Theirs Is A Mighty Fire


avi_icon.gif huruma2_icon.gif

Scene Title Theirs is a Mighty Fire
Synopsis When Huruma and Avi both have too much anger to spare, they find a way to spend it in bulk.
Date June 26, 2019

The Bastion

It's been weeks since the attack on the Yamagato convoy; for better or worse, Huruma hasn't been back to the Bunker and rare even at the Bastion. Radio silence, in her own way. Such a thing isn't unheard of- - though it has been some time since the last. It very nearly happened after Hana. Perhaps she just needed a break. A disconnect.

A disconnect from Pretending she is unfazed and poised under the stress of everything. Her solitary time helps to tighten the seams of what does keep her together; people know what it's like when she doesn't. Sometimes it works less effectively than she may like, as it has in recent days. Keeping busy only keeps her pacified for so long, obligations or not. Calm can, in fact, overstay its welcome.

She hadn't intended for her stop at the Bastion to come to a head. In and out. Get a few things from a locker. Write out a note or two that won't be lost in the shuffle of digital words. Did she leave an umbrella upstairs? Ought to grab that too. June is wet and warm.

There's one thing about the Bastion, being the old police precinct that it is- - there's always going to be a space or three dedicated to casework. For the Hounds, they may be different in practice but they still have their projects.

Like Adam.

It sounds like taking a bit of a break has caused one instead.


Sounds terribly like ceramics. The thud of wood on brick isn't quite as loud. The angry, feral scream is louder than both, punctuated by a second SMASH.

The noise that comes next is the piercingly shrill cry of a coach’s whistle at full blast. The sound reverberates through the halls, comes in a second blast, and then practically wheeling through a doorway is Avi Epstein in shorts and a sweat-stained t-shirt with bandage wraps around his hand and a fucking whistle in his mouth.

What the fuck is going on in here?” Avi screams with a subtle mumble since he's keeping the whistle pinched between his lips.

Epstein does not get the satisfaction of scaring anyone out of their skin today. Least of all this one. The room beyond him is a disaster zone. Papers and photos everywhere, broken corkboards flung around the room, shattered coffee mugs that should have been washed days ago.

In the middle of it all, Huruma, redfaced, black on black, a metal folding chair dangling from her hand. It's mangled. Her bootheels crunch Praxis logos when she turns about to face Avi.

"Why the fuck do you have a bloody whistle." Huruma's teeth show, the chair tossed aside with a clang.

“For blowing,” is Avi’s completely intentionally evasive answer as he spits the whistle out of his mouth, letting it bounce against his chest as it swings on a little lanyard around his neck. “Why the fuck are you redecorating?” He asks next, motioning to the chair. “Francois decorated this himself, he’s going to be beside himself with grief. You know how he is with his feng shui.”

She does not know, because he isn’t. Anything. With feng shui.

Avi looks at the broken coffee mug on the floor, each broken portion showing a fragmentary message of World’s Best Mom. “Aw man, my mug?” He looks back to Huruma. “Come on.

Evasiveness gets a curl of lip around teeth.

"Let me have this. If Francois has a problem he can bite me." Or, try, because right now she looks like she'd take a gigantic chunk out of anyone who tried. "And maybe you," Huruma stalks forward to snag-yank Avi by the lanyard, eyes like ivory mirrors and frame bristling. "Should do your own bloody dishes."

Instead of leaving them sitting around. To that end, maybe she wouldn't be smashing his things. In fairness, the rest of the room isn't faring well either. She does not seem to be, for that matter.

“Yeah, well, he’s not here right now so I’m your dad, and I’m telling you to stop or I’ll— blow on my whistle really hard, okay?” Avi scans the room, then looks back to Huruma with furrowed brows, only slightly rankling at having his whistle tugged at. “Now, if you could let go and maybe tell me what crawled up your ass, bought a time share, and then gradually regretted that financial decision… “

Avi just trails off. He’s said enough words strong together in some sense of order. He does raise one hand, gingerly laying it on top of Huruma’s, brows raised. My whistle.

She knows how people refer to him and Francois, but there's still a twist of something defiant at I'm your dad because Try me, Epstein. Huruma's lips flatten some against her teeth, tongue running against edges, a tch in response. The lean muscle of her hand twitches under his fingers before she frees him(and his whistle).

He's already managed to derail the incident; eyes lifting to where she tossed the chair, Huruma sees what she was doing as she angles away from Avi. Red still tints her vision, but once her head quiets some, so can her focus.

"… What do you think?" Flame hasn't gone completely, from a blaze to hot coals. She feels the chill of lost adrenaline, voice lowering, wound like a tension coil. "I'm losing it. I was not here to- -" This. Hand gesturing vaguely to the room, Huruma's profile winces and huffs in frustration.

"Fuck." A verbal stamp of boot. The texture of the word does not feel right on her tongue. Cursing was never a strong suit, and in the rare moments that do happen, something is, well, wrong. Huruma's fingers flex at her sides, kneading against her palms.

Flicking a look up and down Huruma, Avi takes a step closer to her. “I’m gonna need you t’start talking in full fucking sentences, if you expect me to keep up. Some of us got a fucking whammy in the genetic lottery, okay?” He bends down, then, picking up the shards of his mug. The face he makes is clearly designed to draw Huruma’s attention, having her focus on his antics rather than the tempest inside. He really did like that mug.

“This isn’t about Hana,” Avi says with one brow raised. He isn’t this obtuse. Which means news of what happened in Yamagato Park couldn’t have made it out, Kimiko’s people must have been able to keep the news quiet. It’s only now, as Huruma is starting to collect herself, that she feels a sympathetic current of anger running below the surface of Avi’s cool demeanor. In the many years she’s known him, that’s only one thing: Family. He compartmentalizes that better than anything else.

Maybe his grumping helps his case, leastwise in the broken stuff department. She watches him past her shoulder for a moment, and while his antics are a distraction, her gaze sees through him as it always does. Still, Avi gets a brief, apologetic look. Once she seems to realize that he has no idea what she's pissed off over, hackles rise in stony silence. Hell.

Compartments unfold like paper fortune tellers for her, once she finds a gap to slip through. Sometimes- - most of the time- - it is a subconscious effort. It is just a thing that her ability does, neither stopped nor thwarted by her.

"Should have known. No bloody wonder…" Huruma's lip curls back, though not at Avi. She grinds her teeth and reservedly crouches down to pick up a crunched clump of papers into its folder again. As much a distraction as Avi and his cup is, her features stay grim.

"Yamagato had a visit from Madagascar. Weeks ago." Nothing good starts this way. "The convoy was attacked and Dajan and his Apo stopped it." Another folder, gathered into hand and slapped onto the desk when she stands back up again. "Riya's wife Mihaja was the target, allegedly. If they wanted her dead she'd be dead,"

"Her company was threatened for its tech by a subsidiary company of Praxis. When she tried to pull out they got more personal, and she got more pressed to find help." Huruma frowns, brow tightened and eyes showing some of that tiredness more obviously. She glances back to the mess at her feet, then back to Avi. "I asked her who it was, showed her a picture of Adam." He's smart enough to infer the rest.

No wonder she's mad.

Abi's expression is a listless stare in reaction to everything Huruma said. Slowly, he wipes one hand down his face and swallows audibly. With a grunt, as if it were some considerable effort, he takes a few steps away from Huruma. That hand sweeps around to the back of his neck, scrubbing there as he rolls one shoulder and looks like he's literally chewing nascent his words over in silence.

Only when he looks back to Huruma does Avi find his voice and a reply other than non-verbal vocalizations. “Dajan,” comes out of Avi’s mouth like a bad taste. He immediately looks regretful at his tone and raises one hand. Hold on, the gesture says as he rolls his eyes and swallows down near decade-old resentment. “Dajan,” Avi repeats with less venom. “Your son, is here in the Safe Zone and— and Adam fucking Monroe came at him hot?” Avi narrows his eyes.

“What the fuck?” Avi asks, slowly shaking his head. “Isn't— doesn't— does Adam not know who your family is? Did he figure you ratted him out? I thought you two were at least pals back in the day. Why would he risk coming at your family when he has no reason to think he couldn't just approach you?”

"Unless he's decided they are better suited elsewhere, yes." Huruma does not miss the bad taste inside and out coming from Avi. To her credit, she quells any lingering attitude over it to allow him to continue. He did not have a good time during Apollo, she cannot fault him for the visceral reaction.

"If they were there for Riya's wife, I think that he was simply an unfortunate obstacle." And what an obstacle. One hand drums fingertips over a folder she's set down, reluctant to actually pick up any more of the debris.

"If I knew the answers to any of that, I probably would not be here." When she responds again, it is with a bristle and a small show of teeth. She wouldn't be frustrated enough to turn one of the caserooms into a disaster zone. "I can't- - there's no way he doesn't know- - he's not stupid. And even if he did figure that I talked- -" Huruma bites the edge of her tongue, brow knit, eyes narrowed. "Distinctly more than pals, Avi. You are right that he shouldn't have felt like he couldn't have come to me. I've done nothing that he wouldn't have, in my position."

The tall woman sits against a desk, hands hooked on the edge. "Megan seems to question if someone was not undermining him. At least… with what happened here." Huruma lifts her chin to Avi, eyes following him. "There's no way to know. Yet."

“Alright,” Avi says into his palm, brows high and head shaking. “So maybe this is a situation of right hand not knowing what the left’s doing, too. I mean that’s good for us. I didn’t see fuck all of this in the news so I wager Yamagato said fuck all about any of this to the press or the government, which— sure. Of course.” Avi ambles to the side, sweeping his hand around from his mouth to the back of his neck, tension in his shoulders still there from whatever it was that had him exercising or whatever in God’s name he was doing.

“Okay,” Avi says again, this time to the floor. But that’s quickly followed by a look up to Huruma.

“Go get the munitions locker key.”

Ruins of Queens

3 Miles Outside the NYC Safe Zone


“Yellow VW beetle on your left!”

Wind in his hair, cigar chomped down between his teeth, sunglasses on and driving with the setting sun at his back Avi Epstein has forgotten some of his woes. The heavy cha-chunk, kra-kow cyclical reload of a drum-fed AA12 automatic shotgun may not be music to most ears, but it’s certainly music to his. Several smoking shells come windmilling past his head, bouncing off of the Katsch’s leather upholstery and winding up somewhere on the floor.

Weaving between a stand of tall grass growing up in the middle of a ruined street, Avi Epstein has both doors off the Katsch, with Huruma standing up on the passenger’s side running platform, strapped in with a bungee cord so she can stand and shoot while they drive with the radio blasting as loud as they can get it to go.

This is blowing off steam.

When he said 'munitions locker key', coupled with the flourish of something in his mood, Huruma picked it up like a hungry hawk once he elaborated.

In the roar of an engine she is able to drown out the static in her head. The blast of speakers, the crackle of tires, the smell of oil and hot metal. The gun has a distinct feel, reassuring in its weight and the audible click-clack-lock of its drum. Speaking of drums, their ears may need a bit of a breather once this is over. But only then. Right now, it's the shriek of a guitar and the mighty bellow of the shotgun blasting a gigantic hole through the side of a brittle old car.

"Punch buggy." Shells spin past the dash and skitter around on the mats. "No punch backs."

A more violent version of it, anyway. The cord keeps her as steady as a bungee can, her frame nothing doing to the sturdier Katsch. Huruma, grinning, sets her sights on the road ahead, lined with the discards of an incoming apocalypse. Suspension below her squawks as the Katsch bowls over debris; she takes aim, tongue running over her teeth before a roaring volley rips through an old mail truck. They were already death traps, now this one is steaming scrap.

Avi exhales a breathless woo and slams his palm down on the steering wheel as he weave around a sinkhole in the road. The Katsch sways with the movement, tires roaring across the broken asphalt. He looks up at Huruma, then back to the road. Up ahead a line of busses marked with the old DoEA shield fill one side of the street, a holdover from the final days of the war when Evolved and suspected Evolved were being rounded up and bussed to holding camps. They have sat derelict for years.

Okay!” Avi shouts over the roar of the engine and the road. “Coming around for a broadside,” he adds, reaching into the back seat without looking to grab the shoulder strap of a drum-magazine micro grenade launcher. He swings it around by the strap, catching the weapon again by the rifle haft and holds it out toward Huruma.

“Early fireworks!” Avi says with a quick look at her and a flash of a smile.

Boots braced, Huruma holds onto the inside as she sets the spine of the shotgun against her shoulder; her gaze lingers on the smoldering gray heap they leave in the dust. Wind presses against her face as the Katsch rams ahead, and her attention turns toward where her cohort is driving. The shield emblazoned on the busses has her eyes gleaming against setting sun.

She feels the small shift of anticipation on her left, locking up the AA-12 and flipping it up onto her back. Avi's grinning is returned gladly when she stoops to heft the rifle from his hand. That's a new one she was looking forward to.

Thankfully, Avi's new fortune is fortune for her sense of adventure and wanting to blast things into oblivion. July isn't the same without color and munitions.

Huruma brings the gun up and uses those emblems as a bullseye, the engine not quite covering up the blast and whoomph when she takes her shots. Part of her hopes that scavengers never got to the fuel inside. She would love to see something burn tonight.

The vehicle explodes in a ball of fire. And people say wishes don’t come true.

Hah!” Avi whoops behind the wheel, slapping the heel of his palm into the steering wheel for a second time. “Alright last target, we’ve got a gray Toyota sedan up ahead!” Coming into a straightaway, Avi lays on the gas like this was some sort of jousting competition and he Huruma’s valiant steed. The music continues to blare from the speakers as they rapidly approach the vehicle, and Avi is lost in the moment of speed, fire, and intensity.

He needed this as much as Huruma did.

And she didn't even need a shooting star for that one. Huruma's teeth are bared in a half-smile, half-snarl, eyes flashing again in the sun as they follow the fiery carcass as it disappears. Exhilaration is one of those emotions which comes with no strings attached. It is there, or it is not. It is what it is and people cannot mask it easily.

Her own is already forming an overwhelming sense of power, and Avi's reactions blend into her vampiric side seamlessly. Huruma- - and likely her driver- - knew it was coming, and she, at least, welcomes the hellfire like an old friend.

The Katsch's growl mixes with her own, weapons weightless, skin burning when she lets out a roar of anger; Huruma not only takes the shot, she unloads a few more than necessary to send the sedan out of purgatory before the Katsch goes derby right through the remnants.

Avi derives no small amount of joy from this, from the white-knuckle grip he has on the steering wheel of a vehicle costing tens of thousands of dollars. The brushbar crashes against the remnants of the vehicle, finalizing its split in half. The tank-like truck crashes through the wreckage and Avi lets out a hoot of self-indulgent delight, slowly easing onto the brakes and swinging the ass-end of the Katsch around as he comes to a stop. The entire body of the truck rocks to one side when it comes to a halt, and though the music is still, blaring, Avi’s voice cuts through it.

You wanna hit that old DoEA billboard on the way back?” Avi asks Huruma, knowing full well what the answer to his question is.

Of course she does. They both have emotional fuel to burn yet.

And theirs is a mighty fire.

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