Not The Ritz


devon2_icon.gif kincaid_icon.gif melissa_icon.gif

Scene Title Not The Ritz
Synopsis But it is a safe place to hide a person of interest.
Date June 15, 2011

A Park in Long Island City

It had been tricky getting a call in to Kincaid. Between alternating around several pay phones scattered throughout Long Island City and hanging up whenever the assistant producer's voice mail kicked; he might've even hung up on Kincaid once, accidentally preemptive. But Devon managed to get through and hesitantly set up a meeting.

The place was the remains of a park, overgrown with weeds and in a state of disrepair. Like much of the surrounding neighborhood of boarded windows and gaping maws where doors once stood, walls crumbling while creepers eat away and claim driveways and walkways. This park stands, half concealed by a fence of rotting wood, the previous owner of the house at one point had obviously wished to keep the neighborhood kids off his grass. Monkey bars and the remains of a swing rise up from the ground like the skeleton of a monster, long ago left to perish and suffer the bitterness of winter and unforgiving heat of the summer.

A sweep had been made when Devon first arrived, covering and crossing the grounds to assure himself that no unwanted listeners are nearby. Now, sitting on the remains of a cross section from the swing, the teenager can be found. Dressed simply in a t-shirt and old blue jeans, a knit cap pulled down over his ears, teeth scraping against his lower lip to hide the mostly healed split. Elbows rest against his knees and from a distance he could appear to be thinking. Lost in thought. His eyes, at first appearing downcast, peer up from under his brow to watch the entrance into the park. Waiting.

If the call had made it through any earlier than it did, Kincaid likely wouldn't have been as prompt and anxious about setting up a quick meeting. As it is, he's not taking much effort to hide his own appearance. The summer seasons don't help with that as often as the winter seasons. Winter means coats and scarves, easy for anonymity. But even the sun is out, so umbrellas and raincoats can't even be hid behind.

Not that he's dressed cooly, if one considers the jacket cool. The casual suit, all neat and tidy looking, may stand out in this neighborhood, but he still wears it, as he steps out into sight. Eyes find the young man, before he turns back and motions to the person who came with him. It looks safe. Safe enough. And if it's not, they can always run.

He trusts the kid that's almost as paranoid about the government as he is to have an escape plan as he walks toward the swing set.

As a way of helping to hide herself, Melissa has done the unthinkable. She's dressed in something other than black. Blue on blue. With a black fedora to help hide her face. Her face is blank as she steps out at Kincaid's gesture, glancing around as she moves to walk by his side. "This seems rather open, since I'm supposed to be hiding," she murmurs to him, before she nods a greeting to Devon.

As he registered movement, Devon's eyes settle on the two forms approaching then slant beyond them without giving any acknowledgement to Kincaid or Melissa. He's looking for a tail, any sign that they might have been followed, though he makes no move for the gun hidden on his person nor any tensing that would imply a preparedness to act somehow. Once the two adults have drawn closer, the boy stands slowly, hands for once simply hanging at his sides, and returns his attention to them.

Silent, observant, though his expression isn't any more guarded or cold than if he'd been meeting any other rebels he tends to associate with. Obviously there's the inherent wariness, but also a layer of guilt jumbled within the look of sleeplessness and concern. His eyes tick from Melissa, not fully recognizing her, then settle on Kincaid. He'll wait for the older man to speak first.

There's always a worry of a trick, an ambush, but Kincaid's of the opinion that, as long as they are both together, it is worth the risk. "Hey kid," he responds to the boy who, like he had, has seen more in his young years than any child should have to go through. "Though you keep this stuff up I'll hardly be able to call you a kid anymore, even if you'll always be ten years younger than me." And nearly twenty years older than him at the same time.

He glances back toward the woman in the blue fedora. "I found my mom. Do you have a place to stay that no one will look? I figure you're in hiding too after…" Tension rises in his voice, just briefly, before he takes in a slow breath and let's it fade away. "After what happened."

It's still a big deal, for Kincaid to call her mom, and so Melissa smiles at him, a hand brushing his arm affectionately. The smile doesn't last long though, and she looks to Devon. "It feels so wrong to go into hiding," she murmurs, though she's promised she would, to keep herself safe.

A shadow of a grin passes through Devon's expression, and his eyes again flick toward Melissa. A longer look this time allows him to recognize her, relief slipping through briefly before that too clouds over. "Yeah, she's welcome where I'm staying," he replies, looking to Kincaid again. "It's safe there, few people know about it. It's not the Ritz, but it's better than being Ferried somewhere. —Unless you'd rather she go that way."

The option hangs while Devon looks between mother and son again, a short glance that ends with him turning to look toward the park entrance again. It's an act to give them something of privacy, to decide without his intervening. Though he'd prefer to know what's been shared already.

"The Ferry will likely get involved when it needs to be, but I'm afraid my connections there are limited," Kincaid admits quietly, keeping his voice down even if he's speaking rather frankly about the situation. His grandfather is one of his only connections, other than his cousin, and… the last time he tried to get someone set up with the Ferry she ended up elsewhere. "Who are you with?"

"I have plenty of Ferry connections, from when I was Ferry," Melissa murmurs. "I'm fine staying where you are though, Devon. You say it's safe, it's safe. Just…will Perry and cade be allowed there? To visit or to stay?"

Returning his attention to the two adults, Devon shrugs hesitantly at Melissa's question. "I… don't know if they would be. Maybe, but… It's not my call. It's… Um…" He hesitates, eyes leveling on Kincaid for a long moment. He'd told Liz he trusted the assistant producer, time to see if that trust is well placed. "I'm with Elisabeth Harrison's team. She offered Melissa a place to stay, too, while she's compromised. And]… she's aware of… I'm sorry, Kincaid. She's working on something big, lost her studio connections and I brought up you and… After the…" The boy gestures vaguely with his chin, then shakes his head. "We have to keep moving forward even when… things…" With a sigh, he drops his gaze, leaving the rest unsaid.

"Elisabeth," Kincaid repeats quietly, before nodding. "I know her— she's a good person to trust. She'll keep you both safe, and she also will hopefully know when she can't anymore and will seek assistance." Or if she doesn't, he hopes to be around to advise as such. "And it's okay, Dev. Pretty much as soon as we all decided to do it I knew it would spread." Like the virus that his companion unleashed? Unfortunately so…

Instead of dwelling on that upsetting topic he actually smiles, lopsidedly. "I'm surprised random people in the street aren't coming up to me asking me who's going to win the World Cup. Not that I'd tell anyone of course."

Melissa frowns at Kincaid. "People know? A lot of people? I don't like that. It's not safe for you. Quinn and Elaine, I trust them. And Devon and Perry of course, but lots of people? I don't like this," she says, full of concern for her son, despite the fact that he's full grown.

"I kind of got the impression that there's more than just Kincaid," Devon points out quietly. "Through Liz's reaction. She might even know of some. And… How many of there are you?" The question, guardedly asked, is directed at Kincaid. "I didn't intend to just tell her, it… she asked why I thought you could be trusted with a semi-related question to Melissa's hiding and what we… what I failed at doing. With Valentine." His tongue dabs at the split over his lip, a look shifting up between Melissa and Kincaid.

"Yeah, there's…" There's a moment of hesitation, as if Kincaid is considering giving an exact number. In the end, he settles on. "A lot of us. And when we agreed to tell, that's at least twice as many people we have to tell." With that, he shrugs a bit. "And even without involving parents, there's surrogate parents, friends of parents, teachers… Once the secret was out there was no more containing it— that's why we kept it a secret so long." That and other reasons. "I'm doing my best to be safe, though. Harrison had a reason to know."

Melissa shakes her head. "We, Devon. And we don't know that this is related to that. We don't…" She closes her eyes, and needs a moment to get her emotions under control, but even so, her voice breaks a little. "We can't blame ourselves, not fully. We have to blame the ones responsible." She looks up to Kincaid. "While protecting those who remain," she murmurs.

"It's related," Devon states flatly, more quietly than normal. He frowns faintly, and like Melissa is trying to keep his emotions controlled. Wouldn't do to lose it now, to get angry or break down again. "It's too much of a coincidence to not be related, Valentin's working for Heller. Heller is the only one who knew where Junie was, otherwise they wouldn't be looking for you. They wouldn't be looking for you if I'd kept you from getting involved in my stupid, childish hopes of getting anything out of Valentin." Hands clench at his sides, another look flicking between Kincaid and Melissa. "I'm sorry," he offers the pair, "Melissa will be safe with us."

The topic of his identity as a man from the future didn't put a dent in him, but the mention of Junko forces Kincaid to take a step back, knuckling his forehead briefly while he closes his eyes. It doesn't last long, in comparison to effect it may have had on him the day he heard about it. Or the next day. Or even the next. He's had a week to rage and mourn, a week which is partly evidenced on his hand, with bruising and splits showing he probably punched a wall or two.

"It is related, but it is still their doing," is what he finally says. "And I'm glad. I also… hope that you'll find a way to keep in touch with me. I got a drop phone which I can abandon that you can call— Mel— Mom has the number." He'd arranged it earlier. "The only thing I'll ask is that you contact me if you need help, or… even just to let me know you're okay."

Kincaid's reaction has melissa stepping close, sliding an arm around him comfortingly. "It is, Devon, but it's not your fault. And you know I'll call, baby," she murmurs to Kincaid. "I'm keeping my promises to you. I want you both safe, which means being smart and working together." She looks to Devon. "Right?"

Easing a step back at Kincaid's reaction, and then a second at Melissa's response, Devon silently offers more space to the mother and son. He's given up on arguing faults and failures, expression showing that he disagrees in where blame should be placed and efforts to say otherwise falls well short of its intended mark. Doesn't matter what he's told, it was his assignment that led to the loss of life. He's dealing as he usually does, and putting up a front for everyone else. "I'll keep in touch," he says with a small nod. "I'll see if Liz… I think she may want to meet you anyway."

"I'd thought she might," Kincaid says quietly, even smiling just a fraction. It seems he knew her enough to draw that conclusion, or he knows most people who know would want to. After all, who doesn't want to meet kids from the future in all their shapes and sizes? "I need to get back to work. K isn't doing so great," he adds, quietly. On the heels of Junko, K's status may not be as heartbreaking to him, but it shakes him more than he'd likely admit. And it's visible. "Take care of yourself, mom," he adds, reaching to wrap his arms around her in a full hug. "And your 'brother' too."

Melissa frowns a little, but it disappears when Kincaid hugs her, and she returns it, ending with a nice, motherly kiss on his cheek. "You too, Cade. You get yourself hurt and I'll kick your ass," she murmurs, before stepping back and smiling at him.

Further guilt plays against Devon's countenance, though he turns away enough to hide it. Under the guise of giving Melissa and Kincaid a moment without him looking on. "I'll contact you about Elisabeth after I've had the chance to talk to her," he says generally, arms folding across his chest. "And try not to worry much, we'll keep Melissa out of Heller's reach and well below the government's radar." He hopes.

"You keep yourself safe too, Devon," Kincaid says, reaching a hand over to squeeze the teen's upper arm. A 'guy-hug'. Between guys. Before he goes, he stops by his mom and presses a quick kiss on her own cheek. "Don't blame yourself," he adds quietly, soft against her cheek and for her alone. "I don't blame you."

With that he starts his trip back to the car he drove here.

"I'll try," Melissa murmurs to Kincaid, watching him leave with a soft sight before she looks back to Devon. "I worry about him so much. More now than I did a month ago," she murmurs. "And yet he's older than me, though not by much. A month or so."

With a vague nod, Devon lifts his attention to watch Kincaid depart. Once the assistant producer has moved out of sight, he turns a guarded look to Melissa. "C'mon. It's a bit of a walk to get there," he invites, nodding the direction the older man had left from. Hands fall to his sides again, then sink into his pockets as starts slowly toward the park entrance.

Melissa nods and moves to walk along beside Devon. "I'm sorry, Devon. I wasn't around, and I should've been. I just…I couldn't handle it. I had to…get away. Kincaid came and found me."

"It's fine," Devon answers with a shrug, the distance of his tone putting a lie to his words. Though in an odd sort of irony, he does understand the need to separate from things in times of hurt and hardship. "I'm sorry I got you involved at that level. I shouldn't have, not with what was at stake." Weak apology followed by weaker words, but the teen is at a loss for what to say. "I'm glad to see you're okay though, was worried when you disappeared."

"Devon, who insisted that I go with you? It wasn't you. I know you didn't want me there," Melissa says, sighing softly. "So don't apologize. It's not your fault, dammit. And don't make me kick your ass until you believe it."

A sigh escapes the boy, his head giving a small shake. "I get it. Your choice, whatever. I should have spoken up, or not told you specifics. It's my fault alone this happened. I had more warnings for not making the meeting, but I foolishly went ahead with it. Endangering you and…" Devon stops himself, jaw clenching shut. He nods toward a corner as he blows out a breath, changing his course to follow the new road. "Kick my ass if you want," he offers quietly, hands coming free to tug his knit ski cap further down onto his head.

Melissa, apparently, doesn't make idle threats. She lags back a step, and her foot comes up, aiming for his butt. "Devon, you are not to blame for this. I get it, you feel guilty. I do too. But this isn't helping anything. You gotta stop, alright? Please."

A slight step to the side and the kick grazes Devon's jeans. He stops walking, turning to look at Melissa. Whatever he might have said in argument dies, and he shakes his head instead. "I left Trevor in charge of the Foundation," he mutters, turning again to resume the walk. "Didn't know what else to do. Word's already gone through the network, the team knows why you're coming in. —Keep your thoughts as quiet as you can, there's a telepath who's… still learning to not listen in."

"Right now, I don't give a damn," Melissa says wearily. "There's nothing in my head right now that I won't say aloud. As for the Foundation, that's fine. I just…I find it hard to care about that right now. Or much of anything. That's why I disappeared for a week. Or part of."

"Yeah," Devon returns, a look slanting toward Melissa. Head bowing, eyes watching the ground as it passes, he leads the way in withdrawn silence. For several blocks pass, the neighborhood first showing signs of habitation then dwindling again to the run down, dilapidated appearances of that surrounding the park. "I'm sorry," he offers, finally breaking the silence with another apology, toned differently though no less sincere than the others he'd presented. "I… it's been…" A sigh clears away the excuses. "…I'm sorry."

Melissa catches up and slings an arm around his shoulders, pulling him close. "I know. It's been shitty. We all loved her. I didn't…I didn't even hang around to see how Perry was handling it."

A glance is cast toward Melissa as she puts her arm over his shoulders. Devon pushes his hands into his pockets and nods. "It hasn't been very easy. We can call him later. I have a burn phone, if he'll answer an unknown number." He points toward a group of houses, the kind of town homes that sit against each other and give the impression of dwellings not large enough for a family let alone a single person to live in. "Home sweet home," the teen says as he leads her up to and through the front door. "It's Devon and Melissa," he calls out for whomever's on watch. "We'll kick Graeme into a different room tonight, you can use my bag for sleeping until we get things worked out better."

"I'd really like to. I should've talked to him. He was like a father to her," Melissa says, sighing as she steps inside and looks around. "And wherever's fine. I've slept in some damn uncomfortable places before."

There's not much to look at. The run down home looks to have been inhabited by squatters. And technically it still is. Devon leads the way up the stairs, pointing out the common room and kitchen with its camp stoves. Furnishings are sparse, with camp stools and wire spools for tables. The boy takes her through a hall and into the room he's more or less sharing with Graeme. Dev's sleeping bag is easily marked by his belongings in a pack resting near the head of it. "Get some sleep if you want, or…" he shrugs, unsure of what else to offer.

The bag is looked at for a long moment before Melissa nods. "Yeah…I should sleep. Haven't gotten much of it lately. And Devon? Thanks," she says, smiling faintly at him, before moving to the bag and stretching out on top of it.

"…I'll be in later," Devon says, with a nod to her words. "Going to help with watch for a while and let Liz know you're here. Try and get some rest, okay?" He watches her for a moment longer, before stepping to the door to let himself out.

"I'll do my best," Melissa promises, which isn't really much, but it's all she can give for the moment. She shifts around a bit to get comfortable, and closes her eyes. But it will still be some time before sleep comes.

Devon musters a half grin, to hide the worry and guilt that gnaws at him again. "G'night," he says quietly, barely more than a whisper, before pulling the door closed to allow Melissa some hopefully uninterrupted rest.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License