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Scene Title Helpers
Synopsis Following the impromptu meeting at a motel room, Graeme brings Devon along to help out at school.
Date May 18, 2011

A Middle School Classroom

Insistence that Devon accompany Graeme to work was met with reluctance, but they got Devon's stuff into the car, the teenager's weapon left in the car and Devon signed in to the visitor log of the middle school Graeme teaches at.

The students largely accepted the visitor, either with reserved curiosity or simply outright ignoring his presence in the classroom; either Graeme let the teenager do things on his laptop, or put him to sorting papers, handing them out once despite the protest from the teenager, or other various things to keep him occupied throughout the two hour class period, even occasionally calling on the teenager when one of the sixth graders didn't have the answer to a question he's asked. It's the same approach, more or less, that Ygraine took with Graeme when Graeme was having trouble and was in a rather volatile state. And as an approach, it works, to some degree. Graeme's even put up with the sullenness from Devon at some of this.

But now the bell has rung, the students dismissed to lunch, and Devon and Graeme remain in the classroom. The last girl who had lingered for a moment to ask questions about the worksheet has left, and Graeme closes the door behind him, leaning against it and looking over to Devon. There's one more class to teach after the forty-five minute break, but it's now time without the middle schoolers milling about. "There. Wasn't that bad, today." Another moment rest, and he makes his way back over to the whiteboard, straightening the button-down shirt subconsciously as he does so before erasing the answers from the lesson on prepositions. "Anyway. Lunch?"

Devon helped, where he could, silent but not entirely stoic. There was a noticeable distance between himself and the kids that he normally would have related to easily. Definitely not his normal state of mind. Papers were handed out, or he sat silently at the back of the classroom working away on his laptop. Mainly considering the universities and their available areas of learning. Even without paying attention, and likely to the awe of the eleven and twelve year olds, any questions posed to him were answered without much thought. And it isn't as though the distractions were unwelcomed or the tasks too trivial, his mind was simply on other matters.

"I'm not hungry," Devon answers. He'd waited until the last child had left the classroom before closing his laptop. Fingers linger on the casing though his eyes come up to meet Graeme's. "Thanks for bringing me along though. Sorry for…" It goes without saying, and since checking out from the motel he's since drifted toward that numb, detached state he'd fallen into after the Dome. "You go ahead. I can wait here or go… to the car."

"You're eating at least a piece of bread or something. There's some food in one of the conference rooms that I can go grab, get you a piece of cake or some salad, or any number of things," Graeme responds, stubborn set to his jaw and his voice as he erases the last of the answers, leaving the rest of what he'd written out on the board in order to save himself effort later.

"Though you can stay in the classroom, it's not going to take me more than ten minutes to grab food from there. There was a meeting this morning, that's why there's food." But there's no choice as to whether or not the teenager is going to eat something for lunch. "And honestly, if I had my way maybe I'd bring you along more often. They behaved so much better, though if I wore out the novelty of having someone in here I'm sure it would be back to the usual nonsense."

There's no reason to argue. Unless Graeme plans on sitting on him and forcing the food down his mouth Devon still has final say. He simply nods his acceptance. "I'll stay here then. There anything you need done?" He could probably grade the whole lot of assignments without giving it thought, but administration is likely to frown on that. And it doesn't seem terribly interesting either. His eyes drop to his laptop, fingers tapping lightly against the case again, then lift to Graeme again.

Forcefeeding the teenager has crossed Graeme's mind, but it's not really something he's going to do. "I think four of the worksheets over there," and he points to the area on the teacher's desk where there are probably three dozen different worksheets, "are about Wrinkle In Time, and one of them's a homework handout. Could you find and separate them and put them by the other side of the desk?" He'll make one of the students collate them, probably, and then Graeme's out the door. In fact, not more than ten minutes later, and he's letting himself back into the classroom with the key, a plate of various assorted sweets, some salad, and a plate of pasta that he's gotten, which he sets on the desk, pulling a chair to the front side of the desk.

"Yeah," Devon nearly whispers. In the time it takes for Graeme to fetch food and return, the teenager has sorted the papers. He's even collated them and put staples in the corners. Might not be necessary, but his mind had wandered through the task. He's stacked them into two neat piles and left them at the side of the desk as indicated, then returned to his own temporary seat with his laptop. He's just opening the lid when the teacher returns, eyes lifting to follow the older man to the desk before lowering to the screen again.

Graeme glances at the papers, collated and stapled even, and he laughs a bit. There's a gesture towards the plate with cookies and other various things, including chips, and Graeme also produces a couple of cans of soda, Sprite and Coke. "Have something," Graeme says, before taking a bite of the pasta. "I don't care if you're not hungry, really."

Pushing the laptop closed again, Devon stands and moves over to the desk. His eyes roam over the selection of food though none honestly holds much interest to him. He'd hardly eaten the night before, however, and falling back into old habits is where he seems to be headed. He selects a slab of bread after taking in his choices, and sits down at an empty chair near the desk. "Why are you doing this," he asks quietly before stuffing half the slice into his mouth and chewing. There isn't much joy in the motion, and once the first bite has been dealt with, the rest is finished in the same manner. If only so he's eaten something.

Graeme's pensive, as he eats, and when he does finally answer, the answer is simple. "You're my friend." At least, that's the bigger picture. "Because my boss might make me wish she'd kill me if she thought I'd let you skip on meals or eating. Even though not being hungry is a natural reaction to stress, for most people." Himself excluded in that, Graeme's metabolism tends to override his appetite sometimes, and even when he's less than wanting to eat he's learned to make sure he keeps up with it. "And because friends do that for each other and I don't want to see you do something you'd regret while you're dealing with this. It's a damn lot you've taken on right now. I respect you a hell of a lot for doing so — it's more than I would, possibly." He pauses. "Do I need more reasons?"

"No." The admittance comes with Devon brushing his hands off on his jeans. Hands clean, he pulls out his wallet and retrieves the credit card Graeme had lent him just a day or two before. It's considered briefly before returned to its rightful owner. "Thanks," he continues, though it's not meant just for the card. "Melissa would kick my ass if she found out I'd lost weight. And for being a friend." He sighs and rubs the back of his neck, trouble shadowing his expression. "I don't know if bringing Doctor Brennan in was necessarily right, but I didn't know who else to call. Ms. Harrison needs to know, but I couldn't ask her to risk coming out again." He's being a little careless, talking of things openly, but the room is empty.

"Good. I have more reasons anyway, but." The credit card is slipped into Graeme's pocket, though he'll put it properly into his wallet and that back into the locked drawer of the desk before the students come in after lunch. "I'm going to be seeing her later today, I think. I'll make sure she knows. And if I don't see her or if it doesn't come up, I'll go make a point of seeing her. She needs to know this." There's a pause. "If you can, act interested in Ms. Blite's ability. What she can do, how it works, and all of that. I'd like to know more, and the more we know, the better prepared we are."

"I think that it was the right thing to do. The doc is a good person, and I do trust him." Graeme's trusted Brennan despite that Brennan's ability is such that Brennan could make the man both vulnerable and much closer to helpless in an instant. An ability that he doesn't tend to usually trust those in possession of. "Even in matters regarding the Institute." And with that, Graeme pays attention to his food again for a moment, then points at the plate of sweets. "Have a cookie or two or something. They're actually pretty good. Though if they'd spend half the money on classroom supplies that they spend on catering…"

"She kept trying to get me to explain what I'd want to manifest." The teenager gives an uninterested look at the cookies before selecting something with raisins in it. "She claims she has ideas of what I could develop, saying it's based off who you are as a person. It could be an angle that lets me get inside knowledge." If he can get her talking again. She's smart, and he knows the ruse might not work. "I was so nervous yesterday. Hopefully she'll have taken it as just a boy on a first date."

Devon considers the cookie in his hand, reconsidering his choice for it. It's nearly put back on the plate. Sigh heavily, he sinks onto a nearby chair and picks off a piece of the cookie, eating it with the same lack of interest as had been shown the bread.

Lack of interest or not, Graeme's not letting the teenager simply not eat anything. "One of the sodas is for you, too," he says. "And I haven't a clue as to whether it's based on who you are as a person. Maybe in some cases, and in some cases the ability does very much shape the person afterwards. But sometimes there is little relation that is obvious, and I doubt it's anything remotely near an exact science." The last few bites of pasta are taken and Graeme goes for what looks like a brownie after opening the can of Sprite and taking a sip. "Though there's no harm in entertaining what she thinks you might manifest, but."

Graeme leans back in the chair, which makes the metal squeak and squeal some, before he rests one arm elbow against the table, running his fingers through his hair. "And yes, nervous is perfectly understandable, even if this were a normal situation. First date, all of that. This time, be somewhat more composed, but not too much more." Graeme takes another sip of the soda. "Otherwise you'll have gone from too nervous to too not nervous, probably too fast, even if it is acting." There's another silence as Graeme considers his words, then finally nods. "I don't exactly have much dating experience or anything, so take it with a grain of salt, but that's my two cents."

Another bite of cookie follows the same way, what could barely be considered as more than a crumb broken off that's pushed into the teen's mouth. His eyes flick toward the remaining can and then away. "We had a good discussion about it. But… I guess… I personally don't care what I manifest, I'll use it to further… my beliefs. However I can. But, you're right. It wouldn't hurt to bring it up again, and talk about it more." Maybe learn something.

Devon sets the cookie on the table and brings his elbows to rest against the table. His head is pressed into his hands, fingers rubbing against his forehead. "Considering… I don't think I'll go from nervous to not. I've never dated before and… Doctor Blite is… I don't know. It's a lot."

"Manifesting," Graeme says, "though we didn't really know what it was then, shaped me, a lot. Besides that it compensated for a lot of things that my body's neurochemistry is a bit off otherwise, but. In the years since then, if I'd had any other ability, things would have gone a lot differently. But I don't know why it is that I manifested superhuman endurance rather than some other thing, like superhuman hearing, or telepathy, or who knows what." There's a pause, and perhaps silent thanks that Graeme is teaching sixth graders, where none of his students are manifested yet.

"Worst that happens, honestly, is that she thinks you're asking her to talk about something and doesn't think you're interested enough in it, or tries to make it a more two-sided conversation, I think." Graeme's far more worried for Brennan's plan that Devon and Yana are going to have company comprised of teacher and doctor for the 'date', though he won't say it. "It's a lot, yeah. But remember, you've got friends." No patronising in the tone, but there is concern that surfaces.

"I just hope I don't drag everyone down with me," Devon states, just one of his many worries. "If something happens, if …Doctor Brennan approaching Doctor Blite… Or if… I don't think I should have you or Doctor Brennan there. She… Because it's supposed to appear a certain way. If you two are there… And she might suspect something." One hand lowers enough to poke at the cookie in front of him, less wanting for the sugary treat than before. "What am I going to do?"

Graeme's lips purse. "There are enough reasons that the doc and I could be having lunch, anyway, enough to keep an eye on it and if the opportunity presents itself, go with whatever he's got planned," Graeme says. "And as far as she can tell we'll just be two guys at the bar area talking over some papers. For one, I have some questions for him as far as my own ability that I'd been meaning to discuss, and I've got some students I'd like to talk to him about as well. And you can notice us there and invite us over to say hello, or something like that," he continues.

"We'll figure out the details before it happens. And you're not going to drag anyone down with you, Devon. I'm in this all willingly, and I won't let you drag yourself down with this beyond what you can deal with. You can push yourself, but not that much, alright? We're going to get through it, do the right thing, and come out the better on the other side. Because I know how important this is." Then Graeme furrows his brow again, looking at the salad and then picking it up to take a few bites, absently. He's not so sure he's good at the reassuring talk, but he will try.

Nodding, Devon scrapes up the destroyed cookie. The crumbs and pieces are swept into a hand and then deposited into the trash bin. He wasn't hungry anyway, simply eating because he was told to. Brushing his hands off to remove the remainder of the crumbs, he glances toward Graeme for a moment, then away again. "Facing all that… in the Dome was far easier than …whatever this is. There… we couldn't always tell who the bad guy was, but once you knew who your allies where…"

He drags his hand through his hair and moves from the chair he'd taken to eat at back to the seat where his laptop rests. "I need to… think. Figure out my next plan. Find a gift that I can send an invitation to lunch in." His hand rubs over his brow as his eyes slant toward Graeme again. "Sent her flowers the other day. Would chocolates be appropriate?"

Thoughtful still, Graeme finishes the soda and then the three remaining cookies on the plate, before quietly disposing of the plates. "Yes. Nice ones, maybe an assortment of ones that have things like those truffle dark chocolates, and the ones with sea salt and whatever. Unusual enough to show thought in the gift, rather than just being chocolates. Plus, from what I understand," Graeme adds, with half a grin, "women like chocolate."

He glances up at the clock. Ten more minutes of lunch, which means five more minutes until the first few students start to trickle into the classroom. "Anyway. You've got time to think, don't stress it too much. When class is over, we'll go by the bookstore and get Odin from Aric, and then go back to the apartment. I'll give you the spare key and I have a few things to do this afternoon, but you'll be able to let yourself in and out and all, and use the time to think, yeah?" Another half a grin. "In the meantime, acutally, if you're not too busy on that laptop of yours, I'd like you to keep an extra eye on everyone during today's activity and such. There's going to be individual assignments and they're going to try and whisper and pass notes and all those things kids do."

"I'll see what's in the local area. Manhattan still has some good shopping." Devon puts a hand on his laptop, then moves it over to the teacher's desk. Less chance of it being a distraction if he's going to be appearing to help. His head nods to the tasks at hand, the errands that need to be done before going to the man's home. "I won't be in the way," he promises quietly, of his presence in the apartment. "Just let me know if I need to shove off somewhere. I can find another place."

"Absolutely not," Graeme says, with that stubborn set to his jaw again. "If you need some space or anything I can always leave you at the apartment and I can go back over to the bookstore. Remi was deported, and it's complicated there, but I barely live in the Dorchester apartment, so there's plenty of space for you to not be in the way without worrying about it."

A metallic buzzing and ringing that's the ringing of the bell signals the official end of lunch, and as Graeme moves over to unlock the door, several preteen girls and one boy that seems to be tagging along with them come in immediately, though it doesn't look like they'd been waiting. "Hi Mr. C," they chorus, the boy quieter than the girls. "Who's that?" It's a more inquisitive reaction than Devon had gotten from the earlier class, that's for certain, and it earns a grin from the teacher.

"That's Devon, he's a friend of mine visiting for the day and probably going to help out too," Graeme says, patiently sitting on an empty portion of the desk and watching the kids take seats in the relative front group of tables in the classroom. "Devon, I'd like you to meet Jessica, Maricela, Rocky, and Kay. They're my best students."

At the praise, all four of the students kinda shy away, before Maricela, the shortest and perhaps youngest of the girls, in the same standard uniform that all the students wear but with as much neon as she can manage, begins to mercilessly pelt Devon with questions, and before long, all four of them have started in trying to engage the teenager, telling him about that they like Graeme's class, about their other classes, and about life in general.

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