Needle In A Haystack


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Needle In A Haystack
Synopsis Very fewer than six degrees of separation, and more in common than the two men might think.
Date March 30, 2011

The Nite Owl

The Nite Owl is a survivor from ages past - one of those ancient diners with huge plate glass windows, checkerboard linoleum floor, and a neon owl over the entrance that blinks at those entering. Inside, there's an L-shaped main counter, complete with vintage soda fountain and worn steel stools. All of the cooking is done on the ranges ranked against the rear wall. The outer wall is lined with booths upholstered in cracked scarlet vinyl, tables trimmed with polished chrome. Despite its age, it's been lovingly maintained. The air is redolent with the scent of fresh coffee, vanilla, and frying food.

When evening follows an eventful afternoon, one generally needs supper and quiet conversation. This, coupled with Devon's week long absence, is what initially prompted the call to Graeme. It was a short conversation, brief and to the point, the younger man inviting the older out for burgers and beer. Or, rootbeer, since the intern is too young to drink.

The agreed upon place was the Nite Owl. A neat little diner and Devon was familiar with it. Thus he made his way to the establishment once the call had ended.

The teenager sits now at a booth along the wall. It's not a corner booth, that one was already occupied. But the hour has driven most of the other patrons home at this point. Devon sips at his root beer, poking the straw into his cup to disrupt the bubbles that cling to the side of his glass.

Graeme's answer to the call had been equally short, almost terse. Across the table from Devon, the older man's right arm is immobilised very firmly in a sling, and he seems a little less balanced and with it than he usually is. There's a cup of sprite in front of him and he's waiting for his food that he's already ordered. "Good to see you," he says. His head is tilted to one side as he considers, whether or not to tell the teenager, what to tell the teenager. "So you know…after this weekend, it might take me a bit longer to get back to messages left on my phone."

"Yeah," Devon replies, looking up at Graeme. His brows tick up slightly, drawing together so they furrow a little. "Likewise. What happened to you?" There's a small pause, while he considers the next statement. The space is filled with a sip from his root beer and a glance toward the counter where the employees are lingering. "What's going on, Graeme?" The question comes a little quieter, but casually delivered so those who might overhear wouldn't find much amiss with the question.

There's a half a chuckle. "There was a bit of a run in, at the gala opening celebra— celebration to my roommate's ballet," he murmurs in response. The negation drugs have worn off for hours now, but Graeme's still getting back to feeling like himself, and a bit, it shows. "I got stabbed through the shoulder, and then overdid it, tore the stitches out last week by accident." He rolls his eyes slightly. "And things have been going minorly downhill since then, but, it'll work out." The next words are murmured even more quietly. "I think."

There's a sympathetic wince, Devon understanding how testy and temperamental injuries to the shoulder can be. His own still pangs and sings to him when he overdoes it. "Shit, I heard a little about that. Someone got attacked at a gala." The boy shakes his head, he should take a more active stance on getting information. His head lifts a little, eyes seeking out Graeme. "Hey, you need anything, you call me okay? I'll do what I can to help."

Graeme nods. "Yeah, someone'd be my roommate, and it went straight through her leg into my shoulder. Spent the last five days on negation drugs since I tore the stitches." There's a wince before Graeme meets the teenager's gaze, and nods. "Yeah. If you might happen to know somewhere I can hole up a bit, if the alphabet soup get too interested, that'd be …" Graeme lets the words trail off as he notices activity from the counter, and their food arrives, shortly thereafter. There's a weary smile as Graeme picks up his burger, taking several bites out of it. "That'd be good. So far, I shouldn't need it, but."

Devon's eyes flick toward the counter about the same time as Graeme goes silent. "Thank you," he says affably to the server, offering a pleasant grin. "Looks really good," he continues as he picks up his burger. Another look is flicked toward the server then the teen's attention returns to Graeme when the older man speaks again. "I'll ask around." It's not a promise for a place to stay, he doesn't have anything like that to offer just now. But he will help however he can. "So what's going on?" A brow lifts again, implications to the easily asked question meaning he's not thinking on every day terms.

There's another nod. "Thanks," comes the response, in between bites of food. Graeme's still watching the teenager, pensive, level, almost judging what and how much to tell the boy, but not quite. "They were looking into the attack, talking to everyone who was there as they could," Graeme says, quiet. "And there's a very real chance that there're a few people screwed over by the interest, due to less than above ground connections. Or by affiliation." As is his own case. There's another look leveled at the teenager, Graeme trying to figure out where the young man stands in things, since he's already said enough that Devon could make trouble, if he perhaps wanted to. "We know, though, so it could be worse." Then he lets the volume of his conversation raise just a little. "The negation drugs were a pain and a half. But I should be able to go back to work soon, which will be good."

The teenager does appear genuinely concerned, watching Graeme with as much scrutiny as he's dealt. He has his own secrets to guard, and his own views on things that don't often equal what most people think. "They give you those new tablets," Devon asks, matching the slight change in volume. "I can't believe something like that got approved." He ducks his head to bite into his own burger, though his eyes remain on Graeme. There's a look, as unmistakeable as if he'd spoken the thought aloud. They can talk more on Other Things, when they're not in public.

"Yeah. The new ones, whatever the name," Graeme says. He shakes his head. "I didn't like it, really." There's half a chuckle, and Graeme sets down the remaining half of his burger. "But then again, I hate negation, of any sort. And am just reckless enough with my ability that it was, unfortuna— unfortunately, something I needed to let happen. I prefer keeping use of my shoulder, in any case. I trust the doctor I've been seeing, anyway."

"Which doctor," Devon asks. It's the logical question to ask, following the conversation. He grins, too, a faint show of amusement likening to Graeme's jest at himself. "I can't imagine. I feel lucky that negation doesn't affect me yet."

Graeme offers Devon a grin, albeit a weak one. "Brennan," he says, in response to the teenager's question. "So far, I trust him, even if negation is a miniature version of hell and being cut off from myself. Though I was supposed to keep taking them for two more days, but…" The words trail off, and it's clear enough why Graeme's decided to stop taking the pills earlier than before. "A lot to do, and all, at the moment."

"Doctor Brennan." Devon seems unsure whether to grin in amusement or roll his eyes in as though he should have guessed. But with as many doctors as are in the city, it would have been like finding a needle in a haystack. "He's a good man. He's… helped me with things. We met in the Dome." His look turns more understanding, though he's unsure of the details, and a nod is offered. "You need help with anything, Graeme…" The rest is left unsaid but the point is the same. If the man decides to trust the teenager.

The last several bites of Graeme's burger disappear, as do nearly half of the french fries that had been on his plate. The return of his appetite when he hadn't been eating as much as usual has been an interesting thing, and this is probably his fourth large meal since early afternoon, not that you could tell from how quickly it was devoured. "Thanks, Devon," he says, with a bit of a nod. There's still some uncertainty, but that can be cleared up later. When they're not in public.

His own burger has barely been touched, a couple of bites taken from it but no more. He'll bring it home and eat later, possibly. "Any time," he responds, giving a small wave to the servers then pointing to the burger. His wallet is drawn out next and money enough to cover both meals and a tip is placed on the table. "I'll be in touch, in a day or two at most. Don't hesitate to call if you need anything sooner." His eyes tick up to Graeme as his wallet is tucked back into a pocket.

There's a small nod from Graeme. "Yeah, of course," he says. It's an odd thing for the teacher to rationalise, but the confirmation suggests that at some point, he may well call. "I should get going back myself, probably. Take care, yeah?"

"You too," the teenager replies. He leans back in his chair to wait for the styrofoam clamshell that'll hold his burger for the journey home, watching Graeme for a moment longer. His attention peels away when the server appears at his elbow, with the container and check in hand. Devon is all smiles again, mostly, affable but still erring on the side of caution as he exchanges cash for container. Offers of change are waved off while the burger makes home in the styrofoam bowl.

After the server has come and gone, Graeme pulls one of the straps on the sling to hold his arm a bit more firmly, the grey sweatshirt that he's wearing today adjusted so that the hood bunches around his neck as he stands up. "Seeya."

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