Who's There?


brynn_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif lance_icon.gif owain_icon.gif squeaks_icon.gif

Scene Title Who's There?
Synopsis Surprise visits are welcome, just let us know ahead of time!
Date June 2, 2018

Lance's Apartment

Lance's apartment is not huge. It's actually why the Lighthouse Kids have all taken up using the building that Caspian is willing to let them rent from him and stuff — cuz there's lots more space, and we're collecting people again! It being a rainy, somewhat thundery day out, though, none of them felt like trekking over there when they woke this morning, so Brynn snuck out and brought back pastries and juice and when Lance got up… he found her coloring on the walls. Again.

This time, there's a monstrous mural of the Pond back home in Canada; the wall looks very realistic. And very surreal up against the other wall that joins it at the corner… because she's gone all wildly abstract there. It's almost jarring and yet makes a kind of sense. The autumn colors of the Canadian landscape literally bleed sideways into a brilliantly and eye-popping abstract of the New York City Catastrophe Zone as seen from Coney Island.

"…I… guess Brynn couldn't sleep?" Lance is standing just outside his bedroom in a pair of boxers and a t-shirt with a Else Kjelstrom concert logo faded on the front of it, looking over the murals with a bemused expression, hands moving in her direction to sign over towards the artistic teenager, If you keep this up we'll have to charge an entry fee. The Lighthouse Art Gallery.

Between the places that she frequents and the places that she calls home base, there are a thousand different ways that Huruma can find her routes. Just in from the road, she is cutting her way through neighborhoods on that large, growling black motorcycle when she brakes and idles at a blinking yellow light hung from the side of an intersection. Something else draws her attention, the sleek helmet on her head covering her face and making her seem quite hawkish when she moves her gaze. Her jacket is a lightweight, tensile material, stretched across the width of her shoulders and marked with a familiar emblem down the back— Wolfhound, of course.

Rather than proceed where she was headed, the bike turns right when it growls off again, and after a minute or so of slowly rolling down alleyways and a street, Huruma zigzags her way to the front of an apartment building. The bike's engine rumbles against the windows.

Strays have a tendency of clinging to their own habits. Whether it's coming or going, odd hours, strange habits. Squeaks is no exception to this, and one of her habits is to disappear. It's easy to assume she left, probably sometime in the night. After all, she's done it before. But this time the weather kept her indoors. Someone is becoming accustomed to being dry and clean. Not that dirt and grime still bother her. But it's nice to not be icky all the time.

Even though Lance's apartment is not very large, neither is Squeaks. She'd managed to sequester herself away at some point, wedged in where it's safe between the couch and wall and easily missed because, really, who could possibly fit there, and who would try?

She slept through Brynn's leaving and return. And Lance's voice causes a little bit of a stir, but not enough to really count as being awake. It's that rumbling against the windows and outside that gets a huff from Squeaks. Which is followed by the younger girl slinking forward until her head drops out of her newest of hiding places.

As he passes into her periphery, Brynn looks over and catches the signs. She blushes a little bit and grins. The best part about her power is that she can wipe it clean very easily. Do you think I could have a gallery of my own someday? she asks, clearly enthralled by the idea. It was, after all, what she came to New York to do — take art classes. Not that it's worked out for her. She steps back from her work to purse her lips and study it critically. I don't think it's good enough, she admits. Pearl has me drawing anchors and ships and roses constantly though. I just get so bored.

You totally could, Lance's hands offer encouragingly, stepping over to the other teenager and grinning at the mural in approval. Catching her last signs, he brings a hand up to gently smack the back of her head, signing quickly in the wake of the affectionate impact, ##BA55D3|Are too."

The squirming behind the couch brings his attention, then, and he flashes over a grin, "Hey Squeaks. You know, you don't need to sleep behind the couch… we have, like, sleeping bags and stuff."

The bike can be heard for another half a minute before it peters off. Outside the apartment, Huruma steps right up to the door and lets herself in. Mailboxes. Some are missing doors. The bottom stair is a different piece of wood than the others. She considers the features of the place and starts her ascent. Peeling paint flakes off under a hand that drags along the wall. One, two, third floor.

The top of the landing creaks audibly under Huruma's weight, only to be followed by another distant squeak when she stops outside of the door.

She listens first, in a fashion.

"It's comfy." And safe. And Squeaks does the same pretty much everywhere else she stays. She side-eyes the window that would show what's making all the noise. Then she drags herself out from between the couch and the wall. She's half way out when there's a creak and squeak outside, and that eyeballing that was directed to the window is next directed to the wall. "Noisy."

With a yawn, Squeaks draws her legs up to sit criss-cross. She turns her attention away from the door and random noises in the hallway to Brynn's artwork. I like it. Said so matter of fact, after taking some seconds to take it all in.

Brynn merely rolls her eyes at her brother. Her shy smile holds all the pleasure that she feels in his praise. And then Squeaks is climbing out and visible and she's startled by the younger girl's location. Shaking her head, she signs, There's muffins. Save an apple tart for me, Mouse! And then she blushes a little at Squeaks' praise too. Noisy though? She looks puzzled. What's noisy?

The creak on the stairs, the one right in front of the door, and Lance is on guard immediately; he turns to regard the door for a few long moments, and when there's no following knock he moves towards the kitchenette. No sound from him as he steps over the floor like a ghost, reaching along to the side of the fridge between it and the wall and retrieving a gun from where it's duct-taped there. Soundlessly peeling it free, clicking the safety undone and making a simple hand-sign that means take cover.

There's guns literally hidden all over the apartment, as Brynn at least knows.

Owain's been off on his own, busy between school and his new internship at Raytech. That, along with whatever it was that upset him last week, has had the metallokinetic much more absent than normal. But finally, he has a chance to get away from all of his responsibilities and see his friends. Also, he should probably break the news to them — Brynn in particular would probably like to know why he pretty much had a nervous breakdown on her.

The rolling emotions of a young man who has only had a week to wrap his mind around the fact that his father is responsible for the deaths of hundreds, if not more is what gives Owain's approach away to the large woman. Anger, frustration, disappointment, sadness, fear…there's a lot of it. Owain pauses outside, peering thoughtfully at the motorcycle, the engine still making sounds of recent use. Hmm. Either one of the others got a new bike, or there's a visitor. Chrome creeps over his eyes from the edges until his eyes are simply mirrors, and two large copper ball bearings float out from his backpack, falling into a steady orbit around his head. Better safe than sorry.

Shouldering open the door, Owain takes the stairs two at a time, slowing as he reaches the top landing. A creak sounds behind Huruma as Owain approaches, copper balls still hovering around his head in circles. He stops, staring at Huruma in silence as the stairs announce his presence, one hand gripping the railing. Recognition blooms to mix in with all of those other feelings that Owain is feeling, and he narrows his eyes slightly. "…Miss Huruma?"

Ah, there it is. A warm sense of satisfaction blooms when she feels the guarded sensations of someone on edge. Good boy. Her hand moves up to rap on the door, but stops partway as her head swivels on its collar to observe an incoming storm. It's familiar, in the way of not quite clicking into place. She knows that she knows this one—

And his arrival seems to give her some more clue. Her stature and shape is unmistakable to someone who knows it; Owain can hear the puff of a slow laugh under the helmet watching him. She drops her knuckles onto the door.

"Little pigs, little pigs, let me in~."

Old habits die hard.

It doesn't take a lot to trigger high alert with Squeaks. Once Lance is on guard and pulling guns out, the younger girl is turning a much more serious look to the door. Wide-eyed serious. She crab-walks across the floor to Brynn. Without explaining, the younger girl reaches for and then tugs the older girl's hand toward the hallway and the rooms that are back that way. Because it's always safer to hide in a room with only windows for exits. The voice on the other side of the door, which she's never heard before and obviously Brynn can't tell her who it is, only increases the need to hide.

Lance's smile shifts to the boy's equivalent of ears perking up, and it immediately makes Brynn back away from the door. Squeaks pulling on her is a good thing, and she moves backward while holding the younger girl's hand, keeping her body between Squeaks at the door. At the hand signal, Brynn jerks her chin in acknowledgment, backs further into the hall and opens the door to the small linen closet. From the small ledge created by the doorjamb and the top shelf, she pulls another weapon from its duct-taped position. And then she and Squeaks sidle around the corner into the bedroom, where Brynn closes the door most of the way, leaving only a peeping space to see what happens when the front door opens.

Brian would be so proud.

The voice is familiar, although it has been a very long time… and because of that, Lance pauses, his brow furrowing a little. Carefully he prowls forward without making a sound, even the floorboards refusing to give him away (although to Huruma's evolved senses, his presence is growing closer) until he can peer through the hole. A helmet. It's hard to identify someone through there, but that voice is familiar.

Carefully the doorknob's turned, the chain still holding it shut more than a few inches and the teenager staying out of view as he asks cautiously, "…is it the Stork?"

That voice confirms Owain's suspicion — there is no mistaking Huruma, her striking shape and height etched into his brain from when he met her on Pollepel. One does not easily forget such a large and imposing woman that one meets as a ten year old. Owain isn't much smaller than her these days, though she still has a good two or three inches on him. After a moment, those copper ball bearings lazily float back down into the pocket of his backpack, the copper zipper dragging itself closed with a soft sound.

He glances toward the door, then back to Huruma, before he slowly approaches the woman, the chrome bleeding back out of his eyes. It looks kind of like liquid mercury, sliding back into his eyelids. As the door opens, Owain turns his brown-eyed gaze toward it, head tilting to one side. He promptly ruins the riddles and such: "Lance, it's Miss Huruma." He glances back to the woman — it's interesting, being only a little bit shorter than her now. She's still imposing, but she doesn't seem so much like a giant now. After a moment, he puts a hand to his chest. "Sorry. I'm Owain Mihangle."

"I do not have any babies with me. Apologies." As she is outed on both sides, Huruma lifts a hand to flick up her visor, pale eyes set in dark skin just cementing things for them. A moment later she presses the entire helm free from her head, letting it hang loose in her fingers. "Hello, children."

"And I remember you now." Huruma answers Owain with the cant of her head, mouth pursed in a pleased smile.

It's really serious now. Brynn's got a gun also. Squeaks, once closed into the bedroom does like she usually does and finds a place to hide. It kept her alive this long. She's just starting to crawl under the bed when there's voices. First Lance's, then the smoosh-face boy — oh, yeah, she was going to tell someone about that, but there were cookies that had to be dealt with first — and… that stranger again.

"Stork?" The out loud question doesn't do much good. Squeaks abandons her intent to hide and carefully gets Brynn's attention by moving into her periphery. There, she signs Lance said stork? H-O-O… She pauses, clearly trying to figure out how what other letters might be in the stranger-voice's name. That boy also. From when your face got red.

Well, she can't hear any of the conversation, and Squeaks going into closet space in the room and using the corner where Lance stores his basket for laundry seems a good idea. When the smaller teen lets herself back out of that closet to come sign to Brynn, the older girl's brows shoot up. Aunt Stork??? Flipping the safety on the pistol with her thumb, she shoves it into her waistband. Aunt Stork is cool! She chooses to totally ignore the comment about her red face! Maybe Mouse won't yap at Lance about it. She opens the bedroom door more and pokes her head out, looking curiously. The front door's not open yet, but if it's Aunt Stork, Lance won't keep her waiting. To Squeaks, apparently this Aunt Stork is a good thing — Brynn's body language is instantly at ease and the pistol only remains in her hand as a precaution.

There's a relieved sigh from Lance, who clicks the safety back into position and closes the door— just long enough to undo the chain, and then he opens it again before stepping back to offer ingress to the small apartment of Way Too Many Teenagers and colorful murals everywhere. "Hey," he grins broadly, "It's been a long time, uh— c'mon in! You know Brynn, um, that's Squeaks over there, we just picked her up." They adopt people. It's a thing.

"Hey Owain, c'mon in," he adds, hearing the other teenager behind her.

The tallest (technical) member of the Lighthouse Kids offers a faint smile to Huruma, dipping his head toward her in a respectful nod. "I remember you, too." The opening door prompts Owain to smile, and once Huruma has stepped in, he slips in as well. He lets his backpack slip down, unzipping it and pulling out…a large plastic clamshell package of donuts. Weekend leftovers from Raytech that probably would have gone to waste otherwise.

Upon spotting Brynn, Huruma will sense an instant shift. The storm of emotions roiling beneath the surface calms, just a little, as absolute adoration asserts itself. A sheepish wave is offered to Brynn, the teen's cheeks flushing, and he speaks and signs at the same time. "I brought donuts from the office."

Feeling the array of reaction is a bit like dipping her head in some poprocks. They shift and change under the surface, tickling her senses and making her flash Lance a more toothy smile. When Huruma steps in, her first look falls onto Brynn, down past nose and cheekbones. Then she looks back to Lance, eyes gleaming down onto the gun in his hand.

"Oh, look at you." Huruma's hand moves up to ruffle Lance's head, emboldened by the welcome and a low chuckle in her own chest. Good looking out, kids. She only passes a brief look to Owain, and to her credit does not look at the girl after. "Is this really where you've been hiding? Small." The walls are nice, though.

"I thought I'd felt you at Lynette's, too… she said you'd picked up Silvie too. Starting another army?"

Not far behind Brynn is Squeaks, only just visible peeping around the corner. Owain she recognizes, so he only gets a passing glance, just enough to let him know she saw him. Huruma gets a more lengthy look. There's the normal suspicion, sort of. All the grown-ups get side-eyed like that. She steps a little further out, but lingers near the hallway. For now.

Brynn grins a lovely large smile for Aunt Stork, cuz… well, the woman has always been exceedingly kind to the deaf girl. She does remain in the hallway, giving Squeaks cover — the younger girl is wary, and rightfully so. Brynn doesn't want her to not be, and so encourages the fact that the younger teen is cautious. She waves enthusiastically at Huruma, and waves just a little bit less enthusiastically at Owain. Teen emotions suck — Brynn's are a morass of uncertainty, embarrassment, reluctance, friendly feelings, maybe some interest there too. It's a mess in there. Run away!

Excellent, she signs to Owain. Glad you're feeling better, Owain. Where did you wind up working? Because she hasn't seen the boy since smooshing faces with him.

And she also looks at Huruma and kind of marvels. She figured the woman wouldn't look like an intimidating giant. But well… Brynn's not exactly tall, and Huruma still looks like the Giant African Princess.

Lance ducks his head at the ruffling to his hair, stepping back to let her and Owain inside. "Yeah, we've been spending some time at another place too— haven't decided where to bunk down permanently," he admits, "But this'll do for now. Joe's usually here too — I think he's sleeping off his trip."

There's relief in him that the person at the door wasn't a hostile, and a happiness at seeing her again - and being surrounded by his own family at the same time.

"And of course," he grins then at the question, "We adopt people, it's what we do— uh, Squeaks, this is the Stor— er, Huruma. She was one of the Ferrymen that stopped by the Lighthouse sometimes."

Owain hangs back a bit, feeling a bit awkward. There's something he's dreading, worried about, but doesn't want to say just yet. He smiles to Brynn, because he could probably always muster a smile for her. "I got an internship at Raytech," he replies in words and sign. Adoration. There's a lot of it there.

He glances toward Squeaks, offering a small but friendly wave, embarrassed by how their first meeting went.

Huruma lifts her hand to wave it back at Brynn, fingers wiggling and mouth in a pleased grin. She won't come closer over there— there is enough suspicion from the new one. That's healthy. Huruma returns Squeaks' stare for a few long moments. After her curiosity is satisfied there, both hands move to cradle the helmet in her grasp. She steps to the side as Lance answers to the affirmative— earning a smirk— to inspect the far wall's mural. They have certainly made it their own, for all it is. "Hello, Squeaks—"

"— and have I really not outgrown that nickname?" It is a false exasperation, but Huruma's drawl gives it that exaggerated touch. Owain's joy is hard to miss. "Raytech, hmm? Good choice."

"Hi." That, too, is a standard greeting when first meeting anyone. Usually. Squeaks sidles behind Brynn and follows Huruma's gaze to the wall, then back again to the woman. "You're really tall," she observes. A quick look is cast to Brynn then Lance, checking for any more signs of danger nearby. She hasn't heard anything, or seen anything, and they're seeming quite relaxed, so she decides to ease off the eyeballing. But that doesn't mean she's letting her guard down. It just draws her out of hiding more.

It's not until Squeaks moves out into the open finally that Brynn steps out of the hallway — and then she aborts the movement, long enough to backpedal to the linen closet, pull the pistol from her waistband, and tuck it back up on the shelf. Then she comes more fully back into the living room. Do you want to outgrow it? the deaf teen retorts with a sweet smile at Huruma. Her amusement is, as always, full-blown inside her despite the rather low-key way that it presents itself outwardly. She's laughing inside about it — and unless Huruma says she hates it, she'll never outgrow it.

By the way — don't forget that we need to teach Mouse the basics of handgun safety! she reminds Lance. Because lest he forget, the girl whipped out his pistol in the sewers and could have shot us both! And having to pull the weapon today reminded her. If Brian got a look at what happened the other day, he'd stick the entire lot of us on firearm breakdown and cleaning for a month. Because we know better than to let untrained kids near weapons.

"Oh, hey— congratulations, man," Lance flashes a grin over at Owain as he reveals the internship, "Glad you've got a job and all, that's pretty awesome… it pay well? Or is it one of those experience things?"

Once the pair are inside, he closes and secures the door, heading over to the kitchen after reading Brynn's sign, "Yeah, we'll have to give her the basic lessons… especially if we keep running into stuff like that. You want anything to drink, Aunt Huruma?"

"Pay is pretty good, actually. I somehow manage to sneak into a company that treats everyone shockingly nice." Owain grins. "I mean, I still fetch coffee, but the paid part of being a paid intern means I do it cheerfully. I like it there so far." The tall young man grins, taking a donut for himself and moving to lean against the wall, taking a bite from the pastry. "I also got a commercial license to use my ability. Nadira and Jori are moving out to Kansas City while I go to college here, so I'm gonna try my hand at being self sufficient."

There's a note of resentment with that last statement. He also doesn't want to be dependent on daddy's blood money any longer.

Huruma appears to treat Squeaks much like one would a dubious housecat; don't look too long, don't make any loud noises, no sudden movements. Let her decide. It is a familiar manner.

Sign language was not something she spent a lot of time on, but she can pick up the gist of things. Brynn gets the narrowed, thoughtful look. Hmm. …No.

"Did something happen?" She caught that much— the other day, guns, Lance's answer. Huruma shakes her head once in response. She's fine.

"I trust they are well, then? Your family?" Huruma looks past the edge of her shoulder to Owain, one eye trailing from him before she turns to inspect more of the painting. The hound on her jacket rankles its nose when she folds her arms.

Not only in the open, but walking through the room, taking the long way around to the kitchen. Mostly because Squeaks is looking for a way in that doesn't put her directly into Huruma's path. There aren't a lot of options. Honestly, there are no options. So just like she meant it to be that way, she walks by to help herself to a pastry.

"Nothing happened." Because the gun didn't shoot like it was supposed to. Squeaks peeks over her shoulder at Huruma.

Fffft. Nothing happened. That's not quite what happened. If the safety had been off, like the one I had in the bedroom with us, you would have shot one of us, Mouse. There's not going to be an argument about this — the girl will learn proper firearm safety or else. Brynn's expression has the only stern expression that Squeaks has ever seen on her. If you're going to live with us, you have to know the right way to handle a weapon so that nothing bad happens by accident. People get killed by dumb accidents.

She doesn't sense the undercurrents from Owain, except in that he's seemed sad the past two times she's seen him. She hopes he's working through it. But she moves next to Huruma and grins up at the tall woman shyly, Aunt Huruma, may I draw you while you're here?

"So…" Lance finishes re-attaching the gun behind the fridge, turning back with a wry expression, "Do you know about the food shortage? Someone stole all the food awhile back. We were kinda looking into the situation." he steps back from the kitchenette, leaning against the doorway and offering a wry smile. There's a healing cut on his forehead and scalp, and he's still moving a little carefully. "We found out who did it, but we nearly got killed in the process. Learning experience."

Oh, that is a sensitive question. That thunderstorm of emotion gets that much more intense when Huruma asks about his family — concern and care mingled with a furious, burning anger and resentment. He takes a measured breath before replying, "Nadira and Jori are great. Jori was born deaf, but she's an amazing kid." he replies — there's the concern and care. The anger blooms fresh as he moves to the next part, his voice gaining a colder tone than normal. "My dad died three years back."

He is distracted by Lance, brows raising. "Really? Who?" He does spare a glance to Brynn, that puppy dog adoration coming back for just a moment. He's got a lot going on right now.

Huruma can practically smell the resentment rolling off of Owain as he mentions his father. She doesn't say anything, only nods to him.

When Brynn scoots ever closer, smiling that cute teenager smile, Huruma's eyes fall to her again, caught in a second of suspicion. Oh. "Draw me?" Wasn't that in a movie? Despite any reservations, she cannot bring herself to turn Brynn down. "You may." If she has any instructions, she'd best think of some.

"You kids really found out who did it? I presume you took it to SESA?" The dark woman looks briefly to Lance again, one brow arching at him.

That look which was on Huruma is directed at Brynn next. There's something in Squeaks' expression that's reminiscent of the caution she reserves for grown-ups. But it's more worried. There's no argument, not even the hint of one to come. Just a small nod. Okay. That look darts over to Lance, then back to Brynn. I'm sorry. She makes a quick grab into the pastry box, selecting one without really looking. A napkin is grabbed also, and that's wrapped around the treat so she can take it down the hall to squirrel herself away while she eats it.

Brynn grins at Huruma, genuinely thrilled with the chance to sit and sketch the imposing woman with her permission. She winks at Squeaks — she's not upset, just wants to be careful. And then she pauses long enough to sign to Huruma, trusting one of the boys to translate fully if necessary, We contacted SESA immediately. Especially because what we found is totally cracked, Aunt Huruma. Rats that turn into electricity! Then she heads for the sofa to go rummage in her go-bag and pull out her sketch pad, which she is going to use to draw Huruma anyway. Setting it down, she flips to the page that shows the rats morphing into the electrical conduits — the original of the image they left with the agent — her gray eyes look up at the other woman very seriously. They killed a whole community of the homeless down there and ate them. A delicate shudder runs through Brynn's body.

"It's okay, Squeaks, we'll teach you," Lance reassures the younger girl, and then he looks back to Huruma - hands spreading a little, "Of course we did! First thing we did when we got into a cellular zone, I called Agent Lin and we let him know. He believed us, too, which… was good, 'cause it's kind of unbelievable." Focused on the topic at hand, and the visitor, he seems to've missed the way Owain's looking at Brynn right now.

"It's— like Brynn was signing," he says, translating, "Rats. Thousands of them. They can turn into electricity, and I guess turn other things into electricity too. They stole all the food down into the sewers and ate it." A grimace, "And they've been eating whole settlements of transients down in the sewers too. It's… it was bad." A creeping shadow of that horror behind his voice, and in his emotions. It was very bad."

Owain's disgust with his father and adoration for Brynn is momentarily forgotten as the two regale the story of what exactly is going on with the food these days. It is replaced with revulsion, his nose wrinkling as he shakes his head. Oh hell no. With his donut demolished, he's back to signing as he speaks. "That's…ugh." He shakes his head a few more times, a shudder rolling down his spine. "Electric rats…that's…" He brushes his hands off on his pants, both to get the donut residue and the gross feeling that just hit him when hearing about such things off.

Huruma watches Brynn's hands, but she definitely needs some translating on this one. Her brows knit in the middle as she leans in to look at the sketch, ears pricked to hang on Lance's every word. "Fascinating."

"But, rats?" That makes no sense at all. Huruma's lips twist at one side, considering the implications. Electrical transference would make sense on how the food got out of the storage, but not how they would devour organic matter. Lance's horror lingers in him, drawing pale eyes to his own, then Owain's. "If someone were doing this… they would need to be incredibly strong. I do hope you aren't planning any more excursions?"

"I would hate to find your corpses."

Brynn's revulsion of rats is visceral, and the horror of what they saw absolutely clear in her emotions even now. She swallows hard and glances at Lance, reluctant to tell Aunt Stork that they're going to have to go back in there to warn the other communities. Or at least try. She'll let him handle that — that's what the squad leader does! She takes her sketch pad and goes to perch on one of the stools by the counter to work on sketching Aunt Huruma while everyone is talking. Some days, she feels like moving here to the city has her constantly exhausting her quota of words every single day — she's much more used to being silent and not wordy.

"Joe and Brynn think it's a mosaic like Gabriel," says Lance with a slow shake of his head, "They weren't acting like a person controlling rats, though, they were just… acting like rats, mostly. They didn't store the food, or ration it, they just ate it all as soon as it was in their nest." He rubs a hand against the nape of his neck, "I think they're slice, like us. Evolved rats."

Then he offers a faint smile, "Careful ones. Not to find the rats— Squeaks is going to show us where the other homeless communities are down there, so we can warn them. There's a lot of people living down there and I don't want them to get eaten."

It's not long until Owain is back to being an adoring little puppy dog when it comes to Brynn. He clears the short distance between them, and after a moment of awkward hesitation, he reaches out and gently touches her shoulder. It's just a brush, really, but it's his attempt at being comforting while also being awkwardly affectionate. He's still not sure what's going on between him and Brynn, just that he pretty much worships the ground she walks on.

His eyes are on Lance, though, as the other teen talks. "That's…odd." He wrinkles his nose again. "How do rats turn up Evolved? Are animals about to start getting powers too? Because…" He shakes his head. "I mean…can you imagine a Pyrokinetic Chihuahua? That's terrifying."

"People may also act like rats." Unthinking, instinctual. "Yes, well… that is different, warning them." Huruma's voice levels out some, the low sound of it still hovering within caution.

"I can. And it is." The dark woman makes a short aside at Owain, tongue clucking against her teeth. "But I am not convinced. Mosaic abilities are rare, but not improbable." Huruma doesn't think it is anyone they know, either, which crosses some things out. "Manipulation of matter comes to mind. Have you actually seen them eating?"

Startled by the touch, Brynn freezes under the attention momentarily. She doesn't have a clue what to do with it, having no better idea about girl/boy things than she does about Chihuahuas. So although she shoots Owain an uncertain smile, she goes back to drawing. Simply because it's what she knows…. and it's much easier to deal with.

"We haven't seen them eating, but…" Lance folds both arms over his chest, shifting uncomfortably, "We've seen the evidence. Rat tooth-marks on the packaging and on the— on the bones. SESA confirmed it too, that they were rat bite-marks. It's the first thing I checked when we— " He swallows, "— when we got to the settlement."

Poor Huruma. It's a wonder she doesn't go into a diabetic coma, what with Owain's ongoing adoration of Brynn, especially when she smiles. He takes the hint, though, and backs up just a bit, giving her space to draw. He turns his attention instead to Lance, frowning. Stay in the moment, Owain, this is not the time to be stupid about a girl. "I've heard of people who could turn into electricity. My dad told me stories," he recalls with a bloom of resentment. He frowns. "What if someone lost their own shape and had to take the rats?"

Uncomfortable as he may be, Huruma's questioning is quite straightforward, and the answers aren't hard. She keeps it simpler.

"Evidence of teeth, less evidence of eating." Something about having been torn apart by something is just as bad as getting eaten by them. "Not to say that other animals did not partake. So strange…" But now she will look at rats in alleyways with a side-eye.

Speaking of side-eye, she gives a bit of one to Owain, though it passes. "Could be. I have seen it too."

Although she keeps her eye on the signing going on, Brynn can't really add much to the conversation that isn't already being taken care of by Lance's explanations. She makes a point of focusing on her drawing… she's aiming at something in particular. A memory of a night on Pollepel, something she saw in the infirmary when she was sick — Huruma, sitting on the floor between two cots, the faces of the children on either side of her left off the edge of the drawing because the focus is not them… it is the dark-skinned woman. Having Huruma in front of her helps her bring the specific features to a more accurate representation but only her memory could provide the details of the expression in the older woman's face and eyes, the gentleness of her hands as one cradles the book and one rests on the child to her left.

Before the evening visit is over, this image and all that it represents — Brynn's affection for and admiration and memories of the many kindnesses of the woman who arrived as has always been her wont, unexpectedly and unannounced but bearing the gift of genuine acceptance and true concern for the Kids — will be finished and offered to Huruma. It is the only way she knows to show Aunt Huruma her genuine regard.

"Maybe." Lance shakes his head, "Whatever it is… people are dying." The trickster of the group, now oddly the most serious at the moment, firms his jaw at the words, "And we need to do whatever we can to stop it."

He pauses, then tells Huruma, "Agent Lin and Robyn think I should join SESA. I think I'm going to."

The metallokinetic tilts his head toward Lance, brows raising. "I could see it." He nods in agreement, and for just a moment, Owain isn't thinking about one extreme thing or another, he's just hopeful that his friend can get a leg up in life. "I bet you'd do good there. You should try."

Lance gets no contestation from Huruma on the matter of stopping it. Food stores being taken were bad enough for these kids. The expression on her face shifts to something that looks like approval.

"I do not know this Lin, but Robyn is a liaison with Wolfhound. I see her work… and if she says you would do well— I expect you would. It would not hurt to try— they have some very young agents." Huruma stirs again, fixing the boys with another curious glint. "I have some time… care to regale me with any other adventures?"

Always be able to make time for them.

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