What You Can


graeme2_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title What You Can
Synopsis It's all that either of them can do, to keep fighting the good fight, whether it's out there or in the shadows.
Date May 25, 2011

Endgame Safehouse, Ruins of Cliffside Apartments

Devon's been gone for a little now, and Graeme's spent some of the time with the folder of grading that appeared out of the messenger bag that he'd set nearby where he's settled, making himself out of the way in the safehouse but not necessarily wanting to leave yet. Mainly because it's a bit of a trip to the safehouse, and it's a definite trip to where he'd parked, two miles away by skateboard, and the teacher is just not ready to do that yet.

There's a glance up from the grading, though, a pause and the folder closed with the brightly coloured pen left inside, as Jaiden reenters the room. "Thanks for the revolver," he says, quietly. Not that there's any way the Australian could have known about the personal significance, but there's a need to say thanks anyway, again, without the awkwardness of having the teenager there to be witness to it. "I appreciate it."

The big Australian has made himself busy with Graeme around the place, making sure the dishes from breakfast were taken care of, the trash was taken out to multiple dumpsters in order to keep people from tracking them by their trash, and other things like that. And when he re-enters the room, he's carrying a bucket that's sagging under the weight of something.

With a clink, the bucket of spent shells is set down next to the 'table,' and a few other items, up to and including a device that looks like an orange squeezing machine are placed in order. A reloading press and all the bits. Jaiden removes the ring from his right hand and sits, giving Graeme a grin before he starts removing old primers with a specially made tool. "No worries, Graeme. I wanted you to have something reliable and with the stopping power and shock value that would allow you to get away." There's a grunt and a metallic clink as one primer gets free, the 'clean' shell put into a small bin. ".410 birdshot won't kill, but it will mess up someone's day." He nods to the man. "What're you grading?"

"Worksheets," Graeme says, with a grin. "Pretty basic, honestly, just differentiating types of sentences, but my classes need the practise." There's a small sigh. "I don't think they've had one teacher long enough to get anywhere near where they need to be, really. I've lasted two weeks longer than their last teacher, let alone consistency through a whole semester." It's the standard rant, and anyone who's spent much time with Graeme recently has heard most of it before, frustration with the state of the schools. "Then I've got their essays on family, and then I've got the spelling test to grade."

But throughout all of it, there's a faint distance and dreamy-eyed look that the teacher gets. It's not so much anything, as the occasional distraction letting Graeme's mind wander. "I'm damn lucky," is under his breath, before he pulls himself back to being in the present, and actually responds to Jaiden. "Hopefully I won't need it, but it's far better to have it, yeah."

It's teachers like Graeme that make Jaiden wish there were a hundred of the man around to throw into the school system. Why couldn't Graeme have the power of cloning himself? That would solve the teacher shortage in a fortnight. Jaiden works mechanically; a pop as the old primer is free, a clink as the shell is put with it's brothers. It takes him about ten seconds per shell, his hands moving surely. "I hope you can stay there and help the kids. Consistency is the most important thing for a kid. If I didn't have well-defined boundaries growing up, I don't know where I would be." What he doesn't say is that his boundaries were as far as he could walk in the australian outback - which was pretty far - but the sentiment's the same.

There's a nod. "I'll stay as long as they leave me assigned to the same school," Graeme says. "It's not a permanent position, just at the whim at the Department of Education teacher pool." As they talk, Graeme reopens the folder, going through the worksheets one by one. Some take longer than others, most of them having significant errors that bring a furrow to Graeme's brow as he corrects them. "But I do what I can. Even if it's just two classes."

Nearly a hundred students, total, with class sizes as far up as they are. A hundred students and while Graeme might have the advantage of having more time to grade and do lesson plans by virtue of not needing as much sleep, there's still only so much class time that he can give to each student. "But well, I'm there as long as I can. And work and all of that should be enough to keep the alphabet soup from looking at me too carefully. I'm living my life as usual. Exactly as I was instructed to." Well, not exactly, but close enough, and Graeme chuckles slightly.

"Any chance that it might be permanent at some point?" The basket of shells near Jaiden's left hand is emptying rapidly, the pile of used primers rising, the bin of clean shells filling up rather quickly, the man stopping when they threaten to overflow. Good enough to move to step two. A container with a screw-top lid is withdrawn and some particulate matter is poured into a container with a nipple on the end. This allows a precise amount of powder to be added to each shell before he crimps them down and adds the new primer. "Do what you can. It's people like you that show that we, evolved people, aren't monsters to be feared. we work just as hard as normal people do, trying to make life better."

There's a shrug. "Not a clue," Graeme says. "I'm just hoping that at the least, I stay for the rest of the semester before getting moved. I could deal with that." There's a chuckle. "Though Aric doesn't like the uncertainty of my schedule. But." Another shrug. "I'm lucky. He puts up with me, even on that." There's a bit of a faint grin, as Graeme goes a little dreamy-eyed again.

"Very damn lucky. And probably lucky he's not the jealous sort, too." Especially considering that Aric not only puts up with Graeme, but isn't about to go and be the jealous type when it comes to other things. The teacher flushes a faint shade of red, and bites his lip slightly, having said a little more than he'd originally meant to when he started rambling. Which is what he gets for not thinking before the words come out of his mouth. "Though it's probably good that Devon's not staying with me. Means I can spend more nights at the store, and all."

"I'm sure being evo has all sorts of hoops to jump over before they let you have a classroom to call your very own, but if you keep doing your job and keep your nose clean, you'll get something eventually." There's a *click* as Jaiden crimps the bullet and the primer, the now complete shell being placed carefully into a box, tip down, ready for use. "Aric's a good guy. Never met him, but the way you talk about him an' the way you look when you talk about him makes me think you've got a pretty good thing there goin' on."

There's another pause, the worksheets balanced on Graeme's knees as he shuffles the graded worksheet to the back of the pile, not starting on the next one yet. "Tonnes of hoops, yeah. And I don't have the seniority here, yet. There're people who've been subbing for years, I've only been in town since new years." A faint smile plays across Graeme's face. "I think I do." There's a pause. "Hell, I know I do. I don't have to keep secrets from him about all of this, 'cause … I'd never be able to do that, really. And he isn't going to up and get jealous of Liz, either."

"Never thought I'd be doing something like this." Jaiden sighs and reloads another shell, nodding to Graeme's words, a faint smile playing across his face when he computes what he said. "So….jealous of Liz, huh? She told me that you and she kissed. How was it?" He says this nonchalantly, as if it's a basic conversation.

The shade of red that's colouring Graeme's cheeks is probably a good indication. "Yeah. We … did. I kind of had to talk to Aric about it. And all he did was reiterate that it doesn't change anything between us, and that he's not about to be jealous of her. So well, I've definitely got a good thing. Or more than one good thing." The slow drawl carries an amused, happy tone. "I kind of confused myself for a while," he admits. "But well. Definitely not something I'd object to doing again." He'll leave out the part that he did, in fact, do so again. "And I'm pretty sure I surprised her. Though well, being full of surprises must just be part of th' charm."

"I shall have to tease Lizzie about the magical powers that her boobs contain - the ability to make a gay man look at the other side of the coin for just a few moments." Jaiden chuckles. "And just so you know, mate, I'm not going to be jealous of you and Lizzie. You just had to get it out of your system - I understand how it is or, at least, I think I understand." He gives a halfway shrug, one shoulder going up before he loads another bullet, setting it aside. "You did surprise her, something awful. She told me about it a bit after it happened."

Graeme grins a bit, and there's an even brighter shade of red as he speaks. "Yeah. I know. We talked Sunday, and all." Or more than talked. "I pretty surprised both of us equally, but it worked out." The worksheet is shuffled to the bottom of the pile once again, a pause while Graeme reads over, concentrating for a moment more on the grading than on the conversation. "And good. I'm glad."

"Honestly, I mean … I'm not quite sure I know how to be jealous. Which is probably good." It's just not something that happens to the teacher, though possibly because of his ability and the sheer amount of patience and tolerance he has otherwise. "I mean, what I have with Liz doesn't make what you have with her any less special. And all." It's phrased as if it's the most normal thing, really. "Just like it doesn't change what I have with Aric." There's a shrug, and a smile. "And all that makes us pretty damn lucky, overall, I'd guess."

There's a chuckle from Jaiden as he loads another shell, leaning back to grin at Graeme, rubbing his neck with one big hand. "Just enjoy the ride, to put it bluntly Graeme. You're in a spot a lot of guys would envy - someone who loves you and holds you close and doesn't mind when you stray, now and again, to try things that they can't give you. It's okay." He sighs and closes his eyes. "And with Lizzie and me?" He shrugs slightly, straightening after a moment. "She's still in love with Cardinal pretty much. I'm just doin' my best to keep her sane. Giving her a shoulder to cry on." He smiles. "I do love the girl, though. Just like I love Ygraine. I'd do anything for either of 'em."

There's a smile. "Yeah. I hate seeing her hurt, like that, really. But all we can do is be there for her." Graeme's been the shoulder to cry on, as well, and probably will be at some point in the future. "I know." Another worksheet finished, and Graeme leans back against the wall, looking up at the ceiling. "I should probably get back to the bookstore by dinner," he says, musing, pulling out his cell phone to look at the time. "Seeya around, yeah?"

"Keep fighting the good fight out there, Graeme." The press clicks as Jaiden makes another bullet ready for firing. "We'll keep the good fight going in the shadows."

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