Knowing Your Limits


devon3_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title Knowing Your Limits
Synopsis Sometimes your own limits are revealed in unexpected ways.
Date October 18, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse

The damp, dim basement.

The saying goes, no news is good news. So why people continue to read the paper or watch the evening report on television is a mystery. Nothing good ever comes from the media and most recently it's been the bombshell of an announcement that's easily rocked the city as well as the nation. Those in the skinny brick front that's become home have dealt with the news of eco-relocation each in their own way.

Devon, for one, spent the first moment after hearing the president's orders proclaiming a single, well projected "Nope," complete with a firm shake of his head. That was yesterday. And there's been no further word on it from the teenager.

The new day brings has brought no change to his stance on that. The boy has been up since the sky lightened enough to make out finer details than just that's a building. There's a pinkish-orange tinge to the sky now, but the sunrise is missed because Devon is in the basement space. The range isn't presently being used for its intended purpose; it's been adjusted — by means of moving an old couch or refrigerator — to resemble in someone's imagination an urban-esque landscape. And that's exactly what he's doing, mimicking cover and maneuver to the best of his abilities, working with what he's got.

Elisabeth knows how her people are reacting. And in a great many ways, it's on her shoulders to make sure they're all able to cope. She never expected it to be this bad. Knowing that her FRONTLINE squad is okay makes her feel a bit better, but it's her people in hiding she has to worry about now. Especially one young man who she has great affection.

"Dev?" she calls from the base of the stairs. She hates it down here. It's dark, and it's dank, and it's a struggle every time. And yes, she still comes down, still uses the space. She doesn't let the phobia get in the way of what she has to do. She can't. "Dev, don't jump out at me," she warns the teenager. If he does, Liz isn't certain she won't slam him against something. Although she has been calmer the past week, he's noticed. Not as much with the jumpy since the decision to stay and fight was made.

There's movement ahead of her, the quietest shifting of weight that comes in response to Liz's arrival. It's large enough that it's likely Devon, and seconds after she's warned him against jumping, he's peering just around what could be some old boxes and a pallet. Just one eye and low enough that he's probably between a crouch and standing.

"Hey," the boy calls back, watching before making himself seen. He moves eventually, into a more open space, but not before trying to gauge by her reaction just how hidden he may have been. Sure, she's years experience on him, but it's still an enticing challenge. "If I'd've had a nerf gun…" The rest goes unsaid, and he might be suppressing a grin.

It makes her laugh. She's doing it a little more often lately! "Oooh, that's an idea. Nerf guns for practice." Elisabeth grins toward him. "What are you doing down here this time?" she asks, looking around. Her blue eyes come back to him, assessing. "You holding up okay?"

He looks okay, if worn like the rest of them. Devon rights one of the make-shift targets before he weaves his way toward the stairs and the more generous light which spills down from the upper floor. "Yeah," he offers first to her second question. Though he gives a roll of his shoulders to shrug and a backward glance from whence he'd appeared, he's by all accounts honestly holding up.

"Getting ready," the teenager continues as his gaze returns to the woman in front of him. "We can't hide here forever. Someone'll come knocking sooner or later and we need to be ready. It's going to be guerrilla warfare."

Blowing out a slow breath, Elisabeth lowers herself to the stairs to sit there with her arms propped on her knees. "Well…. here's the thing I need you to decide for me. And … I know what I'd like to do with you, but I'm not going to force you." Her demeanor is quiet but not grim. "We're taking teams out to destroy it all, Dev. But I have someone I have to get out of town first. And if you want, I can send you with her. I would trust you to help keep her safe, and it would just get you out of the worst part of this." She shrugs a little. "On some level, you'd be the person left who knows the truth if it all goes really sideways."

For once, he's slow to answer. He's slower still to show any reaction, any hint toward his feelings on continuing to fight or ferret away. There's reason enough for him to want both and neither. He just watches Liz for a long moment before half turns to look at the old basement and its clutter.

"I always thought saying I'm still in would be easy," Devon finally says, brows drawing together. He's still frowning, thoughtfully, when he looks at the audiokinetic again. "But now…" He shakes his head apologetically. "I don't want to run away, this is my fight as much as it's anyone else's." The teenager pauses, teeth pulling at his lower lip.

"Can you get all the evidence together," Dev resumes, slowly, a lot of thought weighing in his words. "All the surveillance and …everything that can prove the truth of all this? I'm… I'm going to need proof. No one's going to take a kid at his word alone."

Her eyes on him have a softness to him that she doesn't give many other people. Elisabeth has genuinely taken to him and treated him as 'hers,' at least insofar as she's been a teacher and parent-figure. His apologetic tone bring her hand out to touch his arm. "Yes," she says simply. "Yes, I can. If that's what you want, I will give every bit of it to you. Phillip is heading for the West Coast with another passenger as soon as arrangements are made. If you want to be on the plane, we'll make it happen."

There's a kind of grief to her expression, but there's also… hope. "It is your fight. But honestly, Devon? Maybe not just yet. It is okay to take a step back and give yourself the time and space to be mentally all right first. I'm… very proud of you that you can weigh the situation and make the choice like this."

God, it hurts, she realizes. Knowing that she's sending him away, alone, hurts her heart in ways she never expected. Tears well up in her eyes and she ruthlessly tries to keep them at bay. "I can't say that I'm sorry you're choosing this," she tells him softly. "I'm only sorry that I can't make things better for you sooner."

The touch on his arm brings a tightening to his jaw, and he holds his breath for a beat to steel himself within his decision. It wasn't easily come to, but these days nothing is ever easy. The weight of it shows as much as if he'd continued his claims to going where the fight is. "It isn't what I want," he admits after a moment. "It is, but… But it's also what needs to be done." That much he can see; that much he's coming to see, after so many days and months.

With a heavy sigh, Devon takes a seat on the floor beside Liz's feet. His arms drape over his knees while he surveys the basement in front of them. "Just… try not to die, okay?" The question comes with the weight of fear, though he tries to mask it. "We have to regroup after… whatever goes down, whatever you're taking out, putting an end to. We have to regroup." Because then, he won't have lost the last vestiges of family to the overreach and iron grip of the government.

"Then don't go out on Solomon's plane… go to Harmony in the Adirondacks. Make it a very roundabout run," Elisabeth tells him softly. "Take care of the babies and Harmony. And we'll meet up after." She moves to slide down and sit next to him, wrapping her arm around his shoulders. "She evac'd yesterday with Ricky and Lili. Go south and then back around the long way through Pennsylvania. Once you're out of Manhattan proper, the scrutiny won't be nearly as bad anyway." Liz leans sideways and kisses his temple. "I will come for you." The ghosts of the past echo in those words for her… but they are a vow she won't break.

A nod is slow in coming, but it does show acknowledgement. Devon's gaze, still on the basement room, is distant as he begins mapping out the directions. Getting out of the city is going to be the challenge, moreso than the distance of the trip. "I'll leave in a week," he decides, focus returning to the here and now. "Should be long enough to not draw suspicion after either me or Harmony. And time to get everything from here I'll need. All the evidence and everything." His eyes lift slightly, and then a hand finds Liz's forearm. He gives her arm a squeeze as he leans against her for a beat, a sort of hug and sealing the decisions.

She holds him tightly. Elisabeth's tears remain buried. All she can promise the teenager is that much. "You take care of yourself. And take care of them too." She looks down, her cheek in his hair. "You guys are the future that we're trying to make, Devon."

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