heard then there would of course be only one thing that Lucille could be speaking of. The words coming out short but thick with sadness, the pale woman gulps and she lays a hand on the wall to keep herself steady. The fight from earlier was a rough one, her throat still raw from the screams into the wilderness later. Her wounds were inside and out.

Stock still as Lucille stirs in her fitful way, Huruma faces the wall with a distant stare into the brick. She doesn't need to look at Lucille to know the details of her mind. They are open to her, as they always are.

A twitch moves in the space between temple and ear, a solitary blink to follow, tight in her eyes and focus. Hearing Lucille's voice filled with those emotions rather than reading them… it proves much more difficult to remain undisturbed. Huruma steps over to turn down the music, letting it simmer to a murmur.

“He told me the night that you ‘Parent Trapped’ us.” Another blink, slower, her pale eyes tipping downward as she removes the gloves from her hands. “Before Irwin.” So Huruma has known for some time now. She tosses the gloves into an open duffel bag on the floor, nostrils flaring before she finally looks to Lucille. “It went well, by the way. Though we added to your tab.”

A brief levity in her words, despite everything. It masks a richness to her own voice, more sturdy than Lucille's. She has had just a touch more time to think.

“It's fucking bullshit.”

Lucille’s voice tight with tension cuts across to Huruma and the younger woman curls her hands into fists but she remains where she's standing. The ‘Parent Trap’ comment would normally send Lucille into a snicker fit but this time that falls on ears overloaded with a loud roaring as if her very insides were protesting this injustice. Someone would say it's balance, one of Lucille’s numerous mentors and senseis, maybe even Huruma herself but this death. This death was different than the others.

Nodding her head to Huruma having heard before Irwin and then segwaying into that night she looks down at the ground, “I'll gladly pay it if you two go and eat there every night until it's over.” She just… “I just want him happy like… every single second. He— deserves.” Her voice hitches in the back of her throat and she stops herself. Holding herself over until the dam no longer threatens to burst.

“What do we do?”

Huruma watches the curl of fists and listens to that headrush of emotion, eyes hooded against the flurry of it. Lucille's stifle and look to the floor brings more to the surface, her words sinking heavily against the inside of ribcage.

“He does.” The older woman's voice tangles as it leaves her. “You know that I want him happy too.” That he deserves more than he is getting. Luce stops herself here, yet Huruma does not. Or perhaps can't, now that she knows both girls must know everything. One hand moves against her face, fingers swiping at the glisten of eyes.

“Anything we can.” Full lips press together, tight before her tongue runs across the edges, throat swallowing, brow furrowing. “I'm going to make some visits… calls. Favors people owe. Find something, if it's out there. Other opinions. I have an appointment with someone that I know who would want him well. There is the White Conduit in the wild, maybe.” It's difficult to follow that, yet she does.

“Otherwise… I will be there to make sure he gets to make the most of what he has left. He knows how I feel.” Lucille remembers that long ago dream of a far gone future— where Huruma’s empathy spoke for her when words failed. It’s a rare expression of her ability, but an all-encompassing one.

Lucille draws in a ragged breath and nods along with Huruma’s words, her tone enveloping her as the young woman leans into the touch from her sort of aunt. “I will also, anything we can find.” The White Conduit.. Lucille’s eyes squint and she regards Huruma more closely, “That's right it heals.. Abby had it..? And Francois…. you were around all of that shit. You and dad.” Back to thinking about her father and his illness makes her shudder and she thinks back to her miraculous healing and it has her looking down at her hands, feelings of incompetence reigning supreme as if it was her duty to ensure her father overcame this. They were battling nature’s course.

“It feels like that's the best option, just making it so he enjoys every moment. We are away so much,” she considers taking leave. Nobody would begrudge her, she doesn't know if she really wants to do that though put herself through watching it so closely. It's a selfish thing, cowardly. Lucille is known to make those choices and her inner thoughts radiate feelings of doubt deep within her. What was the best way to help him?

Keep it together. Huruma’s emotions are considered in this as well, she has known her dad longer than anyone practically. “How are you?”

Rather than keep any sort of distance, Huruma takes Lucille’s lean as permission to snake an arm around her, and despite her still breathlessness and post-workout state, they’ve had worse hugs. She looks down as Luce does, practically reading the thought that goes through her. Lucille’s healing was— bizarre, but somehow it probably will not work the same on Ben if it was her ability’s metabolism. The feelings the young woman has on those thoughts gets her an enveloping squeeze, wordless.

“We will be away less, now, at least for a time.” Huruma expects as much, anyway— intel takes time, and Irwin was a massive undertaking. There is a flush of a chuckle in her next words. “I know roughly when he’ll need to go in for tests, and provided he doesn’t lock me in the house I will go with him.” It is a small consolation to Lucille’s doubt and guilt, that she is as invested as she is. Pale eyes move down to bluer when it is turned around; an empath may not need to ask, but others do.

“I…” Huruma’s lips part and close, an exhale moving through her nose. “I am- -” She sounds uncertain, for once, venturing. She is not at all sure how to describe it, and it is hard to admit it- - yet she does, a pain heard in her breathing.

“I do not have the right words. Only feelings. What I do know… I feel more for your father than what I have felt for anyone else. I cannot fall into despair. He needs us. And I need him, even now. I want to think he needs me too. He is the truest friend I have ever had.” She hesitates, and falters hard, free hand moving to brace against her head in the stifle of an ache. It soon drops down to run a fingertip absently over the fine line of a scar at her side, mostly hidden in the shades of her skin. “And… I really do mean ever. I was alone for so long, Lucille…”

Distrust, fear, anger, detachment. It was easier to keep others at bay if it meant that nobody could hurt her.

There's a fresh tear that falls down Lucille’s cheek, a lonely trail to Huruma’s lonely tale of being alone for so long, she can relate. Her solitude has only ever been self induced but you get stuck there after a while and though she had people around her during the days of her scar.. she felt utterly alone. “You are so lucky to have each other.” A sad smile as she hugs Huruma closer and closes her eyes. “And you'll never be alone again. You're family.”

The younger woman means it and the sharp contrast of their skin is of no importance to Lucille, Huruma was her family. Would always be so, the love that she feels blooms from the dark emotions that she carries, she doesn't conceal it or try even. “He will have you and I will do everything I can to help.” Without crowding the old man, he hates that.

“I think I have that.. truest friends.” Thinking of the two, “Berlin and Colette. Those my gals.” A hint of laughter peeks and she peeks up at Huruma, never this much vulnerable. Not in a very long time. “I’m not ready to lose him.”

The breadth of Huruma’s palm curls up around Lucille’s head, tucking her closer and resting chin to hair. She always felt that loneliness in the girl, and after the scar healed- - she was so happy for her. Now it seems like two steps back, at least on the inside.

Family? Yes, absolutely. Lucky? Of course.

Though not as sharp a sensation as sorrow or as hollow and large as grief- - sometimes love itself feels overpowering to an empath. She has shared her own, but having it wash over her instead is something else. Lucille’s embrace seems to wring a shudder out of her.

When Lucille peeks up next, the anxiety of knowing and the affection being put on her leaves tracks down the curves of Huruma’s face, held in silence for a long moment. A gentle smile comes at the names, understanding behind those eyes. It is hard to find people like that, so if Lucille even has one?

“I’m not either.” Words come with a tightness, like string wound around her vocal cords. Huruma’s eyes shutter, lids heavy when she looks down. “Despite it seeming that way, given how the both of us have always been so keen to leap into mortal danger.” She breathes inward and sighs out, brows lifting as she attempts to make a joke. It sounds like something Megan would say.

“I always thought.. Shit I don't know. He’d go by fighting off some large drone.” With a hitch in the back of her throat she dislodges from Huruma’s embrace and smiles gently at the taller woman. “You two have enough stories to write a novel series.” A fan might have already started writing somewhere in the world in Luce’s mind. Her father and Huruma were real life heroes, her father after he stopped working for the “bad” guys and Hooms when she stopped.. being.. well she's always Hooms.

“I've been to therapy,” a thing she hasn't hidden from anyone. Self care is important, to important to not indulge in. “It's helped. Not that much.” Another truth.

“Fighting though..” Lucille lets her silence and the bruises and fresh scraps speak for themselves. “I'm dealing.” An conclusion to that string of thoughts, said aloud as well as in. I'm dealing.

I'm crushed.

“Maybe you should write it.” Huruma manages a smile, sad though it is. The mention of therapy simply gets an affirming nod, small and approving. It’s good. Even if it hasn’t been as effective as it could be. One can only do so much.

“Even I know teeth and blood cannot fix everything… I used to think it could.” And she learned better, as it turns out. Huruma lets her hand linger against Lucille’s hair, pushing a loose strand away from her eyes before dropping it back to her side. “You do not need to explain yourself to me, Lucille- - I see you. All of you. We will keep our promises and we will make of it what we can.”

“I would offer a match, though I could not guarantee its effectiveness.” They are both in a state of disarray, after all.

“I'd have such a bias view though,” which is exactly why Huruma and her father might like for her to be the one to word that collection of stories. Teeth and blood couldn't fix it all but it dulled one ache for another, something the younger woman was all too eager to approach though Huruma’s words of a match earn a smile from the paler woman. “Got my ass kicked, almost,” in the Crucible, “I'm ashamed to say I'm exhausted.” A playful grin on Lucille’s face as she squeezes Huruma’s shoulder.

“Promises kept and do what we can.” It's something she's been repeating to herself and she adds it to the growing inner mantra that brings her to that place of serenity and centeredness. Keep, do what we can. Keep, do what we can. For all she has mantras there is still a hole sucking away at any happiness or lightness she encounters, wounds of the heart were slow to heal and this one hasn't even stopped bleeding yet.

“Let’s do something else, then. You and me, hm?” Huruma offers an island in the sea of uncertainty, at the very least. She is not shy about putting her hand at Lucille’s back, an indication that she’s going to be herded. “And if you ever want me to ease anything… all you have to do is ask. I know that most do not get to ask that of someone, so you may not want that, but… I want to make certain that you hear it.”

Having an empath around in times of turmoil? A boon, somewhat. If you take it.

Lucille has offered and given relieve of pain so much to the other woman and the rest of her family that she takes the offer under consideration, sometimes Lucille did it even when her dad or aunt would protest. Protecting family from themselves was a necessary thing sometimes, “How about over drinks, many many drinks.” Lucille offers a weak smile to her mentor as she is happily herded towards the exit. “Good vibes only.”

While her mind and heart might be broken by the recent news, the feeling of company from Huruma. The feeling of being home in the Bunker. That lifts her and brings her to place that Huruma could amplify, Lucille wants to be hopeful. She wants her dad to pull through. She wants herself to pull through. The pale woman gives the training room another look before moving out.

Positive vibes only.

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