Murder is my Métier


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Scene Title Murder Is My Métier
Synopsis Bryan comes to interview Huruma, who doesn't really feel the need to be all too cooperative from his point of view.
Date September 18, 2008

Primatech Research — Cell Block A

One thing has to be set, for the record. The Company is efficient. It's less than twenty-four hours after Huruma was brought into the Bronx facility, and she's already been medically evaluated, tested, and installed in a cell on Level Five, as per her evaluation and history dictate. The room is bare of everything save the bare essentials - a cot with a thin mattress, both of which have seen better days, and a prison issue commode.

Bryan is standing on the other side of the glass window, his arms folded across his chest with one hand rubbing his chin as he studies Huruma. There is, however, an inward glaze to his eyes. Something else is plaguing the agent.

Like any good caged animal put through the ringer, Huruma has been asleep for nearly the entirety of this, save for the couple of moments where she may have threatened to wake past the dregs of an anesthetic. The tall woman has been wrapped in the usual uniform of a Level Five detainee; papery, pale blue pants, the low-heeled white shoes, and a thin, v-necked top over a sleeveless white undershirt. It contrasts against her skin almost painfully, though when her eyes open, the slivers of white match perfectly.

Waking up anywhere has always been a careful affair; she opens her eyes with a slow blink, remaining in her sleeping position while she gets her primary bearings back. Swiveling pupils observe the room from that point, and the woman makes note of what is now instead covering her skin. Huruma's first obvious movement is to pull back one foot after the other to shunt off the pair of white slip-on shoes to the floor.

Within a few seconds of pause, she moves again. Making a languorous effort, one leg slips silently from the bed, followed by the other; her torso arches upward to follow her hips, both hands twining above her head to finish in a cracking of joints. Huruma remains in this wall-facing position for a few more seconds, the air passing out through her mouth having the tiniest of hisses.

Once her hands sway back down to the bed, she turns her head towards the glass window with a blank expression on her face. Bryan is regarded with nothing but a lock-eyed stare.

Blinking once, Bryan refocuses his eyes on the woman while she wakes, so that when she finally looks back at him, he's staring too. The agent is dressed not too much unlike what he was wearing yesterday, though he's lost his jacket. "Hello, Huruma," he says coolly, though there is a twitch of a smile curling in one corner of his mouth.

"How did you sleep?" It's a question not too much unlike 'are you hungry' or 'how are you today.' They could be sitting at a diner table across from one another, as far as Bryan's tone is.

The dark woman behind the glass lifts her chin in thought, lips pursed and the black of her pupils pinpointed in the light. A breath travels in through her nose and out again with something of a disinterested sigh. "…Good enough." Her voice echoes within the small room, almost at a rumble. "«You are lucky there is a glass wall between us, man-snake.»" Huruma croons in Swahili, lips curling in a smile, eyes narrowed. She seems deceptively well-mannered, at the least.

That's something for someone else to translate and add to Huruma's file. Bryan, on the other hand, doesn't know the language, nor does he really care what was just said. "Why?" is all he asks, but he quickly clarifies. "Why do you kill them, Huruma?" He lowers his arms and turns to lean his shoulder against the glass, slipping his hands into his pockets. "I'll tell you — I do it because I've got nothing else. It's the one thing I'm really good at. So it gives me a job. But why do you do it?"

All she does for a long time is stare back at him, void of any certain expression.

Without a prompt, Huruma's lips part to show her tongue running over her teeth and the edge of her top lip. "B'cause, it is also my job." Plus, she enjoys the fact, but that is only secondary.

Bryan tilts his head somewhat away from the glass, looking casually at Huruma and trying to avoid any outward show of exactly how interested he now is in her. "Oh? And who employs you?"

Huruma utters one word at the glass from her careful perch on the cot; her voice is slow, sure, and comes with a touch of that haunting coo of hers. "Gaunab."

Bryan 's eyebrow arches a bit more. "Gaunab?" he repeats, as if to make sure he heard her correctly. "You like it with Gaunab?" She certainly seems loyal. "Tell me about him. Maybe I want to make a switch."

There is a bout of laughter echoing in Huruma's skull. She'll let him have his questions, keeping a calm and rather tired demeanor. "His payment is life." As in, you get to keep yours.

Oh. Oh. Bryan rolls his eyes a bit, then pushes away from the glass as if he were going to leave. "Huruma," he says in an almost scolding tone of voice. "I wouldn't have pegged you for a religious nut." But it certainly fits the bill.

"You d'not have t'peg me for anything, snake." Huruma seethes, but quietly. The woman rises slowly from her perch, lifting her feet with steps as soft as a housecat. A few steps across the cold floor, then a deft turn on the front of her right foot, her left starting the trip back towards the cot in silence. "You are th'one askin'the irrelevant questions…" During this entire time of few paced steps and velvety words, her eyes have not left the man on the other side of the glass.

Bryan looks back over his shoulder with a tired sort of face and tilts his head once more, as if it were too heavy for his thick neck. "And what, Huruma," he almost sighs, "would be a relevant question?"

Huruma smiles coyly, hands practically fluttering to feel at the papery fabric she is wearing, palms twitching and fingers brushing on the folds of her lower shirt. "I canno'answer tha'for you." Slender, prying fingers clutch at the opposite hems of her top, pulling it upwards in a twining motion and leaving her with the simple white undershirt instead. A dismissive flick relocates the bigger shirt to the far corner, where it slumps against the wall.

Bryan considers for a moment, then turns back to Huruma. "What is this Gaunab like, hm?" he asks, showing a bit more interested than he let leak out before. "You must like him, or fear him, or you wouldn't be so devoted."

"I d'not fear him. I respect him." Huruma rolls her shoulders once before craning her neck in a circular stretch, her voice breathing out in vague boredom and her Rs rolling with it. "I find tha'many think those…are th'same thing." Her features wrinkle in distaste, hands smoothing the fabric drawn over her hips. She is obviously tempted to do the same with the pants as she did with her overshirt.

"They can be," Bryan says with a shrug. "Sometimes. Sometimes not. Sometimes you respect out of admiration. But you can admire the fear that someone strikes in others. Sometimes you respect out of duty, and something deep within you. Which would you say applies?"

A low chuckle bubbles forth. "Admiration. Penance. Restitution. There are…many reasons, bu'I do no'fear him. Per'aps his effects, bu'not him." Her thumbs hook along the edge of her pants, drawing them open an inch and fingers curling around the tie.

"And you — d'you respect these people? There must be a bette'reason f'you t'work for them other than…"noth'ing else". Or "good at it". Am I rrright? Jus'because I am good at somethin'does no'mean tha'I'ave t'do it…" She purrs and tilts her head curiously at the walls now; her hand is plucking the tie apart, and the fabric pants drop into a crinkling pool around her ankles. Careful steps draw her feet away from them, leaving the tall woman in her white undergarments.

Bryan looks away when Huruma starts to speak about his own affiliations, but when he looks back at her, he double-takes. "I… I have no one else," he says, caught for a moment while Huruma's pants are down. "Do you believe in fate?"

"Tha'is no excuse…" Besides, even with nobody, you'll always have yourself.

When his topic switches to something else, Huruma turns her head to watch Bryan while she takes a slow stroll around the perimeter of her cell. "Fate? Hmm…" She hums, lips parting in contemplation and eyes closing for a few seconds. Her weight is balanced on the balls of her feet, precarious and swaying. Her arms sling behind her, resting at the small of her back. "Maybe." Huruma's tone is lower now, and she slips open one eye to look at Bryan again. "Why d'you ask…?"

"Some might say," Bryan continues, turning to give Huruma his side and pointedly not look at her in her somewhat nakedness, "that everything happens for a reason. Or, that everything is connected somehow. Some would say you were fated to come here, just as I was when I was young. This…Gaunab of yours. Perhaps you were only fated to follow him for a time." And perhaps that time is coming to an end.

Face pulling into a visible snarl, but her lips peeling back into an audible hiss, Huruma narrows her eyes through the glass, swinging her arms around to cross in front of her stomach. "No." Her voice growls, rumbling with just one word.

"Your view o'Fate- it is…most fouled, if you only see this-" Her arm extends to motion fluidly to the building around them. "-as th'world affected. There are bigge'things, than you an'I…" She stares out calmly again. "In that…I do believe in fate, bu'certainly no'th'fate tha'you see as so small."

"Every large thing has small parts," Bryan replies cooly, unphased by the rise he's gotten out of the imprisoned woman.

"O'course. Bu'usually those othe'parts matte'more t'me than this one." Huruma's way of basically saying that someone is useless. There are more ways she does this, but Bryan gets the plainest. "Fate is a path, not an outcome. You are a fool t'discount those other…"small parts" for th'simple…milking of your own." She replies again, spitting a few words but finishing equally coolly and bringing her expression into the realm of silent, burning eyes.

The sound of leather loafers smacking lightly against the concrete floor underfoot fills the halls of Cellblock A, and a moment later the large figure of Bob Bishop rounds the corner. As usual, he's dressed in clothes that walk the line between business and casual: dark slacks and a pinstriped shirt designed to make him look just a little bit leaner than he really is. As he approaches Huruma's cell, he reaches up and loosens the bolo tie he wears at his throat. "Mr. Buckley," he greets, "I trust our guest is all settled in?"

Any retort that Bryan may have had for Huruma is extinguished by the sound of those leather loafers. All the same, Bryan looks far from pleased. He fodls his arms across his chest and sniffs once, regarding Huruma with disdain, before he answers his boss "Quite, I should say. Alive and well, if a bit…reluctant to carry on a /civilized/ conversation about philosophy." That's the real trouble — Bryan doesn't think the big woman behind the glass is playing fair.

Those burning pale eyes shift from Bryan to the new stranger, then narrowing at Bryan again with a darting motion. The rest of her is still, but not rigid.

"You try carryin'on anything in a zoo, Miste'Buckley. Do no'call me uncivilized, nor reluctant, when in th'same breath you watch m'through a glass wall." Huruma's words are venomous and smooth, and she even says Bryan's name with a taunting drawl.

"Philosophy is a useless topic t'discuss with a mindless dog." She even jabs at what she deems blind loyalty to whatever it may be; the woman's tone is still icy and deep.

"Fascinating." Bob comes to a stop in front of Huruma's cell and squints at her from behind his glasses, his head tilted at a decidedly bird-like angle. "I was expecting someone a little more… clothed." Translation: What's going on here, Bryan?

It's getting hard for Bryan to ignore Huruma's scathing remarks at his expense, but he grits his teeth and flexes his arms as he bears them silently. "Had you come about ten minutes ago, you would have seen such. I can only assume she is more comfortable this way, unless it is meant as some sort of tactic." Bryan smirks, one fang just visible as it touches his bottom lip. "This isn't my game, sir. It's yours."

Huruma rolls her eyes, turning on one foot to stroll back around the perimeter of this new cage. It is one movement, and as always, this is catlike. One, two, three silent, padded paces. She keeps her eyes on the men at the window.

"You only wish it was a tactic, mamba." Then the tall woman laughs from her chest, amusement at Bryan obvious while she smiles with her lips.

"Don't let her get to you," Bob warns Bryan, though it's probably worth noting that he's keeping an unusually safe distance away from the glass — and Huruma. Just in case. "We're the ones who are in control. My daughter was the same way, once upon a time, acting out because it made her feel as though she had more power than she really did. Huruma is no different."

"What shall we do with her?" Bryan asks after taking a deep breath, turning the conversation to Huruma's destiny, rather than include her. It's easier to imagine she isn't really there behind that glass. "She's talented, but she's also…well, very much like your daughter."

"I am different, I assure you." Huruma's jaw clenches for a moment, lips parting into a sneer, and arched brows knitting above the stare. Her chin lifts sharply, and both long legs come to a slinking halt beside the cot- but Huruma does not sit down again. Instead, she drawls on, voice almost lazy with disregard and contempt. "You can feel safe wit'your glass, if you want…but I am the better for it."

"An'for the record, mabwana, m'disrobing was b'cause your issued clothing was simply… uncomfortable." That drawl turns into a familiar purr of words-upon-words.

Bob's bottom lip twitches slightly as he worries it between his teeth in a brief, albeit solemn, moment of contemplation. "If we can't find a use for her," he murmurs, "then that the decision falls to Thompson." Although his words are meant for Bryan, his eyes remain on Huruma as he speaks. "Usually, he has them humanely put down."

No amount of self-control in Bryan's seemingly infinite reserves can stop him from finally looking at Huruma again and smirking, eyes cool and confident once more. "Who's the dog now," he murmurs, but it's loud and clear enough for both his boss and prisoner to hear.

"I take it you've read my report," he continues without a hitch, looking to Bob like an employee expecting a raise. "Her ability is quite powerful, as I'm sure Elle can corroborate. She may be useful, if she can find that control she's so desperately seeking." Looking back to Huruma, he winks as he adds, "though it will be a small thing."

Huruma just waits, and waits, and finally, another laugh, long and languorous.

"…D'you really think I seek control?" That, friends, is something she has long possessed. "«Your final days are fast approaching, so tie up your loose ends…»" First it was Swahili, with Bryan — but now it is a much more strange language. Something purely Khoisan, of clicks, chirps, plucks, and half-words.

"We'll just have to wait and see, won't we?" Bob turns his body away from the glass, though he's careful to keep Huruma's shadow in his peripheral vision. "I know you're not the kind of person who gets attached," he says, "but I want you to know that her time here will most likely be — limited. After the incident two months ago, the upper echelons haven't been showing as much mercy as they used to." A pause. "Speaking of. Security's been tightened as of this morning. Agent Parkman has reason to believe Peter Petrelli has been in contact with… one of ours. They know about the Walker System."

Much of Bryan's work couldn't be done without the Walker system, and so he narrows his eyes at the notion that there is even the slightest chance it might be lost. The loss of Huruma, on the other hand, is something much easier to deal with. Bryan nods resolutely, glancing to Huruma once more. "Understood, sir. Is there anything in particular you would have me doing?"

Huruma simply listens at this point, eyes boring into the glass as if she might be able to sprout red lasers and fire her way out. The listening, however, is what she does more naturally. Those other names and incidents really mean nothing to the shadowed lady, but she begins filing them away in her head regardless.

"Just keep an eye out for anything suspicious," Bob tells Bryan, "and, for everybody's sake, make sure that she —" He jerks his head in Huruma's direction. " —and Elle don't rile each other up. The last thing we need is a blackout while we're still on high alert."

"Yes sir," Bryan says with the thrill of one trained to obey and enjoy it. He even smiles and relaxes his posture, pressing a hand against the top of his abdomen. "I'll keep her away from the whole level." That seems the best course of action to him, anyway.

Bob gives a short shake of his balding head. "No," he says shortly, "she needs access to this level so she can continue to work with Ms. Sanders. The interaction is good for both of them, and I'd hate to see their progress impeded over this. As long as she's supervised, there shouldn't be an issue."

Great. So Bryan is babysitting. He frowns for a moment, but then accepts his task with a nod. "Very well, sir."

September 17th: A Different School of Thought

Previously in this storyline…
A Different School of Thought

Next in this storyline…
The X-Files This Isn't

September 18th: It was a Mobile Minefield
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