Aside From Thinking


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Aside From Thinking
Synopsis Given permission, Graeme makes good his promise to handle the teenager problem.
Date August 24, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse - Rooftop

The rest of the walk home had been done in near silence. To say that Liz was angry would have been an understatement. To Devon's perceptions, she was several levels beyond angry, whatever that state was called. And he, for some reason he couldn't quite figure out, was in enough trouble that she'd played the Mom Card. Suffice it to say, the boy kept quiet, casting the occasional sidelong glance toward the woman while they walked side by side back to the safehouse.

There, Devon immediately went to the room he shares with Graeme, leaving Elisabeth to whatever venting she may need to do. He's grounded, after all, which has always translated into spending a week or so in his room except for meals. He'd changed from the clothes he'd worn out, swapping out jeans and t-shirt for long sleeves and shorts. Then, the teen sat himself on his bed, back resting against the wall and one knee drawn up enough to rest an arm over the top. The other remains stretched out, his eyes on the purple bruise encompassing the outside of the joint.

An earful, though Graeme was the only person to hear it in the privacy of the basement, where he had been working on things, and it's not that much time that Devon has to sit alone and in silence before there are footsteps mounting the stairs. Whatever he's been told, when he stands in the doorway, having pushed the door open without even so much as his usual warning, he looks definitively pissed off, if in the usual aloof manner that's common for the teacher.

"So?" A glance is given to Devon, and then another, longer, appraising. "Get up, we're going up to the roof." There's not much room for question left, and it would seem that he's been informed that Devon is grounded. Oh so grounded, and oh so in trouble. "To talk." One hand shoves into a pocket, the other one wrapping around a silver pendant that hangs around the teacher's neck, for once on the outside of his shirt, and while he waits for Devon to get up, though there's an expectation that it'll be prompt, Graeme fidgets.

Time enough to think, which is what Devon tries to do, about what happened and how it turned out to be his fault. And how Elisabeth was injured, and hope that she'll be okay after she's cooled off a bit. His head thumps against the wall just as Graeme opens the door, masking the sound of the teacher's entrance. It's the movement that his eyes slant toward, taking in posture and expression, a brow raising in silent askance. Sure doesn't look like the man is here just because it's his room too.

With a sigh, Devon climbs to his feet, eyes falling from Graeme to the floor. His arms fold over his chest as he steps past Graeme and out of the room, beelining for the stairs to the roof. Whatever needs to be said can be said up there, the teen has no qualms about keeping questions or answers unspoken.

Graeme follows, letting Devon make it to the roof first, and in general taking his time in following. More time for the teen to think, pretty much, and there's no intention of making the conversation easier. When the door has closed behind him and Graeme has half-sat on a ledge, he looks over at Devon.

"So, tell me, besides grounding, and discussions that won't do either of us any good because you're not ready to talk, there's an appropriate punishment here somewhere," he muses. "Which is to say that while you are grounded, you and myself, or Jaiden, or someone, are going to be working on things, and that is all you will have the time for while you're awake." Graeme pauses, and looks over at Devon. "Aside from thinking."

When Graeme arrives on the roof, Devon is standing with his back to one of the cisterns, his shoulders pressed against the metal as he leans. His eyes follow the teacher, wordlessly watching, straightening only when the man begins speaking again. At the proclamation, the teen lets out a sigh, resigned, withdrawn, not argumentative. Still, he doesn't speak, doesn't try to refute his guilt in the outcome. Just accepts, Elisabeth had said he was grounded, and so with it comes the terms.

Lips are pursed, and then Graeme walks over, slapping Devon across the face, eyebrows raised in what might even be an attempt to provoke the teenager. "Is that an indication that you don't have anything to say for yourself?" The stance Graeme takes is easy, familiar, but alert and wary if Devon chooses to defend himself, or attack. And if the teen chooses not to, it won't be long before Graeme forces Devon to defend himself.

His head moves with the force of the strike, no attempts made to stop it though he saw it coming. He lets out a breath, lifts his eyes to look at Graeme again, but far from being provoked, the teenager seems to withdraw further instead. "What's there to say," he asks quietly, just above a whisper that holds a touch of the anger and hurt and fear he's hiding. "What's there to say? I led Liz into a trap I didn't know was there. I've walked those streets a hundred times before, seen some shady people but most often the streets were empty or I was left alone. I should've taken her a different way, or not gone at all." He pauses, lifting his hands as though to help articulate a point, then drops them again. "Whatever. I screwed up. I'll stay in my room, won't leave the house for however long Liz thinks is necessary."

If there had been any hint of a smile on Graeme's face it's since faded into a tight, thin line, and this time, the teacher doesn't slap Devon across the face. Several punches are heralded by a slap to the back of his head. "And in the mean time, you have a chance to think about why you didn't know it was there." The series of attacks is not anywhere as restrained as it is in practise, although Graeme's temper is kept in serious check. "Or why that time was different and you weren't left alone." Graeme grabs for one of Devon's wrists, pulling the teen roughly away from the cistern. "And in the mean time, whether or not you have anything to say for yourself …" a shrug follows the words.

The slap to the back of the head is met with a wince while the world rocks. Devon takes a half step forward on his own only to lose it again when a punch lands and he meets the cistern from the force. He has barely the time to pull his hands up to protect his face before the third strike lands. A move which saves him one bruise but sacrifices his wrist. "How could I've known," he protests. "I'm not a telepath, I can't read minds." The teen stumbles slightly as he's pulled away from the cistern, a tearing eye slanting in the teacher's direction.

"You're left alone when you're alone," Graeme says, in a tone that makes it as if he's pointing out the obvious. Which he is. "Circumstance changes, everything changes, you weren't paying attention." The second statement is punctuated with an attempt to draw the teenager out and away from the cistern in order to have a chance at knocking Devon off his feet. And at the very least, the teacher continues to move, with little regard for anything except making Devon pay attention. Right. Now. It's unfair, but for the moment, he's holding the teenager to the same standards he holds any other adult in the safehouse to, including the berating tactics. "You should have known."

It doesn't take much effort on the teacher's part to pull Devon away from the cistern, his hands are up to protect his head and he's not expecting to be pulled, anticipating another fist or hand to land instead. "I was paying attention," he yells back, feet stumbling after Graeme's momentum to keep himself upright. "I saw them the same time Liz did! How the hell would I have known there'd be people there when chances have always been in favor of there not being anyone around?! I'm not a telepath!"

"Paying attention ahead of time," Graeme says, resuming the attempt to get the teenager to do more than just defend himself meekly. Unpredictable, but the blows are mostly punches or flat blows from other styles that the teacher has picked up, until the switch is to a mid-level kick in and amongst the relentless attack. His frustration is more obvious now, and being taken out at least a little bit on the teenager, although Graeme maintains the same mostly neutral and slightly annoyed expression. "You're supposed to think," he says, an additional slap upside the head punctuating the word. "Not just think you can do anything and be invulnerable and not care about what might possibly happen." God damn teenagers, really.

"I'm not precognitive either," Devon states, pulling a hand up to deflect a strike before it finds its mark. Most land or graze by, striking shoulders and ribs or occasionally catching him in the face. Still not trying to fight back, but avoid the worst of the attacks while trying to back away and gain space, the boy clamps down on his own frustration — after all, there'd been no problems with where he went before, why now all of a sudden? — until the kick catches him off guard and just below the ribs. It takes him to his knees with eyes squeezed shut, and for a moment he stays down. "I do care what happens," the boy says quietly, a slight quiver in his voice. "How was I supposed to know something bad was going to happen?"

Without any particular kindness, Graeme pulls the teenager back to his feet, and back several feet towards the centre of the roof where there's more open space and less potential true dangers. Something about not hitting an opponent that's down, but the moment the teen is on his feet, it resumes. "It's about common sense," he snaps. "Not about whether or not an ability gives you an advantage in knowing something or not."

"The way you're talking it's like you're pissed off that I didn't get something more useful," Devon shouts back. He staggers against the resumed attacks. "Well sorry I made it into the gene pool lottery and…" He's cut off when his hand comes up to stop a punch turns futile and the strike splits his lip. He edges backward a step, twisting away from one hand to be caught by the other, and soon again has found himself sprawled once again. His face presses against the rooftop, an arm covering his head, shoulders given to shaking at intervals in time with his exhaling. "Stop," the teen asks into the gravely rooftop, voice shaking and not with frustration. "Whatever I did wrong, I'm sorry. Just… Please… Stop."

"I'm pissed off," Graeme counters, hauling Devon to his feet once again, and not letting go of the teen's collar. The temptation to shake the teenager silly is very, very, there. "Because you just aren't getting it." There's a pause, and despite the teenager's advantage of height over the teacher, Graeme doesn't let go of the teen's collar, looking up to look Devon in the eyes. "Because you're behaving like I did when I was your age." This is angry, perhaps only because the teenager's defense has been deflecting and nothing else. "And because apparently, you didn't understand when I meant that going to be working on things started now, not later."

It's an angry look that meets Graeme's gaze. Angry and hurt. Devon's eyes have welled, despite his efforts to keep his eyes dry. Blood makes its own track from his lip to his chin, some bruising already standing out in purples on his face. He already knows he doesn't want to see what his torso looks like. The teen's hands shake, fists kept clenched at his sides, knuckles turned white with strain. "No, I didn't know what you meant," he states, still quavering as he speaks. "You just started beating the shit out of me because I don't have a clue what's got you pissed or what made Liz angry. I did what she told me to and ran instead of fighting back!"

"I'm sorry," he says, quiet. Graeme lets go of Devon, finally, hearing the teenager and not superimposing his own expectations, and bites down on his lip, turning away. "You're grounded for the fact that that was where you went — and usually went — to begin with, until you can suggest a productive use of your time and energy," Graeme says, his own voice steady, but perhaps only barely, and he eventually turns back towards Devon.

"We start, properly, tomorrow morning after sunup. To be precise," he continues, the drawl colouring the sentence, "the second half of you being grounded is working on your hand to hand skills during your waking hours in lieu of something else productive." That said, the teacher shoves his hands in his pockets, and stares up at the open sky, as if trying to figure out what he's done.

Devon listens, to the apology and the terms of what's expected, a dispassionate mask placing itself over as much of the other emotions as he can. It's not possible to hide everything, the hurt and anger that simmers in the space between his stomach and his throat, but it's at least covered. He allows the silence that follows to stretch, eyes moving to follow Graeme, but nothing else. Until, quietly, he speaks up. "Are we done?"

Graeme nods. "Yes," comes the response, after a moment of thought before hand. "Unless …" the words trail off, an open ended statement, with a shrug, indicative of acknowledgement that maybe, just maybe, Graeme deserves the anger, and knows he does, before he turns around again, walking over to lean on one of the walls, and simply wait.

He only waits a moment longer, to see if that unless turns into something more. When Graeme moves, Devon watches silently, the muscles of his jaw twitching and clenching occasionally. He turns for the door when the teacher doesn't, still saying nothing more as he retreats from the roof, his departure punctuated by the closing, not slamming, of the door behind him.

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