Left Unpunished


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Left Unpunished
Synopsis Impromptu skateboarding lessons are interrupted, by a thief and her last targets.
Date July 16, 2011

An Alley

For the beginning, Graeme's produced a second one of the standard skateboards, black, plain wood with plain wheels of the standard length, and kneepads, elbow pads, and a helmet. They were all handed to Devon in early morning, in response to an earlier request from the teenager to learn to skateboard. The teacher has left his longboard at the safehouse as well, and it's reasonably far from the safehouse via an obscure route, and the first couple rounds have proven why the knee pads and protective gear were insisted on to begin with. Skateboarding can be dangerous, and even with Graeme's slow demonstration, there is the amazing ability to meet the pavement. "That was better," Graeme says, kicking his own skateboard to a position he can grab it to watch the teenager try again. "Go on."

The knee and elbow pads had been met with disdain at first. A helmet is a no-brainer, and worn without question or comment. However Devon, with no prior skill for skateboarding, had even declined strapping the cumbersome things to his knees and elbows. Until he took his first spill. A minor thing, but enough to make the teen decide the safety gear was actually a good idea. Especially after the real attempts to manipulate the board with him riding it had him sprawling on the asphalt.

Picking himself up after one such experience, Devon slants a look toward Graeme. "Who's bright idea was it for me to learn this," he asks, sarcasm nearly dripping from his tone. Placing one foot on the board and pushing off with the other, Devon tries again. He's got it. Almost. The board responding, propelled forward and balanced. Then a waver, an overcorrection that leaves him uncenetred and has him moving fast to keep from faceplanting.

"Yours," Graeme responds, with a grin. "You're doing better, seriously. It took me a few days before I could stay on the board." There's a halfway look at his feet as if maybe he shouldn't have said that, and a shrug. The teacher's been remarkably good, not showing off or doing any sort of tricks except for one spin around the rather desolate and abandoned place that once housed a playground. Now, his own board drops and Graeme carefully pushes himself to keep up with the teenager, giving a wide berth in the case of another spill. "Now, lean a bit and turn to your left."

The sound of footfalls comes from the corner near by, gaining speed as they grow in volume, as if they were growing closer. Yet, there is no one visible. Eventually, someone's breathing can be heard as well, a breathless and frantic, and now and then accompanied by what sounds like a sob.

Just as the two skateboarders — or skater and novice — register the presence of a third party in the alley they practice in, two more young men come running down the alley. They slow their pace when they see Graeme and Devon.

A puddle (the air conditioning unit in the window of an apartment above the source) suddenly splashes water up, splattering Graeme and Devon, and a moment later, one wet foot print seems to hop along by itself, though the other foot can still be heard, dry thus invisible.

He doesn't fall, disaster is narrowly averted as Devon flings an arm out to counter his unstable center. Somehow, he manages to stay on the board and keep it moving. A weak laugh responds to the idea of turning, though he does lean enough to start an arc in a leftward direction. "Next time I have an idea like this," he begins, an absent glance slanting off toward the sound of approach.

The rest is lost as Devon drags a foot to stop the board's momentum, brows knitting together over what sounds like distress. "You here that," he asks. His eyes touch on two young men coming into view, brows raising slightly. His focus drops to the splashing sound, but the lone visible footprint is missed, the water from the air conditioning unit above leaving a wet trail on his jeans and shoes noted and wondered after briefly. The shadow of a frown forms as he glances at Graeme then looks at the two others approaching.

There's a nod. "Yes, I hear it," he says. The teacher shoves one hand into the pocket of the black leather jacket, that serves to make him more imposing than he already is. Then there's a circle around, putting himself in the path of the invisible footsteps, before those who are slowing manage to catch up, though it could also simply be turning tricks, with a slight kickflip put in there as well. There's little attention paid to those approaching, though. "Also, remind me, next time you have an idea, we're teaching you to stop right, first."

One of the two young men shouts, "Stop her! She took my wallet!" down the alley, and suddenly, the "her" in question runs straight into Graeme as he puts himself in the path of the invisible entity.

There's an oof and nails rake at Graeme's arms before they fall away; an instant later the sound of palms slapping the ground can be heard, accompanied by a wince. Something like rubber scuffs concrete; a few seconds later, a bottle is kicked several feet away.

The alley is a dead end.

"Don't let her get away," shouts the second of the two men, and the two stand side by side, arms stretched out to make it harder for the thief to dart out their way.

Another look flicks toward Graeme then back again, and Devon moves to put himself between Graeme and the unknown, and thus far unseen, 'her'. "Some girl," he begins, dubious, trying to keep a grin from touching his lips with only mild success, "took your wallet?" He glances around again, noting the sound of glass against pavement but still seeing no one but himself, Graeme, and the two other men. "Seriously? And she came this way, you're sure?"

Graeme glances back towards the girl, or where the girl possibly is. Skateboard is kicked up into his hand, gripped casually enough, more or less, and there's another step so that he's also blocking the alley. No one, invisible or not, is going to get out of the alley without him noticing. "Neither of you men move, and maybe I'll listen to what you have to say," he says, a little bit of disbelief in his voice, though. More muttered, "I wouldn't care if she'd took your cajones, neither of you move."

The breathing is broken now and then by sniffles, and the soft footfalls of the invisible person seem to move to the farther side of a dumpster, putting the invisible person between the dumpster and the brick wall that cuts off the exit to the alley.

"An invisible girl, buddy," tosses the first man, probably in his early twenties and a bit rough looking, as if he'd grown up in the tougher parts of the city. "I reached around to grab her when I felt the wallet come loose, but she broke loose and come this way. She's a thief, and ain't no one gonna steal from me, all right?"

The other man, large in a stocky, muscular way, raises his brow at Graeme's threats. "Pretty boy, you ain't gonna tell me what me or my cajones can do." With that, he begins to move toward the alley's dead end.

The skateboard is pushed to one side and left to bump lightly into the wall while Devon takes another step to somewhat more block the way and slow things down a little. His hands come up, palms toward the two men, and that grin isn't entirely being fought anymore. "Invisible? Never seen an invisible girl before." No pun intended, though the boy draws a rather exaggerated look from the stocky man to the younger of the two. "Besides— " He pauses, head turning so very slightly to listen to the snuffling sounds. "You two shouldn't pick on girls. Go find someone your own size to push around."

"You're not going to get very far like that," Graeme says. His own skateboard is dropped towards the wall, and he puts himself in the man's way, then with enough of a forward push to off-balance the bigger ban, using his own momentum and his shoulder, and following with one of those armlocks. "Try your excuse again."

"It's not a fucking excuse, man! I was walking, and my wallet got nabbed. Look at it this way — how else would I know there was a fucking invisible girl? She's invisible!" the smaller of the two — though not small at nearing 6' — says, shaking his head angrily at Devon.

His friend grunts, and turns with the armlock to keep it from breaking his arm, while another arm keeps free enough to swing up and plow a fist into Graeme's jaw. "He just wants his wallet! We aren't picking on girls. We're trying to get our fucking money from the evo freak, all right?" he growls.

As for the evo freak — suddenly, a wallet is pitched from behind the dumpster. It lands somewhere in the midst of the foursome, falling open enough for all to see that the credit cards, registration and ID are all still there, and a little bit of green peeks out — if she stole money, she didn't empty it.

"Evo freak." Devon repeats the phrase quietly, turning to confront the younger of the two men. His feet shift yet again, eyes dropping while he steps to the wallet on the ground then setting one firmly upon it. "I'm kind've tired of people like me being called freaks, though that's really the mildest insult I've heard in our regard." His eyes lift to the wallet-less man again, a small frown pressing lines across his forehead. "I think you should apologize for that. And for picking on the invisible girl."

Graeme sort of just moves with the punch thrown, and it does land solidly enough that it might hurt someone, but strangely, it doesn't seem to bother him, doesn't change his posture, and if it hurt him, he does not show it. "I'm probably even more sick of it than my friend here," he says. "I've been dealing with it for quite a while." There's a bit of a pull on the armlock, further twisting backwards. "You're picking on evo girls. Which is really, really worse than picking on girls. I'm being very restrained right now," comes the scolding, in a drawl that's coming out more harsh than it may be intended. "Try again."

"Fuck, we, more evo freaks," the smaller of the two says, glancing at the wallet. "Fine. Look, we're sorry. Give me my fucking wallet and we'll go, all right?"

His eyes dart over to his friend, looking worried when he seems to be taking a bit of a beating at the hands of the leaner "pretty boy" Graeme. "Just let him go, all right? We weren't picking on anyone, we were just trying to get my wallet back. She is the criminal, okay? Do you understand that? She robbed me!"

From behind the dumpster, a plaintive voice calls out, "Let them go! I don't want anyone hurt over this. I don't want the police to come or anything. He's right. I took his wallet. I ran and they chased me. Just let them have the wallet and they can go, okay?" The voice is young and feminine, a thick Brooklyn accent coloring the words.

A look goes over his shoulder, Devon looking to locate the owner of the voice. Despite that she's hiding behind the dumpster. And invisible. "Only criminals I see are two thugs, one of whom mistakingly thought an invisible girl stole his wallet when really it fell out somewhere. Probably she was nice enough to pick it up to give it back and, being an evo-freak, got wrongly accused." The teen looks back to the man he's standing in front of, brows arching.

Without waiting for a response, he lowers himself to pick up the wallet in question. "I don't think there's going to be cops called," Dev continues. He opens the wallet to look over the ID, showing no intentions of giving it back. "See, if the cops are called in, this could look pretty bad. Your Neanderthal of a friend there just hit my friend who's forced to defend himself, and you're chasing someone who never came down this way."

There's another nod from Graeme. "Oh, yeah, he did hit me," Graeme says. "I'm not going to let him out of this armlock, yet, because honestly, I don't trust him further than I can throw him, and that ain't very far. Then again, I don't trust people who use the words evo-freak." There's a pause and he watches Devon, before then also using the armlock to start herding the bigger man towards the second side of the alley to provide a clear escape route for the invisible girl if she so chooses.

"Plus, neither of these two are going for their phones right now," he says, when he's within enough distance to be keeping an eye on the smaller, as well as on their skateboards. "So I don't think the cops are going to get called, anyway. We're not the sort to do that." Another pause, and there's some maneuvering with absolutely no care for Graeme's current captive, for Graeme to fuss in his pocket. "Look, are you okay? Are you hungry or something?" That, in the direction of the invisible girl, with a kinder note to his voice.

"Right, like the cops are gonna take your side — you grabbed him first, he was defending himself, and he's not an evo. Unfair advantage, pretty boy," says the owner of the wallet, though he watches Devon carefully, then reaches for the wallet. "Just give me the wallet, and we're out of here, all right? You heard the girl. It's what she wants. So be the pansy you are, and do what the girl tells you."

Graeme's charge grumbles as he is herded away. "All right, already, I'm going. Get your hands off me. We don't want trouble, just his wallet."

There's a shimmer in the air near the deadend, and then the girl's footfalls carry her, it seems, back behind the cover of the dumpster. "Just let them go, please. I can't hold this much longer," she whispers, her voice seeming to be lower than before, as if she might be sinking to the ground.

"Unfair. Unfair." Devon pulls the wallet from the reaching hand, turning a dark look onto its owner. "Let me tell you about unfair. It's unfair that we gotta put up with people like you who'd lock us away just because we were born different. It's unfair the shit we go through daily, the dirty looks, the petty, derisive comments, the persecution just because of some genetic difference. Unfair." He shakes his head, hand tightening around the wallet. His other comes up a finger pointing at the younger of the two unknown men in an undeniable demand he not go anywhere.

"You want unfair," the boy asks, stepping closer to be face to face with the man, nearly nose to nose yet not quite touching him. They're of a height, so there's no stretch to meet the other's gaze. The question lingers, as though he's waiting for an answer, challenging the older man to say something, anything.

Graeme turns towards the girl, still not releasing him. "Get out of here, kid, then. While you can still keep it up. It's not about you anymore, okay?" There's space enough for her to escape, and a slight tug of his unwilling captive puts Graeme in the path of the second man, if the second were to try and interrupt said escape. "Now it's about how I also don't like being called pretty boy, or pansy, and these children seem to not realise how inappropriate that is in today's world." There's steel in the teacher's voice, now, and a very cold edge. "I know my friend here'd like to teach them about unfair," and there's a pause for Graeme to jerk on the armlock again, with the obvious implication that he could be doing so much worse.

"I'd like to make sure they remember this, and that the next time, they think twice about either of the derogatory terms they've used tonight. Sadly I don't have any of the really neat abilities, that would let me ensure they could remember." Another pause, this time with a glance towards the man that Graeme isn't holding still. "If you didn't want trouble, you two children wouldn't have started with the names in the first place."

"Right," says the girl's voice, and there's a few sounds of feet scuffling against asphalt, and then … silence — no sniffling, or sobbing or heavy breathing, just quiet.

For an instant.

Then it is pierced by the whoop whoop of a police siren as it cuts off the opening of the alley. "Looks like we got company," breathes out the owner of the wallet, his eyes steady on Devon's face. "You wanna chance your story against ours? You're the one holding my wallet, and your friend's the one with my buddy pinned. Up to you, Wonder Boy."

The larger man just grunts, glancing at the squad car before looking back to Graeme with wide eyes. "Man, I didn't do nothin' wrong," he whines, undoing some of his friend's bravado with his fear.

Without removing his gaze from the man, Devon's head ticks toward the sound of sirens. "I found your wallet on the ground, remember." He keeps it form touching his expression, or hopes he does, but he really doesn't care to meet the police. His eyes flick toward Graeme, then the man being held before returning to his own confrontation. It's too late to run if there's squad cars there, so he simply takes a half step back. "And my friend was only defending himself."

"You called me pretty boy. Which is bigoted, and wrong." Graeme drops the armlock, putting a simple, warning hand on the other man's shoulder instead as he goes up to rub his jaw, already showing coloration of a bruise. "Pretty simple, really, like he said. He found your wallet, and then we got into a small disagreement as to whether or not your friend here insulted me. He hit me, and I defended myself, the whole time." Graeme's voice is soft, such that it's not going to be picked up by the cops, and there's a faint warning glance to Devon.

"As it looks, I'm pretty sure my word is worth quite a bit. Also, what do you think the cops are going to say when I explain how much you used the words evo freak? Don't claim free speech, either, that fringes into hate speech, I think. Chasing an invisible girl doesn't look very good for you. I'd say you relent on the bigotry, and maybe, just maybe, when the cops get over here, be making actual apologies. To my friend, too." A nod and another pat on the shoulder, before Graeme goes to pick up both skateboards, a glance towards the car blocking the alley with a faint frown on his face.

The passenger door opens, and a police officer stands, peering down the alley. "Any trouble here?" he calls down.

"No sir, this here nice young man found my wallet and is giving it back to me. It's got my ID and everything in it," yells back the younger man, reaching for the wallet and snatching it out of Devon's hand. "I'd be happy to show you it belongs to me."

With that, the man trots toward the end of the alley like an over-eager Golden Retriever. His friend narrows his eyes on Graeme and steps away happily after Graeme disengages. "Pretty sure they'd agree with me," he mutters as he begins to follow his friend toward the entrance of the alley, where the police officer is nodding and handing back the wallet.

"Thanks, boys, you all have a great day," the officer says, getting back into the car. The two men glance over their shoulders at Graeme and Devon before turning the corner and out of sight.

As the police car pulls away, the alley seems empty but for the two of them. Only after the drama does Devon notice the lightness of his pocket now that it's missing his own wallet.

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