Back To Surreality

Santa Monica Boulevard
Bright neon signs bathe the sidewalk in harsh light, and each side of the strip
is lined with bars and nightclubs ranging between high class establishments to
buildings that are little more than densely populated Raves. The street is
packed at any time of day with people and cars, making parking an issue for most
anyone. The occasional crowd of Paparazzo can be seen here or there, hoping to
get shots of some well known celebrity coming out of one of the sleazier
establishments. Continuing to the east and west, traffic travels down single,
congested lanes, looking only a bit wider than the sprawling sidewalks, and the
street lamps leave plenty of illumination in the night. Between many of the
buildings, dark alleys offer places for the less savory population of the strip
to do their business with mild obscurity.

* Exits *
north - The Gulag (Avg NPCs: 60)
east - Santa Monica Boulevard
south - …
west - Intersection of Santa Monica and North Fairfax

Walking down Santa Monica at an even pace is a lean, slightly muscled figure with his hands in his pockets and his head lowered, silver-green eyes locked on the sidewalk. His feet narrowly miss every crack in the pavement, man-made or otherwise. He doesn't seem to look up, though he manages to negotiate through the sea of people easily enough. Khaki slacks and a white, v-neck t-shirt adorn the man's body this evening, chuck taylor's on his feet. The shirt clings to his muscled chest slightly, his black hair spiked forward and earrings pierced through his lobes. The man's skin is a sickly color, his eyes somewhat sunken. His 'condition' takes away from his attractiveness slightly, though not enough so he doesn't turn heads.

Even while wearing the knee-high heeled boots that she's become fond of, the little pixie of a girl doesn't seem to make any sound on the pavement as she weave her way through the groups of people milling about. White wires fall from her ears to the front pocket of her white grey skinny jeans, her head bopping from side to side as her wide mouth forms voiceless words, silently singing along to whatever's jamming through her iPod. A white wifebeater, covered by a black pinstripe vest, completes the outfit, though dangling from her neck is a silver necklace harboring charms shaped like a heart, a key, and a faceted disco ball. Eyes as grey as a summer storm skitter about her surroundings with an almost detached air as she mosies along, seemingly in no hurry whatsoever.

The strip bustles with activity, the bright lights of signs illuminating the night air and mingling with the sudden flash of cameras that spring to life each time a famous face happens to wander past. The beat of music pulses along the street, flowing out of the many clubs and restaurants lined up along the block and adding to the sizzle of the atmosphere. Through this mixture of noise and crowd wonders a willowy an androgynous figure, apparently no more than a teenager in age. He, or she, is taking almost painful care to avoid making contact with anybody else who happens to be strolling along, lithe arms pulled in against a slender torso which is garbed in a black hooded sweatshirt that has been left unzipped. Despite the heat, a slate gray button-down shirt is worn beneath the jacket, matching nicely with a pair of black jeans just snug enough in their fit to reveal a slight curve of hips beneath their lowrise waist. Pale blue eyes scan each face with a certain intensity, though there is also a sense of detachment within them that matches the emotionless expression upon angelic features.

Before anyone can take a good look at the handsome fellow and truly notice his pallid complexion, he strides into a dark space between streetlights, clubs, and camera flashes. The man emerges beneath a streetlight in little more than a second, the shadows of that space completely changing his appearance. He no longer looks sickly and pale, but quite well-colored, his full handsome, healthy appearance returned in full. As soon as he walks beneath the streetlight and into the crowd he stops, having stepped in front of Ella with a perfect, cheery smile on his face. He doesn't attempt to communicate with the woman over the sound of her headphones, but the friendly smile remains, his head brought up from its dejected position, his posture straight and perfect.

A loud gasp flies from Ella's mouth as she takes immediate notice of the shadow blocking her path, her greyish eyes alight with recognition. "Holy buttery christ on a bagel!" she exclaims, tugging one of the earbuds out to let it dangle from her hand. "It's either Chace Crawford or this guy I once knew that had impeccable fashion sense," she grins from ear to ear, rocking back and forth on her boots. "Jesus, Elijah, you look great! How's everything? What happened here? Where did you stay while this place was apparently some sort of jungle wasteland? Please say Vegas. Please! Because I heard a lot of the rich and fabulous went there during that crisis. There and London," she prattles on, her free hand gesturing here and there with her steady flow of words.

Having always looked more like a conceptual painting than a glamour photograph, the willowy teenager still appears like just your average androgynous kid who could probably use just a hint more sunlight and probably needs to cut loose and get drunk. A faint blush does creep over high cheekbones, adding a slight feeling of health to the otherwise pale though perfectly smooth and blemish free complexion. Still wondering through the mob of people in a fairly aimless manner, he does eventually pause as the familiar voice flows to the air, causing his head to turn slightly, a flicker of recognition appearing in the alert gaze as his eyes settle upon the photographer. Lips pursing ever so slightly, he begins to slowly stride over to her, focused gradually shifting towards the man who she's speaking to.

"I stayed.." The man says, rocking forward onto his toes slightly as his arms spread outward from his sides, gesturing to the city around him as his gaze remains locked on Ella. "/Here/." There's a slightly bitter note in his voice, as if the experience was far from savory. "Where were you?" He asks in a calm voice, raising an eyebrow as he falls backwards onto the flats of his feet once more. His silver-green eyes flicker to Devon briefly, silver-green eyes meeting the youth's for a single moment before he looks back at Ella.

"Well…" the young paparazzo begins, rolling her eyes skywards while tucking her earbud into her pocket and pulling the other one free, the musical stylings of Amy Winehouse crackling from them both. With a slide of her thumb, the music dies completely and she continues on, "I was already out of town, following Harrison Ford and Shia LeButthole around on their press junkets. I wanted to come back, but there was no way I could get in and out of this place with it on lockdown. I was forced to read about it and pace the various hotel rooms I stayed in. Though FEMA's paying for it, HA HA to them!" she chirrups while grinning madly up at Elijah. "What was it like here during all of that? No one is saying anything. Hell, they're saying they got everyone out. How did you miss the boat?"

"It was a living hell. Literally." The quiet words just barely manage to ring out over the din of the strip, almost getting lost in the the audible maze of voices that seem to grow into nothing but white noise. Despite the faint lack of conviction within the youth's voice, the vaguely disturbed expression that graces his face now seems to validate what has been said. A slight shudder courses through his willowy frame, causing the zipper of his jacket to rattle slightly in the process. One hand has already shifted so that fingers can scratch at the wrist of the other, long digits reaching up inside of the sweatshirt's elastic sleeve.

"Exactly." The handsome man says, eyes narrowing towards Ella, though not in any hostile or unfavorable way. A slight smile stretches his lips, making the man's amusement obvious, perhaps at the way the androgynous youth shudders. "You remember Devon, Ella? I believe I mentioned him over pizza.." Still Elijah does not look at the youth, his silver-green eyes locked on Ella as he waits for her answer.

Keen eyes flick from Elijah to Devon as the latter speaks, her grin coming back full force as she nods her head emphatically, "Of course I remember Devon! We've talked a few times, though obviously not recently unless you count right now." She grasps her hands behind her back as she rocks back and forth again, filled with some sort of inscrutable energy. "But what do you mean it was a living hell? What happened? If you don't want to share, then that's cool. I can understand if it was really horrifying.. but that just means I'll have to pester you again later, down the line, and maybe even after that because this sounds like a sweet story in the making."

Eyes closing slightly, though be it to help him remember or to help him forget is unclear, Devon simply explains, "There's a reason that man evolved past the jungle primeval. It was to get away from the monsters that haunted the night." The youth's tone is solemn now, possibly even slightly haunted as though the members of the experience are still running through his mind, shadowy images dancing before his eyes even as he speaks. "There are certain things that just shouldn't happen, and that was one of them." Despite the fact that his face is turned towards Ella, his gaze does slowly slide towards Elijah's direction, finally meeting the man's eyes and locking with his for a moment before shifting away once more, this time focusing rather intently upon the side of a building, as though it might hold all of the answers to his unspoken questions.

"The government never cared about junkies, Ella." Elijah says offhandedly, as if realizing he hadn't answered the woman's question. "Your story should be on the feds." He smiles softly and turns to look at Devon, meeting the youth's gaze, his head tilting to the side slightly as they look eyes. Then he, too, looks towards the building, watching it closely as a single black shape flutters to the rooftop, perching on the edge and letting out a 'squawk' that becomes lost in the sounds of Santa Monica.

Cuing in to the raucous quork of a nearby avian, Ella tilts her head back and to the side until she can barely pick out its feathery form against the vaguely lighter night sky. Her lips twist into an enigmatic smile as she returns her attention to both Elijah and Devon in turn, her head now canting strangely to one side as she blinks at both. "But the real story is with the survivors and what they did when they were left and forgotten. The real story will be what these feds do when their stories are made virulently public to where they can't squash every outlet," she replies with a jovial tone to her voice.

"Raking muck then?" One tawny eyebrow arches in questioning as Devon's focus shifts once more to the photographer, studying her closely for several moments, even as her own attention falls upon the bird rather than himself or his companion. "I suppose that the story is not so much what we did, but what we didn't do. We didn't die, which is more than I can say for others who were trapped here by that retaining wall." Despite the fact that the steel curtain around the city has since been taken down, his gaze shifts off into the distance for a moment, darkening slightly despite the bright glow of the street lamps that reflects within them. It is as though he is glaring at where they once stood, or perhaps what they once stood for. Head shaking slightly, bluish black bangs (far different from the golden curls that he sported in the past) fall over finely drawn features, partially obscuring them in shadow.

"I'd rather not be put into a news story.." Elijah mutters offhandedly, silver-green eyes watching the crow for a moment. His eyes travel to Ella, then to Devon(where they linger for a moment longer than they had on the animal and the woman), and then to the crowds of Santa Monica. "Maybe that's the reason we /are/ still alive. Discretion…" He actually snickers as soon as he says this, as though the thought of his adventures in the jungle being 'discreet' is laughable.

Shaking her head, the would-be reporter crinkles her nose in the slightest. "I doubt the monsters you say hunt the night in the jungle care overly much about discretion. Isn't that the way of true monsters? What do they care what kind of press they get so long as they get to terrorize and kill?" she questions as her head tilts from one side to the other, still peering intently between the two lovely men. "Anyhow, that's fine if you don't want it to get out. I could totally make up pseudonyms for you guys if you want? Maybe we could postup a picture with your face all covered by a fuzzy grey dot? Then keep you in um.." she pauses, pursing her lips together, "some sort of protective custody? Away from the guys that usually grant protective custody?"

"I think that part of the art of being a monster his discretion." There is a darker undercurrent to still quiet voice now, as though Ella's comments have touched somewhat deeper than perhaps they were intended to. "Some of the scariest things are those that remain lurking just beyond what we can see. All of the creatures that go bump in the dark, so ready and willing to reach out and grab you, and yet still never fully detected." Pausing for a moment, Devon's darkened gaze returns to studying the photographer, but somehow it seems to hold an added bit of scrutiny this time. Fingers still scratching at his wrist, they seem to increase their tempo and pressure, the action audible if one listens hard enough. "Like germs. Those, those are something to be afraid of." Another shudder runs through his slender frame, eyes closing just briefly in the process. "And I don't think I want to be any representative of what happened."

"Mmm. I didn't know you ventured into philosophy, Ella…" Elijah says, looking back at the woman with a smile. He stares at her as Devon speaks, his features falling dreadfully still and quiet, as if everything the youth says is shared by the handsome man. "Yes. Germs." Except this, it would seem, only brings that faint sign of amusement, Devon's shudder causing a small smile to grow on his smooth lips. "Nor do I. We'll be safer without grey dots and protective custody. We can.. take care of ourselves?" He turns his head, raising a black eyebrow at Devon as the smile falls away from his lips.

Sweeping one hand through her short hair, Ella shrugs her shoulders and offers up a simple, "Suit yourself," before crossing her arms loosely in front of her. "I just thought you wouldn't want those government types getting away with this shit and all," she goes on, her dark eyebrows falling to peer at Elijah mostly. "What can I say? It was a prerequisite in college that I actually managed not to skip all the time -and- not always fall asleep during. Who would have guessed, right? Anyhow," she waves her hand dismissively while uncrossing her arms, "How are things going for the both of you now that everything seems back to normal? Or as normal as things can be in Los Angeles, Mecca of the Weird."

"… Just… Fine." The words come out in a rather halting fashion, as though to suggest that they might not be the exact truth. However, coming from the sometimes cryptic and often highly unusual Devon, this could mean just about anything. Shifting his feet slightly, and scratching on his wrist continues, though this time his hand all but disappears beneath the sleeve of his sweatshirt, the material moving and writhing with the effort. At the same time, he rocks forward slightly from the waist up, and rocks back once more, the motion rather rhythmic in nature. Eyes now dart between Elijah and Ella, almost as though checking to see if they both believe the answer offered. "I'm… fine."

"We're both fine." Elijah says in an entirely confident tone to Ella, smiling wholeheartedly as he does so. "..I have someone you need to speak with." The handsome man tilts his head to the side slightly, stepping towards Ella and away from Devon, the smile returning to his attractive features. "Samuel Dockery. Look him up. He lives in the Four Winds apartment complex, and he's damn eager to get his tale out." With that said he steps back again, turning to look at Devon with a reassuring smile, speaking just as the crow flies from the top of the Gulag and across the straight, landing on the building opposite with a flutter of wings, its head turning erratically, black eyes peering down at the street. "We're fine, yes? Despite all the.. difficulties. We seem to always.. come out unscathed."

Ella repeats the name to herself in a whisper as if committing it to memory, her expression a mask of concentration as she does so. "Got it. I'll look the guy up since I know where the Four Winds are, maybe I'll just show up unannounced and catch him unawares. That usually works," she responds with a faint giggle, lfting a hand to wave at Elijah's receding form. "Catch ya later!" she shouts, though her eyes dance between the man and the bird as she says it. Turning back to Devon, she smiles brightly, "You know, I've learned from press releases that when someone states they're fine more than once, it's usually some kind of lie. But I won't press you this time, it's not what you want."

"I hate plants." This final statement seems to be Devon's last words on the entire subject of the disaster and everything after it, a certain deadpan expression crossing his finely drawn features before fading into a rather blank look. Rocking back and forth once more, the motion seeming vaguely comfortable to him, his focus returns once more, though not as clear or distinct as before. Head inclining slightly to the side, his eyes stop their frantic darting, though still continue to gradually shift between the two other figures he is conversing with. "So… The city is getting back to normal. I suppose this means that all of the usual monsters will be returning. Although, it might just be a blessing to be haunted by familiarity."

Elijah slides his hands into the pockets of his khaki slacks, the front of his white t-shirt wrinkling slightly. He nods once to Ella, offering her a smirk as he replies "See you around." He turns his body and his back to Ella, passing by Devon as he steps along the sidewalk, muttering "I'll see you at home.." In an ancient, foreign language, though his voice is low enough that only Devon would be able to hear it. He then strides down the sidewalk, beginning to hum Carl Orff's "O Fortuna" in a deep, considerably un-Elijah like voice. The crow stays where it is, and its black beady eyes almost never seem to leave Devon, if one could tell where the mysterious creature were looking.

"I don't know, some plants are okay I think," Ella muses aloud while lifting a hand to her neck, curling one pale finger around the length of chain dangling there and slide it back and forth to make the charms jingle and shine. She spares a last glance for Elijah, though she says nothing more to him, only a faint sort of smile. "I wonder which monsters would be preferable. The ones you said haunted the green jungle, or the ones coming back to the concrete one?"

A shortish woman walks from the east, her stride is confident as she looks around her. She wares a 70's disco shirt with 70's cop sunglasses and a pair of tight jeans. There is a cigarette in between her lips as she puffs away, A cheeky smile on her lips. She doesn’t seemed trouble at all as she waves to random people .

Devon nods to Elijah as the man walks away, though he shows no signs of actually understanding exactly what was whispered to him. His gaze follows his companion's departure from out of the corner of his eyes, briefly studying the man's every move as he disappears into the the crowds and is engulfed from sight. "At least if you know what type of monsters to expect, they begin to gain his face and lose some of their mystique, and in it their power to lord over us as some unseen and unknown presence." Shrugging one thin shoulder from beneath his hoodie, the youth slowly turns to glance at the young woman he had seen on the previous night as she walks by.

Blinking very slowly, Ella stares at Devon quietly for a few heartbeats, almost as if she's mulling over the words so elegantly given to her. "Well, you know, I don't think I've ever had that happen to me. I don't feel this unseen presence breathing down my neck and generally acting all boogymannish," she explains while lifting her hands, curling them and wiggling them in the air as if she were some kind of monster herself. "Oh sometimes I do feel like someone's watching me, which is creepy enough, but with enough vigilance it becomes easy to decipher who's doing it. Right?"

At first, Devon begins to nod as though agreeing with Ella, though midway through the second downward motion of his head, he pauses, a thoughtful look passing through his gaze. "It's like children who believe that there are monsters under the bed. Even though their parents reassured them that there's nothing there, they are still certain they are under threat even though it's undetectable." Lapsing into silence once more, he seems to be thinking once again as a carefully considering both his own words and though spoken by the young photographer. Lips pursing into a firm line, his gaze darts off into the distance, as though searching for a place at the light does not touch. "The media may paint a picture of exactly what we should be afraid of, but that's always just an artist's rendition."

A one-shouldered shrug is offered in response to Devon's mental meanderings, her own eyes trying to track exactly what it is her companion could be seeing out there in the darkness. "It's always going to be inaccurate because everyone fears something different. You can describe in excruciating detail to someone what it is you saw and they will likely paint an entirely different picture than you'd imagined. Fear has no real physical form, except for that which we give it I guess." She pauses to purse her lips together, humming faintly before continuing on, "Like for instance… that guy that says he's the president of the ole U.S. of A? He scares the tar out of me. But other people want to actually cuddle and coo at him. Yeeesh," she shivers thoroughly, "I just don't get it."

"People tend to want to coddle things that are childlike…" While he seems to be more of a random personal musing by Devon, spoken more to himself than to Ella, there is a certain accuracy within his statement, as well as a barely perceptible hint of sarcasm. Blinking once, eyelashes brushing his cheeks in the process, a slight frown begins to pull at the very corners of his lips. "Germs. Technically, they can't be seen without a microscope, and hence people didn't believe that they exist. Yet still, they were able to cause excruciating amounts of pain, death and decay." His nose wrinkles up a bit at the mere mention of his arch enemies, shoulders hunching just slightly as though he is preparing to be attacked. Scratching along his wrist does cease, but only so that he can switch, shifting the position of his limbs so that the other hand can snake up the other sleeve and begin the process anew.

A grin brings an uncanny lightness to Ella's features as she eyes Devon, batting her eyelashes with false innocence while offering, "Does that mean you don't want me to hug you? Even after not seeing you for so long?" With a faint ripple of giggles, Ella holds up her hands as if warding off an impending attack, "I'm joking, I promise, I don't want to freak you out or anything, but I just couldn't resist. Germs have never really held any real fear for me. I guess I have a hardy constitution? I can't remember being sick much as a kid, or even recently, at least not physically so."

Devon continues to wear the shadow of a frown, actually taking a step back as Ella threatens him with the horrors of a physical embrace. A certain sense of absolute terror flashes over his angelic visage for just a moment, hovering there before vanishing only after hearing a slight reassurance. "Please don't." While not actually physically cowering, he does seem to be slightly more withdrawn, as though ready to protect himself from affection at a moments notice. "It's not so much being sick, it's just that… germs can do… destruction…" The words coming out in a halting manner, not flowing together in the slightest. Suddenly, almost exasperated, the youth blurts out, "Do you know how many germs are located in a city alone? And do you know how many more are added to that when the entire city turns into a jungle overnight? The explosion is exponential."

Tilting her head back to visually drink in her surroundings, the dark-haired photographer rocks back and forth on her heels with a thoughtful expression coloring her face. "I can't even imagine the exotic diseases that could be clustering around us at this very moment from all of that. I haven't heard of anyone keeling over from odd things like Ebola or something though. Maybe I should check with local hospitals? As if they would tell the truth, I know, but I could maybe weasel it out of them?" she suggests with a salacious wiggle of her ebon eyebrows. "And I -promise- I won't hug you. It cuts me to the core," she presses one hand to her chest with a mock sniffle, "but it's okay. I don't want you scared of me."

The woman moves towards Devon man chuckling, she winks at the Devon as she smokes cigarette. "your as cute as your friend". Rebecca then turns to Ella and nods. "How’s it going?" she asks, her focus immediately turns back to Devon

Devon seems to be just about calmed down about the threat of a hug from Ella, willowy body just beginning to relax ever so slightly from 'tense enough to shatter upon contact' to 'strung just enough to play like an upright bass'. However, as the young woman approaches, offering both a wink and her comment, he seems to be agitated anew. Eyes closing for a brief moment, he manages to all but choke out, "I'm gay.", in a tone as androgynous as he appears. At the same time, his shoulders shrug up slightly, head lowering at the same time as though trying to encourage his jacket to swallow him whole. Rocking back and forth from heel to toe, the scratching of his arm continues, though this time with renewed vigor.

Ella raises her hand to her forehead in a salute towards the unknown woman, her mask of conviviality still well in place with a cheshire grin. "Good evening to you, too," she replies in a casual tone of voice, though her greyish eyes do sweep over the new figure quickly. To Devon she finally turns, lowering her voice to that of a whisper, "I think she was just complimenting you, is all. I don't think any harm was meant by it," she tries to quietly reassure, even offering the lovely man a small smile to call his own.

Rebecca raises and eyebrow as she looks at Ella, she then finishes her cigarette and then throws it at her own feet, it narrowly misses her feet. "Gay.. why are all the cute ones gay.." She chuckles dryly as she digs into her backpack and takes out an apple, which she immediately starts to eat, she turns to Devon as she makes a questioning sound

Devon patiently listens to whatever it is that Ella is whispering to him, he offers her a curt nod in reply, the action somewhat stiff and jerky due to his current posture. Rather uncomfortably, his tongue darts out to moisten his lips briefly, eyes studying the latest figure on the scene with a detached yet calculating gaze. Still continuing to rock rather uncomfortably, he glances towards the photographer for a moment a soft breath of air causing his nostrils to flare. "Honestly, a lot of people would argue that it's science." The words are spoken in a bland and factual manner, as though he's delivering news of the most obvious thing in the world.

"Well," the diminutive woman begins at length, a thoughtful tone lent to her words, "I guess everyone's definition of 'cute' is different, too. I think the burly manly-men can be absolutely adorable. The surlier, the better, I say! Least they have a little fight in them. Rarrrr!" she bares her teeth in a sad excuse for a lion's roar. "But I've got nothing against staring at a little bit of man-candy, just like someone would stare at a pretty sculpture or other piece of art. My whole problem with the beauty thing I think stems from the fact that all these Hollywood celebutards that have looks and money going for them usually seriously lack anything even remotely considered a heart. Bastards through and through," she snorts with a toss of her head. "No, thank you. I've seen enough of that. Not saying there aren't any pretty straight guys out there with a winning personality, just saying good fucking luck finding one in this town."

Rebecca nods at Ella for a moment. "Yeah, bit of fight is nice." she chuckles as she turns to Devon. "Even if it’s a fight within, I mean, you don’t look gay." She winks at Devon before moving off, throwing te rest of th apple across the intersection

"No, I look like a girl. There's a difference." These final words are little more than muttered under the androgynous youth's breath, though if one listens closely enough, they can most likely be heard despite soft-spoken manner in which they are said. There's no actual vehemence to his tone though, if anything it sounds rather flat and emotionless. Letting out a gentle sigh as the stranger begins to move off, his eyes are cast downwards as another wink is tossed in his direction. He still rocking in that same almost rhythmic manner, though the action seems to go mostly unnoticed on his part. The same goes for the seemingly unyielding scratching he's doing to his arm beneath the cover of his jacket. "I personally think that appearance is just a shell."

"How strange," is muttered by Ella as she blinks at Rebecca's passing. Lifting an arm, she turns her head to sniff at it and then shrugs, letting the appendage fall back to her side. "I know I bathed today, so it's not me. But anyhow, you're right. Appearance -is- just a shell, a shell that gives the world its first impression of you. Though not so much so in this digital age. Looks aren't much to me, honestly, so long as he doesn't go fetal around me or take off running, he must be an okay guy." With this grins and scans the street at large, though her gaze catches on the big black bird for a moment. To him she gives a wink before going back to Devon, "So congratulations, Devon. You're officially an okay guy."

"…Thanks?" A single word of politeness is spoken more like a question than a statement, the look that Devon offers to Ella almost pleading now, his eyes seeming to ask her if this makes it okay for him to curl into the fetal position at this point. Glancing around as though to insure that no more vicious assaults of flirting are about to come his way, his focus finally returns to the photographer, the youth seeming to be hurriedly trying to change the subject to a far more savory topic. "Have you ever seriously thought about the fact that many assaults are committed by one partner in a relationship to another?" He arches one brow as though to punctuate this statement, the rocking beginning to subside only slightly.

Ella slowly shakes her head from side to side as she once again lifts a hand to crook a finger around her silver chain necklace, the charms clinking lightly together as she runs her finger back and forth along it. "No, not really.. I have thought of the fact that men would be a lot less likely to report a case of a woman beating them than vice versa, so that might make a difference with the statistics. No guy wants to admit being beat up by a girl," she replies very seriously, even if the words she chooses to express her thoughts are less than scientific by any means. "But why do you bring it up?" she asks, turning her head sharply to one side in order to peer at Devon from the corners of her eyes in a rather strange manner.

"Numbers and statistics tend to be exact. Even if incorrect, the increments are known or can be factored in accordingly. They're very neat and tidy if done correctly." While this is not an actual answer, the very thought of such an orderly topic seems to extinguish some of Devon's melancholy mood. Rolling his shoulders ever so slightly, they relax partially as he leans back on his heels once more. Hand reappearing from inside the sleeve of his jacket, he tugs lightly at the cuff in order to straighten it once more. Both hands come to rest upon his denim clad thighs, fingers almost immediately beginning to tap against them though with no pattern or rhythm. "It seemed to fit accurately with the conversation."

Suspicious charcoal eyes peer silently at Devon for a couple of seconds as Ella purses her lips together, finally giving her nod of approval. "Just so long as you and Elijah are both okay.." her voice trails off so she can start another round of intense peering, scrutinizing her compadre as if searching for any visible clue that something is amiss. "Statistics was one of those classes I skipped a lot. It didn't hold any interest for me, not while I could be out -here-," she gestures with the sweep of one bare arm, "experiencing life firsthand. Numbers don't thrill me."

Devon nods once more, saying softly, "Elijah and I are just fine." The words are said with confidence, holding a genuine feeling to them at the same time. After a moment, he adds and even quieter, "Now.", turning to look at Ella point-blank, a certain expression breaking into his deadpan features that seems to indicate this final word is actually inferring, 'Aside from the fact that Elijah sometimes suffers from a chronic case of stupid but let's not talk about that.', something which seems to resonate mainly within his pale eyes, the faintest hint of exasperation and affection flaring within them at once. Blinking, it's extinguished into a blank stare once more, a far more even voice saying, "People don't thrill me."

A raucous sort of laughter spews forth from Ella's large mouth as she wraps one arm around her midsection, pulling free the earbuds she had tucked into her pocket earlier. "Some people thrill me, others boggle my mind, there's just so many people in general it's hard for me to say that people don't thrill me in general. I'm glad to see you and Elijah are okay, together and after that whole government fucking you guys over thing," this last is said with a bit of a frown, her words coming through as utterly genuine if a bit inelegant. "You guys always were the cutest couple I knew," she admits with a small shrug of her shoulders. "Speaking of which, there are still some people I need to track down and remind myself that they're alright before I worry to death."

Devon seems to ponder this last question for a moment, apparently wondering if in fact they have any mutual acquaintances. "I didn't see many people that I knew around the city while I was closed. I think that almost everyone who was left behind by the government was in hiding." He glances towards one of the clubs as he speaks, watching the crowds of people milling around it, many of them entering and exiting the door as though it is the easiest thing in the world. "Can you think of anyone in particular? I think that some people left the city for good after the evacuation." After a bit more extended silence, he adds rather softly, though with a note of fondness, "Yes, Elijah is cute."

A perfectly salacious grin works its way across Ella's pale face, igniting a previously unseen spark in her eyes like a bolt of lightning splitting a grey thundercloud. "Topping my list is a surly fellow named Adrien Cross. He's irreplaceable and I have a lot I need to share with him," she explains with a giggle while twining one of the white wires from her iPod around her finger. "And a girl named Molly Kennedy. Nice girl, awesome accent, and in a punk band. I'm sure at least one of them will turn up sooner or later, though I know Cross can handle himself no matter what comes along. He's good at…" she pauses a moment while tilting her head to one side, "a lot of things, though not really much on the interpersonal communication level."

Actually seeming to grow slightly paler in complexion, if this is even possible, Devon quietly echoes the name, "Adrien Cross…", voice trailing off into the darkness. It's not so much panic that wells up within his eyes, as the distinct appearance of someone who is trying to suppress a memory. Eyelids falling shut, his fingers begin to curl towards his palms, suddenly stopping their motion only to flex straight outwards with every knuckle locked. "He. Should. Be. Fine." Swallowing once, the sound not quite loud enough to be a distinct gulp, he begins to turn around, boots landing slightly harder upon the sidewalk than normal. "I should go before you find him."

Stunned silence fills the void of Devon's ensuing departure as Ella stares at him, blinking a couple of times. "Okay then…" she begins, nodding quickly, "I don't think he'd hurt you unless you gave him a solid reason, but okay. I'll see you around sometime. Take care," she raises a hand to wiggle her fingers in a friendly wave. She, too, turns and strolls off into the opposite direction, plugging her ears with both earbuds before turning her iPod back on. Softly, and out of tune, she begins to sing, "Just plug me in just like I was Eddie Harris.. You're eating crazy cheese like you'd think I'm from Paris.." as her own boots make barely any sound in her retreat down the sidewalk.

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