Close Encounters


bf_magnes_icon.gif bf_ruia_icon.gif

Scene Title Close Encounters
Synopsis Magnes saves a sweet and innocent woman.
Date July 13, 2013

New York City

Center of the Universe.

Joining the police academy is tough, but Magnes managed. It seems like the next best logical step. To celebrate, he decided to go out and skate on the rooftops a bit, a relaxing thing that he hasn't done in some time.

He jumps from roof to roof, wearing a black denim jacket over a white Robyn Quinn t-shirt with some neatly fitting blue jeans.

Being out here feels amazing, being free, feeling the wind in his face. It's like flying as he spins through the air, but his freedom is quickly interrupted. He hears some guys down below, making a bunch of noise, so he stops at the corner of a rooftop to look down.

A group of guys, around three, are getting fresh with Ruia. Catcalling, threatening, and propositioning. It's when one of them pulls out a knife that Magnes leaps down from the rooftop, kicking the guy directly in the teeth with his inline skates, simultaneously shifting his gravity so that he floats unconsciously through the air. He'll be harmlessly stopped by a pole eventually.

The other two get touched in the stomach, forced to fall to their knees under the weight of the gravity shift. Then he takes a moment to kick each of them in the ribs a few times. "Who the fuck do you think you are?" he asks, furious. "Does she look like she wants you? No she fucking doesn't! If I was an asshole I'd throw you into the atmosphere!"

Reaching out with his foot, he shoves one over onto his side. "Crawl home, get the hell out of my face!" Of course, the men have no choice but to crawl, since they can't stand under their own weight at the moment, not for a few minutes anyway.

Finally turning to Ruia, he smiles, a little embarrassed, rubbing the back of his neck. "Hey… sorry, are you okay?"

Catcalling is just a fact of life in New York. Probably anywhere, really. Ruia had tried to just keep walking, had tried telling them to leave her alone, had tried to pull out a phone, even. It was them knocking that out of her hand that had changed her tone.

Of course, whatever she was prepared to do, she didn't get a chance to do it. Instead, she steps back to watch as someone literally falls out of the sky to handle it for her. Her head tilts, curious for the first few moments before it occurs to her to slide her blades back up into her jacket sleeves. But the time the men are crawling away, she looks grateful instead of deadly and she meets his embarrassment with a sweet smile.

"I am now," she says, stepping forward to glances toward the men one more time before looking back to Magnes. "Thank you."

"Magnes J. Varlane." Magnes offers his hand, and swallows, because it's been a while since he's beaten up some random thugs. "I just joined the police academy, though I don't think they'll appreciate me doing stuff like this again. I guess we could keep this between us…"

"Can I get you something to eat, or coffee or anything? It must have been scary, especially with how late it is." he offers, the men finally managing to stand up and run away when his gravity wears off. He's not enough of an asshole to permanently alter them, just teach them a lesson.

"Ruia Henrique," she says as she takes his hand gently. She laughs at the notion that he might get in trouble for this. "Well, I won't tell if you won't," she says, "I don't think they will either." Those guys scrambling up to run. It's not a good story for them. The offer gets a smile, although it tilts crooked for a moment. "And they say there's no one nice in New York City," she notes. "I'd love a coffee."

She doesn't comment on whether or not it was scary. Or the hour. Or the fact that it's probably not the right time for coffee.

"I try my best. Paying forward how nice people are to me, how much they've helped me." Magnes stares up at the sky for a moment, rubbing his chin. "You happen to be afraid of heights? I could take you to a diner pretty quickly. You'll be perfectly safe, I promise." He walks up a little closer to her, and offers his arm. "In the meantime, why don't you tell me about yourself?"

"I suppose I can understand that." Ruia glances up toward the sky, too, as if expecting to find something interesting there that would account for his stare. But then she looks back to him, curiosity returning to her expression. "I'm not afraid of much," she says, "and love punctuality." She smiles as she takes his arm, but the question gets a chuckle. "There's not much to tell. I work in a cubicle, I have several cats, and I apparently walk home alone far too late at night."

"I like pets, but I never got to have one. Maybe one day." Magnes slides his arm all the way around her waist when she takes it, then hunches down to dip his other arm under her legs, effortlessly lifting her up. "Hold on tight!"

He jumps into the air and lands on a rooftop, skating across it before he gracefully leaps over onto the next one. "Gravity manipulation, by the way." he tells her, as a bit of reassurance, and perhaps an explanation. "Former pizza boy, I make clothes, I like to cook and bake and stuff. I'm a huge nerd, so, lots of comics and things like that."

Ruia might have a comment about the possibility of pets, but when he scoops her up, she lets out a surprised yelp. She does hold on tight, fingers in his shirt and over his shoulder. Her glance downward is brief, but it comes with a light chuckle. She's pretty sure her own power would save her if he dropped her, but that's really not something she wants to test out.

"I see that," she says when he explains his ability. "Useful!" He gets a more sidelong look when he lists out his hobbies, but it's amused. "Eclectic. Always a good idea, less likely that you'll get bored." She doesn't offer any of her own hobbies. She hasn't quite figured them out yet. Here in this new life.

"You might have noticed that I skate too." Magnes points out, and suddenly grinds down the rail of a fire escape, before reaching the ground again, right in the alley of a diner.

He carefully sits her down onto her feet, smiling. "Usually I'd say something awkward by now and ruin the entire moment. I'm not sure what's gotten into me." he can't help but laugh at his own observation there, reaching to take her hand and slowly skate to the front of the diner. "If you ever wanted to learn how to do anything that I do, I could show you. Baking is really fun, you ever bake a pie before? Or make a pizza from scratch?"

"That I did noti— " Ruia says, although it cuts off when they're suddenly sliding down a fire escape. When she's on her feet again, her hand moves to the wall to steady herself. And then straightens her jacket some before she looks back over at him.

"I have a fairly high tolerance for awkward. Especially considering how you stopped my night from getting very… messy." That's a way to put it. When he takes her hand, she looks down at it, then back up at him before she follows along. Before she gets pulled along. "I can't say I ever baked anything before. I always felt like if I made brownies, let's say, I'd end up eating them all." Which is probably a bad idea. "Not that I can't make myself dinner, though. I don't always get takeout."

"You should let me teach you how to bake some pies, it's fun! And once you master one, you can make your own versions of it, and experiment with the ingredients." Magnes sounds very enthusiastic about baking, but he seems enthusiastic about a lot of things.

Holding the diner door for her, he offers, "I'll pay, you've been through a lot tonight. So just get what you want."

Walking in after her, he unstraps his skates, leaving just the weird little bootie things that go inside of them. He figures they won't let him wear his skates into the diner. "I've been more hopeful about life lately. I had a dark period where I was drinking a lot, but now I just want to give back to the world."

"Let's see how dinner goes," Ruia says, wryly. He's enthusiastic, and while she doesn't seem to mind, not enough to walk away, she does seem guarded in comparison. Because she is. But she still enters the diner when he holds the door open.

"I can't let you do that. I should be buying yours." She looks back, blinking at the booties, but a smile follows a moment later. Whatever she expected to be under his skates, that wasn't it. Her gaze moves up when he speaks again, her smile softening. "I understand dark periods. I'm glad you managed to get out of yours. Not a lot of people manage it."

"It's an everyday struggle, plus therapy. But I'm slowly building things to live for, reasons to exist, to not slip back to where I was. Connections keep us whole, you know?" Magnes smiles at the waitress before they're led to a small booth. He sits across from her, taking a menu when they're handed out.

Once the waitress is gone, he focuses his attention on Ruia, letting his skates sit under the table. "My family was complicated. Well, I guess it's more honest to just say that my father was a dick. He disowned me when I was eighteen just because I wanted to be independent and live alone."

He shakes his head, then smiles at her. "How was your family?"

Then, out of the blue he suddenly chokes, despite the lack of anything in his mouth, clearing his throat. He asks, awkwardly, "Wait, are we on a date?"

Ruia seems curious when he talks about his recovery regiment, her head tilting as if all of this was a new idea to her. "I never thought about it like that. Connections, I mean. I understand therapy. Everyone needs therapy." She takes a menu, looking it over for a long moment before she makes a choice and tells it to the waitress when she comes. She's silent otherwise until the woman is gone again.

The notion of family is a difficult one and she's still ruminating on an answer when his awkward question comes out.

"No," she says plainly, but gently, "For it to be a date you would have had to ask me first, then come pick me up— with flowers— and wait ten minutes while I finish getting ready." She has a very clear idea in her mind of what a date looks like, apparently. "This is dinner after a close call."

A pause lingers before she notes, "My father was a dick, too."

Magnes orders a Texas BBQ burger, because it is the best way to determine the quality of a dinner, then hands his menu away. "I didn't realize a date involved all that. And yeah, fuck fathers." he decides.

But, back onto the topic of dates… "I've never really done all of that. I mean, dating, and stuff. I guess call it a traumatic sheltered upbringing, but I'm only just starting to get on track with maybe learning how to do things like that. It's why I'm kind of awkward and maybe seem like I don't know how literally anything about life works." he explains, very honestly.

"Connections are important, though." getting back to an earlier part of the discussion. "Connections are a reason to get better, to stay better. People to be good for. When you want to lapse, you think, 'what would this person I don't want to lose think of this'? That's why I have my friends, it's why I try to build more and more connections. They connect you to life, they give you something precious to live and evolve for. You can do it for you, but it can't only be for you… in my opinion, at least."

"A date definitely involves flowers. And asking, that's the one part you really can't do without." Ruia folds her arms on the table, looking over at him curiously. "Awkward isn't so bad. There are worse things to be." There's a sorrow in those words, regret, but she can think of a lot worse than just awkward.

"Does that work? The idea that someone in your life might disapprove? That keeps you from lapsing." Her brow furrows a little, just a momentary twitch. "People usually tell you the opposite. You have to do it for you, that it's the only way it'll last." By her tone, she hasn't put much stock in the common advice. "And what if you lapse anyway?"

"It depends on the people, I think. Not everyone has great people, not everyone has people who understand." Magnes smiles, though, as their water with lemon is sat in front of them, and the waitress leaves again. "Say for example it was me, and you had a problem, and you lapsed, you broke a promise because something got the best of you. I think I'm an understanding person, I would try to talk you through it, try to understand why you lapsed, and then we'd see how we can fix things and keep it from happening again."

"We're not perfect, things happen, good friends forgive, and try to work with you, because as long as you're trying, and that is the key, as long as you're trying, good friends will be there." And, at something else, he shakes his head. "Who cares what other people say, though, not all advice is universal. It's okay to need other people to be better."

Ruia considers his thoughts as she squeezes the lemon into her water. Her straw mixes it together, her attention seemingly taken by the swirl of water and the clink of ice against glass. But then she looks up at him, her smile small, but sweet. "That sounds very supportive. And like your friends are very lucky."

Of course, all these questions are purely hypothetical.

She's asking for a friend.

"I agree with you, though. Not all advice works for everyone. Sometimes you have to find your own way. Nothing wrong with that."

"I'm still reconnecting with a lot of my friends. Really, Eileen and Gabriel are kind of my two best friends right now, and I have Isabelle and Dawn." Magnes squeezes his lemon into the water, then drops it into the glass, before he grabs two packs of sugar and pours that into the water. "Lemonade cheat code." he whispers.

"We could be friends, if you want." he suggests, stirring his sugar and lemon juice. "If you don't mind someone in the police academy. I think I want to be a detective, but who knows if I can manage that. I'm still trying to figure out how all of this even works… What exactly is your office job?"

The list of names gets a nod, a smile. Encouragement. Ruia doesn't look genuinely amused until his cheat code, though. That gets a laugh. She doesn't add sugar to hers, but she can appreciate the attempt at DIY Lemonade.

"Why would I mind a friend in the police academy?" That is genuine curiosity, like it doesn't occur to her that there might be a downside. "I think that's a great goal. Detectives don't have to wear uniforms. That's always a plus," she says with a smile. Fashion freedom, very important. "My job? File clerk. Very boring. Double checking other people's work. Having a keen mind for alphabetizing." That part… is sarcasm. "But, my boss is helping me with my ability. It's sort of… tetchy right now. So that's a nice perk."

"I don't know, not everyone has a good experience with the police, you know? Some people have run into bad cops and corruption, but I don't plan to be that way, I want to be a hero." Magnes smiles at her, and takes a sip of his pseudo-lemonade through the straw, staring at her.

He sits up a little straighter, and slowly reaches out to take one of her hands. "You seem really nice and all, and I don't really want to miss the chance or anything. But could I take you out some time, and we can get to know each other a bit more? We can go anywhere you want."

Though, something catches his attention, and he tilts his head. "What's your ability?"

"Oh, I can see that. I mostly just try not to interact with the police. I mean, in an official capacity. I mean, I don't mean that, I just mean that off the clock, your job isn't a reason we can't be friends." Ruia stops there, because she's pretty sure she got it mostly right by the end.

When he takes her hand, she doesn't seem to know what to do with that, so she just looks over at him, eyebrows lifted. But he asks, and she chuckles lightly before she nods. "Sure. We can go out." She gives his hand a squeeze before she takes it back, but only to grab a napkin to write her number down on. She's pretty sure this is also part of the ritual of dating. She passes the napkin over, her movement only hitching when he asks about her ability.

She goes wide-eyed like a spooked rabbit for a moment.

But it passes.

"Teleportation. But— I am pretty much learning from nothing right now. It's… new."

"It's new? You only just manifested?" Magnes asks, surprised, eyes wide. Then he smiles down at the napkin and takes it, sliding it into his pocket. "My gravity manipulation was difficult to gain control of. I can probably do more, I don't know. It's difficult, because my ability requires believing in myself, and I often lack confidence. So… the evolution of my ability depends on my level of confidence, how much I believe in it, I think… or something. I don't know, it's a theory."

"Is teleporting difficult? Do you bend space or something?" he grabs another napkin, and a pen, writing two circles on different ends, then he bends them so that the circles meet. "This is one of the theories of teleportation, I think."

"No, I— had to start from scratch." Ruia seems far more interested in him talking about his power than talking about her own. "Like Peter Pan. Think of a wonderful thought," she says with an amused smile. "Seems like a power that could go very wrong if you're not careful. Potential for accidents. But, that's the payoff, right? For being able to bend the rules." Her words come with a crooked smile, impish.

Her expression only turns more serious when he asks more about her ability. "I'm not sure, actually. The science behind it is a little beyond me. To me it feels like… Pulling something to me. I don't feel like I move at all. Obviously, I do, though."

"Wow, so you really are bending space. That's what it sounds like. You're pulling space to you, and then you're at the area that you pulled to you. Space bending… that's amazing. I bet it could expand beyond teleportation." Magnes considers, having watched far too many science documentaries. "There's lots of ways for it to go wrong, but I have more control of it than before."

"Um… how far can you teleport?" he suddenly wonders, because that seems like a good question. "Like, could we just go where ever we want?"

"Space bending sounds like something out of Star Wars," Ruia notes. Trying to deflect. Her fingers toy with her fork, her gaze seems to travel the room, eyeing the other booths. Something is what he says brings her back to him, though. But she doesn't interrupt.

"No, I can't go anywhere. Line of sight. And I can't really take anyone with me. Not yet. Maybe one day. If I work at it." That sounds suspiciously like she's quoting someone. "What do you mean, it could expand beyond teleportation?"

"Well… a lot of people don't think about abilities like this, but my father taught me a lot of things growing up, even though I didn't know that people with abilities existed. He taught me hypotheticals." Magnes motions to the paper he drew on. "All abilities are something. My gravity manipulation isn't just gravity manipulation, it's something, even though I don't know what it means. We only understand our abilities in the context that we learn them, or can comprehend them, we don't really understand them as what they are."

"Your teleportation, you call it that because it's probably how you understand it, or how other people understand it. That's the most obvious effect. But if you start thinking of it as space bending, suddenly it's like…" He points to a salt shaker on a different table. "Suddenly it's like, you open the possibility of pulling that salt shaker over here, or moving someone further away from you, all kinds of things. The bending of space doesn't just have to be teleportation!"

Ruia listens, her head tilted a little. It's interesting, but something about this conversation has brought a dark look to her face. "So you think the limitations are all in our heads. That with enough imagination and determination… we could… do anything."

Her father taught something very different. Which is why she shoves this line of conversation to the side with all the finesse of a cartoon bulldozer.

"So what do you do for fun? Besides skating. And hopping rooftops. That last one is pretty unique, I'll grant you that. But, you know. I don't know," she says, pausing only for a drink, "Music? Cars? Sports?" Something?

"Well, within the limits of our ability. It's more like… I don't think that our most immediate interpretation of an ability is always the correct one. I used to think that I needed to wear skates for my ability to work, and it really didn't work at all if I wasn't wearing skates." Magnes elaborates a bit, but then goes with the subject change quite smoothly.

"I play piano, some bass, I can sing. I like cars, well, I like nerd cars, from shows, like the Impala from Supernatural! I read comics, make clothes, cook, play video games…" he lists them all off, counting on his fingers. "I do lots of stuff! How about you?"

"Eclectic." Ruia smiles at that list, her arms folding on the table as she listens. "Me," she says, as if she needs a moment to form an answer, "I like to read. A lot of books in my apartment. Plays. I like the theatre, but hardly ever go. I like animals, I do some volunteering at shelters and things. It's hard not to just bring every one of them home, though."

"What sort of music do you play?" The rest, she seems to lack a touchstone to branch into, but music she can prod at. "Is it a hobby or a profession? When you're out of the academy, you could probably form up a band of just cops. That's a guarantee for gigs."

"I play a lot of rock music lately, but I've never been in a band. It's a hobby, like singing! I'm not really sure why I picked up bass instead of guitar, but I think I play the piano more, and that can vary a lot." Magnes admits, considering her love of animals for a moment as he stares at her.

"I've always wanted a pet! But I've never gotten to have one. I'm always in a complicated living situation. But I'd loooove to have a pet, it would be amazing." He smiles, lighting up at the mere thought. "If I let you borrow a particular comic, would you read it?"

"Rock music on the piano must be something to see," Ruia says, teasing just a little. "Well, the bass sounds cooler than the guitar. And you can't have a band without one. Maybe you should think about finding some people to play with." She chuckles a little when he goes on, but his words get a nod. "It can be a challenge to fit one in a complicated living situation. Or even some non-complicated ones. Pet rent and all that. But if you ever want one, I can point you to some shelters. There's always someone needing adoption." The question makes her quirk an eyebrow, but a smile follows. "Sure, I would."

"Well, we'll have to meet up again some time." Magnes reaches over to gently tap a finger against her hand. "I'll look forward to it, and we could maybe have real dinner some time, and see a movie maybe." he nervously suggests.

"That sounds like it could be fun," Ruia notes, tucking a piece of hair behind her ear. "Two hours in the dark, could be the perfect first date."

First official one, anyway.

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