For the Moment


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title For the Moment
Synopsis For the moment, Graeme manages to put aside issues and actually talk about problems things with Devon.
Date April 28, 2011

A park.

This morning, there was a quick call to Devon, Graeme confirming that they were still on for playing basketball. And so, despite the humidity that spring is bringing, Graeme is out, basketball court at the park, ball down next to his feet as he pauses from warming up before the teenager arrives to take a drink of water, which is perhaps why the usual alertness has slackened slightly. Instead of watching out for the teenager arriving, Graeme's just leaning against the fence, waiting.

Arriving on foot, Devon cuts over the grass that separates the courts from the rest of the park. Once again it's board shorts, in a blue Hawaiian flora on khaki, and a faded blue t-shirt featuring Yoshi trying to escape a red-shelled Koopa. Hands ride in the pockets of his shorts, eyes casually glance at his surroundings until he's made way onto the asphalt of the basketball court. "Hey," the teenager calls to Graeme once within distance that he wouldn't have to shout.

"Hey there." Graeme blinks a few times, very deliberately putting down the water bottle to hide being startled. There's a part of him that wasn't quite sure if the teenager would even show, really. But the ball is picked up, tossed to the teenager with a grin. "Your first?" Graeme says, with a lightly teasing tone that implies this is so that the teenager maybe has a chance. There's still a note of weariness to the man's voice. Whatever was weighing on his mind last night is still doing so.

He almost didn't show up, and work would have been the reason given. Things around Studio K have been busy lately, making Devon's free time feel not so free. If he's still upset about a disagreement, it's tucked away and kept under a shell, though it's a reserved demeanor is presented to Graeme. He catches the ball and dribbles it out toward the hoop. Knees bending slightly, the teen gives the ball a push that sends it up and into the hoop, sinking through the net.

Graeme grins, retrieving the ball. It's dribbled as he walks over to what should be an easy set-up for him, but when he does take the shot, it simply bounces off the hoop, bouncing a few times before rolling in Devon's direction. The grin fades to a faint smile, once more nearly a frown, and Graeme turns away for a quick moment, shaking his head and staring at the hoop as if to try and figure out why it didn't go through, before once more beginning to stretch his shoulder. "Alright, so maybe my shoulder's not doing quite as well as it ought to be," he mutters, disgruntled. "Go easy on me, yeah?"

"I am going easy on you," Devon replies in those typical quieter tones. He stoops to pick up the ball, walking it out from the hoop a few paces. Rebounding the ball off the ground once then twice more, his eyes go to the hoop. He jumps and pushes the ball toward the hoop where it looks like it should go in, instead tipping off the rim and returning to the court. "H for me," he says, jogging to catch the ball, passing it back to Graeme.

There's a quiet nod, and Graeme catches the ball. "Yeah. I swear, I've been fine working out and such, but then carrying bottles back and forth was an entirely different use of my arm." There is a faint smile, and Graeme pauses, thinking, before walking to the three-point line. Not the easiest set-up, but he's going to try, and the ball launches into the air, hits the backboard and the rim, and then falls off the outside of the hoop instead of going through the net. "Guess that's an O." And maybe he'll try an easier shot next time.

The ball is retrieved, held for a moment. "Hey, um," Graeme says, soft drawl fading to a pause for a moment. "Sorry 'bout things." It's a weak apology, but it's an apology nonetheless. "It's just all … a lot more than I'm dealing with, right now, and …" Being asked what was on his mind prompted him to just push it all back and away. The ball is bounced over towards the teenager with a shrug.

The ball is caught again, with no sign given that Devon's heard the apology. Or anything else that the older man has said. It's the same expression he'd worn yesterday, when Graeme was divulging a message to Melissa. The ball hits the ground once and, though he'd missed from the spot he stands in before, is tossed toward the hoop. Too much force this time where last wasn't enough, the ball hits the backboard and bounces back toward the teen. A couple of steps are taken and the ball is caught.

"I figured," he begins, turning to face Graeme with the ball tucking under an arm, "that being friends you'd at least keep me on a peer level. All the time and not just when it's convenient. And I figure— " Devon pauses and passes the ball back to the older man. "That as friends, you'd be able to trust me enough to tell me what's bothering you."

Graeme catches the ball with one hand, then letting it drop to the ground in front of him, pinning it in place with one foot. "I don't even know what's bothering me," he admits. "Never do, really. Even when I know that something's bothering me." Like he's said before, he's a hypocrite when it comes to talking about his problems. The basketball is released, pushed over so that he's pinning it down with the opposite foot.

There's a longer pause before Graeme speaks again, this time. "It's family issues, I think, more 'n anything else right now. And it's not important anyway." He shrugs, and for the moment doesn't reach to pick up the ball again. 'Not important' might be a blatant attempt at dismissal of his problems, but Graeme does so with a relatively level expression. How much things are bothering him doesn't manage to make its way through the mask that his ability tamps down over his emotions. "Not really. But I shouldn't have snapped at you just 'cause I didn't feel like talking."

The teenager keeps up the front of apathy while Graeme speaks, lips pressed together and thumbs hooking into his pockets. He listens to the older man with much the same expression as he presents to everything else, a level, steady calm that betrays very little. When the apology comes again, Devon shrugs in his own dismissal.

"Whatever," he answers, hands finding their way into his pockets properly. Devon shakes his head and walks toward the path he'd arrived on. "Hope you find someone that you can trust your problems with, Graeme. Maybe someone closer to your own age would be preferable, since I don't add up to your measure of experience."

The basketball is left, and Graeme walks after Devon for a few steps. "I…" the first call is made, faltering, a few steps further. "Devon. Wait up, yeah?" Graeme isn't just going to let Devon walk away from this, and the fact that the teen actually seems willing to listen to problems that the older man doesn't even want to admit he has is promising, if nothing else. "It's stupid, alright?" When Graeme catches up to Devon, he gestures to a park table slightly further ahead, with a slight frown on his face. "Family's touchy for me. I'm not used to having one, again. I'm watching my sister's dog, right? But … the reasons she left. They've been bothering me, ever since she did."

Keeping thoughts to himself, and again offering no judgement, Devon turns when Graeme calls to him. Only that same evenness, tarnished faintly by a furrowing of his brow. Angry he might be, but there's still concern for someone he's decided is a friend. "What's going on with your sister," he asks as he moves to the picnic table. "Forgetting for the moment that family makes you uncomfortable, why'd she leave?"

A faint amount of relief flashes across Graeme's face as he folds himself, less than gracefully, to sitting crosslegged on the bench side of the table. It takes a few moments longer, and then he swallows, visible musculature of his jaw and neck moving, and speaks. "'Cause of me," he says, quietly. "'Cause I'm Evo, and she's not, and she's …" The words fade off, and falter into silence. Whatever his sister is, isn't said, but Graeme continues. "And maybe it's best that she left, for both 'f us. But still."

"She's," Devon prompts gently, though he's certain he can guess the answer. He sits himself down on the bench, his back to the table. He leans back, so that his elbows are propped against the table's edge, eyes roaming toward the basketball court. He lets the silence stretch a bit, but when he speaks again it's with the same quiet calm, the same lack of judgement. "The funny thing I've come to learn about people who're Humanis First, is they're human, just like us."

The teenager turns slightly, his head tilting to look at Graeme. "It doesn't excuse what they do, though. And I'm sworn to kill them all, no quarter and no mercy. But I'm sorry for the choices your sister's made."

Graeme nods. It's a quiet, slow motion. "Yeah. I am too," he says, quietly. "I am too. It hurts, though maybe she's making a better one, getting out of the city and away from her contacts and disappearing for a while, because from what I could tell?" There's a pause. "Knowing me made her genuinely question things. Still. She's my sister, but she's …" There's another hard swallow, and then Graeme shrugs. he just can't say 'sister' and 'Humanis First' in the same sentence. "I came out here to get away from it all," he continues, "but it never does work that way."

"New York City is a breeding ground for the anti-evolved zealots." Devon leans forward, pressing his elbows into his thighs, fingers steepling together. "I used to have a hard time admitting I was evolved. Especially considering the explosion, and it wasn't something my aunt ever spoke about. Now…" The young man's shoulders roll slightly, to shrug. "I haven't manifested yet, but I'm still a target of bigotry and violence by people who think I and you and everyone with an ability is something less than human."

His eyes drop to his wrists, following the lines of scarring from his first treatment at the hands of Humanis First. "They're kind of like government sanctioned bullies. The Nazis applied those tactics too. They had special forces, SS members who were assigned to find Jewish people or gypsies or sympathizers or whatever, to bring down the rest of the Nazi force on them. Firsters aren't much different. Our own government isn't much different."

"That," Graeme says, "is also because at least several of the high people in the government are Firsters. Which is one of the numerous reasons not to trust it further 'n you can throw it." He falls silent for a long moment. "Most of them treat animals better than they treat people like us. I … hell, in New Mexico I had to be more careful admitting that I'm evolved than I had to be in admitting I was gay. But here … yeah. Breeding ground for them. Which was easy enough to deal with, push away, until one of them was suddenly my own sister."

Once again, Graeme falls silent, gaze finding the teenager's after a while as he raises a hand to his face to push back at his brow and run his fingers through his hair. "But … god, it feels stupid. I already lost almost everything that I spent the past ten years of my life working on, more than not, because of Humanis. But make it personal, and suddenly it's like all of it all over again."

"No shit," Devon says flatly. "The DoEA might as well be the Gestapo right now, with every other group that's evo-friendly acting like Blitzkrieg or Schutzstaffel or a combination of. Hell, they already got a fucking ghetto here, only a matter of time before we start seeing smoke rise at a certain time of day. And they've been doing experiments on the SLC-expressive for years, under the guise of the Institute."

With a tilt of his head, he meets Graeme's gaze. The weight of the war that no one knows about evident in his gaze. "Whatever your sister is, she's not you. Her choices don't define you nor undo what you've worked on. I asked you once before what side you were on, Graeme." Devon pauses, watching the older man to gauge the measure of his words. "For myself? I am part of the fight to stop them, and to make the world a little more evo-friendly. You may see me as a kid that needs to be protected, but I know what's out there and I know what I'll be facing. And when the call comes, I'm taking up my firearm and I'm going to war."

Blue eyes meet the teenagers blue eyes, Graeme's gaze steady and as usual, unblinking. "As much as I may sometimes try and hope, that day's coming," Graeme says, quietly musing. "It's already war. And I'll do as much as is needed to make this world a better one for us." It's a quiet reiteration of what side he is on, and then there is a faint, grim smile offered to Devon. "Thanks," he finally says, letting the subject . There's a glance over towards the now-empty basketball court. "I'm not feeling too much like basketball, anymore," he admits, "but let me buy you coffee or something before you have to go back to work, yeah?" A peace offering, perhaps more for Graeme's peace of mind than anything else.

With a nod, Devon stands, hands returning to his pockets. "Sounds like a plan to me," he answers, eyes going back to the court. No need to remind Graeme of the sensitive nature of the conversation, that it should be kept from undesirable ears. "Though I think it's closer to an iced tea day than a coffee one. Unless it's iced coffee." He glances toward Graeme and a shadow of a grin eases into his expression. "I totally would have beat you today, too."

There's a nod of assent. "I hadn't gotten more than one or two in all of practise, anyway," he admits. It's been an off day, or an off several days, for the teacher, though aside from the moments of admission, he hides it well. The conversation over, there's back to the faintest hint that there had been something bothering him in the first place.

"Iced coffee it is, and whatever you want. I don't drink tea too much," he says. "Since I got back, I find that no one up north here makes it right." The shadow of a grin echoes onto the teacher's face, and then he starts back down the path out of the park, one small pause made to pick up the water bottle and return the basketball to the place he'd found it near the edge of the court.

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