Afraid Together


devon2_icon.gif emily_icon.gif

Scene Title Afraid Together
Synopsis Devon and Emily take a breather after tensions peak down in the Raytech labs.
Date June 18, 2019

The encouragement to go get air is taken quickly by Emily, and she doesn't bother pulling Devon along with her. He'll come, or he won't, but she definitely needs to step away after all of that. With the limited clearance her visitor's badge gives her, she spends more time trying to find a floor to escape to than she does actively pick where she wants to go.

It turns out there's nowhere to go but up. The directory tells her the the button she's successfully been able to press is for the roof, but she supposes there's no better place to take some air.

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

There's patio furniture up here, which is an unexpected but pleasant surprise, just as much as the planter-boxes of greenery that accompany it. Emily would appreciate it more under different circumstances, but for now she just rests her forehead into her palm, elbow jammed into her knees while she sits at one of the benches. Her eyes drift shut at first, then clench harder afterward in a bout of frustration.

What in the world just happened?

Devon had been silent as he followed Emily. A couple of times he'd tried to find some word, anything, but his efforts failed. Maybe, at the time, that was for the better. It avoided any argument and allowed him a chance to sort out whatever is going on inside his head before addressing it.

He remains near the elevator doors at first. He watches Emily find a seat, studies her posture. A hand takes through his hair and he sighs at himself. He really screwed things up today.

“Emily.” Dev’s voice is quiet as he finally walks toward her. Slow, maybe even cautious, he doesn't want to spook her or make things worse.

After hearing the sound of her name, Emily doesn't immediately shift, at least externally. Internally she goes about the process of putting enough pieces of herself back together so that she's presentable. She needs to be fine for Devon's sake right now is the thought that motivates her.

So she swipes her hands down her face and looks up with a smile.

It's strained, but it's there.

"What's up?" she asks brightly, before she can help it. Like nothing's wrong at all.

Something is wrong, though. Devon knows, even in his vaguely muddled state. He doesn't speak on it right away, aside from calling to her he says nothing else at all before he reaches her side.

“I'm sorry,” he begins. Brows knit together as he looks at her. “I don't know… it was just too much.” It's a lame excuse to his ears. There's no good reason for flying off the way he had.

Devon sinks, sits on his knees in front of Emily. “I'm sorry I lost it back there. And… it's not fair to you.”

Emily's hastily-composed facade cracks instantly under those last words, her gaze shooting to her feet. Maybe he knew she'd try and evade, because he's sitting right there, making it hard to avoid him entirely.

With a shake of her head, she slides off the bench and settles into a sit next to Devon. She doesn't look back up at him just yet, shoulder leaning into his.

She can't lie and say it's fine, because simply, it's not. She doesn't know what caused it, and she's not even sure he does. What's hard to reconcile, though, is that she simultaneously wants to be near him and far from him after seeing what happened. Devon's presence usually helped, but he was the cause of the stress now, too. That was new.

"Dev…" Emily finally breathes out, shaking her head vaguely. "What even happened? There— there was no reason to…" She props up her feet, letting one elbow rest on her knee again so she can rub the back of her neck. "How did things get so out of hand so fast?"

Shaking his head isn't the answer Devon wants to give, but it's the answer he has most available. Maybe he shouldn't have followed, given her space and time — perhaps himself also. The pressure and warmth of her shoulder on his keeps him from acting on the thought.

He leans into her only slightly. A glance angles toward Emily then away again.

“I wish I could explain it,” he manages after a moment, ashamed that he still has nothing better to say. He brings a hand up to scrub through his hair. “With everyone talking like… I am just some science experiment. Then Doctor Miller… it wasn't just what he said but how. It… it just hit a nerve and…” He couldn't keep it together anymore and lost it.

“I'm sorry, Emily.” Devon shakes his head as he apologizes again.

Emily lets out a quiet note of agreement. She'd had a problem, too, with how the vein of conversation had been going around him. Seen an immediate issue in how there was suddenly a distancing project name on things, seen a parallel in that and the experimentation that they were trying to look into in the first place. She can't find words for that either, so she pulls her legs in tighter and resists the urge to rest her forehead on her knees.

"I snapped, too," she points out, as if it were somehow the same. Still always trying to find a way to relate. "So I guess I'm glad Richard left to go talk with the Deputy Director somewhere else. Saved me from having to hope he didn't remember who I was, and answer why I hadn't brought up any of this to SESA, too, so…"

She's at the end of her rope for that line of conversation though, and it frays into nothing. Emily sighs in frustration at it. After a beat, she finally looks over to Devon. "You scared me, when you did that."

“I didn't mean to,” Devon angles a look at Emily as he replies. He truly hadn't mean to scare her. His brows knit together in worry and ache, regretting snapping the way he had. He shifts his weight and looks away again, sitting back so he can drape his arms over his knees.

He'd hit a breaking point. The stress of his lost time, of his actions just that day, now upsetting Emily.

“I never meant to scare you,” he continues. Dev turns his head enough to look again at Emily. “I'd never intentionally…” Well, maybe as a joke, a harmless jump scare. Not that he admits to it right now. “It's not going to happen again. You deserve better. I can be better.” He is better, usually.

Her brow furrows at the tone in his words, neither sure how to either appreciate or address them. She meets his gaze, her eyes softening when she does. What was the right thing to do, here? She doesn't have the answer. She's received so few apologies in her life.

Emily wants to reach for him, to leave entirely, to hold his face and tell him it'll be fine, to hug him and let him know not to let his stresses bottle up until they get like that. Above all, have some sort of response aside from what she does, which is tip her head in the beginnings of a small nod and then set her head in the crook of her arm, mouth and nose covered over.

She at least completes the lean, shoulder against his by the end, her gaze unfocused and elsewhere.

"I'm scared every day, Dev. I'm scared of what we find, or what will come for you. I'm scared of what might happen if we don't dig with every ounce of effort you and me and everyone around us can put into it." It's not the most comforting thing to say, but it's all she can manage at the moment. "I know you— I know it was an accident." Insomuch as something like that can be an accident. "And I'm sorry that things won't get better, that the stresses won't go away."

Finally, she looks back his way, still shoulder-to-shoulder. "You know I'm here for you, right?"

“Me too,” Devon admits, on the heels of Emily's statement. He tries to mask it, to not let it weigh on him, with some success. In small ways those fears sometimes show around others, a slight hesitation or a look that might be a little out of place. In private, when he's alone, is when they manifest most strongly. Worries about this life being a dream, of who may be hunting for him, of losing everything he has keeps him up at night.

“Some days I want to quit and hope it blows over. I'm tired of waiting and not knowing.”

Moving his arms from his knees, Dev folds his legs to sit criss-cross. He then curls an arm around Emily's back, the other around her shoulders. “I'm here for you too,” he returns as he hugs her. “We can be afraid together.” Even with the truth in his words, it's said with a hint of lightness in his tone, an effort to ease the tension a bit more.

Emily leans into the embrace even if she doesn't wrap her arms back around him at first. Maybe that's enough, after all. Then she finds herself shifting, hands to the ground as she lifts herself up and settles into his lap to wrap her arms around his shoulders fiercely, hands on the back of his head and splayed across his back. "I'm here," she repeats, even though she's just said it. It just feels right to stress it in that moment.

Head laying on his shoulder, she voices, "If you don't want to be over here tonight, there's room at our place." Hers and Teo's, that is. "The couch isn't much, but it's comfortable." Unseen, her gaze softens as she offers, "Can even let you borrow my dreamcatcher, if you think it will help."

The shift in Emily's weight surprises him for an instant, but Devon recovers quickly and pulls her into his lap. His head presses to hers, face half masked by her hair. “Me too,” he murmurs an echo of his own words. A reminder for them both. His arms tighten around her slightly, but with a firmness. “Me too.”

He's quiet following the offer, considering. Getting out wouldn't be a bad idea. A change in scenery, further from any labs and science apparatus. He even breathes a laugh when she mentions using a dreamcatcher. Teo first thing in the morning may not be so great.

“Yeah.” Dev hadn't realized he'd decided until the word leaves his mouth. It's fine though, he can grab a bag in a bit. “I think that'd be good. Instead of staying here tonight.”

Emily turns her head against Devon's, pressing a kiss into the side of his forehead. "Okay." is all she says. No arguments from her about him spending time away from Raytech and instead in the company of people who treat other people like people instead of resources. She's definitely not opinionated about this matter at all, no.

She lets her hug linger for a moment longer before she plants a hand on the bench and uses it to come to her feet, offering a hand down help Devon up as well. She's not much for extended closeness, and besides, it'd be awkward if someone were to come up on them while—

ding goes the nearby elevator, and Emily's eyes dart to it, then back to Devon. She's not entirely sure what she'll do if the person who steps out is an unfamiliar one.

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