War Is Hell


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif

Scene Title War Is Hell
Synopsis And the cost is sometimes difficult to bear. But in the end, the fight must continue.
Date June 8, 2011

Endgame Safehouse

Last night saw Devon's return to the safehouse later than he'd promised himself it would be. Likewise, the venture outside was unexpected and impulsive. But he'd come back, safe and sound and alone, ghosting through the common areas until reaching the room he's borrowing from the teacher. Locked away inside, he'd remained through the morning hours and past lunch. There'd been no sound from the room save the occasional shuffle that could be related to attempting sleep. But nothing beyond. Nothing until the teen had finally emerged some time in the afternoon.

It's still a couple hours shy of supper. Devon's feet draw him away from the door as a hand pulls it closed with a soft click. Hands fall into his jeans pockets as he ventures away from the mostly private haven, to move with an emotionally detached sense toward the common room. His shirt and jeans have the rumpled slept-in look, though he doesn't appear to have done much by the way of sleeping. It's beginning to show, along with a sudden realization of the weight of matters they all face.

The makeshift kitchen — a couple of camp stoves and a cheap plastic sheet for chopping — has a blonde on the cusp of … whatever it is she's on the cusp of. Few people in the safehouse know Elisabeth well enough to know what the sheer amount of fresh food means. There are onions and celery already chopped into small pieces in bowls on the counter. A pan holds boiled potatoes cooling on a piece of material on the counter. Elisabeth is chopping up carrots, and there is a package of ground beef sitting on the counter that is clearly enough to feed the entire safehouse full of people. The knife in her hands flashes as she shops carrots, and Elisabeth is eyeing a simmering pan on the stove with a practiced eye now and then. When Devon comes in, she glances up. If her eyes are a little red, it could be chalked up to the onions sitting there. Definitely. Although the weariness he's feeling is also reflected in the blonde's face too. "Hi," she greets softly. She's been told that he's having a rough time coping with the death of Melissa's child, and Graeme's already explained the situation. "How're you holding up, kiddo?" she asks gently.

Devon may have been looking to pass the kitchen, to continue through the main room and down the stairs into the relative anonymity of the general public - to disappear, for a while at least - if his posture is something to go off of. When the voice from the kitchen reaches him he stops for a beat, midstride, then drags the lagging foot to the first. His eyes slant toward Elisabeth, face still turned toward the way out. "Fine," he replies. He guesses, in a quiet voice. One shoulder draws upward into a shrug then sinks down again. "How're you?"

Elisabeth considers the question and then says, "Well…. Let's just say that I fucked up my life royally in the past couple of days. And maybe fucked the only real chance we had of making a go of exposing Humanis First. But … other than that, probably 'fine' covers it." She watches him. "Grief has a lot of faces, Dev. I know you feel responsible for what happened. I'm sorry."

"Still a chance to expose it," Devon offers, though his tone doesn't reflect the vague grasping at hope that things can still be turned around. It's something left for him to cling to, however fatalistic it might become. He turns just enough to rest a shoulder against the frame to the kitchen doorway, eyes lifting to regard Liz. "I am responsible for it," he states after a moment, lowering his gaze. "If I'd said it was a bad idea for her to go with, Junie… Junie'd still…" His voice catches, cracking before he cuts himself off. His head gives a shake, lower lip catching between his teeth.

Elisabeth sets the knife down and leans on the counter. Her blue eyes meet his and she asks, "Devon… did you tell her that you were going to see Valentin, who was a known HF sympathizer?"

Devon nods, hands shoving deeper into his pockets. "She knew, it's why she didn't want me going alone." He gives another shake of his head. "Doesn't matter, I should have said something. It's not coincidence that… the fire."

"No," Elisabeth agrees. "It's not. And yes, maybe you should have said 'hey, Melissa, have you thought about what might happen if you're caught doing this with me?'" She moves around the counter to come and stand in front of him, infusing her voice with every bit of sincerity and power-fueled comfort that she can manage. "But you are not responsible for her choices. She knew that Heller was dogging her. She knew that going out there on a run like this could result in the entire squad being caught. And she believed that the risk was worth it." There is a wealth of regret in her expression. "Hindsight is always 20-20, Devon. You make your choices with the best information you have — Melissa made hers expecting that if shit hit the fan, Heller would take it out on her." She pauses, swallowing hard. "Maybe she should have known better. She watched that group execute civilians and noncombatants. But again, that's a hindsight thing. … Most of us would be unwilling to believe a man would execute an infant. And you cannot choose for her or for anyone else what risks they will take. This is war, kiddo. And people we love are going to die for it. I'm sorry. And if you want out, I will get you out."

"I don't have any reason to get out." Devon inhales slowly, a faint quiver presenting itself through the action. "I got in because of her, kids like her. I can't…" He pauses biting into his lip again. "I have nothing else. I don't… I can't quit. It's …just a lot."

"It is a lot," Elisabeth tells him softly. "And it sucks that you have to live with consequences on this level. I live with them every day… I watch you, and I listen to the things that you tell me you've seen and done. For the past two weeks, you've been playing a very dangerous game with some very dangerous people. And I can offer you the out. But I can't force you to take it, Devon. Any more than you could have kept Melissa from going." She reaches out and pulls the teenager into a gentle hug, her hand on the back of his head tucking him into her shoulder. "I got into this because of kids like you. I can't quit either," she whispers. "And I do understand how hard and how awful it is."

He moves into the hug, teeth worrying at the split enough to tear it open again. Devon's forehead presses lightly against her shoulder, tension in his shoulders relaying down into his arms until he lets out the breath he'd been holding. "There's nothing for me out there," he replies, voice no less quiet. "Nothing left, as long as this war is going on. And I'm not leaving you all here down one less body. I can't… I can't just sit and watch."

Yeah. Elisabeth, of all people, totally gets it. She holds him tightly, this boy who is fast becoming a young man and has seen far, far more than anyone his age ought. Stroking his back gently, the blonde has a moment to wonder about Joshua. How often she might have held him this same way. How helpless she feels to make things better for the boy in her arms. And she rubs his back, just holding him. "It's going to be okay, Devon," she whispers. "Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow. But it will get better."

Devon's head nods slightly to her words, for just a moment feeling more like the boy he should be. The youth that he'd probably have missed in part, but was truly stolen over the course of the years that followed the bomb. It's been years since he'd felt anything near the comfort offered now. He swallows against the lump of hurt, raw emotions playing against the new wounds and the old, affecting another nod again. "We… we need to expose them. Show what's happening. What… what do you need done?" Because that, at the moment, seems far easier to think about, though his personal reasons rest just below the surface.

Elisabeth offers him the only thing she can — just the comfort of knowing that someone does get it. "Right now," she murmurs softly, squeezing him tightly before releasing him, "is someone to mash those potatoes. I'm throwing together a shepherd's pie for dinner. The gravy's almost done simmering and I have to finish the carrots. Think you can handle it?" She offers him a small grin, a stroke on the cheek, and then steps away. Intent on putting him to work and doing something that passes for normal.

"Looks too complicated," Devon replies in a weak attempt at humor. His eyes lift to look at Liz, still troubled, weary. Young for just an instant before his gaze flicks past to the potatoes with hopeful dubiousness. But he steps after her, hands coming free from his pockets to set into the task of mashing potatoes.

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