People Get Scared


devon2_icon.gif graeme2_icon.gif

Scene Title People Get Scared
Synopsis Not exactly the warming welcome after assisting in rescuing a couple of families from their burning homes.
Date July 2, 2011

Skinny Brickfront : Endgame Safehouse

The night had passed without Devon haunting the safehouse. He hadn't been seen yesterday afternoon, but he'd let people know he would be going out with promises to be back before curfew. That promise was broken, curfew coming and going without him back indoors, though a text had made its way through to Liz. The teenager sent word, he'd been delayed and will return when curfew is lifted, he's safe and okay.

It wasn't a pleasant night outside the safehouse. The heat of the daytime had fled and left a chill that didn't aid in sleeping. Likewise, the boy found himself plagued with a cough that left his throat raw and voice hoarse and even breathless at times. In short, it was a night that felt like an eternity for Devon who'd hidden himself down an access road, wedged between a dumpster and the service door of a business.

Only moments after the hour ticked over when people could access the streets legally again, Devon eased himself out of hiding and began the rest of the journey home. The chilly, sleepless night and the cough that still shakes him have left their mark in hunched shoulders and lagging steps. But the boy makes it home without further incident, announced by the sound of his entry and approach up the main stairs.

And in turn, despite protests, Graeme had dodged curfew himself to go from the bookstore to the safehouse when Liz had in turn texted him. And so, it's Graeme that's sitting awake in a camp chair, book in his lap and a blanket draped against the chill, waiting, a frown worriedly etching onto his brow even if the book is the happier tales of Winnie the Pooh at the House on Pooh Corner. As the teenager enters, a hand has gone up to push at his hair and brow, book momentarily put down in favour of worry. "Devon?" It's a question, because unlike some of the other residents of the safehouse, Graeme has no omniscient way of knowing just who it is that is coming. "You okay?"

A little dirty, soot smudged on skin and clothing, but Devon nods to the query. "I'm fine," he answers, and despite the choice in wording it's actually honest and not simply a cover up. Further explanation has to wait as he coughs into the bend of his elbow and turns for the kitchen to find a bottle of water. Then, rough sounding as ever with vocal cords seeming to be on strike from the abuse, he speaks again. "Some neighborhood watch decided to try and burn out a couple of families, because one of them was sick." With the flu, goes unsaid. The teen's fingers wrap around a bottle of water before he reappears at the kitchen doorway.

Graeme's book is closed, put aside, and he nods, giving the teenager the space that he needs. "People get scared," he says, though that as much as goes unsaid, really. And there's a definite approval on the teacher's face, as well, he can guess as much as to at least some of the teenager's actions. "You should get a change of clothes," Graeme adds, "and get rid of those. And a shower, as soon as Jaiden has a chance. As a priority." It's said with that same worried frown still returning to his face, not banished simply for the teenager having made it back to the safehouse.

He should shower, and even as Devon twists off the cap to the water he nods agreement. He stinks of smoke from the burning house. The rest of the teacher's words are almost brushed off, filed away as secondary to cleansing his pallet with a drink of water and finding sleep. The bottle pauses half way to his mouth and he becomes all too aware of the bloody stains one one shoulder and against his back, evidence of his rescue of a sick child. "Shit," he sighs, the word chased with a series of coughs. "Guess…" The thought isn't completed, the boy simply turning to make his weary way up the stairs and to the roof, careful to keep from touching anything more.

It takes a bit before Graeme follows, because first he chooses to grab a bottle of water for himself and a large plastic trashbag, and then to go to the room that he sometimes shares with Devon and Melissa, grabbing a full and complete change of clothing for the teenager. Only then does he follow, though there's a faint and hidden sadness as he keeps his distance, even when he would usually go and rest his hand on Devon's shoulder or something. "Brought you clothes," he says, quietly.

Up on the roof, Devon's acquired a stance that comes all too easily for him. Alone, keeping himself separate from the rest of the house while he stands in as a plaguebearer. He's placed himself a fair distance from the stairwell, in sight for those who'd come up and near the edge where he can see the streets below. Graeme's voice bids the teen to look over his shoulder. "Thanks," he says to the teacher, scrubbing at his smudged face with an equally grubby hand. Knees bending slightly allow him to put his water onto the ground before he approaches to take the change of clothing.

Respectfully, Graeme steps back from the clothing that he's put down to let Devon have at it, though there's a frown on his face as he tries to figure out what will come next. "Change." It's an order, more than a request, given the state of the teenager's clothing and appearance, and then, to afford the teenager at least a semblance of privacy in the open air of the roof, Graeme turns around, back a few steps, sitting down and cracking open the water bottle to take a long sip.

A twitch of Devon's brow is the initial response to the order, though he takes up the clothing wordlessly and turns away to change. Pressing his lips together while failing at suppressing another coughing fit, he swaps out soiled clothing for clean. It does some to make his appearance less dingy once he's changed, though soot still clings in smears upon his skin. The clothing he'd worn the night before is pushed into a pile with his foot while the teenager allows for a more releasing spasm of cough into the bend of his elbow. "Thanks," he repeats, looking over his shoulder to Graeme briefly, then down and away, focusing on the clothes he'd just removed.

There's a nod from Graeme, and then the black plastic bag is offered. "Put the old things in this." It's offered such that Devon doesn't need to come too close, and without further comment, until Graeme does eventually turn to make sure that Devon's actually obeying the second order.

Another twitch of his brow follows, with this one leaving faint creases in its wake. However, Devon takes the bag without comment or question. Pushing his hands into the bottom of the bag, the clothing is gathered without further soiling his hands. Then, popping out his elbows, the plastic is maneuvered to wrap around and enclose the discarded articles and finally tied off inside. "I'm not sick," he states in a tone that could be considered flat if not for the hoarseness, a look slanting toward Graeme as the knot is pulled tight. "Ran into the burning houses to get everyone out."

"Didn't say you were," Graeme states, mildly. "Just that your clothing is contaminated and should be disposed of." It's not chastising, really, just said simply, quietly. "Leave it at the side, we'll figure what to do with it at some point later."

With another sigh, this one exhaled through the teen's nose with lips pressed together, he carries the sealed bag a few steps from the stairwell and sets it upon the ground. Another glance toward Graeme, then away again, next has him folding his arms over his chest. "I was a little too far to make it back here before curfew and make sure I wasn't followed. Cops were called in and… I was just looking out for everyone here."

Graeme nods, slowly. "I know," he acknowledges, still quiet, moving to sit on an outcropping of cement. "It's no big deal. I'm glad you made it back, is all." He'll leave out the part where he did stay up most of the night waiting.

There's a moment of uncertainty, Devon glancing toward Graeme again and seeming almost on the verge of joining the older man. But he relents to the distance he perceives the teacher wanting. Or requiring. Instead, he drags a foot across the rooftop and ends by placing a couple more steps between himself and the other. Silence follows, only to be broke briefly as the boy half forms some thought into word then decides against it, clearing his throat instead, and feeling ever so much like a kid who hadn't called home when breaking curfew and had no excuse for it.

"You did the right thing, you know," Graeme says. Even without real knowledge of what the teenager did, there's some amount of confidence in his voice as to that. Then Graeme falls silent once again, with only a faint smile on his face. "Want me to bring you coffee and such when the next pot is ready?" The question comes after several minutes with a bit of a wry tone to Graeme's words, though no hint that doing such is anything out of the ordinary."

There wasn't any doubt that what Devon had done was the right thing. In his mind anyway. He nods slightly all the same, accepting the words as humbled praise. He sinks, sitting on the rooftop with legs crossed at the ankle and knees kept upward by his arms. Hands clasp before him and eyes close for a long moment. "Coffee would be good," he says, eyes coming open and lifting to Graeme. "…Sorry if I made you or Liz worry."

There's another pause, and then Graeme just shrugs it off in faint silence. "I worry rather easily," the teacher admits with a bit of a smile. "I suppose if I'm to bring you coffee I ought to go down and see that some actually gets made."

A glance around draws Devon toward a less crumbled section of wall even further from the stairwell. "Yeah," he agrees quietly, hands and feet pushing himself until his back comes to rest against the stone surface. His arms fold over his chest as he slouches, head next dropping back until it's laying against the walling, giving no sign of plans to go anywhere until he can be sanitized. And seeming resigned to the again isolation he's found himself in. The boy murmurs something of thanks, the words chopped and broken by coughing that begins mildly but deepens quickly, for all that it lasts only a handful of seconds.

With a sigh that follows the fit, Devon settles himself again. His eyes close, then open again in a long blink, then drift shut once more. His shoulders give a slight shrug, posture shifting a fraction with the movement, but he doesn't open his eyes and look toward the teacher again.

There's still a worried frown on Graeme's face, but the teacher's up, standing, walking down the staircase back into the safehouse, back to the teenager before the full expression of worry truly shows. Back to watch, and coffee, and as soon as people start to rise, spreading the news and seeing what is to be done, and at some point, bringing back up the promised coffee.

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