Best Present Possible


gillian_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif lance_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif mala_icon.gif

Scene Title Best Present Possible
Synopsis Magnes reads Runaways comic to the Lighthouse Kids and it comes with a super hero speech. But also, Gillian and him sit down and have a talk, about what can best be done to help people in this world.
Date April 3, 2010

The Lighthouse

From the outside, the Lighthouse looks as if it has had better days. The massive tower rising out of the house has fallen from its former glory. It is no longer a shining beacon, guiding wayward ships in from the lost harbor — though some may argue its purpose now is even more admirable. In its current state, the lighthouse seems to be in disrepair. Though upon closer inspection it all seems to be in the details. The paint has chipped away, leaving a discolored patterns of grays, whites, off-whites, and more grays. The occasional graffitti tag is here or there along the large building. One would notice that the doors, the windows, and the integrity of the building are all quite sound and newly repaired. The lighthouse has just been left with the look of abandonement.

Inside is a completely different story. Upon entering the main door, one will find a completely furnished and cozy arrangement. A spacious living room lined with two large blue sofa's, facing each other, a coffee table between them and several large bean bag chairs have been planted in the room. Shelves have been hung on the wall to display various different pictures of the occupants. A large bookcase is against the wall, holding a large variety of books from Dr.Seuss to the Bible, and even a copy of the Qur'an. The living room is focused on the fireplace a small black fence encloses it, the wood stocked on the bricks in front of it.

Connected to the living room is a kitchen, complete with a large rectangular table capable of seating around four on each long side and two on each end. A sink, a stove, an oven, a microwave and two refrigerators complete the look. Several low and overhead cabinets line the kitchen. At the edge of the kitchen are a pair of doors, one leading to a bedroom and the other, which has a padlock on it, leads to the basement.

At the back of the living room a glass sliding door leads out into the backyard of the Lighthouse, but just before it a staircase leads to the upper levels of the structure.

It's early in the evening, and Magnes has a rather thick book in his hands; Runaways volume 2. He's sitting back on a couch with three of the Lighthouse kids surrounding him as he reads, making voices and everything. "Step away from the minor." he says in a slightly high pitched voice, then his voice gets even higher when he's doing Molly's voice. "Or else you're in for some major… uh, you know, bad stuff."

He's wearing a dark-blue long-sleeved shirt with a white gloved hand on it, and a black spiral in the middle of its palm with outstretched fingers. His jeans are blue, with thick black spirals going all the way up them, and black snow boots on his feet.

All three of the kids seem equally engaged in the words that Magnes is saying, peeking around to try and see the pictures. Reading is something a lot of them are still learning, and while thet probably could manage to read a lot of what's being read outloud, it wouldn't be read like this. One of the kids is Hailey, who has an cat sprawled across her legs in one of those positions that looks like it can not possibly be comfortable… and yet somehow the orange beast is asleep.

"I wish I could be more like Molly," one of the other kids said, sucking on a beaded necklace that she made during crafts. Of all the Lighthouse kids, Mala and Molly have some things in common, and other things very much not. Similar names? Check. Super Strength? Sorta check. It's the sorta that has her bothered. "I'd take being sleepy over only being able to use my strength when people are happy any day. I could save people." She could have saved Denisa…

"Just learn comedy and make them laugh before you punch." Magnes suggests with a snicker, then goes back to reading. "They're muties! Light 'em up!" he says in a dramatic and deep New Yorker accent, flailing one of his hands. "Excuse me. I'm an extraterrestrial… and proud //of it, thank you very much."

His voice goes into the low Molly tone again, and he cracks his knuckles. "Besides, the word 'mutie' is really offensive to people like me, you freakin' racists." Then, in a more masculine voice, "I'll kill you! I'll kill—" He shows the picture of the shovel harmlessly breaking over Molly's head, and says in his Molly voice, "Too bad. Our club coulda used another boy." Then he swings both arms out and yells, "Kaapow!"

"Yeah, why are there so few boys?" someone quickly speaks up, a young boy to be exact, with big blue eyes. Lance looks very much like he could be trouble, a tiny blue-eyed ball of trouble. But at the moment he's not trying to be trouble, cause he's listening to the story, despite comments.

"I like Gertrude," Hailey says out of the blue, perhaps feeling left out by the fact everyone else is making all these comments.

It's then that a set of footsteps approach from the side, and someone plots down on the arm of the couch. Gillian doesn't speak to interupt, yet, even grinning a bit as she watches the four of them.

"More boys come later." Magnes notes for Lance, continuing on through a few pages. "Ah… Karolina's still here… must be 2005…" "Lady, you make another move, and my dinosaur will end you." He makes a slightly dramatic pause, then says, "I highly doubt that, Gertrude. Seeing how I'm you…"

He smiles, letting the kids look at the page before turning it, and looks over at Gillian when he notices her there. "Hey, Gillian."

"Gertrude from the future!? That's awesome!" Hailey suddenly exclaims, sitting up and raising her hands a bit. Yeah, she's jumping to that conclusion really fast from the lines he's reading, but the word they live on, next to anything is possible. Clones? "Wait! Does that mean Karolina's gonna leave?"

"Is time travel even real? Can people really do that?" Lance speaks up, a curious sound to his voice, but one that also seems to have doubt. Despite everything that can happen.

The dark haired girl stops sucking on her beaded necklace and jumps down from the couch to approach Gillian, hands up for a hug. Gillian grins and reaches to pick her up, resting the tiny girl on her lap. "Well, I knew someone who went back in time a day," the older woman explains, leaving out the people she knows who went to the future. "But it was a boring story. Not as good as this one, I'm sure."

Mala reaches up and tugs on her sleeve and whispers, like it's a secret, "There's a character kind of like me."

Magnes closes the book for a moment, smiling. "I've actually gone to the past. A friend was trying to teach me to be a hero when I didn't know a lot about the world and my abilities." He moves a hand to ruffle Lance's head. "Everyone has a hero's journey. Long, short, easy, hard, Evolved, non-Evolved, everyone has one eventually, and that leads to others, and eventually you find your place in life." He then playfully wags a finger at the boy. "But no being a ninja."

"If that guy living inside Jenny would come out again, I bet he could teach me how to be a Ninja," Lance says stubbornly, perhaps wanting to become it now that he's been told he can't! "Can I learn to be a super hero at least?"

"Your power isn't very heroic," Hailey speaks up. "It's a super villain power."

"Guys, quick bickering," Gillian says firmly, having to take on the big sister/mother type voice with them, but they do seem to stop, as Mala twists to face Magnes.

"Can I be a hero?"

"Everyone can be a hero, no matter what their ability is. Some abilities might seem useless, or bad, but every ability can be useful. Sometimes you just have to find the right thing for you, or find a nice partner. Me and Gillian make a great team." Magnes smiles over at Hailey, then looks to Mala with a gentle expression. "You don't even need an ability to be a hero, there are lots of heroes without abilities. Firemen, police, doctors. They all save lives and most of them don't have abilities. Remember, your ability is a tool." He reaches over to gently poke Lance in the chest. "Being a hero is right here."

All the kids soak up the heroic talk, because in the world they've grown up in— it's good to believe in the possibility that there could be heroes. And that they could be one. "Gillian saved us once," Mala says, as the older woman begins to shift to put her back down on the floor.

"Yeah, and she was //nak— " Lance starts, but doesn't finish, as a look from Gillian shuts him up. "Well, she was pretty awesome anyway, like Nico." Yes, his current favorite character comes out. All of them have one.

"I think it's time to get upstairs and get cleaned up," Gillian says, immediately earning a range of 'But!' and other such interations. "But Magnes can finish reading later, unless he wants to finish this chapter upstairs?"

"Oh no, you all get to hear this story tomorrow. It's a long one!" Magnes smiles over at Gillian, standing and stretching as he gives each of the kids a pat on the head. "And if you're really good, maybe we can go flying after."

"Well, if we get to go flying afterwards," Lance chirps up, before they begin to gather up and move to the stairs. The mention of consulation flying makes going to bed now less bad. Since flying at this time of night wouldn't nearly be as fun!

"Good night, Magnes!" Hailey says from the stairs, before she gets too far up. And Mala follows with a, "Thanks for reading to us, Magnes." Hers comes with a cute little smile, before they all vanish upstairs.

Leaving Gillian and Magnes about as alone as they're going to be. "So, I got a question, what kind of heroes do you think this world needs?" She settles down into the couch, instead of on the arm.

"People trying to preserve the present, make this the best here and now it can be. So many people get caught up in the past and the future, and they completely forget what's going on around us." Magnes sounds like he's a mixture of relaxed and exhausted, scooting over to lay a head on Gillian's shoulder. "I don't have anything against looking ahead, or even looking back to see where past mistakes happened, but I don't wanna think about preparing these kids for fighting our battles when they're in their twenties, I wanna think about giving these kids the best childhood they can possibly have, right now. I want people to clean the city up, and not let the criminals or the government soil the best freakin' American state in the country.

"It's funny, I think you just said exactly what I spent many meetings trying to tell people, and I think you said it better," Gillian marvels a little, before shifting in the seat to pull out something sticking in her backside. A toy. A toy car. She leans forward to put it on the coffee table, as she looks back at Magnes. "That's why I'm here. I can't change everything, or fix everything, but I can protect these kids, and I can try to make their little world as safe as possible. I'm not entirely suceeding…" She lost Denisa… "But… What do you think the best way to help people right now would be?"

"Hey, I'm here now, Gillian. Me and you together, there's not a thing on the planet we can't beat." Magnes assures, sitting up when she starts shifting, then lays his head back on the couch. Between the pot he had earlier, then reading to kids, the exhaustion is starting to wear on him. "But honestly? There's all these criminals taking advantage of people's vulnerable situations, especially on Staten. People are being driven to pragmatism because they don't feel like they can get normal jobs or resources for whatever reason. My solution is so overtly simplified it's almost dumb…"

He takes in a breath, closing and opening his tired eyes briefly. "Bad people need to be stopped, Evolved or not, and good people need help. It's having a means to do either that's a huge problem. I always hear of the underground organizations planning things for some big Evolved boss battle, or raiding a government facility, but what about the drug lords I have on the map, selling tons of cocaine to wayward children and hopeless adults so deep in Staten they can't even hope to get out? We all think so big it's as if we lose sight of what really matters."

"Staten Island is cleaning up a little, and things are changing, but— what you're talking about is a little too… much. Why don't you report on them, tip off the police and let them take care of it?" Gillian doesn't know why this suggestion is coming up, but the whole smell of vigilantism seems to strike a cord. There's a reason that they had to take up the slack and rescue the world. Cause the world rescuing ended up being a secret. "Maybe if they're busy cleaning up the streets like they should be, we can protect help the people that they seem to like picking on, when they ignore the rest."

Like the unregistered evolved, like a certain woman who isn't picking up her phone anymore.

"I think you could do a lot to give people hope if you give then an alternative place to go. A lot of these kids… they were living on the street. Some of them saw things that kids shouldn't ever see. But— now have they have a place to go, people who love them and protect them. Imagine how much it would help people if more people had that?"

"Some places can't be reached by the cops, but I try my best to tip them off." Magnes sighs a little, sounding almost depressed by the seemingly hopeless situation of the city's crime, and crime in general. "Yeah, would be nice to save more kids. The world's too cold and dangerous for more kids like these to be wandering around alone. It's barely safe enough for anyone our age. I already have two people with no place to go living with me."

"I know people who do that, protect people with nowhere to go," Gillian says quietly, looking up toward the ceiling as if checking to make sure no one's listening in. "Some of them are more into the— stopping the bad people. But a lot of them just try to help whenever they can, give people shelter whenever they can. If you wanted to, I might be able to introduce you to people, so you could help with that." And she knows one thing— he already knows many of them.

"I… could try that. My schedule with Tracy is a tad complicated, and my band practice is irregular at best, but we do try to get a little in every day. So I'm sure I have time." Magnes yawns, covering his mouth politely. "You point me at that and I'll see what I can do. But, what made you think I could help? Most people in this city avoid me like a plague."

"I can't promise that they'll like the idea of you helping, or that you'll get access to a lot of stuff. They're pretty secretive," Gillian explains quietly, looking at the stairs as if expecting to see a head peaking out to listen. With Lance's help, they could sneak down if she wasn't watching! "But you've kept what happened in Argentina and Antarctica secret. If you treat anything that you find out like that, then you'll probably be good."

"I keep whatever needs to be a secret, a secret." Magnes assures, though doesn't say anything abotu Argentina and Antarctica, he just sits up and yawns again. "Thanks for having a little faith in me. I think I'll go out for a few hours. You need anything tonight, Gillian? I'll bring whatever you want back."

"Actually, yeah, I was planning to put Brian in charge of tucking the kids in tonight so I could sneak out, but— if you're going…" Gillian reaches into her pocket and pulls out what looks like a shopping list, and an envelope. Of money. "Tomorrow's Easter. I want to surprise them with baskets when they come downstairs tomorrow. Don't worry, you won't have to wear a bunny suit."

"I hope I don't have to wear a bunny suit. I only do that for legal aged girls." Magnes laughs and takes the list, then lets out another yawn. "Y'know, for my own good, let me nap for a half hour and wake me up. I don't wanna like… smack into a blimp because I'm too tired to fly. But I promise, I'll get them the best Easter baskets ever. And we can have egg painting!"

"Couch is yours for an hour and a half, then," Gillian says, moving to stand, and smiling faintly at him again, including dimples. "We'll make sure the kids have the best Easter in a long time. Cause that's what we're doing, right? Best present possible." That— that comment he made seems to have stuck with her. "Get some rest. I'd hate to explain to the kids why they can't have more comics read to them cause you're splattered on the side of a building." Cause that seems more likely than blimps! …Do they even have blimps?

"Yeah, Gillian…" Magnes tips over on the couch like a domino, closing his eyes, speaking in the midst of deeper yawns. "That's what we're doing… best present possible…" before quickly drifting off to sleep.

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