Personal Shorthand


huruma2_icon.gif megan2_icon.gif

Scene Title Personal Shorthand
Synopsis Huruma can't stop thinking.
Date December 3, 2018

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.

Wolfhound has always been a dangerous career choice. There are times when this is made abundantly clear. Recent jobs have been… stressful in new ways. Strange new ways. It has grown typical for Huruma to call or bother her friend to regale her with recent adventures- - but this time there hasn't been a call nor visit, much less gossip. She only said that the hounds had a job coming. Ben was going as a… consultant, of a sort. Somewhere out of state, a serious excursion. Huruma did not say when she would be back. Megan knows she always does. Sometime. It only begs concern when she knows others to be back in Rochester.

This sort of avoidance used to be a simple fact of life for Huruma. Now it fills her stomach with an oddly guilty weight. What gives? It could be because she knows she needs to talk about it. There was all that debriefing, but even with the people that were there… it's hard to explain what happened.

It stays on her mind, of course. It is hard to shake. Talking with Ben only went so far for either of them. Especially when she knows the trip was just as harrowing for him. She hates to burden anyone, much less suffer her friends for it when they are burdened themselves. The hounds are already stretched. The girls probably wouldn't understand. Nicole may have— but she's got other things to worry about. Lynette too. And anyone else- - well- - something tells her that they would have polarizing thoughts on the matter.

So, Huruma knows that Megan is one of the few. It doesn't make it any easier, despite the two of them having seen one another cut to bone already. Showing weakness, the fun stuff and what not.

"Ugh." She can't help the disgusted noise aimed at herself when she steps through slush to get to Megan's door. Calling ahead is for chumps. If she's not home, Huruma can let herself in anyhow.

It might be a surprise indeed to find the redhead at home — Megan rarely skimps on ER shifts. But perhaps she took that idea that she needed to slow down just a little to heart. The door opens before her best friend even hits the stoop, and Megan waits there wrapped in sweatpants and her favorite fuzzy socks. A quick skate of her eyes from top to bottom has her pursing her lips thoughtfully.

"Well…. you don't look like you got dragged through a hedge backward," she offers with a quirk of her lips. Standing back to let Huruma come inside and out of the frigid cold, she gestures to the front room where the fire burns. "Tea? Coffee? Something stronger?" She's clearly glad that Huruma is here, in one piece, and not immediately bleeding in the dooryard.

It's muddy and wet and all that is missing is the drowned rat look. Instead it's a look of resignation up the stairs as Huruma meets Megan at the door, a faint laugh for the assessment.

"Yes, well…" Huruma sighs, kicking snow and mud from her boots before heading inside. A moment taken to set a hand reassuringly against her friend's shoulder. "Is it really that bad? Something stronger for me, do not feel like you have to keep up. I need it more than I need plant-water." Bean-water?

A brow quirks higher on her forehead, and Megan gets Huruma in the door, closes it behind her, and then hugs her tightly ignoring the fact that she's wet. Releasing her briefly to take an even closer look in the firelight, the redhead then heads for the cabinet where the 'something stronger' lives. If there is one thing that Megan has a firm appreciation for, it's the good liquor. She brings out a bottle of Scotch that must have been dear as hell to trade for — although they both know a lot of people trading out of Canada who can get such special treats, it's still not cheap. And then she pours two glasses and waits until the taller woman is comfortably ensconced in front of the warm fireplace. "Do tell," she invites, only curling up into her own comfy chair when she's sure Huruma is settled.

The brief embrace allows a held breath to escape, the second inspection getting a more tired look in response. As Megan steps away, Huruma peels out of her coat and settles into the next room; the bottle Megan returns with earns a raised brow. That's the good stuff, isn't it?

Huruma accepts the glass with a small noise of gratitude, leaning back into her seat and sliding her boots off. "Let me preface and say that I am not sure how much I ought to let you know, what with all the…" She huffs. "Classified. Honestly I already push my luck, so enh—" Huruma seems to go through an entire decision process in a moment. She decides she doesn't actually care enough to censor herself. Maybe a little.

"You know we've been working to get these last institute remnants taken care of." Wolfhound is created for it. "This last one.. We went to find a memory manipulator. That is more or less what he was. Did not work out, and there was a landmine incident but… That isn't what's…" Bothering her. Huruma frowns and peers into the glass.

Settling in with her scotch and the blanket that she usually curls up with in front of that fire, Megan takes a sip and lets Huruma do her mental dance about classified information and what she does and doesn't want to say — she won't talk about it to anyone, it's a safe bet. But she also isn't going to cajole such information out of Huruma.

So when the other woman begins speaking, there's a tilt of the red head as Megan listens. It would be funny if Huruma weren't the focus of Megan's attention — she's seen the nurse do it before. Even on Benjamin. Even on Hooms herself! It's that patient, I have all the time in the world expression that holds no judgement and no rushing. Meg's one of those people who listens. Especially when it's important and the words are clearly causing a struggle. So… the fire pops in the fireplace, and the room is warm and comfortable, and the scotch is damn good. Megan waits.

"That isn't why I've been hiding." That's what it was, and Huruma knows it. "Not that I haven't talked about it after, just…" She turns the glass a bit in her fingers, takes a small taste, considers the feel of it on her tongue. "It got complicated fast. I had to kill someone, but it wasn't that either. Obviously." She might laugh if she wasn't being so serious, and instead the thought of it gets squelched into another frown.

"It was- -" Huruma stops, "He was being kept by the man we went to find. Like a dog in a sunless metal box." Her nail taps a short metronome on the side of her drink. "A malformed amalgamate of a man. Halfway living. Something Lovecraftian more than of Shelley." A monster, not misfortune. "A vestige of Institute experimentation, or just… old studies. I know of one that it could have been, but I did not discuss it." One more detail tries to make it out of her mouth, getting caught partway and buried by the click of glass against lower teeth.

When Huruma finally gets to the parts that were bugging her, Megan squelches a flinch. "Jesus," she breathes out softly, sympathy clear in her features. Again she sits quietly for a long while, letting Huruma work around it in her own head and decide for herself if she's going to speak the last part aloud. As she sits there, there is a moment where she meets Huruma's eyes and can't help the faint smile — amazing how comforting just the silence can be sometimes. The redhead swirls the contents of her glass slowly, letting her gaze drift to the fire. They've exchanged a hell of a lot of secrets in front of fires around this country.

Megan's smile it what does it, as she knows it wouldn't be there if the idea of sharing secrets brought any discomfort. Secrets, fires.

"I knew him." Huruma adds, with a deeper tone and a tension at the back of her neck. "Or… another him. He was an… imitation. Still alive. I believe farmed, somehow, if what I knew already has any bearing."

Huruma knew him. It brings another wave of sympathy for her friend. "That can't have been easy to see," she says quietly. Megan pauses, though, her brows pulling together slightly as she considers. "I'm not sure I understand what you mean by an imitation. Like… Brian Winters?" A copy of himself?

Whatever it is that Huruma wants to say to the first quiet notes of sympathy, she doesn't; while she doesn't like the feeling of people looking at her with some measure of pity, she's also gotten used to the fact that friends do that.

"No. Like… a starfish." Huruma sets her glass down from another sip and mimes the snap of a limb. "But he has never — he has never shown me that was within his power. Perhaps it isn't. Perhaps it is something to do with the Institute's studies. Or perhaps he did not trust me as I thought he did." For the first time in the conversation the frustration turns into something truly hurt, brief but clear.

"This one, when there was a firefight, broke out of the containment he'd been in. We hadn't intended to take care of whatever was inside until we had our man. But that lock snapped like a twig, and for a moment I thought the landmine wasn't our only problem- -" The dark woman seemingly tries to sink further into her seat. "- - but he came right to me. And then he blocked me, when the IED blew."

"He should have healed, and he didn't." Huruma sets her face in her hand, the arm of the chair getting more of her weight. "When he asked me to kill him I wouldn't. Then he said he 'wasn't mine'. So… I did."

Regardless of where the story has gone, Huruma gave away the finer details as she told it, and she knows as much.

Pity seems to be what she feels for the description of the man himself — it's a sharp feeling in the nurse's chest of horror over the description. Megan nods slowly in several places while Huruma talks, and there's a moment where she wishes she knew the right words for something like this. Are there any? Blowing out her breath quietly, she finally says, "It sounds like he might have been grateful for the chance to leave it behind." She studies the dark-skinned face across from her own. "Is it the fact that he asked you to end it for him?" Megan isn't entirely sure how this — thing — is impacting Huruma and for the first time in a while she's feeling blindly to suss out her friend's heart.

Huruma's head moves in an inconclusive shake. She's not certain. "I don't know. Maybe." She shifts on the seat to flatten herself sidelong as if it were a hammock instead. Fidgeting. One hand cradles the glass on ribcage and the other presses idly to her chest and collarbone.

"I said I would help him but I think deeper down he knew I would do it anyway. I couldn't bear to see him like that. Abused and alone and suffering." Her head moves to watch Megan from her sprawl. "I never talked about him much with the Ferry around. They did not particularly run in the same… races." Another way of questioning Megan's own understanding. "I cannot remember if I much spoke of him with you, either. It seems he is a popular man these days, Adam."

Megan tips her head, searching her memory. "I… don't think that you ever talked about Adam to me much…" The small lines between her eyes betray a worry that she missed something important or … perhaps worse, that she forgot something important. But after a long moment, she shakes her head again. "I didn't know a lot about you from before you came to the island," she points out. "I knew you'd run with another group before that, and they weren't so nice… but I guess I figured at the time it wasn't something that needed digging into, you know? Then by the time the war came around, who and what we all were before wasn't as important." She studies Huruma's features and says quietly, "I would have put him out of his misery too, had I seen what you did." For whatever that is worth. "It must bring up a lot of old memories to come across … parts of him like that."
The mention of 'not so nice' is really the first thing that lifts Huruma's mood any. She lifts her brows across to Megan, looking all the more mischievous about it. "Not so nice is, I think, a slight understatement." She leaves it at that. If Megan really wants to know things, all she need do is ask.

"I am glad you think this way." That the before is not quite as important as the now. Huruma's mood levels out, and Megan gets a slightly more sad smile for her words. "Parts." That's exactly what it was, wasn't it? "When I came to New York years ago, I had a bit of an… imprisonment. That is where I met him, and I stayed with him when we escaped. We clicked rather well." Another understatement, from the sound of her voice.

"He brought me back once. I don't know if I had really died," A glance moves to Megan, pale eyes shaded. "I assume one would never remember that happening though, hm?" She takes a longer drink, following the sensation down her throat, meditative and seeking something from the air. "He was important to me. Is?" An amendment, and a barely contained smirk. She is wanting to be serious, and yet- - "Three-hundred-fifty years or so of experience did not hurt either."

Megan shoots her a wry grin when 'not so nice' makes Huruma smile, tipping her glass in an air salute. She can be a master of understatement at times. She sips from her glass again and tilts her head, listening intently. Her questions, when they come, will perhaps be a little later…

And then later smacks the redhead in the face. "Wait, what?" He brought her back? 350 years of what?? Gobsmacked, Megan chokes on the sip she's taking, having to lean forward so as not to actually inhale the alcohol.

"Holy shitfuck," she wheezes. "Warn a girl, next time, will you??" Staring at her friend, the questions unspool in her head like a ball of yarn cut loose and chased by a cat. "Okay… so this is where being the medic in the background becomes a liability, you understand?" Because she's not up on all this stuff! "So… this man, Adam, is … 350 years old? And… a friend of yours, but I'm guessing from the way you're dancing around it that it is — that your friendship with him doesn't quite fit the life you've got right now?"

Sometimes it's hard to be the clueless best friend!

Huruma probably knew exactly what she was doing with no warning. She likes that. It's terrible and she's incorrigible.

"Three-hundred and seventy-seven." Huruma corrects, eyes crinkling some. It makes her happy to set people off, alright? Take it like a woman, Megan. "That would be it, yes. My life now is quite polarized to what it used to be. I think it began during Apollo, to be frank. A slow roll into being a Good Person." She lifts her hand in an airquote, which falls to her side in a sigh. "Do not get me wrong. I prefer it this way, older and wiser. But I have still committed my share of sins that still haunt me. Some of them with him. Some of them I regret very much."

"But I do not regret staying with him, for all the worse I'd done. We were there for each other when we needed it most. Especially to survive."

Megan isn't sure exactly how to respond to that. She's aware of some of Huruma's past, obviously. She knows that at one time Ben hunted the other woman. But she's never asked nor made issue of what came before — there's never been a time or place anyway, but by the time Megan met her, people Megan trusts trusted her. That's all it took.

So now she ponders thoughtfully and asks questions. "What made you decide?" Genuine curiosity is reflected back at the other woman. "Were you and Adam… on the 'other side' of things during Apollo?" That thought gives her conflicted feelings, but her connection to Huruma is made of years of bonding. The answer, while not merely academic, is likely to raise still more questions but Meg doesn't seem about to jump up and kick Huruma out or anything.

The chance to ask questions is too good to pass up, isn't it? Huruma watches Megan as she speaks her curiosity, pale eyes shaded by the idle scrub of palm over short hair.

"I was not Vanguard if that is what you are asking. I was conscripted and dropped from the sky." A little bit literally. "I had no idea that I would find Dajan there. That… started to change things." Huruma gives her friend a small shrug of shoulder, mouth flattened. "I realized that the people here meant more to me than I had believed, Adam included. He seemed passively pleased that I was causing a ruckus on the Ferry's behalf. So I felt no guilt in pursuing it."

"He was always on this… side, but his means and method are a far cry from what we were. It is where we differ even now, to a degree. We keep our common ground."

She wasn't actually asking that… she doesn't think. Although perhaps there's a little bit of relief at the assertion. "Honestly, until you actually said that, the possibility never even crossed my mind," she admits ruefully. For all her down-to-earth intelligence, apparently Megan has just a hint of not-so-cynical naïveté left after all. And the concept of common ground and VERY different methods is one she accepts easily. It's not as if she didn't do some questionable shit at times.

"What is it about all this that's stuck in your head?" The question is quiet but it's clear to Megan that her friend has much brewing in that lovely mind.

"Mhm." Huruma teases back. "I was a part of some questionable circles, but never Vanguard." Though she was absolutely on their radar, for better or worse.

"Honestly?" She starts, downing the last bit of her glass and setting it aside, tongue moving over her teeth. "I don't… know. Not for sure. I know that it wasn't him, but seeing it…" Huruma leans her head on her knuckles, arm slung over the chair and looking all the more comfortable for the uncomfortable conversation. "There was a person much like that during Apollo, on Madagascar. Rasoul kept him like an ugly dog. He and this Adam- - their minds were both a jumbled, tangled mess of suffering. Fright. Despairing in the way of an animal left to starve on a chain." As she speaks, Huruma quiets somewhat. Six was a long time ago, and yet- - she knew that scent.

"It's not easy. Listening to it all. Death of the mind is surprisingly… straightforward. A flash in the pan, lingering light. Then nothing. It is more difficult with someone you have memorized deeply." Huruma lingers too, her words meandering- - a rare thing in itself. "You feel it to the bone. Even though it was not him, it was… a part. It still hurt."

"I'm sorry." The words are simple but heartfelt. The fact that Huruma had to see that not once but a couple of different times and ways, it hurts Megan's heart. If there were something she could do to lessen the effects of such hurt, she would… all she can do for her friend is exactly this. To be here, in the present, and to be just herself — someone who has genuine and sincere affection for the woman in front of her, a sort of balm of comfort wherever Huruma can find it.

As she sips slowly from her glass, Megan is thoughtful. "I've often noticed that although you're able to keep the emotions of those around you at some distance, at least for a time… when it comes to someone you care about, you don't seem to have those barriers," she admits softly. "That last time Benjamin was shot… obviously it was taking a toll on us both, but… I could see your reaction as we neared that point where I was pretty damn sure I was not going to be able to pull him through." That was a hard night. "I will be convinced until the day I die that it was you who pulled him through, not me, you know." Her smile is very faint. "I watched you refuse to let him go. I think… perhaps you have more strength in that power of yours than you know." She shrugs. "Or perhaps it's only with those you have memorized that deeply."

If to be a balm is what Megan wants, she has more than done just that. Huruma is at ease with her best friends, and it allows her to show that vulnerable spot. They understand it. The redhead's words that follow draw her full attention, eyes hooded and gentle study glimmering behind them.

"Before the Ferrymen, there were only so many times where I lost those barriers. I can count them on my fingers." Always someone or something deep and profound, good or bad.

"You did the hard parts… I just… It was always a bit blurred." The modesty is not surprising; praise for such things lies in medics, surely. Huruma hadn't come out of there unscathed, but nowhere near as badly. They stitched Ben back together, not her. Still, it's flattering to know that Megan believes what she does. "I remember feeling hollowed out, when I thought he was slipping through our fingers."

Huruma looks from the rug back to the redhead, unsure. "For years I thought I knew what I could do… perhaps I have been mistaken."

"Or perhaps when all else fails, love finds the strength to pull on those strings one more time… to pick that car up off that child, or pull that person from the brink," Megan replies in a near-whisper. The smile that plays around her mouth is soft. "I think that the war… and the years just before it… have forged some strong ties. Love has a great many faces. And I'm grateful to have the people in my circle that I have. I'm grateful for a large number of things this year, I have to admit."

She looks at Huruma and asks, "Do you still see your friend sometimes? To … know that he's okay?"

Whispered ministrations like those cause Huruma to fold her legs up in a passive effort to squish herself further into the chair cushions. She is way too big for that.

But of course she still tries.

"I know. I am too." Huruma murmurs back. Though she visually treats this moment of mushy stuff as something to avoid, Megan knows better. Huruma is just deflecting, as Hurumas do.

"Not lately. He's… been busy, besides." Running shadow corps and all that fun stuff. "But in that I know he is alive, though 'okay' could be subjective." Huruma scoffs lightly. "I would… like to know, though. Know if he is 'okay'. Something is going on and I cannot help but feel an odd helplessness."

"Heh," Megan snorts. "Welcome to my world." She looks away, toward the fire. She can't hide the upsurge of worry, anxiety, and … is that bitterness?… that comes with the words, but she blows out a slow breath and fights simply for a level tone instead of the way those words came out. "Something is always coming," she says softly. Her glass rises to her lips and she savors the burn of the alcohol. "Knew it for sure when people started showing up with dreams again." Her blue eyes come back to her best friend and she asks drily, "Why do you think my spare room is beginning to look like Pollepel's storage room?" She's done the only thing she feels like she can do… get ready to stitch up the people who can do anything. Because it's sure as hell not her.

Megan's feelings have been an open book, but when it comes to vocalizing them- - usually she keeps things rather wrapped. It probably helps her in her work, of course, but with others it may not. Huruma's head tips back in return, a slow blink for her friend. Welcome to her World, is it?

She looks away with a visible twinge of guilt in the lines of her face. It's not that she takes Megan for granted. Is it?

Rather than dwell and simmer grumpily in that seat, Huruma slinks down out of it and comes to her knees in front of Megan, hands on the other woman's.

"You are an angel. Our valkyrie. Remember that. We are nothing without you."

Squeezing Huruma's hands in return, Megan's expression eases. "Whatever, you silly goose," she retorts with a smile. She leans forward and kisses Huruma's temple.

Meeting the dark eyes, Megan grimaces just a little. "I was finally starting to feel like… maybe we were all just a little paranoid waiting for the other shoe to drop," she admits. "Scott even managed to cajole me into seriously considering retirement finally. Or at least partial retirement. And then all these dreams and visions and shit started back up." She bites her lip and then admits, "I don't want to do all of this again, Huruma. I…" She drops her forehead against her friend's and closes her eyes. "Why?"

There's no answer to it. There never was. But the sense that Megan's genuinely perhaps for the first time in their friendship truly afraid of something is perhaps telling. "Something wicked this way comes… again."

She is most definitely not a goose. The warmth of Megan's forehead against her own coaxes out a flow of reassurance, tickling like the fizz of an open can. It's okay.

"I know you don't want this. I know you just want some peace." Huruma's hand curls against red hair, and knuckles graze over cheek. "The world is unkind. We must be kind in its place, and weather what storms it throws at us. It's all we can do. I wish I had more certain words, but… yes. Something wicked, again. One will stand and one will fall. Again."

It'll be them. Again.

Sighing, the redhead just nods. "Don't mind me. Just… hearing that you had to see something so awful and knowing that you're feeling helpless, it makes me feel even more helpless than usual when all this crazy shit goes on," Megan admits. "When you of all people don't have a clear objective, Huruma? It rather derails my world understanding. As stupid as that sounds," she laughs, lifting her head. "When the two of you are going back to war, I can't do anything but prepare for war — because you aren't going without me." She doesn't trust anyone else to have their back! Even when she really doesn't want to go this time.

"Not so much war as… cosmic …shenanigans." The word sounds strange when Huruma says it, but she makes her point. It's a bit different this go around, at least at the moment. Less running, for one. "I do not mean to throw you off your rails." is as much an apology as any.

"Let me feel helpless sometimes. It is probably good for me. Besides," Huruma tilts her head, a laugh tweaking at her lips. "I feel less helpless when you're around. Funny, that. I may not know what I am doing with myself, but I am rested knowing that others don't either." That makes complete sense.

"If you insist on it, you know I can't keep you away. God knows I can't ever tell you what to do. It's always the other way 'round." Huruma knows that if and when Megan wants to be there, she'll likely find a way.

She mumbles under her breath, "Gettin' too old for this shit, you know. I don't like it." Then she smiles. "Okay. You go back to being helpless. You're right, it's good for you — you're too self-composed by half."

She grins a little bit. "Of course you mean to throw me off my rails. You don't like it when I'm stodgy," Megan points out, using the same word Huruma herself used in jest the last time they went drinking. As in if you're going to be stodgy and old, I'll buy you a cane. And then she laughs. "It's good that after all these years, I still fake it well enough that most of the time you're actually convinced I have even half a clue what I'm doing," she snorts. She reaches out and hugs Huruma tightly. "Just be careful. I couldn't bear to lose you. And tell that silly man to be careful too — cuz dammit, cosmic shenanigans sounds even worse than war. And that's sayin' something."

She'll just continue to stockpile med supplies a little at a time, WAY ahead of the game this time!

Tch. Huruma clicks her tongue and smiles, "You are a young stodgy." She wraps long arms around in return, a laugh dwelling in her chest, face pressing against a curl of hair, affectionate. "I have no intention of being lost. I will tell him but it is just as well coming from you, darling."

"Fake it until you make it, isn't that the phrase?" One brow arches up in inquiry. "If you ask me, you have made it. The others have nothing on you." Let her be a little prideful over you! It is perfectly healthy. Rather than returning to her chair, Huruma slides back and sprawls out on the rug in front of the fire like a great cat. "Mnn, maybe I shall be helpless down here instead."

"Hmmmm," Megan grins, amused as always at the feline characteristics of her best girlfriend. She simply blushes a little at the idea that she's 'made it' — she just keeps putting one foot in front of the other. Always has. "Pfft. He doesn't listen to me — just gives me the Look. The 'I am going to pretend I have no idea what you're talking about, Megan, so you stop asking too many questions that I don't want to answer' Look." Rolling her blue eyes, Megan snorts. "I don't think any of us would know how to actually retire if our lives depended on it." Which, technically, they do — part of the deal they all got for testifying and such in Albany was to not run about vigilante-ing anymore.

She pauses, just watching Huruma with a smile playing across her face. "It's good to have you here," she says easily. "You know the door's always open. I'm glad you come when things are on your mind." Even when she can't help, she's glad Huruma doesn't feel like she has to deal with it alone.

"Yes, yes, I know the Look." Huruma doesn't even need to look up, hand waving in the air. "It's why I stopped asking him things and started asking the girls." She laughs through her teeth. The girls will typically rat him out to Huruma. "Our… Thing may not have gone anywhere but I can still manipulate his children." The laugh sounds an awful lot like she's trying a Muttley impression.

"Wolfhound lets me skirt my legality. After… Well. Ben and I both know this is all we //know //. I suspect I'll be ninety and still doing something crazy." This time she does peer up at Megan, thoughtful at her words. "You are the only woman in my life that really gets it. We have been through the ringer, haven't we? And you know you can tell me anything.." Megan better know it.

"Thank you for your friendship, if I have never said it out loud before…" Huruma is sure that her actions speak for her, but hearing it means a lot.

It makes Megan laugh. "Lu will pretty much tell me anything I need but glad you have all the girls in your corner," she acknowledges. It's the only real way to keep tabs on the man. Relaxing back into her seat, the redhead lets out a long breath and chuckles quietly at Huruma's assessment that they'll be doing Teh_Crazy at 90. She's not wrong, Meg suspects.

She's a little startled at the need Huruma has to verbalize it, but there's also a hint of flattered in there. "Of course I can tell you anything," she acknowledges softly. "It is, of course, a mutual thing." She looks just a little uncomfortable but laughs. "When we've lived some of the bizarre moments that you and I've had together and even shared a guy — not at the same time, of course — there aren't … many reasons to have secrets anymore," she points out. "I had no idea the day you stepped into a supply closet and sat next to me while I lost my shit that so many years later I wouldn't be able to see my life without you in it, you know."

Still lounging about in front of the fire, Huruma props her head up on one hand. The uncomfortable part for her was saying it out loud- - empaths show it in other, wordless ways- - and it seems the part for Megan is accepting those words. There is a small glimmer of apology in her face for the awkward, at least.

"Oh, you~." Huruma purrs back, eyes narrowing with a smile. "I wager that we reached a lack of secret keeping around the third time you stitched me up. At least on my end. Not a lot worth hiding, but there is plenty you've simply… never asked. Of course… I don't mind that. You have tact, unlike some people." That she has finally talked a little more about Adam only now backs up her words. It was never something to ask about. They share bits and pieces when they arise, even if Huruma gets prying and curious now and again.

"There is enough left to tell that we will never be left out of drinking games, I think."

Megan purses her lips and then chuckles. "Well… I'm glad you've never taken my 'not asking' as not being interested. I often just find that watching and listening will net me most of the answers that I need, and the ones I don't need tend to be offered freely when the other person feels safe enough, comfortable enough." She looks down and swirls the glass and the small amount of its contents remaining.

"Of course, now that you've brought him and your friendship up, you have to know I'm practically dying of curiosity here. I mean… how often does someone tell you they know someone who is almost 400 years old?" Her grin has just a touch of sass but also a sort of awe in the idea that some person with a power existed that long ago and that he still lives.

Given that Huruma is currently lolling about on the floor with eyes on Megan, she is comfortable. "I imagine hearing it is rare enough. There are some with lifespans which may shock you. Like Francois for instance. He is positively antique." Did nothing to harm his body, though.

"I suppose I can field your curiosity… is there something in particular you have in mind?" Hopefully things she can say without hesitation.

"True — I've never been quite certain how old Francois is. Although I did know that he was older than I expected him to be," Megan replies. Tilting her head, she thinks about what it is she'd like to know. And then, as she parses her own questions, her smile eases to a gentler one. "I wonder, obviously, about the things he's seen… what must it be like to live that long? But… the real questions I have are less about things like that and more… what it was that drew you to him. How did you meet? You said that you sort of shared a philosophy, but… honestly, I'm not sure what that really means. What did you believe in back when you met him? And what changed your mind about that perspective?"

They're not really questions about Adam. It is the opportunity to know her friend's mind better that draws Megan out, the chance to learn how she became the person that Meg knows.

Ah. That kind of question. Huruma smiles back as Megan turns it towards her. Fair enough.

"Hm. More than a decade ago I came to the city to just… See what I could stir up. I've always worked independently, but the post bomb world seemed ripe to me." Her first reply says more; an opportunist. Parasitic. "I took some jobs that put me back on company radar. Capital murder, something something… They caught me. Finally." Huruma laughs openly, one leg perching over the opposite knee.

"They had me for… Mmm. A week and change." She lifts her eyes, grinning toothily. "PARIAH busted open the prison. Adam was one of the other prisoners to escape." Huruma hums softly, lips flattened, looking away towards the fireplace. "I was always… Superior minded. So was he. We thoroughly believed in our genetic superiority. He enabled my crimes and I became his red right hand."

Ah, the days of PARIAH. Christ, those days were … not good. With her glass tucked under her chin as they bask in the fire's warmth, Megan is quiet. She is well aware that Huruma's past was, to put it delicately, checkered. Benjamin wouldn't have been chasing her down were she not, at some time or other, deemed a threat back then. She's simply curious about where the woman who is now her best friend has been over those years… because had they met that far back, it doesn't sound like they would have ever become friends at all. Strange, the way the world works sometimes.

"You've come an incredibly long distance from that stance…" she offers quietly, leaving the opening if Huruma wishes to continue but also giving her the option of simply ending it there if she wishes.

They would have absolutely been at odds. Huruma knows it too. And she is beyond thankful they met under better circumstances.

"Have I?" Head still in her hand, Megan gets a somewhat sideways look. "Well… I can say my stance has changed. Not completely. I do still believe we are the next step, but superior? Enh." It's sketchy after that. "As far as I know, Adam remains his supremacist self, though of course he is not above using others to his ends. We were the perfect pair at the time we escaped. We did a lot of…troublesome things, from there." Her voice gets quieter as she goes, eyeing flame. "I was still working with him when I began to fall in with the Ferrymen. A few months later he decided that his heels were too hot and he needed to fly."

"So he left me with what assets he had here in New York to do with as I saw fit. Hightailed it out. I did not blame him, I would have too.. But by then… I don't know if I could have actually gotten on that plane." Huruma looks up pointedly. Because of Them.

"Haven't you?" Megan counters quietly. "Back then, I think … it's entirely possible you'd have killed me." She smiles faintly. "Because I definitely don't think the lot of you are superior. I might agree on 'the next step,' perhaps… but for all we know, you're all technically throwbacks — there are legends of gods in the world that go back millenia. Who's to say that what's happening now didn't all happen before?" The question seems to be one she's actually considered. She does, after all, live alone and read whatever she can get her hands on.

But that train of thought is derailed to the side because of the other part. "I think… that you've had an incredibly interesting relationship with this guy. But… I think perhaps he wasn't very good for you over the long haul." Megan shrugs slightly. "Still, without all of those things, you wouldn't be the woman I know now." Blue eyes flicker briefly from the fire to her friend and Megan smiles. "And I rather like that woman."

"I would have used you, not killed you." Huruma picks at the rug with her free hand, playing with the edge. She shades her eyes to Megan. Relationship commentary isn't her strongest suit in the criticism department, and the slight bristle is telling. Still, she simmers out when her friend finishes the track.

"Nnn." That's not flushing, it's just the fire.

"I don't know what I'll do when I see him again." And Huruma knows she will, sooner or later.

There's a long silence while Megan sips from her drink and considers that dilemma. "I'm not sure I have any advice for that," she admits quietly. "I…. when you see a friend with whom you have diverged significantly, it's a tough place to be." She pauses and then laughs, her chuckle darkly amused. "The only true friend I've ever seriously been at odds with was Harkness."

She's not sure if that comes as a shock or not — in the nights they've all shared drinks in Rochester, the two always seem pretty well on the same page. But Megan is truly amused. "Those early years in the Ferry, I was a little more … volatile when it came to some things. Swear to God, Scott and I had a couple of yelling matches that shook rafters. Of course, then he'd pull out the silent treatment." She looks at Huruma. "And you know how well I deal with the silent treatment." She just ignores blithely that it's happening, talking around the person doing it like they're either talking back or invisible. She's done it to Benjamin and Huruma both a few times.

"Unless your friend is more like Scott or Ben than your description has led me to believe, I'm fresh out of ideas how to handle him." She pauses and her chuckles ease to a softer smile. "And of course, if you actually had feelings for him, that's a whole other ball of wax." She slants a glance from between her lashes, partially teasing and partially asking without asking.

Harkness? Huruma cocks her head with a new note of interest. She gives a playful smile for the story. Silent treatment, huh? She knows the solving to that problem. But it was always far easier to coax Huruma out of it, rather than Benjamin. Couldn't stay mad at Megan, most of the time. Especially when the Cat is being Ignored.

"I can rightly say that he has gotten along with someone like Ben before." Huruma chooses her words carefully, unsure of what Ryans has chosen to tell her. She will keep it vague. "And he is not loveless… just…" Megan gets a bit of a sketchy look and a mutter. "I think we are within alternative wax territory. Like I said, not void of feelings, just… choosy."

"Obviously the physical was there, but as far as the rest… I was perhaps the only one he trusted while he was here."

Megan looks thoughtful, but she's never chosen to broach the Company years with Ben, except in the most general of terms. The only things she knows are the ones that came up in Albany. She simply nods to the assertion, and then doesn't tease more — it's one thing to tease about 'oooh, you gotta crush' and another when the trust thing comes up. So it's more serious.

"I hope that the trust isn't gone when you meet again, despite the differences in outlook," the redhead replies sincerely. "I think it's hard to lose that sense of connection when you go through the kinds of lives we've all had in the past years. It's a… I dunno. It's why soldiers often consider their team more family than family." She shrugs slightly. "Shared experience counts for more than agreeing on the particulars. Even when you're not sure where the other person stands on those, you have to work really hard to break those bonds. Do you… think you've lost that with him?"

Because it makes her feel a lot of conflicting things at the idea Huruma has lost something so obviously integral to her friendship with the man.

Recent memory floods back with abandon. Huruma stares into the fire's embers and tracks backwards. The trip south. The operation to get Caspar. The way it went awry and the way she found Adam. That Adam.

The way he came right to her. The way he trusted her, despair melting into a morose hope . The way he protected her- - the way he knew that she would show him mercy.

Huruma is silent for a time, fingers working at the threads of carpet.

"No. I do not think I have lost it." The dark woman finally breaks the quiet when it seems as if she may not answer. "Meeting that poor creature showed me as much."

"Then perhaps when you see him again, you should simply do as you would any other time a long-missed friend turned up." Megan's suggestion is gentle, but she is glad that Huruma doesn't feel she's lost that link. "I don't know him. I don't know… how you were with him. But I can tell you that when the ghost of Scott Harkness knocked me on my ass at the hospital, the only thing I could think to do was hug him — and then maybe smack him, but blaming him wasn't really appropriate, since no one thought to tell either of us the other was still alive."

Amusement is clear in her faint smile. "And still it was like those years between weren't there. So … if Adam is that kind of friend to you, it might be much the same."

The ghost of Scott Harkness was definitely something else. Huruma's lips curve up, and she sinks back down onto the rug, belly down with her head on her arms. "I may smack him first." Then maybe step two, but that will largely depend on his reaction to her.

"I cannot fathom years of seeing your loved ones come and go, so I hope that I haven't been… well, forgotten." Her finger brushes against the cheek which the amalgam had touched. "People around an immortal remember the immortal more than it remembers them. Or at least that is what fiction tells us."

Huruma sighs heavily, burying her face in the cradle of her arms and giving a muffled sound of frustration.

Leaning forward to swallow the last of her scotch and set the glass on the floor next to her chair, Megan slides off and crawls to lay next to Huruma-kitty on the floor. "Considering what you just told me of the copy's reactions," she says as she rubs her friend's back, "I really don't think it's an issue. I think… even for an immortal, certain people must remain with you. You're still human. You still love. And perhaps, after watching so many come and go, you actually love deeper than others in some ways… because that love has to hold you when they're gone." Her hushed voice is deeply thoughtful. "We are more than the sum of our memories, but I think those memories are what keep us connected and sane. Even when we're not immortal. True and trusted people are few and far between. So how much more important would those few special people be to one who lives so long?"

She sighs, curling up next to her sprawled-out companion. "I dunno. Maybe I'm just talking out my ass for something to say," she observes drily.

Megan can feel the bump of heartbeat at Huruma's back, resting and idle in its steadiness, the fill of lungs lifting at ribcage. The touch has her closing her eyes some, senses pulling in Megan's emotions like a weighted blanket, curling up in them.

One eye slips open and an arm slips free to pat the redhead on the backside playfully. "Your ass is very eloquent."

'Thank you', in other words.

Megan smirks and then laughs softly. "I guess that's one way to look at it." Somewhat more padding these days and comfortable with it is the way she looks at it. And because Huruma seems to need the contact and the companionship, she curls up on her side there and announces, "It's a sleep in front of the fire night." It's not the first such night they've ever had and undoubtedly it won't be the last either.

'You're welcome' in their personal shorthand.

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