Cheese to My Macaroni


magnes_icon.gif odessa4_icon.gif

Scene Title Cheese to My Macaroni
Synopsis After a particularly trying day, Odessa pays Magnes a visit.
Date March 27, 2011

Siann Hall: Magnes' Apartment

#404 Description Not Found

Yana Proofing Your Apartment 101.

1. Close your entertainment center, and in case it has to be opened, make sure your video games are behind your DVDs, and your consoles are under your cable box. You only have a PS3 because it's a blu-ray player, that's your story and you're sticking to it.

2. Your graphic novels go to the bottom shelves of your bookcases, textbooks stay on top, it's unlikely that she'll be doing any steep bending.

3. Keep your geeky posters up in the bedroom, but hide your figurines.

Magnes has his legs crossed on the couch, reading a book on massages as he plans his grand plan to win the eviler of his two love interests over from being completely pissed at him. He's only in a pair of jeans and a Green Lantern t-shirt, with a mixture of zen and biology books neatly stacked on his wooden coffee table. The kitchen is a small space connected to the living room, easily seen after one closes the door, where the blue carpet ends and the marble floor begins.

Today has not been a good day. Though Odessa Price is in one of those moods way she would say that her life has not been a good life. When she shows up on the fourth floor of Siann Hall (not in the usual way that she tends to just show up, seemingly literally, but the pedestrian sort that involves taking a cab and climbing up flights of stairs where people can notice), she's a bit of a mess.

To put it mildly.

Black mascara is streaming down one side of the woman's face, eyeliner smudged and making darker circles under her eyes. She stands just outside the door, quieting hiccuping sobs as she gathers her courage to raise her hand and knock on the door. She does lift her hand once, but instead she fusses with her clothes, tugging at the hem of a pink tank top, and then the tissue-thin grey sweater over the top of it. Black leggings disappear into grey faux-feather legwarmers and pink flats. Odessa reaches up again, this time to scratch at the healing stitches in the back of her shoulder.

Then, she knocks. "M- M- M- Magnes?" Three too many false starts for her comfort, but Odessa still manages to stammer out the name, hoping she's arrived at the right apartment door. The registry said 404…

Sitting his book down and pushing off from his couch like an astronaut, Magnes lands in front of the door and opens it for her, staring with a concerned look. "What's wrong, Dessy? Come in, I can make you something if you want." He moves out of the way, motioning for her to step in. "Do I need to beat someone up? Because I'm very good at that."

'Dessy enters the apartment whisper quiet on her soft-soled shoes, shaking her head quickly to Magnes' offer to beat someone up. At least, it can be discerned that's the offer she's declining, since she quietly requests, "Coffee, please. If you have it."

Dragging her fingers through her long hair, the distraught woman takes stock of the apartment absently. "I can't do this anymore. I can't live like this. Without my ability. I… I can't do anything anymore." Her voice quivers as she speaks, and she's on the verge of new tears. Two fingers come up to gently hook nails under the white patch over her eye just so she can wipe the pads of her fingers along where it sits snug against her cheekbones, diverting trapped moisture.

"What is your ability? What made it so important to your life? I think I know how you feel, whenever I've lost my ability I just felt helpless, with the entire world dragging me down like this heavy weight." When Magnes is in the kitchen she can hear the loud bean grinder, and he's in there for a while before he finally puts the coffee itself on.

He continues speaking while the coffee's prepared, digging into his numerous containers of recently prepared snacks. "If it's really bothering you that badly… I could see Elvira about her progress. I mean it when I say that I'll give you your ability back, I don't make promises lightly."

Hands spread out to either side of Odessa from where she stops in the nebulous area between kitchen and living room. "I control time. I make it stop on a dime on my whims. Or… I used to. I…" Odessa's lips tremble for a few moments as she makes an attempt to form words and keep from falling apart. "I'm falling behind at work. I can't do nearly as much as I used to do in a day. I always take my time with my projects, so I can be sure that I'm doing everything right. So now it takes me at least double the time to do something as my colleagues. I'm going to lose my standing. I'm going to lose my… usefulness."

Dark blue gaze goes wide and pleading, though not necessarily to the man whose apartment she's semi-invaded. "They'll kill me, Magnes. I know they will." Odessa's paranoia knows no bounds. "You don't understand what these people are like. The Company had a kill order out on me when I fled them. It's only a matter of time before the Institute issues one for me, too. But I haven't got anywhere else to go!" Without her ability to act as a safeguard, her fears of what might happen can only grow endlessly.

"Hey, Dessy…" Magnes walks over to her after dumping some white-chocolate chip cookies into a plate, then tries to wrap his arms around her waist in a comforting manner. He's cautious of course, not wanting to immediately enter her personal space should she show signs of rejecting the gesture. "You're not going to die, you're not betraying them or anything. They took away your ability, lowered productivity would have been a calculated result. These people aren't stupid, but if you're really worried then just let me stay on top of getting your ability back."

His tone is reassuring to say the least, and the smell of French vanilla coffee is beginning to fill the air. "With a useful ability like yours, I don't think they'd just let a valuable asset go like that, if anything they're probably just figuring out how to get you to be loyal. But no one's going to hurt you right now, not while you're here, so just try to relax a little bit…"

Odessa doesn't fight the arms around her waist, but she does keep her arms up between herself and him, shying away from too intimate a proximity. "The son of a bitch that took my ability from me said it was that, or a bullet. So don't even try and tell me that they don't want me dead, because they'll fucking do it. There's nothing I can do to prove myself, because my past history has already damned me." Fresh tears make dark trails down her face as they take more make-up with them. "I don't know what to do."

"What if I try to strike some sort of deal with my father? He's a high ranking recruitment official, so maybe he could work something out in exchange for me doing something for them." Magnes reaches into his pocket for a neatly rolled up handkerchief, then raises it to gently dab at her cheeks. "I won't let them kill you Dessy, I'm not going to let anyone kill you."

"You don't have that kind of power. And I don't think your father would help me. The only person crazy enough to want to help me is you." Odessa turns her head away from the handkerchief and then slips out of Magnes' grasp entirely. "I don't even know why I'm here. Except that I guess you are crazy enough to listen to me, without… Without me having to tell Bella how bad things really are."

"I don't know if my father would want to help you or not, but he might want to help me. He's still my father, if I can work out some sort of deal that keeps you safe, isn't it worth pursuing?" Magnes walks over to pour their cups of coffee, offering the container of sugar and a container of what is apparently French vanilla cream. "Dessy, let me try, and if you're really afraid of them killing you while I work this out, just hang around with me in your free time. If anyone wants to kill you when I'm around, they'll have a hell of a time trying."

Creamer and sugar are eyed dubiously for a moment. Odessa eventually adds three spoons of sugar to her coffee and stirs it in, a little melancholy about something as ordinary as java. "I'm so tired of being helpless and scared." A cookie is plucked up and nibbled on, in spite of all the misery.

She's hungry.

"I want to go back to the Ferry. I should have done from the start, but I was afraid… And I thought if I stuck it out, I could gather enough information from the Institute to give as a peace offering." Odessa slumps down heavily on Magnes couch, resting her elbows on her knees as she hunches over. "I fuck up everything. My life is a fucking joke. I can't get out of this. Even if I get my ability back, I'm still fucked."

"Nothing is as hopeless as it sounds. I was trapped in a jungle full of Evolved hunting robots, my friends had ankle braces that would explode if they simply left, but we thought our way out of it and we eventually saved the world." Magnes walks out with the plate of cookies and his coffee, sitting both on to the table as he takes a seat next to her. "It's scary, it's bleak, but there is a way. Have some faith in me, have some faith period. You'll live, we'll have Thanksgiving, Christmas, all of it."

"Oh, brilliant. So you can save the fucking world. Aren't you special?" Bitter much? Odessa's lip curls upward in a sneer, but it's brief and her fingertips come up to touch at her mouth gingerly. The idea of having holidays together draws a look from the woman as well. "You're putting your cart before the horse, buddy."

The mug is brought to her lips and Odessa takes a careful sip. She blinks quizzically down at the dark liquid, setting it down on the coffee table so she can bring her fingers to her lips again. She presses against the edge of her upper lip briefly and then draws back her hand to look at her fingers. "Does the coffee taste funny to you?"

"Tastes fine to me. Maybe you're not used to fresh coffee? I used fresh beans and the flavor is French vanilla." Magnes explains the coffee while reaching out to take a sip himself. "I lost a lot to save the world, and I was forced into it, so I wouldn't say I'm all that special. But we can do this, my father is the key to this plan. Around work I want you to start hinting at sort of being in love and falling for some new guy, but be vague about who."

"It doesn't taste… metallic at all? Huh…" The questioning trails off, dismissed with a shake of her head. Especially when Magnes begins to lay out his plan. "You want me to what?" Odessa asks flatly.

"Not really. Maybe you need more iron in your diet or something." Magnes sits his coffee down and takes a breath, trying to give his phrasing just the right words. "I need you to pretend to be in love with someone. You don't have to do a whole lot, write a letter here, a phone call there. It's essential to my plans when I talk to my father, because they're always watching you."

"So you need people to think I'm in love with you, without my coming right out and saying something like Magnes J. Varlane is the cheese to my macaroni." The brow over her eye patch lifts like a visual representation of an absent question mark at the end of that statement. "How is this going to help?" Odessa lifts her coffee again for another sip. This one must be okay, because her nose doesn't wrinkle again.

"That's right, and if you have a phone, let's take a quick picture together. Don't show it to anyone on purpose, just make sure it's on your phone." Magnes turns around on the couch to face her, legs crossed. "While I prepare to meet with my father, you'll be ensuring that you being in love with me comes off as authentic as possible. You'll be indirectly making my negotiation go much smoother."

Odessa reaches into the pocket of her jeans and pulls out a smartphone with a little sigh. "I hope you're right." Without turning on the display, she uses the darkened screen to check her reflection, wiping at the make-up smudged on her face. Only once she's satisfied with her appearance does she turn the phone's camera on and hand it over to Magnes. "You do it."

Magnes scoots over, trying to drape an arm around her before he holds the phone out, smiling. "X equals Y!" Snap!

He releases her and looks down at the phone, seeing how it came out, then offers the phone back to her. "Work or not, it's better to make sure that you've done everything that you can before you attempt your plan." He reaches for the massage book again, apparently half through it. "You're not going to die."

"I hope you're right." Odessa grimaces at the photo. She doesn't like pictures of herself. Not anymore. She's quick to blank out the screen again and shove the phone back into her pocket. She busies herself with finishing her first cookie, and starting immediately on a second, with sips of coffee to wash it down. The silence is awkward, and she attempts to distract herself from that with glances around the apartment.

"I want to compliment you." Magnes says in place of actually complimenting her. he is once again talking to a girl he has no rulebook for, and it's not any easier to talk about things off the course of their usual topics. But he should try. "As much as I want to, I don't know if you like the kinds of things that other women do, given your upbringing."

"So you think that just because I was brought up in a basement in Texas, that might mean I don't like compliments?" Odessa's brows lift, a little dubious with the line of logic.

"Well, I'm not sure what it does mean. I've met people who respond to things differently after having abnormal upbringings." Magnes scoots over a little more, sitting his book to the side. "I keep staring at your lips. I don't mean that in a skeevy way, I just mean that they're…" His cheeks are flushing a little, hand going to the back of his neck. "You know, full, nice…"

"Scarred?" The woman's gaze narrows and she scoots back as much as Magnes scoots forward. Odessa shakes her head, her shoulders hunching up a bit as she cradles that cup of coffee in her hands, holding against her chest.

"Scars don't bother me. I was blind in one eye after that time I helped save the world you know, I had to deal with some pretty shady people to get my sight back." Magnes reaches for his shirt, then lifts it up for her. What she sees is a black hand print that's slightly raised from the rest of his skin like something that's healed over, and a spiraling oriental dragon over that, his belly button directly in the middle. "This was the result of my ex accidentally shooting me in the stomach after we killed this insane person with five brains. I laid dying until Peter Petrelli fixed me, but I have no idea what this hand print is going to do to me long term."

Odessa's attention drifts to the hand print over Magnes' stomach, some scrutiny there. "Peter Petrelli did that?" She flickers a look very briefly to Magnes' face then, her brows lifted, then goes back to lookiing at the scarring.

"Big deal," she decides ultimately. "So you have to explain that you've got some weird scarring, and you have a great story about saving the world to go with it. Big damn hero." Odessa scoffs, leaning back in her seat with a half-lidded look. She takes another drink of her coffee. "You put on a shirt and suddenly you look just like anybody else. You were blind in one eye. You aren't anymore. I will never blend in again. And that is something you can't even begin to appreciate. So don't even try to fall back on similar upbringings." The woman pushes to her feet, pacing away from the couch. "You had parents. You had people in your life that at least claimed to love you. And they probably even did. Probably even do."

The woman turns back so quickly it leaves her white hair messy about her face where it didn't want to slide over her shoulders again. "You still have your family, and you obviously still care about them. But you had friends who care about you, and you turned your back on them for what?" Odessa squints, a little questioning look before she continues, answering her own question. "For a chance at making a difference. Let me tell you something. One person can't make a fucking difference. Not in the way you're trying to here. You can't do it on your own. Not against the Institute. You should have stayed with the Ferry. What the fuck is wrong with you? I would kill to go back and change things so that I could still be with those people. They were the closest thing I ever had to a family, and I fucked it up."

One finger is jabbed out accusingly at Magnes as tears form in Odessa's eyes again. "You have no idea what you've given up because you're too blinded by your own ideals."

"No, I know exactly what I've given up. Yes, I've lost a lot of friends, most of my friends even, but the Ferry, if they keep on their current course, all they're going to do is get people, especially themselves, killed. Do you know how I got blinded in one eye? A robot. And do you know where some of those robots are right now? With Eileen, because when she intercepted the truck she wouldn't destroy them." Magnes stands up straight, staring down at her as his tone becomes more firm that it has with her in their short time knowing each other.

A finger is raised, taking a patient breath. "These aren't ideals talking, it's realism. And being realistic means that I have to try and do whatever I can to keep the people in and out of the Ferry safe, which I cannot do as long as I'm with them and they're going after pipe dreams. How are they going to change the world? Bombs? The future of the ferry is likely to be hunted and captured, and possibly killed, and I don't want that for them. I'm willing to join the Institute and do what I can in a way that actually matters, because it's the only way anything is going to change."

He stares down at his feet, then closes his eyes. "I can't let things like being lonely or wanting people to comfort me get in the way of protecting them. I'd rather suffer alone than be happy knowing everyone else will suffer. That's who I am, take it or leave it."

"You know who would care about preventing others from going blind? Eileen." Odessa's scarred mouth pulls upward at one corner in a smirk. "I should know. I made her that way. And why? Because I felt like you. I thought the Ferry was just leading itself down the road to ruin. But I was wrong. And you're wrong. If Eileen kept those robots, and they're like the ones in Midtown? It's to study them. So she can know how to destroy them. So she can keep her people safe. Because that's what she does."

Pacing toward the kitchen, Odessa sets the coffee mug aside and leans her hip on the counter, arms crossing under her chest. "Eileen has the right idea. This war isn't going to be won with propaganda and YouTube videos. You can't fight the Institute from within. They're too smart for you. They're too smart for me."

She rolls her eyes and tips her head to one side. "Magnes, for someone who says he has no problem being alone? You are lookin' for love in all the wrong places. Doctor Blite? Come on. I'm a few different shades of crazy, and even I think that woman is fuckin' batshit insane and needs to be locked up somewhere where she can't hurt anybody anymore. She infects people with deadly diseases for fun and profit. Even I know that's fucked up. And I worked on the Shanti Virus." Takes one to know one, Odessa figures. "And me? You aren't my type. I'm into men who can kill someone and not lose any sleep over it. That isn't you. And don't try and tell me that it is. And for fuck's sake, don't go and try to prove it. Because I don't care.

"You think you know me. You think you know where I come from. You don't know the first thing about me." Odessa turns, and starts to head for the door. "Thanks for the coffee and sympathy, Magnes."

"I'd say you don't know me very well either. And Elvira is more complicated than that, she doesn't do anything for fun. I like her for my own reasons." Magnes sits down again, watching her walk to the door. "I'm not saying there aren't people I've killed who I definitely won't lose sleep over, but I'm not that kind of person. And if anything, you're probably only attracted to it because you don't think you deserve any better. I know I can't convince you, I wouldn't know how to convince you. I just want you to know that you're the one walking out the door, I'm not making you."

He crosses his arms and closes his eyes. "I'll still talk to my father, and I expect you to go through with the plan."

"I'll go through with it," Odessa confirms, no hint of animosity to her tone. "I'll see you around." With that, she lets herself back out into the hall, and hurries off toward the stairwell.

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