Small Moments


devon2_icon.gif emily_icon.gif

Scene Title Small Moments
Synopsis In a chaotic world, it's the small moments you need to grab before they disappear.
Date May 6, 2019

Red Hook - Ferry docks and general marketplace spaces.

Usually it's a text message. A quick note just to say hi, an anecdote about the day, real interest in her day. Today Dev decided to call. It's only a little out of the ordinary.

The ringing is the hard part. Having to wait for a voice on the other end to interrupt the electronic, pulsating sound. “Please answer, please answer.” Devon's voice is a whisper, hopeful. More likely there won't be an answer. Most likely Emily is ensconced in work doing whatever it is SESA has her doing and because of that she won't answer.

He hopes she will anyway.

1 missed call
Devon - 4:23 pm

It's worse when it goes to voicemail. Keeping the disappointment from his voice isn't difficult. Masking is like second nature again, especially when he's talking to no one.

1 new voicemail
Devon - 4:24 pm
Hey, sorry to call while you're at work. I'll… meet you after, at the dock.

After ending the call, Dev drops his phone into his pocket. He probably could have just texted.

Too late now.

5:17 pm, April 29, 2019

New York Harbor, New York Safe Zone

Not far from the ramp that connects plankways and docks to the harbor are benches for those waiting to embark to Governor’s Island or beyond. Goods sometimes come through, but rarely. This particular port is most often utilized for the transportation of people. So there are benches, places to sit that offer views of the river that are better than those views than nearby Red Hook. It's very industrial just to the north, not as much here.

A few seats are taken. A family with a tween-aged daughter sits with their backs to the slowly sinking sun. It looks like they're having a fun time too. Dad looks disgruntled with embarrassment and mom looks like she'll murder the next person to even hiccup, while sweet daughter between them has on the best sulk. It's unfortunate to have missed what preceded that picturesque scene because it looks like a chapter out of Days of Our Lives.

Not far away from the family, two old codgers argue about the days before. “The ‘56 had the eight inch fins. It was a metallic powder blue, and — ” “And I'm telling you, the metallic blue didn't come out until ‘58. It was the same year as Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor.” “Elizabeth Taylor, now she was something else…”

Interesting, if you feel like trying to follow the wandering ramblings of old men.

Devon, as promised, is seated on a bench alone. His is partially facing the dock, but further from the ramp than the others. It's nice enough out that jeans and a long sleeve would be comfortable. He's got the jeans, but opted for a zippered hoodie and a lightweight jacket. He's got half his attention on the two old men only because he can hear them — the family is too far away to hear if they start up again — but he's looking toward the ramp often enough. He's waiting for someone after all.

The ferry is nowhere in sight when Devon notes the sound of footsteps headed directly for him, brisk in pace. Emily is out of breath, the bus line and the ferry docks not remotely close enough to each other for her liking. Her bookbag hangs off of one shoulder, not even slung on properly. “Dev?” she calls out to him when she see him starts to turn. “What’s wrong?”

She’d tried giving him a call back, but the lines hadn’t agreed with her. She could have just texted, of course, but something felt off in the tone of voice left on her voicemail. So she tried calling, repeatedly, and didn’t bother leaving a message and—

Well, now she’s here, out of breath with a worried look on her face. Also having booked it out of her last class for the day without waiting for it to finish.

“Tuesdays,” she explains, hopefully before he gets around to wondering. “Thursdays, and Fridays. Some other exceptions. But they mostly — around my class schedule—” Which was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Emily would say as much, but she’s out of breath. Her gaze darts over him, trying to read his mood in the quick onceover. She jogs the last few steps to the bench, her gait tapering off into a heavy-footed stop as she waits to see if this is going to be a standing conversation or a sit down one. Even with all her movement, concern that it might be the latter shows in her gaze. “The fucking line wouldn’t put me through,” she apologizes as she gets her breath back. “Is everything all right?”

He seems okay, really okay, if surprised to see her coming from the wrong direction. Just the idle look of someone waiting with a small touch of confusion. But that clears up when Emily explains her schedule. His days aren’t mixed up — he’s still missing the time from mid January to the end of March, it simply doesn’t exist — but schedules are a thing that are more easily confused. Devon smiles, and it’s meant to put all her worries to rest. Or, at the very least, the newest ones.

“Yeah, sorry.” Answer and apology are given as he stands, smile wilting slightly over the worry it’s meant to fix. “Everything’s good. I just felt like calling instead. I’m sorry, I should have left a longer message.” Or texted. “I just… wanted to walk you home. We could hang out a while if you’re not busy. Maybe grab some food.”

His eyebrows tick upward a little, hopeful. “If you can’t…” He understands also the homework that often comes with college courses. It’s not enough to be required to sit through lectures and lessons, but then to have hours of work after to prove understanding. Dev’ll still walk her home anyway.

Her shoulders slope at such an angle with relief that her bag starts to slip. Emily looks away, letting it happen and catching the bag in the crook of her now-bent arm while she breathes out. Everything being fine is something she's still not used to, a reality that seems unreal. There's a solemn moment where she mentally takes her worry, balls it up, and hurls it into the East River while she watches the ferry from Governor's Island slowly chug toward the docks.

It takes a moment for the decompression to take place, during which she reslings her bag over her shoulder, but she gives him a faint smile as she looks back, trying to show him she's okay, too. Nevermind the flutter of her heart, adrenaline still demanding it to pump heavily.

At the risk of sounding like a tired record, she lets out a quiet laugh. “That's a long fucking walk, Devon.” Her smile warms slightly, holds as she remembers the last time she said it, and then she pushes through any anxiety the memory might hold to reach for his hand. She squeezes it gently, nodding back in the direction of the road.

“Where to?” she asks softer than before. “There's a pizza place down by the bridge, if you can't think of anything.” What was left of the bridge, anyway.

As Emily looks away, Devon reaches toward her. He gets as far as lightly touching her arm, supportive but not meant to interrupt the moment of self collection. “I’m sorry I made you worry,” he whispers the apology this time, with concern now etching across his features.

His hand falls away when she turns back to him, and he nearly laughs himself at the statement that follows. There’s some dark humor attached to that, but he errs on the lighter side and grins instead. “It’s good weather for walking,” he points out easily, motioning with his free hand toward the late afternoon sun.

Ambling in the direction of the road, Dev’s head bobs easily with a nod. Pizza sounds great to him right now. “Let’s start there,” he suggests. His hand tightens around hers, and leans to bump lightly into her shoulder. “Maybe we should just snack our way home. We could start at the pizza place, and work through the eateries. Try some strange things.” There’s bound to be strange dishes these days.

Her smile had faded, but it claws its way back over her, wry and amused. They’d had some pretty weird things to eat in Yamagato Park, after all. “Start our own road show,” Emily suggests quietly, over-earnest. She glances at him knowingly out of the corner of her eye, shouldering him back with a nudge. “Devon and Emily’s Culinary Adventures.” She looks away, posture straightening. Her chin lifts just so as she declares, “It’d be a huge hit! But I draw the line at like … bugs, and stuff. Plenty of other idiots on TV who can handle sampling that cuisine on our behalf.” Still very self-assured about it all, she nods briskly … before her facade and act finally crack and she lets out a snicker, pressing the back of her knuckles to her mouth and ducking her head. She chuckles into the back of her hand, gaze warming.

“I don’t know,” she says a bit more honestly, airily. Her hand swings along with his, the humor doing good for her nerves. “Pizza can get pretty heavy on its own.” Once they hit the street, she indicates that they need to head north with a nod of her head in that direction, feet steering that way as well. “But I’d not be opposed to dessert of some kind.”

His head tilts when she bumps back, and Devon looks over with a grin. It's kind of an absurd idea, but that's what makes it fun. And seeing Emily run with it gives him some happy feelings. “Bugs aren't so bad,” he interjects with a chuckle. He can't be serious though. “The crunchy ones I mean. It's the squishy kind that aren't so great.” Is he serious?

It's hard to tell.

“We could split a slice.” The suggestion makes sense, most pizza slices are a meal unto themselves. He turns as she indicates the direction to go, and lifts his attention forward, thoughtful. “Then get dessert. Pastries? Has anyone figured out how to keep ice cream in good supply?”

“Oh my god, no,” Emily groans when he insists that bugs aren’t bad. Her head tilts back toward the sky. “Things didn’t get bad enough that we were eating bugs when literally the entire country was falling apart— there’s no way you’d be able to get me to eat them now, either.” She’s very insistent about it for how light her gaze is, unmoving from the path ahead. It’s all in good fun, after all.

As for ice cream, she lets out a snorted breath. “I mean, just find some place that’s got constant power. There’s probably some bougie crepe and ice cream parlor that’s opened in up in Red Hook, or somewhere down at Yamagato …” Emily tips one shoulder into a shrug. “Though, luckily, we’re headed in the right direction for all that. Small miracles, and all that.”

After a beat, she adds with a touch more thought, “So like, Red Hook, Yamagato, and maybe there’s also an ice cream joint run by a cryokinetic.”

Despite how their reality has changed, it still feels weird to Emily to casually throw a phrase like that out. For it to be real. Strange times they all lived in.

“Yamagato, I bet.” Although Red Hook would have an equally interesting assortment of treats. For a moment, Devon wonders why not visit both. “Guess we’re making more than one dessert stop.” It’s both a question as well as a suggestion, somewhere in the middle, seeking input as well as voicing opinion.

“Cryokinetics would make a killing during the summer.” He remembers the last summer he’d spent in the city, with temperatures exceeding dangerous levels, more than one fire hydrant on the block cracked open in an effort to cool off. “The snow cones they could make just out of pure will.”

Looking at Emily again, Devon gives her another small bump against her shoulder. “So how’s it with SESA? Is it all Men In Black like? Super secretive with fancy gadgets?”

Emily gives the thought of multiple trips a long, hard consideration. She hesitantly shakes her head after. “I’ll need to be getting home before we could probably do all that. Bus routes, and all…” she ends in a mutter, peering off at nothing. It’d be nice to spend a spontaneous night out, but not when she had to be up and going in the morning. Be back here, even.

The nudge to her shoulder pulls her from her brooding and she turns back his way, expression vacant for a beat before she comes back to the moment, a small smirk at his leading questions. “It’s boring as fuck, Dev,” she pronounces before looking forward again, scuffing her shoe against the ground for emphasis at just how depressingly boring it is. “I’d love to tell you it’s like that, but honestly? Most of the time it’s literally just running files.”

“Sounds right.” In spite of his hope that it wasn't — SESA being the organization they are — Devon knows what to expect with internships. Especially in the beginning months. Depressingly boring is about as accurate a statement as there was. He chuckles in shared misery.

“Before the war, I was an intern for Brad Russo.” It evolved eventually, but it took a while of stumbling through awkward learning periods and a major catastrophic event. “At Studio K. Most of my job consisted of fetching coffee, dry cleaning, and putting up with verbal mockery from Kristen Reynolds and her pet ape Dirk.”

Dev’s hand gives Emily’s a squeeze of encouragement. “Just stick with it. I bet you'll be given more to do before you know it. I mean… they likely have people on payroll just to file papers. They're probably just trying to see how much you'll put up with.”

Her brow lifts when he mentions he was an intern in the past — and for who. There’s a slow to her pace for just a moment before it resumes, her eyes flitting down for a moment in thought before they come back up. When Devon squeezes her hand, Emily turns her head slightly toward him with a small smile. “I mean, I don’t doubt that for a moment,” she picks the conversational thread back up effortlessly. “There’s a ton of paperwork that flies around there. There’s plenty of administrative shit to keep people busy endlessly there, and that’s before actual casework comes up.”

She looks ahead again, letting out a slow exhale. “Though, Benjamin Ryans is working over there now, and he knows I’m there. I let him know if he needs anything…”

Emily lifts her shoulders, absent in thought. “I don’t know, maybe he’ll remember it.”

As Emily’s pace slows, Devon matches it without questioning the reason. His glance at her is concerned, but he leaves it at the look. He might think on it later and ask if she’d heard of Brad Russo. Most people had, but not many can actually claim to have worked for him.

Learning that Ben Ryans is working for SESA brings a look of surprise of his own. “That guy’s never going to retire,” he muses, shaking his head. “He’s a good man, though. Lots of experience, wish I’d been able to work with him during the war. Probably teach you a lot more off the books than you’ll learn on.”

Tilting his head slightly, Dev looks from Emily to the storefronts they’re wandering closer to. “You know what I’m going to get when we find this pizza place is a slice of pepperoni. Nothing else, just cheese and sauce and pepperoni.” His eyes tick over to look at her, one corner of his mouth curling up into a grin. “But I might ask if they have some bugs too. Little garnishing, you know?”

Emily lets out a note of acknowledgment that she could likely learn a lot from the older agent. “He was… he worked with the Ferry, yeah.” she says more for her own benefit than Devon's. It sounded like he was well-aware of that. She shakes her head, trying to move on from the thought. His segue into the food is a perfect distraction, and she lets out a hum of interest at the thought of pepperoni pizza.

And lets go of his hand to shove his arm at the thought of crispy bug garnishing.

“Oh my god, no,” she laughs despite herself. “They're not like fucking paprika flakes, Devon!” Emily's cheeks start to color as she sees someone turn back to look at the sound of the commotion, turning her face away and attempting to pretend like it wasn't her who had just yelled.

A snort of laughter escapes her anyway.

The shove is totally worth enduring, and Devon laughs at her reaction to the joke while he staggers a couple of steps. Worth it even more if he could get bugs on a pizza. Let’s be real, he’d probably try it too. So long as it’s crunchy bugs and not squishy ones. The curious looks directed their way are ignored. Let them wonder at the outburst he caused. Their fun isn’t hurting anyone.

Stepping closer, he loops an arm around Emily’s shoulders. “Okay, but seriously. Pepperoni pizza.” He motions up ahead, even though it’s only just the storefronts, but imagine for a second the imagery of the most perfect slice of pizza. Pepperonis and melted cheese, dripping with delicious flavor — that’s flavor not grease. “Without bugs,” he asides with a grin.

“Then.” His hand moves to the side, directing up the road and toward Yamagato. Toward Red Hook. Toward more food. “Desserts on the way home.” To her home, where Dev’ll see her off then start the trek to his pops’ apartment.

Emily grumbles as Devon wraps his arm back around her shoulder, on the alert for him making any more jokes worth overreacting at. She settles and gives him a wary look at his promise of no bugs, but is more on board by the time desserts are promised. Looking ahead, then looking back, she narrows her eyes at it all. Her gaze sharpens. “Desserts on the way home,” she agrees with serious air, her mood seeming to improve despite the disgruntled note still in her voice.

Her step is sure. Her smiles come easier. There's a light in her eyes that isn't normally there, when he's around.

Emily leans her shoulder into his side, head lying against him while they walk.

«some fancy place with ice cream??»

Red Hook

“Okay,” Emily pronounces, dabbing at her hand with a napkin to stop a steady drip of ice cream in its tracks. She quickly takes a bite to try and stave the cone off from making any more of a mess it already has. “This is worth it.”

She's sitting next to Devon on the retaining wall between the sidewalk and a greenspace, toes swaying just above the concrete. The streetlights have come on, the skies red with the disappearing sun. Behind them, somewhere in the trees, nighttime bugs are beginning to chirp. It's a pleasant evening. Perfect, even.

Emily flashes a brief, but warm smile as she looks out over the street, watching pedestrians go past. She's content to take her time, which is why her cone is gradually becoming the unrecoverable mess it's degrading into.

“I can't remember the last time I actually had an ice cream cone.” Devon, who’s made every effort to savor his cone, has also let his excitement and joy for the treat run away a bit. It's helped him avoid drips, but he's also partway into the actual cone itself, and not only working on ice cream. He could slow down, make it last, or he could plan for the next round of desserts. There's at least one other sweets shop nearby.

He leans over so his shoulder touches Emily's. The evening air feels nice, cool but not yet cold. The noise from the market is mellowing as some shops prepare to close for the night. He watches some bartering across the way, viewed between passing heads and shoulders.

The smile he turns to Emily kicks up higher on one side. A grin takes over seeing creeping mess of ice cream. “You're messy,” Devon teases as he points out the obvious. “You got some right…” he taps her nose with his ice cream, “there.”

Her brow lifts, skeptical that her mess is on her face rather than on her hands. Emily hasn’t eaten enough ice cream to have any on her face.

Or so she thinks.

She gasps when he taps her nose, flinching in the surprise that comes with it. For one, it’s cold. For second, how dare he. The indignation is brief, but it’s there, before the sheen in her eye changes to plan lighthearted revenge. The impulse to retaliate immediately by giving him the equivalent of a whipped cream pie to the face is tempting, but she stays her hand.

“Here, then help me finish this off, you,” she growls instead. Better to kill them with kindness.

For now, she wears the dot on her nose, hands occupied in offering her cone out to him.

Revenge is certainly expected. Devon laughs at the look, but he’s also half leaning away from her just in case the cone she has comes at him. He certainly wouldn’t resist the urge and gratification of smushing a near full cone on someone’s face. The control she shows not to is admirable. It’s also suspicious. The expression he casts between ice cream and Emily shows a teasing sort of distrust.

He leans forward an inch, but he’s ready to spring back if she so much as twitches funny.

He pauses for a second, then leans in just a couple inches more.

Something says he should be very careful. But it’s hard to keep an eye up and on the ice cream cone at the same time.

Leaning forward that last little bit, Devon goes for a bite of ice cream that looks perilously close to falling off. Just a quick dart in to snag the mouthful and then back again. All with a laughing, wary look at Emily.

It’s hard not to smirk at Devon’s fear, so Emily doesn’t resist it. She also rolls her eyes at him, calmly pulling the cone back to herself so she can take another bite off the side, trying to narrow it out a bit. After, she shoots a glance back his way, a little pointedly. “You’re an asshole,” she teases, the dot still on her nose. She leans forward only to wipe it against his cheek, pulling back with a chuckle.

“I’ll get you back later for it, though, don’t worry.” Emily says with an easy grin, brow popping before she swirls the cone’s messy contents into a more manageable shape. She kicks her toes out with quiet amusement, gaze forward but not anywhere in particular. She leans her shoulder into his again, murmuring, “But do that again, and you’re getting the rest of the cone in your ear.”

She shakes her head at him and looks back, nudging him. “Ice cream was still a good choice, even with that ambush bullshit.” Emily lifts up her cone to take another lick off of it. “We fucking needed a normal night out.”

“You wouldn’t dare,” Dev challenges with a chuckle. He swipes at the spot of ice cream on his cheek. He wouldn’t put it past Emily to follow through on the promise, but it doesn’t stop him from holding his cone up just a little. Like he might do it again just to see what happens. It’s really tempting.

He takes another bite off his own cone instead, after letting it hang for a second. “We did. We do.” More of them would be amazing. Just evenings where their collective weirdness can be ignored in favor of the simpler things. Like ice cream and watching people. He curls an arm around Em’s waist, putting jokes and surprise attacks aside.

“How about a little later this week we …go bowling or something.” A look angles her way, and Dev hitches a shoulder up slightly. He’s not even sure if there’s a bowling alley around, but it’s something fun they could do. “Or watch terrible movies. Or…” He hesitates, looking at the remainder of his ice cream cone. “I’m going up to Rochester this weekend. We could tourist around, if you wanted to go with.”

Him holding up the cone in a mock-threat does finally elicit a wary lean away, Emily’s eyes narrowing at him. She senses the followthrough being ever so close on his part, is stiff until after he finishes off more of his cone. There wasn’t a lot left to it, so hopefully she’s safe for now. Reluctantly, she sits upright and swipes another bite off the top of her own cone. The small bliss that comes from that makes it an easy slip back into peace, and she leans into him when he wraps his arm around her.

The suggestion of more excursions brings a thoughtful expression to her, though she doesn’t return his look. She gives it all an equal weigh, including the trip to Rochester. Looking down at her cone, she maneuvers the sides down to a manageable width before she speaks, her whole mouth cold. “Is that safe?” she asks, to something within the suggestions. Probably the notion of heading out of town at all, even if it was to where Wolfhound was based. “Aren’t you worried at all that…”

She trails off, still not looking at him. Her brow furrows. She considers the cone, wondering why she had to worry like that and start to color a perfectly good night out with something as distressing as reality.

The silence is left to hang for a few seconds, Devon watches Emily carefully. There are plenty of things that would cause him to worry, but he can’t place her concerns without pressing for them. His arm tightens around her and he tilts his head to lightly touch hers. “It’s as safe as anywhere else,” he decides to say. “Maybe safer than some other places.” Hopefully it’s something of a comfort.

He watches the pedestrians pass for a moment, while he finishes his cone more out of wanting his hands free than further interest in the dessert. “Not sure what the motel scene is like, but… If you want, you can stay at the Bunker. I got a sofa I can crash on.” It’s another no pressure comment, an option if she wants it.

Hugging her again is meant to be firmly supportive. “That’s not to say that I’m not worried about things, but…” Dev turns his head, and cups a hand around Emily’s cheek to turn her face toward him. “We gotta be able to enjoy life too, right? Like tonight, going out and enjoying some food and just each other.”

His voice in her ear, reassuring her of the safety of it, should be enough. It would be, maybe, if she hadn’t been telling herself the same thing even before she had spoken up. Emily lifts her ice cream up once to try and finish it off, but fails to find the appetite to take another chunk of it away, and lowers her arm back down. Her brow ticks in a furrow at her behavior, wondering where it’s coming from. Why was she still worrying? And so deeply?

His hand on her cheek finally draws her back to the moment, her study of his face anchoring her down. Belatedly, what he said finally filters in and she concedes his point with a brief firming of her lips into something like a smile. “You’re not wrong,” she murmurs, leaning her face to his to press a chaste kiss to his cheek.

“We do need more nights like tonight,” Emily decides, her smile thin but present. It’s visible more in her eyes than in the rest of her expression. “Let’s make them happen. We can find some place that does bowling, I’m sure. What do you say?”

A smile forms when Emily concedes to his point. “Every now and then,” Dev muses quietly, “I'm not wrong.” He rests his forehead to hers for a few seconds. Then his hand lowers from her cheek and he sits up straighter.

“Bowling'll be fun.” It's an easy agreement. Something ordinary, a break from the stressors and what-ifs that fly around like annoying mosquitos. “We can invite your friend, also. Geneva?” He's still got to meet her anyway, and that's probably a safer thing to do in public. Right?


He shifts, a foot finding the ground but he remains sitting. A look shifts to the dwindling evening time crowd. “You ready for the next stop? I think I saw a place with cookies and fudge.” Looking at Emily again, Dev smiles, brows ticking upward.

Emily’s eyes light up at the suggestion to invite her friend. “Yeah,” comes away from her, breathless, suddenly excited. “Yeah, we should—” The rest of the sentence doesn’t even get out, she starts to try and reach for her phone to text, only belatedly remembering the ice cream still half on her hands. She steps to her feet, animated as she looks for someplace to put her cone without it falling over — without her hands smearing the screen.

She was bad at texting first. But now she had a reason.

The suggestion for moving on to warmer delectables merits another glint in her eye, even though the ice cream dilemma is not yet solved. A fresh-baked cookie sounded to die for. But… she starts to think, leaning to one side slightly as she peers down the street in thought, wondering just what a fresh-baked delicacy like that would run. God this was turning into an expensive date.

But, she thinks with another smile, the time is well-spent.

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