More Than A Calling


huruma2_icon.gif megan3_icon.gif

Scene Title More Than A Calling
Synopsis Megan's quest for more begins in earnest.
Date February 4, 2021

Megan & Huruma's Townhouse

There are so many things happening in the Safe Zone. Megan has spent most of her adult life either in war settings, both in the Air Force as a combat medic and surgical nurse and in the Civil War learning so much more field medicine than she ever thought possible, or in the ERs of the region and working the free clinics in her spare time. She's always been beyond busy. Partial retirement has slowed her down significantly. She has even managed mostly to stop smoking. (Occasionally falling off the wagon with Scott doesn't really count, does it?)

But in taking the partial retirement, Megan has begun to realize she doesn't have a lot else. Unfortunately, that leaves her at loose ends a lot lately. It's a state of affairs she's not exactly thriving under. She doesn't expect her friends to fill her days. She's just struggling with how to fill them herself. And the truth of the matter is, being able to fucking fly is not really making her life easier.

Well, sometimes it does. Today it is because she's climbed out on the roof of their two-and-a-half story row house and is peeling up roof tiles. They had a leak the last time the snow settled on the roof, and she wants to patch it before the next snowstorm comes barreling through. Lined hiking boots with solid tread, fleece-lined sturdy work pants, a long sleeved shirt and down vest are appropriate attire for working up there, even in this cold. A white knitted band both keeps her ears warm and holds back her hair while she bangs the hammer into the roof.

The first thing Huruma notices is the lack of a ladder, despite the figure up on the roof. A tiny bubble of pride comes up. Then a perplexed look as she comes around the side of the house to best peer upwards to the redhead; she stays on the path laid between them and the unintrusive neighbor's home. A bit of tile floats down like a wet leaf at her feet.

"You know… there are people who do this for a living." They'd be supporting the local economy, even. Huruma's features remain curious, the damp of the air leaving a shine on her leather jacket, tied wasplike at the waist. Wherever she has been today seems to have required business-wear, judging by the length of her skirt- - just above the knee is moderate by Huruma standards- - and the dusk of leggings. "As much as I enjoy watching you smack things with a hammer…"

Pushing upward so she can peer over the roof's edge at her housemate, Megan calls down, "I called one! The earliest they could come is next week and I didn't feel like waiting that long." For a woman who can be one of the most patient people you can find for her patients, the redhead has little patience for waiting on other people to do things.

Blue eyes survey Huruma's outfit. "Didja have to go to court today or something?" she asks curiously. It's not Huruma's usual business attire. "Hang on, I'll come down."

The red head disappears back onto the rooftop, and about a minute and a half later Megan comes around the corner from the side of the building — where there are no windows in the neighboring building that allow people to see her descend without a ladder.

"It was only a small hole. I just stuck a plywood patch under a couple of new tiles. Should be fine." She's still holding the hammer. "Besides… I needed something to do." The jangle of restlessness becomes evident when she gets closer. She has this feeling of being useless and without purpose, and it's eating at her.

Huruma doesn't bother hiding the further amusement from her face when she gets her first answer. Of course she didn't want to wait. Of course she'd go do it herself.

"Mn, something like that." She murmurs in response to the question of her day so far, lips pursed and eyes hooding over. Sigh. Something like that. Huruma falls silent again as Megan disappears over the angle of the roof, stepping a little ways down the path to not so subtly spy on the descent. A mixture of concerns and of interest.

"We'll get a real roof for you sometime. At least yours will help with the leak, I suppose." Not a solid fix, BUT, it will work. Huruma braves the vicinity of Megan and Hammer to wrap an arm around her shoulders, "I can tell you did." The other woman's boredom and restlessness can sometimes be a bit… pervasive. Not that Huruma has the answer for fixing it.

Wrapping her free arm companionably around Huruma's waist, Megan offers a cheeky quirk of her lips. "Sorry." She sounds genuinely regretful and feels guilty because she knows her dissatisfaction can be felt. "I know I'm causing you agitation," she continues softly. "I'm working on it."

There is a gentle tug toward the house so Hooms can go change clothes if she wants to. "I've been working on figuring out how to land better … and how fast I can go." Meg wrinkles her nose. "The answer is not very fast. I think I might be better off walking. It's more like floating than flying."

Her burgeoning ability is the one thing she's been able to really focus on learning, with some help from her best friend. "Honestly, I don't even think I could keep up with one of those speedy bike couriers."

"Don't apologize for feeling terrible." Megan is allowed to feel it; Huruma can't make her stop- - or rather, won't. Only if asked. Only a few people do. She moves after the tug, angling her head to look to Megan's face when she mentions what else she's working on. So to speak.

"If you give up walking, you can be tall, like me." The thought of Megan floating everywhere is charming. Until imagining the part where she goes cartwheeling off on the wind. Huruma peels away some to open the back door for the two of them. "At the very least… I'm glad to see that you're doing your best…. it's not easy, the whole…" You know.

Waking up new and different.

Megan's grimace speaks to her agreement of the last and is accompanied by a brief shove on Hooms. "Wretch," she retorts with no heat to the 'being tall like her' comment. The redhead isn't short but neither is she terribly tall.

Heading into the house, she leaves the hammer on the counter while she moves to wash her hands. "I have no room to complain," she admits. "I'm sure plenty of people who would have loved to wake up and fly." Not so much her, but…. no use crying over spilt milk.

Her mind drifts a little and she glances toward Hooms. "Want some coffee? I can make some while you change," she offers.

"Coffee sounds lovely, though coffee with some Bailey's sounds better." Huruma hangs her jacket inside the door, allowing some of her weariness to show now that they're out of the open. It's subconscious, keeping up appearances at times.

Though Megan's mind may be drifting into places Huruma isn't certain of, there is still an earnestness to the way that the empath lingers in the doorframe to the rest of the house, one hand on the wood as she leans back through.

"It sounds like you do have room to complain. I'll give you until the coffee is done to think of something." Huruma raises a brow, the familiarly critical look one borne of nosiness - - but also caring. Before Megan has a few seconds to fuss back, she's already slunk off.

The redhead slants a Look back toward the door — one of those 'hmmmmm' sorts of looks that says 'damn it' about living with an empath. Because the truth is, she doesn't feel she has the right to complain!

By the time the tall woman has returned, there is coffee — doctored liberally with Irish creme liquor (Bailey's name brand is really hard to get hold of these days) — waiting for her. Megan is padding around in her fleece slippers with a sweatshirt unzipped over her long-sleeved top. She has the sleeves pushed to her elbows while she warms up a couple of pastries from the shop in Red Hook in the toaster oven. It's not exactly surprising that she's put on a little over 10 lbs since she quit smoking — her well-worn jeans are definitely looking a little tight in the seat.

Leaning one hip on the counter as she savors her coffee, she tries to sort out what she might want to say to her friend. Meg's not one to complain generally, unless it's about baby doctors in her ER thinking they know more than a woman who has spent 30 years in the medical field.

Lounging means activewear leggings and a sweatshirt; his one's collar is cut downward to loosen it, marring the old AC/DC logo. She has no reason to be quiet here, and for the rare time, can be heard obviously making her way back downstairs.

"You always know how to work around the 'getting stale' problem." Huruma lingers in the door for a moment, thoughtful on the smell of pastries warming up. "I just make it worse." Yet she will stubbornly eat that hard-as-a-rock cinnamon roll as if her life depended on it.

Other than this, she doesn't interrupt the other woman's thought processes as she retrieves her own mug of coffee; pale eyes close when she sighs into it, letting warm air on her face hang there. 'Something like that' must have meant quite the headache.

"Well… it's better than gnawing on the rock-hard stuff and cracking a tooth," Megan points out with a grin.

With both hands around the warm mug, she tips her head and studies her friend. "Wanna tell me what happened?" Sometimes Huruma can't, obviously, but when she's annoyed like this Meg always offers the opening.

"My teeth are great, thank you." Huruma clicks them at Megan, tauntingly. The question begets the press of mouth into a line, and the twist of brow in consideration."I can't go into too much detail, but suffice to say, I am starting to hate governmental meetings. It makes me want to kick a man in the head. Roundhouse style. Get my Swayze on."

Something like that. Huruma doesn't like court either.

"Enough about me." Megan is shot a more criticizing look, though at the same time Huruma is taking her coffee and dipping into the living room.

Blue eyes are flanked by crow's feet as Megan grins hugely. "Now there was a man with a great ass," she observes with a sage nod. The redhead is still chuckling when she gets up to go grab the apple pastries from the toaster oven and drop them on a small plate to share with Huruma. She brings the plate and coffee in to join her housemate and settles in.

"Enough about you, hmm? Well…. if we can't talk about your day and there's jack and shit that's happened in mine, we're gonna be staring at each other awkwardly soon," she teases. If nothing else, being housemates has given them the opportunity to know each other in whole new ways that bunking together in a war doesn't allow for. Things like a silent battle over the thermostat, who used the last of the milk, whose turn it was to procure coffee, and 'wait, you got chocolate and didn't share?!?!'

For Megan, it's an easy camaraderie but she always has a low level of uncertainty to her mood. Even now. And although she knows Huruma picks up on it, Meg generally keeps her emotions pretty contained.

Megan and her bum attraction. Huruma just snorts in the wake of yet one more.

"So let's talk about any other day besides this one." The dark woman settles in on the chair near the window, briefly taking in the bird feeder sitting on the other side of the pane. Chickadees scratch and peck absently.

"Like tomorrow." Huruma tests the temperature of her coffee with a sip, wearing that ever familiar feline smugness- - at least at first. She adds a less playful and more searching, "Or after."

Mmm. Megan lets out a long, slow breath. Apparently she's not been as good at keeping 'quiet' as she thought. Leaning back in her seat, she admits quietly, "I have literally no earthly idea what's going to get done on any given day." She's telling the truth, and there's a pang of dismay accompanying the admission.

It's been stewing for weeks. She finally begins with "I don't know who I am anymore." After a pause, the redhead shakes her head slightly. "And I feel like I'm whining about being so fucking lucky as to have lived to actually semi-retire. But I really don't have a clue what to do, Hooms. I've been a nurse or a medic for 30 years. At least half of that time was in war zones. And another decade of it was supposedly normal life while working on the Underground Railroad."

It suddenly makes her laugh, but it's not really amusement. If anything, it's dark acknowledgement of having the shoe on the other foot. "I used to tease Ben — I'd tell him something and he'd say 'I'm retired,' and I'd roll my eyes. Retired my ass. But… now I understand how he felt." Blue eyes slip to her friend. "It's obviously a complete exaggeration, but I feel utterly fucking useless right now. I barely have a handle on this ability. I can't trust myself to work in case it gets out of hand and I hurt someone. I can only … I don't fucking know. Stockpile medicines and supplies," which she does — their attic and basement look like mini warehouses, "while the people I've always had the most in common with keep on fighting the same fucking fight in a different dress."

She swallows and the words escape before she even realizes they're coming. "And I wait for the message that you've all been killed saving the world." Again.

Huruma knew what sort of insect nest she was poking at; more bumblebees than hornets, in Megan's case. As heart to hearts go, there's no real pressure- - but the flowers are dangled pretty darn close. It isn't until the end, when Megan fails to choke back, that the listening silently gets to be too much.

"I've started over too many times to not understand what it's like to tread water." A sympathetic cast lies across her features as she leans forward to set her cup on the table. "The rest, I just… it's what I know. That's why I don't give any illusion of wanting to retire." It would be exactly the same as Ben- - retired, yeah, okay, sure. Huruma's breath escapes in a timid chuckle, taking one of the warmed pastries and nudging the plate to make sure Megan feeds her face.

"And for what it's worth… I'm sorry I can't let go. You know I don't mean to do it to you." Huruma's version of avoiding retirement is way more dangerous than if Megan were still full timing it. Everything did get more real once Detroit's siege ended. When the raids ended. "You're not the only one that feels like that."

The ones that fought to get the peace and quiet can't …handle the peace and quiet.

"I have way less insight on … defying gravity." At least one can trust Huruma to be truthful, if she wants to be. Lying isn't really her art- - just obscuration and misdirection. But when it comes to being honest with her friends, everyone's a victim. "I know… that I couldn't handle a lot of things when I came into mine. Not that I had anything like you do, with the delicate work…"

Meg props her elbows on the table and absently picks at the pastry that's pushed across to her. "You know… when I first ran back into Scott, the first thing he asked me was when I was going to retire. And I scoffed at it — cuz I'd retire to do what, sit on my damn thumbs?"

Popping a bite of the pastry in her mouth, she ruefully comments, "Now I'm doing exactly that and turning into a chunky monkey on top of it." She is so not — she's always been slender. The extra few pounds have done nothing but put a curve to her hips. One that draws an eye or two, as Huruma is well aware. But it's the principle of it.

"I'm not sorry you and the others can't let go… it's part of us. Right now, I don't have a part in that. Let's hope to hell I never do," Megan points out solemnly. After all, that means they're needing what she does best. "But… it's hard to go from being needed for something to … being invisible?" Maybe that's not the right way to put it either. "I just can't afford to be defying gravity at the hospital. So… I need to figure out what's next. And I'm flunking the pop quiz on it," she pokes fun at herself, at least.

Chunky monkey? Huruma rankles slightly, pointedly taking a huge bite while looking at her friend straight on. She's swatted at Megan's insecurity before. Stop that.

"Is that what it is, then…?" The moment passes, because it's a fleeting mental banter they always have. "You miss 'being needed' like you did?" Part of Huruma feels gray about this- - knowing she's correct in being needed means being in trouble, but at the same time- - friendship clouds things. "I wish I could do more for you, when it comes to your gift, because I know it makes every day harder…" The empath openly sulks, brows knit and mouth closed. That she can't help is a sliiight point of contention.

"You're right, though, I… don't want you to be needed like you always were." Huruma makes a flighty, placating gesture, arching one brow upwards. "Feeling needed is…different."

"I suppose you could always pass on what you know… or…" Trying to help, in her way, Huruma sighs through her nose, thoughtful. It turns curious, and Megan can almost feel that shift with how intent it is. "What's- - something you've always wanted to do? And couldn't? Dreams don't die, they simply… hide."

Megan considers the first question. "I think it's a lot of it," she admits softly. "I don't want to be needed like that — it means we're at war again." Maybe 'still'? Megan's never been quite sure they ever really stopped. "But yeah… I guess the hardest part is now I don't feel needed at all," she confesses. "I always thought Ben was exaggerating." Now she realises just how hard it was.

She takes a long swallow of her coffee and considers the second question. What did she always want to do and couldn't? Megan can't remember having very many dreams — she was fulfilled in her work and although she didn't need a lover to have a full social life, she's had her share and been happy with those relationships and with her friends. "I really don't … know who I if I'm not Nurse Young." She blinks. "That's pathetic." She's not whining or feeling sorry for herself, just weighing her perspective.

Huruma cheated when it came to exaggeration. If she bent into it that much anyway. She crooks her mouth in a small laugh, absorbing the rest with a more relaxed air.

"Not pathetic. You're secure in yourself. A lot of people can't say that." The different shifts as Megan mentally explores her ups and downs are studied, filed away as usual, mainly in that subconscious way Huruma does so. "So I suppose that means what's left is something new, hm?" Huruma thumbs a bit of pastry from the corner of her mouth, brows arched to the redhead.

"Could find a new hobby, as mundane and stereotypical as it sounds… take a class, teach one, volunteer somewhere… I work on kinesthetics with Emily, sometimes… " For all that she loves Megan to death, ideas for this seem to have her doubting her own advice. Still, there's one thing that makes her laugh again, "I've gotten jobs out of boredom, before. Like when I worked at Lucy's years ago. It was… fun."

Megan snickers softly. "It's kinda why Scott does what he does," she acknowledges. He's not exactly retired if he's flying the Tlanwua sometimes, but kinda. And he spends the rest of the time up to his elbows in engine grease, happy as a little hog in slop.

It's cute.

Her amusement is evident, and she knows Huruma won't tattle that emotion. Megan considers and makes a thoughtful 'hm' sound. "Well… I was volunteering in the free clinics before I got terrified that I'd fucking float away or something." That aspect, at least, is getting better. "Last time I worked a job other than medical was waiting tables in college." Thirty frigging years ago now. She ponders a bit more. "But you're right," she tells her friend. "I have got to figure something out before I lose my mind."

The fond way Megan talks about Scott is pretty cute too. Huruma nods once at her choice of not working clinics when airborne. That could be a real problem, considering the implements and delicate work.

"Rue has been drink-slinging at Cat's, though picturing you doing the same is- -" Huruma snickers openly, holding her hands out in a shrug. Helping. "Perhaps I could go do something with you… it may result in chaos, but not the type we would mind, exactly. Or at least, going with someone might not be terrible." Megan knows, more or less, that the Bastion is open to her. Presumably, the people in it too. Huruma sits up a little, mouth turning in a smirk, one hand slapping lightly against her knee. Hah. "A dog?"

Still helping.

Megan eyes Huruma even as her friend's fluffy namesake prowls into the living room looking so-very-disdainful as only a feline can. It's as if the tall woman conjured Ruma! "No." Just flat. Megan doesn't want to put more animals in the mix.

But she looks thoughtful at the idea of doing something together. "I could sling drinks. Maybe." There's a hint of doubt — Meg's awfully intolerant of people's bullshit sometimes. "Something chaotic and together sounds right up my alley, though," she admits. The redhead needs an avenue to cut loose a little and just be 'Megan' — hints of her peek out in sassy moments and all, but 'Nurse Young' always had to be calm and controlled. Most assume that red hair is a mistaken warning. It's not — the wicked humor and cheekiness of a redhead exists in her, just needing an avenue.

"We both could use cooking lessons before we starve or turn into take-out containers," she offers, a bit tongue-in-cheek. "I don't know if anyone does them anymore, but… I've definitely exhausted my small repertoire."

"Ah, so just the neighbor's then." Huruma looks down at the feline and the question curve of her tail. "You're better than some stinky old mongrel, aren't you?" As she says this, Huruma is putting the last of her pastry in her mouth and standing up to wrangle the cat. A moment of apprehension from her mini-me is all she gets; once the cat is safely up in her arm, Ruma has a full survey of her current kingdom. Yes. This is good.

"Not that we can't cook, we're just limited." Hand scratching at Ruma's head and ears, the two settle back down; the bulky cat flops across Huruma's lap. She strokes long fur, the two of them looking equally content. "Elliot knows what he's doing. You remember him. I wonder if he'd have the patience." Amusing enough to get a chuckle.

"Anyway… things like that. We could go out on the town more?" Equally dangerous when it comes to c h a o s.

Limited is probably a better term, Meg acknowledges. They've managed fine and they each have a few dishes they do well, but neither of them is exactly chef material. "Elliot did at least some of the cooking for Thanksgiving, yeah? He'd be fun to get into a kitchen," she agrees. Besides, it was good food.

And her smile is easy as she offers to Huruma, "You know I'm always down for a pub crawl." She pauses and admits, "You know what I'd really love to do again? Horses." It sounds crazy but horses were what the way used on Pollepel for patrol and some of the time out in the war years too — and it's the one thing Megan thoroughly enjoyed. Getting out to ride wherever it was they were going almost always brightened the redhead's mood, no matter how bad the weather, situation, or day was.

"He did a lot of it." Huruma confirms, leaning back and sinking into her seat. Her eyes follow a blue jay chipping at the other feeder birds. "I think there are people that recapture feral horses, out of the city. The ones that all got left behind? Would it be considered a ranch? Or just a rescue? Hm." Idle thinking out loud.

"Oh," A look moves furtively between their music system in the living room and Megan. Something about it is a touch coy. "There's a new club out at the bay boardwalk… blues, jazz, sounded lovely."

Megan's eyes light up. "Oh that sounds like a blast," she admits. "It's nice to see so many kinds of businesses starting up." To the other, though, the redhead observes, "and where would one keep such things in the Safe Zone? I mean… there's mounted cops, I know, but…"

Huruma always has the most interesting take on things. Horses in the city. Huh.

"Just outside the border. They train in the country." Huruma smirks. "We can go check it out. And we can hit that club. Try all sorts of things. You know I have your back. That means everything." The dark woman puts her hands under Ruma's forelegs and hoists the cat enough to do puppet paws.

Cat is unimpressed, but resigns.

"Everything means everything, like cutting rugs to the blues." Cat dance-paws. Ruma wiggles and puts one paw against her namesake's face before she is close enough to kiss the cat's.


Megan snickers softly. "Do you actually cut rugs to the blues? I mean…" She has no idea what you'd dance to the blues, but it sounds like fun. She makes a funny face at the cat and laughs when the feline goes 'nah!' at Hooms. "Finicky beast," she teases.

"All right, then," she decides. "Let's do it. I need to get out of my own head before I drown."

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