Getting His Shit Together


bf_eileen_icon.gif bf_gabriel_icon.gif bf_magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Getting His Shit Together
Synopsis Magnes has a pitch. Feedback is mixed.
Date December 1, 2012

Gabriel and Eileen's Studio

Magnes has gathered Eileen and Gabriel to sit down in their living room, explaining that he has some important announcements.

It's late 2012, and they might have noticed that he's been a bit more sober than normal, and not smelling weird. So when he walks into the living room with a whole chart and presentation to sit in front of them, it's while wearing his white tieless suit that he wears when it's time for job interviews.

Reaching into his blazer, he pulls out an antenna that he ripped off of an old TV, and then unfolds it like a pointing stick, to start pointing at his Steps To Get My Shit Together.

"I need your help to continue getting my shit together. I've put together a presentation to begin my steps to moving out and doing my own thing."

He points to each one by one.

Step 1. Get Sober and Stay Sober (I'm sober but I need to stay sober. Help, Gabriel!)

Step 2. Get a job (Maybe as a cop? How do I be a cop? Help, Gabriel!)

Step 3. Get back to my hobbies. (Let's sew clothes and bake pies, Eileen!)

Step 4. Get a car somehow.

Step 5. Go to Panucci's and fix it up so that I can move back in. It's currently an abandoned ruin full of rats and such.

Step 6. Apologize to everyone I hurt when I ran off to be a drunk.

Step 7. Become some kind of law enforcer and get a girlfriend.

He collapses his antenna pointing stick, then waits for the two to respond.

Gabriel has been staring at step seven since Magnes began, his silence that of baffled uncertainty but also politeness. He always seems a little too long legged for the couch he is sitting in, especially in comparison to where Eileen fits in beside him, and is dressed for what constitutes as a weekend to him: jeans and a sweater. They both work in strange, twilit shift hours, which suits him just fine. Since graduating and being accepted into SCOUT, his hair has grown out to a more vain length than before.

There is tea on the coffee table, neglected and cooling.

He looks back at step one when Magnes finishes, and resists a side glance to Eileen, even if the rest of his senses are keyed into how she's reacting to this situation. "How did you come about step zero?" he says, after a moment, now leaning forward to collect his tea. "The wanting to do this, I mean."

"I met a woman named Dawn, and then my old friend Isabelle. They both started to encourage me, so Isabelle pushed me onto the sober train and we started buying new clothes and everything." Magnes answers, watching Eileen now.

Eileen doesn’t have any questions.

Or if she does, she keeps them to herself. The Englishwoman is like a feral cat at times, so easily startled, and there’s a small part of her that’s yet to treat Magnes entirely the way she did before she was confronted in an alleyway outside the market by his doppelganger. Like whatever it is she’s thinking right now, this is something she’s made an extra effort to hide; the expression on her face looks like it might be concern for his well-being.

Her own, too, perhaps. His suggestion to sew and bake pies has her forehead knit, her lips pursed. She smooths her hands over her legs, which are bare below the knee where her cotton jersey dress ends and her calves begin. A cardigan in muted, robin’s egg blue lends her some additional warmth, as does her proximity to Gabriel’s body on the sofa.

Their cast iron radiator ticks unhelpfully in the corner.

“I honestly don’t know where to begin,” she says.

Gabriel ticks up one cynical eyebrow at this answer, some mute irritation coming and then promptly let go of again, signified by the way he sighs through his nose.

"Then that's not enough," is what he says, quietly, to Magnes' answer.

"Then what do I need to do? I've been trying, I want to have a life again, I want to try to make friends again, to overcome the things my father said to me…" Magnes reaches around and grabs his rattail, staring down at it. "I'm tired of being a drunk with nothing to live for. I keep getting this taste of what life could be, and then when I go back to drinking I feel like my life crashed and burned all over again. I'm just… tired of it. I want something more."

The tips of Eileen’s fingers graze the inside of her arm through the fabric of her cardigan where she remembers old scars to be. Her other hand settles on Gabriel’s knee.

Joining Vanguard and quitting his addiction cold turkey isn’t an option for Magnes; Eileen’s own experience with kicking her heroin habit doesn’t have a direct equivalent, but she sees an option that she thinks might come close. “How do you feel about checking yourself into a rehab facility?” she wonders out loud.

Gabriel looks aside to Eileen as she says that, the things he'd been building up in his mind to say promptly dismantled. She's right, of course. There are professionals in this world for the kinds of problems Magnes has — and neither of them are they.

Still. His silence is thoughtful, gaze returning to the list that Magnes has made as he awaits what comes of that question. Like maybe he has some edits he could make.

"Well…" Magnes crosses his arms, giving it some thought. A few moments of thought.

"I guess I could try that, if it's what you think I need. I trust you both, and I just want to get better." he answers, and then goes silent for a brief moment, before asking, "Um, we'd all still be friends, right?"

“Please don’t think that Gabriel and I will care for you any less after you’ve left the nest,” says Eileen, and this is the kindest, most diplomatic way she can think to phrase it. She squeezes her husband’s leg through the denim of his jeans.

This baby bird will learn how to fly, one way or another.

“It’s just that this flat is very small, and with our work— neither of us have the time, or the expertise, to provide you with the long-term help that you need.”

Gabriel peels Eileen's hand off of his knee and holds it there in a warm tangle, palms pressed and fingers intertwined. Less diplomatic; "This might be the best way to stay friends. Actually." Not to make this about him, or anything, but living with an Evolved of tenuous self-control has been an exercise in good behaviour against his worser impulses, to say the least.

"To become a cop, you participate in a cadet training course with the NYPD that runs for six months," he supplies. "If you get cleaned up, I can probably recommend you. SCOUT would hire you in a heartbeat if you did well." For your ability, he means, but that's neither here nor there.

He drags his focus from the list, back to Magnes. "You should probably strike off the girlfriend thing. That's like, step eight, win the lottery."

"She doesn't have to be as good as Eileen or anything, I just want someone who understands me." Magnes explains, as if that is Gabriel's point. "But alright, I'll go to rehab, then join the police academy and see what happens. Maybe I'll join SCOUT, maybe I'll be a regular cop, I don't know. I just know that I want to help people."

"Do you both want to help me fix up Panucci's? I can't really run a business, but at least I could fix up the apartment and try to make it livable and less abandoned. And I could maybe rent out the bottom space if we fix that up too…" he considers, then looks to Eileen. "Can we all drink tea now?"

“Keep your eyes forward,” is Eileen’s gentle suggestion. Gabriel feels some amusement quivering in the psychic connection they share in response to Magnes’ phrasing — but sadness, too. She wants him to be happy, and she likes to think that whoever he ends up with, if he ever ends up with anyone, will be better than she is.

In spite of Magnes’ opinion of her, it’s not a very high bar.

“Focus on the step that’s directly in front of you rather than three of four steps ahead. Rehab first, then the academy. We can talk about the shop again after you’ve graduated.”

Gabriel just kind of lets his head tip forward and down as his point goes rushing on by, but through that same psychic frequency he shares with the woman beside him, she won't pick up on true annoyance at the answer he gets. Maybe a touch of relief, all the same, when Eileen course corrects the flow of conversation.

He lets go of Eileen's hand in order to get to his feet. If tea is on the menu, then he will go put the kettle on, collecting up his cup of unpalatably cool tea as he goes.

"Try not to do this for a girl, okay?" he says, a direct look on his way to the kitchen. He tosses the contents of his cup into the sink. "Or girls, plural. That's what I meant, by not enough. But if you want to get your shit together for yourself, for selfish reasons, because you've hit critical mass of unhappy— "

The kettle is set on the stove, gas flames lit. "Then yeah," he says, a little quieter. "That's step zero."

"It's not really for a girl, they just inspired me. If I can't get it together, who is ever going to respect me or take me seriously?" When Gabriel stands, Magnes flops down onto the couch, which is probably no where near as heavy a drop as one would expect. But things are always a bit weird with gravity and Magnes.

"You know, you two are my best friends. I freaked out and abandoned everyone years ago, but since you two came, I've had a lot of hope for life." He smiles over at Eileen next to him. "I remember when we first met, Eileen. In that church, you were terrifying, I thought you'd stab me or something."

He lays his head back against the couch and stares at the ceiling. "I'm really lucky to have you guys."

Eileen waits precisely the amount of time required to keep things from feeling wrong before she too rises from the sofa, surrendering its full expanse to the young man sprawled out across it like some sort of large, lanky housecat that neither she nor Gabriel has formally adopted.

She drapes a handwoven wool throw over his legs, just the same.

“I'm still terrifying,” she says, and Gabriel knows her well enough to recognize that this is a (bad) joke. Magnes should, too; she keeps her tone balloon-light as she floats across the flat to the windows looking out over the snow-choked cityscape, all glittering holiday lights and the slow crawl of nighttime traffic.

“I'll make some phone calls tomorrow,” she promises. “We'll help find a facility that’s a good fit and have you checked in by Christmas.”

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