It Could Have Gone Worse


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title It Could Have Gone Worse
Synopsis Relating the events at a bodega in Queens to Graeme, it's clear that it could have gone worse in any direction.
Date July 20, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse

It's that weird hour where the house is still sleeping, but some noises of stirring. From one room that's generally not used nor claimed by anyone is the gentle thudding of something against something else. Unusual, but not loud enough to really warrant much comment or attention.

But inside the room, it hasn't been the easiest of nights for Devon. The teenager has been holed up inside since returning with Liz sometime yesterday afternoon. Remaining comfortable hasn't been so simple as just laying on his back. Nor is trying to shift onto his sides or stomach really much of an option. So as much as he might have wanted to sleep or at least rest, any kind of energy recovery has been taken in fits and starts.

The thudding, truth be told, is coming from the boy within the room. The source of the sound is a marble, the tiny glass ball being dropped and the hand which dropped it following to catch it against the floor.

As it so happens, the first person to hear the sound and to go to check on Devon is Graeme, book in hand and earphones long ignored and over his shoulder, he ducks into the room, closing the door behind him. "Hey." A second water bottle is pulled out of a jeans pocket, and Graeme crosses over to fold himself crosslegged next to where Devon is laying, the water offered over without any room for actual argument. There's a faint frown on the teacher's face, though, mostly smoothed over by a look of concern for the teenager, but not other questions are asked yet. And Graeme hasn't exactly sought out what happened, once again not having spent much time in the safehouse beyond an hour here, an overnight watch there, bringing groceries and then he'll be gone again.

It's not hard to miss the boredom that's mixed in with pain and shame and the inability to remain asleep for long, quite the conglomeration all warring as Devon looks up when the door is opened. He half reaches to take the bottle, elbow and upper arm remaining on the floor. He's found it's not quite so bad when he avoids full extension. "Hey," he returns, tipping the bottle toward the teacher. "Thanks." The hand holding the bottle is lowered to rest near his side, the other drapes over his middle until his hand rests against his lowermost ribs.

"No problem," Graeme responds. After he finishes sitting down and then puts down his own water bottle, though, the teenager is fixed with a long, studying look, the frown less hidden this time. "So?" A pause. "Unless you'd rather I find out what happened from someone else," he adds, hands folding in his lap as the frown fades back to concern and worry, eventually propping one elbow to rest his chin on his hand. But there's a measure of trust that Graeme's asking Devon first, at least. Or something along those lines.

With a heavier sigh, Devon's eyes close. The hand holding the bottle lifts and fingers go to rub at his eyes, as though that action could change the conversation into something entirely different. "Liz and I found some trouble at a shop in Queens," he explains, shifting his body slightly. He winces, breath catching for a brief moment. "— I got shot." It's a simple enough explanation. The boy's hand lowers, returning to his side, his eyes slanting toward Graeme.

Graeme reaches to rub at his forehead as well, good-natured but nonetheless unhappy about the state of things. "Please don't do that again," he says. "I mean it. For one, I'm not allowing you anywhere near a skateboard again until Liz says I'm allowed to do so." A slight relaxing in posture, and a mental note to self for him to track down Liz as soon as he gets a chance to. Or maybe even sooner than that. "Secondly, please, don't do that again."

Disappointment flicks through the teen's expression. Not that he's feeling much like skateboarding at the moment, being further restricted isn't something he necessarily wants to hear. "It wasn't like I planned on it happening," he explains, his expression taking on a more anxiously worried look. "Liz is pissed. I seriously fucked up."

"I'd bet so," Graeme says, this time with significantly more sympathy in his voice, a tone suggesting that if the teen wants to talk, the teacher will listen, at least for a little while. "In any case, try not to let the circumstances that led to it happening happen again. Or whatever." Graeme might be just a little pissed off, too. The least of the reasons being that he does know Liz can take care of herself.

"The guy had a gun." Devon's words come in quickly, probably more forcefully than intended. He'd conceded the discussion to Liz, though some small part still felt justified in trying to keep her safe too. Watching her back, like families are supposed to do for one another. "He had it in her face and I just reacted." Brows knitting together, he half turns away from the teacher. Which really consists of turning his head toward the wall. It's not a sulk, not quite, nor does he seem to be dismissive of the other man.

Graeme just rolls his eyes a little, an expression lost on the teenager for the moment. "Good god, Devon," he responds, a slow but not exasperated drawl. "I know why, and I do understand, but … you need to work on being less impulsive about decisions like that. If anything you're more impulsive recently than before." A frown comes to his face, as if he doesn't really like his own line of reasoning.

"What should I've done," Devon asks quietly. He doesn't turn back to face Graeme, instead trying to edge himself into a slightly different position without generating too much more discomfort. "—He could've shot her," he continues, that anxious worry creeping into his tone. "Blown out her brains and face and… all over the counter. Then what?"

Graeme reaches over to set a hand on Devon's shoulder, gently, without jarring the boy. "Devon, she was a cop. From what little I saw since I moved here, a good one. She dealt with hostage situations, and other situations, and guns, and such. And her ability lets her do some pretty strange stuff with influencing what people do when she talks, too," he adds. He's been on the receiving end, at least of the calming effect. "I don't know what you should've done, I wasn't there. Just." He shrugs, pushing himself to his feet after a moment of silence. "Shout out if you need anything, yeah?" It's feeling like it's about time to give the teenager a little bit of space.

"I know she has, and what she's done," Devon says quietly. "But… it could have gone worse anyway." He's experienced the more calming effects of the audiokinetic's ability as well, and he'll admit it's a powerful thing. He turns back to look at Graeme, hearing him shift and stand. From there, he does seem more a frightened boy in spite of all attempts to conceal it and maintain a visage of maturity. "I know, I should've waited. Or… I don't know. It was stupid. I'm stupid."

Graeme pauses, dropping back down to crouch next to Devon. "You are not stupid, and you are never going to let me hear you say that about yourself again," he insists, stubborn as a mule like the teacher can be. "Making a mistake does not make someone stupid. Making more than one mistake does not make someone stupid. And being a teenager absolutely doesn't make someone stupid." Once more, Graeme rests a hand on the teen's shoulder for a moment, before getting up, and this time, walking all the way out of the room.

Devon doesn't respond until after Graeme's left the room. Then it's only to sigh and squirm in hopes of finding a comfortable position. It's not easy, and it hurts, and after a couple of attempts he gives up with a frustrated, whining sigh. His hand lifts a little, enough to cover his face and block out the otherwise empty room.

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