Flaws Of Youth


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Flaws Of Youth
Synopsis Elisabeth tries to help Devon understand why some decisions have to be made.
Date August 1, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse

Morning has come, and with it somewhat cooler temperatures. It's still hot, a lingering slightly stuffy feeling inside the safehouse after a week of oven-like temperatures. But it's not as hot.

Devon, who spent half the night awake and the other half pretending to sleep, sits on the floor of the common room. He's mostly cleaned up, changed into a pair of Hawaiian print board shorts of blue and khaki and faded red t-shirt. The grime from the sewers is almost completely gone, only that which couldn't be rinsed away clinging still to his fingers and knuckles. The burns that stole the hair from his hands and removed his eyebrows, though not serious, were still tender the night before. Beside the boy rests a cup of coffee, a scent holding the promise of more and recently made lingering about. His mug remains untouched at the moment, attention placed on a marble that rests poised on a fingertip.

Elisabeth's movements are quiet but not in a way that is meant to startle. She's not muting herself. She comes through into the common room following the scent of coffee. She tilts her head, watching Devon silently for a long moment. "Good morning," she murmurs quietly. His burns are not severe, which Elisabeth is grateful for, but she gave him some burn ointment last night to keep on them.

The teen doesn't respond immediately, a few seconds pass before he curls his fingers around the small glass sphere and looks up at Elisabeth. "Morning," Devon returns, a twitch of a grin preceding a nod toward the kitchen. "Coffee's fresh." He pulls his legs in, crossing and folding them in front of himself as his hand opens to reveal the marble again.

She heads for the kitchen to pour herself a cup, doctoring it liberally. And then she observes him over the rim of the cup as she takes her first swallow. "Still working out what your ability is, kiddo?"

"I pulled the street down into the sewers." Devon's eyes follow the roll of the marble as he flexes his hand in small motions. "I can move things without touching them, but only after I've touched them, make heavy objects feel weightless." He pauses, shoulders shrugging as he looks up at her. "And I can pull the street down into the sewer."

She laughs quietly, coming around the counter. "Sounds like… not telekinesis." Elisabeth pauses and then admits quietly. "It sounds like gravity or… mass redistribution or something," she admits softly. Magnes. He'd be one of the best ones to help train Devon… if he weren't friggin' insane. Or too reckless for words. She doesn't want to put Devon in with Magnes Varlane. He draws far too much government attention. "Ygraine will be able to help you some, I'd bet," she says quietly. "She's probably got the ability closest to yours."

Devon nods slowly, looking back at the marble resting in his palm. "She's offered, and given me some pointers. I'm… I'd like to know what my limits are. I mean, pulling down the street was kind of insane. I didn't think it'd work." He pauses for a beat, seeming to draw inward just a little without actually closing off, his attention settling on the marble. "Maybe it was just some fluke," he continues, hand dropping away though the marble remains suspended in front of him. "Like when I'd …thrown Valentin. Just some freak glitch."

"Unlikely," Elisabeth observes. "It's more probable that like most of us as the ability first manifests you simply access it on instinct when you need to instead of being able to control it." She pauses. "The first time I remember using mine, I blew a group of looters through a brick wall," she admits. "I wanted to stop them and I shouted." She shrugs. "In your case, Valentin… the street. They were instances of heightened stress, and the hormones released by stress tend, in many cases, to trigger power use. Hell, look at how mine vibrate everything when I'm stressed," she points out. "The trick is learning to call on it when you want to. And that, my dear, is a learning process. So… you're doing the right thing, practicing. That said… for God's sake, don't pull the place down around our ears please."

"Talking to Ygraine, I got what she was saying about…" Devon pauses, trying to bring up the explanation the Briton used. "I can sort of feel the object, and that's how I move it." Or something of that nature, since feeling isn't quite what he's doing. As an example, the marble moves from him and toward Elisabeth, his eyes watching the little sphere like a hawk. "I won't pull the house down, don't worry. I'll go back under ground if I feel the need to rearrange any streets."

Elisabeth moves to sit next to him. "It's how I use sound waves as well," she tells him quietly. "It's…. sort of like feeling them, but it's… more like an awareness of the eddies of sound around me. When I'm negated, I feel muffled, as if I'm wrapped in cotton with earplugs in. Everything sounds flat to me, like there are nuances missing. Instead of focusing on the object itself, you might try focusing… around it. Around the edges of the object where gravity might be sort of … creating lines of force around it. Like one of those images you see in science books, remember?"

Reaching out, Devon takes the marble out of the air and looks at Elisabeth. "Yeah. It's something like that, not really the object but… An understanding …awareness of it's place in the whole scheme of things. Something like that. And I can control it." His arms hook around his knees, pulling them inward a little. "I think I could've moved the sentinel we got pictures of."

She sets the coffee cup down on the floor next to her and her expression is solemn. Elisabeth has been a soldier for a long time. "Perhaps," she agrees softly. "And I'm sorry that the situation didn't allow for you to try, Devon," she tells him quietly. "One of the hardest things about the fight we're in is the knowledge that sometimes… you must walk away. If you're in a position that you can help without dying yourself, then you should — but you don't have the control yet to make that decision with certainty when it comes to your powers. And you have to weigh what you're doing in that moment against what the cost may be." She reaches out and puts an arm around his shoulders. "Letting people die goes against my better instincts as well, but… if you had been captured or killed, what good would you have been to that man then? There has to be some amount of survival instinct too. And it sucks. But it's reality."

"I guess," Devon says quietly. He's not exactly agreeing, though she's made good points. "It's just… We had the chance to try. We disabled one robot and… I guess it just bothers me because we didn't even try. There's no telling how much time we had, but those sirens were going off for a long time. We might have had time to do something. Even…" Kill the guy rather than leave him to whatever fate found for him, a dark thought that the boy supplements with a shake of his head.

Collateral damage. Acceptable losses. These are the hallmarks of war, the ones that leave scars on leaders and soldiers alike. "No," Elisabeth says softly. "Under most conditions, he will simply be confined to one of the concentration camps. And while horrible…. it's a life, Devon. And where there's life, there's hope. Hope that someday we'll be able to break their hold, and hope that someday people will realize the horribleness of what they're allowing to happen and be ashamed of themselves. They'll tear it down, and make it a better place. That is what I fight for. Wanting to help is more than admirable. Dying a death that accomplishes nothing, that is useless and in vain, is not."

It's a flaw of youth that Devon believes some difference in the man's fate could have been made. Hard evidence and understanding gained from Elisabeth's experience clashes with the teen's grasp of the situation, leaving the impulse to argue and second guesses for what his efforts of a different outcome could have been. Fingers rub over his forehead as he sighs. "I hope what we brought back, Jaiden's pictures and the spider-bot, are the last pieces we need to change things. That people slap their foreheads and realize what's happening in their back yards. Otherwise…" He might just go and blow up the capitol building. Dropping his hand, but catching his lip between his teeth, the boy's head hangs just a little, thinking instead of depressed.

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