Merope Merope catches up to Ras in the corridor between classes. "C'mere you. We're cutting class." She trembles excitedly at how rebellious she's being. "I found where Furud is."
Ras Alhague shrugs. "It's just study hall." He shakes his head. "Finally! Guy's more slippery than an otter at an oil spill."
Merope "Well, uh, I mean... I actually did speak to him at lunch, and uh..." She looks away a bit. "Well, I think maybe he'll be more talkative if you're there. Or at least less intense. He shoulda had some time to..."
Merope She swallows. "Well, he'll be calmer. I hope."
Ras Alhague "Okay! Let's see if Mr. 'One Kiss' is a little more talkative today."
Merope looks suddenly stern. "When did you hear about that?"
Ras Alhague waves his hand absently. "I think I overheard it. At the party, I guess? I don't know. That's not what's important now, is it?"
Merope narrows her eyes, thinking about what Ras told her about his power. "No.. I guess not. Best not to mention that around him, though. And try not to mention how beaten up he looks."
Ras Alhague "I'll bring all my charm to the table, don't worry."
Ras Alhague cracks his knuckles.
Merope winces at the noise, turning her mouth down slightly. She takes Ras by the arm and guides him through the corridoors. "He was in some kind of fight or something, he doesn't want to talk about it. Anyway, he's on the roof doing his whole moody lost soul thing."
Merope She smiles slightly as she says this last part.
Ras Alhague chuckles.
Ras Alhague "How original. Well, let's go see him."
Merope is buzzing with a kind of nervous energy as she pilots Ras through the slowly emptying corridors. Finally they reach the doors.
Merope "C building. You can climb the fire escape and then get onto the railing and pull yourself up. He showed me once when we went up here to, uh..." She stops, blushing a little.
Ras Alhague "Nobody's looking, it's a private place. I get your drift."
Merope deliberately avoids looking directly at Ras. "Mm. Good for... talking."
Ras Alhague "And other things involving your lips."
Merope They reach the spot. "You go first, and help pull me up."
Ras Alhague pulls himself up.
Ras Alhague pulls Merope up.
Merope blushes more intensely as he does so.
Merope Furud is there, facing away from them, looking out over the school.
Ras Alhague "Work up a sweat getting up here," he says, winking at Merope.
Furud is sitting on the low wall around the edge of the roof, staring moodily out over the football field. Though the day is fairly warm, he's wearing long sleeves and strategically torn jeans. His arms are crossed over his knees, though he jerks at the noise of the door opening, and twists to see who it is, tense. "Oh. Hi."
Ras Alhague "You look like sunshine."
Furud "And you look like rain." He turns back towards the sky.
Merope Merope looks awkwardly at the two of them. "Furud, we wanted to talk to you."
Merope "I know you said it's better that I don't know, but.... look, this involves all of us. We have a right to know what danger we're in. And Ras... knows things. We can help."
Ras Alhague "I assume you can do something other than fly?"
Furud stares fixedly forward. "You think you have rights, huh. Well let me tell you something - you don't." He shrugs a little at Ras' query. "Just tricks."
Ras Alhague "You know, it might be more useful if we shared what we knew. Knowing only half the battlefield is a recipe for disaster."
Furud "It's safer for you if you don't," He glances over his shoulder, "GI Joe."
Ras Alhague absently rubs the scar on his chest. "Do you really know my position? It might be safer for Merope, though now that she's met me, I've probably endangered her." He looks at her. "Sorry. You chased me, remember?" He smiles, a bit sheepishly. "Anyway, I'm not sure anything is much safer than being strapped to a table with needles getting stuck into your eyeballs."
Ras Alhague "You're telling me."
Merope "Ras has been through stuff, Furud. He's being chased by people too. He's been..." She trails off.
Ras Alhague shudders.
Ras Alhague "Here's a litmus test. If whatever you're being mysterious about, and the stuff I've been dealing with, are connected, there was a shitstorm around Tuesday or Wednesday last week, around the time you picked me up at the bus stop. That sounding about right?"
Furud shakes his head. "No, nothing happened to me then."
Ras Alhague "Never said anything would happen to you. Anyway, fuck this noise. I'm around, you have my number - hell, you gave me yours. If you're ever actually interested in talking, I'll answer."
Ras Alhague heads down to the fire escape and jumps down to the ground.
Merope "Ras, wait! Oh, hell..."
Merope She turns to Furud, a little angry now. "You tried for months to get me into all this, and now I want in and you're shutting me out?"
Furud "Months ago it was a game," he snaps. "Now it's not."
Merope "Look, Ras has told me stuff. People experimented on him, Furud, they treated him like a lab rat! And he found this girl, dragged her out of god knows what and she.... well, I don't know what they did to her, but... I don't want to end up like that! And we're all at risk, all of us, but I'm more visible than most..."
Merope "At least whatever it is you do, you don't just do it accidentally when your mind wanders..."
Furud clenches his fists and growls, his usual composure, already shaky, now gone. "Fine, you wanna know, it's your funeral. Probably the same people took me, from Heka's party. Shot me full of drugs and interrogated me. I was fucking chained to a chair and I couldn't do shit about it. Are you happy now?"
Merope is shocked into silence.
Merope "Furud, I...."
Merope She moves closer to him, chastened, eyes full of concern.
Furud takes a long breath, trying to regain his focus. He continues, more evenly and... distant. "I saw the lab, but I don't even know what they did to me there - I was unconscious. Woke up in a cell, so doped I could barely stand."
Merope "Oh god, Furud, I'm so sorry...."
Merope She puts her hand to he mouth but doesn't dare approach any closer.
Furud turns to face her, finally, his eyes burning. "You still want in?"
Merope slumps down into a seated position, still shocked. She stares out into space for some moments.
Merope She takes a breath. "You know what? I do. Because this thing, it's bigger than any one of us, and we are going to have to fight." Her voice is attempting to be steady, but sounds hoarse and tense.
Merope She brushes her hair out of her face, listening to the wind, still staring out into the distance. "Yeah. I want in."