All You Can Do


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif remi_icon.gif

Scene Title All You Can Do
Synopsis Sometimes all you can do isn't enough, and it can take a little help in order to work through something. Or in order to avoid it, as the case may be.
Date June 17, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

Devon had gone off in one direction, and Graeme had gone off in another. More specifically, he'd gone off to the basement, where he put on headphones and began working out with the punching bag. The first few hours, people who ventured down to the basement were waved off, but morning has come and gone by now, and Graeme's silent routine has not changed. The man has not tired, though he has broken a sweat, and there is at least one resident of the safehouse who is familiar with what the teacher does when he's attempting to work through feelings and such.

It's been twelve, thirteen hours since then, now, and for anyone who has come down to the basement, it is more obvious that perhaps something is wrong, but most of them have left Graeme alone, or done no more than insist he drink water and bring him more of it.

He was serious when he'd said he was going to attend to watch that night. Devon had found a long sleeve shirt, oddly the one he'd worn on that ill-fated meeting with Valentin, layered it under his t-shirt, pulled on his red and gray knit ski cap, and settled into the task. He was tired, beyond tired, supplementing the need for sleep with energy drinks and the occasional cup of straight black coffee. But sleeping wasn't something that was easy coming, what with his bed being used by Melissa and the uncertainty of how far extended the offer to use Liz's while she was awake was. Thus, while the shift for watch changed, the boy simply adjusted to whomever took over on the rooftop and made his way inside.

He'd skipped breakfast again. Mostly. The teenager pilfered a slice of bread and some peanut butter in passing through the kitchen while continuing on his rounds. The meandering pace brought him past the rooms and through the common area twice before he ventured into the basement. He's sure someone has already been through to check out the building, but an extra set of eyes won't be frowned upon. Besides, Devon has reason to add to the watch, besides just pulling his own weight in support of the safehouse.

The sound of flesh on canvas meet Devon first, even before he reaches the bottom most step. His eyes lift, as void to emotion as one can get without losing all sense of self, follow the lay of the room until landing upon Graeme's form. He says nothing to the older man, no words of greeting or questions of wellbeing. He's familiar with the senseless repetition and drive to simply do something without thought. To beat out the frustrations. Uninvited, and uncaring if he's called down for it, the boy steps into the basement and toward the sofa used for target practice, wordless and appearing to ignore the teacher's activities.

It's been a while since the resident telepath has shown her face around the house. Sure, she's been in her room the entire time, but…she's not really come out. Usually, her trips out of her room have been timed so she sees nobody. It's easier that way, not talking to people randomly in the halls. The rare trip has resulted in small bits of food, taken up to her room and squirreled away.

She should probably eat more, but reliving the nightmares of people as if they were her nightmares is hell on the appetite.

She looks a little paler than normal beneath her chemically-darkened locks, and despite the relatively comfortable temperature, she is decked out in a pair of long pajama pants, and a somewhat oversized long sleeve shirt, the sleeves hanging down to the point where only her fingers poke out of it. The less exposed skin the better, right?

The only reason she's come down here tonight is out of a desire for some sweet food, really. And it's not looking like Graeme is going to give up his spot any time soon, by the familiar 'sound' of his focused thoughts. So, the telepath has made her way down the stairs, sleeves drawn around her hands. It's at the bottom of the stairs that she pauses, giving a weary look to the pair down here.

His back is to the door and the teacher has earbuds in, music going, but there's almost no doubt that Graeme notices Devon's arrival. And his own movements don't falter, don't change, don't tire. He recognises Remi's presence too, but there's little acknowledgement for minutes and minutes. "Neither've you are going to try and get me to stop, or to talk about it, right?" The question is thrown out there, Graeme having circled the punching bag once to make a clear assessment of who arrived, removed one earbud, and then continued, facing away from both once again. "Because people tried that."

A glance is directed Graeme's way, derisive rather than apathetic. "Do what you want," Devon states as he turns to the sofa and places his hands upon it. His eyes fall away from the teacher, going to the tattered upholstery, a subtle action as dismissive to the man's actions as his words. He's as guilty at not dealing with his problems, there's no reason for him to point it out. After a moment, as though in afterthought, his head comes up and eyes go to Remi in cool askance.

The little ballerina peers quietly over at Graeme at his question, silent for a long moment. She's gotten much quieter, mousier, since she's arrived here, and her ex room mate being upset isn't about to change that part, at least. She offers no answer to Graeme, save for a small half-shrug of one shoulder, indicating that she likely had no plans of attempting to do so.

Devon is offered a silent nod as Remi slips into the main part, quietly walking toward Graeme…then, just as she's stepping past him, her hand flits out, fingers running along the back of his sweaty neck. See, she can cheat now. Instead of just listening, she can look and find out what's bothering him. And the benefit of having long sleeves is that she can choose when to use this new part of her ability.

It's the nightmare that she saw before, that's bothering him. Graeme's blows against the punching bag align with the memory of three gunshots ringing out in still air. There are a myriad of other emotions in there, memories, just things that he hasn't been dealing with well otherwise, and Graeme's memory is vivid even over the loud music playing in one ear. Nightmare as much as memory, for all that it plays out over and over again in slow motion, and occasionally the teacher chews on his lip.

But moreso, he's involved enough in what he's doing that he doesn't notice his former room-mate's intrusion into what he would usually consider his privacy. It's only one of several of the nightmares that due to lack of sleep have begun to plague the teacher's waking hours.

It doesn't faze her as much as it did the first time. She keeps the touch brief, soft, before she turns and makes her way over to the fridge, wiping her hands on the back of her PJs before dipping down to rummage around. It takes her a moment, but she comes back up with a slice of chocolate turtle cheesecake. The intent is to bring this up to her room and enjoy it in silence.

It's as she's heading back in the direction of the stairs that she pauses, reaching up this time and pulling the earbud from the teacher's ear. Raising onto the tips of her toes with that impeccable balance she is known form, she leans forward against Graeme, whispering a simple statement into his ear, something obviously meant for his ears only.

"It's not your fault. Stop blaming yourself for something that will never be your fault." A single kiss is planted on Graeme's cheek, before Remi is turning, slowly walking toward the stairs with her cheesecake-type prize.

Graeme lets her, though there's no attempt at clearing his mind, and there's the continued horror and guilt and assorted emotions from it that he's trying, desperately, to push out of the way and back to the side of his mind where they usually live. But for a moment, the only time since he's started, Graeme stops, coming to rest flat on the balls of his feet, one arm coming down carefully around her shoulders for a moment before letting her go. "It'll always be my fault," he responds, quiet but simply too uncomposed to match her whisper. "I let them pass that law, I didn't get there in time, I knew what was going to happen if they did. I taught him how much he could withstand…"

The teacher sinks to seated for a moment, knees drawn to chest and head resting against them, even when Remi's towards the stairs. "It's my fault anyway." It's the beginning of sleep deprivation for him, really, with all that he's been skipping the usual periods he takes for rest at odd times.

Shaking his head, Devon lowers his gaze to the sofa, studying the pattern briefly before pushing himself away and taking a step toward Graeme. His eyes slant toward Remi's retreat up the stairs, as though placing some blame with her, though it remains unvoiced. The boy turns another look toward the teacher, toying with his lip for a moment, teeth scraping against the mostly healed split of skin. "Feel like sparring," he calls to the older man, voice quiet but rough edged from his own lack of sleep.

The telepath pauses in the doorway, taking a dab of the cheesecake filling with her finger and promptly taking a taste of the dessert. Nonsense, Graeme. You are just one man. You talk as if you were the final deciding factor in that law. As if you should have been clairvoyant enough to know ahead of time. It is not your fault.

Blue eyes turn toward Devon, then back to Graeme. She's not in much of a comforting mood right now. Her way of asking the boy to take care of the poor guy. Then, she glances back toward Graeme. Quit with the self-loathing. You did your best. You did all that you could. You tried. That's more than most people would or could do. Stop dwelling on something so far in the past. Don't you have more important things to be worrying about? I think you do, Graeme Fionn. She watches Graeme with passive eyes for a long moment.

The voice in his head is not welcome at the moment, and Graeme shoves a headphone back in halfway through her words. Her words are not the right thing to say at the moment, either, at least at this point where he's not really at the point of listening to whole sentences. But the name catches his ear, and his ire, and he rises, though he doesn't move. "You stop passing judgment on me," he says, that soft drawl as soft as ever, "Remi Davignon. You weren't there. And you call me the name that's mine, not the name some junkie bitch happened to give me. Now, git." The headphone in, she's entirely and summarily tuned out, ignored, because if she had perhaps made it at least a little better by saying it wasn't his fault, she's definitely made it a hell of a lot worse now. He sighs, chewing on his lip for a moment and nods to Devon, though there's a wary moment as he watches, trying to make sure that Remi leaves.

Unable to tell, but fairly certain at what transpired, Devon looks at Remi. His head shakes again, slow as before. "People don't want you going into their heads," he points out, longsuffering. "Just…" Another shake of his head dismisses anything else he might have said and he moves closer to Graeme. There's no warning that precedes the jab the boy throws, aimed to catch the older man in the face. Likewise, there's no holding back though the strike is controlled enough to minimize damage, and a look to the teen's expression shows he's planning to push the teacher's limits and likewise push his own.

Remi rolls her eyes toward Graeme. "I'm not passing judgement on you." She tilts her head toward Graeme. "And you seem to forget…I've seen it. I've all but been zere. I've felt it, so accutely zat I felt like I was zere. Quit acting like an emo kid, Graeme, and go get some sleep. I love you, but you are dwelling on something zat is long in ze past. Dwelling on something zat will only in'ibit you if you keep on like zis."

Blue eyes turn toward Devon, and suddenly, a deep frown crosses her features. "Do you think I want zese god damned nightmares from ozer people floating around in my 'ead? Do you think I'm actively trying to fill my 'ead with memories of being tortured and murdered, of losing loved ones, of not being able to save someone?! I get it. Nobody likes me getting in zeir 'eads. I don't like it either, so just shut up about it." This is snapped out rapid-fire to the teen, her french accent thickening.

Then, she's moving up the stairs, ignoring the punches thrown. It's not your fault. It never was, it never will be. You tried, but fate decided to take that boy's life that day. Please…I worry for you, Graeme. She's gone, by now, but her voice in Graeme's mind still lingers.

Perhaps luckily, Graeme responds mentally, Devon's first blow in fact catching his jaw, but he's been a fighter and a brawler long enough that he simply knows how to move with it and then the response is immediate. Ain't no such thing as fate in those cases, Remi. That's people at work, there. But after that, the time of which Devon lands several more blows,the teacher's focus shifts entirely to the sparring, with a fair amount gratitude for the teenager for at least having one of the right ways to deal with this sort of thing.

Though verbal, the reply from the telepath strikes Devon as soundly as if she'd slapped him. He turns to look toward her retreat up the stairs, confused for where the sudden snappishness had come from. It opens him up for an easy strike or two from Graeme before his reaction catches up enough to respond in kind. Far from forgotten, Remi's words are pushed aside like so many other things, to be looked at or further ignored and his attention is soon drawn into the exercise.

It doesn't take long before teacher and teen are both caught up in the motions of attack and defend. Strikes are sent fast and furious, each doing their best to push the other beyond their limits. Neither relenting nor willingly giving ground, and yet daring enough to try different attacks and maneuvers without fear of failure. That Graeme and Devon push through the fog of exhaustion marks their game as reckless, not that either care. In the end, both will still be alive, if a little worse for the wear.

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