If You Choose To Accept It


huruma_icon.gif lynette_icon.gif ryans_icon.gif

Scene Title If You Choose To Accept It
Synopsis Huruma and Lynette come to Ryans with a mission and an aim to pull him out of retirement.
Date March 20, 2018

Ben Ryans' Home

While Lynette’s love for her projects and her centers is great, making decisions on the security of her safe zone facility wasn’t coming along as well as she’d hoped. Huruma has been able to offer some input into the matter of keeping the Center safe from outside influences as well as inside ones; yet, there is always the human factor that plays its way into these things. The need to have responsibly minded people on the ground, even if just to portray a sense of safety— but also to be the one to judge just what she'll need going forward. Huruma, in this case, is not the best resource. She is the guard dog, not the trainer.

She happens to know a few, though. Just names to Lynette, save for one— and he’s not hard to find. Huruma’s presence has been more apparent the last few weeks— so her text to the tune of finding out if Ryans is home was not unusual. What she didn’t specify is that she was coming over. With a friend.

Is it an ambush? Well, not technically speaking— he should know to expect certain things by now.

Once the two of them get to the neighborhood, his house is easy to find; all Lynette needs to do is trail along in Huruma’s shadow. She couldn’t make any promises, but she can absolutely facilitate. Huruma can feel the man’s mind in her field of study when they knock on the front door, and she preemptively makes a note of where it sits. The weather is still cold, but the wetness has slowly turned into sheets of flurries, leaving Huruma bundled in her coat. Underneath, her shirt wraps around at the waist, a faded peach that matches stylized blooms on a navy skirt. She seems perfectly at ease— color is a change that she is comfortable with.

Lynette might not be completely sold on this being the best idea. The ambush, that is. She hasn't seen Ben since the war when she was… less than together, shall we say. But the past few years have helped, hidden away in her own little oasis. Mending. But on the matter of how best to approach Ryans, she has left that up to the expert. Which is Huruma, in this case.

If she's a little nervous, perhaps Huruma will forgive her.

The weather has Lynette buried in a coat, too. Probably several layers under it. A native Californian, she barely adjusted to the weather last time she lived here and then went and ruined it with warm beaches even further south. An adjustment period is needed. Thankfully, spring weather is just around the corner. Any minute now. She settles next to Huruma when they reach the door, letting her take the lead for this part. They can swap roles later.

A brushing presence against her legs, will alert her to the sudden appearance of a certain feline, Ruma throws her weight into that greeting and churl-chirps at the woman. Lynette gets a sniffing at, exploratory really, before she is afforded the same greeting by the big cat.

While the welcoming committee is busy doing her job, Ryans is busy making his way to the door — a cautious check out the window, before he finally opens the door. “Huruma…” is offered in greetings, before adding a mildly surprised, “Lynette.”

Now he is just openly curious as he opens the door into his home further, which is when Ruma promptly abandons her duties to saunter into the house like she owns the place, with fluffy tail raised high like a battle standard behind her.

Huruma looks down to her pseudo namesake with a click of her tongue behind her teeth, catching the movement of a door check out of the corner of her eyes. She bends to give the cat a scratch behind the ear before it goes to investigate Lynette. As he answers the door there is already the crook of a smile on Huruma's face, caught between a greeting and a softening at his surprise.

“Hello~” The open door is invitation enough, and Huruma steps in after the cat glides past her ankles to the inside. One hand goes to Ben's shoulder, and she pivots around to linger just behind him, peering back at her companion and leaning a touch on his arm, playful. “Look— I brought a friend.” Any look he gives Huruma will only earn a Cheshire sort of grin.

The cat is given a raised eyebrow as it weaves around legs, and then Lynette looks over at Huruma when she pets it. "You know you're never going to get the fur out of your clothes," she says. She doesn't mean it. She's just covering. Which is ridiculous, because she knows that Huruma knows, but still. She does.

She looks back to the door when it opens, and she can't help but meet his surprise with a crooked smile. "Hello, Ben," she says, once Huruma gives her the cue. "I heard a rumor you might be bored half out of your mind," she adds, teasing. That, at least, comes with genuine amusement.

Maybe the ambush wasn't such a bad idea after all.

“Was there?” The look that is turned over Benjamin’s shoulder at his friend, say that he knows exactly who started that rumor. Eyes narrowing at Huruma with a blunt accusation to the fact.

He motions Lynette inside, so he can shut the door against the cold and rain. His home is definitely that of a man who is single, though there are a few items that speak to the fact that he has a young child, too. Though she isn’t there this time. It is obvious that he is at this point retired, with his dark green, long sleeved tee shirt and jeans. So the assessment is probably not too far off. Still the old man seems a little defensive about this accusation.

“Can I offer you ladies something to drink?” Ryans at least has manners for that. “While you tell me what brought you here.”

Huruma only gives Ben a shrug at his accusatory look, eyes closing a moment in her smiling and hand giving his shoulder a squeeze before stepping back. No need to be defensive, you.

“I am going to put the kettle on, if you don't mind…” It seems quite like the cat has a fitting name, as Huruma now makes herself quite at home. “We're not here for anything strange—” The tall woman leans back out of the kitchen entryway, punctuating that with a reassuring(?), “I promise.” before she slinks out of sight.

"Thanks," Lynette says as she steps inside, boots wiped off before she enters— which is probably a step too polite. But she watches Huruma make herself at home with a hint of a smile. "How's Pippa?" she asks as she unbuttons her coat. It's likely she's asked Nicole the same question recently. The offer of a drink brings her attention around and she opens her mouth to reply, but Huruma slips in before her. So she gestures that way. "What she's having. And she's lying, it's a little strange."

Strange enough that she doesn't get right to it, instead taking a moment to look around his house. And then back to him. She doesn't repeat the rumor, but the defensiveness gets noted. When she goes on, her tone is more subdued. "Huruma thought— that you might be up for some light security work."

The last time she had him doing security work, it was extensive. Drywall was involved.

Seeing someone heading into the kitchen, Ruma rushes to follow her namesake. The kitchen is where the food is, so if someone is going in there, it must mean they are going to feed her. There is an audible thump as the big cat jump up to sit on the counter…. Waiting.

Ryans motions for Lynette to proceed him into the kitchen, since all conversations tend to happen there. “She’s good. Growing like a weed.” Ever the conversationalist, that Benjamin Ryans. “Congratulations on the marriage.” He noticed the ring of course, though he looks amused more than anything.

“So tell me more about this light security work.”

“Not ly~ing.” Huruma echoes from in the kitchen, a distant sort of cheekiness. She gives Ruma a moment’s worth of a questioning stare before continuing with putting the kettle on the stovetop. Going to have to work harder than that, girlfriend. “If I give you snacks, what will happen to all of the moles and the mice, hmm…?” Pale eyes look up to regard the pair as they tail her to the kitchen, not very big in the scheme of things, but cozy.

“There’s no chance of being conscripted into construction.” Huruma remembers the last go around. Her eyes narrow in a moment of mirth, content to take a spot to lean up against the counter, more or less offering the table seats to them. Miraculously, she refrains from telling Ben about Mateo; Lynette can handle that, even if she has opinions.

Lynette follows along, leaving her coat behind on a chair before she settles in against the countertop. She looks over at the cat, then back at Huruma. "Cruel to be kind, Huruma?" It's a teasing question and she smirks a little before she looks back over to Ryans. "That's good to hear. I keep meaning to go see her." But. She doesn't actually leave her facility all that much. Only on an odd occasion. Like this one.

But the congratulations gets a smile. A real one. Warm and slightly sheepish, even. "Thank you." And even though there is cause to be amused, she cuts a sidelong glance his way. But the question about work saves him from any remarks she might have. "That's true, I took care of the construction work before we moved in this time," she says with a chuckle. "Mostly I'm looking for someone to come and look the place over, see how we could make it more secure without putting any of the patients in danger. Oh. It's a rehab clinic, so a lot of people who do not need access to weapons. Huruma and I were tossing around ideas. Tasers. Gun safes, but then she mentioned you might have some time on your hands to come an add a third opinion."

“Not that I would have cared about construction work,” Ryans starts with a huffed chuckle. He leans against the counter, hand and… wrist, watching Huruma. Of course, the cat decides to take advantage of this and starts to chirp at him and brush against him. She wants food dammit. The cat is ignored. He bowl has food in it, even if she doesn’t want that.

The fact that the woman seem to think they need his opinion gets a confused look, “I imagine I can, but I am not sure why Huruma isn’t able to do so,” A brow is arched at her, as he continues to say with amusement, “You have just as much knowledge in all this as I do.”

“I have enough of working and sleeping in the same space with Wolfhound…” Huruma holds up a finger, taking a moment to investigate the cupboard for mugs, shaking her head once. “I’ve volunteered to do some other things there, and I’m not saying I won’t help keep the place safe— ” Her eyes flicker up and over to Lynette. “But all the same… it sounded like you.” Huruma’s lips tighten just a little, gauging Ryans’ attentiveness as she puts together the cups for tea. Cheaper than coffee, anyway.

“People there tend to be putting themselves back together.” Herself included, perhaps. “People with abilities, or just people with scars— ” Huruma sets aside the mugs to wait for the boil, leaning back again and giving Ben a more considering look, her voice somewhat low. “I thought that you could help them feel safe enough to do that. Heal.” It is as much as his experience as it would be his presence— or at least that is why she thought of him, amongst others.

Perhaps it is also a testament to how she feels safe around him, too, however unsaid.

“Lynette has told me some about what has happened at her first center. Troublesome things. ” Huruma arches a brow to the younger woman, a gentle cue for her to pick up the thread.

"Huruma's stay at the facility is for relaxation, I'd hate to make her bring her work back with her," Lynette comments with a crooked smile. She glances over to Huruma, gauging her gauging Ryans. "Everyone's on edge with the shortages and the riot. And… I'm not enough to keep them safe alone. Not that I wouldn't give it the old college try." The words are flippant, the intent behind them isn't. "And like she says, they're all handling things that are already too big for them. It isn't that I want them to feel like they're living in a fortress, but I'd like to have it be one on the chance that we need it."

She looks back to Huruma, then back over to Ryans again. "In Mexico we had raids of all sorts. Attempted." She's quick to point that out. "For meds. For food. For their pick of the Expressives there. But there I had a team of ex-Ferry from Central and South America, people who needed a place after the war. They were there and they weren't done fighting. Up here it's different. Holding off some cartel who had a mind to sell our stock on the black market was one thing. Here it could be anything. Even just… hungry people getting too desperate. So I need something creative and non lethal. Defense, rather than offense. Keep things out, not fight them off." If it comes to fighting them off, well. She does live there. And she has a Huruma.

There is obvious hesitation in Ben, his eyes move from one woman to the next, as he listens to this work proposal. He sighs and turns thoughtful; fingers scratching at the curve of the cats chin. The cat for her part purrs loudly in the mostly silent kitchen, head pressing into to the affection.

“Alright.” Benjamin finally agrees, giving a small nod of his head. “But I can’t guarantee that I can be of any help.” He is more of an offense type of guy. Hitting it head first and taking it down. “But it does not hurt to give it a look.” He gives Lynette a bit of a smile, “Besides, it will be interesting to see this place. Counselling, huh?” Clearly, he had not expect that to be what she did with her life, but there is no judgement there.

“It cannot end up worse than my walking in on Lynette sitting amidst her arsenal.” Huruma asides, lips curved in a smile to the other woman. Her frame shifts to move to the stove as the beginnings of a whistle eke out. Not a sixth sense, just a good ear. For the moment she plays hostess despite it certainly not being her house, filling cups and setting them to steep near the sugar.

“My thinking of you was also because people do trust you not to exploit them.” She adds this at a murmur, tailing on what Lynette meant when people were targeted. “I have heard blood boiling things off of Old Staten.” Huruma rolls one shoulder at this, mouth twisting some. “People seem to want to trust one another again… but old habits, hm?” As for explaining the counseling itself, that is Nette’s wheelhouse.

"I happen to think that walking in on me and my arsenal is one of the top three ways to walk in on me," Lynette says to Huruma with a crooked smile. No mention of what the other two top ways are, though. Her arms fold loosely before she looks over to Ryans. "You can say no if you like, Ben," she notes, given the hesitation. "Come by and see the place first. If you need to think about it, that's alright, too."

Her smile turns dimmer at the question, but she nods. "Yes. Drug rehab. Difficult abilities. Adjusting to finding out what you are, what your family is. We don't have to hide now, but I know I needed some help figuring out how to live." Which he is aware of, of course. "If the facility can spare some people the growing pains around all that, then I guess I'll have had a hand in something good." There's a pause before she adds, "Seven years clean, last Christmas. From Refrain, anyway. Alcohol had to come around a bit later."

The number of years is caught on right away and gets a neutral glance. He still remembers helping her out of her addiction the first time around. Some things you just don’t forget. However, he cannot judge. The bottles in his cabinet could speak of his own crutches. “A cause worthy for you.” He means it. “Sometimes, the ones that can understand the best are the ones that have walked those miles.”

His head inclines a little, “I’ll take a look.” It’s said with more conviction.

“So…” That out of the way. “Tell me about this guy who turned Miss Lynette ‘I’ll never get married’ Rowan into a married woman?” There is blatant teasing there, the smile on his lips is big enough to deepen the lines at the corners of his eyes.

Huruma likes to listen as Lynette talks about what she does; there’s a pride and an honestness in her emotions that don’t quite bleed through for anyone else. The tall woman passes Lynette a smooth smile as she sweetens her tea, head gesturing from Lynette to the other mug. Your turn.

Her smile blooms in silence when Ben says again that he will take a look. She can feel the difference in the way he means it. A little proud that she was right about thinking he’d show an interest, and a touch more contented because the Benchmark should be fine. Huruma likes the place enough to want to keep it there. The warm mug in her hands gets treated much like a coal of heat, her frame drawn to it as she has a seat at the table, ankles crossing.

“He is small and charming.” Huruma’s assessment comes with a laugh that she doesn’t quite stifle, her eyes creasing to match. The curl of her lips is an indicator that she’s about to stir something else. “His daughter is a delight as well.” Psst, she’s a step-mom now too!


The sentiment gets a blink, like Lynette wasn't expecting such a thing. But then, she has never really been good about accepting compliments that aren't about her shoes. "Thank you," comes out heartfelt. Touched. If quiet. And she's grateful when Huruma nods her toward the tea because that gives her something else to be doing. Even if she doesn't do much at all to alert it, she has to go over there and pick it up and that needs some real attention. "I'll make sure the receptionist knows to expect you." Instead of assuming he's there for the counselling part.

She turns back to the others in time to hear the tease. "Oh god," she says, half embarrassed, half amused, "I had hoped we had skipped over that part." But of course not. When Huruma gives her assessment of Mateo, though, Lynette laughs. Because it's accurate. "He is charming. And small, although I do feel that's unfair, Huruma. Everyone's small to you." Her smile widens some when Silvia is mentioned, too. "Our," she corrects a little, "Silvia. We adopted her. She was a Ferry kid. And she introduced us while I was in Mexico after the war. He'd gotten her into a safehouse when she was just a young thing and she landed with me when some other ex-ferrymen came by." Her hand waves as if this series of events had been some sort of magic trick. But Silvia was not really the question, even if it seems Lynette might be willing to go on about her a bit. "He's a good man," she says, eventually. "He's sweet and thoughtful and very handsome, which is a nice bonus." She looks over to Huruma there, because she can verify the handsomeness. Or maybe it's because she knows that Huruma can tell her description of him isn't really doing justice to all those pesky emotions.

There is a lifting of brows as he listens to both women, but then it is followed by a look of amusement. “Really?” He looks down at the cat who at the moment seems content, to sprawl out on the counter. So much had happened since they last time he had seen Lynette. He was content with where she ended up in life. “I’m happy for you.” He really is. Though the fondness for the woman is still there, an appreciation for the darkness she pulled him out of so long ago; he’s happy for her.

Huruma seems enraptured by hearing more about Silvia, having not pressed for the more intimate details. She nods assent at Lynette’s correction, leaning in slightly to signal her listening closely. Pale eyes stay on her for the time being, a smile curving at her lips again. It’s a touching story, and Benjamin seems to think so too.

“She is a lovely girl. You two are very fortunate.” Neighbors they are now, in a sense, and Huruma has seen enough of Silvia to feel confident in her words. Silent study of Lynette’s deeper feelings earn her some grinning by the end. “You’re almost too precious about it, you know?” She teases just a twee bit, good-natured in her ribbing.

"Yes. Wife. Mother," Lynette says dryly, as if she herself hasn't quite wrapped her mind around it, "but in my defense, Silvia was already a teenager by the time I got her." No defense on the wife part, though. She'll come up with one eventually. Her expression softens when he goes on, although she doesn't seem to know how to reply. She looks grateful for the sentiment, though, and at least one of them can tell it goes deeper than just looking it.

Her gaze flicks over to Huruma, smile turning to reflect that sense of pride she has in Silvia. "She is. She's been through a lot, but somehow she's kept herself steady. Now I'm just here to make sure she gets an easier time from here on out." Even if she has taken to hanging around the lighthouse kids. Trouble, the lot of them. The tease gets a protesting groan from Lynette, who looks very much like she would throw something at Huruma if there were something available. Which really doesn't help disprove anything. "I am not," she says, using a free hand to straighten her blouse. "Anything but that," she adds with a crooked smile.

The back and forth of the two woman has the older man chuckling. “I am staying out of this.” Pushing away from the counter, he moves to the fridge and fishes out a bottle of water. As much as he would like a drink, he is polite about it.

“However, I can tell you from experience…” Four — ish girls worth of it. “… no one will ever be good enough for them and you will always be worried about them. The hardest thing you can do is stand back and let them live their life.” Which is true. No matter how much Ryans doesn’t like what Lucille does, he knows he has to let her make those mistakes and live their lives.

Huruma only laughs in the face of Lynette’s flustering, tongue catching between her teeth, the amused sounds deeper in her throat. See what she means? Look at her. Case in point. The dark woman sips her tea smartly and says nothing, however, just raising a brow back at Lynette. Ryans’ words draw her attention back with a more pointed purpose, catching on to what he is putting down rather quickly. She just presses her mouth closed in her initial response. Her brow knits only for a moment, fleetingly judgmental before it disappears.

“Likely also the best thing to do— even if it is hard.” Huruma is, mostly, on Lucille’s end when it comes to that sort of thing. It helps that she is around, though. The next is a little more from her own experiences, given with a roll of a shoulder. “They figure things out sooner or later.”

Lynette can only sigh. And sip from her tea. And try not to protest about it too much. So a grateful look is sent to Ben when he changes the subject. "I understand. Believe it or not, I still remember being sixteen and chafing under parental direction. I can't help the worry, but I can let her spread her wings." It helps that Silvia knows how to take care of herself. And is a good kid. "Mateo's having a hard time with it, though. She's made friends with our Joe and Lance and the other kids from the lighthouse. He's worried about boyfriends," she says with a chuckle. "Must be a dad thing," she notes with a crooked smile. "My father's solution was to get me a horse. Something tells me that isn't going to work as well in the Safe Zone."

“The — “ Benjamin’s face falls into a neutral look, lips pressing together for a moment. “ — I think if I was him I would be concerned too. Those Lighthouse boys can be trouble.” He might be old, but he does have an inkling of memory of what it was like to be a teenage boy. “Or at least what I remember of their mischief back…. Then.”

There is a soft chuckle at the thought of the horse, “Wish I had thought of that.” Might have saved him some pain when he was learning how to deal with the girls, after Mary’s death.

There seems to be a matching look from Huruma at the mention of the boys— Silvia’s new friends. Her eyes narrow some, speculating in silence.

“Not long ago I felt some familiar people around— Eve I knew immediately, but the others not as much. I could not place them.” Casual reminder that she definitely snoops on people whether she means to or not. Huruma’s features give a small twitch towards a drier smile. “Was that them? The kids? I can hardly believe that they are still around here.” There are a lot of memories lingering here for a teenager to handle. “They are here in the Safe Zone? And frankly, she could do worse than them… she is not falling in with a bad crowd.”

Huruma punctuates this with a soft scoff of her breath. She knows bad crowds. Mateo doesn’t need to worry.

"Ben," Lynette says, her tone amused, her smile indulgent, "they weren't so bad." Of course, time and distance helps to curb her own occasional annoyance with the kids. "And they're not bad now. That doesn't mean they won't find their own trouble, but… What am I supposed to tell her? Sit at home? Stay safe?" Things Lynette has never been able to model as far as behavior goes. "They can keep each other safe. And they know where to go if they get in over their heads."

Sure, she sounds calm. It might be enough to sell Ryans on it, but Huruma knows she's more worried than she looks. They all know what kind of trouble lingers in New York. And that was before it was mostly a wasteland.

"It's very likely. She brought them by for dinner. So Mateo could see that they weren't completely untrustworthy." Lynette lifts her eyes, but this expression is also indulgent. "They're here. Except Hailey. I understand she's not interested in living inside the Zone."

“You have a point,” Benjamin concedes.

He is silent for a moment, listening to Lynette, a small smile on his face. He glances towards the living room thoughtful. “If you both don’t have anything important…” he started, glancing at both, “There is a fire in the livingroom to warm ourselves, while Lynette tells us about her time in Mexico.” The woman in question gets a questioning lift of his brows. “Unless you need to get back, especially, before the weather gets any nastier.” A glance going to the weather outside.

Huruma's features crease some knowing that at least one of the old crowd of kids isn't wanting to remain in the zone. Hailey… the animal girl? She has to think back, swimming through too many faces. At least Silvia is making friends with capable people— it's a quiet sort of boon.

“Maybe I will see them again before long.” Huruma was only close with a few of them, but it could be nice. She lifts a look outside at Ben's prompt, noting the tired, steady drape of snowfall. As much as she hates snow, it will never be as bad as certain previous blizzards. After a moment of white reflected on her eyes, Huruma lifts up to slink out of the kitchen, a hand straying to scratch the cat’s head on the way. “I learned to wait for the snow to stop.. Perhaps the radio station has some insight.” Looks like Huruma is sticking around, even if Lynette decides to head back.

At the suggestion, Lynette glances out of the kitchen toward where the fire is rumored to be. Then to the window. Then back to the pair of them again. "I think we might have some time before it gets too terrible," she says, which is to say that she plans to stay, too, for a little while at least. "Mexico was warm, I don't know if that will help or make it worse," she says with a chuckle before she takes her tea and heads to the living room.

Someone here put her on the path she's walking now, even if she stumbled at first. Perhaps she wants him to know that she got her feet under her eventually. Perhaps she'll even work in a thank you.

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