Take Some Air


emily_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif

Scene Title Take Some Air
Synopsis When Huruma shows up at Fort Jay on business, Emily pulls her aside for a tour — and questions.
Date July 25, 2019

Fort Jay

It didn't take much prompting after her visit to Kansas City to get Huruma into Fort Jay. She'd been quite reticent on the matter, and if pressed would have gone- - but perhaps nobody wanted to chance it. Or, just that Agent Ryans could handle whatever intel she might give regardless. Things have progressed some since then, however, not limited to the activities of Adam Monroe. Now it's the testing triumvirate of SESA, NYPD and Hounds, Yamagato's tendency to hide things, several smaller touches that appear once Huruma drags herself there. Not to mention they may have a use for her consultancy in other, unrelated areas.

The Evolved are as much a commodity as anything. Supply and demand, and the trappings of capitalism, et al.

She isn't shy about people knowing she's there, and sticks out like a sore thumb; hard to miss her height, let alone the contrast of tight black pants and a cropped top compared to the plain gray suit and red tie she's speaking with. Nearby is a dazed-looking man in ziptie cuffs, and whatever the exchange is between Huruma and the agent, she seems pleased by the end of it.

A few moments later, the agent tows Huruma's apparent quarry away, and she slides off of his desk- - a chosen perch much to the amusement of his neighbor.

Emily often casts a casing glance through whatever space she enters or passes by (it's habit, don't judge) and she at first notes the odd sight of the Wolfhound without so much as a blink as she walks down a nearby aisle, continuing on. A second later her head is snapping back, interest and confusion and curiosity while her gaze sharpens. Huruma??

She'd not seen the woman since she slipped out of sight at the Yamagato showcase. Emily patiently waits for another turn to present itself in the cubicle spacings and reroutes herself with a swish of the long gray skirt she wears with a salmon-colored sweater blouse. A few loose sheets of paper are held in one hand, freshly grabbed from the printer. She uses them to gesture to the Wolfhound agent. "What, did you skip out and get a new job, too?" the teen asks in a scoff on approach.

Naturally, Huruma isn't surprised to see Emily there when she turns right into her; perhaps more surprised that the young woman has deigned to engage her instead of ignore her. Hm. Also not expecting the half-accusation leveled at her.

Her brow arches down at the blonde, the papers, the muted outfit, the scoffing expression to match.

"Ah… no." Huruma rests a hand at her hip, mouth flattening in a more critical study before easing into a tentative smile. "I think that if I were to 'skip out', it would make your father miserable." A pause, then an addition, easily amused. "I'd never."

"I brought in a wanted man. We met quite by accident. Helping seemed a wise choice- - and I had some business left over from a visit to Kansas City. I am not entirely a troublemaker."

The mention of her father eliminates the brusque but conversational affect to Emily, brow twitching as she feels it happen but is powerless to do anything about it. It's particularly bad today, gut sinking. She clears her throat to try and get rid of those feelings, paying acute attention to the rest of what the woman says for the same reason. "Didn't stop Colette. Who was the other— 'Ivanov'? Did the missing woman ever turn up?" You know, just Wireless and all.

It's still a distant thing for her. Just the people her father works with.

… And her boyfriend. And Huruma.


Emily turns her head back the direction the cuffed man was lead away in as her thoughts wander that way, and she looks back with a note of interest. Not entirely a troublemaker? "So just mostly?" she asks with forced amusement. She turns the papers in her hands over. The bold ink of the header catches the overhead lighting.

It's about inland fire hazard assessments.

At least it has the approximate effect of fizzling some of her fire. Huruma may have anticipated it. Probably so. Her expression is neutral when Emily mentions some of the others who have moved on, though it sours just a smidge at the last.

"Colette and Ivanov have the blood of lawmen, It was only a matter of time. And no, she hasn't." The loss is still sore, and the sharpening of Huruma's ivory stare punctuates this. She forgoes any additions in order to peer down her nose at the printouts.

"Just mostly, yes." Huruma echoes, stifling the twitches of an impending laugh. "At least I'm not the only one."

“And here I thought Devon and Lucille were the pranksters,” Emily notes with a feigned rueness at the situation. She considers Huruma for a moment, the momentary prickling in her outward appearance. Instead of disengaging, the slender teen forces a smile. “Have you all been well?” she asks, the question as open-ended as it needs to be.

She rolls the papers loosely to disguise the contents of the page when she notes the deliberate look made at them.

"They like to think so." Huruma's look does soften some at the mention of the trickster duo, and whatever slight that mentioning Hana as 'woman' caused seems to pass. It's fine. It's fine.
"All things considered… well enough." She decides on the answer after a moment's deliberation, arms crossing loosely, eyes briefly narrowed at some distant spot at the wall. "It is always one thing after another. I think that things particularly snowballed after what happened with Devon." Huruma treads lightly here, knowing full well the tone of past conversations. Even with the boy alive, she expects it is still raw. "Now it's Praxis Heavy. Fielding god-knows-what for Wolfhound and the government. Family matters like weeds. Maddening."

"So, yes, well enough." Huruma still appears to take it with a good enough humor.

Even though matters are right again as far as Devon is concerned, in so much as that he’s home and alive and hers, the mere mention of what happened to him makes Emily’s stomach sink. Her gaze slides out of focus, despite still looking Huruma’s way. She brings her arms before her into an unconscious fold, fingertips pinching the sleeve of her shirt.

A subtle buzzing at the back of her being that’s been there grows louder at the mention of all the additional stressers, but she wears a sympathetic look. She doesn’t go far as to echo Huruma’s attempt at playing it all off, at least not in the same way. She forces another smile, smaller, more strained. “Long as things aren’t falling apart,” she says evenly.

To that effect, though, her brow twitches into a downward slant, a flicker of concern in her expression. “I hadn’t seen Benjamin around the office in a while,” Emily explains. “Didn’t know if something had happened with him.”

By now she ought to know that her emotions are not her own around Huruma; not by design, so much as fated. Like a finger to a pulse. She shakes her head faintly at the notion of things falling apart, a small, sincere smile for the girl. Emily is right- - it's not, even if it's a strained mention.

Don't jinx it, girly.

"He… he is fine." Huruma doesn't know exactly how many people know about the health issues he'd had, so this is her immediate answer to that effect. She is shockingly gentle about it. "He is away on personal business, outside the city." The tall woman remains very vague and doesn't specify further; instead, Emily's asking eases her enough to gesture lazily down the office. "Is the coffee here sludge, or does the government spring for the good stuff…?" Because the chance is ripe.

There’s a pause before Emily turns, presumably in the direction of the nearest coffee maker. She knows these things because she’d have a port installed just for intravenous caffeine consumption, certain days. She knows where the caffeine lives, because without it, she’d not make it through those mornings. “It’s nothing special,” she says dismissively. “But it’s not instant, either.”

As far as what’s happening with Ryans, she takes a moment to chew on that information, trying to decide what she thinks of it. First the man leaves retirement right after a miraculous healing gives him a new lease on life, and now he’s out of office on personal business. “I was disappointed to not see him around anymore,” she mentions as she leans into an easy walk in the direction of said coffee maker. “He’d made it sound like there might be room to help him with the assignment he’d been on. Combing old files. I had been interested.”

She doesn’t look Huruma’s way, but her gaze flits in that general direction for a moment while she stays facing ahead. “I’m glad he’s still doing okay. I had someone take a look at me, someone— with the ability to look deeply.” That was polite, vague, yet specific enough, right? “They said they saw the healing that was done, and that it didn’t look like anything would come back. At least — not what was there before. So… he should be safe there, too.” After all, goes unspoken. They did have a healer in common between them.

"Me too." Disappointed, that is.

'Not instant' is not at all a dealbreaker. Huruma readily follows Emily's trail, quiet steps despite everything else. As she ghosts after, hands linking behind her back, her intent watch quizzical. That explanation of someone looking deeply is indeed vague, though when it's clarified as being a physical state, some of that confusion passes. As Emily elaborates, Huruma doesn't offer a reply until they've made it to the safety of their destination.

In fact, any glances back at Huruma glean little more than a downcast aura; once they stop, those pale eyes find the young woman again, brow pinched.

"…Good." Huruma's tone is marked in a sigh, and her eyes hooded. Relief, of course- - and a tang of pain in remembering what happened and what almost had. Then, something new, the most grateful look that Em's ever gotten out of the Hound, and a meaningful, "Thank you for telling me."

Emily shakes her head as she pulls out the half-filled coffee pot, steadying a styrofoam cup with her other hand. Her papers rest face-down on the sugar-gritted countertop. "It's just smalltalk, Huruma," she quietly intones, voice even. With the affect one might shrug their shoulders, she casually keeps to the task she's at. Two shot-sized flavored creamers are poured into the cup she's made, the beige stain of them invisible save for their point of entry. At least … at first. The softness bleeds to the top moments after, the dark brew unable to hide how it's been changed.

She slides a step to the side while she stirs the mixture. If the Wolfhound is getting a cup, it looks like she'll be fixing it herself. The teenager leans back against the counter, cup held loosely. She's sizing something up about Huruma.

"You're probably one of those people who take their coffee black, but with an abundance of sugar," she ventures, cup lifted to sip. "Aren't you?"

"It's not small to me." Huruma angles back, patiently waiting her turn, keeping Emily's ritual in her periphery. Purely notetaking. It is clear she doesn't expect the girl to fix her one too, as she slides right into place once there's room to do so. Eyes on her do not go unnoticed, though as she pours herself some not-instant(!) coffee, however weak it may or may not be, there is a distinct sense of acquiescence. You can size all you want, Ems.

"Is that what they've been teaching you here?" Shaped brows arch up once more, Huruma's hands busy with making herself just what was described. Black, sugar, nothing more.

"Or do you just have the uncanny ability to guess drink orders?" No dig on her- - more a dig on making people into errandboys when they clearly came to learn.

It’s Emily’s turn for her mood to sour some, brow furrowing as she leaves the cup to her lips. An exhale into coffee sends off an invisible burst of steam that might be amplified if she were wearing glasses. “No,” she replies irritably, because she’s not here to make coffee for others. The question is always rebuked when put to her, sometimes more politely than others. From are your legs broken? to The moment I see other agents doing that, too, sure, the range tends to be permanently brusque.

“It was just a guess,” she says quietly enough. She doesn’t want her voice to carry or be picked up on by others. “Personality-driven. It’s just the way I read you, is all.” The conversation leads Emily to want to pick up some natural segue, but something prevents her. It’s visible in her eyes, the subtle intake of breath to speak before she remembers to not bring it up. The discomforted twist of emotion as she adjusts her grip around the coffee.

“I’m sure you’re not here to talk about things like that, though,” is how she tries to cede away from it, silently asking for the subject not to be pressed. Not here, not at work. But then she thinks about it. Her tone lifts as she sees a better option. “Are you done with your business here?” she asks.

“Have you had a tour of the grounds?”

"Good. Else I'd have words." Huruma is definitely on the side of 'get your ass up and get it'. She tests the drink and takes one more sweetener, offering Emily a knowing look. Yes, she was very correct. Just the one more seems to take it to palatable territory.

Huruma knows indecision when she sees it, much less feels it. There is nothing stopping her save herself. Yet, the Hound says nothing on it, allowing the girl her less natural track.

"Yes, so long as I am not accosted for intelligence on the way out." Perhaps as much a warning to anyone with pricked ears. Huruma shifts, eyes lifting to windows and a curve at her lips. The fort may be stoic, but the grounds are nice. "I haven't. Are you offering?"

Air can be good.

“Only if I get to accost you for information on the way out,” Emily remarks with a quirk of her lips. It’s a good, outward mask for the relief that splashes down her sides and settles her into a more eased state. She gestures to her intended path with a lift of her chin, starting to lead them again. The papers are swiped off the counter and deposited on an undecorated desk, the peak of a wide arc that takes their path away from the doors at first. Other clusters of desks have nameplates, decorations — not this space. The papers skid across the desk and nudge the mouse, waking the monitor to display a log-in screen for one e.epstein.

She keeps walking, outwardly cool while trying to contain her nerves into a small ball at the bottom of her gut. The pace of her breathing is regulated, she counts her steps. She’s doing everything she can to keep her stress low. A sip of the hot coffee serves as an additional distraction.

Still, that core is only contained, not quashed.

Emily takes the stairs instead of the elevator, not willing to sacrifice momentum. If she stops, the rest of … everything will catch up with her.

Also, management tends to take the elevator, and she’s technically not on break yet.

“Did you know this place’s history goes all the way back to the Revolutionary War?” she asks while they descend. “There wasn’t even a building then. It was earthen battlements, constructed in the defense of New York’s harbors. Even without formal buildings, the guns that were deployed here did enough damage to make the British wary enough of entering the East River. It’s what allowed Washington and his men to escape Manhattan and Brooklyn in the battle that took place there, though it was captured by the British after they retreated.”

Calm, collected, informational. This is a tour, after all. Out the stairwell on the ground level, hand preemptively out to push the lobby door open to take them out into the heat of summer. It wraps around Emily like a warm blanket that couples with her hot coffee. She can’t describe it, but it just feels better out here than indoors, helps ease her nerves.

“They got it back after the war, only actually built anything here in the … 18-aughts, I think,” she says, the words sounding like a sigh. “The name Jay comes from one of the Founding Fathers. I didn’t know there was a Founding Father named ‘Jay’ until then. Go figure, right?” That’s rhetorical. It must be, she keeps talking. “The guy was like ten different important roles for the country back then, and all they ever talk about are Edison and Jefferson and the like.” One foot in front of the other takes them away from the main building, on a path around curated lawn. Landscaping placed to beautify the island for the World’s Fair still stands, and it seems to be the general direction she heads.

Away from the Fort proper.

"I may allow it." Huruma replies first, as the two of them sweep on out of the offices; she makes silent notes as they leave, eyes catching this and that by the time they hit the stairs. No fuss from her tourist on the choice of manual descent, nor casual mention of the state of tangled emotions that keeps peeking its nose out.

It is a curious thing regardless.

Unbeknownst to Emily, her tour has the side effect of pulling strings of memory and placing pieces on invisible boards. Strategy is a buzzy feeling that dissipates once outside. Huruma can feel her skin warming under the sun, the river's wind caught between trees; her eyes close for a few moments of listening and a sip of coffee, Emily's voice carrying more nerves than perhaps ought to.

"John Jay." A late addition, but one nonetheless. "First chief justice, quite the abolitionist for his era. I've done a little reading, now and again."

Emily nods, seeming pleased she doesn’t have to carry the conversation there and remember all the facts herself. “Yeah, they gave us the breakdown in a tour after we started,” Her, and Lance, and Squeaks, “and I looked him up afterward. Neat shit.”

Her pace slows once they pass some invisible line, coffee passed from one hand to the other. Now free, her hand slips between the folds of her skirt into a hidden pocket, producing her phone to check the time before it’s slid back into its hiding spot. She lifts her head, eyes on the distant flowers, and has to confront again what she’d not wanted to discuss inside.

“Huruma?” she asks abruptly, but not unexpectedly. There’s a deference there now that there wasn’t before, evident in how her gaze slants with a shift of her head. Emily nods in a bout of self-assurance, still leading them much more slowly to the patch of color. “Do you mind if I ask you about what you do?”

Her tone implies it’s probably not her job she’s asking after.

Huruma's past experiences with Emily keep her from prying, though she has already guessed the tour was a ruse. An educational one. She nurses the cup in her hand, eyes on the same flowers before they flicker downward, interest piqued, deference noted.

That feeling certainly tends to precede the questions like the one Emily asks. Huruma's mouth flattens in a moment of consideration, deciding on what she wants to interpret it as. She did say 'may allow it', and besides- - no harm in making nice.

"I do not mind. What would you like to know?"

They’ve entered an uncomfortable space for Emily, one she can’t entirely mask as much as she tries to keep even-keeled about it. “Well,” she starts, that same respect still there. She tries to find the best way to phrase it, and comes up wanting.

“How does it work, exactly?” she asks anyway, trying even though maybe the words aren’t perfect, aren’t careful enough. “I’m — not even sure what entirely it is, just what’s publicly there, what I felt that one time. I’m just…”

She knows it sounds lame, but she doesn’t shy from it, either. There’s resignation behind her voice as she admits, “I’m curious.”

Lamely phrased or not, the questions aren't new ones and Emily doesn't get judgment. Given that Huruma has already impressed some things upon her, perhaps best to start from the top.

"I am an Empath." Huruma runs her tongue over the edge of her teeth, the bitter of coffee still there. "A more intimate cousin of Telepathy. Emotions, not thoughts. It is always on." The next she looks into Emily's face, it moves right through her. "Which is for the best, though I can wrap it in if I must." No clarification, yet, on why that is for the best. It is disconcerting, and may be moreso if Emily didn't already have some sense of who Huruma is.

"Everyone is a unique spectrum, and I fancy myself a Monet. O'Keefe, if you're feeling punchy. I think you get the comparison?"

Emily does not, in fact, get the comparison, as much as she tries to. She nods, feigning she does. The rest of it, though, is something that makes sense— if only from previous discussions with Kaylee. She gives a small, almost timid nod of her head. “So you can’t turn it off,” is a distant mutter, her gaze wandering off. She pauses before the flowers, trying to find words. “That’s…” Her fingers grip the coffee cup all the more tightly for a moment, nail picking at the styrofoam.

“—Why is that a good thing?” she asks abruptly, looking back up at Huruma. Curiosity comes first.

Deception is just one more thing. In this case, the awkward twitch of faking it, the dash of puzzling over what one hears. Huruma's look still moves through her, though to a lesser intensity than a moment before.

A shake of head in confirmation- - no, she can't turn it off. Not like some things, for some people.

"Because without it- - and even sometimes with it- - I cannot connect to others. Despite feelings, I will never know thoughts. When I was younger than you are now, I had so many problems." Huruma starts, sipping coffee as if this were just another conversation. Intel. "I still do. Without the noise, the feedback, the threads- - I am unmoored."

"In contrast, it can be too much, too. Too much everything, and it is maddening. It has gotten better…in recent years. But it is still there. Ben knows. Avi too. Plenty others. They know when to step in." Voice low, the tall woman speaks with a note of sobriety; thinking about it hits her nerves, but it was clear that Emily needs… something.

"So… more good, than bad." Huruma knows that even with the overloading, being like this is better than being a hundred times worse.

What Huruma shares is by no means a burden, but it’s neither something Emily can entirely relate to, though she tries unconsciously. There are certain things she’s sure she’d not be able to live without, that would make her feel without center. Like her phone. But other times, she’s had her fill of the world and everything else that filters through it and wants to throw it, slam it against a wall and be rid of it for a while.

At least she has that option.

Emily nods gracefully after she’s able to establish that passing understanding of what it’s like to walk in Huruma’s shoes. “That’s… good.” she says softly, then lapses for anything else to say. She has to fight through it, resisting the urge to produce her phone and spin it in her offhand.

“Sorry,” is said with a glance up toward the taller woman once she realizes she’s lapsed in keeping up her end of the conversation. “I just … I wasn’t expecting that, and every other question I can think of right now feels wildly out of place.” She’s not a person that enjoys having the focus thrown on her in any way, and can’t figure out a way forward that doesn’t involve that.

Regret creeps up on her, sweeping its fingers around the small of her back and working its way up to her shoulders. “Sorry,” she murmurs again, feeling the weight of the dead air press down on her. Emily takes an urgent sip of the scalding coffee to try and bat the feeling away.

Telling anyone about herself is a task that she has only recently become accustomed to. Huruma had to learn quickly to allow processing time between dealing information and letting it congeal. So she just sips her coffee, swirling the last third of it as she angles her head to Emily.

"Darling, everything about me is out of place." In the face of Emily's murmured apologies, Huruma's lips curve into a smile, ivory eyes hooded down to her, pupils large. Her voice teases a purr. Amused, puzzling. "A few odd questions will not make much of a difference. If I do not want to answer, I will say so."

That helps — really, it does, and Huruma’s senses pick up on it. Amusement, relief, all of it without a visual component. No, the nerves buzzing at her edges remain dominant. Still, the teen struggles with it, trying to overcome it.


Come on, Emily, say the rest of it. Her eyes close to forcibly center herself and her train of thought.

“When you use your ability,” she says carefully, eyelids slowly sliding back open. “Where do you draw from? How do— how do you feel it? What do you have to do so… so like when you tried to help me before…” Her thumbnail feels like it might pierce right through styrofoam it’s settled into the side of the cup so fiercely. With her offhand, she brushes the drape of her hair away, threading the long locks behind her ear so she can glance at Huruma with better ease. “Just…”

“How do you know what to do?”

The visual inside of Huruma's mind is one not unlike one of those animated scribbles, twitchy and small. It's not angry, simply a jumble, situated around bursts of ease and amusement. If nothing else, Emily knows that she's allowed. Huruma finishes the last bit of her drink whilst the blonde pulls her senses back together.

As the questions come, Huruma is increasingly suspicious, though it doesn't show. Uncertainty seems to be a clue-in; she refrains from asking her own questions. What Emily has never responded well to was someone pushing at her- - in Huruma's experience.

"Mmm." Brow knitting softly, the tall woman peers off at the flowers in thought, laying out her words before they come. "The simple explanation doesn't really… exist. Psionic abilities can be pulled from different places. Some use logic, brainpower, others, intuition and willpower. Interestingly, similar to Myers-Briggs testing."

"As for myself…" Huruma puts a hand to her forehead, as if there were one more eye. "I envision a thousand eyes and a thousand ears. A thousand hands.. Everyone has… a color, almost. A scent. A feel. Their presence,"

"The signal that makes them… them." Her hand drops some to gesture an encompassing 'aura' at Emily, oblong, framing her. "I see the basest things that make up a person. Emotion is the most raw form of thought. Always first. Always influencing."

Huruma's hand moves further down, closing a fist against the bottommost of her ribs. Solar Plexus.

"Despite what I see and feel up there, I draw it from here. That knot you can feel, it is an actual piece of you. A crossroads of nerves. Have you ever steeled yourself for something? Your brain may tell the body not to flinch, but it is the solar plexus which holds me in, lines my body with a current. Even an Empath needs an emotional root,"

"Sometimes the pull produces a string, sometimes a sword. It takes practice to identify which is which…" Huruma's fist falls into a palm against her stomach, frame loosening. "As I said, that is myself. I cannot speak for others. But I do hope that something in there is something you, perhaps, wished to hear."

Emily finds herself lifting her free hand, resting it near enough to where Huruma is making her motion. She’s quiet, listening hard, taking what the woman says seriously. There’s an odd sense of relief at hearing something which, to her, just makes sense. Not all of it does, but the last of what she says identifies with her.

So she lets out a note of affirmation when Huruma asks if she’s found what she was looking for. “No, it’s…” she trails off, and decides to shake her head. “Thank you.” The buzzing that coats her internal song hasn’t quieted, but there’s a sense of peace that runs through her now.

The thin teen takes a moment to look back where they came from, then to Huruma meaningfully, asking for her compliance in one last thing. It’s silent, how she asks for her silence. “I’m trying to figure out something for myself. I hope you understand.”

Affirmation, even in the form of a sound, is enough to ask of the girl. Huruma's explanations are not always for the less perceptive, and it is good to see that something makes it through- - even if Huruma cannot be certain what that is.

Emily's gaze, shy manner, the signs of inner conflict- - the questions- - Huruma can absolutely understand why it is that Emily walked them here. If not the precise reasons, she sees it for what it is now, for certain.

Huruma trades in meaningful looks. She settles her eyes on Emily, pupils pooling against pale iris; for but a moment, the tall woman rests a hand against the teenager's arm, a brush of physical warmth and an aura of the same. A smile between them, only for them, as if they've created their very own inside joke.

"I do." An obscured part of Huruma's voice seems to imply that 'this is not her first rodeo', in less flowery terms. "You know… having peripheral access to a database on the fineries of Expressives would be great, wouldn't it?" She smiles with her lips, tapping a pair of fingers quietly at her temple before angling a meaningful look back at Fort Jay.

"If you have any more questions for me, however…" That look moves to Emily's face, intent. "You know how to find me." She will gladly catch any more thrown to her.
Huruma’s wry suggestion about the SESA database is met with a wary glance from Emily. That’s bold. Too bold for an intern reliant on the benefits her position provides her — the above the board kind. Nonetheless, though, it’s something to keep in consideration if any urgent needs arose. The thought releases a shot of unsettling adrenaline in her.

The young woman’s multi-colored scribble of an emotional state is no less cleared up as she smiles gratefully at Huruma, a tinge of warmth in it despite its smallness. Externally, Emily presents just fine, spine steeled, nerve controlled. Just underneath, though, her feelings continue to fluctuate like so many rubberbands, shrinking and stretching.

“I— should get back. Take care, Huruma.”

It’s advice she could stand to take herself.

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