devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Avoidance
Synopsis Avoidance, arguments, and hairtrigger tempers lead to frayed feelings on all sides, and to the teenager storming off and leaving the safehouse.
Date June 24, 2011

Skinny Brickfront, Endgame Safehouse

Dinner was served. Someone took the time to make soup and sandwiches and the denizens of the skinny brick front house took their fill as they came through the common areas. The last remnants have trickled through, amongst them the boy who's taken to calling the dwelling home.

Devon had served himself from the pot and plate and taken his claim to sit on the floor of the common room beneath the windows. Most of the broth has been cleaned from the bowl, the chunky bits left to mingle with torn pieces of bread and fixings. It looks as though he'd eaten a good portion of the serving, before he lost interest entirely.

The bowl rests now beside his hip while he sits beneath the window. Devon's head presses lightly against the wall beneath the window sill. One leg is bent at the knee, drawn toward his chest while the other is stretched out before him. A single arm drapes over his drawn in knee, the other resting across his lap. For all intents and purposes, the boy appears to be sleeping, eyes closed, breathing steady.

Graeme is, as usual, a latecomer to dinner. No longer sleep deprived, but still banned from doing overnight watch the whole night without sleeping, an edict that's quickly enough passed through the safehouse. Bowl of soup that's been reheated in hand, he sits down, not too far from Devon, but enough that he figures that he'd better announce his presence anyway. "Hey." Not loudly enough to wake the teen, if he is asleep, but enough for the drawl to identify him.

Pale colored eyes come open, staring downward at first then slanting toward Graeme a couple of seconds later. "Hey," Devon echoes, the same quiet tones as he so often has, roughened faintly by a lack of sleep. It's no secret that the boy has been taking up shifts for watch and catching sleep when he can while not quite avoiding common areas during their busy times and the room he's sharing with both Melissa and the older man. His other leg draws inward, bending at the knee while the other arm shifts to drape over it like its partner. His head comes off the wall to rest more naturally, supported above his shoulders by his neck. "Looks like you're doing better."

Graeme shrugs, a bit. Whether or not he's doing better, there's the sinking feeling that the teacher has that it's a temporary better that won't really last. "For the moment," he eventually says. But he's lucky, he has somewhere else to go to sleep or simply to go and hide when the nightmares and everything gets to be too much. A furrow of brow of unvoiced worry accompanies the look at the teenager, hidden for the most part nearly as quickly. Attention is paid to the bowl of soup and bread, and there's a shrug, but he doesn't ask after Devon. Either the information will be volunteered, or it won't, and Graeme can have company while he eats dinner either way. "Settled things with work hours, and schedule, and all." Like an unsettled schedule explains everything that had been going on.

"That's good," Devon replies, head turning to face toward the kitchen instead of the teacher. He doesn't offer any insight to how he's doing , maintaining a slight distance by keeping himself somewhat closed off. He shifts slightly where he sits, crossing his legs at the ankles without disrupting his posture, head lowering a little to hang some between his shoulders. "Did you ever figure out the second job thing?"

There's an ever so faint wince, and Graeme shrugs. "There's a warehouse that can give me one or two nights, but only sometimes, not regularly. Will take what I can get, but …" He lets the words trail off, not really wanting to talk about the issue of sleep with the teenager, not really even knowing how it works himself, or what he needs. "Whatever." Dismissive, or maybe just a way of brushing off questions that the teacher's learned from too much time in the teenager's company. Once more, he falls silent, choosing to pay attention to eating, avoidant in its own way rather than talking about another avoidance tactic.

Devon's eyes flick toward Graeme when the older man pauses. The dismissive tone gives signal enough for his focus to return to the kitchen again. He sits in silence as well, minutes stretching only to be filled by the sound of Graeme's spoon rattling in his bowl. The boy's teeth pull at his lower lip after a few moments, scraping then pressing into the soft flesh. "Sorry," he mutters into the quiet, breaking the soft monotony of steel against porcelain.

"'Salright," Graeme responds, soft drawl. Devon's words are the only thing really alerting the man out of his daydream that he's actually finished his bowl of soup, that he's been mechanically lifting the empty spoon to his mouth for a little bit, and he puts the spoon down, sets the bowl next to him all the while pretending nothing is actually wrong. The bowl now on the spool table, Graeme moves to sitting on the floor, crosslegged. "Nothing to be sorry about."

A single shoulder lifts and falls again. Either dismissive or apathetic to the teacher's dismissiveness of the apology. Devon pushes a leg out in front of him, arms folding over his chest as he leans back against the wall. As his head tips back to find the wall as well, it tilts to one side. Likewise the teen's eyes slant with the motion and eye the dismissed bowl of soup, mostly uninterested but more acknowledging its continued presence.

There's a small period of time that Graeme allows for the silence, pulling out his cell phone, tapping at it a bit to check the time. "What's so interesting?" There's a definite bit of snark in the teacher's voice, and then after a little, he clarifies, looking over at the wall to see if he finds whatever Devon's found interesting. It's light-hearted teasing, though, to keep the silence and the thoughts and the daydreams away. For the most part.

"Nothing." Devon's response is flat as his hands lower to pick up the bowl and its mushy contents. He pushes some bread and soup around, watching the bread and bits meld together to form a sort of paste. He sighs to himself then takes a bite of the meal, showing the same lack of interest in it as before, eating because he needs to rather than for any want to.

"Seemed like you found something interesting," Graeme continues, along the same line that's not even the most gentle of them at the moment. "Didn't look like nothing." He shrugs, and continues to look at the wall, before looking around and back down at his phone, phone dropped in his lap when the silence resumes as the teacher rubs at his forehead. Silence brings the thoughts which bring nightmares, less severe by far now than they were before, but his hands still clench white-knuckled and tense when they finally return to his lap.

Dragging his spoon through the mush of soup and bread, Devon creates a small valley in his bowl. Though his eyes have turned toward Graeme, if not his face. Brows drawn downward, into what might pass for a frown on anyone else. "What the hell." He shakes his head slightly and turns a more proper frown to his bowl. "I'm supposed to answer to you now? Tell you what I'm doing and what my every action means?" With hands tightening around the bowl and spoon, the boy pushes himself to his feet. "Here I am, Mister Cormac, going to put my bowl in the sink to be washed. All it means is I don't want to be a slob and keep up the good habit of cleaning up after myself."

Eyes roll slightly, but it's exasperation mixed with … mixed with that this is not the right time to taunt the teacher. Graeme may be less sleep deprived than before, but Devon's words are probably the wrong thing to say. "When did I say that you needed to answer to me, Clendaniel?" If he's going to get called by his last name, he'll call the kid by last name in return. Fists clench, but the teacher still doesn't get up. Not that pissed off yet, still just trying to not have a silent moment. "I'm not even teaching right now. Summer, remember?" The self-deprecating tone in Graeme's voice is obvious. "But whatever floats your boat, kid."

"You're the one who insisted I saw something interesting." Devon's counter comes with an eye roll of his own. The lack of sleep, the greater lack of caloric intake, the mental and emotional stress he's been under himself for the last three weeks is well caught up. It's also beginning to sink claws and teeth into the boy. "Don't call me kid either," he continues as he turns for the kitchen, shutting off the temptation to drop the remains of supper on the teacher's head.

Getting up to follow with his own empty bowl to take to the sink. "Right, kiddo," he agrees, his accent coming out even more, and it's not a term of disrespect by any means, but still. There are notes of tiredness in the teacher's voice, and there's teasing that if he were more together and all the way with it, he probably wouldn't mean it, and he'd likely respect Devon's wishes rather than pushing the teenager's buttons.

There's no words offered to refute, no warning given that his ire has been trifled with yet again. Devon, rarely prideful but dragged into a spat of adolescent behavior in defense of his usual maturity, turns on Graeme. Impulsively the bowl is half thrown half pushed at the teacher, contents and all flung out to spatter the man, the porcelain container sent in the wake only to add insult to injury. In follow through, the teen's posture straightens, rising to his full height and turning a dispassionate stare onto Graeme. "You don't get to call me that," he states quietly yet with undeniable finality. "Ever."

Mainly, insult, and Graeme seems torn between pushing the teenager over or otherwise throwing him across the kitchen, and getting the contents of the bowl off of his shirt. Quirk of eyebrows seems to decide, and on the way towards the table that has a box of white kitchen towels, Graeme simply does one of those many times practised maneuvers, an attempt this time to pull both the teen's feet from under him as he walks by.

He's getting better at avoiding those sweeping techniques, but he's not perfect. Devon manages to get one foot up high enough to clear the sweep while the other is hooked far too easily. Elbows catch against the counter but don't slow his fall, and he lands on his lower back with a grunt. "What th— Are you five?" This from the boy who just threw soup. He kicks out his own feet as Graeme passes, hoping to catch the man in the back of the knee. Either knee. "Grow up."

"I like this shirt a lot, you know," Graeme points out, levelly. "It's one of my favourites." There he goes, being very, very gay again. There are very few things in which it comes out, but his clothing tends to be a weak point for the man, and the teenager just got soup. On his clothing. There's a glance at Devon, but the teenager only succeeds at half-knocking down the teacher, and then he's debating whether or not to continue the disagreement, and keep the teenager pinned to the ground, or go clean the shirt.

"You threw soup." Cleaning his shirt wins, though, and the shirt comes off, leaving the teacher in his undershirt as he empties a water bottle onto a kitchen towel and begins an attempt to wash the soup off the grey teeshirt. Which there doesn't seem to be very much special about anyway.

"Looks like something to dry the dog off with," Devon retorts as he climbs to his feet. He keeps a wary eye on Graeme as he straightens again, though a subtle shift of his weight brings him nearer to the pot with the last scraps of soup resting inside. "It's on your pants, too, and if you call me kid again you'll be wearing more of it."

Graeme frowns, subtly, but the threat is enough that as he's taking another towel and getting the little bit easily off his pants, the few steps over brings him close enough to insert himself between the teenager and the table, and it's another time of pulling the teenager's feet out from under him, from the knee this time, and with actual effort behind it too. Apparently, even the teacher can be pissed off. "Jessa gave that to me after we went to see Les Mis when it was in town. I like that shirt." There's steel and annoyance in his voice, but he starts to walk back away again.

Too close to avoid completely, Devon's made to fall rather easily. Again. As he goes down, a hand whips out as though to catch himself, instead and intentionally it knocks into the pot of soup. The spoon flips at Graeme, flinging more of the evening's dinner at the man, and the pot clatters noisily onto the floor beside the boy. He lands harder than before, though the wince of impact is suppressed or hidden as he drags himself to his feet again. The pot follows with a sound kick, aimed at the teacher.

Graeme steps out of the way this time, and when it is done, goes to knock Devon over one last time as he goes back towards the supplies to clean up, though there's an internalised debate as to whether or not he'll force the teenager to help him clean up the mess that they've now both created. But in the mean time, the teacher grabs the teen from behind, from the shoulder, with an intent to force Devon down and back onto the ground. "When you're ready to help clean this mess up, you can get up."

It's more stumble this time, than actual falling, the teen going to an unbalanced knee rather than landing on his back. There's a nearly audible growl, frustration mounting as he goes to stand again, only to find the man pushing down on his shoulders. Unwilling to be forced into any situation, Devon twists and tries to pull out of Graeme's grasp. "Yeah, I'll help clean up," he states, sarcasm almost palpable in his tone. "Give me your shirt so I can get to work."

There's almost visible fury, and Graeme just pushes the teenager into the mess that's on the floor, before walking around it, grabbing the mostly cleaned shirt, and throwing a bunch of the kitchen towels at the teenager. "You spilled it, anyway." Usually, he'd be the one cleaning up, without any questions asked, but there's something about the teen's attitude that has the teacher unwilling to participate.

"You touch my shirt, and…" the threat is leveled at Devon, Graeme's voice almost quavering. "My mom gave this to me, okay?" Another bottle of water is retrieved, more towels, and with an eye to make sure that Devon actually cleans, Graeme starts washing the shirt again, trying to make sure that there are no stains that Jaiden won't be able to get out.

Hands and arms slide through the mess on the floor. Devon's fingers curl around the pot and actually pause in the act of tossing it into the sink. He doesn't look at the teacher, even after the explanation for the shirt's special status is given, nor after the towels are flung onto him. It lasts less than a minute before the pot is heavily dropped into the sink and given to splatter whatever is nearby. The towels are used on the floor, given to haste and frustration and anger, but the soup is cleaned up completely. Those rags follow the pot, thrown into the sink without ceremony. He takes one of the towels pulled aside for shirt cleaning and drags it over his hands and arms, still without looking at Graeme, intent on removing the last traces of supper from his skin.

There's occasional attention given to slightly supervising the teenager, and Graeme's own washing of his shirt is careful, but he'll need to find Jaiden sooner than later, because there's still soup that the teacher can't get out, and the hydrokinetic washing it is more effective and less expensive than any dry-cleaner that Graeme could get to.

There's a pause, though, and he turns around, on his way out from walking out of the room, and simply slaps Devon upside the back of the head. Hard. It's not a joke-slap like sometimes happens between the two. "At least I have this memory left of her, though," he says. "You touch it again, ever? And you get it dirty again, ever?" It's a thinly veiled threat, and a thinly veiled slight on who has what left of family.

And then, Graeme isn't going to stick around in the same room as the teenager any longer, but because they share a room … probably, the rooftop. At least, anywhere else until he inevitably has to account for his actions. Skateboard and backpack are grabbed from their home in the common room, and Graeme makes a brisk walk for the stairs, biting down on his lower lip. More than likely biting back tears.

The boy's head rocks forward with the force of the slap, a hand grasping the edge of the counter to keep from being knocked over. His knuckles whiten in response to the teacher's statement, yet he refuses to turn and confront the man. More than just the slap brings tears to Devon's eyes. The words hurt just as much. When he senses Graeme moving away, Devon casts a sidelong look toward him, jaw clenching tight enough his teeth might crack.

As the older man begins up the stairs, Devon takes his own retreat from the kitchen. Not to any room nor to hide somewhere within the confines of the safehouse. His things are left abandoned, still in the room where he assumes Melissa to be. He heads down the stairs, though his footsteps don't retreat into the basement either. The door, the entry into the brick front house, is heard opening and then closing, slamming, behind Devon. He turns himself out to the streets with hands sinking into pockets and his thoughts, not on how he's planning to survive, but on putting as much distance between himself and the dwelling as he can.

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