devon3_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Somehow
Synopsis Instead of the reunion they had expected, Jaiden has the unfortunate task of telling Devon about the events in Alaska.
Date November 25, 2011

Birchwood Resort, Lake Kabetogama, Minnesota

In all those papers that Jaiden sent with Devon there was one that stood out - a simple handwritten note.

Assuming we get out of here intact, when everything’s blown over and I’m safe, someone will call your cell phone and will ask for a Mr. Rivers. Answer the phone, respond in the negative, and hang up like the call was a normal call. That is your signal to come to where I am. It’s an old resort on lake Kabetogama called the Birchwood Resort - one of my little sources of income that’s still flowing. Get to Minnesota in the way that you’re most comfortable and head for Voyageurs National Park. Once you’re there, the shuttle at the gate will take you. You’ve got a standing reservation at my cabin.
I’ll see you as soon as I can.

The phone call came at about nine in the morning in from an unfamiliar number based in London, of all places, and when answered, a simple question was asked. “Good afternoon, young man. Is Mister Rivers available, please?”

“Sorry, wrong number.”

A few days had passed since Devon had answered the phone call and told Harmony it was time for him to go. A few of days to get packed and head out of the mountains in northern New York state then across roughly three states and into Minnesota. Thankfully, travel is easier than it had been, and while hitchhiking and hiking alone may not be the safest options, they did get him to a town where a bus ticket could be purchased. He wasn’t able to get all the way to the lake resort by bus. There was, again, some hitchhiking and hiking involved before he found himself waiting for the shuttle that would take him to the resort.

It’s late in the afternoon, perhaps three days after the phone call came, that Devon is finally climbing off the shuttle and standing in front of the old resort. He turns to offer the driver a few small bills in exchange for helping with his pack and offer a word of thanks. The backpack is dragged onto his shoulder as the driver returns to the bus and heads away, leaving the teenager to look at the building again.
Old habits of ingrained caution don’t allow him to call out or run up to the entrance, he’s watching for lurkers though he’s fairly certain that there are no such unwanted visitors. His lingering outside is brief, only a few seconds pass before the teenager adjusts the weight hanging from his shoulders and approaches the front entrance. He may not be allowing himself to run, but there’s an excitement about his step, looking forward to reunion with Jaiden and the rest of the team.

In the few days since Jaiden has arrived here, he’s gotten very good at getting himself back into a schedule, watching the way things work around the sleepy town. Schedules are the way that he brings order to a chaotic world and learns how things work. Noticing these schedules means that he can more easily integrate himself into the town and blend in. Or, rather, blend in as well as six-foot tall Australian can.
The temperature here in Kabetogama, MN is positively frigid, with a high temperature of 44F which, for up here, really isn’t that bad. The snow hasn’t really started to stick, but come Christmas it’ll be white for certain. A nice place to hole up and stay warm. A place to lick your wounds and come back again fighting…if he comes back at all.

The shuttle - a beaten-up van driven by a woman who had no problem telling Devon all about how she’d been driving this route for an unexpected four days in expectation of someone. “No-one comes up here what ain’t local unless it’s summer, and that’s for the walleye in the lake.” She then started on a tangent about the history of the area, and did you know that the walleye were worshiped by the local tribes as protectors of the water? They weren’t, but it’s something that people just let her tell the tourists.

The resort Devon is let out in front of is at the top of a gravel driveway. Each cabin - some lit, indicating occupants, some not - has a large stack of firewood near the door. Enough for the season and then some of burning a fireplace for warmth. Some are simple - one mobile home - while others, like the main house that he’s heading toward, are older. This house, a victorian style one, has steep pitched rooflines to let snow slide off, thick stone walls to keep in the heat, and small windows that have been upgraded to double-pane to try and keep in more heat, each covered with a heavy curtain.

Checking his watch, he sees it’s about time for the shuttle to get there. The driver is a lot of things but late, she isn’t. Even if she stops at each resort on the way - a good half dozen - she’d be here right about now. Gritting his teeth, Jaiden pushes himself to his feet from his armchair and makes his way to the door, assisted with a simple wooden cane held tightly in his right hand. The large man is using it to support his weight as he limps to the door since his left leg is not holding him up very well. The jacket he’s wearing hides his left arm and upper body well, too, the big man taking solace in its warmth, curled on himself as he heads for the door. “If Devon is on this one, well…he’s on it. If not, I’ll pay for another day of the shuttle.” He grumbles to himself. He’s budgeted up to three weeks after the first call because, by that point, if Devon’s not here, he won’t be here for a while. The porch light flares to life and the front door is opened, Jaiden stepping out of the front door to the porch where he stops, scanning the yard until he sees a figure with a backpack standing in the middle distance.

“Devon?” he calls, peering closer at the figure in the darkness before he makes his way carefully down the two steps to the gravel driveway.

“Devon? That you, son?”


Devon doesn’t shout out in excitement when the Australian appears, but relief carries his voice across the distance. The relief of seeing Jaiden, the hope of finding the others, urges him to move faster. The boy doesn’t run, but his stride widens and the gap closes quickly, and for a moment Jaiden’s injured appearance isn’t registered. All that’s grasped in the immediately present time is the last face he’d seen before leaving Manhattan behind. In that moment, he drops his pack and grips the older man in a tight hug.

“Everyone else inside,” Dev asks as he releases Jaiden and steps back. It’s then that he notices the cane, the hunched posture, and his brows draw together in concern and chagrin. True, he didn’t expect to see anyone unscathed after Alaska. However, it still comes as a surprise. And he probably should have taken stock of the hydrokinetic rather than practically bowl him over. His mouth opens a couple of times, trying to find words to convey sympathy or ask about injuries. He settles for clapping the older man on the shoulder, with greater care than he’d given his greeting.

Jaiden has been through a lot in the past few weeks. Ever since Alaska he’s had to take some time to recover and even then, the injuries are still visible, even with the coat covering most of them. His chin was split at some point, the blue stitches still visible in his skin. Something he’ll need to remove at some point but, for now, they’re in to remind him that they’re there. He hasn’t shaved either, a scruffy beard starting to come into play, disguising him even more from those who don’t know him or, rather, to keep him hidden from those who do. Despite the injuries, Jaiden returns that tight hug with one of his own, squeezing Devon tightly, even lifting him a little off the ground before he wobbles and lets him down, going back to balancing on his cane, rocking a little with the clap on his shoulder. “Yeah, they’re around. Most’re in their cabins, resting. Come on in and I’ll tell you what’s been going on. I’ve got coffee, if you want any, but I’m sure you’d rather have answers.”

“Yeah.” Devon’s answer, vague as always, is followed by a quick look around. Coffee sounds good, almost as good as answers and updates. He turns a full circle, looking groundward, then scoots off several steps to grab his backpack. Straightening, he drags the pack onto a shoulder. Then he’s retracing those steps to Jaiden, falling in alongside the older man to follow him into the main house.

It takes a little more time for Jaiden to get inside than Devon might be used to. Walking with a cane and a limp that, in the future, will probably still be there, takes a little time. He mounts the steps one at a time and opens the door, allowing Devon in.

It’s nice and warm inside with the smell of coffee filling the room as well as something that’s been baked. Bread was a thing that always made Jaiden feel welcomed when he got home and hopefully the same thing works for Devon. “Have a seat.” he says, gesturing to one of the armchairs, lowering himself into its twin with a grimace, shrugging out of his jacket and dropping it on the floor next to the chair, blowing out a breath. “So…the story of Alaska and what happened. Hell, there’s a lot….” He runs a hand through his hair, frowning as he begins to recount what happened from his point of view. The assault on the tower to start. The entrance to the base, leading to the injuries he claimed. “I wasn’t shot, which I guess keeps my streak alive, but getting a full blast of Elle….” he shakes his head with a wince. “It blew my left boot off, the power getting out of me. And then Lizzie….”

He closes his eyes. “Lizzie….she was glorious.”

The boy pauses inside, taking a deep breath of warm air filled with comfortable scents. Coffee had been a constant, though it’s welcomed, fresh baked bread is a real treat. The breath is let out slowly as he slides his pack from his shoulder to the floor beside the proffered chair. His jacket follows, draped over the pack.

Instead of sitting right away, though, Devon drifts through the great room while Jaiden tells of the trip to Alaska. He studies his surroundings by peeking through windows or around doorways, but always with most of his attention on the hydrokinetic. There are times where he stops to look at the other man, almost to voice a question or clarify a point, before thinking better of it and letting the tale continue.
Before it ends, Dev has found his way back to the chair offered to him earlier and taken a seat. He shares in the wince as Jaiden explains his injuries. He’d been shot himself, once, and it seems almost preferable to experiencing whatever Elle is, or can do. He lets a moment pass while the Australian’s eyes are closed, waiting for the tale to continue.

“Yeah,” he prompts, tone lilting into a question. The teenager leans forward, elbows bracing against knees to encourage Jaiden to continue.

Now it’s time for the part of the story that sucks. The one like a punch in the gut that never gets easier, no matter how many times he runs it through his head, even though he knows it’s coming. “So…Elle is grounded out and then the entire structure just…moves. Like a giant took hold of the top of it and yanked it open, spilling its contents out into the air. Magnes…he was floating there, screaming, connected by red lightning to what we guess was an amplifier. He was making….hell, we don’t know what he was making. A black hole, we guessed on the way back while we were healing up.” He reaches to the table next to him, a small black box there, used for ties but now holding something else. He opens it, looking at the contents, setting it on the table between the pair.

Inside the box are two locks of hair, one blonde, one lavender, bound together in a long braid, tied with a red ribbon.

Elisabeth’s hair.

Jaiden lifts it from the box to his nose, smelling it, cringing, looking down, laying it down in the box reverently. “I couldn’t stop her, Devon. I yelled, but she couldn’t hear me. She was just so…so fucking brave…” Jaiden says softly, his face melting, his eyes clenching closed, a few tears escaping despite it all “She leaped at him, screaming, using her power, focusing everything she had. I could see her horizon armor shattering around her as she flew and then….then she got caught in the gravity well or whatever it was. She was drawn to Magnes and then….it all stopped. Bang.” He claps his hands together, wincing. “She did it. She saved the world, Devon. She took out the man who was the bad guy’s ultimate weapon and punched him in the throat. She stopped him but…” Jaiden swallows, sitting back, coughing to clear his throat. “She’s gone, Devon. Elisabeth died in Alaska. This is all that’s left of her.” Jaiden’s voice cracks.

The names don’t mean a whole lot to Devon, there are no faces to go with Magnes or Elle, but he nods. Others, it seems, who went to Alaska as well. Somehow connected to Endgame; given how new to the team he’d been there’s likely a lot of names he’d never recognize. He still listens close, a crease forming along his forehead as he tries to picture the events being described.

He sits back, shifting in his seat to better look at the box and its contents. The crease on his brow deepens as he tries to fit the pieces together, even while Jaiden explains the events of that day, unmoving until the sound of the clap.

The boy’s gaze lifts then, from the box and its contents, the ribbon bound hair, to the Australian. His jaw works, trying to find some response, some comprehension of what’s just been said. There is no understanding, none that comes in the seconds that drag by, just the slow shaking of a head and a look of confusion.

“So which cabin’s hers?” Devon starts to push himself up and out of his seat. “I should let her know I made it, too. — Before it gets dark out.”
“She doesn’t have one, Devon.” Jaiden says softly, pushing himself up, using his cane as leverage. “Lizzie died in Alaska. She’s gone. Her body is missing. All that I have left of her are her things from New York and those locks of hair.”

“She should have one.” Devon shakes his head as he stands, his tone implying that it would be necessary. There’s enough space on the resort for the whole of the team to have a cabin to themselves with room to spare. His gaze touches on the box with its lock of hair, then lifts to Jaiden, confused.

“She said she was coming back for me.” It’s all very simple. Dev looks at the older man. Pain and confusion shadowed by dread that strains his voice. “She…” His head swivels to the door, then back to Jaiden. “She said…” The thought fizzles out like a battery run out of juice, leaving the boy to fight back angry, frightened tears.

“I know she did.” Jaiden says softly, getting to his feet, moving to lower himself to the arm of the chair next to Devon. They’re thick, so he can sit pretty easily without too much discomfort. He rests a hand on Devon’s shoulder, lightly, the crinkling skin of healing lightning burns still visible. “She should have one. She should be here. She should be….but in the chaos and destruction of everything, she…” he closes his eyes. “She died, Devon. Saving all of us. Saving the world.”

There’s really not much more that can be said other than that. It’s something that Jaiden himself has had to come to terms with over the long exodus from Alaska, and something he’s still coming to terms with. He’s ordered a small tombstone to be delivered so a burial of sorts can be held - a memorial for those who loved her so much to come and say goodbye. And sitting here over the past few days, watching the literal fallout from New York on CNN and listening to cries for help on shortwave radio, he feels almost as helpless as he felt watching Elisabeth fly, screaming defiantly into Magnes before everything she had been vanished into a singularity.

“It’s okay to cry, Devon.” he says softly, his hand heavy on the boy’s shoulder. “It’s right to grieve. Tears are only water, and life cannot flourish without it. A wounded heart will heal, and when it does, the memory and love of those lost will be sealed inside to comfort us and others who were hurt.”

“No.” It isn’t said loudly, but the tightness in his voice carries volumes. It can’t be possible, these things the Australian is saying. It doesn’t make sense. Devon shakes his head in denial, to underscore his statement. Under Jaiden’s hand he’s trembling in spite of the warmth of the house. “No. No, no, no…”

Trailing off, Devon turns from Jaiden, twists away from the hand on his shoulder, and drags his hands through his hair, palms pressing into his temples. He turns a slow circle, looking at the room without actually seeing it. “She has to be here.” The statement is pleading as he makes another turn, head swiveling as he finds Jaiden again. Tears have spilled over and shaking hands angrily brush away at more threatening to well over. His shoulders raise and fall with an effort to control uneven breaths; his body trembles as he tries to contain himself.

“She can’t… She has to be here!” Fear fuels his shout, words more exploding than anger, though there is an undercurrent of the latter emotion as well. The boy stares at Jai, trying to find some hint, some struggling hope that he’d gotten it wrong. Instead of giving the older man a chance to speak again, not allowing himself a chance to hear what he so frantically wants to deny, Devon turns away again. Desperation drives him to move, feet carrying toward a window then away. He paces for a dozen or more steps until he sinks to the floor. The boy’s body folds over knees, his head burrows into his arms, as a pleading sob wrenches itself free of his throat.

There’s nothing that Jaiden can do other than stand and watch Devon as he comes to the realization that Elisabeth is not there and will not be. He can’t answer. He can’t make it go away, or any better. God knows he can’t lie to the boy since…well…that would be worse than the reality of the situation. Offering false hope when he knows there isn’t any. It would be cruel.

It would be monstrous to do such a thing

Closing his eyes, Jaiden pushes himself up to his feet, limping to where Devon sits on the floor, curled into himself and just watches for a moment. He doesn’t try to speak - no words will soothe this hurt away. The pain Devon is….well….there’s no comparing pain to pain. Each is unique to the individual but, when Elisabeth died, that ride back to base, that lonely trip to the middle of nowhere in Minnesota gave Jaiden a lot of time to think and grieve.

He went through it alone. Devon doesn’t have to.

Setting his cane aside, Jaiden carefully lowers himself to the floor behind the boy and leans over, wrapping him in a tight hug and just holding him there.

They’ll get through this together.


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