These Little Wonders


aura_icon.gif devon2_icon.gif elisabeth2_icon.gif

Scene Title These Little Wonders
Synopsis Lives are made in the small moments.
Date April 4, 2019

Raytech Corporate Housing, Jared Harrison's Apartment

It’s been nearly a week since Devon finally escaped the sterile halls of Elmhurst hospital and returned to the more relaxing life in the Safe Zone. Nearly a week since he took over the spare room in Jared’s apartment, except when he parked on the couch. The latter was usually reserved for while his adopted grandfather was at work. He’d long outgrown the adolescent habits of hiding away in his room while the older man was home, and during those times he often found ways to make himself useful which typically amounted to keeping the apartment cleaned up and running the occasional errand.

Since it’s late in the afternoon, none of those chores currently needs to be done, and Jared isn’t expected home anytime soon, the young man has found himself on the couch in front of the television. There’s no movie going, but the computerized soundtrack of a game chirp and hum melodically from the speakers. Apparently time has been spent on the Super Nintendo that was left.

Dev himself has dozed off while in the midst of the game. Which doesn’t seem to be a terrible thing, there is no Game Over flashing on the screen, only the pixelated characters creating small movements while waiting for gameplay to resume. He’s sprawled lengthwise on the couch, one hand dangling over the front edge with fingertips just brushing the controller. His feet hang over one arm of the sofa while his head has wedged itself against the other.

The door opens and admits two figures, one tall and one tiny. The small one is chattering as they come in. "Grampa said tomorrow we'd have pancakes." As if she's not getting them at least three times a week because they're such a treat. "An' Nana said she was gonna find eggs at the market." Apparently the child's grandparents believe in food as the way to fix all ills.

"Okay, well, just remember to say thank you," Elisabeth reminds the little one, closing the door behind them. Only then does she realize that the figure on the couch is actually sleeping instead of playing the game on the television.

Aurora drops the small backpack she has on inside the door and brings Blossom in the crook of her arm to go over and peer intently at Devon. Stage-whisper is the softest she can be. "Is he dead?" she asks solemnly.

He was sleeping.

An eye cracks open as voices that don’t fit the pitchy and energetic music — that don’t fit the game at all — somehow fill in the otherwise quiet apartment. Once he recognizes the older one and decides the other is too young to be a threat, Dev lets that eye slide shut again. And he stays that way, motionless and seeming asleep, while listening to Liz and Aurora chatter.

He doesn’t open his eyes when Aura gets close, and somehow even manages to keep a straight face when she questions his state of being. But he can’t keep himself from responding. “Why don’t you pinch and find out,” he stage whispers back to the little girl. He keeps a faux-serious expression even with his eyes closed, and except for the murmuring he’s unmoved. Maybe he’s talking in his sleep.

There's silence after his suggestion. "Pinchin' is mean," Aurora informs him from very close to his face. A small finger pries his eyelid up and hazel eyes stare into his. "Why you sleepin' onna couch instead of a bed?" she inquires. "Grampa has extra beds. You don't even hafta use my pink sheets, but I can share if you need 'em."

Elisabeth is trying desperately not to laugh. Clearing her throat as she takes a bag into the kitchen to leave on the counter, she then comes back and leans against the doorway to watch this meeting. "Devon… meet Aurora."

The sandy-haired, hazel-eyed pixie keeps peering at him. "Other-Dev was nice t'me when Mummy was dead. But she says you're my bruvver, just like Ricky, even though Other-Dev wasn't. Are you gonna play wif me?"

“Pinching is mean if it’s not invited,” Devon counters, like he’s revealing some deep and very important top secret idea. His own blue eye stares right back at the pair of hazel ones, meeting the curious gaze with a weighing one of his own. He scrubs at his face, gently removing the small fingers from his eyelid to do so, then sits up to look at the little girl properly.

“I have a bed here, but.” He leans in slightly. “Sometimes the couch is more comfortable than it appears,” he explains seriously, but with the hint of a grin. “Deceptively comfortable to where you’re weakened against the sleepies. When they come, they quickly overpower and defeat you.”

A look is directed over his shoulder to acknowledge Liz’s introduction, and when he turns back to the little girl it’s with a hand offered to her to shake. “Hi, Aurora. I don’t know about Other-Dev, but I can play with you sometimes.”

She seems to be taking his information quite seriously, weighing it. "I don't like the sleepies," she confides. "Sometimes they bring bad dreams." Aura has fewer of them lately, but they are a long way from gone. The little girl climbs up on the couch and perches next to him. "This is Bossum. Unca Felix gibbed him to me. Other-Dev libbed in the underwater place near the skellies, but we din't stay there long. Mr. Crazypants shooted too many people. It wasn't a nice place. But Other-Dev was nice." The fractured information probably makes zero sense to anyone but her. "What game is this?" She points to the TV.

In some ways it makes little sense. Devon doesn’t know who Mr. Crazypants is, or about the underwater place. But there are parts he understands, like bad dreams and people being shot making it a not-nice place. So he listens to her explanation, as fractured as it might be, with real interest.

“I have bad dreams sometimes too,” he confides in her, like it’s some secret he’d rather keep just between them. To further invest in that idea, he makes a show of looking over his shoulder to where Liz is standing, then slouches down to be closer to Aurora’s head height. “But they’re only dreams, and it’s very safe here.”

The controller is retrieved from the floor and passed over to the little girl. “This game takes a lot of reading and figuring out directions without a lot of clues,” Dev explains. “You can try if you want, or I can put in a different one. There’s racing that’s really fun.”

She looks up at him solemnly and nods to his confession. "Daddy said nuffing gets in here. An' Delia helps me when my dreams are bad. Maybe she can help you too." Aurora carefully sets Blossom on the couch next to her and confesses, "I can't read yet. But soon! My teacher is teaching me!" She looks very thrilled with this. "I wanna play! But maybe racin' is better til I can read more words." She's rather pragmatic about it.

Elisabeth goes back into the kitchen and brings out a couple of bottled drinks that they managed to obtain in the market, bringing them to the two on the couch before retreating to a chair to watch the game. "Careful, she might drive over you a lot. There were a few games where we stayed when we first got back, and she cleaned up at them cuz her father taught her how to drive," she teases with a roll of her eyes.

“Oh, well Richard hasn’t played me at Mario Kart yet, so he can’t have shown her everything.” Dev grins at Liz before sliding off the couch to swap out games. He doesn’t seem too concerned with saving the point he was at on the current one, but simply switches off the power before ejecting the cartridge. The aforementioned racing game is inserted and the machine switched back on, and he scoots back into his seat on the couch.

“This one moves things left and right and up and down,” he explains, pointing to the directional pad. He lets Aura keep full control of it, confident she’ll pick up the controls easily with just a few directions. “Use this button to choose the map and your racer and make it go when you’re racing.”

"Don't look at me. I don't do video games." Elisabeth grins, curled up in the chair to watch two of her favorite people play.

Aurora sage-nods. "Mummy drived Mario Karts one time an' it was bad. Daddy said she not allowed to drive no more cuz she drived like a New York cabbie whose fare said somepin nasty about his mom." The little girl clearly has no real idea what that means.

Elisabeth snorts with laughter and drags her hand down her face. "No… I just drive like I learned escape and evasion tactics from a man whose mother was KGB-trained." Po-tay-to, po-tah-to. Liz is totally blaming it on Felix, regardless.
“Is there really a difference?” Yes, Devon took the cheap shot, and the grin on his face says he knows it. He carefully keeps his attention on the television as the game starts up. “Those squares on the ground with the squiggle and dot give you items to help you take out the other racers,” he explains, slouching down so he’s closer to the six-year-old’s height. “And those coins are in case you fall off an edge. Which isn’t in this level.”

Oh, reaaaaallllly? Elisabeth shoots him a look that tells him exactly what a brat he is… and that she loves it. That he's feeling well enough to be a brat is good news, in her mind. Watching him with the little girl, there's a lump in her throat. He's good with her.

Aurora has an intent expression on her face while he explains. She has just enough skill to make the car travel, but pretty much as soon as it goes even half speed, she spins out or races into an obstacle, sometimes making it to the cool stuff but straight up it's by accident. The little blonde is cracking up, though, crowing at him, "Lookit, Dev! I gots that squiggle! Oh! It's goin' fast!"

“Way to go!” Devon celebrates with Aurora by clapping his hands and cheering her on as she plays. There's plenty of excited noise and hands for her efforts as the races continue, he's content to be Aura’s cheering section and let her control the game for the afternoon.

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