Harder Than It Needs To Be


graeme_icon.gif remi_icon.gif

Scene Title Harder Than It Needs To Be
Synopsis Graeme and Remi come together after months of avoidance.
Date October 2, 2011

Skinny Brickfront

The skinny brickfront safehouse has been rather devoid of the presence of a certain French telepath these past few months — or at least, it may seem that way to Graeme. He has caught little glimpses of her back diminishing into the distance here and there, but otherwise she has been rather absent from his life since… well, since they both had their last dream of the future, when Remi announced to Graeme that she was pregnant with their son, Liam. In fact, the dream was quite possibly the last he actually saw of her face.

Until today, at least. Soleil Remi Davignon had a late night last night, and against her better judgement, she slipped into her bed above the front door of the safehouse, and let herself fall into a deep, blissful sleep.

Upon awakening, the former ballerina slips down into the kitchen, going through all of the motions to create some coffee for herself. Meticulously, she scoops the ground beans into a filter, pouring the water, waiting for it to brew. Once the coffee is poured and prepared, she leans against a wall, closing her eyes and, for a moment, her mind, as she enjoys the caffeinated beverage.

It's easy enough to miss where Graeme sits keeping watch. The teacher is against one wall of the common room, near the door. He's still, his mind is quiet — even more so than usual — and the time eventually passes by. Someone has to have the overnight watch, and when it can be the someone who doesn't need as much sleep as the rest of them, so much the better. And then he looks up from the book when someone moves, though, and Remi gets a half-surprised nod of greeting.


The telepath jumps, nearly spilling her coffee all over herself. As it stands, a bit of it splashes to the ground at her feet. A volley of curse words can be heard in her native tongue, before those vibrant blue eyes turn to take in Graeme, a small amount of dread visible at the edges of her features.

She’s been avoiding him like the plague since that last dream happened. She had to distance herself from him, because if she didn’t…well, she probably would have torn herself apart. It’s been good for her. She managed to distance herself from her feelings, for the most part.

At least, until now, when all of the dreams come flooding back. She frowns slightly, squinting just a bit, before her blue eyes turn back down to the remainder of her coffee. “Hello,” she mumbles into the cup — looks like she’s spent some time working on that accent of hers, and now she sounds more European than specifically French. She keeps her greeting brief, curt almost.

Graeme will notice that, at this point, the only skin exposed on Remi is her face. Every other part of her is covered — if fashionably — by fabric of some kind.

"Hello," Graeme echoes, folding the book shut and glancing up. It's not like he's been around terribly much to be difficult to avoid. And now that he's here, his mind remains disciplined with very few stray thoughts, and the none of them distressing or violent in nature. He lives with a telepath regardless of whether he's at the safehouse or at home, after all.

So the silence stretches out for minutes, and he finally looks up at Remi again. It's not fair, comes one of those stray thoughts, for a brief moment. "Holding up okay?" There's every attempt to make the conversation as un-strained as possible. "Night watch was quiet. I'll be out of here pretty soon." Because he still has a life out there to go out to. "You need me to pick up anything from a store?"

Those bright eyes don’t return to Graeme — at least, not yet. They linger over the shimmering brown surface of her coffee, lost in thoughts. “Oui,” comes the short response to Graeme’s first query. The stray thought prompts her eyelids to droop slightly, a soft sigh catching in her throat. No…no, it really isn’t fair.

But it is what it is, right?

The woman lifts the mug to her mouth, taking a long sip of the coffee, drawing it out a little to draw out the silence even more. “Non,” she replies to his second question, shaking her head. “I go out more, and I tend to get the things zat I need.” The French accent shines through every so often, but she’s been doing much better at not entirely betraying her country of origin by simply uttering a word or two.

“Looks like you’ve been busy,” she murmurs, allowing her eyes to ever-so-briefly trail over him, before they return to her coffee.

Graeme shrugs slowly. "More or less," he answers. "School, the usual." He does a good enough job of keeping his thoughts from straying into whatever that 'usual' might be, and instead glances up at Remi for a long moment. "That's good. Fresh air helps," he finally says.

A long pause follows, and at the end there's a flash of something, some emotion through the mask of endurance. It feels like care, and then just as quickly as it appeared it is gone again, and he adds, "Be careful out there, though, okay?"

The mug lingers at Remi’s mouth, coffee splashing at her upper lip as Graeme speaks, the telepath staring down at its surface before taking another long sip of the coffee with closed eyes. That’s either really good coffee, or she’s doing her best to distract herself. “I’ve gotten better at being careful.”

Silence again. She hates that it’s so awkward now — so uncomfortable to simply be in the same room as him. She’s gotten past a lot of her feelings, but in doing so, she feels that her relationship with the man has become strained. Perhaps that’s how it should be. Perhaps Liam was never truly meant to exist.

Still, it’s not fair.

Graeme's just better at hiding it, but the discomfort is there underneath everything, just the faintest undercurrent. He takes a breath, pushes to his feet, looks at Remi and then back to the ceiling. "Is there any more coffee?" he asks. It's a safe enough question.

And then for a moment his thoughts are unmasked, like they once were, before everything got this damned complicated.

I hate walking on eggshells. These papers won't grade themselves— what's the use of grading if they just move what classroom I'm in every third day— someone's watching the bookstore— it's my fault, I can't— coffee won't help but it tastes good. On and on, it's a bit of a jumble and then he takes a breath, and it settles. Living where there's telepaths wherever you are regardless teaches the keeping of an orderly mind. "If you," he pauses, as he pushes to his feet. If you need anything you know how to get a hold of me. Why talk aloud to a telepath, anyway?

For just a moment, it almost seems as though Remi isn’t actually listening to him, for once avoiding the use of her abilities. But that moment passes; her ability is always on, as it takes more effort to not listen. Eyelashes flutter a bit in mild frustration.

“Oui, there is more coffee,” is the initial response, as the French woman takes another long sip of the warm caffeinated beverage. A long pause, then she finally turns to look at Graeme. The ballet mask holds firm, and she shows nothing more than a pleasantly neutral expression, eyelids hooded partially over those shockingly blue orbs of hers.

I don’t. Well, that was simple.

Finally, the red haired woman levels her bright blue gaze upon Graeme to look him clear in the eyes, a mix of emotions hinting just behind her eyes. Mostly, it’s pain, as the memories of the dreams they both had flicker through her brain. And suddenly, she’s sweeping over to him, drawing close enough to touch him…but she doesn’t. She stares at him for a long moment like this, trying to figure out what she wants to say.

A gloved hand reaches up reluctantly to touch Graeme’s cheek, but it stops just short, hovering less than an inch from his skin. She allows her hand to linger for a moment, then lowers her hand back down to her side, fingers curling into a fist. You make my life way harder than it needs to be sometimes, Graeme Cormac. I hate that I care about you so much.

She stares hard at him for a long moment, before turning to the side, offering a lazy half-glare to one of the floorboards. I don’t know how to be around you anymore.

Graeme's hand lifts as if to catch hers, a breath in— but he too stops short, and his breath catches in his throat, and he shakes his head and lifts his shoulders in a silent, apologetic shrug, before finally pushing to his feet. If it's going to be awkward as hell, he's at least going to go and get himself a cup of coffee to go with it.

It gives him something to do that isn't responding, something to use to sort out his own feelings. I have a burner phone, he explains. Text it if… that trails off, and that calendar-worthy smile and his own blue eyes turn attention to Remi, and then he responds. Aloud. "I know," he says, softly. "But. I care about you too, you know." Even if it's not in the way where a moment of loneliness might lead them to have a child together. The feeling is complicated, just as much of a jumble of thoughts as ever. But somewhere in there is caring. "Maybe we —" he pauses and takes another breath in. "Maybe we can find out how to be around each other, again. I'd like that. You're my — you're my friend, Remi." He glances across the foot or so of distance that he's left between them when he walked back. "And I'd like to get that back."

And yet somehow, this time he isn't friendzoning her with that statement. It doesn't carry the same harshness of his reaction after the series of shared dreams. The word friend is said softly, with a tone of importance. With an understanding of how hard it is for both parties to have different feelings for each other. And this time the word is said with caring, rather than being used to push her away and out of his mind, out of his life.

Dammit. He’s doing that thing he does, where he is irresistibly good and she can’t stay mad at him — she just wants to work with him to do just that. Find out how to be around him again. It’s easier now than it was before, at least.

As he gets up to get himself some coffee, she promptly steals his seat with a sigh, closing her eyes and holding the coffee mug close to her for a moment, as if the caffeinated liquid is a grounding force. She takes a sip, inhaling the aroma, before her eyes open finally to look toward the kitchen.

“…I would, too.” She frowns at the mug, eyelids hooding. She’s gotten better about her feelings in the past months, certainly. But it still aches a little to see him. She inhales, then stands again, moving to follow Graeme into the kitchen. “I’ve been working on being less…helpless.”

The smile morphs into a grin, and Graeme looks over at Remi, and nods. "Thank you," he murmurs once she's close enough. It's echoed in his thoughts, and he offers her out his hand. Just for a moment, and his thoughts are— although the dark things are buried, they're not so ordered that he's hiding anything from her deliberately. And neither is he hiding the fact that there is a part of him that desperately wishes that the son they have together in the future could be born.

Just not into the world the way it's been going recently.

"I have to go to work soon, I'm subbing for the teacher who runs the academic probation classes on Sunday afternoons," he says. "I'll be back tomorrow evening. Maybe we could have some more coffee and I'll pick up a movie to watch." Like they used to when they hung out in her apartment after he'd moved in. And then there's another pause, and he adds, even more quietly. "Thank you."

Blue eyes turn down, lingering over his hand. One gloved hand raises, hovering closer and closer to his hand…then, she shakes her head, and instead just…throws her arms around Graeme’s shoulders, pressing her forehead against his chest and quietly inhaling his scent. She missed having a friend in him, more than anything.

“That sounds good,” she replies, lifting her head to rest her chin on his shoulder. “I missed that.” Then, she’s pulling away just as quickly as she came in for the sudden hug, staring at the man with a mixed look upon her face. “Thank you…”

Graeme nods, and wraps his arms around her shoulders, holds her but doesn't stop the telepath from drawing away, and his gaze lingers on her for a long moment, then goes to his own cup of coffee. "Good, then it's a plan," he says, taking another sip, quietly.

Then he's moving towards the living area again, to reclaim his seat on the couch. "There's another hour or so of my watch," he says, gestures to the seat next to him. Close enough for friendship, enough space to let them both sort through their individual feelings at their own paces. "C'mon, let's finish catching up."

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