Morning Alcoholic


huruma_icon.gif megan2_icon.gif

Scene Title Morning Alcoholic
Synopsis Megan catches up and waxes poetic- and makes an offer Huruma struggles to refuse.
Date April 26, 2019

Young Residence

The corner residence in a line of what used to be fairly lovely brownstone homes on Ithaca street, there is still a sense of what the place used to be. Although rundown, the front steps bring visitors directly into a foyer of scuffed hardwood, where a staircase with a wrought-iron banister snugs up against the right-hand wall to the second floor and the hall continues all the way through to what a brief glance shows to be a small, well-laid-out kitchen. Nothing in the place is in very good shape, but the bones of what it could be someday can still be seen in the wainscoting and crown molding. Right now, the resident of the place has just done what she can to make it less decrepit.

In the family room to the left of the entryhall, the entire front wall is composed of windows, the farthest front corner of the room rounded into a circular feature. The windows have "decorative" iron scrollwork bars over them. Threadbare throw rugs cover the floor and three mismatched armchairs sit around a small, beat-up end table facing the fireplace, which obviously sees very regular use. Through an archway, an empty dining room sit forlornly and then through the archway on the other side, a small kitchen table sits in the nook area of the kitchen. All in all, the main level of the place is about 800 square feet.

It's nice out today — the weather has begun that shift to late spring/summer, where there's just enough bite in the air in the morning to give a freshness to the air and it's just warm enough in the evenings to sit on the stoop and watch the world go by. Megan's not often one to sit on the stoop at do that, but today… She's not a great one for hanging out in the backyard either. It's overgrown and weedy, and she definitely is not a lawn person. But today she's kneeling on the back steps with large pots. Habits she picked up over those months on Pollepel and the years of going hungry — a potted garden is getting started, and the stoop is convenient for the dirt and digging she wants to do. The steps get a good amount of early in the day sunshine, so it's a good place for the tomato plants she's just getting settled in there.

Taking a moment to sit back on her heels, the redhead wipes the back of her forehead with her dirty wrist, leaving a smudge. But she looks… accomplished. She hasn't actually put in garden pots in the past two years. It's a subtle sign of settling in.

"You seem busy."

Between the digging and potting and daytime, Huruma hardly needs to try and be quiet enough to slink around the house to the backyard. She's been gone since the first week of April- - and though she has been back in the states sooner than today, she hasn't made it back to the Safe Zone until this morning. Dressed for the weather, just a light jacket that she seems to want to keep as closed as possible. Like Sunstone months ago, wherever she has returned from this time seems to have left a lingering tenderness to her step; of course, it is a habit to try and blow it off.

"Not ready for the big pool yet?" The tall woman angles a leading elbow in a gesture towards the rest of the yard, in its peaceful disarray.

Looking up warily at first at the sense of not being alone — she is, after all, a woman alone in the Safe Zone. It's a rather rough place sometimes — Megan's expression immediately eases into a smile. "Well, hey, you." Hands on her knees, she levers herself upward stiffly into a standing position. As she peels off her gardening gloves, she jerks a chin toward the 'big pool'. "I'm not touching that shit. There's a kid that I pay to come in every couple of weeks during spring and summer to chop it down into some semblance of … non-jungle. Assuming he's still in business this year, I should be seeing him in a week or two," she replies with a grin.

Expert eyes skim Huruma's form with a thoughtful look. "You doing okay?" Meg leaves the gloves up on the top step and gestures. "Wanna sit out here, or would you rather inside?" Because both options are fine, but she's going to sit to talk.

"Hey now, I like the jungle." Huruma mock offends, moving closer to Megan enough to sling her arm over shoulder and across her back, a rather relieved hug to follow. She certainly seems to favor one arm over the other.

"I could absolutely be better. We can stay out here. I'm not in a hurry to tear you out of the sunlight." There's a too-mellow way about her tone, a sort of attempt at reminding herself she's peaceful and trying to play it down. "Israel is terrible. Don't ever go. Not worth it." So maybe she exaggerates a little bit. "…I'm not going away again anytime soon, I think."

Returning the hug easily, Megan rests her head on Huruma's shoulder for a long minute. "Good," she says, and then pulls away, both hands gentle on her friend's shoulders. "Cuz you look kinda like shit." She grins cheekily. "Go sit," she says with a jerk of her chin toward a couple of ratty yard chairs up on the small back deck. "I'll bring out some drinks and you can … fill me in. Or not." She rolls her eyes, theatrically accepting of the fact that she may not be told anything.

She's watchful as Huruma goes up the stoop's stairs to the small deck, assessing movements and making mental notes. It's automatic, she can't help herself.

For as theatrical as Megan's resignation is, she's going to be pleasantly surprised that Huruma has things to talk about. She moves up the stairs, vaguely aware of eyes on her back; Megan can see the favor of a leg, felt that sore arm around her shoulder, and notes a closedness of arms against torso. Protective, a bit.

"If you have anything decent, I feel like being a morning alcoholic." Huruma chimes back as she sits down, warm enough to toss her jacket off. Now she's feeling peaceful. And she does look like shit. Heel propped out, leg at rest, shoulder on that same side visibly banded with athletic tape; and most of all, some gnarly bruises on that same arm, head apparently unaffected.

Hmmmm. Megan smiles and comes up the stairs behind her, stepping inside the door to the kitchen. A few minutes so she can wash her hands and clean up a little, and she's stepping back out with a couple of sodas, a couple of glasses with ice in them, and a bottle of bourbon. "You'll have to make do with this one if you want something with bite," she offers with a smile as she rejoins Huruma. As she settles into the chair next to her friend, she lets out a low breath. Not quite relief, but maybe she's feeling some of those rough years — her knees are starting to complain regularly about things like kneeling on the ground.

"So, love… tell me how it went," she requests. "Was your run a success, or did you get your ass kicked for no reason?"
"Enh, I've made it with worse things." Huruma mutters, twisting some to mix herself a drink. She makes sure to get a taste in before answering anything else, pale eyes roving up somewhere into the blue spring sky. Her frame needed the sit down just as much, and her subconscious is too proud to show it.

"I got knocked around for no reason." A hard blink, and she is looking to Megan over her glass, breathing in some of the cold from the ice inside. "We went to look for Hana. She was MIA." Was. "Rue and I came back with consolation prizes."

There's a sudden wariness to Megan, worry foremost in her reaction. Not for the injuries so much — Huruma and Rue are more than capable of handling themselves and managing the injuries. And Huruma's moving stiffly, but she's clearly recovering. "She was MIA, or she still is?" Meg asks slowly. "Because one of your supposedly KIA folks turned up in my ER not too long ago — we had Amarok camping out in the ward for days." It has an element of amusement — not about the patient, but about Amarok's campers. "Been a while since I saw such a parade of badasses in and out the door. Ray and his family, Epstein, Lu. Jesus Christ."

"Devon. Yes." To Amarok's inclusion, Huruma just smiles to herself. "We don't know what happened. But we are glad he is alive. Somehow." She saw the results of Sunstone when they took off in the Tlanuwa. Devon shouldn't have been back. A pause, wherein Huruma raises an eyebrow. "Though I had no idea that Jesus Christ made personal hospital visits."

Shut up, you.

"Was." Huruma blows a sigh from her nose. "She's alive. But- -" Megan can practically see the shift from pleasantly joking to something melancholy. The tall woman frowns into her glass. "I don't know what, exactly, I am allowed to say. " Huruma stops herself with a click of teeth, aware that she's already said a little much. "Something to do with a Black Box and data loss and- - well, suffice to say she does not remember us. Wolfhound is rearranging itself without her or several others." The mission is done- - the Institute is done.

There's a wrinkle of Meg's nose at her friend's tongue-in-cheek comment. Pffft. Brat.

The amusement fades, though, at the news of Hana's state. "I'm sorry," she says quietly. Hana is not one of the people Megan had contact with, but she's not unaware of what the other woman has done or who she was and is in the scheme of the past years, nor is she blind to how much the woman means to people Megan herself cares about. "Do you think you'll keep with it through the reorg?" she asks gently, sipping from her soda as she watches Huruma. Change is a constant in their lives, it seems, but… stability in terms of knowing that you have a purpose even amid change is a good thing. "Scott mentioned something about it, but not in depth. Just that it was happening and that Wolfhound would be doing some things locally in the Safe Zone in the future."

Huruma's admiration for Hana has never been a secret; as two independent operators, there was a mutual respect. Was. Now, just her own.

"I will." She may bother Megan about finding a less stressful job, but herself? Never. What else would there be? "They'll need me." Or Huruma hopes so. "We have negotiated a contract with the MPs and plan the same for the reforming NYPD and SCOUT… we will effectively be who to call when the backup needs backup, or SWAT is needed. There is a satellite office being refurbished in Phoenix Heights."

Megan nods slightly, as if she expected nothing else. "You'll be closer, at least. I, for one, will appreciate it more than you know." She grins just a little. "Ever notice how, the more things change, the more they don't?" She purses her lips, setting her glass on the low table. "Things are … they don't feel right. Ben sure as hell doesn't feel right. It feels like things are… percolating." She grimaces. "He's finally admitting that he can't retire." As if that is news.

"I feel like the fact that I'm seriously giving thought to leaving nursing makes me a fucking quitter," Megan admits quietly. "I've done this job for nearly 30 years… I don't think I know what else to do. But damn, it's getting tough." She is definitely feeling the wear and tear of 15 years of military service and the years in the Ferry and the Second Civil War.

"We're still basing in Rochester, you've seen the Bunker." They could never bail on it. "Percolating is a fine word for it. And of course he can't. I told him a hundred times." Huruma does laugh, soft though earnest. "And now he's back in the thick of it…"

"Megan…" Her friend's feeling of inferiority earns a passive scold with her name. "That's how we feel too. Knowing nothing else. But for you," Huruma sits up, fingers of her bruised arm stretching when she leans in. "You have options. Me? Even having half of a sandstone canyon falling on me can't make me not a weapon. War."

Though Megan has heard Huruma joke about this, this time it sounds different. A hint of resignation trailing behind.

"You don't always have to be where lives are on the line… I still think that you would be just as lovely putting bandages on skinned knees instead. It sounds blissfully peaceful compared to what I've watched you do for years…" The Academy, she means. Or any school, really. Huruma's eyes carry a world's worth of admiration for Megan, too.

"If you have reservations, you know I will support you regardless."

Her smile at her friend eases that vague disgruntlement that she feels about the idea of quitting anything. "I never doubted that for a moment," Megan assures her. "Much as you and Ben are … 'weapons of war,' I struggle with the idea of doing something so much more peaceful and not being there in the thick of it when there are lives I could save." She rolls her eyes a bit. "Hell, it's an addiction, plain and simple. Or maybe just an overdeveloped sense of responsibility."

She pauses and admits, "I'm almost there, though."

"Maybe with something new there may not be lives to save, but you can always change them… Have you ever considered teaching?" A person with Megan's experiences would be invaluable for it. Huruma is now quicker to polish off what's in her glass and this time, it's only a splash of bourbon on half melted ice.

Addiction, she says. She isn't wrong. Huruma squares a look to the potted plants across the deck.

"Sometimes I wish that I wasn't… But I can't imagine anything else…"

Leaning her head back in the chair, Megan considers the idea. "That's…. not a bad idea," she admits. "Although I rather figure that teaching combat medicine in the ways that I would isn't exactly what people want in the ER and stuff," she points out with a wry grin. Sipping from her soda, she shrugs. "I'll figure it out eventually. There's not a huge hurry about it. I think when I find the right fit for the next step, I'll finally pull the trigger on it."

Tipping her head, she asks, "So .. you gonna be around here more often?" Her smile is easy. "I know you're still based in Rochester, but having you around a bit more won't hurt my feelings."

"Brooklyn College is there. Think about it." Huruma leaves the thought on that note, a calmer expression worn for her friend's dismissal to figure it out later. All the time in the world, really.

"I will. Not that I don't take enough vacations down here already." There is a small laugh at the thought. "Because clearly I don't bother any of my friends enough. I wonder if SESA or the NYPD might need a lie detector." She's probably joking - - but Huruma does have a teaching certification when it comes to abilities, so maybe not. "If I do stay here more… perhaps I ought to get out of Lynette's hair when it comes to mooching a room. Not that I am very intrusive, just… mm. Resources." Huruma leans on her hand again, flexing the hand with bruises along wrist.

"I suppose I have a few options. A bridge to cross."

"You know you always have a room here if you'd like it. And a room at Ben's I'm sure too. But if you're looking for a more permanent situation…" Megan shrugs a little. "Honestly, I wouldn't at all mind sharing a house," she grins. "I mean — you're here often enough, I doubt it would be much different if this was home base rather than a place to visit."

There's a shaft of contentment that accompanies the offer; the redhead would genuinely be happy for such a set-up. Her amusement tinges the contentment. "I don't exactly have much of a social life, so it's not like there's that worry."

Huruma does know where she is welcome. Transiency was always sort of a thing in her life that she never quite questioned. A rootless tree, as old mentors said. Even Madagascar couldn't fence her in for long. For all that it's not uncommon for Megan to offer help to her, there is still an arched brow across to the redhead at the offer itself.

"Haven't you had more than enough of me in your personal space?" The dark woman laughs, a half-hearted sound followed by her eyes tracking after songbirds in the backyard. Though she is sure Megan wouldn't mind it at all- - cohabitation was usually around other people as well. There really aren't many people who can say that they've just lived with her. There is always something else. Someones.

But now there's not anymore. This would be peacetime.

And she's still apprehensive, because Megan, despite Huruma's years of adoration, doesn't know everything. Maybe the ins and outs from sewing her back together, but hiding things is in Huruma's nature. It even took a while for Ben to know the things he does- - and perhaps against her better interests, avoided burdening Megan with certain things.

"You mean that you don't throw outrageous parties?" Huruma stares at the birds for too long before stirring.

"Pfffft," Megan snorts. "Hell, wild party these days means getting a few of the old farts together to drink on the back porch." She grins — she likes it that way. A small circle of friends who can talk about anything or nothing. "As to my personal space?"

There's a pause because she gives the matter honest thought. While she does, she goes rummaging for one of the few cigarettes in a day she allows herself — she's still never managed to entirely quit the habit. Lighting it with a lighter that came from the same pocket of her cargo pants — another habit she hasn't really dropped, wearing those things comfortably for most chores — she pulls in a lungful of smoke and lets it hit her bloodstream before slowly releasing it away from Huruma. "Is it my personal space you're worried about being in," she asks, "or is it more that you're worried I'll see even more than what I've already seen of who you are?"

"You are not old." Huruma isn't exactly trying to change the topic. She says this a lot. "The only reason retiring even comes up is that you earned it."

There is no incoming answer for the bigger question, not right away. Birds still come and go, until it looks like Huruma decides to tear her eyes away.

"Both." She watches the puffs of smoke rather than Megan's face. "There have always been variables, Megan. Ones that keep me mostly quiet." Huruma links her hands on her lap, breath in a sigh. "Ones that don't. God knows that you know what damages can be done to a person- - I was born with mine. As much as I work on myself, it is always there. I'm not- -" She rubs at her head with her fingers, brow furrowed and eyes closed. Irritation, though not for the redhead. "I do not think I would be a very good roommate for anyone."

"I think that you're the only person who gets to make the decision," Megan replies easily. "I think that it's a manageable situation. But if you don't feel safe enough in your own skin to share the house when it's just the two of us without a buffer, I understand that." They've shared plenty of living spaces over the years, but Huruma is right — they've always had other people nearby. She can see how that might make Huruma feel safer. There's no hurt in her tone at the offer being turned down — there is only her affection for the other woman and a simple, "The offer is an open one, if you change your mind. You have the keys anyway, yeah?"

For all that Huruma is probably the single most dangerous person Megan has ever been around — and that's saying something, given their company over the years — the redhead has never shown a moment's trepidation. Even when warned what could have happened back on Pollepel, the ability to bury her emotions behind calm has turned out to serve both her and Hooms well at times.

Leaving that topic aside, Meganis thoughtful for a long moment. "I heard something once that's been slipping in and out of my thoughts lately. From a children's movie, of all things. This has all happened before, and it will all happen again. This time, it's happening… Do any of the rest of you feel that way?" she wonders.

Huruma can't help but lower her gaze just so, listening as Megan reassures her and leaves the offer open. She does have the keys, yes. Her senses envelop the aura from Megan like a blanket, keen on soaking it in. The sun is only out in the sky.

"Peter Pan." She massages the backs of bruised, scraped knuckles, voice low in response to her friend's quotation. Brows lift soon after, half-lidded eyes almost a touch to shy to admit she knows. "It is from Ecclesiastes, one-nine. The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun."

The dark woman stays silent for long enough afterward to get uncomfortable.

"Pardon. I had some early exposure to scriptures." Huruma tries not to let out a laugh, and it only half succeeds. "Sometimes I do, yes. In the end it is our choices, not God's. Free will is our power."

If she's at all surprised at Huruma's eclectic knowledge, it only shows briefly in the soft grin she shoots her friend. "Let's hope, then, that we can make the right ones," she comments quietly, bringing up the cigarette for a drag. Her blue eyes flicker to the sky as she lowers her hand to flick ashes sideways behind her, again keeping her noxious cloud to herself. "We've all earned peace. It's been hard-fought and it's not perfect, but it's… nice. I had hoped we'd be done with most of this kind of worrying… in my lifetime, at least."

When she looks back, there's simply a sigh. "Ah well… when the shit hits the fan, you'll still know where to find me."

Huruma's initial silence is more or less affirmation; the lack of answer to wondering isn't anything new. Typically if she disagrees, she says so. Her eyes rest on the clink of molten ice at the bottom of her empty glass.


Megan snickers. "Upstairs," she agrees. "Smart ass."

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