Not Exactly The Viennese


magnes_icon.gif monica_icon.gif

Scene Title Not Exactly The Viennese
Synopsis Two former costumed vigilantes meet up for comic books and a waltz.
Date April 07, 2011

Sam's Comics

It's pretty rare that Monica is out and about these days. But the place she's staying… well, there's all this tension. and that added to her turn with the strange dreams, it's been a catalyst to get her out of her hideaway for a bit.

And where's a girl to go but the local comic book store. She doesn't seem to notice that she's the only girl in there at the moment or that she's getting the looks. Or rather, if she notices, she's ignoring it in favor of flipping through old Batman comic books and whistling quietly to herself.

Magnes walks in not long after she does, wearing a black blazer over a dark blue shirt with SEGA printed on the front, some blue jeans, and plain red Chucks. He looks around for a moment, and then there's the stares and… that only means one thing. He immediately looks over to the back of Monica's head, then approaches and reaches out to lightly tap her shoulder. "I don't work here or anything, but, need any help?"

"Believe it or not," Monica starts as she plucks out one of the comics, "I know my way around pretty okay." Only then does she turn to look at him, and she ends up giving him a little half smile. Amused, maybe. "Well, Magnes J. Varlane," she greets, leaning a hip against the rack, "haven't seen you in a while."

"Whoa." Magnes backs up a bit, as if she just revealed herself to be Mary-Jane Watson or something. Shock subsided, he smiles and offers his hand. "Hey, I haven't seen you in a…" He's suddenly thinking back. Has he ever met her out of costume? He can't remember at all! Prime superhero fuck up right here… "Uh…"

And that just makes Monica chuckle a little. But she leans in to explain on a whisper, "I heard through the grapevine. I hope you don't mind." Straightening, she turns back toward the comics, but only a little. "I thought it'd be the safer greeting. Yeah?" Lord knows, it would be the biggest costumed hero faux pax to call someone by their heroing name when they're Clark Kenting it.

"I feel totally awkward now." Magnes moves in a little closer so he can speak in whispers with her, reaching out for comics himself. "I mean, no one wants to be Batman with his pants down in front of Black Canary… well I mean, in most circumstances."

Monica laughs at that caveat, and she nods her head. "Well, don't worry so much. Although, I gotta say, it's fun catching you a little off guard." She sets the comic down, not really putting it back, but setting it aside for the moment. "How goes the civilian life?"

"Awkwardly stumbling my way around the women in my life, desperately in need of male friends, and playing piano for ballerinas at a ridiculous salary." Magnes looks to her, then his hand makes its way to the back of his neck. Easily read awkward body language go! "You enter the Mortal Kombat tournament or save Planet Namek with your super martial arts lately?"

"Ridiculous in a good way or a bad way?" Monica watches that awkward gesture, but she gives him a kind smile. "Would this be easier if we were sparring or something?" She's trying to be helpful! "Ahh, not so much. I've mostly been laying low and trying not to get arrested." A pause. "And learning to play the drums."

"I'd say it's pretty good. And uh, actually…" Magnes looks around for a moment, then leans in to whisper the ultimate of clandestine knowledge. "I kind of maybe need to learn how to waltz." He'd ask why she's trying not to get arrested, but isn't everyone he knows in the same position?

Monica gets an odd look at that shared secret, and she leans back to look at him. "This is to help conquer the awkward stumbling?" She seems to accept that he doesn't have to ask. They all know the same terrorist community, after all.

"I have to go to a big high society gala soon, and learning to waltz is practically a requirement." Magnes lifts a leg and stands on the very tip of his toe. "And my balance is great!" When he has his ability.

"Ooh, I see. Fancy." Monica smirks again as he shows off his balance and she swats at him a little. "Alright, alright, show off. I might be able to show you how to waltz, but you're going to have to practice everyday if you want to not trip over yourself. I know dancing around in front of a mirror isn't anyone's idea of a good time, but, you know. It's good for you."

"That sounds good. So… where do we go to learn how to waltz?" Magnes is looking around again, then stares up at the ceiling, hmming to himself. "It's a bit chilly outside for dancing. Aren't there places where people go and… I don't know, dance?"

"Oh sure. I'm sure there's a ton of places to go. But if you're learning with me… I use the roof." Monica grins there, and she seems to mean now, or else has an odd way of ending conversations, because she leaves her comic there and starts for the door. She'll be flipping and leaping her way to the roof here in a moment.

Magnes walks out and follows, watching as she does said leaps and flips, eyes wide. "Holy…" He runs up the wall himself, after making sure no one's looking, walking up behind her. "You're like some sort of Stephanie Brown, except you're not blonde."

"Okay, now that is cheating," Monica says, but in good humor, once he's run himself up the wall. Good humor because… "I wouldn't say Batgirl. I'd say I'm more like… Echo. or Taskmaster," she confesses, "I call it Adoptive Muscle Memory." It's only fair, since she knows his secret alter ego and all. "In New Orleans, they called me St. Joan."

"Like Photographic Reflexes!" Magnes says as if trying to confirm, hand returning to the back of his neck. And then she adds that extra bit of information. "You're kidding me! You're, like, the St. Joan? Like…" He turns away from her, taking deep breaths to regain his composure. When he turns around he seems to have a forced straight face. "Yeah, uh, I think that's cool. I mean, that a girl likes comics and is also a superheroine." He's not freaking out or anything!

"Like, from the comic book. Apparently so. My little brother freaked out when he found out." So did her grandmother, but in a whole different way. "Well, you know," she says, on the point of liking comics, "Had to figure out what I was doing somehow, right?"

"I'm so glad this isn't an anime." Magnes says as he raises a hand to his nose as if checking for blood. "This is like, I don't even know. So that's why you were so much better at fighting crime than me! It all makes sense now…"

That one goes sailing over Monica's head. Comic books, yes. Anime, not so much. But she nods to his latter words, at least. "Yeah. I cheat, too. I watched a lot of Jackie Chan." That part might be a joke, with that amused smile that comes to her face, but then again… it might be totally serious, too. "Plus, practice! I was doing crime fighting for a year or so in New Orleans before I came back up here."

"That's insane… I mean, not that I'm all freaking out or anything." Magnes walks in a slow circle, sliding fingers through his curly hair to feign coolness. "I'm totally cool about this, like, uh, way." Composure a go-go! "So uh… we should probably waltz…"

"Well, what about you? You're becoming a little Bruce Wayne, going to fancy parties and all. Are you still…" Whatever her question was going to be, Monica lets it drop there and nods her head. "Waltzing, yes. The good news is… you only need to know how to count to three to waltz. You're the guy and the guy in ballroom dance, he's the leader. You make all the decisions about how you're going to dance, what steps you're going to do, how big your steps are, all that. So keep that in mind while we do this. Ah… let me show you." Because she's not as good at the lecture.

Stepping away a little, Monica gets herself into the proper stance. "This arm out here," she says with a nod toward her left, which is held out to the side, "you hold her hand with this one and the other one hooks around her back. And it's just three steps." And she counts out loud as goes through the steps, slow at first. "Think of it like a box. You step back with your right to a 'corner', then to the side with your left to a corner, then your right joins the left. And then you do it forward. Forward with the left to a corner, side with the right to a corner, join the left to the right. And that's really it. Over and over. That's the foundation."

Magnes steps forward after watching and taking mental notes, then reaches out to take her hand, and looks down at her waist and up to her eyes as if to silently get permission to complete the position. "I guess the fancy parties are just a nice outlet for my intellectual side. I can talk about Chopin and get it out of my system without bugging my friends with it." There's a pause, and he goes back to the previous subject. "What were you going to ask?"

Monica nods, switching her hands so she can take up the girl's side. But she places his hand on her back before resting hers on his shoulder. "You can count allow if you need to. At least during practice. And hey, it's good to have an outlet. I'm afraid I don't know much about Chopin himself." Although, it's a good bet she could play Chopin. "He was a composer and the Polish named a vodka after him. That pretty much exhausts my knowledge."

She shakes her head at first, to his question, but after a moment she looks over at him, "I was just wondering if you still do the White Knighting around here, is all. And hey, whenever you're ready, give this waltz a try. Don't worry about my feet, they can take being stepped on a couple times."

"I don't think stepping on your feet would be very Bruce Wayne of me. But I'm very good at counting in my head." Magnes takes his first step back, the arm around her somewhat loose, but the hold on her palm is firm. It's clear he's not completely comfortable yet, and his movements aren't too confident either. At least he's not stepping on her feet! "I don't go out as the White Knight right now, mostly because no one seems to want me to or really supports me in it."

There's a short space of silence as he seems to stare up and ponder something, and his eyes shift back down to her's. "I mean, I guess if someone had a mutual interest and wanted to come up with new personas that no one would expect…"

Monica gives little corrections, telling him to firm up his stance and the like as they go along. But all in all, it seems to go pretty well! "Very subtle," she says with a crooked smile at his last words. "To tell you the truth, seeing the White Knight always made me wish I hadn't given it up. And maybe if things were different, I wouldn't have. But there was this… I guess you could say he's my nemesis. St. Joan almost got Monica's family killed. And he's here. I mean, of course he's here, right? That's always how it goes. But I worry about getting people I care about killed trying to… I don't know. I never could figure out where the balance was. How much do you put at risk, you know? Nana and my brother, they're my family."

"You have to keep that life and this life as separate as possible. I know what you mean about not getting anyone hurt, but what's the difference between what you normally do, and what you'd do in costume?" Magnes sounds a little more serious, but he still largely keeps it casual, the hand around her getting a bit more secure as confidence in his movements and position raises. "When we saved those kids, if any of those guys escaped, those guys who saw Monica, that could put your family in danger. But if you were there as St. Joan, or any other persona, all they're thinking about is St. Joan, not Monica or her family. The balance is picking and choosing your battles, and careful planning." He eventually leads her to the middle of the roof, maybe even enjoying himself a little. "And I think two heads would be better than one when doing something like this… as long as it's not rushed into."

"Well, it's been my experience that they get a little obsessed with finding out who you are and what you're hiding when you're in a costume and you piss them off enough. As just me, there's no need to go looking for them because I'm giving them a person to come after. And my family's… been through a lot. I mean, Katrina, my mom. DL, Micah, Niki. It's just been really hard lately." Monica follows in the dance easily, fluidly. Like the professionals she's watched so often. But there she looks down at her feet, probably not to check on her steps, though.

"And I don't see it gettin' much better."

"Yeah… I think I understand. I've seen a lot of friends suffer and die. There are some people I haven't seen in months and I'm worried about them. And other people I know who deserve much better lives than they have…" Magnes wants to question those names, he's familiar with those names both from the comic and through the grapevine, but he'd rather not ask right now.

He releases her hand, though keeps the other around her, then reaches down to gently push her head up by the chin so she can face him again. "Things will get better. If your family is who I think they are then I know they've had a hard time, but there have been multiple futures. I had a dream about a future where I die, but I know there was also a future where I became a SCOUT cop, and believe it or not Gabriel Grey was my partner. Don't lose hope, it's never too late, it will never be too late."

Monica looks up when he tips her chin back up; she's not crying yet, but she looks like she might be heading that way. Or trying not to head that way. "They're tough. But everyone's got a breaking point. But especially my grandmother and my little brother, they're not… in this like I'm in this. I can only ask them to deal with so much on my account." She shakes her head some, not in a negative, but just trying to clear her mind some.

"I had a couple dreams, too. One… way in the future and it's awful, but last night… last night I had one and they get me. For months I've been waiting for them to just drop in on me and drag me off again and this dream just… it isn't too far ahead. They catch me and DHS was trying to find out about Claire and her dad and people who've only ever tried to help people."

"My dream is years in the future, maybe a decade or so. Claire is a member of FRONTLINE and she's hunting the Ferry. She kills me with a shotgun." Magnes reaches down for her hand again, holding it up, but he stops moving. Right now he's just trying to reassure her. "They're not going to get you, and if they do get you, I'll get you back. People say a lot of things about me, but there are two things I've yet to fail at. Infiltrating a high security facility, and being overzealous." There's a smile, trying to get her to smile as well. "I wish I could wave my hand and make everything better, but what I can do is say that I'll be there, you can call me whenever, even if you just have some anxiety over this or a dream."

"Well, that's just messed up," Monica says, frowning as she looks over at him. She takes a moment, collecting herself before she goes on. "Overzealous, huh? Well, if it happens, I'll make sure you get to hear about it. And hey, I'm not… expecting things'll be better in a snap or nothing. I just… I didn't like prison much last time."

She's making light of it now, but she wants to reassure him that his reassurance was… reassuring. It's a strange cycle. "Thanks for the offer. I might just take you up on that. Lord knows everyone's upset enough as it is without me adding to it all."

"My problems are pretty trivial compared to yours, so I don't mind helping you shoulder the burden. If I knew there were real comic book reading superhero girls out there sooner, I don't think I'd even have my current problems." Magnes freezes up a little after saying that, his eyes immediately averting up into the sky. "I mean, uh, you're alright." he says as he quickly scales back everything he just said.

"No one's problems are trivial to them. Plus, you're getting these crazy dreams, too, so we all got the same problems, sounds like. I'm sorry you died in yours." Monica's smile is amused, but kind as he freezes up. "We are a rare breed, but we exist. You should have held out for more, sounds like." But she breaks of, taking a step back. "Practice. And watch some youtube. It's a great resource and not just for people like me. I gotta start heading back. Next time, we'll see how good you are."

She fires him a lazy salute there before she takes a run toward the edge of the building, this time to leap across to the next roof. She doesn't take conventional routes home.

"Ah, uh, just, call me." Magnes holds up a hand as if to wave, but it just sort of stays up there in the air, watching as she leaps home.

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