Pear Shaped


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title Pear Shaped
Synopsis Devon brings in the first report of the evenings operation, and Liz finds it not all that promising.
Date June 5, 2011

Endgame Safehouse

The ride over hadn't entertained much in the way of conversation. Devon couldn't hear well enough to hold up anything on his end and Remi seemed too panicked. The teenager had taken efforts to make sure there was no one following and the return trip to the safehouse passed uneventful. He even remembered to send a text ahead so their arrival could be expected.

The telepath had preceded the party into the house, and Devon left Melissa to handle things on her end. He was left to work his way up the stairs alone but for his thoughts, mind racing and replaying the scenario. Somewhere along the way he'd taken off his t-shirt, though blood had dripped enough from his face and ear to stain the lighter gray long sleeve below, but the short sleeved shirt has been pressed to the side of his head, staunching the oozing from his ear.

"Hello," the teen's voice lifts apprehensively after he's inside. Feet carry him upstairs, eyes watching the opening at the top for someone, anyone to appear.

Elisabeth was waiting for them when they arrived — and that they arrived safely was a huge load off her mind. But by the time Devon makes his way to the common area, she already knows things went pear-shaped. Remi's state was so bad Jaiden had to take her off to calm her. She's just setting a first aid kit down on the table when he finally joins her, and her blue eyes skim over him with a worried look. Not quite maternal but almost. "C'mere," the blonde invites. "Let me take a look."

A quick look through the common area of the house shows, well, nothing out of the ordinary. So Devon's attention turns to Liz. A bruised jaw and split lip meet her first, and a tear through the ear is revealed as the shirt is lowered. "He had back up," he explains, slightly louder than his usual volume, the sound to his own hearing still clouded by underwater-like distance and a high pitched whistle only he can hear. "I don't know if Remi got anything, and Melissa's …doing something. I'll text her later." He figures the pain manipulator's been through similar scenarios before and can handle herself.

The blonde nods and gestures him to sit down so she can see the extent of the damage. Elisabeth murmurs, "I gathered it went poorly." Her hands are gentle as she turns his face so she can get a better look at his ear, which seems to be the worst of it. "Tell me the short version," she invites.

Devon flinches, oddly adolescent as hands near his damaged ear. He might resist the urge to pull away, but only just. "They got into position, I went in to start questions. Valentin pulled a gun and then fired a shot when Melissa laid on the pain. Somewhere another person showed up outside. I tried to get the gun away and… something… happened. Valentin… went one way, the gun another. From there it's kind of…" He shakes his head slightly, eyes slanting toward Liz.

In short, he'd manifested something. Done something that he can't even explain. And that fact sits both troubling and confusing within the botched mission.

"We exchanged fire," the boy supplements, looking away again. "Valentin got away. Melissa said something that… I couldn't hear. I just grabbed Remi and we got out of there. All of us."

Her brows pull together as she brings out alcohol wipes. They're going to sting like a mother. Dabbing gently at the ear area as she listens, Elisabeth's frown is thoughtful. "Wait… your ears are ringing? From what? Gundfire?" she asks. And then it occurs to her to ask, "What happened that sent Valentin away from his gun?"

It stings. And like a mother is too nice a phrase. The teenager makes a noise somewhere between a cry and a growl, his head pulling away from the ministrations. "From gunfire," he agrees, eyes squeezed shut, "it's getting better." He hesitates to think over the question. What had happened? "I grabbed his wrist and the gun and tried to get it away from him. Then… something just… shifted. I don't know how to explain it but Valentin went flying."

Elisabeth cleans the cut, clucking softly. "Quit that. Just hold still and I'll tape it up. It's just a graze," she tells him in exasperation. But she's quiet on the 'what happened' part until she's actually taping. "What shifted?" is what she asks.

"It hurts," Devon states. But he doesn't entirely pull away again, instead turning to focus on pressing his teeth into his lower lip in typical distraction method. "Something," he repeats, sounding as much at a loss for what it was as before. "Like… I don't know. I could… I could change his movement?" But that's not exactly correct either. "It was more like I pushed him away, or threw him. But I… it wasn't physical."

Oh Christ. Elisabeth's fingers pause in their motion and then resume, butterfly taping the graze. Then she steps around in front of him. "Push me away," she instructs him, and very deliberately puts the alcohol-soaked cotton on his split lip.

Simultaneously, as the sting bites into the split in his lip, Devon's hand shoots up to grab hold if Liz's wrist. He can feel it distantly, the shift, the change in dynamics. The certain amount of control he could have if he focused just a few seconds longer. It shows in a flash of fear mixed with instinctive understanding. The same as had passed when he made the connection with Valentin. But what it is he doesn't know. And if he can repeat the experience from earlier in the evening?

The moment passes and the teenager gently pushes the hand and cotton swab away from his face. Breaking the physical contact there's no forceful push as he'd demonstrated in that abandoned warehouse. That force, he can't quite reach no matter how much the intentional sting might have angered or goaded him. Devon's head gives a small shake, though his eyes remain on Elisabeth. She'd feel a slight pushing, as an unseen force is trying to lift her, or move her. It cuts off abruptly as he hangs his head between his shoulders, one hand lifting to rake through his hair. "Can't do it."

Elisabeth smiles faintly. "Yeah… you can," she says quietly. "It's a matter of tapping it." She holds very still in his hands until she's sure he has control of it, her blue eyes on him thoughtfully. And then she carefully cleans the rest of his scrapes up. "I'm trying to think who we have with a telekinetic ability who might be able to help you access it better. Rather than with just your emotions. Until you can do it when you want to, I would be very careful about getting too angry or worked up. My first manifestation was to essentially throw a group of men against the wall with sound waves. No one knew about Evos back then, and it was chalked up to their panic and a crumbling wall."

Devon sits marginally more patiently through the rest of the cleaning, though he refuses to look at Liz again. For the moment. His arms fold over his chest, jaw setting with a hint of stubbornness and anxiety. Whatever force he'd used to throw Valentin, seems pretty well gone now in his mind. And outwardly his emotions are kept in check. Inwardly is another story.

In afterthought, he lifts a hand to touch his ear, fingers finding tape in place of the tear. "What happens now," he asks, voice not quite grating through resignation for the evenings failure. Poised with the question, Devon's eyes lift to Liz, face setting into expression she'd seen last time he'd fired a gun.

The blonde is regretful. "I should never have asked you to go — you were the one they already knew about, but… I'm reasonably sure at this point that your identity is compromised. So the places that you stay, the people they know you know? They're all at risk. They'll be looking to grab you. Find out who it was you were running with last night." She sighs. "Did you get any names for the rest of Valentin's cadre?"

"Maybe Remi did," Devon says with a defeated shake of his head. "Or Melissa." He scrubs a hand over his face, ending with his palm cradling his forehead, supported by an elbow resting against his knee. "I went because it was made sense for me to go. You didn't ask me to do anything I wasn't already prepared for to some level. They, Melissa and Remi, shouldn't have gone. Remi's not a fighter and Melissa has… I shouldn't have let her go. I shouldn't have agreed to her coming with me."

"Yeah… Remi was so freaked out when she came in, I didn't want to stop her. Jaiden whisked her out to calm her down," Elisabeth says. "I'll ask her and Melissa when they settle some." She looks toward the doorway and then sighs heavily squatting in front of him with her elbows on her knees, hands clasped. "Devon… Melissa is probably far more combatant than you might like to give her credit for. She's been doing this a long time. Remi…. " Her lips firm into a line. "I had to think long and hard before sending her with you, but the opportunities presented by you having a telepath in that conversation outweighed the risks. What I should have fucking done is send someone else with you to cover your asses. Remi said something about negation gas. Normally I would have had a sniper standing by, but … right now my two best are out of the picture and I didn't want to send any additional bodies too close in case it tipped them off." She grimaces. "I'm sorry. I underestimated what Valentin had at his disposal. It won't happen again." Her blue eyes are neutral and calm on that.

The teenager's head gives a firm shake. It was his idea to contact the man in the first place. "If anyone underestimated anything, it was me," he states simply enough. "And I know about Melissa's ability. Both… genetic and proven track record." His brows draw together and his head gives another shake, the hand holding it up falling away as he meets her gaze. "I didn't want her to risk it, not to protect her but someone else. She might lose that permanently now."

Shit. Elisabeth's breath hisses out between her teeth in a heavy sigh. "I'm sorry," she says quietly. Her tone, however, is pragmatic. "She made the choice. She volunteered to go. You have to understand, Devon… we're all making tough choices. Choices that we don't want to make. This is not a situation that is going to get better overnight. The most we can hope for is to make a difference … to hope that our actions will bear fruit later down the line. We're adults, and we're capable of weighing the consequences of our actions. You are the one who only has 16 years of experience to draw on when making those decisions. And I'm not discounting the lessons you've learned in the past year…. but don't take responsibility for other people's choices either." She is the voice of experience on this one — it's why she let him run with it when the situation with Valentin presented itself. "If I'd told you not to make the meeting, it wouldn't have been because I didn't think you could handle yourself — it would have been because I had a plan to make it work a certain way."

Devon's lips press together, thinning in his efforts to stave off further arguments from himself. He sees himself as responsible for the task and the outcome that will inevitably follow, it's hard to see it from the other side. And the effort only frustrates him further. "I'm sorry I failed to bring in anything," he offers instead. "I don't know what to do at this point. I didn't expect… much to come but… not that."

She remains squatted in front of him, looking up into his face. Young as he is, …. this is war. "Do you think that everything I do is a success, Devon?" Elisabeth asks softly. She's not being sarcastic or even mean — she's asking him a genuine question.

"No," Devon returns, all in honesty. No snark or humor, just understanding for how she herself ended up in hiding. He lets out a slow breath, head lowering again to rest in his palm. "So what's the next move?"

Elisabeth smiles. "Well, that's a good thing. I'd hate to be on a pedestal in your eyes. But … to tell you something maybe you didn't know about the choices I made…. there was a different set of plans in place. For all of this." Her gaze is steady on them, but there's a wealth of pain in her expression that is visible for only a moment before she hides it. "What I did — to try to help the Ferry? It destroyed every one of them. It was a risk, but I thought the risk worth taking if the Ferry got their two guys back. Their guys weren't even at the site, it was strictly a way of fishing for me. And I took the bait, hook, line, and sinker." She shrugs a little. "What you did? It was a risk. But the possibilities that it offered were worth it. That it didn't turn out? It just is what it is." She moves to stand up, her knees popping. Oh, ow. She's getting too old for that shit. She reaches out and ruffles his hair. "The next move….."

There's a pause and her head turns toward the stairwell. She goes taut, her hand slipping to the back of her waistband until the new arrival appears in the door.

"Don't even know if the benefits outweighed the risks," Devon admits. "Of if it made things worse." He sighs, taking what comfort he can, the hair ruffle, that Liz isn't perfect. His hand drops again, head tilting to watch her. His head swivels as Elisabeth's demeanor changes, wariness coursing through, apprehension though he's sure they weren't followed. And while he doesn't have a gun to reach for at the moment, he stands and looks ready to do… something.

"Hey." The slow, southwestern drawl calls up, not particularly loud, but Graeme is loud enough to be certain that the audiokinetic can hear him. "It's just me." He's later than he usually is when he's come by the safehouse, and it probably means that he won't risk the venture of heading back to the bookstore tonight. Safer to stay, when he runs late, anyway, and it's why he's got a sleeping bag stashed in one of the empty rooms of the safehouse. There's a pause, and another question before he even reaches the door. "What's going on?"

Then the teacher actually reaches the doorway, eyes glancing between Devon and Liz. "Hey you," is directed at Liz, affectionate a little, and Graeme turns to Devon, worry creasing lines in his face that are otherwise absent. "Hey Devon." Another pause. "What …" It's not quite a question, but Graeme's been mostly out of touch since Friday afternoon, spending the weekend quietly at the bookstore and not answering his phone. And there's some frustration evident in his voice, annoyance that he's let himself get even this much out of the loop of things, though it doesn't help that he's been the one not checking in. The question is attempted again, though. "What happened?" The worry is evident in his voice, as well, as he moves to drop the messenger bag and skateboard at one side of the room before perching on a wire spool and waiting for an answer.

Blowing out a breath as Graeme becomes visible in the doorway, Elisabeth relaxes visibly. Her expression eases from the wary one and her hand comes away from the butt of the pistol at her waist. "We had to set up a fast operation and it went pear-shaped fast," the blonde tells him, shoving the vivid purple streak at the front of her hair behind her ear. "Remi's freaked and Melissa Pierce is around the safe house."

A glance slants toward Liz after Graeme appears, and a beat later Devon sinks back into his seat. He's still a little on edge. Just a bit. But it's been an exciting night. "Valentin had back up," he adds. "I didn't hang around to ask who he was." Elbows rest against his knees, head lowering to hang between his shoulders. "We were just talking about what to do next."

Graeme nods. "Shit." There's a pause, and brief annoyance flashes on his face, probably kicking himself for his own lack of recent communication. "And damn it. I've been at the bookstore, most of the weekend. Staying in, some." That's all that he has to say, for the moment, though, and he looks at Devon, appraising the teenager's apparently worse for the wear condition. "Aside from that," and the teacher nods his head in Devon's direction, "did we all get out alright?"

"Yeah," Elisabeth says. "Scrapes, bruises, stuff like that it seems like. Negation gas. Remi was freaked over being negated, I think, more than anything else. Jaiden's debriefing her, and Melissa will poke her head out in a while, I'm sure." She shrugs a little. Unfortunately, if Valentin had any intel to offer, we've blown our chance to get it, most likely. But that's okay. We're no worse off than we were before. So we didn't gain anything, and the only thing that was lost was that Devon's on the wanted list now. So he'll be a fulltime resident."

"Everyone's fine." Another vague interjection lifts from Devon, and a statement that includes himself. He sighs and lifts his head, splitting a look between Elisabeth and Graeme. "Valentin's got a name to go with the face. Saving grace could be that no one knows where I live. One good thing that came out of the Dome. I guess."

Greame just nods, quietly. "Can't blame her," is what he settles on saying. "Hell, you know how much I freak over negation." But the worry on his face doesn't go away, like fine is a word that Graeme doesn't know whether or not to believe, especially coming from the teenager. "And just too bad you didn't get a good shot at Valentin." There's a pause, and Graeme looks to Liz. "I'm leaving in the morning," he adds. "Aric will kill me if I tempt fate and curfew one more time, he'd much rather I just stay over. So whoever was supposed to have watch tonight can get some sleep. Because yeah."

Elisabeth's smile takes on knowing sort of amusement. "All right," she acquiesces easily. "Why don't you get Devon settled while I see what I can learn about the rest of the people in this insane asylum." She rolls her eyes. "After which, I for one will be thrilled to turn over the watch."

"Thanks," Devon calls after Liz, looking something more like the youth he truly is for the moment, rather than the adult he typically acts like. A hand drags over his head, fingers raking through his hair as he shoots a look to Graeme, catching that worried shadow. He knows that look, just as he knows the questions that will follow. The teen just shakes his head again, saying, "It's fine."

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