Half The Villain


magnes_icon.gif sylar_icon.gif

Scene Title Half The Villain
Synopsis A pizza delivery boy tries to do the right thing by someone who deserves it the least.
Date January 2, 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.

The sun has risen just enough that it seems early in the morning, but then, dawn comes a little later during the heart of winter. It is, in fact, a reasonable hour to be awake and about, but the sun's lateness and the overcast nature of the weather casts a different impression. The air is crisp and tastes of salk and water, and the ships are still monuments in the still water, out across both the sea itself and the sea of dunes. Sylar remains near a parking lot, seated on a bench against wire fencing, facing the relatively disturbing sight of dead ships - but these he doesn't pay attention to. A book, an extensive textbook of advanced Mandarin, is open in his lap and he's slouched casually, skimming the words written, a finger gently tracking his progress at a speed that it's a wonder he's retaining anything at all.

The disturbing sight of the ships is something that creeps Magnes out quite a bit, but it's not something scary enough to keep him out of the area. He jumps from ship to ship, not staying on one for more than a few seconds for fear of falling through. One can only guess at why he's been doing this, but he's quickly back on land and rolling for the fence.

"I wonder how those ships got that way…" he asks himself, jumping to the top of the fence and rolling along on the upper pole. Then, there's a person. Someone's reading a book, and they're reading it fast… what kind of interesting book could this be? When he gets up to Sylar's location, he jumps from the gate and lands in front of the man, but he botches his landing a bit and falls right on his butt. "Ah!"

Sylar's boots scrape against gravel as he pulls his feet back, the killer's head snapping up from where he'd been reading and blinking in bemusement. He'd come out here for peace and quiet, which is what Midtown is good for if you don't mind risking radiation poisoning, and he does. Anywhere else, the incessant ticking of wrong clocks was slowly getting on his nerves. Only the analogue ones, granted, but enough. The more soothing sounds of dead ships in the water, muffled creaks and groans, the slow death of metal, that he can tolerate.

The textbook is closed, carefully, as if not wishing for the stranger to see what he was reading, cover facedown in his lap and a large hand sprawled on the backcover. A quick glance around to see if he's managed to let anyone else sneak up on him is given to the surrounding area, before looking down at Magnes again, not moving to get up. "Are you okay?" he finds himself asking, before his gaze tracks to the watch on the young man's wrist, and lingers there.

Magnes slowly begins to stand, looking at the silver broken watch on his wrist that seems to just barely fit on him, a bit big for his wrists. He sighs and stretches, looking over at the man across from him with a smile. "I'm fine, sorry about that. I saw your book and it looked really interesting 'cause you were reading so fast."

He slowly skates over, offering his right watch-wearing hand. "I'm Magnes, delivery boy."

Sylar glances up from the watch to Magnes's face with an almost guarded look, before offering him something of a polite smile as his hand extends to take Magnes's in a brisk shake, though he doesn't withdraw from it right away. "Delivery boy?" he repeats, one eyebrow raising briefly. Considers. "I'm Gabriel." The hand still clasping Magnes's tightens just a fraction so that he can angle the delivery boy's wrist just enough so both of them can see the watch. "You'll need to adjust that," he says. "The time's been pushed forward by a second, everywhere."

"I deliver pizza, I make it, too." Magnes answers, then looks down at the watch with a raised eyebrow. "That's my father's, it hasn't worked right for a long time, but he still wears it. He forgot it before they left town. And hey, how can you tell all that?"

"I didn't. It was in the news," Sylar says, smoothly, darting a look up towards Magnes and releasing his hand. "They added a second. To keep the world running smoothly. But I guess your watch has more to worry about…" Again, his gaze lingers on it, before looking down towards his book, fingertips searching out the page he had lost upon closing it. This doesn't seem to mean the end of the conversation, however, when he asks, "Strange place to be. For a pizza delivery boy."

Magnes laughs lightly, slowly skating over to the bench and taking a seat. He pulls out his own semi-rolled up book from his large hoody pockets. It's a thick paperback Galactus book he's been carrying around lately for some reason. "I skate too. The boats are good practice, you can't stay on one boat for too long, never know when they might give in. You do anything for fun?"

The boats. Sylar lifts his head a little to regard them, an eyebrow raising a little in confusion. At the question, he glances at the boy seated next to him, and then opens his own book. A statement of near perfectly pronounced Mandarin comes next, read out loud, although perhaps sounding a little stilted coming from a native to New York. A demonstration, by way of response as to what he does for fun. There would certainly be worse demonstrations, really. A rough chuckle after that. "That means, 'may I follow your car to the airport'. How do you manage to get across the boats without getting wet?"

"Whoa, that's really good!" Magnes praises, not being the best at simply learning complex skills from a book. He points out to the boats, noting that some of the pieces stick above water. "You gotta spot the parts sticking up. It's not easy at all, it took a lot of practice, I used to just fall right in and easily miss the raised parts."

He holds up his Galactus comic, a trade paperback with assorted stories. "You read comics too? Though I figure not, I mean, you look like the intellectual type." he admits with a light chuckle

Sylar still seems doubtful, but nods all the same, eyes returning to the lists of Mandarin phrases ready for retaining into a perfect memory. "I didn't read many comics, no," he confirms, skimming past the judgment of him being the intellectual type. He keeps his eyes on his book, head tilted a little. "Heroes… didn't interest me. More so now… now that they're real."

"I don't know, I think heroes were always real. Firefighters, police, they all risk their lives without powers. But now there are people with powers, they can all make a difference." Magnes smiles and opens his book as he speaks, appearing to be in a relatively good mood today. "This book here, it's not really about a hero, though there are some heroes in it. Have you ever heard of Galactus? I got this book for someone I'm looking for."

I ran with the dog. I ran to the dog. I ran from the dog. All three statements in Mandarin are filed away, and Sylar turns a page, taking the opportunity of such a break to glance at the comic in Magnes's hands, then a glance to his face when he states his reasons. "As a present?" he asks, then shakes his head, just once. "I don't know it, no." His tone holds invitation to be filled in on whatever it is he's missing out on.

"Yes, a present, I think it'll help him. See, he's one of the evolved, I've never met him, but I think he has a problem with his powers that makes him do bad things." Magnes turns the pages, as if reading from an ancient tome of wisdom, ready to educate. "You see, Galactus isn't really a villain, his powers are so vast he's more like a force of nature. He has to consume living planets, but he's only sated for a while before his hunger returns, then he has to travel lightyears to the next living planet."

He turns the page again, his tone and demeanor becoming more sympathetic as he speaks. "Some of the heroes know the nature of his hunger, others assume he's evil and simply wants to destroy, while even more simply cannot even comprehend his actions. His hunger is so strong, and his power is so vast, he rarely acknowledges the life on these planets as even being above the level of ants, yet they often affect his multiple fates. I believe that I can maybe lead this evolved person in another direction, help him control the hunger thing, and become a natural force for good."

Somewhere during there, Sylar carefully shuts his Mandarin textbook, and if it weren't for the ability of sweet Texas Charlie, he might have completely forgotten all the Chinese words he'd learned. Once Magnes finishes his little bit of educating, he's met with a studious, narrow-eyed look from the other man. As if trying to work out a particularly difficult math equation. "A natural force of good," he repeats, after a moment. His gaze goes down to the comic in Magnes's hands, and a touch of an amused smile shows. It's gone a moment later. "And what makes you so sure that this hunger isb't inherently a part of this Evolved? After all, you've never met him."

"I spoke to someone who seems to know him. I don't know for sure, but I know that people can have abilities they can't control, and if he's able to steal powers, it's not so crazy to think that he developed some kind of kleptomania." Magnes explains, a touch defensive for one reason or another, but then smiles again and offers the book to Sylar, in case he wants to take a look for himself. "You can't just assume things about people, you know? You can't assume that 'evil person does evil things', it can be 'good person has evil compulsions', or 'good person has a unique circumstance'. I won't know until I meet him, but what matters is that I'm gonna try and understand, and help, ya know?"

Sylar hesitates, then he takes the book, setting his own texbook aside in favour of flicking the comic open at random intervals, letting the colours wash past his eyes as the pages fan by. There's no doubt, that much is true, but there is indecision, but perhaps that can be excused as simply concentrating on the text in his hands.

"A unique circumstance," he repeats, as if testing this phrase out. "Compulsions. Like an addict. Some addicts don't even want help, you know. Some spend their lives going out of their way to avoid it. You know why?" The comic is shut, and handed back. "Because it proves they were wrong. They were wrong for a long time and if they stop, can you imagine what that would be like? All those demons and bad things they'll be forced to confront when a part of them doesn't even want to." He makes no effort to be casual or subtle about his opinion, just states it with a tone of finality.

"It's not the addict's fault that they were wrong, ya know, and addicts don't ask to be addicted. I mean, I'm pretty sure people don't pick up a crack pipe and say 'Hey, I think I'll be addicted today'." Magnes takes the book back, resting it in his lap and simply shakes his head. He appears to be in a rather casual mood himself, even if still a tad defensive. "No one wants to confront demons, everyone's hurt someone or did something they wish they hadn't done. But you know what? It's much better for someone to just face that stuff, instead of making more demons. The sooner someone confronts those things, just dive into the rough healing process, the sooner they can lead a healthy life. What do you think is better, constantly giving into an addiction, or learning to get past it and enjoying other things in life?"

"It's obvious which one is better," Sylar says, gently, almost kindly, eyes unfocusing enough so that he's no longer really looking at Magnes. "It's also obvious which one is impossible. When you kill people, Magnes, it's a little like jumping off a cliff. There's no coming back from that."

It happens in the blink of an eye. Sylar goes from sitting slouched casually on the bench, black woolen coat opening with a sweater beneath it, harmless and indeed dressed a little like the intellectual he was judged to be. In the time it takes to blink, his hand grabs a fistful of Magnes's sleeve, and in a movement that is no stronger than that of an adult man's, but in a movement that is far, far quicker, he bodily goes to hurl Magnes off the bench, to let him sprawl on the ground should the younger man not regain his footing. Sylar, at least, is on his feet.

"She told me you were after me," he sneers. "But how did you know where to find me?" The paranoid don't tend to believe in coincidences, and the boat graveyard isn't an unfamiliar place for him. "Did she tell you that too?"

Magnes goes sprawling, far harder to resist on skates. He ends up falling on his hands and knees, then turns over so he's sitting on the ground, looking up. "Wait, what…" He stares at the man, as if trying to place something, put some piece of the puzzle together. "Prominent nose, bushy eyebrows… wait, are you, um, him?" he asks, for some reason not saying the name out loud. "If you're him, I didn't find you. But I'm glad I did, since now I can help." he says with a slightly nervous smile, still a bit shaken from being suddenly thrown.

That comic is laying right inbetween the two.

One of those aforementioned eyebrows raise at the rattled off description of himself, and Sylar gives a cynical half-chuckle at Magnes's claim of not deliberately finding him, although he doesn't bother to argue. A hand comes out, and with a sudden rustle of paper, the comic flies up from the ground as if attached to string, wheeling through the air and into Sylar's hand, gripping it by the spine. "Yes. I'm him. Thanks for the present," he says, again casually flicking through the text. There's a certain cockiness, an arrogance now that wasn't there before. "Tell me the ending of this guy's story. Does he get redeemed?"

Magnes slowly rises, brushing himself off and looking at a few scrapes on his hands. Clearly this is the universe getting back at him for Eileen's hands. "He's split apart from the Power Cosmic, then goes to another dimension to try and hide from it, but later on he's seen fully formed with his powers again. I believe he may have found a way to control them, and felt he was ready to be in his own universe again. I don't believe you have to do anything that drastic, but I know you can be better. I even know that you're not the one who made the explosion in Manhattan, do you know what that makes me think?"

He slowly skates over, standing a good five feet in front of the man. "That makes me think that the brother of some evil politician is out there, and you're taking all the blame because you're an easy target. I think you're supposed to be the hero who stops this guy. These demons, all this stuff you don't wanna confront? Many heroes have had tragic stories, real ones too, but they all had a greater purpose! Peter Petrelli, that's the evil guy, not you!"

One can only picture the bewildered look on Sylar's face at Magnes's initial explanation of Galactus' story, as if the younger man had begun to speak Swahili, before looking down at the comic in is hands once more. It's shut, but not given back right away, as Magnes continues on something slightly more comprehendable. Sylar's mouth twists a little in something both a smile and a sneer. "I'm an easy target because I'm a psychopathic killer," he says, simply. He takes a few steps forward, leisurely. "I tried to kill your friend, Magnes. Twice. I would have killed her and I'm sure we'd be having an entirely different conversation had I succeeded. Sweet Abby, head sliced open in the street, another statistic." He offers the comic back to the man. "You've been told to stay away from me. I think that would be a swell idea."

"I didn't say I wasn't a bit angry about that, and I don't doubt that this conversation would be very different, but it's not. I'm lucky that the situation didn't turn out that way, and maybe it didn't for a reason, maybe fate is leading you in a better direction." Magnes gently takes the book, and despite the subject matter, it's very hard to feel threatened, due to Sylar's… well… his happy.

"You're not a psychopath, I mean, look at you. Before you knew you had a power, did you go around slicing heads open? I'm not gonna argue about how you feel, the last thing I wanna do is tell you who you are, but I wanna learn, tell me about you." He pauses to roll the comic up and slide it back into his pocket. "No one has to know we met, I'm just trying to look past all that stuff you did, to try and get you a better future. I'm not gonna lash out and yell because you tried to kill the girl I like, because tried is still the key word here. You're redeemable, you haven't done anything to me, so I'm gonna help. I even know another story you can possibly relate to…"

"No doubt you do," Sylar says, holding Magnes under a scrutinising gaze. Gravel and pavement crunches and grits underfoot as he moves a little closer, just shy under conversational distance. "Don't come here again," he says, head tilted to the side. "Practice your," a glance down at the skates strapped to the boy's feet, back up again, "skating somewhere else next time. Don't try to find me. Don't try to help me. I'm not half the villain people think I am, we both know this, but I'm no where near the hero you think I could be. I don't think you are, either." A raised eyebrow, and he steps back again, perhaps to walk away as he turns to collect his Mandarin textbook.

Magnes sighs in defeat, simply nodding and beginning to skate off, but he looks back one more time. "I still believe you can do something, but I know I can't force you either. I won't look for you again, but before I go, do you want my number just in case you need something?" he asks, not wanting to stick around and push the man, but instead wants to try and work on his terms.

The textbook is picked up, and Sylar turns back towards Magnes, a sort of blank disbelief for a moment, although it fades as he considers the offer, turning it over in his mind as if trying to find the trick. In the silence it takes not to threaten, argue or insult, the wariness is more overt, posture guarded. The book in his hands curls slightly in his grip, and he makes a decision. "Fine. Say it," he invites. "I'll remember." By way of explanation, he taps a finger against the translation book he holds.

Magnes isn't one to question the person with the god-like power, so he simply says it, his cellphone number, and a few instant messaging names, plus an email. Can't hurt. "That's all. Thanks for listening. People speak like you're some sort of monster, but I can really see hope. Fear and lack of understanding is what makes monsters, I learned that from comics too."

Then, he simply begins to skate off after a quick wave, and if Sylar says nothing to stop him, he'll be gone as instructed.

Having twisted a verbal knife before and seen it take little real effect, Sylar doesn't try it again now - Magnes is allowed to go without another word from the killer, who, after a moment, moves to resume his seat at the bench. This time, however, he doesn't open his translation book, instead content to listen to the dead ships' decay in the water as he thinks. By the time it's that hour when tourists will be wondering through, he's gone.

January 2nd: The Balcony Scene
January 2nd: Knowledge is Power
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