Not a Shrink Type


devon2_icon.gif jj_icon.gif

Scene Title Not a Shrink Type
Synopsis A coffee shop therapy session for two guys who aren't shrink types.
Date March 10, 2011

A Coffee shop in Manhattan

It was a phone call out of the blue when Devon contacted JJ and asked to meet at a local coffee shop. The teenager had been rather polite, if soft spoken and distant, and he'd at least called the officer by name rather than Frontline Guy.

The shop itself isn't too bad, the menu holding a selection of coffees and a few fancier drinks. It's palatable even if the atmosphere isn't quite the sit down and browse the web while you enjoy a latte. Devon, dressed in khaki slacks and a green and gray polo shirt, has already arrived, claimed a table, and acquired a regular coffee with no less than sixteen sugars and eight of those cream things.

Like many who were there, the Dome has left its mark on the teenager. A fine scar cuts through his face from temple to nose, the wound nearly completely healed. Likewise Devon's wrists, having been bound by plastic ties, are also mostly healed. There's a favoring to one shoulder, whatever injury hidden beneath his shirt and efforts made to ignore it. Physically the boy looks well, healing and healthy. But a marked coldness still clings to his expression, a slight distrust and detachment to those strangers around him.

The door opens and JJ steps in, dressed casually in faded jeans (no doubt bought that way), colorful Nikes, and a hoodie sweatshirt, a baseball cap and sunglasses, the last getting pulled off to reveal his green eyes and he peers around for the teen. He gives a nod of his chin when he spies Devon, but tips his head to the counter to indicate he'll grab his drink first. It's the polite thing to do, when using an establishment for a meeting, after all!

The FRONTLINE officer moves to the counter, ordering something ridiculously high in caffeine and sugar along with one of the refrigerated section's offerings, a bottle of water. After paying he waits for his drink, moving forward when "Jay" is called, and then heading to the table Devon's picked out.

"'Sup, Devon," he says lightly, sliding into his place and unwrapping the straw to stick into the coffee drink. Despite the casual greeting, JJ's eyes scan Devon's face, concern in his expression.

Not unaware of the comings and goings, Devon's attention is grabbed when JJ arrives. The nod is returned, and the overly sweetened, hardly deserves to be called coffee is considered then sipped at. Another cream is added, the teenager frowning faintly over the drink.

When addressed, Devon's head lifts and he looks up at JJ, offering a small half-grin. "Hey. So… thanks for agreeing to meet up. It's… kind've… trying to catch up with people who were there." A shrug follows, his eyes falling back to his drink.

"Sure," JJ says with a nod, taking a sip of his own coffee concoction. "I think some of that's going around. Ygraine contacted me the other day. We had lunch."

His hat is pulled off and set down along with his sunglasses, and he leans back in the booth. "It's good to see you outside of that place. Hope everything's getting back to normal? Back to the grind and everything? I just started again on Monday, back at work." His injury, too, is hidden beneath clothing, the scars still there and no quite healed.

"Ran into her and that big guy, Jaiden, at a deli." Devon takes another drink from his coffee, frowns slightly, then takes another. He gives a small shake of his head, then looks back to JJ. "Yeah, good to see you got out too. And sorry for hassling you back when… when it all started."

Lifting a hand, Devon drags his fingers through his hair, brows drawing together slightly. "Yeah, things are… normal. I've been back at work for… two weeks." Though he rarely makes it through a full day, he'd tried to get back to the grind as quickly as possible. "I'm… I'm doing okay, I think."

"You didn't hassle me. If that was hassling me, you need to work harder at it," JJ says with a smile. "Slacker," he adds, playfully, but he shrugs, and waves a hand as if to say bygones.

"Listen," he says more seriously, leaning forward, crossing his arms on the table as his pale green eyes seek Devon's. "If you're trying to make 'sense' of anything that happened there, it pretty much isn't going to, I can promise you that much. It sucked, but there were good people among the bad, and you were one of them. And I appreciate the help you gave me when I needed you. And I'm sorry bad things happened to you. They shouldn't have." He frowns. "But don't … don't stay in the dome, you know? Ygraine said something like that the other day. Something about making sure she doesn't get stuck there mentally. She'd be a good person to chat with, if you're feeling stuck."

"Next thing you're going to tell me is to see a shrink," Devon replies with another half grin. It's said lightly, at least, joking and probably more poking fun at himself. With a sigh, he gives a small shrug. "I'm …doing what I can to move on. It's… I don't know. I don't… It's not something I can just go and talk about."

"Nah," JJ says with a smirk and another wave of his hand. "Not everyone's a shrink person, I don't think. Some people are, but some aren't. I'm not, I don't think. I don't get much out of it that I don't think I'd get out of talking to a friend, but I guess it's about some people knowing the person isn't judging them. But paying someone not to judge you seems kinda dumb, in my book."

Another long sip of the coffee drink is taken, and JJ shrugs again. "I can listen. If it helps," he offers. "Just knowing someone else has been through it — I think that helps too. I know it has for me, in the times I've been hurt and scared and thought the world was a giant asshat. Knowing other people were going through the same thing — it does help."

JJ leans back and watches Devon, arching a brow. "So I can be that. Or, if you wanna punch the hell out of someone, if it'll make you feel better, I can maybe do that too."

Devon's gaze falls to his coffee, or what was coffee at one time. Instinct definitely tells him to avoid the topic, to change the subject, to shut down and not respond. It shows in a one-shoulder hitch and fidgeting with his cup. "The guy who set the whole thing up is the asshat," he says. "Him and those clowns that follow him."

"I killed people in there," Devon continues after drawing in a breath. His voice pitches further toward quiet when he picks the easier of experiences to admit to. "You end up having to do that in there? Or… Probably something you've experienced before."

JJ's eyes narrow and then drop, and he nods. "I had to do it in there," he says quietly. "And I've had to do it before. Even before Frontline. I was maybe your age, first time I killed someone."

He glances out the window, and his hand curls around his coffee cup, more for something to grip than that he wants another drink. "It's not easy. But you know what? The fact that it bothers you? Means you're gonna be okay. It's when you aren't bothered by it that you should worry." His eyes turn back to Devon. "It'd be great if we could live in a world where people don't try to hurt one another and all, but you did what you had to — to survive and to protect others who weren't doing anything wrong, I bet, right? You didn't do anything wrong."

The teenager nods slightly. He'd heard all that before, when admitting to killing someone or multiple someones. "I did it to try and keep myself and another alive. Because negotiations failed." Releasing his own cup, Devon sits back, arms folding over his chest. His eyes remain on the table, brow furrowed. "Didn't really help anything, except there were a few less… zealots left in the world."

"Bullshit. You're alive. So it helped," JJ says, suddenly fierce. "And a few zealots less — do you know how many lives that might end up making better? I'm not for killing people for the sake of killing, trust me. I'm the worst shot on the squad, and my ability makes me mostly good for intelligence, right? I'm not a killer, but you do what you have to. And you did good."

He picks up his drink again, but this time it's merely turned in his hand, a prop for a tough conversation. "I can only tell you the past," the FRONTLINE officer says. "I can't tell the future. But I can tell you that everything we do — everything — has consequences. Those guys, nothing good was gonna come of what they were trying to do, and while in a perfect world, there'd be a better way, it's not a perfect world, and you did what made sense at the time."

"I'd do it again," Devon admits without pause for consideration. He's as much admitted before, and while the idea is still foreign his acceptance of it is coming easier. "To save lives, not because I enjoyed it. I hated it then, it haunts me when I sleep, but it's necessary and something I won't hesitate to do again, when it's necessary."

Raising a hand again, Devon rubs the bridge of his nose. "They were trying to destroy the community there." His eyes flick up toward JJ, to see if the officer grabs his meaning of which community. "There whole plan it seemed like. Wipe us off the map."

JJ nods at the boy's words. "You'll be okay," he says quietly, solemnly, none of his usual joviality in his eyes or mouth; the insistence is as much to himself as to Devon. "And yeah. They were. It was a ghetto in the very real sense of the word. They say it's for protection, but look what happened. Sure, other people were caught up in it, too, but you can't separate people and cage them for their protection. It's bullshit."

Strange that a FRONTLINE officer is saying this, but then he spoke against a superior on live television once before. "Don't let 'em ever put you any place like that, not if you can help it. Better to live off-grid than be a caged animal."

The words do give Devon pause, consideration flitting across that otherwise sober expression. His mouth opens to say something, memories of his own experiences during those final days and hours surfacing, then squashed as his mouth is closed again. "Yeah, the whole thing just… It shouldn't have happened. it wasn't your fault, or your people's. I know who blame lies with now."

Lips curving in a quick tic of a smile, JJ shrugs. "I'm the government, right? But really I do try to help people. The people I work with — they're good people. Not saying all FRONTLINE people are — I don't know 'em all, but my squad's a'ight."

He picks up his cup, draining it with slurp from the straw. "So you just touching base? Anything else I can help you with?"

"I'm getting that the government isn't all bad." Devon pulls out a half grin again. "Like most organizations, y'know. Might not agree with everything, but there is some good to them. Hell, you proved that to me inside that bubble. Still think the dobermans would've gone after you first."

Picking up his coffee, the teenager shakes his head, sobering again. "Just touching base, mostly. Trying to understand what happened and see others who were there moving on."

"Only if they like dark meat," JJ quips, then glances down at his hands as if scrutinizing them. "Or, you know, slightly browner than white meat."

His water is picked up, unscrewed and guzzled, half of it gone in a moment's time. "You need me, you call me, okay, kid? You're not a shrink type, and I'm not a shrink type or a shrink, but I promise you I won't charge you to not judge you. Got it?"

Devon tips back his cup, finishing off the coffee mix within. Lowering it again, he nods, mouth quirked in a grin though his expression remains closer to melancholy. "If I need it," he agrees. "Thanks."

"If you need it," JJ echoes. "And if you do, I'll be there." He reaches out to pat the other young man's shoulder before rising. "I gotta get to work, but you take it easy, all right?"

The FRONTLINE officer gives one last friendly smile, though his eyes are more sombe before he grabs his hat and his sunglasses to head back out the door and to work, where he's paid to put his life on the line, paid to take people out so they don't hurt others. He's paid to do it — Devon shouldn't need to. But there's a war brewing, and there's more than one kind of warrior. Not all of them have government-issue weaponry and armor.

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