We Are Always An Us


huruma_icon.gif megan_icon.gif

Scene Title We Are Always An Us
Synopsis Paging Nurse Young.
Date June 12, 2018

Elmhurst Hospital

Elmhurst Hospital is one of two operational public hospitals servicing the entirety of the NYC Safe Zone. Elmhurst is the most newly reopened hospital and also the shortest staffed and least well supplied. This facility is based out of the run down and still partly condemned Elmhurst Hospital building which was scheduled for demolition prior to the civil war. The newer Elmhurst Hospital, which was supposed to be constructed adjacent to this old campus, was never finished and the infrastructure that was laid before the civil war rapidly deteriorated in the decade since. Elmhurst struggles to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Safe Zone population and is in a constant struggle to balance the needs of its patients and its often too-short supply of essential medication. In spite of this, the hospital was donated a brand new MRI by Yamagato Industries and are partially supported by recurring charitable donations from the corporation and other sponsors.

The shifts at Elmhurst are typically busy, keeping up to the needs of the many with the hands of the few; at the moment there is a lull of incoming patients, with mainly small items of need and issues that can be addressed quickly. Sprains, fevers, a slower day. The nurses surely appreciate it.

Huruma is not a rare sight here, as she sometimes comes to see some of those nurses. But this is the first time that she’s signed in at the emergency center.

They don’t really tell Megan much except that the tall, dangerous woman she’s friends with has asked for her specifically, and they had a hard time telling her ‘no’. Luckily that slow day will let them fetch Nurse Young. The outpatient sheet has notes complaining of dizziness, nausea, and severe chest pain.

Whenever Megan does get there, Huruma is sulking in the corner on a chair, hooked to a monitor and wearing one of her more displeased looks. It’s that look she gets when she wants nothing more than to not have to deal with things like healing times.

Megan's a flurry of concern when word comes that the very tall, somewhat scary woman (their words) was refusing to see anyone else. A frown is creasing her brow even as she steps in with a set of fresh gloves in her hands. "Huruma, how ba—" She breaks off. It's a useless question anyway, because Hooms could be bleeding out and she'd grit her teeth and tell Megan to sew it up quick so she can get back out there. She's done it before! But as she slips her gloves into place and takes in the particulars, Megan's worry does not abate.

Approaching her friend with the usual competence, Megan checks the readouts on the monitors and reaches to feel Huruma's pulse for herself. "When did the chest pains start?" Her voice is brisk, same as always. "And have you actually thrown up or just been nauseous?"

Huruma can feel Megan coming, even when she has her field pulled inward; she leaves it large enough to know when the other woman is almost to the door. When she opens it, Huruma is still sulking, but at least looking to her rather than the floor. There is a hint of shadow under her eyes, and a tired slink to her shoulders.

The monitors show that her blood pressure and heart rate are too high for resting, and even her breath seems short. Her pulse matches the readout, and any listening to her lungs says they are clear, just hitching with the shortness. White eyes travel after Megan and her professionalism.

“I didn’t want to listen to someone trying to tell me what to do.” So, Megan was right not to try and ask too many questions. Of course. Huruma even sounds tired, her voice more levelled than usual “They started days ago, I think. I wasn’t— I thought it would go away. It has not. I haven’t thrown up, but my appetite is not terribly great either.”

"I imagine not," Megan replies. Her attention is clearly fixed on her mental count and the ever-present stethoscope comes off the neck. Now you know she's serious. "Is it constant or intermittent? How many days?" Giving Huruma only a couple of questions at a time allows the redhead to evaluate the breath sounds. Even though Huruma is reluctant, Megan just does as she's always done — walks right past the other woman's objections, if they appear. There's a long moment before she removes the earpieces so she can hear the answers.

Huruma mutters to herself, silent to let Megan listen to her chest. “Constant. Two, three?” The other woman gets little fight this time. She knows the drill. “I took some painkillers, nothing. I do not know if heart issues happen with my medication, but…”

Megan has the list of them on the records clipboard. Mood stabilizers, an anti-psychotic, a tranquilizer as needed, such things as those. Nothing with these side effects.

“It feels like something is pushing through my chest.” Huruma looks up to Megan’s face again, and this time she lets her features break from sulking to worrisome. Her best girlfriend definitely knows when she is wearing her emotions on her face. Even a little scared, out of ideas, caved and came here. “My head feels hot, and when I walk it feels as if everything is on tilt like a pinball machine.”

Megan's eyebrow-frown gets a little deeper though the rest of her expression remains calm. That it's constant actually rules out several things and that does make her relax a little. But her suspicion is growing that it's something she's never seen in her friend before - far simpler than a heart problem in many ways, though far more complicated in others. She moves to sit, bringing up a pair of reading glasses that also hang around her neck these days when she's working to perch them on her nose before double-checking the meds Huruma's taking to be sure there's nothing new.

Finally, she pulls in a slow breath and looks up from the chart. "Your lungs are clear and aside from being fast, your heart sounds perfect. I'm assuming you're still taking all your meds like you should -" she peers at Huruma over the glasses and then nods in satisfaction when she gets agreement in that assumption, "- so the onset doesn't track with high blood pressure itself so much, though that's what's causing most of what you're feeling."

Removing her glasses and letting them hang around her neck along with her stethoscope, she leans forward and rests her elbows on her knees while she studied her friend. "It's a panic attack, sweetness," she tells the African woman gently. "A right huge panic attack. Did something happen just before his all started, or is it something that just came out of nowhere?" If it's the latter, shifting her mood cocktail should help. But Megan's more concerned about the former - if it was something particular, it had to be a massive, very personal thing.

Huruma's eyes are on Megan's face as she reads. “God, when did we start needing readers…” comes out in an annoyed mutter. This mortal thing sucks. She quiets her breath when her friend looks back up to her, nodding just once in regards to the medication. There is a wait that seems to take forever, the wait for Megan to tell her how to fix it.

It is clear that when she does get her answer, it only causes confusion. Huruma's brow furrows skeptically back. She wouldn't lie, would she? No, never.

The questions Megan poses have Huruma looking briefly away, frowning to herself, eyes hooded. She takes her sweet time to speak up again. “Something happened, yes. Over the weekend. But I am okay with it- I don't know why-” Clearly there is a larger part of her not okay than she thought.

Megan quirks a smirk at Huruma. "Yeah… kinda pissed me off last year when I realized my arms weren't long enough to read anymore." She tilts her head, studying her friend. There is sympathy in her expression. "Maybe not as okay as you thought," she murmurs, her hand resting on Huruma's forearm and squeezing gently. "The fact that it's something that actually happened is good news, honestly. It means that perhaps a simple dose of an anxiety medication will help you break the symptoms a bit. But… dealing with what actually happened would be the best option. Wanna tell me about it?"

Obviously the redhead won't push her, but there is genuine worry in her blue eyes as she studies the dark-skinned woman. "It's… in the years we've been together, I've never seen you get this upset. Not even… when you maybe should have been." Megan and Huruma haven't danced around things much in years — not even the uncomfortable stuff like shared feelings for a guy or the occasional awkward moment when one of them was sleeping with said guy and the other kinda wanted to be. "What hit you so hard?"

Not as okay as she thought. Huruma struggles to believe that is true, mouth thinning. She moves away from thoughts of weaknesses when Megan puts the hand to her arm, but they come tumbling back soon enough. There is a frown now, that passive, feline look.

“Just because you do not see worse doesn't mean it is not there.” Huruma's first response is a little terse, and she seems to realize it once it is out. “Sorry. I am just… very good at masking. Or that is what the therapist claims.” Her arms lift and she finally manually unhooks any nodes still on her from the monitor. Busying her hands. “Because when I do not, it's… “

“I have been talked down before. But never about you, don't worry…” Those stark eyes settle on Meg with no uncertain warmth. She still seems hesitant.

“Something—” Huruma leans back, air puffing in her nose as she examines the ceiling tiles. “Mn. Something happened with Benjamin. He hasn't spoken to me. It would likely explain why my stomach feels as if I have swallowed hot coals…”

“I do not like to feel this way. I may be an empath but…my own head escapes me.”

Megan smiles slightly at the reassurance — she has more faith in Huruma than in almost anyone else on the face of the planet, so she doesn't fear that she was ever at risk. In point of fact, the redhead is kind of amused that Huruma felt the need to reassure her, because he herself has never had doubt in the other woman. Not since the days of Pollepel when Huruma was at her worst, really, and even then… she wasn't afraid. Only worried. Like now.

Then Benjamin's name comes up, and Megan pauses to consider what was just said … and what wasn't. Although she's very good at muting her emotional responses, she's still in physical contact with Hooms. So surprise and a measure of amusement are her first reactions. She pulls away so as not to overwhelm Huruma with the influx of more complex and tangled emotional reactions such as curiosity, satisfaction, a little sadness. Benjamin Ryans ever brings up complicated emotions for the two women, spoken and unspoken. But the primary one she seems to be feeling is a kind of amused concern. "So… are you fighting about something foolish? Or did you finally speak up and shock him silly?" she guesses in a gentle tone. They both know how Ben gets when he doesn't know what to say.

It’s too little too late to keep Huruma’s mind from investigating the nuances behind that amusement. She senses it and tips her head after the removal of the touch, tracking Megan with a sidelong look. Complicated is understating the tangled web. Ultimately it is the concern that leaves Huruma neutral, hands linked between her knees and gaze half-lidded once more.

“Something like that.” Both? Huruma answers after a heavy pause, mulling and measuring the proper response. The monitor beep-beeps its track of her rising heart rate, and she searches herself for a node she’s missed, mouth tightening in flustered indignance as she tears it free.

Bloody technology.

That single brow quirks upward. "Something like which that? Both?" Megan pulls in a breath and lets it out slowly. Her blue eyes on Huruma are full of both sympathy and affection, though there is a small hint of envy in the mix of her emotions now. "I'm glad," she informs Huruma softly. "I'm glad you are taking the chance, darling… even if it doesn't turn out the way you're hoping, it is long past time you decided to at least let him know what you feel for him."

She reaches out and in a movement wholly unlike Megan, she cradles Huruma's cheek to capture her gaze and make her stop fluttering. "I know it's terrifying. And his reactions aren't exactly reassuring. Trust me, I get it. But no matter what he says about that… you are still his. Nothing will change it, Huruma." There is a certainty to her, a reassurance in tone but also in her emotions — she is so sure of that fact that it's literally emotions-deep. "You're not going to lose him, no matter which way it goes."

“He has had some faint idea for years…” Huruma mumbles this under her breath, but anything else that wants to come is cut short. The monitor is out now, but it proves easy to tell that the pressure in her blood is abating slowly at the other woman’s touch against her face. Her stare is a still one, paler still than Megan’s bright eyes.

There is nothing sent back until Meg drives in that they’ll still be what they are. Still his, still hers, still together. Huruma is so often reading deceptive assurances that this one, as thorough as nothing ever is, twists and pulls. A shudder moves involuntarily down her frame, jaw tensing against Meg’s hand, the stillwater stare rippling with what seems a dozen things, scratching their way through to the surface.

“I… need you to be right.” Huruma’s words are low and full of that same ripple of emotion, harboring a well of stress that she stifles into another shift of her back against the seat. Like she might be able to phase backwards through it out of anxiety. A writhing feeling grows in her gut.

“He was actually enjoying himself at the Cradle before I went and- - ruined it- -” Jaw tightening as if under screws, the heel of her palm thuds against her forehead, and not at all lightly. And a second time, just after, before both hands press against her brow.

“I don’t know what I’m doing.”

"Do any of us when it comes to sex and love?" Megan retorts drily. But her certainty is unshaken. "You didn't ruin it. Huruma, look at me." She waits until she has the other woman's eyes again. "For two years, he and I had a relationship. Did it ruin anything? Even when it didn't work out?" She gestures. "I can walk out there this very second and show up on his door, tell him that I need him, and all he asks me is what do I need? I've done it recently, and then fell asleep in the flipping chair in front of the fire. Do you think that after everything we've all shared together he's going to ever turn his back on you?"

The 'tsk' sound is accompanied by a gentle stroke down Huruma's cheek. "You put your own feelings for him on a back burner for a long time. You deserve to put them out there and see where they lead. The worst case is that they lead to exactly where you were before you opened your mouth." Megan grins just a little. "Although I'll warn you, he'll act a little weird at times because he'll feel awkward. He'll get over it. I promise. And maybe, just maybe, he'll finally figure out in his own head what he feels for you. Which… to be honest, I'm not sure he's ever quite figured out for himself, Huruma." There's a fleeting moment of sadness, and only because she knows Huruma will feel it does she articulate her thought. "He has never let go of Mary. You already know that. Even when he loves, she will hold a place in his heart." She tilts her head. "So will I. And no matter which way this goes… so do you. I know it to my soul, Huruma."

It is perhaps one of the very few emotional bedrocks of Megan Young's existence — the sun rises in the East, the river flows to the sea, and Huruma and Ben Ryans will always be there.

The wait for Huruma’s eyes to move back is not forever, but it is long; when they do, they stick, even if the rest of her feels like a hundred twisting serpents under the skin. Flickers of her flit past Megan’s own mind, wisps of her empathic aura seeping free.

Her head shakes at the question following her familiar- - she does it too- - anecdote. He wouldn’t, no. Just like she hasn’t. Rather than grit her teeth, Huruma tries her best to concentrate instead on the faint pressure of Megan’s hand. The redhead’s smile is contagious, but only for a moment; Huruma’s amusement is short, but it is there.

Gaze still set and watchful, the dark woman’s brow knits at mention of Mary, kneading further upwards in an expression of remorse. “God knows I never wanted to do anything like replace her. I just- -” Huruma cuts herself off, breath leaving in a sound of weariness. “I know I do too. He purposefully makes it hard for people to see the him underneath, but I see it. My mind feels it all. His, mine, yours. He felt so— conflicted, and anguished, all over a kiss that he returned. I hate myself for making him feel like that.”

There are times when people think they understand what is is Huruma does, and others where nothing makes sense. The brain is a fickle machine.

“This is all… I honestly don’t know what I am doing. I have literally never done this before. I’ve never had someone that I would- - mngh.” Huruma buries her face against Megan’s hand, one of her own moving up to run over the short hair on her head.

Megan reaches out and draws the woman she'd call her best friend into her arms and hugs her tightly, infusing the hug with all the reassurance she can muster — it's not really that hard. She feels great affection for Huruma and the gentle amusement beneath it doesn't seem to be laughing at Huruma — that is usually a malicious thing, and Megan doesn't have a malicious bone in her body. She draws away and smiles. "Welcome to the world of dating, Hooms," she teases very gently. "Not a damn one of us has a clue what we're doing. Ever. We're all just winging it as best we can." She still keeps the contact with Huruma, because ever the nurse, Meg noticed that the physical touch is helping the anxiety. She can tell in the body language of her companion. "You know… it's not only Benjamin who doesn't let people see the real him. It's a scary as hell feeling to wonder what another person sees when they look at you. Whether they are… seeing it all." She smiles slightly. "Tell you what… let me see if I can get someone to cover the rest of my shift here, and we'll go out for a while. Let's take the bike and go for a ride outside the walls, okay?" Because getting out into the open and opening the throttle wide will do more good for Huruma than any amount of medication.

As much as she is ferocious and scares the bejeezus out of the less experienced Elmhurst crew, Huruma practically hides away in the embrace, her face burying against Megan’s shoulder and soft locks of red hair. The other woman will feel the firm touch of Huruma’s windy, wild mood, anxious but reassured. Showing that she really is helping- - and contrasting some of those words.

Huruma doesn’t let people see her underneath much, either.

It is probably what really got her into this mess in the first place.

Megan’s lingering hold and quest for her friend’s inner peace is answered with another touch, Huruma’s head to hers, brief but punctuated. Thank you.

“I would love that very much.”

Resting her forehead against Huruma's, Megan cherishes that moment. It is a rare one when she feels she can honestly be there for her self-contained friend and she is grateful for the trust that it shows that she came here and then actually talked about what was on her mind. And then she smiles and disappears into the ER, briskly arranging for someone else to deal with the rest of her shift because she has a family situation that needs addressing.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License