No Such Thing As Coincidences


gillian2_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title No Such Thing As Coincidences
Synopsis Sometimes the big world seems very, very small. Magnes and Gillian meet up to discuss the normal and the abnormal things in their lives. And have many connections.
Date August 10, 2009

A Comic Book Story

The Mecca of geekery.

Earlier in the evening, Magnes and Gillian agreed to meet at a comic shop he frequented in Brooklyn. In the absence of her having a way to get there, well, he could have just flown her.

He's completely without his swanky new look, instead having pretty naturally combed hair, a loose-fitting black Batman shirt with a purposely faded Batman logo (Hot Topic, you silly store you), some neatly fitted blue jeans, and of course his inline skates with their magnet designs.

Entering the shop, a girl like Gillian cause many to either instantly break their necks in disbelief, or hunch over and roll to disbelieve. Magnes just smiles and nods to people as they walk through the shop, introducing her, "This is Gillian, guys, be nice." before opening the basement door for her. "This is where we play games and stuff, we can talk down there."

No Batman or Superman, or even Star Trek shirt to make her fit in, Gillian looks marginally out of place, but not insanely so. Assuming the store dealt in Japanese manga, young woman have become more and more common in recent years. Not that she has ever been one to follow many of the things sold in these stores. "I didn't know this was a place you knew," she says in a raspy voice, glancing at each of the comic book nerds that now know her name. Library nerd she could handle, comic book ones have a kind of smell about them at times!

"What kind of games do you play, exactly?" she asks as she moves to follow to the door down to the basement. "You're not going to get me involved in one of those things you play with cards or little toys, right?" Even without being a geek, she has some ideas what they might be involved in.

"Warhammer Forty-K, regular Warhammer, HeroClix, Yu-Gi-Oh, Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, all that stuff. I heard they discontinued VS System, total, uh, phallic move." When they get down to the modestly sized basement, there are a few tables with the games setup, but not too many people playing at the moment. Magnes leads her to a small empty table, pulling out two Pokemon starter decks, rather old ones at that. She gets a Misty deck, he has a Team Rocket deck, in their original but rather worn boxes. Being, well, him, he holds her chair out for her, waiting for her to take her seat. "Just pretend you're playing, I wanted to talk to you about random stuff, y'know, without worrying about snipers and all."

A deck handed to her, Gillian frowns at it for a long moment before she settles into the chair and… tries to do what he's doing. "Snipers? Shit— are you telling me that's a possibility? Maybe I should have just said no to meeting up at all," she says, frowning down at the cards that she glances over. Could have at least chosen a game with what she would consider good artwork! Oh well. Can't have everything. "I don't know a thing about the game, so don't laugh at me or I'm breaking your fucking nose," she tosses out as she attempts to pretend to play, keeping her raspy voice down to a low volume. "So what's the odds that this is going to come back to bite me later?"

"Don't worry, you're not gonna get shot in the head for hanging around me, I don't think, but there is a sniper in the city, I got shot, I'll show you the stitches later. Long story short, a blind girl's friend was killed, I tried to jump in the way of the laser on the blind girl, I got into a shootout when the sniper came down, and now I'm shot, but I saved the blind girl." Magnes expains, setting his cards up in rows, just letting Gillian copy him. "So what happened with you and Elle that got her hurt?"

"Fuck," Gillian says, putting her cards down and looking as if she's considering getting up and leaving. "Of all the people you had to fall in with, it had to be them, didn't it? She's the one you told me about, the girlfriend who electricuted you? Son of a bitch. Do you have any idea what the— god damnit, Magnes." Eyes close and she glances around at the nerds in the room, who probably think there's some kind of girlfriend quarrel going on at the moment. She picks the cards up again and pretends to play, mimicing the kinds of things she's seeing him do, but putting the wrong cards in the wrong places. "I lost control, she got hurt, it won't happen again."

"I'm not saying I'm involved in anything, but Elle is my friend, not so much girlfriend anymore, I'm laying out that we're just friends. The mental issues might be a bit much to handle for a first girlfriend, and we were more dating than actually boyfriend and girlfriend anyway. I met another girl." Magnes points to his shirt, smiling. "She bought me this shirt. But yeah, I've gotta ask you, do you still have Peter's ability?"

"Don't pretend you're not involved with them. It explains everything," Gillian says with a grumble, a distorted curse of some kind, but she leaves it there. A few more cards get thrown down, but they're still not right. One doesn't play that card here. Most certainly not. If he'd explained the rules, she might not be doing so poorly. "No, I don't, that's why it won't happen again. Next time I lose control she's more likely to almost kill me than me kill her. Not that I'll make any attempt to contact her ever again."

"If I were pretending anything, which I'm not, it's probably for my own good and I probably don't have much of a choice." Magnes says rather casually, eyeing her cards, then the deck box. "There's a rule book in there, just saying." he idly notes before returning to the topic at hand. "I just wanted to know if you did or not, it's good that you don't, now I can more or less guarantee your safety. If I was tied in with anyone, you would probably consider yourself lucky, because I'd never let anything happen to my friends and I'd go very far to make sure of that."

"You can't guarantee anything," Gillian says, reaching to grab for the book in the deck box, though she's not really in the mind to actually read it very well. "Fuck. I really wish you wouldn't have contacted me about this, Magnes. You might be protecting me, but the fact that you… God damnit. I can't trust you anymore. You could be bugged for all I know. Maybe for all you know, either." Not that she knew for sure she could trust him before. Without having actually read much from the book, her mind is far too preoccupied, she puts it down. "So what do you know about Peter?"

"You can trust me, I'm not some different guy, and I'm not bugged, I'm not involved in anything weird either, so, stop worrying." Magnes, of course, knows she isn't convinced, but, well, it's not like he can just say he knows. Of course his acting is rather half-hearted, so that should be a clue. "All I know is that he blew up Midtown, his brother is Nathan Petrelli who covered it up, and you had his ability, whatever that is. I don't know him, I don't know what kind of person he is, but I seem to hear his name from everyone. I'm personally more concerned about what Gabriel's doing, since I've heard very little about what he's doing lately."

There's a long pause, where Gillian just looks at the cards for quite some time. She ends up putting more down, though not quite how she's supposed to, and then closes her eyes and pauses again. "They're… they're friends of mine. People that I… am close to. If anything happened to either of them I would be really upset." She finally opens her eyes and looks up at him, "If there's any way you possibly can— if you do hear something more about either of them, if— I shouldn't even let you know I know them at all, much less that they mean something to me. But— they do."

"I know you probably don't believe me, but everything you say to me, except about not having Peter's ability anymore, stays with me. I, well, whatever situation I'm in right now, it's not really something I want, but I'm making the best of it." Magnes reaches over to touch her hand, giving her a rather friendly smile. "You know me better than a lot of people, and the day I betray you or anyone else who hasn't done something to seriously deserve it, is the day I fly into the atmosphere. I'm already freaking out about possibly screwing up this Claire thing, I don't need karma blowing up in my face when I've met maybe the best girl I've ever known."

"I get it," Gillian says, though it doesn't sound as if she likes what she gets. "You got given a fucked up hand and you're doing the only thing you can think to do. Trust me, I get it." She has some experience with dealing with a fucked up hand. And anyone who overheard that part could easily think she's talking about the game they're playing. Or pretending to play. "Claire…" Considering he knows of Peter, Gabriel and Elle, she's doubting this is a coincidence. "My suggestion is, don't fuck it up. I already fucked up my relationship recently, and there's essentially no un-fucking it, I don't think. And I thought I was the best girl you've ever known." She aims a kick under the table.

"Ow!" Magnes yelps when he gets a swift kick, wincing slightly. "I said you're the hottest girl I've ever known, but I mean, Claire is, uh, can I just say you're both equally hot in your own ways? And there's no way I'm gonna screw this up, she's amazing, I mean, she told me I can dress however I want, she got me this Batman shirt! Girls just don't do that. It's like she went to the Academy of Awesome Girls or something." There's a pause, tilting his head. "Which I guess is basically Hogwarts, most of those girls are pretty cool…"

"You nerd," Gillian says, shaking her head a bit as she leans back in her chair and stops kicking him. To the outward observer, it might seem she's thinking about the next move in her game, or waiting for him. "I hope whatever it is works out, then. Awesome girls are difficult to come by."

"I feel like it's gonna explode somehow. I mean, it's going too well. It's like we're these Tetris pieces, and when we finally fit together we learn our ultimate fate is to be obliterated. That make any sense? I had a dream like that once…" Magnes hunches over slightly, staring at his cards and being his worry-wart self. "The messed up thing is that I don't even know her last name, and I'm too afraid to ask because I feel totally dumb asking."

"Last names don't really matter anyway. They change," Gillian says, picking up her cards, and actually grabbing a few of the ones she threw down, too, putting the deck back together. Almost as if she's planning to try again, forfetting. "Don't worry about it so much. If it blows up, then it blows up. Appreciate the time you have with her and deal with it that way. Worse that'll happen is you'll both be killed, or your situation will fuck you over to the point you can't deal, but at least you'll know you had a few good times with an awesome girl before things decided to bend you over a table."

"I'll try, I just, I don't know, I'll stop worrying. Can I trust you not to tell anyone anything we talked about, that they don't need to know?" Magnes asks, looking rather hopeful as he starts to collect his cards as well. "You can trust me, Gillian, but there's two sides of my fence that could completely crumble and ruin my life."

"If you don't want me to mention it to anyone, I promise I won't, as long as you promise to keep your end of it too," Gillian says, shaking her head a bit again. It isn't as if she's eager to run back and tell the people she knows that a boy she knew on the internet might be involved with the Company that she's been hiding from for a while. "I'd honestly rather you not have to tell anyone anything about me, either. But I guess after what happened with Elle— things could have gotten bad for me if I were easier to find than I am?" Only reason he found her is because she checked her email.

"In Elle's defense, she, well, defended you and explained that you didn't do it on purpose. Elle is a nice girl, she's just, well, got a few problems. If I didn't meet Claire I'd still be dating her." Magnes reaches out to take her hand before she leaves, for a friendly shake. "But there is a sniper. I don't know what his deal is yet, but judging by the fact that we were outside Old Lucy's, and the blind girl was an Evolved person who controlled colors or maybe light, this might have been an anti-Evolved attack. It's only speculation, but Old Lucy's is frequented by Evolved…"

"Wait," Gillian says, suddenly figuring something out. "A blind girl that can control— shit. There really is no such thing as a coincidence, is there? This is getting crazy." In a way that she's not entirely sure she can explain without giving far more information than she is willing to. "It could have been an anti-Evolved attack, certainly. There's a lot of that going around these days."

"I hope she doesn't have any hard feelings about me leaving her on a roof, but I did save her life, and I was trying to not bleed to death and try to save her friend too. So, you know her?" Magnes asks, suddenly following up with another question, "And uh, what is your ability?"

"Wouldn't say we're close friends, but I know her," Gillian explains, leaving the rest out. She has no idea how the girl's doing now but she's pretty sure there would have been a follow up report if the girl hadn't survived. Or at least she hopes so. Doesn't sound like he left her bleeding to death, either. "You mean you don't know? I'm not supposed to do anything. I kinda wish I would've managed to have Abby's luck and lost it all together at this point." Yeah, she knows Abby too, kid. There's really no such thing as coincidence.

"You know Abby? And no, I don't know what your normal ability is." Magnes admits with a defeated shrug, shaking his head. "Why would you wanna lose it? Is it something really bad? Claire seems… er, nevermind."

"Yeah, I know Abby," Gillian says, leaving out a lot more than that, but since he knows Abby too… "Christian girl." Really no god damn coincidences in this world anymore. She closes her eyes a long moment, hesitating. "I basically— say I was one of these cards," she says, opening her eyes and leaning forward. She flips a few cards until she has creatures and lays out a couple. "Say these guys are Evolved and they got their abilities, right? Basically what I do is… I can double the effects of their ability. Maybe more than double. I don't know exactly. It depends on the ability, but I make people do things they normally couldn't— sometimes good things, sometimes bad. I could probably send you to the moon if I wasn't keeping it held in. At least make you slam into the ceiling."

"It's hard to imagine not being able to control my ability anymore." Magnes says in slight disbelief, staring at her curiously. "I, uh, is there some way we can go somewhere and test it? I guess I just, I don't know, I'm wondering what would happen."

"I just said I might be able to send you into fucking orbit, or make you slam into the ceiling, and you still want to try it?" Gillian shakes her head, in a bit of disbelief. "Do you have any idea how many horrible things my ability could make happen? How many bad things have happened? My ability isn't a game to play with. My ability caused a whole block of Staten Island to get bulldozed— The first time I met Peter he almost went nuclear again just because I walked next to him. I touched a guy who could predict outcomes of events once and he saw every possible future. It's not something we should mess around with."

Magnes looks at his hands, then stares at the floor. "I guess, if I change the gravity of things I touch, I could do something crazy like reverse Earth's gravity or something…" He stares down at himself, then to her again. "I, uh, it's probably best if your ability stays a secret."

"Yeah, trust me, I know I want my ability to stay secret," Gillian says, gathering up the cards she'd used to demonstrate. "It probably couldn't do that much, not without special circumstances, but it could definitely cause bad things to happen to a more limited area than the whole planet. I can control the amount of energy as long as I'm not in pain or something. But I don't feel comfortable practicing it anymore… especially not after finding out I nearly fucked the entire world with a single handshake." And she wishes she was exaggerating. "At least I'm not bleeding energy all the time anymore." Sounds like that'd been the case once, even if it's not now.

"It's times like this I realize how much of a pain it is to control a fundamental force of reality. I can only imagine how Hiro feels, he controls time. Who knows what'd happen if you touched him…" Magnes is apparently slowly growing pretty shit-your-pants afraid of Gillian's ability. "Yeah, let's just, forget we even talked about this." He points to his shirt, suddenly smiling again. "Did I say Claire bought me this Batman shirt?"

"I actually got a pretty good idea what'd happen if I touched him. I'd end up a week from now in Antarctica." And everyone in the immediate area might end up in a random point in space and time. Not fun. Not fun at all. Gillian lets it drop there, though, and kicks her foot out (gently) to precede a simple, "Only about four times."

There's a small wince from Magnes, and he's suddenly curious. She seems to know all these people, so… "Do you know Claire? I'm not gonna pry, I don't wanna learn things about her the dishonest way, but, she lives near Abby and Delilah, so it's not a stretch that you might know her, I imagine… ex-cheerleader, ring a bell?"

"I've heard of her, but I don't know much, honestly. I'm not sure if I've met her at all," Gillian explains, leaning back again. There's a lot of people they both know. "I think I might have, but I'd have to meet her again to be sure."

"I took her on a picnic, in the sky, on a floating picnic blanket." Magnes slides the deck box into his pocket, since the conversation seems to have gotten light, and there's no huge reason to keep attention away from themselves. "She really liked that, she even officially classified it as a date and I got a date kiss."

"That sounds pretty sweet," Gillian admits in a quiet whisper-like voice. Normal topic that it may be, it seems to make her more uncomfortable. Or perhaps she's envious. "I'm glad one of us is capable of going on a normal date. I haven't been on a normal 'date' with a guy I actually want to date in over a year."

"That bad boy guy you were dating, was he like us?" Magnes suddenly wonders, because Gillian could have been dating anyone! Maybe Cardinal, most definitely Cardinal! "And I've gotta get home soon or my handler is gonna be worried."

"Yeah. He was like us." Gillian says quietly, standing up as she hands back the deck. "I'll let you get going. I got some people waiting for me too." There's another pause. "Just to further reveal the fact there's no coincidences in the whole world for us… The guy I was dating— that was Gabriel. And the guy I thought about dating instead… that was Peter. And Abby's dating my brother, Victor. Planet seems a lot smaller all of a sudden, doesn't it?"

"Let's, uh, not talk about Abby dating. No offense to your brother or anything…" Magnes doesn't finish, but he definitely wanted to say something offensive. "Wait, what? How could you be… you know what, I'll just ask next time, I probably don't even wanna know why you were dating Gabriel. And I still don't get why Abby is dating Victor, who from what I can tell is a more brash and immature version of me, which is the whole reason she didn't like me in the first place. But oh well, I don't understand girls, and Claire doesn't confuse me, so I'm over the Abby and Victor thing." Not before the mildly offensive and extremely bitter-sounding rant, of course, but at least over it.

"What happened there is too complicated to go into anyway. You'd need a novel and I'm not willing to go through it again," Gillian says, voice lowering again as she looks down at her hands. "You do remind me a lot of my brother. He's more athletic and you're more geeky, but you do have similiarities. Maybe that's part of the reason why I always liked you— in an mean older sister sort of way." As she says this, she stands up, gesturing toward the door. "Let's get you back to your— what did you call it, handler? Sounds like you joined the fucking Church of Scientology. You don't think your inner alien is why you have the power to manipulate gravity, do you?"

"If Abby were dating anyone else, it wouldn't bug me, but the fact that she's dating him means there's some huge reason she doesn't like me that she won't tell me. And to be honest, I probably don't wanna know, if she didn't tell me then she didn't tell me for a good reason." Magnes knows his emotional limits, he's not one who's gonna go dividing by zero and reading the Necronomicon, or staring into the time vortex. He stands and starts walking to the door after her, smiling and shaking his head. "I"m not in a cult, I promise. I can leave whenever I want. There would be horrible consequences, but I could leave, there's very few people who could stop me from leaving now. I just think making the best of my situation is better than ruining my life."

"Look on the bright side. If you'd been dating Abby, you might not have met that Awesome Girl Academy ex-Cheerleader Claire," Gillian says, punching him in the arm as they go. It's part of the not worrying, thing, because, quite honestly, she knows the consequences of worrying about relationships. "Appreciate what you got. Before you end up missing it."

"I do think I'll be happier with Claire than with Abby. Abby was like, this ideal of what I thought was perfect, Abby really is perfect in a lot of ways, but as nice as she is and as much as I like being around her, she, well, doesn't really make me feel all that great about myself. Sometimes it's for my own good, but other times I know it's just her not approving of me." Magnes of course holds doors and such as they head out, there being far fewer people by the time they make their exit. "Claire's great, I don't know how perfect she is as a person yet, I mean she definitely seems to have her share of secrets and problems, but she still seems really really great. She accepts me, she wants me to be me, and doesn't treat me like a kid for it. She got me a Batman shirt!"

"You guys and your insane views of a perfect girl," Gillian says, smiling a bit finally. There'd been little in the way of a smile, but it brings out her dimples when she does it. "And that makes five times you've reminded me of that. My memory may not be perfect, but it's not that shitty," she reaches over and ruffles his hair, before continuing on out of the haven of geekdom.

"Sorry, it's just, this is the first thing a girl has ever gotten me, I think. Did I mention she wore a super tight Wonder Woman shirt on our date? I don't think I mentioned that… tight jeans too. Does that mean she likes me?" Magnes asks what might be an obvious question, but, he really has no idea. "Well, I mean, yeah, she must like me, the kiss and all, but does how a girl dress say anything about what she feels for a guy?"

"Yes, the way girls dress usually reflect how much she likes a guy," Gillian says, looking down at her clothes. Not form fitting. Not fancy. Not geeky. And not showing a lot of skin. She's barely even wearing any make up. Yup. No coincidence there, either. "She probably likes you." That, or she's trying to get information out of him, but she'll leave that part of feminine wiles out.

"I'm glad, then, it's one nice thing in a life of getting shot and maimed." Magnes holds a hand out for Gillian's, staring up at the sky. "There's not many people around, want me to fly you somewhere so you don't have to walk home in the dark?"

"I wish I could have a nice thing in my life of getting shot at, maimed, killed, or emotionally ripped in a million directions." Gillian says, envious, and perhaps a little depressed. But his offer makes her hesitate, and then nod. Honestly she misses flying. "You can fly me to the top of the parking garage I use." There's an address given, and she reaches out to take his hand. She could give him a boost, but she keeps the knot tied in the back of her head. She doesn't want to go to the moon.

"Hey, you're the one who didn't wanna date me. I guess some girls don't like floating picnic blanket dates." Magnes snickers, mostly teasing as he gently takes her hand and quickly launches them both into the air. Luckiy for Gillian, he's learned to control his vertical horizon, so there's likely no pesky feeling of having your stomach pulled at, unless of course she's just afraid of heights. "But hey, Gillian, you'll always have me, we'll always be friends. We're trusting eachother with our lives, and well, if that's not friendship, if that doesn't mean anything, then nothing does. When everything goes, all the relationships, the shooting, the political stuff, we'll still be there for eachother."

Not afraid of heights. And in fact, there's a look of nostalgia on her face as Gillian's eyes scan the horizon and her body feels the lack of gravity's pull. "Unfortunately, Mags, you're not my type. If you couldn't tell." She doesn't like a guy who doesn't try to kill her at least once, but she leaves that part out of things. God she missed flying. "I guess. I just have a hard time thinking anything will stay constant. Things always change— that's why I'd rather just enjoy it while I can, rather than think it'll stick around no matter what." Cause life had been fleeting, and nothing stays. Who knows what could happen tomorrow with them. Who knows if they'll be able to trust each other forever. But they trust each other now… And that's enough.

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