You're You, Maybe


devon2_icon.gif emily4_icon.gif zachery_icon.gif

Scene Title You're You, Maybe
Synopsis Zachery approaches Devon and Emily to apologize, and bring up something else he saw in his examination.
Date June 18, 2019

Raytech NYCSZ Branch Office

Standing next to a patio table, hand offered down to Devon while he sits, Emily looks marginally better than a deer in the headlights as she hears the elevator door ding, tense as she waits to see whoever is on the other side. She's not in the mood for unfamiliar people, and also definitely not security, and also definitely not Richard, and—

Her gaze sharpens as she waits for the door to open.

Have no fear, Zachery is here. The opening doors reveal him standing, coffee mug in hand, shoulders up, a vaguely absent look on his face, eyebrows seemingly doing their best to try and meet somewhere in the middle.

It's an expression that drops from his face instantly when his gaze lifts to Emily and Devon, and an all too perfectly practiced smile pops onto his face, shoulders pushed downward. Whatever he was thinking about previously, by the time he steps forward and out of the elevator, he just looks like he's having a wonderful day. "There you are! I was hoping to catch you, still."

Both of them, if his glance back and forth between those present is any indication.

Having first been reluctant to stand and return to business, Devon accepts the hand up when the elevator chimes a new arrival. His hand stays clasped with Emily's as he waits, anticipating someone come to lecture or worse.

It's hard to say if worse is Zachery’s entrance through the elevator doors. Dev’s expression falls flat, unamused at the false smile and cheerful pretense. His hand tightens slightly around Emily's. “What now?” His tone implies tiredness, a lack of desire to put up with any further remarks at his expense.

Of all the potential options, though, Emily seems to find Zachery's appearance the least offensive. Her hand holds onto Devon's just as tightly, her gaze shooting to him. Please don't.

“Is there news already?” Emily asks, voice carrying lightly. Her other hand comes up and across her body, resting on the inside of Devon's arm while she stands by him. It's considerably more close than she prefers to be in public, but she's also worried about him potentially flying off the handle again.

“Or was there something else?” she adds, brow ticking up.

It is Devon's tone that brings Zachery's expression slightly closer to neutral again, but Emily's question that stops him in his tracks. "Something else, two things, actually — though everything is going as smoothly as it could be. It just takes time." His reassurance is delivered crisply, chin lifting and smile still bright.

Compared to the orderly Emily met only four months ago, Zachery might seem, to some, like a different person entirely. Except that he's not, and his shoulders still give a twitch under his lab coat when he has to turn his attention to Devon.

The smile disappears as quickly as it came. His voice is a controlled sort of level when he says, "First of all, I'd like to extend an apology to Devon. I could make an excuse for myself and my behavior, but I'd rather not. I'm sorry to have made things worse for you than they already are by…" For all intents and purposes, he sounds genuine, but he still struggles with the end of his sentence for a moment, before simply finishing it with a half-shrug, and — "being a bit of a dick."

Devon's weight shifts, the slight lean presses his shoulder to Emily's. Acknowledgement and assurance, he's got a tight lid on things right now. He continues watching Zachery, though, and if anything shows through it's a direct lack of trust.

He's clearly not buying the smile. And the older man’s tone and words are likely to be analyzed and questioned thoroughly in private.

“Thanks,” Devon returns evenly. The word isn't even bitten off, it lacks any form of negative emotion. “I appreciate the gesture.”

What Emily can clearly see is effort being put forth on both parties’ sides, and her shoulders begin to slope slowly with relief about that. “It's… I'm glad you came to clear the air immediately.” she says with a nod. Her hand squeezes Devon's as she looks back to him, hoping she's merely echoing his feelings. Or at least nudging him in feeling similar way.

There's questions of her own she might have for Zachery, but they're still on hold. “And the second thing?” she asks.

For her part, she sees Zachery's shift in behavior and attributes it to professionalism. Putting on a face for the sake of work, for the sake of smoothing things over. For a lack of a better way to put it, it sounds like he's putting on a doctor voice, and she can't fault him for that. Good on him, right?

Though she realizes absently that if it were pointed at her, she'd likely have a different reaction entirely.

Devon has barely even finished talking and Zachery has already turned his eye to Emily, instead. "Of course. It's no good to leave these things hanging, especially if we might meet again, after all."

Speaking of. "The second thing is - I may need Devon to come back for some more samples, after I talk some things over with -" He stops, suddenly, mouth still open but the words failing. "… What do I call him? I'm still not sure." He's momentarily sidetracked, attention pulling off to the side and his words speeding up a little as he seems to gravitate wholesale toward the mug he's holding. "'Mr. Ray'? That sounds ridiculous. It's probably not even his- Devon,"

All at once, he snaps back upright and his attention returns to the other man nearby. "I'm concerned about your physical state. You're aware you've, uh. Died?" Matter of fact. He stares from over the edge of his coffee mug as he glugs down what must be about half of it.

Devon’s head tips slightly with a nod. It's a small thing, but indicative of his agreement with Emily's reply. He's still not ready to rebuild any bridges, but neither is he burning what foundation might be there. He's suddenly more content to not add to the conversation further, but observe instead. Again, trying to keep things from igniting again.


“If you're going to talk things over with Uncle Richard, about me,” he interjects quietly, still evenly, “then don't you think I should be part of that conversation?” A brow ticks upward a little. “Since…”

That thought cuts off with what Zachery says next. Clearly someone didn't get the memo.

“Yes, thank you for reminding me,” Devon deadpans the response. Obviously it wasn't him that was kept in the dark. “I'd forgotten that happened three months ago.”

"Six months ago," Interjects Zachery from over his mug.

Oh shit. Emily's expression blanks as Zachery comes around to what's bothering him, her hand still in Devon's. Did… did they not tell him that? There had been a lot to cover, but that seems like a big thing to have forgotten to mention on their part. Whoops. Their bad.

Emily shakes Devon by his elbow in the way one does when they're well-meaning but nearing exasperated, glancing up at him with a sigh. "Dev—" she starts, but Zachery's already interjected his way in. Her eyes darts to him and her exasperation visibly goes up another notch, gaze sharpening.

These two. I swear to god.

"Yes, whatever they did to him healed him completely," she adds to Devon's reply, conflict in her tone. She's all too glad to have him back, but—

Well, there's obviously other emotions there, too. Emily looks off.

"You are part of the conversation." Zachery states, a note of exasperation in his tone now. He's trying, he really is, but heads are just going to be butted today, apparently. "But what I need is more along the lines of sign offs and permissions, and you're not my boss, are you?" Probably a rhetorical question, because he instantly adds, "Also, he didn't heal. Not as such. More of a… got reconstructed."

He freezes, looking expectantly between Emily and Devon both with mismatched eyes narrowing uncertainly. "… Maybe."

The correction causes a brief tending of shoulders, but Devon only sighs a second later, instead of picking at the scabs any further. His hand loosens its grip on Emily's and his feet shift. He turns, looking at nothing specifically, before deciding to take a seat at the table they're already standing near.

As for how he was brought back, Dev has no answers. Joy said it was a continuation, Bao-Wei said healers. Somehow Adam Monroe was involved. He folds his arms on the table and rests his forehead against them.

When Devon pulls away, Emily awkwardly remains standing in place, her arms settling into an uncertain fold, fingers curling around elbows. She closes her eyes, willing herself to have patience for either of them. "Yes,—"

Only barely does she bite off that they already knew that, because Zachery is trying to help, trying to provide information he probably thinks they didn't have, and there's no easy way to reconcile that at the moment, partly because it's a distressing topic to keep picking at. She'd clarify the details Dr. Cong had said, but something felt wrong about that, to go on without getting Devon's permission first, or worse, making him feel like they were talking around him again and —


"Maybe?" Her eyes snap open again to settle on Zachery intensely. "What do you mean maybe— that's what happened, isn't it?" The regrowth, the reconstructing bits.

Zachery stares directly at Devon like looking away will lose him a contest, somehow. And yet, when the subject of his observation's head hits arms, there is… a brief moment where he, himself, seems to shrink back a little, head angling.

He downs the rest of his coffee in a hurry, and when he lowers the mug again and shoves a hand at the side of his own neck, his whole posture seems to have gained a little… slack. Hmh.

"Maybe," he repeats, finally looking at Emily again. After a deep inhale, what was left of his smile is wiped away completely, and his tone dips into frustration territory, "His DNA may or may not be the same, but he is not. I'm not sure how to explain it because I've never seen it before. It's like holding a… handful of sand and finding that the grains don't slip through your fingers quite right. He may be fine."

He swallows, half turning back toward the elevator he came from, but keeping the one eye trained on Emily. "But just in case he's not. I'd like to find out as much as I can. You deserve as much." 'You' singular, plural. Pick one.

He may have removed himself physically from the conversation, and he might appear as though he's checked out of the subject entirely, but Devon is listening. It's one of the few things he's good at, better when he's disengaged from those talking. The distance allows him to put up those walls that keep him separate from the problems, and avoiding them creates the ability to parse what's being said.

It leaves him momentarily apathetic toward the problems Zachery claims may or may not exist. The emptiness should be a relief. It isn't. And almost as soon as it's found, he shies away from it too.

As the doctor continues, Dev tilts his head so he can observe, and eventually sits up. Something in the explanation grips his core with icy fingers, twists his stomach with a nauseating pain. It forces a deep, shaking breath. Panic has rarely hit him so hard, yet it prickles throughout.

“What… That can't… I'm me, Devon Clendaniel.” His eyes shift away from Zachery and settle on Emily, afraid, pleading. “Who else would I be?”

Emily takes in the wondering out loud, brow slanting down as she takes the words and weighs them carefully. There's an awful lot of may and uncertainty to it. She starts to nod when Devon's head shoots up and she can hear the panic in his voice. Her gaze tracks instantly to him, arms coming apart to hold her hands in a calming gesture.

“You're you, Dev, you're no one else.” She's calm, confident in that fact. “I don't think that's what he's saying at all. He's… seeing what Lucille saw, yeah? That you're you, just different now, because of whatever they did.” Emily finds herself smiling, even if it's small, in her attempt to reassure him. “He's saying he sees it too, and going to make sure whatever it is isn't bad. That it won't hurt you.”

Suddenly while she looks at him, her expression blanks, seeing the fear he has more clearly than before. This isn't a words-only moment, and she should have seen it sooner. For a moment it robs her of clarity, and then she's swiftly at Devon's side, her arm around his shoulder and her being an anchor for him to hold onto if he feels like the anxiety might sweep him away. “You're you,” she repeats in an attempt to soothe him. “He's just seeing what Lucille saw.”

There comes no quick comeback from Zachery this time. No arguing, no correction. No more explanation. Emily's got the right of it, anyway. Where he stands, alone, he listens. Mug still held in his hand, and expression a forced sort of neutral.

He opens his mouth to say something, but never does. Instead, after a twitch inward of the fingers on his free hand, he turns to open the elevator doors back up - thank fuck no one used it after he left it - and steps back inside. Notably not looking out at the two people he was just talking to when he turns around again to force the doors to close, by button press, a few seconds earlier than they otherwise might.

This always had been his least favourite part of any job.

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