An Ordinary Day


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title An Ordinary Day
Synopsis For two freedom fighters, the conversation is very much ordinary.
Date May 26, 2011

Dorchester Towers : Graeme and Remi's Apartment

Early afternoon is the best bet for finding Graeme at the Dorchester apartment, most days. After teaching, but before going over to work from late afternoon onwards at Tartarus. At the moment, it's time that he's taking to himself, pretty much, door to his room open and the punching bag being the distinctive sound that it is in the rest of the apartment making it clear the teacher's precise location in the otherwise empty residence.

The sound of a key in the lock announces someone's entering the apartment. Obviously someone who has access, or at least knows the methods to get into the dwelling. But unless Odin has forgotten the teenager stepping through the door once it's opened, there's nothing really out of ordinary.

Except maybe Devon letting himself in.

Unsure of how many days it'd been since he took off in the first place, Devon's come to return the key. He doesn't need it, not exactly, having a new fall back point. "Graeme," he calls out, pushing the door closed behind him. His shoes are removed and pack unslung from one shoulder before he steps further into the apartment. "You home?" Hopefully. With furrowing brows, his eyes lead steps toward the room and the sounds of punching.

With the usual amount of interest, Odin's following Devon. Still expecting attention, as if he hadn't learned better than to actually expect it from the teenager, but the Great Dane doesn't do more than a few barks of greeting. Devon's not an intruder, and therefore there's nothing really off about the situation.

Or at least, nothing that'll sound over the music in Graeme's earphones, loud enough to block out the door opening and loud enough to block out the teenager's calling out through the apartment. The only thing that's real, for the teacher, is the punching bag and the music, and so if the teenager actually wants his attention, Devon might have to step into the room, into Graeme's field of vision. He's rather engrossed in his choice of activity, even if it may not look it, he's not anywhere near to having broken a sweat. But surprising Graeme's probably pretty safe, since he's paying attention to the punching bag, both guns sitting on the faded denim quilt that covers the bed.

Slightly off key, Graeme's humming along to whatever it is that's playing.

Ignoring the dog, Devon finds his way to the bedroom-slash-workout room, and Graeme working the bag. He glances around the room, considering a place to put down the key and leave for the older man to find later. His eyes pick up on the two guns then slant toward the teacher again. At least he doesn't have to worry about having another gun pulled on him. But he still doesn't approach.

Digging into his pocket, Devon pulls out a bus token. If he's going to catch Graeme unaware, he's doing it from a distance. Lifting his hand, with the token pinched between thumb and middle finger, he flicks the brass coin at the teacher, more intending to hit the bag, or his shoulder. Just something to pull him out of his world and back to reality.

It works. Well, along with the flickering sight of the teenager in Graeme's peripheral vision, the coin going by and making a soft click against the punching bag is enough that with one hand, the teacher stills punching bag, and then reaches. Earphones come out, draping over his shoulders. Against the white of the a-shirt, it's more plainly visible that the earphones are a hot-pink colour, perhaps one of Graeme's few more flamboyant possessions overall.

There's a nod to the teenager, and barefoot, Graeme pads over to where there's a towel and water, wiping his face and neck off and taking a drink before actual acknowledgement. "Hey, Devon." For all of that the teenager seemed to be interrupting the man's personal time, there's no hint of annoyance or anything like that. If anything, and if the tone of voice accompanying the drawling words is any indication, the teacher is glad to see the teenager. "Uh, sorry, if you called ahead or something I … haven't been paying too much attention to my phone."

"It's fine," Devon answers with a one-shouldered shrug. His hands go back to his pockets, the shrugged shoulder now resting against the door frame. "I could've called. But I found your key, figured I should bring it back." The key in question is produced as an afterthought, offered in an open palm. "Sorry for interrupting, though. Didn't seem right to just leave it, and I was out this way anyway."

There's a glance at a clock that's on one of the walls not covered by mats, and then Graeme shakes his head. "Don't worry about it. Really, I wasn't answering my phone, so it wouldn't have done any good." There's half a thought in the teacher's mind to tell the teenager to keep the key, but it takes a longer moment to phrase, and there's a shrug. "Keep the key, though. It might be useful at some point, I've got another spare anyway. Also, want some ice cream? I have some, more than I could ever eat by myself."

The key is still offered, even after the subject is changed to ice cream. But it's Devon who relents, by returning the key to his pocket. "Thanks," he replies quietly. "I thought… since Ms. Harrison had brought me in to the other house… I'll hang on to it though." An awkward pause follows, the younger man toying with his lower lip while his eyes go to Odin. "…Yeah," he decides. "Ice cream sounds good." Turning back, he moves through the hall to return to the front room, depositing his pack beside his shoes while giving Graeme time to clean up and catch up.

"Like I said," Graeme says, a few minutes later when he emerges, walking over towards the kitchen, "keep it. It might come in useful, and having more than one fall-back is a good thing." At least, for the moment, while the apartment is actually useful as a fall-back, rather than before when it was where he'd needed to avoid. "If nothing else, you can fall back to here until you can get there. In any case, there's no reason for you to give the key back."

Then Graeme's pulled down two sizable ceramic bowls, and opened the freezer. "I've got chocolate, I've got cookie dough, there's cheesecake brownie, and pistachio. I'll let you serve yourself, take your pick."

"Yeah." Devon's voice comes from the entry to the kitchen, having not actually followed Graeme all the way into the other room. "I've got a few other places, it's more… Worry for who I might be putting in danger, regardless of their thoughts on how well they can take care of themselves. Being a… involved in things, keeps me constantly thinking ahead." Most of the time. He is human and still prone to mistakes.

"Chocolate sounds good," the younger man decides as he steps into the kitchen. Memory serves well enough to find spoons and an ice cream scoop, in effort to help somewhat. "Doctor Brennan's checking up on Yana, saw him last night after I left and told him what happened. Gave him a copy of the recording too."

Graeme's own ice cream, most of the Ben & Jerry's pistachio from the container, served, he makes his way over to the couch, obviously expecting Devon to follow. "Yeah. I know how that is," he says. His own worries about those who are put in danger simply by knowing him, really. "But you can come here any time you need to."

After dishing himself out a modest amount of chocolate ice cream, Devon returns the containers to the freezer. Then, with his own bowl and spoon, follows Graeme to the couch. "Yeah," he agrees, albeit absently. He stabs into the ice cream with his spoon, smushing the cold treat into a creamier mixture. "Thanks, Graeme. Might have to do that sooner instead of later. I still have a possible meeting with Mister Valentin, if Odessa keeps her word."

Graeme's folded himself onto the couch, knees halfway drawn to chest and bowl of ice cream balanced on his knees, and speaks in between relatively small bites of cream. "Keep me and Liz in the loop on that, okay?" The question is voiced with a small amount of concern showing through. "At the very least, so we can figure out some sort of back-up for wherever the meeting ends up being. You shouldn't go alone, because I'm pretty sure he won't either."

Devon's head tips in a nod, he'd already promised Melissa he wouldn't go alone. He watches his ice cream as he drags a spoon through the mire only to be slowly filled with melted chocolate cream. "I just don't know who. I can't ask Melissa to get involved, I don't feel right asking Doctor Brennan. You already have government eyes on you, Ms. Harrison and Jaiden are…" Untouchable for this task. He gives a slow shake of his head. "I'm not sure who else I can trust."

Pressing his spoon into the ice cream that's quickly becoming soup, Devon looks over at Graeme. "Don't worry, Liz has already told me to call when I know if and when I'm going, and to give a time frame. She… said she wouldn't leave me to them."

Graeme nods. "We'll figure something out," he says, quiet and thoughtful, at the same time making a mental note to talk to Liz about it overall. "But. I'm not the best choice for that anyway. For one, I'm not a great shot at any distance, but we've got people who are." That doesn't mean that he may not end up as additional backup, given that his own skillset is useful in situations, but it means he's not the first person that comes to mind for it. He pays attention to his ice cream for a moment. "Did you give any more thought to taking some classes over the summer or in fall?"

The change of topic isn't entirely abrupt, and there's a grin on Graeme's face. He may be playing the part of obnoxious nagging adult, but it's not intentionally to annoy the teenager.

"I need to talk to Jaiden again as well," Devon says, his mind still on other topics. He chews on his lower lip for a moment, eyes slanting back to his ice cream. "Liz wants me to get some practice with evasion, I don't know if it's too little too late, but any lesson in it is better than nothing." Shaking his head, the teenager allows the topic to shift. "I don't know. I really should, but I need to get a job, too, something… substantial. I want to file for emancipation."

Graeme nods. "You might look into jobs through the college, if nothing else. There's usually some opportunity for student workers," he points out, before letting the conversation go back to the first topic. "The more practise you can get, the better," Graeme says. "Speaking of which, at some point we'll work on those blocks we worked on last time. After the range tomorrow, maybe?" He pauses, mouth forming a tight line before he speaks again. "Before you meet with Valentin, I want you to be able to get yourself out of a situation, if it comes to hand to hand. You're good, but there's more work to be done on that."

"I can't get emancipated on a paycheck that's only designed to keep McDonald's and Starbucks in business." Devon grins faintly, adding joke to his all too true statement. "I need something substantial. I'll probably talk to Melissa though. She'd offered me a job at the club once, and would probably fix it so I could start school again." Looking to his ice cream again, the younger man finally tries a small bite. "Yeah, tomorrow would be good. I should… there's a lot to work on." Chewing on his lower lip, he lets silence sink in for a couple of minutes. "What do you think of all this? That we're in right now? That we're doing." And his tone implies he's not talking about eating ice cream or sitting on the couch.

Another nod from Graeme. "There is a lot," Graeme agrees. And then, with the question, the teacher falls silent, pensive for a long moment before he actually answers. "It's the right thing, even when it's difficult choices that we make." The same thing he's said before, to the same question, and there's the same tone of determination behind his voice. There's a glance over at the teenager, before Graeme takes another bite of ice cream, and shrugs.

"It is the right thing to do," Devon agrees quietly. He looks over at Graeme, studying the older man. "And it isn't always easy, especially when you decide to make that step." For him, it had been made in the darkest hours of the morning. He's quiet for a long moment, but it isn't an awkward kind of quiet, it's thoughtful, deep. "People keep asking why. Why I stepped forward, why I don't stay back, why I've placed myself in the ranks of people often older but not always more experienced at the business we're in. —Why I willingly follow Liz, though I hardly know her."

Graeme's decision had been made before he'd known his sister's affiliations, but knowing, knowing had cemented it. When Graeme speaks, there's that familiar hint of bitterness and steel. "My dad said … that the things in life that're actually worth doing aren't going to be easy," Graeme says, after a moment. "I've been asked why, too. But I didn't really have so much of a choice," he continues. "Drawn into this by affiliation, by my sister's choices, a lot of things." And he's had his chances, where he's been offered out, but it's been an empty offer at best. "But I wouldn't make a different choice, if I was given the chance." Then he pauses, setting aside the empty bowl on a coaster on the coffee table before leaning back against the couch, once more.

"I made the choice while I was in the Dome," Devon states quietly, calmly. He doesn't often talk about the Dome amongst those who'd been inside, and even more rarely with those who weren't. "I witnessed Humanis First dragging innocent people from their homes, lining them up on the streets for execution. Men, women, children. It was like those pictures you see of the Holocaust, but it was actually happening."

The young man pauses, looking away from Graeme, shadows of the memory still, even after these months, fresh enough to bother him. "After we stopped that, saved the innocents, we escorted them from Roosevelt Island to Queens through the train tunnels. It was during that time that I decided, I chose my path and answered the call. I'd been befriended early on, when the Dome first came into reality, by a couple of people who turned out to be members a group who strives to silence anti-evolved movements like Humanis First and The Institute. I still keep in contact with them today, and that's also why I follow Liz so readily."

There's a quiet nod of acknowledgment from the teacher, after Devon's finished speaking. He'd known it was horrible in there, for the most part. Known about the atrocities, but it doesn't make it any less jarring to hear about them again. "Yeah. Like I said. Given the choice, I'd choose the choice that's been made for me and the side I'm on." There's another pause, and Graeme finds himself with less words than usual, and instead of speaking again, falls silent, blue eyes serious on the teenager.

Devon offers a nod, small but no less meaningful. Even if the meaning isn't offered. He takes another bite of his ice cream, eyes going to the well melted surface of frozen treat. "I'm kind of relieved that Doc took over the thing with Yana," he states, completely changing the topic. "I'm worried, that I might face retaliation, but… Doctor Brennan's got my back, I think. And… I don't have to waste money on her anymore." Spoken as typical apathy from a scorned adolescent.

"I'm sure he has your back," Graeme says, and the certainty is echoed in his voice, as well. Or perhaps it's just the quiet self-assurance that Graeme has most of the time carrying over into his words, but it's there. "And I'm sure he won't let any retaliation happen, either." There's a half a smile offered to the teenager, and then Graeme's pondering something else entirely, gaze focused somewhere beyond the wall of the apartment, topic back to the talk of hand-to-hand combat. "Really need to see about getting a third person around for things so that you can see how some of the maneuvers work. It's hard to see a throw and how it works, otherwise, really."

"Why not go to the safehouse and use Jaiden or someone," Devon asks. "Or we could ask Melissa, she's brutal in combat." He pauses briefly then shakes his head. "But no, it's beneath Yana to resort to violence like that. I'll check in with Doctor Brennan in a few days. Kinda… need to let the whole fiasco cool off. Shouldn't have agreed to the whole date thing at all."

Graeme grins. "Because we don't have nearly as good a practise area set up at the safehouse," is the reason that's provided as an answer. "Though I'd love to be able to do that with a room. It would be good to have," though it's not portable, and probably not even feasible, considering the cost that it had taken to set up his room as such a space, "but in the mean time, I'm much more comfortable practising some things where there's adequate setup. Here, if we work on a throw, you land on a mat, you're fine. Not so much at the safehouse. Because at some point, it's best if you can practise the throw just like in an actual situation, rather than having to alter it for practise." But there's a nod, he'll see about talking to Melissa about it at some point, probably sooner than later. "And Jaiden can't come here, so."

"I guess." Devon offers a single shoulder shrug, finishing off his ice cream. "I think I should practice on any surface I can. We can work out at the safehouse sometimes, without pads or whatever, and get a chance at having another body for me to work against." He looks up at Graeme, frowning faintly. "I do see your point, but… limiting to this, to what's safe… I need to be able to react in real situations without having to go in my head and wonder if I'm moving the right way."

"At the very least, you start learning the throws where there're pads. These aren't the ones we've already worked on," Graeme points out, leaning back against the arm of the couch some more. "But you should definitely work with Jaiden as well, at some point — he's good." There's a pause. "The goal, least how I learned, was that you do it enough times that there is no in your head about it. It's just a response." And the teenager's seen the older man's instincts as far as that goes, what happens when he's surprised, let alone an actual threat.

Likewise, there's a strong fight or flight instinct within Devon, though it tends more toward fight than flight and he lacks the finesse of the older man. "Yeah, alright." Devon stands and takes Graeme's bowl, as well as his own, back to the kitchen. They're each rinsed then left in the sink to be dealt with later, leaving the younger man to return to the couch.

There's no argument when the teenager takes the bowls to the kitchen, although Graeme certainly wasn't expecting it, and there's a nod when Devon returns to the couch. "Thanks." It's said with a small nod, and a faint smile, and perhaps the teacher has actually run out of things to say, because no new topic of conversation is brought up.

"Sure," Devon replies. He drags a thumb and two fingers over his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose, then looks at his watch. "You going to the club tonight? Can I get a ride if you are?" He can hitch a ride home with Melissa then. "Figured I'd hide in her office, maybe go over college stuff, and… yeah. Be me."

"Sure," Graeme responds, quiet and perhaps it's that he's lost in thoughts or something. "I start at four, so it'll be a little, but no problem. Make yourself at home, yeah?" There's a faint smile spared for the teenager, and then Graeme tosses the remote for the television over, before excusing himself with a quiet nod. Probably to go back to the punching bag for the hour he has left before it's time to get ready and go.

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