There Are Worse Things


huruma3_icon.gif megan_icon.gif ryans3_icon.gif

Scene Title There Are Worse Things
Synopsis The injured from Alaska finally arrive on the island and Megan gets to see first hand what happened to her friends.
Date November 22, 2011

Pollepel Island

The trip back was a special sort of purgatory. The news. The Injuries. The dead. More than once in her stupor, Huruma tried to get away from it. Not that she could. Panic usually led to Lucille helping her back to sleep. The ride is a haze, too, all fog and smoke and the smell of burning tundra and crisp air. Canada isn't as busy as the states. There's chaos at home. All sides.

But somehow, they come home again. Days, days after Cambridge. After the news reels. After Bradley Russo's expose. It was even on stations up north.

Pollepel is, for lack of a better way, where they belong in the end. A trailing line of wolves, tending to wounds and the pains of their pack. Huruma is waking for this. Sunken eyes and despair, despite the residual 'we won'. Medical is where they take everyone, stretching it out into bedrooms and other spaces. It's a relative swarm, and it's in the main medical bay where she waits, lain out as always when she comes here. There is a large patch at her left shoulder and several smaller spaces, and a lot of bruising under dark skin. But the vastness of the white bandaging around her middle is clear enough.

Below is a student's sutures over a clean bullet wound; Brian did his best work, and revisited it periodically. It isn't as bad work as it could be, but Megan will need to revisit it rather thoroughly.

The influx of wounded, not quite two weeks after the first major round of wounded hit the island to be treated, at least has the advantage of not coming in and having to compete for medical attention. Plus, the news has already filtered ahead on what kind of casualties we took, and what to expect as they arrive. There are enough injured that Megan's been kept pretty damn busy, but these are all her people and she's good at what she does. The news that this group is finally incoming in has her dictating where people need to be, and the worst injured are brought directly to what she has set up as the main triage unit. When she hastens into the room, having been given quick updates on the current condition of the injuries that will need immediate looking at, the redhead is yanking her hair up into its ponytail and stopping only long enough to grab gloves.

When she gets a look at Huruma, her lips firm into a thin line. Despite her professional calmness, the emotional aspects of seeing your friends hurt like this still affect even experienced medical teams. It's just compartmentalized…. as if the concern is muted by an emotional overlay of deliberate distance from the horror of what she deals with. Her hands are gentle as she moves immediately to inspect Brian's work and lightly touch along the injuries.

"He did good…. there are a couple places we're going to need to resuture," Megan murmurs to Huruma, her tone clinical. But she pauses, noting the full extent of the injuries and shakes her head. A moment's fury is immediately buried beneath that clinician's emotional stillness. "How much pain are you in?"

Huruma is staring at the ceiling— nothing— when Megan arrives next to her, and even then there is a faraway look in her eyes. It is when Megan's tiny storm grumbles up that Huruma's gaze shifts to inspect her, rested but weary, perhaps of those emotions. There is an uneasy silence that comes with clinical checking of the largest injury, and the span of dark torso is only otherwise disrupted by the binding nature of an elasticky bra. Huruma makes no verbal fuss, tall frame twitching when Megan touches around the sutures. Her teeth snick in a grind of jaw, tension forming underneath of pain. A fine sheen lingers at her temples and along her neck and chest.

"Enough to feel ornery."

Megan pauses in touching the empath and purses her lips. "Well, perhaps next time you can knock your target sideways instead of taking a gunshot through armor," she suggests coolly. She really is doing her level best to keep the overwhelming emotions buried deep, aware that Huruma has no need to experience more of them on top of what she's enduring. "Gimme a minute," she tells her friend, her hand on Huruma's arm gentle.

Moving quickly, she pulls together a suture tray and several needles full of lidocaine and painkillers. Slanting Hooms a Look as she sits down next to her to begin the more painful part — the administration of pain management agents — she comments quietly, "I'm grateful you're still alive enough to be ornery."
Ivory eyes cast away when Megan proceeds to purse her lips and settle into her figurative finger-shaking. She doesn't look up again, immediately, staring at the length of her pants. Sideways. Of course, she's right. The touch to her arm brings her back, stillness almost forced. There is a practice to her manner and at the moment, it is hard to keep those airs up. As Megan sits back down to administer a needle, Huruma looks everywhere but the point of it, her tense upkeep of that aura creaking slightly.

Huruma's answer is quiet to match, smooth voice a touch less so. Her senses try to focus on Megan, an invisible writhing away from feeding on literally everything around her. "…I know."

Megan's hands remain as gentle as humanly possible on Huruma's ravaged body. The first thing she gives is the injection of painkillers. On top of the levels already in Huruma's blood, they should take the edge off pretty quickly. She warns softly, "It's going to hurt." Not because Huruma doesn't know that, but because Megan always warns. "Try not to tense."

She quickly and fluidly injects four fast doses of lidocaine into the surface layers of Huruma's skin so that they can numb the areas that need to be recleaned and resutured. She contains her own wincing — it will be done later, as always.

Seeking for something to take Huruma's attention off the immediacy of this, she starts talking. "Things have been ridiculous since the attacks. But the casualty list was… well, it just is what it is. Were you awake for the broadcasts during the couple of days after?"

Huruma makes a small sound through her nose as she feels the pinch, leaning into the stacked pillows behind her shoulders. Try not to tense. Huruma seems to take it to heart, eyelids closing a moment before she gives an attempt at relaxing her muscles past the light pressures of hands at a wound.

"I… We saw them being re-aired." Huruma breathes out, lungs slowing as best they can. "Russo… Cambridge…" The last has a jet of something pierce its way in through the chest and into her head, and for a moment the tension returns unbidden. Her mouth opens again, lips parted to murmur something more on the matter, but instead they take form around something else, a lazy look tilted up at Megan's blaze of hair. "He's coming."

It sounds more ominous than it is.

Still, in that same white coat he had been wearing in Alaska; having not had the time to stop off and change, Benjamin is just suddenly there. "Megan," He offers softly in greeting.

His hair is a mess from being under the grey cap that is now in his hand. With that hand attached to an arm that is cradled in a sling. His face looks like it had lost a fight with a cat, with variety of cuts crisscrossing his face. A couple probably should have been stitched, but… clearly, he still has that stubborn streak.

The most striking thing about his sudden appearance is the lack of anything past the left cuff of his jacket.

Once Huruma had been deposited at the infirmary, Ryans didn't stick around; with a hasty apology to his injured friend. He had no desire to be stuck there, by a certain stubborn redheaded nurse, before he could check-in with someone from the council. However, there was no way he could avoid it, so he has returned before she decided to hunt him down.

From the stoniness of the man's face, he has heard about the casualties from other sources. Dread and anxiety gnaws at his gut. "Has there been any word from Delia?" There is a touch of anxiety in those words.

He's coming. If anyone else had said those words to her with zero context, Megan would have had to ask who he was. But she doesn't, the spike of worry that she felt when she first laid eyes on Huruma repeats itself as her brown eyes briefly flick to the doorway, immediately assessing the sight of Benjamin Ryans. Relief, gratitude, annoyance — a decided urge to give a serious dressing down. All of these emotions are squelched behind the facade of professionalism.

Jerking her chin to the chair right near Huruma, she instructs the co-head of Special Activities sternly, "Park it, mister." Because she's looking at that arm. Whether he likes it or not, clearly. "We haven't had word yet, no. Considering the situation since the 8th, though, it's not exactly surprising."

Moving to pick up the snips for the sutures she has to replace, she gently touches Huruma's injuries to be sure that it can't be felt and then gets to work. She finds it easier to quell the fear and subsequent desire to rage at the both of them behind busy hands.

"Tell me what you saw on your way in?" she asks.

Huruma's focus seems to blur a tiny bit as things settle into her system. It's enough to have her relaxing further, letting Megan at her work. She's aware of hands on her, and skirting pressures, but past that the medication does its job. As Ryans fills the doorway with his windswept self, arm slung and everything about him dragging behind, Huruma lets out a small noise of discontent. Hey.

For now she lets the two exchange words, only blinking after the course of conversation when Megan answers the question about Delia. Not surprising at all.

Huruma isn't sure who she is asking the last of, and whatever the case may be she answers with a bit of a distasteful drawl, a whisper. "…Despair."

There is the slightest flicker of thought at defiance, but it doesn't last long. With a heavy sigh, he scuffs sideways and settles into the indicated chair with no real argument. Ryans leans back in the chair slowly with a sigh as he thinks on her question. While one arm is cradled in the sling, his other rests on his thigh. The deep ache is there, but it has been such a constant, that it is becoming the norm.

"Chaos," seems to sum it up pretty nicely.

There is a side-long glance to Huruma, catching her whisper. "It is hard to believe it is the same city we left a month ago… Or even the same country." Bitterness fills his voice, gaze dropping to the floor in front of him.

OH she caught the expression, the momentary pause as if he's going to disobey. There's a flash across her face that practically dares him to give her a reason … there's a lot of fear that like everyone else she's been sitting on since before the 8th. And the redhead really would not mind a target at. all.

When he sits, her jaw firms up, and the short nod is almost as good as the words I thought so. Argue with me, will you? I don't even think so.

Chaos she expected, obviously. The word despair makes Megan's hands pause. Her eyes close for a long moment. That answer, too, is not unexpected. The redhead has to wait for the sudden upsurge of emotion to die down before she touches Huruma again, not wanting the added stimulus of physical contact to allow the emotions to pierce the painkillers' haze.

Her movements deft, she cleans the two wounds that require more secure stitching and then begins to work on the sutures themselves. "It's not," she tells them quietly. "And it won't be … for a long time to come, I think." There's a kind of banked fury, helplessness, in her words that she contains behind a matter-of-fact tone.
Huruma's jaw works, the lines of her high cheekbones casting a thoughtful shadow when she looks to Ben, watching his off-arm. Where part of it used to be. With the painkillers and ghosting pain, she is slower, and it is easy to catch her staring. Not the first time. At least he's still there.

The haze and silent work on her wounds keeps her quiet, for a time.

"…I used to like it. It used to feed me."

Even though he is supposed to keep his one good arm immobile, he drops the beanie on his lap, and then reaches up to snags the strap for the sling and gently take it off, leaving it drape across his lap. "Not sure it will ever be," Benjamin admits blandly. Hard to feel positive about the changes with everything they had learn lately.

With his arm free, Benjamin is able to carefully, reach over and rest that hand on Huruma's arm. Just a small show of support.

Ben's blue-eyes lift to Megan, his voice dropping to a soft rumbled whisper. " I am not sure that we will be safe here for much longer." While he knows about the secret measures in place to protect the island, his unease is clear. "I have a feeling the council will make a decision before long."

She works for a bit of time in silence. "Well, we'll just be glad you found a better diet," Megan retorts mildly as she finishes stitching. The bandaging is gentle as well, and when she's done, Megan removes her gloves to smooth her hand across Huruma's forehead. It's not going to be a fast recovery, but it actually looks pretty good. "No more throwing yourself in front of fucking bullets," she informs her rather dopey patient with a gentle smile. "Suicide leaps are only acceptable as a last resort — and how am I supposed to console him if you died saving him? He would never forgive himself," she whispers to the dark-skinned empath.

Dark eyes turn to Ryans, and Meg stands and goes to his chair now, snatching up a new pair of gloves on her way. Again, her hands are gentle as she tips his face up so she can inspect the gashes on it more closely, her fingertips light on his skin while she does. A frown furrows her copper brows tightly over her nose and she avoids meeting his eyes. "You should have let Brian put a couple stitches in some of these," she informs him, a faint edge to her tone. "At this late date, it won't help. Just have to keep taping them." Quirking a brow at him, she adds a little tartly, "I hope you weren't planning on returning to a modeling career."

His words have her pausing, and Megan's eyes come up to meet his. There is no surprise. She's obviously seen the signs herself, and it's not as if the dreams of what's coming are secrets. There's a slow nod, a look of almost jaded weariness. She reaches down to carefully help him lay his arm out flat on the table. "Let's take a look. If it's healed enough, we need to start binding it." She's seen enough vets and their amputations to know what needs doing. And it's not exactly pleasant, but it's perhaps the only thing she can She used to absorb it like a sponge. Now it's inside of everyone she realizes she cares so much about. It is sobering, and more stark than the eye of God. Megan's hand on her head has Huruma's eyes somewhat larger, pupils deep at the whisper, the kind smile. He wouldn't have. She's right. Again. Plush lips thin along the line of her mouth as Huruma stares back at her friend, the halo of red and certainty. Her face skirts something new, at least for Megan; a brow that knits upwards, features that bend ever so slightly into a flicker of insecurity. She almost did the very thing she was preventing. Not that she'd have known, if it had gone worse.

Megan moves away from her, and Huruma's breath catches as it flows out, then in, a deliberate meditation. She watches as the medic swaps over to Ryans, inspecting the work of practiced hands on his face. Her remark on modeling coaxes a soft snort from Huruma, and any glance her way reveals that she is stifling the sound with the tip of tongue between teeth, features amused. Thankfully the empath returns to a state of previous seriousness rather than levity, keeping things balanced as she goes back to observation.

"There were worse things to worry about." Instead of his face. "A few more scars won't kill me." Though he sounds a touch amused at Megan's assessment of his face.

When she reaches for the amputated arm, Ryans doesn't let her touch it until he takes the time to shrug - rather awkwardly — out of the coat. Only then does she get to place the roughly bandaged stump. As she unwinds the bandage, his good hand will lower to set on his leg, fingers curling into a slightly trembling fist.

Despite the casual front he has put on about it, the sight of the limb, gives him some anxiety. Megan will notice the heat of the arm. Despite all there attempts to keep it protected and disinfected, infection is slowly setting him. The flesh around the cauterize end - cut off just below the wrist — is redden and hot. It is not a pretty wound at all.

Tearing his eyes from what remains of his left arm, Ryans watches Megan.

The redhead doesn't shy away from what she sees, and her expression remains the same as her work expression always is. Huruma is the unfortunate recipient of Megan's reaction, even as doped on painkillers as the empath is —- the flash of gut-wrenching grief for what the person in front of her has lost, which she will not allow to show. Though quite frankly, if Huruma's injury and its severity worried her, it is nothing on the sensation of her knees trying to turn to water beneath her as she takes in the infection that's setting in.

Megan's hands are gentle as she manipulates the arm to get a good look at the entire wound. "It's good that you arrived when you did," she tells him plainly. "A few more days and we would have had to … remove more to save the arm at all."

Brown eyes come up to meet his blue ones, sympathy and compassion showing, as they should, but the soldier and the ER nurse in her is able to keep the rest to herself. "You need a serious round of antibiotics, and I need to debride this. I would prefer to put you out to do that." A flicker of something flashes across her face, gone before he can see how much it will kill her to have to do this on him while conscious. She will abide by his decision on the matter, though.

Though she cannot smell the infection, Huruma can definitely see it. The red flare of tissue at the stump of wrist calls her back to holding that same hand just an afternoon before the battle. It may be the painkillers, but she finds herself missing it a little too. Something like pity, perhaps— a foreign expression, to say the least. Just let her have that, for a few moments. It will pass. He is stronger than that and she knows it.

The way Megan's emotions come seeping up is familiar now, and Huruma absorbs them as she would otherwise. Rather than quest for the sources, she lies there in the wake of them, considering.

"I've seen worse, but you probably… want to be out. Shock…" Huruma intones, helpfully muttering, her eyes half closed. Maybe she was supposed to only be thinking that.

Lips press firm at his options. The idea of being put under does not set well with him, it meant for a time he was vulnerable. Something that he, really, doesn't like. However… as he studies what is left of his arm, he knows that it will hurt like a son-of-a-bitch if he stays awake. It hurt like one, not long after the shock wore off.

He is not happy about it, evident through the sigh he exhales, "Alright.

"How long do you think it will take to do this?" Ryans has work to do after all, as one of the leaders of Special Activities. They had an island to prep against the possibility of invaders.

Megan breathes a little easier when he agrees. The relief is clear even to Ryans himself. "About 2 hours. I need time to clean it really well," she tells him, blowing out a slow breath. Heading off his objections, she adds, "And since I know you're going to bitch about it, you can wait until this evening. I'll put you under, take care of it, and you'll get a full night of sleep where I can keep an eye on you. And it won't impact anything that way."

Huruma stifles memories of seeing those worse amputations. Some of them she did herself. Her nose flares at the residual memories of the blood, but the hardened look fades too. She seems to draw back her focus to the exchange between Megan and Ryans, grateful that she doesn't have to fight him over it. "Your hand is viscera and all you worry about is time." Huruma's arm slides off the bed to gesture at all of that, pain a haze as things settle more heartily into her. She pulls her arm back to herself to place the hand over her eyes. Sigh.

"Good." Ryans seems pleased that. His good hand, moves to rest gently on Megan's, fingers tightening briefly as he says, "Thank you, for understanding." That he would be a bitch about it, that he has stuff he needs to get done. It was just how the old man was.

Glancing over Huruma's way, catching sight of her out of the corner of his eye, Ryans smiles slightly. Though it is strained from the renewed ache of his arm, possibly freed from the pressure of the bandage. "We all have our priorities, my friend." His might be a little twisted. "I have a job to do and people to protect." That said, he releases Megan's hand so that she can re-wrap his ha… his arm, so he can get to it.

Huruma's words break Megan's neutrality mask and she snickers softly. "What did you expect?" she comments wryly to Huruma. She's surprised when Ryans takes her hand, but she squeezes tightly back in return, glancing at him. She searches his face for a long moment. And then she simply nods slightly, pulling her fingers back when he releases her, and moves to get a clean bandage to bind the injury along with a syringe. She wraps the bandage loosely for now — later she'll put a pressure bandage on it, but not until she's fully dealt with it.

And despite the fact that the situation is dire and they all know it, a wicked twinkle lightens her eyes for a moment. "Drop 'em." It's one of the heavy-duty antibiotics shots that goes in a hip. And it amuses the hell out of her that it's kind of his turn to drop trou in the medbay. At least far enough to let her hit the right spot.

Priorities. Like making sure he came back. Huruma peeks through her long fingers, one eye roaming back to Ryans. Something amused sits in there, past the dulled pain. Megan's words draw the look up to her. "I cannot say." She jokes. Maybe not anything different than what they get. He's dreadfully predictable.

When Megan wields her syringe and makes her demands, Huruma just snorts with a touch of laughter. As a favor to Ben's sensibilities she closes her fingers back across her eyes. There, see? Not looking.

"Your kidding, right?"

While, the man might know she is more often than not dead serious, the words are out before he can even reason about. Brows lifted in surprise, he isn't making any move to stand and de-pants himself in front of them both. Ryans age might just be showing here, men do not drop their skivvies in front of women. "I was expecting… pills, not…" He eyes glance and then nods at needle.

Noises from Huruma are met with a scowl of annoyance and irritation. Ben was feeling a bit like when he is ganged up by his daughters.

There is a moment of surprised amusement that flashes across Megan's face. A great many things could be said in that moment, but instead of messing with him, she meets his blue eyes. Sure, hers are still a bit twinkly with that amusement but she's clearly serious. "No, Benjamin, I am not. You don't have to run starkers — but you do need to drop them far enough to let me jab you." Tilting her head she tells him in a tone that is serious in spite of the amusement. "You need a stronger dose than a pill will give you to boost it. You'll have the pills the rest of the time."

Standing up, she pulls one of the few frames she has rigged up with a sheet for a little privacy — no one can see him from the hall and even Hooms can't see him. She keeps her voice as low as possible, so as not to embarrass him. "Do you need help with the button?"

While the nurse moves around him, Ryans sits very still, watching her with only his eyes. His eyes are flat, without emotions. He is not please about this turn of events. Not. At. All.

Even with the curtain in place, he doesn't seem like he is going to follow orders, but then he forces himself to relax. "Fine," he growls in irritation. Unbuttoning pants are easy, it is just learning trick to buttoning them up again that is tough. His fingers tap on the table, but then he finally relents and works to unbutton those jeans, though she can pull them down as far as she needs to.

Looking at the curtain that separates him and Huruma, he growls a soft, "Huruma… stop it," as a warning. He is pretty sure, she is over there silently laughing at him. Why did he come back to the infirmary again? He would have been better off hiding.

Megan gives him plenty of space and dignity. When he handles his pants, she goes around behind him, tugs his waistband just down far enough to put the needle in, depresses the plunger, and it's over. She rolls her eyes at him as she comes back around the front. "The kids act better than you do," she tells him ruefully. "Do you need a lolly now, too?" She's not treating him any differently than she ever has, giving him shit for being a cruddy patient.

There is one difference, however. She doesn't ask his permission or leave him alone to deal with the rebuttoning — jeans are hard. She merely in very businesslike fashion rebuttons them for him. And then she pauses and looks up. She searches his face for a moment, leans up and kisses him on the cheek, and murmurs, "I'm really damn glad to see you guys. Now go on… go get your manly man things done. I'll see you this evening to treat your arm."

She pushes the curtain back out of the way before he really has any chance at all to respond, moving with deft motions back toward Huruma's bed to see if the other woman has drifted off yet.

Huruma is absolutely behaving herself on the other side of that curtain. It's not even the whisper about buttons that gets her. Maybe if he only had a broken hand, sure! It's only when he admonishes her for doing nothing that she laughs out loud. "What? …I was being good until you went and said that…" She admonishes right back, a softer sort of retaliation thanks to the slowing tiredness of her voice. To her credit she stops there, rubbing the smile off of her face with the back of a hand.

By the time Megan drifts back to her, there is a definite cloudiness to her eyes, lingering between idle thought and sleep.

There is no verbal response from Ryans, he offers a soft smile, lines showing briefly at the corners of his eyes. His fingers touch the medic's arm briefly — an unspoken thank you — before he is grabbing up the coat and his sling. He drapes them over his injured arm, taking the pressure off his healing right arm and to cover the maimed left. There is a brief pause, to consider the dozing Huruma on the cot and then he is gone again.

There might be a part of him rushing to get out before Megan changes her mind.

The redhead watches him go, and she lowers herself to sit next to the African woman. Slipping her hand into Huruma's, she props her other arm up on the bed and lays her forehead on her forearm. She squeezes the hand she holds tightly. "Jesus Christ… " Rarely does she let the injuries she sees get inside her. She's been a combat medic too long. But these two?

Turning her head so that she's facing Huruma's face, she whispers, "If this is what you both look like nearly two weeks later? I'm so goddamn grateful that you made it, I can't stand it." Pulling her arm out from under her head, she uses that hand to smooth Huruma's forehead. "Sleep. Trust me, I've got you. You're going to be okay now."

Megan's hand settling into hers takes a moment to register, though when it does, Huruma's slightly bigger one seems to knead against it, fingers a contrast to the paler skin. Thinking. Listening. When the medic looks into her face again, Huruma's head tilts against the pillow below, a curious cant of chin and head. The touch is warm against her skin, and the remaining discontent Megan seems to be feeling works its way out in those ministrations.

Huruma's fingers escape from Megan's hand, lifting to the other woman's face in a drowsy touch to hair and jaw, a ghosting heat of fingertips over skin. "I know."

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