What's Complicated


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Scene Title What's Complicated
Synopsis Meeting at the park to talk more, in more-or-less private, Devon and Graeme discuss what is complicated in their lives. Under the guise of playing with the dog, of course.
Date April 1, 2011

A park, Upper West Side

Take two at another phone call and another request for a meeting. Devon had chosen a park this morning, small and out of the way and used mostly by runners. The playground equipment isn't really for children, the set up designed more for the athletically inclined with chin up bars and steps and placards displaying what exercise is to be done where. It was also within walking distance of a coffee shop, which the teenager visited before making his way to one of two benches placed within the recreation area.

Dressed today in his black, letterman-style jacket over a faded blue t-shirt and blue jeans, Devon appears every bit the teenager this morning. One leg is crossed over the other at the knee while he rests on the bench. In his hands a lidded paper cup that holds steaming hot coffee. His eyes follow the trail away from the bench, keeping a watch for Graeme's arrival.

Odin, the loping and big Great Dane that had been with Graeme last night, rounds the corner into the park before Graeme does, one of the extendable leashes trailing behind him, connected to Graeme, who gives a bit of a smile to Devon as he approaches. "Hey." There's a raise of his not-quite-free hand, the one with the leash handle grasped in it, in greeting, before he makes his way to the bench, sitting down.

"Devon, I don't think you actually got to meet Odin last night," he says. "Odin, heel?" Slowly, the massive dog plods over, from where a squirrel had had his attention, laying down at Graeme's feet with big, sad eyes and a low whine that only confirms the dog's overall mood. "My sister's dog," Graeme explains, a small wince mainly hidden, "except that she's skipped town for a while, and asked me to take care of him for her."

As he lifts his cup of coffee to his lips, Devon's eyes pick up the dog. Following the leash brings him to Graeme's presence as well. The cup is lifted slightly higher into a wave before the postponed sip is taken. "Hey, Graeme," he replies, lowering the cup and looking to the great dane. "And Odin." He places both feet on the ground and leans forward to offer the dog his hand for sniffs and muzzle scritchies.

Straightening again, the teenager looks up at Graeme and nods toward the bench. "Nice of you to take on a monster dog like that. I'd hate to be the one cleaning up after him."

"Go on," Graeme urges the dog, who seems to have been trained to at the very least require prompting before greeting someone. But then those big sad eyes look up at Devon again, and Odin butts his head against the teenager's hand, rather gently, after giving it a lick. To the teenager, he responds, "I couldn't exactly say no, she's my sister. Even if things are a little… complicated right now." In so many more ways than one. Complicated as far as Graeme's current situation goes. Complicated as far as his relationship with his kid sister.

"You keep saying that," Devon says casually, though there's a subtle concern there for the older man. One of the very few he regards as a friend. He studies Graeme for a long moment, then looks away, lifting his cup of coffee for another drink. He watches the trail, listens to the slightly distant sounds of the city, again for a single moment, before speaking up again. "What's complicated?"

Graeme chuckles quietly. "Everything is, right now," he says. "I met my sister only about two months ago, barely know her, but she's the only family I have, more or less." He looks at Devon. "And I came to New York to get away from trouble and found myself in a world with a hell of a lot more of it, and having chosen sides in a fight that damn well is mine, even if I didn't know it."

Devon looks over at Graeme, a brow raising very slightly. He's very well aware of the war that's taking place in New York City, and the world in general however centered on the city it may be. "And what side have you chosen," he asks casually enough. There's weight to the question, though, subtle if important.

"Hopefully?" Graeme says quietly. There's an almost unreadable expression on the teacher's face, and a bitter edge behind his voice. "The right one. The one that doesn't involve more innocent people dying over stupid bigotry and prejudice; the one that doesn't involve folks like you and me being rounded into ghettos and relocation camps, even if we're too late to stop that from starting to have happened." There's a glance at Devon, before Graeme leans down slightly to run his hand along Odin's shoulder. The dog is leaning on Graeme's legs for the moment, stretched out paws behind him.

The teenager is quiet for another long moment. He shifts in his seat slightly, leg crossing over the other again while he takes another drink of his coffee. "That's what settled my choice," he finally says, looking aside and to the trail again, "what helped me choose where I stood." There's little emotion to his tone, he could be discussing the weather. Yet simultaneously he's unmistakably serious. "There's a war out there, all around us. We're involved, no matter if we've chosen to be or if we knew about it."

"Pretty much," Graeme says, fixing Devon with a more focused look for a long moment. "I figured, I had better choose, and know where things stood, and have that all straight, than just end up in things not of my own volition." There's a grim smile. "Because like you said, we're all involved in it."

After a moment, Graeme leans back, absently pulling one of the straps of the sling to adjust it slightly. "But yes. Complicated, because the government's set out to trap people I love and care about, though by no means am I surprised."

"The offer for help still stands," Devon says quietly. His gaze, after a moment turns back to meet Graeme's. "I've seen a lot, too much to be honest, to think that sitting idly would make me immune to what's happening. The Dome showed me in stark, unrelenting, uncaring detail that I had to make the decision." And in the darkness, just past midnight one night, he made that choice and hasn't thought a day since going back on it.

"I won't say I fully disagree with the government, but I believe strongly that there are changes that need to be made." Devon lifts his coffee, finishing off the warm bitter liquid. "There's a lot of shit going on out there," he continues once the cup is lowered. "You and I know it. But for as long as you're on the right side, the offer of my help stands."

The teenager speaks, and Graeme nods, ever so slowly. "Thank you," he says, after a long moment of silence. "The government does some things right, but this? Isn't one of them. We're lucky, I suppose, we figured out that it was a trap ahead of time and are prepared, but…" For the time, Graeme's words trail off, and he watches the path that no one comes down. "And even though I made the choice, it wasn't like there was much of a choice, for me." There's that faint bitterness and determination again.

"If you need any extra hands…" Devon doesn't complete the offer, the implication should be enough to get his point across. Still watching the older man, though he himself leans back more comfortably on the bench, the teenager lets out a slow breath, once more considering. "I felt the same way when I decided to fight. Alien feeling, but I'm committed, I knew then just like I do now that there's too much at stake if I hesitate again. I won't go back."

"I can't go back," Graeme says, pausing now to look skywards. "Not even if I wanted to, I don't think. But maybe I knew that already. Or maybe I just have to keep telling myself that, as a reminder."

There's a nod, faint and not the largest of motions, and Odin noses at Graeme's shoe, which elicits a grin, and the removal of a tennis ball from the pocket of Graeme's jacket, before Graeme reaches down to unhook the leash from Odin's collar. The sight of the tennis ball seems to well and cheer the giant dog, who sits, pushing at the toy insistently until Graeme throws it, before loping off. When Odin returns, the ball is deposited in Devon's lap, slightly slobbered on.

"Ugly mutt," Devon says to the dog, though it's fond of tone. He picks up the ball and throws it some distance away, Odin lumbering along after it. "I'll be in touch," he asides to Graeme, standing and brushing the slobber from his hand. "I have some errands before going into work today, which I should be getting to before too long." A hand is extended to the older man, to shake, and a rare gesture from the teenager.

Graeme smiles, getting up, a firm grasp to Devon's hand and a quiet, careful rest of his hand on the teenager's shoulder before he sits back down on the bench, the large great dane depositing the tennis ball in his lap. "Seeya, then," he says. There's a pause, and Graeme glances up. "I'll try and get you the number that'll reach me, once tomorrow comes." The ball is thrown for Odin once more, Graeme sitting quietly, pensive. "Take care."

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