A Step Above Norman Bates


gabriel_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title A Step Above Norman Bates
Synopsis On the scale of serial killers, according to Magnes Varlane.
Date August 16, 2009

Staten Island Boat Graveyard

Exactly where land gives way to water at this point of the island's edge is uncertain - first because of the saltgrass growing everywhere, both on dry earth and in the shallows, giving the illusion of solidarity; second for the structures visible in the distance, drawing the eye away from the deceptive ground, suggesting its reach extends beyond its grasp. Even if the structures are still recognizable as ships, and nothing that ever belonged on land.

There are a multitude of them, abandoned hulls of salt-stained wood and rust-pitted steel, dying slow and ungraceful deaths as wind and water claim their dues. Some still appear to rest upright, braced upon the debris of older, lost relics below; others list to one side, canted at an odd angle like someone who just struggled to the surface in search of a desperate breath. There are no hands to pull these hulks from the water, no ropes to save them from drowning; each has been surrendered to the sea, left to the ravages of unmerciful time.

At low tide, some of the closer ships can be reached - not without getting soaked, but such is the price of daring. Never mind that the rotting metal and splintered wood are the stuff of nightmares for any germophobe, definite hazards to the unwary. The more distant ships are distant indeed, beyond the reach of all but the most bold - and are all but submerged besides.

It's cold like mornings tend to be, at any season. The sun is only just peeking over the horizon as Gabriel's solitary foot steps echo and bounce around the open space that stretches out from the river edge, where the sunken ships of who knows how many years are scattered amongst this rundown morgue harbor. There's a track that leads from the inland down to the coast that provides him this route, and then onwards to the living docks that can carry him away, and he's already done his lingering.

Dressed entirely in black, of different textures - wool, cotton, leather, from head to foot - Gabriel looks very much himself in the early, early morning light as he begins to walk away from the dead boats, a backpack slung over a shoulder, an old thing of olive green and copper zippers. Healthy, if tired, if thoughtful.

Wearing his white Squirrel Girl at the beach building a sand castle shirt, some baggy blue jeans, his usual inline skates, and combed (but not gelled) back hair, Magnes silently lands around ten feet behind Gabriel, staring cautiously at the man's back.

After all he's seen in the past, after all he's heard, and all the warnings, he does know Gabriel isn't a complete monster, he knows and trusts Gillian, and he has to know what this man has been up to. "Gabriel Grey." comes from a more stern tone but the same voice that read him a story months ago.

It's like the fact Gabriel can't hear, anymore, the boats giving in to time, the subtle groan and creak of metal, the impact of ripples against the keeled over hulls of yachts and the like. He also doesn't hear Magnes's feet touch down against asphalt, nor his heart beat, the draw of breath and all those subtle sounds that point towards a living and breathing person. The tiny sounds that normal hearing just could never hope to pick up, and so he doesn't, not until his name is spoken.

Which— startles him. A man like Sylar deserves to be paranoid. With the fluidity of a predator hearing a twig snap beneath the paw of perhaps something larger than he is, his head turns, his body swivels on a heel and a hand goes up—

And it's a testament to how much restraint he's learned that no ripple of power is shot Magnes's way, Gabriel's hand drawing back before he can give into temptation. Recognition overtakes the severity of his expression, a blink, and it changes into bafflement. His hand hovers a little more before it drops to his side, and for now, says nothing in silent assessment.

"Since the last time we met, I've been through a lot, I guess I've grown a bit, I don't know, I like to think I have." Magnes speaks calmly, knowing Gabriel is a killer, not a rabid dog. "I've been to 2006, I saw a few things you did, I've been warned to stay away from you, and for a while I did, I know you're dangerous, I know what you do, but I know there's more to you than a killer."

He lets out a soft sigh, watching the man's expression for a moment, then continues. "I know because I've known Gillian for a while, I just didn't know who she was involved with. She spoke about you a lot, never giving me a name or any obvious details, but I do know you're not a rabid monster that can't be reasoned with, so, can we skip all the tough guy stuff and just have a talk?"

Recognition leads into memory which— leads to context, in many ways. Gabriel's intent watchdog gaze on Magnes breaks, casting a look around the wide open space as if searching for something, though nothing he says out loud. When he finds it, more of the severity leaks away, in place of something like nostaglic amusement manifesting mainly in the slight upturn of a smile, as quick as it may be. They were here before, weren't they?

Gabriel can't catch a break with places he likes to go, it seems. "It's too early for posturing," he agrees, voice dry, and takes a step forward, reclaiming the territory he'd first backed over. "You've seen the things I've done, you've talked to Gillian, and here we are. Do you have me figured out?"

His head tilts a little, giving Magnes a look of assessment, up and down, as if to judge how much he's changed. "You're still wearing skates. What did you want to talk about?"

Slightly differently designed skates, but still skates nontheless! Magnes listens as Gabriel speaks, his stomach untensing with a slight sigh when the man truly does respond with civilty. "I don't have you figured out. I've been thinking a lot, about the you now and the you from 2006. So far everyone I've met has drastically changed since that time," Everyone being, well, probably people Gabriel knows. "The horrible things I saw and heard you do when I went back, they never really dull in my mind, but I really wanna see if you've changed, at all."

He begins to slowly roll toward the bench, that same familiar bench they sat on before, and he drops down, waiting expectantly for Gabriel to follow. "I've been wanting to know what you've been doing lately. I haven't heard anything, people keep me out of the loop, but the one thing I think I know about you is that you're honest."

Gabriel only watches, for a moment, Magnes zigzag skate his way to the familiar bench, before coming to some kind of decision and following. One corner of the sky is still as dark as dusk, the other rosy streaks of pink and orange that will bloom towards a fuller daybreak rather quickly, but there's time. For talk. Curiousity is a hook, too, that reels him over towards the bench, swinging the backpack down to settle on the concrete, Gabriel taking up a perch on the other end.

"You haven't heard of me because I haven't done anything to catch attention," he says, forearms coming to lean against his knees, back curved into that comfortable slouch. "In 2006, I didn't care. I wanted people to know. It was my kind of fun."

"Are you still killing innocent people? I can't imagine Gillian would have dated you if you were." And, if he was, it might be a bit obvious that while Magnes knows Gillian, he might not know her as well as he'd like to think. "But then, you did try to kill Abby, so I guess a better question would be; Is there anything to that theory I heard about you having some kind of hunger?"

A dry mutter of half-laughter is Gabriel's first response, lips curling into a smile that doesn't come close to his eyes. "Anything, everything. It's not simple, but it's easier to think of it as simple. I call it a Hunger, but I couldn't tell you where it ends and I begin. Without it, I wouldn't have killed anyone. But if I were a different person, perhaps the same could be true. It's not black and white, which I can imagine might be a disappointment."

His voice is wry, but, as Magnes suggests— certainly honest. "But to answer your question - no. I'm not killing innocent people." Gabriel could ask to define innocent, but— he imagines he understands what Magnes means.

"Well that's a start, Dexter is a huge step above Norman Bates. By the way, you should really watch Dexter if you haven't, it might inspire you or something. Uh, the serial killer, not the cartoon." Magnes offers his possibly helpful suggestion, looking over at the man as if he were some unearthly curiousity.

"So, can you sense when people have abilities, or does it trigger when you see someone using them?" he asks, since that would be very good to know, especially since he's sitting next to the man.

Through that first half, Magnes simply gets a quiet and steely look from Gabriel, judging and assessing as if to see if he's, for lack of a better term, for real. Which— of course he is. The erstwhile serial killer shifts to sit back against the bench, and he shakes his head. "I can't tell if people are Evolved. If I know, then it's a matter of restraint. It's worse when they don't use what they have correctly. Broken things attract me.

"I've learned to hold back." He hooks his arms over the back of the bench, casually, ankles crossing in a lazy, casual sort of sprawl, gaze dancing over the view of the boat graveyard from where they're seated. "Why does all of this matter to you?"

"I want to know if you're a threat, I want to know if you're some irredeemable evil, or maybe if there's something good about you. I want you to be real to me, not just the concept of Sylar. If it came down to it, if I had to save someone from you, I don't want to make a mistake and kill someone because I see them as this concept of evil, I wanna save someone from you, and still have a you to save later on." Magnes explains his conflict, his look turning from curiousity to perhaps some sort of concern. "But I don't know 'you', so, here we are. I've never killed anyone, but I'd be fooling myself to think that I will absolutely never get into a situation where I seriously consider it."

"Probably," Gabriel states. Courting serial killers being the kind of occupation of someone who gets involved in such scenarios, at least, and there's some silence that threatens to lengthen to a point that Magnes would be forced to fill it in with his own chatter, but Gabriel takes his time in measuring his words and finally coming out with;

"Ever considered a job in law enforcement?"

A glance accompanies it, a raised eyebrow and a shrug as if to say, I don't know either.

"Actually, I'm in the police academy right now, I graduate in a few days. I'm not a psychologist, but I'd think being able to read people like that means you're not a complete sociopath." Magnes sits back, staring up at the sky now, suddenly having a thought. "It didn't last long, but I did date a girl who bordered on being a sociopath recently. She's, well, emotionally detatched, she has deep issues with empathy and forming emotional bonds. She didn't take the breakup too well though."

He holds up his right arm, showing the obviously human nail puncture scars, which also seem to have been burned while the nails were still inside. If Gabriel's superhuman memory helps at all, he might possibly be able to tell it's from electricity. "My point is, well, even if it is you and not your ability, I don't believe it's impossible to redeem yourself, I just think you need people to support you, if you don't have them already."

The wound is looked over, but if there's any brainclick of familiarity, it doesn't show visibly where Magnes might see it. Gabriel's study switches back up to the younger man's face, before the serial killer gets to his feet, although not necessarily to walk away, simply pacing a step or so. "You need to want redemption," Gabriel points out. "I'm settling, these days, for being alive and keeping myself occupied. The world doesn't measure humanity and the worth of it like you do. But some do. I have…"

Support, is the end of that sentence, but there's something about the choice of vocab that sticks in his throat, hides away. Support implies a lack of strength and sustainability. "There are people who don't think I should be dead," he allows, with a glance back. "Like you. Gillian."

"Gillian seems to care about you a lot, we had lots of IM conversations about you, even though I had no idea who she was talking about. I could never understand why she'd go for a bad boy when there's so many nice guys out there." Magnes stands as well, feeling it's almost polite to stand when the person you're speaking to is standing.

"Nothing can really redeem the loss of so many innocent lives, but even if you say you don't want redemption, even if you feel content where you are now, just know that things can always be better. There's no such thing as 'beyond return', but just know that if I, someone dating a person you once tried to kill, can still see the good in you, then you can return, and I can help you." He holds out a hand, a leap of faith considering Gabriel could potentially do anything. "I'm willing to help you, however I can, just call me any time and I'll do my best with what you need, as long as it's nothing against my ethics. The only thing I ask is that you remember that people believe in you, and things could be better."

He's sure to repeat that, he wants it to ring in Gabriel's head, but he doesn't want to force it, so for now simply offers a hand of aid, and friendship.

And in turn, Magnes could do anything to him, including send Gabriel flying up, up and unstoppably away. Oblivion is a long way to fall, no matter which direction, but it's nothing Gabriel can predict as, after a hesitation of assessment, he steps forward and takes the younger man's hand in a business-like shake, keeping his own gaze up and on Magnes' face.

For someone with who knows how many abilities floating around in their genetics, in their blood, wherever you might care to look, it's an ordinary hand shake. Skin a little cold, clammy, fingers rough as if they know something about manual labour.

Normal, and human. He retracts his hand, steps back to pick up his backpack and swing it onto his shoulder. After a pause, he asks, "Who are you dating?" He can list a lot of deaths, but not as many attempts.

"Claire." is the simple answer Magnes offers, staring at Gabriel as if the name holds so much weight behind it. His own feelings for Claire are still in their beginning stages, but he knows how important she is in general, to everyone.

The Cheerleader.

"And I'd never let anyone hurt her." he says with a hint of a warning in his tone, but otherwise stays casual, looking off into the east. "She's part of the reason I came here, I wanted to know if I needed to look over my shoulder for you. But I really don't think I do, I trust you can be a good person when it counts."

Oh, memories. The Cheerleader, who had been so important, so intensely important, for that brief period of time. Gabriel's gaze wanders, a small smile dawning in an amusement he doesn't share with Magnes - it's almost like nostalgia. By the time he's looking back at the younger man, he's making steps to walk away. Dawn is almost over.

"I'm too busy looking over my own shoulder to be sneaking up on other people," Gabriel says, which is kind of like reassurance. The sounds of his boots against asphalt and grave punctuate his words intermittently as he says, head turned just enough to allow the wind to catch his voice, throw it back to Magnes; "If you still believe in me the next time we meet— I have a story to tell you too."

But not today, apparently, leaving out that hook for later grabbing.

His curiousity is violently yanked, but Magnes will have to let it go. He has his reassurance, he's established some form of relationship with Gabriel, so, this has been a rather successful outing. "Alright, Gabriel. Thanks for listening, and, well, not cutting my head open or anything." he offers a bit light-heartedly, as much as one can joke about their own potential murder.

He turns to skate in the opposite direction, choosing to show little to none of his ability around Gabriel; trump cards are good to have. "Check out Dexter. I'll see you later!"

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