In Pursuit Of Second Chances


emily_icon.gif devon_icon.gif

Scene Title In Pursuit of Second Chances
Synopsis Emily finally tells Devon what she's getting him into with the favor she asked about
Date September 9, 2018


It actually took Devon a couple of days longer than he’d planned to make it back to the Safe Zone. There were arrangements to make, like where he’d be staying for the few days he’d be in town. He also had to arrange for a second firearm and ammunition which, oddly, was less of an issue than where he’d be staying. But all the arrangements were made, and he’d made sure to text Emily to let her know of the holdup.

Once he arrived in the Safe Zone again, Dev first saw to dropping his things off at Jaiden’s. He took a few minutes to check over everything, clear the weaponry and secure them in cases for travel. Then, when he was sure everything was in order, he caught the bus to the hospital, where he could then text Emily.

The ride was typical, jostling and slow. It was almost a relief to be off the bus and hobbling along into the hospital itself. He stakes out a chair in the first waiting area he comes to, not far from the information desk, and finally takes out his phone.

«12:04 pm»
Made it. Where do you want to meet?

«12:10 pm»
Hospital bus stop?

It took her an unusually long time to respond as she had to stare down both her crutches and her wheelchair. It'd have been great to be able to take the latter. Today wasn't feeling like an A+ day, but she was already committed, and the wheelchair wouldn't work for where they were going.

«12:12 pm»
Meet in 30?

Thirty minutes? Devon looks at his watch then shrugs to himself. That’s not so long, he supposes. After shooting off an affirmative reply, he collects his things and makes his way out to the bus stop to wait.

He’s still there, thirty minutes later, backpack hanging from shoulders, in t-shirt and jeans. Those crutches are still present, pushed up under his arms as he half swings on them, his good leg used for balance by scuffing against the sidewalk while his less good leg is kept from touching the concrete.

It's more like twenty minutes later when she turns the corner, but she had to give herself time after all. Seeing him still on crutches makes the Wolfhound operative seem less threatening from a distance, so Emily doesn't immediately decide to turn back and abandon course.

Nope, she continues on ahead, matte-black forearm crutches keeping her steady as she walks the sidewalk. She wears a gray tee with a faded design on it, a thin white long-sleeved shirt worn beneath with the sleeves drawn up to her elbows. "Hey." she says once she figures herself to be in earshot, pausing where she is. Looking past him, up the street, she nods at the atmosphere itself, figuring something to be just the way it should be.

She lifts one hand to weave a lobe-wrapped earbud away from its nested place, letting it dangle in front of her as she closes the distance between them. "We'll hop the next bus, take it five stops. Disembark…" she lets out a sigh at the next part before she even says it. "Walk until we get there."

Emily pauses, looking to Devon as an afterthought. "You'll be good?" Her brow arches up, and by all appearances, appears to be willing to reconsider course should he not be up for a long walk. If he knows much about the bus routes, he'll know that five stops takes them out about as far east as the routes go. The route doesn't exactly flirt with the edge of the Safe Zone, hence the need for an additional walk. One she's been on before, and already is tired just thinking about it.

She rolls her shoulder, the worn cerulean backpack hanging from it shifting as the strap is recentered closer to her neck. There's a shifting noise of plastic containers that comes from the pack, causing her to stare off, wondering exactly what's shifted. She'll have to check it out once they board the bus.

Both feet touch the ground when Devon hears the call over his shoulder. He turns, a crooked grin tugging at his mouth. Well, that Emily actually showed is a good sign, right? He wouldn’t have blamed her if she’d decided not to. “Hey,” he calls back. He doesn’t wave, but he does hop a couple of steps so as to meet her part way to the stop. Makes it easier for talking, listening to the directions without them having to be said over all the city noise.

“Yeah,” he answers of his leg. He’s using it some, even as he shuffles alongside her. “Supposed to start using it more, put weight on it and stuff.” Dev shrugs a little, probably because he’s been doing so even before being instructed to. “Where exactly are we going?” And why the need for firearms? Though that question is implied.

The bus can be heard and seen coming up the street at them, and Emily nods toward indicatively. "This is us." she says, then falls quiet as she considers how to answer his other question. There's a small herd of other people who approach the stop, waiting for the bus as well.

"Somewhere without a lot of people." is her response. The glance back to him implies 'somewhere others won't hear firearms go off' before she shuffles toward the bus as it rolls up. Even though there's hydraulics that tilt the step on and off toward the ground, it's still a bitch for boarding without asking them to pull out the ramp, so she waits impatiently for it to be produced.

The answer gets a brow lift and semi-dubious look. He can surmise that she wanted to go shooting — hopefully not him — because why else the need for firearms and ammo? But outside the Safe Zone sounds a little risky. But Devon at least knows better than to question the idea. Maybe he should have brought some armor…

He follows her onto the bus, lingering just close enough to help her over the gap and up the steps if she wants it, but he doesn’t try unless it’s asked for. Dev patiently waits until Emily’s found a seat before showing his own ID and joining her. His own pack is settled on his lap, crutches held in front.

Once aboard, she flashes her residency card and settles into the handicap-dedicated seat near the front, grateful she doesn't have to shoo anyone out of it today. The bag swings off her shoulder and is set on the floor, the headphone wiring sliding with it before she grabs ahold of the cord to fish her phone out of the top of the pack using the wire, swinging and settling it down in her lap once it's free. As the bus begins to roll away, the cabin is quiet thanks to the electric-powered engine, and the bassline can be heard from the earbud hanging off of her, along with the whisper of the vocalist's song.

Fuel the helo, check the rotor

As she pulls open the rest of the bag, the shifting plastic objects reveal themselves to be storage containers. Inside, food. And judging by the multiple containers, everything in pairs, not just food for her.

And I believe in you — I believe in you

She shakes out the bag, adjusting the water bottles standing upright at the bottom of the bag so hopefully the containers won't shift as much this time around. She says quietly, conversationally, not like she's saying anything out of the ordinary, "It makes most sense to head out to the ruins."

Can you hear me?

"There's a hole in the fence. I saw a girl slip through it the other day. We can find some spot to set up, do our business, and then go. On the off-chance we run into trouble, it's not like we're not already armed."

Lima Charlie

The words are cool, said with ease as she keeps her focus on her already-settled bag. As she zips it back up carefully and sits up, fingertips leaving the bag, she keeps her eyes ahead rather than looking to Devon as she lapses into silence. The music continues to play, and she leans back into the seat, eyes closing.

He isn’t naturally nosy, but Devon can’t help but glance at the bag when it opens. Whatever thoughts he might have of the contents, they’re kept to himself, not even hinted at in his expression. When Emily begins talking again, he nods in agreement and looks out the window across from their seats. Mostly. Every now and they he finds himself glancing her way.

And I believe in you — I believe in you

"But until we get out there, and you show me how to shoot, you'll be the only one that actually knows how to use them."

Out of all the possible things a near-perfect stranger could have asked for a gun for, it probably falls in the 'yeah, that's reasonable' category for Devon. But it was a very big ask for Emily to have made.

"I'm … yeah." she starts to say, keeping her eyes straight ahead as they open again. "I need you to teach me." As they pass over a particularly rough pothole, Emily glances out the window, and it makes sense in an instant why the bus has started to rock back and forth, almost painfully.

It does sound reasonable, even though Devon could name probably fifty people who would be better at teaching firearms anything — though probably none of them Emily knows or would probably agree to. Still, he’s a fair shot and definitely knowledgeable when it comes to firearms and firearms safety. But the request still surprises him. “Sure,” he agrees easily, even if he does sound a little curious.

Flying by wire, we cross the green line

The brownstones outside are covered in vines, everything devolving into green the further out the bus runs. The neighborhoods this way are less obviously maintained, less urbanized, and the further east the line travels, it only gets more pronounced.

We ride fast, they take their sweet time

"We're the next one, I think." she says absently, pulling the other earbud free and killing the music that had been pulsing through it. She wraps the wire round her phone and shoves it back into the bag, pulling herself to her feet in anticipation of the stop, and looking out the window to examine the streets for familiar signs. It takes her a moment, but she nods firmly, looking back to Devon for the first time. In her relief, she gives him a half smile. "Yeah. This is us." is related as she thumbs the stop button.

She swings her bag back on her back, snaking a hand back around one of the crutches to use it as a support while merely holding the other as she works through disembarking, using her halfway-free hand to hold onto the doorframe as she steps down.

It brings her a little deja vu to be back on these distant streets, remembering when she was here chasing after the sunrise. This time, she's got weight with her, too. "Three blocks down this way." Emily says, trying to hide the weary dread that comes in her voice without much success. She explains it off as, "You be patient with me, I'll be patient with you." And then she starts walking.

Following her off the bus, Dev takes a couple of limping steps to get his backpack on at the same time. “I’m sure we’ll be fine,” he responds with a small grin. It’s meant to be assuring. He hopes it comes off that way. Still, he checks the firearm holstered in his waistband — he can only assure their safety if he’s got a clear draw — then tucks his cruches beneath his arms to follow.

“So why do you want to learn,” he asks once he’s caught up. The question is conversational, no judgement to it. But he tacks on quickly with, “I mean…” Devon looks over at her, unsure of how she’d take the question or line of conversation. He’s truly curious, but he’d rather not worsen her opinion of him by prying. So, unsure, he adds, “I’m sorry.”

Once the bus rolls away, it's just them and the sound of cicadas and other summer bugs stubbornly clinging on in the heat of the late season. The neighborhood on this side of Elmhurst is quiet, with few people around that grow fewer still as they head for what pretty much is the edge of civilization.

She enjoys the silence between them, finding it comfortable enough. Devon apparently doesn't.

His question is reasonable and easy enough to answer evasively, and she had already resigned herself to having to actually have a conversation with him given they would be spending the next few hours together, anyway … but he cuts himself off almost as soon as he's asked the question. She doesn't pause to look back at him, but she is surprised he's polite enough to have caught on she doesn't like when people pry, and respect it.

An incredulous laugh escapes her before she can help herself as he apologizes. Then her brow furrows deeply. Laughing at his apology when he seems so sincere is rude. She falls silent and continues on for a few steps before she ends up speaking, softly.

"The world's not a safe place." she points out, then almost immediately adds with a bit of exasperation, "I mean, that was the case before the war, but now it's definitely not." She tosses her head in the hopes of clearing her hair from being in the way. All it does is let it hang down in a wave off the right side of her head, but it does give her a good line of sight up at him. Her expression isn't hard, for once, but the glance is brief before she pays attention to where she's stepping again. "There's a lot of weird people you can run into."

"I figure … learning to defend yourself?… a necessity."

There's a lot unsaid in the space after that. Both the unspoken reasons for the sudden motivation, as well as why it's Devon of all people she's turning to for this.

The laugh throws him off a little, and he side-eyes her wondering if he’d done it again. That would be his luck. Devon’s brows crease a little and he looks at the ground for a few steps. The explanation isn’t any surprise — the world as he’s known it has never been a safe place, and he’s carried a firearm for nearly a decade. So the desire, especially now in this more lawless land, that someone would want that measure of safety.

He finds himself nodding understanding, and even glancing toward her again. “Yeah,” is all the more he says of the topic. And after another half dozen steps, he’s looking away again, watching where he’s going.

"I'd… rather know than not know." she says to fill the silence, even if it doesn't need filled.

As they walk another half block, she recalls something and her head lifts up, brow furrowing. She lets out another laugh, this one intentional as she smirks at the memory. "So. You mind if I ask you a question in return?" She gives him a knowing look, implying whatever it is, it's likely to be a doozy.

The question comes as a bit of a surprise. Devon had somewhat resigned to the silence, not that it was oppressive or depressing, just that it was a thing he was reluctant to bother again. It gave him a chance to think. But he definitely wasn’t expecting any querying from Emily, at least nothing that would come with a look.

“Sure,” he answers. A shrug might follow, implied in the vaguely nervous lilt in his tone.

She continues walking on, amused and shameless. He invited her to ask, after all. "I went to the gala for Winslow-Crawford Friday. The SLC elementary school that's opening up down at Brooklyn college?" Emily looks back at him for a moment before she focuses forward again, shuffling in a sidestep past a broken-apart pothole in the concrete.

"I met the CEO of Raytech. He dropped your name."

“Richard Ray.” He doesn’t miss a beat. That’s the man Devon had taken to calling Uncle Richard some years ago, probably around the same time Jared Harrison became Pops. He angles a look at Emily, a slightly guarded grin twitching into his expression. “He’s my uncle.” Not officially, but in the ways that matter to him.

Her brow furrows, head tilting as she lets out another laugh. This one more resigned. "You told him about me?" she asks, exasperation hidden behind the humor of the unfortunate coincidence. Because really, what were the chances of running into his uncle like that?

“We were talking about a lot of things,” Devon admits. But he’s a little on the wary side of explaining, fearing he might be heading into a trap. He’s quiet for a bit, just the sound of his uneven footsteps on the broken pavement filling in for him until he stops walking and turns to actually face her.

Hopefully she stops to, but if she doesn’t he’s used to looking foolish.

“He asked, because I told him.” The explanation is simple enough, and Devon’s expression is apologetic. Almost embarrassed. “Because I seriously want to apologize for being a fucking idiot at the Yamagato gala, and I don’t want to make things worse. So…” He ends up shrugging a little. “I am sorry, Emily, that I gave you a bad impression of me. I wanted to apologize that night, and I didn’t catch on that it wasn’t going to happen. And… I’m hoping you’re giving me a second chance.”

She hears him stop behind her, and slows her pace, but doesn't quite stop. He… really does feel bad about the gala, doesn't he? She's not immediately certain what she'd do if she DID look back at him right now. He's held onto this for a long time. The longer he talks, though, the slower she goes, steps shuffling to a halt.

Arm the safeties

When all else fails: humor. "Don't worry." she assures him as she pauses just before the end of the rows of consistently-standing buildings. They're close to the ruins now. Emily turns back to him, brow arched high, expression light. "It's not like I'm going to shoot you or anything."

The smile she gives him looks sincere enough before she turns away, but there's some discomfort in her expression as she looks ahead, the fence in sight.

She doesn't know how to explain to him that he's on that second chance. That this whole excursion would not be happening if she wasn't willing to give him that second chance, even if it was at an arm's length. And she absolutely can't put into words how much she even reached out means, given Devon's employment.

Emily lets out a breath to steady herself, starting walking again. This was going to be a long few hours.

Are you ready?

She's aware she owes him something more than a deflection. It takes until the end of the block before she's ready with anything. The fence is in sight, and she spies the snipped wire where Hailey had pulled the chainlink back and slid under it a few weeks before. That bit of circumstance still where she left it being intensely satisfying, she's comfortable enough to adjust her weight on her crutches, turning to look back at Devon.

And I believe in you — I believe in you

"I accept your apology." she states clearly, making eye contact with him. There's a brief pause as she tries to summarize everything up into something concise. She almost speaks, then restructures the statement before it comes alive, nodding over to the fence. "You know, I'm trusting you right now to keep us both safe. I'm trusting you to teach me how to use a weapon. And I'm trusting you most of all to keep all this to yourself."

The look back that she gives him is one that very clearly says to not own up to it if he's already told anyone at Wolfhound about this excursion. And to lie to them about it if he has to.

"There's not a third chance if this one's fucked up. Don't let that keep you from what we're currently doing, though."

We only want to have a good time

Out of habit, she glances both up and down the street before moving to cross it, steps careful as she navigates the curb and then heads across the pavement. She pauses before the odd-looking, almost flappy spot in the chainlink fence, turning back to him again. "Ready?"

It takes Devon a few seconds to start following again, and when he does, there’s not much rush to catch up at first. He’s said his piece, there isn’t a whole lot left for him to do now but wait. He watches as he follows at a short distance, without outright staring, and a grin of the uncertain sort is offered when she turns his way.

But he makes no further attempts at conversation. Not until Emily begins speaking again once they’ve reached the end of the block.

Dev watches her turn with a sort of apprehensive tilt of his head. He can’t exactly help it, everything he says tends to come out wrong. But his expression relaxes as she speaks, and a small smile forms.

“You can trust me.” It’s said quietly once they’ve reached the fence, lacking boast and bravado. The look he gives the world on the other side of the fence is calculative. Where he might have been casual and easy going to a point of fault, he’s shifted into more seriousness with the potential of danger just steps away. There’s a subtle confidence that comes with it, out there he knows the game.

The flappy part of the fence is pulled back, and Devon pushes himself through it first without explanation. He moves a few steps away from the opening, giving Emily the room to get through as well, while he surveys the ruins.

Flying by wire, we cross the green line

Emily swings her bag off her shoulder so it goes under first, as carefully as she can. Her crutches go next, then she sits and carefully scoots herself onto the other side, glancing suspiciously at the chainlink as she passes under it like it might smack her in the face.

She goes through the process of arranging her crutches to lean against the fence standing up, then pulls herself back to her feet. Can't wait til we find wherever and just… Sit down for a bit. she groans internally. Almost there, though.

"All right." she declares with zest, slinging her backpack back over her shoulder. Emily glances at Devon, then looks back to the green and gray spanse before them. Beyond this initial field of nature-reclaimed rubble, there's some half-standing buildings. Looks like a good place to start heading toward. "Let's get out of eyesight of the fence, and find a place to set up."

We only want to have a good time, good time

"Lead the way, Devon."

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