Of Being Careful


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Of Being Careful
Synopsis Warnings of caution all around, but there's still hope they'll get through everything alive.
Date July 29, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse

The morning is still early, the sun creeping up to begin its unending attempt at baking the rooftop until it's melted. For the most part, the house is just beginning to stir, not that it ever really sleeps. But the sounds of waking are reaching through the floorboards and plaster that make up the structure. Having hardly slept the night before himself, Devon had given up any further attempt at resting once the sky began turning lighter. He's emerged from his room, ghosting through the dwelling to take claim of one of the spools serving as tables.

The boy has been a little scarce the last few days. Resting, staying in the room he's sharing and keeping his activity rather low in efforts to feel closer to normal for the coming job. But now, feeling as well as can be expected, it's time to work. At the table, Devon's stripped down his handgun, pieces surrounded by a small stash of brushes and cleaners. It's been a while since he's even touched the weapon, he hasn't carried it in some weeks, but he may need it now. With careful practice, he scrubs a small brush down the length of the barrel, focus on the action marked by a knitting of his brow.

Elisabeth comes through from the bedroom areas, her long hair braided to keep it out of the way in the heat. The end swings about her hips, a tanktop and a pair of short shorts the only clothes she's wearing. The heat is damn near killing her — she's sleeping a lot herself. The sight of Devon messing with the guns, though, brings a more alert expression to her face. "What's up?" she asks.

It's early for Graeme to be arriving at the safehouse, but not particularly early. The teacher is dressed for work, in a button down shirt not all the way buttoned, slacks, hair as neatened as he can make it given that it hasn't been cut in well over a month and so it seems to take on a constantly messy appearance. He makes his way into the common room of the safehouse quietly, a couple of bags of groceries in hand, then disappearing into the kitchen for a little to go about putting things away. Mainly supplies such as coffee, chocolate, juice, snacks, things the safehouse goes through quickly enough that Graeme feels a small obligation to try and replace them as soon as they disappear from the storage areas.

A brow quirks up as he pauses in the doorway between the two rooms, before going back to his backpack and skateboard at one edge of the room, kneeling down to fuss through his bag in an attempt to allow Liz and Devon at least a semblance of privacy, though there's a nod of greeting to both of them.

"Jaiden and I are going to get pictures in Midtown," Devon answers quietly, rubbing a thumb over the lip of the barrel. "Last time I went out I wasn't entirely prepared. Don't know how much good it'll do, but it's better than nothing at all." His head comes up, eyes flicking off toward Graeme's entrance. "Just cleaning," the boy resumes as he looks back to Elisabeth, offering her a small grin. "Sorry, if I woke you?"

"You didn't," Elisabeth replies, her expression clearing slightly. If he's going with Jaiden, she'll trust that he will keep the boy in line. Though arming teenagers is not something she likes. She smiles faintly toward Graeme and nods a greeting. "Don't fuck around out there," she tells Devon seriously. "A contact has given me footage of the robots. And they're …. far, far worse than we thought. Do not engage. Run like hell."

The fact that Graeme is rummaging in his bag hides the frown reflected on his face at mention of the robots, in general, though both of them may be able to guess at it. Eventually, whatever he was straightening or finding is put away, though, and he wanders over towards both of them, leaning against a second spool-table and simply listening quietly.

The tone alone is sobering, the grin slipping away to be replaced with a small nod. "Yes ma'am," Devon says, equally serious. He wasn't planning on engaging anything, simply choosing to go in a little more prepared. His eyes flick toward Graeme, then drop to his task again, though his hands don't resume the work. Instead, the barrel and brush are placed on the tabletop amidst the rest of the parts and tools after a moment.

Elisabeth nods slightly and then heads for the kitchen to get coffee, her braid swinging with the movements. She doesn't miss the byplay between them and glances at Graeme with a quirked brow in silent query.

There's a moment where Graeme tilts his head to the side as Liz disappears into the other room, but then he turns to the teenager. "Seriously, do be careful out there," he says, not quite to Devon but more in general. Then he shrugs, looking down at one hand, which seems to still have spots of red paint dried on it, an aftermath of the evening before. "God damn it, I thought I got all of it off," he mutters, before beginning to scratch at it to try and get the paint off.

Devon's eyes lift to follow Liz's exit into the kitchen. He sighs and rakes a hand through his hair, then glances toward Graeme again. "Wasn't planning on being anything but careful," he points out, picking up the pieces to the firearm again. With a small frown, he begins fitting parts back together, pausing only to check the cleanliness of a spring or slide before moving on to the next. It takes little time for the weapon to be reassembled, with silence reigning, and soon the teen's hands pull back the slide to double check the cleared chamber. It's aimed to one side, a location that's not likely to have anyone hiding, and dry fires once before returning the gun to the table.

Graeme nods. "Alright," he cedes, quietly, before returning to stare at the paint on his hand. Eventually, most of it is scratched off, and Graeme is mainly thinking aloud. "Not as much of a disaster as it could have been, but it could have gone better, too. I mean, someone organising it was an idiot," he says, absently, before clarifying. "Went to that protest thing, yesterday, at the Esplanade, after work."

"And you all are worried about me being careful." Devon shakes his head and begins gathering up his cleaning supplies. Not that it changes the state much from the sprawl on the table's surface to a more contained jumble. He pulls a rag out of his back pocket and wipes at his fingers. The rag is set on the table and the tools moved onto it for easier carrying. He glances up at Graeme, then looks back to the kitchen. "Think she's still angry with me," the teen states, returning his attention to the teacher and tipping his head toward the otherwise occupied Elisabeth. "Good thing that's just paint. No sympathy around here if it were blood."

There's a snort. "I was careful," Graeme states blandly. "Just wanted to keep an eye on things, see if, whether or not there were people around who might be useful to us. But it turned into a mob pretty damn fast, and would have been pretty damn nasty if not for the FRONTLINE folks there." There's a brief grimace nonetheless, distaste for the state of things that was not shown at the protest itself and in the heat of the moment.

As she comes back into the room, Elisabeth looks startled at the information that Graeme was at that protest. She was listening, after all. And she slants Devon a Look. "I'm not still angry at you, and you did get sympathy," she says coolly. "I didn't cuff you on the back of the head." But then she offers him a faint smile. "I'm not mad. Just…. I need all of you to understand that I do not want any of you jumping in front of bullets for me. I'd rather be dead than live with that on my conscience. Seriously." She leans on the doorjamb, her blue eyes on Graeme. Almost avidly she asks, "How'd they do? The FRONTLINE unit?" Because they were hers. In a lot of ways, they still are.

Another shake of his head is Devon's response. "A protest isn't very good recruiting grounds. Think I'm hot headed, those people are like nitroglycerin." He pauses, hands twitching over the ends of the rag, and likely he's considering more to say until Elisabeth speaks up again. He looks over at her and nods, almost relenting. "Sorry," he says, once again more quietly, "not for keeping you from maybe getting shot, but for getting shot myself. And… for being a smart ass." The second half is added with a look toward the teacher, including him in it. Another tick of his gaze goes toward Liz, and the teen again lapses into silence, to let Graeme answer.

"It's more about knowing the general environment out there, Devon," Graeme says. "Basic social theory. Yes, most of them are hotheads, but I learned at least a few useful things, and it's much better than not knowing what's going on with the hotheads, because that does affect the general environment and such. Robyn Quinn was there. So was my cousin — Delia, though I didn't talk to her and don't think she saw me." Graeme frowns briefly, before continuing. "They did good, Liz," he says, with a genuine amount of respect in his voice as well. "There was a healer who was naïve enough to get on stage and show her ability, that's when the mob happened. But they kept it pretty damn under control, and even got things going again afterwards on a level keel."

Pride shows in Elisabeth's expression — she can't help it. She wants to see them succeed, and she'd like it if they could do it in ways that she'd have asked of them. That they are… yeah. She may have had nothing to do with that, but she's proud nonetheless. She looks down into her coffee cup, hiding the pang of loss. "Good," is what she says about FRONTLINE's actions. She's not sure what to say about the gathering… but she does move forward and ruffles Devon.

Devon toys with the edge of the rag while Graeme speaks, staring at a knot that disrupts the otherwise plain surface of the table. His musings of the information breaks when his hair is tousled, head tipping to look up at Elisabeth. A small grin tugs up one corner of his mouth. Then, "Why'd they riot when the healer displayed her ability," he asks, turning back to the teacher.

Graeme frowns a bit more. "Because it's less common, or people who have it are pretty quiet about that they do," Graeme says, after thinking about it for a moment and figuring out how to phrase it, "and everyone, or everyone and their mother, know someone who they think could benefit from it. So they beg the person with the ability, never give them a moment's peace." The frown becomes a grimace. "Because it's a miracle, or something like that." He sighs quietly. "It made the opposition get pretty riled up, too. Then I pretty much focused on getting myself and Monica out of there, rather than letting either of us get caught up in the rush before it got under control."

Elisabeth's own answer is perhaps less optimistic. "Because people are always desperate. For themselves, for a loved one. Healing is one of the most in demand abominations out there," she says softly. She sighs heavily and moves to sit at the spool with Devon.

He takes a few seconds to think over both answers, then Devon shakes his head. Instead of further response, his own thoughts edging toward the same bleakness, he glances to Elisabeth. One hand is lifted and placed lightly on her shoulder, meant to be a measure of comfort against the pessimism.

Graeme's silent for a long moment, as well, before he shrugs, quietly. "Pretty much," he agrees, before another shrug and falling silent once more, hands coming up to rub at his forehead. "I dunno," is the conclusion that Graeme eventually comes to, as well, before offering a tentative smile. "Should probably get off to work, or something. I'll be back later tonight, though. Or tomorrow, or something." A pause, before he begins to push himself to his feet, silent and tentative.

"I'm sorry," Elisabeth says. "I'm in quite a mood lately. I shouldn't take it out on all of you. Have a good day at work, Graeme," she tells him. "I'll be glad to see you."

"Later, Graeme," Devon calls after the older man. Then to Elisabeth, "You're allowed to be in a mood. Don't worry about it." He glances to the rag-wrapped tools and firearm on the spool, then places the former on top of the latter. "It's the heat and everything else, but we'll all get through it alive."

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