Given The Givens


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Scene Title Given the Givens
Synopsis It's a bit of hard advice, but only because they care.
Date August 10, 2019


Jared's Apartment

Knock knock.

It’s a matter of politeness, because Richard promptly cracks the door open and leans inside to declare out-loud, “Knock knock.”

At least he didn’t just slip into the house like a shadow again, and actually used the front door and such like a normal person. He can be that, sometimes, when he tries.

The knocking is appreciated more than could ever be explained.

Devon is the only one home though, when Richard opens the door to knock-knock with words right after tapping knuckles. He's leaning over the back of the sofa when the older man looks in, eyeing the door as if considering if he's actually going to answer it or not.

“Hey.” His tone is light compared to the quizzical look. “Come on in. Pops and Carina are out.” Which, likely, is why Dev is occupying the sofa. The television is on, but it's been muted. The screen hosts a colorful display in glorious 16-bit animation.

“Hey,” Richard grees with a wry smile, stepping into the room at the offer of entry and nudging the door closed behind himself, “Good, they can use some time out together. I’m glad they’re getting along after so long.”

He’s in civvies, jeans and a t-shirt and nothing more fancy than that. “Came by to see how you’re doing, considering— well, everything.”

“Guess I'm doing fine, given the givens.” Devon leans forward, sets the old Super Nintendo paddle aside and turns the television off. “I've… been putting off visiting your dumpster fire of a geneticist again.” He leans back again, waving a hand at the sofa and chairs as a wordless invitation.

“I'm going to try to get your other geneticist to take a look too.” He looks up at Richard, a shoulder raising slightly. “I'm… kind of straining for answers though. The whole changed thing’s got me worried. And… having a tough time with being active… in the field.”

“Yeah, unfortunately all of the sane scientists got shot in the face by Eve Mas,” says Richard, with some hyperbole, leaning against the sofa’s arm and half-sitting there, arms folding over his chest, “I’ve had to make due with what cast-offs from the Institute that didn’t end up jail are laying around for my biotech division, sorry about that. They really are good at what they do, though.”

A frown, then, “Tough time in what way?”

“I don't know.” But he does know or he wouldn't have said anything. Dev rubs the space between his eyes as he sighs. “It's like my brain stops processing. I can't move, can't think, my skin feels too tight and too hot and cold at the same time.”

He shrugs and drops his hand to his lap. “I know it's things I've got to work through. Like everything else. So what's Zachery's deal anyway? He's the scientist we asked to help and he thinks he's some gift for the world?”

“So, that sounds like post-traumatic stress to me, honestly,” Richard says with a worried frown, regarding the younger man, “Which— I mean, shit, Dev, that mission went bad. Anyone would have some problems after that. You should talk to Liz, she has some similar issues…”

A wrinkle of his nose, then, “Miller’s ex-Institute. Did his time, got released, I’m trying to give him another chance but you know how these eggheads can be.”

It always comes back to talking. Which Devon wouldn't be opposed to if it didn't mean dragging up all the shit he's gone through, and all the shit whoever else has. He just shrugs in response to it. Typical, probably expected.

“I don't know.” There isn't any anger in his tone, no frustration. Just fact. “Former Institute doesn't give him a pass at treating people like things. Especially not when they're looking for help.” Dev rubs his face with a hand. “Has he told you anything yet? It takes a while never translated to weeks the way he said it.”

“We’re working on it,” says Richard with a shake of his head, “Nothing… solid yet, unfortunately. I wasn’t trying to make excuses for him, either, just explaining why he’s like that. If he hadn’t gotten sent to me the way he was…”

He looks back at the man, noticing that shrug and stating firmly, “You need therapy. I’ll talk to Liz and have her see if hers has openings.”

“I’m fine,” Devon returns. Firm but still quietly. “Therapy’s not going to tell me anything I don’t already know.” He angles a look at Richard, giving the older man a taste of the stubborn side-eye.

Basically, he’s not going into therapy if he has any say in it.

“With Miller dragging his feet on this, I was thinking of having another scientist take a look.” He tips his head back to look up at the ceiling while he thinks aloud. “A second opinion couldn’t hurt, and what do we even know of that guy anyway? So I’ve been weighing having Odessa Price look at things.”

“Therapy isn’t about telling you things,” is Richard’s patient response, “It’s about retraining the parts of your brain that have, literally, suffered physical trauma for what you’ve been through. I’d ask if you’d avoid the hospital if you got shot, but you probably would.”

He tips his head in a slight nod, “That’s not a bad idea— she’d be heading up this whole thing if I had my say— although she doesn’t exactly work for us anymore. You’d have to trust basically turning over your, uh, entire medical status to the government.” Wistful there, a bit sad as he glances away for a moment before looking back, “Up to you.”

“Not like they don't already have access to the reports,” Dev grumps. He considers the possibility, already loathing being treated by a lab rat in the private sector. Granting those privileges to the government seems less great. The idea he could falsify information is dismissed almost as soon as it forms. With a sigh he shakes his head.

“Actually, before Wolfhound, I did avoid the hospital when I got shot.” He tilts his head and looks up at Richard. “Liz is merciless when it comes to cleaning wounds.” He pauses, then, “But in all seriousness. What would you do in my position?”

“Of course you did,” Richard brings a hand up to rub over his face, head shaking just a little from side to side, “Of course you did. And she is, trust me, I know… secret, though, she’s just as bad herself.”

He regards the younger man for a long moment, then says simply, “First I’d refuse to go to therapy for awhile until Liz forced me to, and then reluctantly admit that it’d help, because freezing up in a crisis situation could get someone important to me killed. While I was getting my head on straight, I’d trust people I knew were better than me at medical shit to poke at me and figure out what’s going on.”

Dryly, and pointedly, he finishes, “But you know all that.”

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