Be More Convincing


devon2_icon.gif graeme_icon.gif remi_icon.gif

Scene Title Be More Convincing
Synopsis After an inquiry of simple honest concern, Devon and Graeme settle their disagreements. A bit. Kinda. Until Remi shows up.
Date March 13, 2011

Dorchester Towers: Lobby

Night has fallen on a beautiful day in the Big Apple. Though the sky may be overcast, the air was far warmer than it had been, the rain has held off, and all in all it was a pleasant day. The clouds ran in hues of pink and purple as the sun sank below the horizon, the colors washing away to slate and deep gray and finally settling on the blue-black smear of night. With the changing of daylight into twilight, so too passed the population as curfew drew closer and finally set in. No one walks the streets this night, the sidewalks barren of pedestrians and cars save for the military and other law enforcement presence.

But indoors life can still be found. Even when normal people have sought their beds and the abnormal surf through infomercials. The night crew hired to oversee security of the building has wandered off to do a physical patrol of the building. And Devon Clendaniel has returned to his vigil at a window.

The teenager today is not dressed to be outside, though clad in running shoes, blue plaid board shorts and a blue-gray longsleeve t-shirt. Arms are folded over his chest, and like he so often is found, his attention is focused on the world beyond the glass. The bruises have all gone, the track left by a knife on his face mostly healed. Lingering physical damage is hidden beneath his shirt, pointedly ignored even by himself.

Sometimes, it's not punching at the punching bag that happens when Graeme wakes up from his slightly cyclical and entirely irregular sleep schedule. And he has been sleeping some, recently, but even at the best he hasn't gotten more than four hours of sleep under his own power in years and years. So tonight, he's found himself up again, at some hour that might more possibly be qualified as ungodly, and taken the slow way down the stairs, having nearly crept out of the apartment.

As he closes the door to the stairwell behind him, headphones come out, draped around his neck a bit. He's wearing worn jeans, that have faded from once being black, and a light grey tee-shirt, form fitting that shows the muscle that the man bears on his frame. Not that he particularly has worked to gain it, but he does work out enough to keep up how fit he is. And things like doing stairs are another thing that Graeme does.

However, Graeme still hasn't woken up all the way, because he walks up behind Devon, coming up on the boy's uninjured side perhaps quicker than one usually would with skittish and startleable teenagers. "Up again?" he asks, voice quiet, as the only means of announcing his presence.

This time it isn't flinching that Devon reacts with, but a noticeable tensing around his shoulders and arms as Graeme appears beside him. The days are getting better, life is slowly moving on and not entirely without him. With an exhale, some of the tension leaves the teenager, shoulders relaxing a little and even hands loosening from their white-knuckled clench. Drawing in a breath this time, he offers a nod to return the greeting.

"Woke up a little bit ago," the younger man goes on to explain. Turning his head to look at Graeme, traces of sleeplessness is in evidence upon his own face. Tiredness draws at his eyes with shadows around the lids, gives his face a sort of pallid coloring. "Figured I'd come down here rather than wake my mentor up again."

"Easy there," Graeme says, quiet, leaning against the glass. His own hands are in his pockets, for now, and the teacher observes Devon, careful, watchful. "You doing alright, overall?" He won't ask about now. But the tone of voice suggests that he's serious about the question, as well.

Shoulders raise and fall, one still moving more easily than the other. Devon returns to his watch of the world, the street Dorchester Towers rests upon. "Of course," he answers, the same he always gives. As far as he's concerned he is fine with things returning to normal and the physical scars becoming less noticeable. Easier to put the past from his mind when the evidence is out of sight. "Why wouldn't I be doing alright?"

Graeme's quiet for a moment. "Alright doesn't tense up at being startled like you did," he responds. His tone is gentle, kind overall, but he's not going to let the matter just slide this time like has with talking to Devon in the past. Instead, he's pushing, slightly, hands still easy in his pockets. "Alright doesn't end up waking up enough times for it to qualify as again, and in the lobby staring out the window." There's a final pause. "And because it's okay to not be alright, and … God knows I'm not, not really."

Devon remains quiet while Graeme speaks, offering almost no reaction to his words. But his mouth slowly tightens, lips pressing into a thin line, the muscles at his jaw working into a knotted clench. Even his eyes take on a cold cast. However, no words are uttered, not even immediately following the man's ideals about what alright is or is not.

"The hell do you know," the teenager asks, his voice pitched low and not meant to travel far. There's an edge to it, a tightness that makes each word seem bitten off rather than spoken. "Hm?" His head turns and he looks at Graeme, his gaze as edged as his tone. "I'm alright."

There's an even look leveled at Devon. Graeme is and has been a teacher, he's dealt with teenagers and tempers, and some of his soccer players had far more volatile tempers. Moreover, he doesn't actually move from where he's parked himself leaning on the glass, less than a foot away from the boy, just quietly considers the response that a simple question seems to have evoked.

"If you say so," he eventually murmurs, quietly. There's still kindness in his voice, despite the coldness aimed at him. "Though I'd learn to be more convincing about it."

"Whatever." Despite all of Devon's maturity, he still does fall prey to more teenager-esque responses. He shakes his head and turns away from the window. He has every intention of walking past Graeme and finding some other place to wait out the wakefulness. "Be more convincing if people didn't constantly ask what's wrong. It's handled, it's over. Leave it alone."

Not so easily, unfortunately. Graeme steps to one side, hand coming up to stop Devon by placing it on the boy's good shoulder. The step is taken easily, though there's enough thought put into by the fact that his feet fall into a stable stance when he's done so.

"People only ask what's wrong because you pretty much act like there is something that is," he says, prodding a bit. Being kind didn't work, and the next words, while kind in tone, are less restrained. The boy wants to be treated like an adult, Graeme's going to do so, talking to him as he would to another adult. "You don't want people to ask after, you don't want people to care, learn to act alright. Or better yet, stop burying what's happening under stoicness and actually deal with it."

"Wh—" Devon's protest at having a hand on his shoulder and being stopped is cut short by yet more pushing. Still trying to quell the anger, to keep it along with everything else buried, he simply pulls his shoulder away from Graeme's hand. "What is it you want to hear then? Or see? What is it you want to know to make your conscience feel better?" He pauses, brows arching as though he might well expect an answer.

But the boy doesn't wait for one. "I am dealing with my problems. And I deal better when people don't insist there's something wrong when there isn't! You don't know what I've been through. Don't tell me I'm not dealing with it or to learn to act alright."

"Actually, it's not about my conscience." Graeme interjects at some point, underneath Devon talking, folding his arms across his chest. And really, if the teenager was bothering to notice, there's no particular pretentions in Graeme's posture or anything to suggest anything other than maybe being so human as to care how someone else is doing. But for the moment, Graeme just lets Devon vent, not letting the teenager walk away.

Pale eyes remain locked on Graeme a moment longer, a silent dare to keep him in place against his will. Words have been spoken and now left to settle and sink in. Devon truly does not care to talk about what his problems are, not with Graeme any more than other survivors of the Dome. He lets out a breathy laugh, a huff of ill humor that precedes a second attempt at walking away.

It's not particularly offensive as a tactic goes, but Graeme sidesteps again, still not quite ready to let Devon wander off. At least, not until the teenager's calmed a bit from being all angry at the questions. There's a moment where his eyes are focused beyond the young man, and then he speaks again. "Ignoring, pushing aside, hoping it'll all go away … that's not dealing." Graeme takes half a step towards Devon. It's a challenge in response to the dare.

It's a challenge that's met readily. Devon turns immediately toward the offense, Graeme's actions playing off the residual fear from being captured and beaten at the hands of Humanis First. Really, it's not the older fellow's fault, but the seeds sewn three weeks ago have taken root. No further words are exchanged, the teenager's response is to fight back rather than be trapped again. A fist off his good side hooks out, directed to catch Graeme's face.

It catches his jaw, partway, deflected by Graeme's arm coming up to block, to throw the blow off so that it lands with less force, and a muscle in his jaw twitches a bit. But at the same time, Graeme doesn't give any ground. Instead, he moves, silently, blocking Devon's blows, or enough that the impact is lessened to not be a bother to the older man. That means that several still do land.

First one, and then a second are thrown with no ground gained. The teenager is sadly more than a couple years out of the loop on any formal training when it comes to old fashioned hand to hand combat. And his firearm is safely stashed away upstairs. More than being prodded about whatever still haunts his thoughts, being trapped scares Devon. That he's still free is a good sign, giving him the ability to fight and increasing the chances of escaping. He changes tactics, fists not working and though this'll hurt him likely more than Graeme, and tries to shoulder tackle his way past.

Devon's probably right on that, though, and instead of giving ground, Graeme pushes forward as he sees the beginning of the tackle. And Graeme will not let the teenager fall to the floor should that happen.

Late at night, there's little excitement to see normally. But in the lobby of Dorchester Towers a couple of men are settling their disagreements. The younger of the two, it appears, has made an attempt at tackling the older. A failed attempt that could have gone either way, with Graeme remaining or moving out of the way. Moving into the aggressive rush partially surprises Devon. He sets himself against the forward movement until a foot slips and pain shoots through his injured shoulder into his arm and across his back.

"Fuck," the teenager grunts out, his voice set with the panic he feels as much as the anger he's shown. The damaged side is turned away from Graeme, protectively, the uninjured arm moving to hold the injured. A half step is retreated, Devon turning a glare onto the man barring his way.

"You're taller than me," Graeme explains, posture relaxing into something positively unthreatening. His voice is level, and calm. "If I hadn't moved into that, you'd have simply knocked me down. Next time, though, use your good shoulder, tuck your bad arm in and against your body more." He pauses. "It lessens the impact."

"Shut up," Devon spits out, words falling over the top of Graeme's explanation. He's had enough, lessons on fighting aren't going to be well received and chances are good that he'll continue to resist until he's allowed to go. "Shut up!" The second demand is coupled with another fist attack off his good arm, the teenager looking to take out a couple of the older male's teeth. Anything, really, to gain space and get away.

Graeme's already ducked as the punch is thrown, with his own arm raising to throw the blow to the side a bit. He still doesn't actually attack back. In fact, he takes a step back, slightly to the side, back towards the glass of the window. There's a frown on his face, but he knows the signs of cornered and panic when he sees it and pushing the young man any further won't help, he doesn't think. "Alright." There's a pause. "And if you're going to be so jumpy as you are, you need more practise." He pauses, but he steps out of the way.

Pajamas are comfy. And that is just what Remi is wearing, a pair of loose-fitting gray pajama pants that hang on her hips, and a loose short-sleeved t-shirt that she must have stolen from Graeme's closet. In fact, she did steal it from his closet. Mostly because she likes how he smells. Call her strange, but it's not like Graeme is lacking in clothes.

She came to find her room mate, since he wasn't in the apartment. Someone else's nightmare woke her up. So, she's come to find her room mate. To drag him back up to the apartment for some snuggle time.

Instead, the redheaded telepath, dressed as she is in those designer PJs of hers, finds some kid attacking her room mate. Suddenly, the willowy woman is right by the pair, glaring daggers at Devon. If looks could kill, Devon would be writhing in pain on the floor and dreading ever being born. "Pardon moi, but what ze 'ELL do you think you are doing?!" Her mind is open, to both her room mate and Graeme's attacker.

Graeme looks up, just as he's stepping aside, looks at Remi. God, keep it down would you? he asks mentally. Aloud, he interjects, before Devon has a chance to say anything. "Remi, Remi. It's fine." And it is, really. He's taken worse in the past, and if it lets someone take out aggression, he can be a punching bag for a bit. "I know the kid." Mentally, he explains a little further. I asked him how he's doing, pushed the question a little too far. He tried to punch me. It's fine really.

Devon may have been the one attacking Graeme, but from his mind comes comes a fear on the verge of panic at being trapped, with underlying currents of anger. Other thoughts swim within as well, some he won't even allow to shape within his own mind, some revolving around such things as the Dome and Humanis First.

The teenager startles when Remi appears. For a split moment his thoughts cross to attacking her, placing the Frenchwoman in line with Graeme's non-aggressive assault. But when the older man steps in, he retreats and presses a hand to his injured shoulder again. Already feeling a stickiness against his shirt. "I'm trying to go," is his own explanation. "Graeme's in the way."

Remi glowers in Devon's general direction, crossing her arms; as his thoughts cross to attacking her, the line on her face sets even further. "Zat is no reason to be attacking 'im. Per'aps 'e was just trying to show concern, Monsieur." She keeps her distance, though. No need to be anywhere in arm's reach of the boy, in case he tries to get violent with her.

Mon dieu, Graeme, it is not fine. The boy is injured, panicked, and angry! At least keep him from attacking you, before he hurts himself, oui? Blue eyes turn toward Devon, the woman frowning. "You 'ave no business going anywhere, Monsieur. It is after curfew." When she speaks this time, her voice is much less sharp, much more gentle and soothing.

He lives in the building, Remi. Graeme's mental response is quiet, and his expression turns apologetic. To Devon, he takes another step out of the way. "Look, I'm sorry, yeah?" He'll find the kid at some point later, when both are more awake, less out of sorts, and figure out something. Though it may well be an offer of lessons and an implicit promise not to ask how Devon's doing again.

"Whatever, lady," Devon replies to Remi. "I live here and I'm well aware of what time it is." He settles a detached look on Graeme when the older male apologizes. Meanwhile his thoughts continue to ebb and flow, the darker things, the fear and anger pushed aside and locked into some corner. The pain lancing through his shoulder noted but not focused on. "Yeah," the teenager says finally.

Hesitation precedes the action, but then Devon extends his hand to Graeme. "…Sorry. It's…" Something you wouldn't understand. And I don't care to relive. "…Like you said, takes time. I… Sorry, Graeme."

Any look of anger that was on Remi's face promptly disappears as the woman hears the poor boy's thoughts. She gestures toward his shoulder, a frown on her face. "Is your shoulder okay, cher?" Her brow furrows. She could ask him futher questions abou the things on his mind, but she won't press. Poor kid. Reflecting on him, he seems to have been through a lot. "Better yet, are you okay?"

The grasp on the teen's hand that Graeme gives is careful, mindful, but firm. Some measure of respect conveyed in it in the more silent words of body language. And at Remi's question, Graeme levels a glare that can only be interpreted as back down, complete with the mental rebuke to follow it, and a silent explanation that that sort of question was what started the not quite a fight in the first place.

"Devon, it's … don't worry about it. Seriously, some time … come find me. I can show you some tricks for being able to fight without hurting your shoulder any worse." His brows furrow in concern, but he doesn't press the matter. "I was a bouncer in college and all that." Slowly, he offers the teenager a smile. Well, half a smile, enough to let Devon know that really, for all o the harsh words exchanged, there's been no harm done.

"It's fine," Devon responds, and even at that moment his thoughts echo his words. His expression darkens briefly when asked how he's doing, a quick flicker that settles again at a sober, cold look. "I'm fine," he further says, a long-suffering sigh following. "Really. I'm fine." Graeme's offer earns a shrug, however. "Don't… it's covered and… I'm sorry. Just… I don't need help."

Remi suddenly reaches out, placing a warm hand on Devon's good shoulder. She's tired, and sick of people being obnoxious and keeping secrets from her…and she's just tired enough that she doesn't care. And she's been wanting to try a little social experiment. At worst, Graeme will have to pull her off of him. At best, her little social experiment will work wonderfully.

It comes simultaneously.

"I am your friend. You can trust me."

I am your friend. You can trust me.

For poor, innocent Devon, who was in a bad mood at the wrong place at the wrong time, it's like Remi's words are echoing in his head, with a fair amount of Remi's willpower put behind the thoughts. It's not seconds later that Remi's hand drops from Devon's arm. Not much longer than that when the woman suddenly clasps at her head and lets out a groan of pain.

Graeme stares at Remi. It's two-fold, though. Partially, his surprise at her behaviour, and partially so that Devon doesn't think that he had anything to do with this. Because Graeme is at least moderately surprised at Remi's statement. He moves to help support her, and for her to take a few steps back from Devon, because really, that sort of thing is not what he'd expected. But then again, sometimes he acknowledges that his roommate can be naive at best, though at the moment that acknowledgement is buried behind more practical and pressing concerns, not anything resembling a surface thought. "Anyway, uh," he says to Devon, "sorry about that and all. Try and get some more rest, yeah?" Neither Graeme nor Remi are blocking Devon's path to the elevators, anymore.

The first sign of movement toward him has Devon tensing all over again. His face grows hard and cold, once already tonight he'd had unwanted hands on himself. Remi has just enough time to speak her peace before he's jerking his shoulder away from her hand and that cold look turns more dangerous. He knows. The voice echoing inside his head all too clear to be a simple echo of that which his ears picked up. The boy's eyes tick up to Graeme and then flick back down to Remi.

"You ever, ever do that again," Devon says quietly perfectly calm, absolutely cold, hand raising to point at the slope just between the woman's eye brows. "And I'll stick a bullet right there. You stay the fuck out of my head. I don't need your help." He might reconsider later, for now he simply warns the telepath away. Another glance is directed at Graeme before he turns to stride toward the elevators.

Graeme's help seems completely appreciated, the color draining from Remi's face. As if she had color before, now she just looks almost sickly. She promptly grabs hold of her room mate's shirt, using it to shield her face from the lights, which suddenly seem so much brighter than they were a few minutes ago. My head hurts, Graeme…please, I need to get back to the apartment…medicine… On top of the feeble thought, Graeme is also treated to the woman's thoughts as they dissolve into French babbling. Poor Graeme, having french thoughts running through his head. Devon's warnings are pretty well ignored by the telepath, who is obviously in pain right now, by the look on her face and her general posture.

Graeme's thoughts as he helps Remi to one of the elevators farther from the one Devon heads to, are thought loudly, and clearly, and relatively slowly. Above the babble, which he let's pass like some sort of music in headphone. Most people don't appreciate telepaths, you know. Especially not people who are jumpy, hurt, or otherwise wounded. Physically or mentally. And thanks to that, one more person happens to know you're a telepath, which isn't particularly what you need, really. He looks up at the ceiling of the elevator as it closes behind them, separating them from the lobby, from Devon, from anyone.

"And this is one of the many things …" That make it so that maybe, people might think you need to be protected. He's a little bit snappish right now, mentally. The stunt was naive, downright stupid, and a host of other things that aren't complimentary thoughts, and it didn't even seem to work. Graeme frowns, silent until he has to fish in his pocket for the keys to his apartment. "Come on, Remi. You need sleep or something like that."

He leans back briefly against the door of their apartment when he's shut it behind him, locked the deadbolt. "You need sleep, I need sleep, and well." They can talk about it later. If at all. Graeme's more likely to let the incident stand, let it be a reminder that no, she really doesn't live in the same world that he's found himself well beyond wading into. But if talking need be done, it won't be happening in the wee hours of the morning.

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