Old Flames


magnes_icon.gif elaine_icon.gif sable_icon.gif quinn_icon.gif cardinal_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif nelson_icon.gif

Scene Title Old Flames
Synopsis Discussion over what to do about James Nelson results in a call that brings Magnes face-to-face with Elaine's ex (aka Stalky McAbusive).
Date August 3, 2010

Siann Hall - Elaine and Magnes' Apartment

It's around 8 PM, and everyone's sitting in the living room in Elaine and Magnes' new apartment. It's all set up like the last one, with offline computers and monitors instead of televisions or anything that sends or receives signals. Magnes himself is sitting on the couch, wearing a yellow shirt with a red trim, and red writing on the front that says Plumtree, with blue jeans and black sneakers. "I don't know what to do. I spoke to Abby, I called the police, and I'm just… fuck…" He looks exhausted, as if he hasn't slept at all, and his eyes are red and puffy like he's been crying at some point. His voice even sounds a little rough from yelling.

Sable's own grief, at least here, in this moment, takes a rather different form from Magnes'. She's wearing her usual outfit, this being no time for themes, for masks. Her arms are crossed over her chest as she sits on the arm of the couch, on foot pressed against the cushion below her, the other dangling down, toes touching the floor. Her face is drawn, paler even than usual, and her mouth is a set line. When she speaks, it's like she's cut her words out of sheet metal. They have sharp, definite edges, and were made to a purpose, lacking flow.

"You done all y' can, Magnes, you fuckin' know it," she says, words ones of comfort despite her grimness of her affect, "What'd Abby tell y'? What did y' tell th' p-" okay, she'll restrain herself, "-olice?"

Quinn is sitting back somewhat lazily - impressive given how she feels - in a chair, the worried expression on her face an excellent gateway to how she really feels. Listening to Magnes, she sits up a bit, straightening her deep blue skirt and the hem of her black The Get Up Kids shirt. Her foot taps as she stares forward for a moment, and then she leans forward, looking over at Magnes with a smile. "We'll figure somethin' out. Eileen's on it, at least. An'…" she closes her eyes fr a moment, smiling. "I'm proud a' you, Magnes, for not rushin' into anythin' yet."

She leans back, rubbing her arm. "But somebody needs t' find out somethin' soon. Elieen said she'd come by Gun Hill if she heard anything, but I left my number with her, too. But so far, no word…"

"Abby said someone should have went in the bathroom with her, but I can't blame anyone, it's not like someone could have stopped him from taking her, he's very powerful, and you guys aren't exactly used to this sort of thing… I should have been there." Magnes lays his head back, eyes closed as single tears stream down the sides of his cheeks, but his voice doesn't waver. "I don't have a choice. If he goes to jail, the Ferry and the kids would be in trouble, possibly sent to some secret government lab. The same if I hand him over to the Company. I considered memory wipes, but Raith and Eileen pointed out that memories can come back, and even if they don't, his personality is still the same, he'd just end up hurting another woman… I don't have a choice…" He doesn't say what his choice is, but he heavily implies it.

Sable scowls. "That's bullshit," she states, unequivocally, "We were in fuckin' public, at a goddamn book store. That's a fuckin' criticism made in goddamn, like… retr- er… fuckin' after the fact. Jesus, if Quinn 'r' I had been there, we'd've been found splattered over the goddamn wall. Fuck this guy, there's no one t' blame but him. That motherfucker." Anger better suits Sable than many other potential emotions at this juncture. Anger gives her a direction for her energies.

"Magnes, boy… y' do have a choice, don't fuckin' sugar coat it. If we're gonna put him down, we put him down, 'n' it's better th'n he deserves, y' hear?" Sable seems steadfast on this point, "But we gotta own it. We can't act like it's out 'f our hands. Dig?"

"I've got to throw in with the angry chick over there," a voice murmurs quietly into the silence that always seems to linger a moment after an angry rhetorical question, a shadowy silhouette gliding smoothly across the wall out of the normal shadows of the apartment, as if someone had just walked between the wall and the light. Only there's nobody there. "One hundred percent, actually." One hundred percent…

"Now," asks Richard Cardinal, "Can someone give me the cliff's notes version on the situation?" Situation…

Quinn grimaces at that, lowering her head a bit. "God, she's right. I thought about that afterwards, an' I felt terrible. I just… hadn't even thought about it. About James." Clearly, she sees the matter differently than Sable. She closes her eyes, gaze moving down to her lap. "She was there- well, I mean with all of us, but she was there because we were playin' together. I shoulda kept a better eye on her." Blaming herself for things isn't something Quinn normally does, but she does feel terrible about the night before, in retrospect. Which- "Retrospect, Sable," she interjects with a barely mustered, mirthful grin. "That's the word you're lookin' for." She shakes her head at the other girl, letting out another long sigh afterwards.

"Have you talked t' Eileen again, or anyone else?" she inquires after a moment. The talk of Magnes' choice eludes her, at least until Sable mentions "putting him down", which has Quinn leaning forward with a surprised look on her face. "Jesus, fucking seriously?!" she says in disbelief, and expression on her face to match. It's clear she never even considered this an option.

And then a new voice - well, sort of new. Now Quinn's literally on the edge of her seat, looking around the room. The voice is familiar, but she doesn't catch the shadow's movement against the wall. "Christ, now what?" she says softly, eyes looking around the room. "Someone you c-called, Magnes?"

Watching Sable as she leaves the apartment to cool off, Magnes gives her an understanding nod and turns his attention back to the current situation. "Sable's right, and I can own up to it. I have to kill him, I can't let anyone else get blood on their hands for my problem. I just need to get Elaine away from him, whenever we can get to them. Elaine's alive, I know it, I have faith in it." He reaches into his pocket, pulling out a little bag of pills. "Cardinal, can you use your ability to get these pills into his mouth? They're negation pills, I just need to hold him off long enough for the pills to take effect. Whatever his ability is, he can probably last longer than I can in a fight with that invulnerability."

He sighs, shaking his head over at Quinn. "This isn't your fault, Quinn, it's honestly not, don't blame yourself. And, I'm sorry, but I really did consider all other options. I'll… try to capture him, let Gabriel sort it out, I think that's what Raith and Eileen want to do, but if I can't avoid it, I will kill him."

All conversation falls to silence as Magnes' phone suddenly lights up. His ringtone fills the room with his tone as his screen displays a number filled with numbers he could not, would not recognize. It was him. It was James.

"Guten tag," says the shadow of Cardinal as Quinn looks about, one shadowy hand lifting in a wave… and then he loses any semblance of form, a shapeless wash of darkness that spills down over the floor, then along up Magnes's leg and side, as if someone had turned the light away from him. Shadow spills over the bag of pills, and as it washes away, they're gone, simply vanished from the young man's hand.

"I can do that… do that… but I think the problem is finding him, hmm?" As the phone rings, perhaps that problem may be solved. Perhaps not.

Quinn blinks at this display, settling back into her chair. There's an uneasy look on her face, but she gives a slow nod and an awkward wave in response. "Aah, you were, um, here last month too, weren't you?" She grimaces as she remembers that, also forgetting that it's now August.
When the phone ring, Quinn tenses up, turning her attention immediately to it. It rungs again, and she looks up at Magnes worriedly. "Who is it?"

"Just remember, I have to get those pills back to someone if we don't manage to use them." Magnes says right before the phone starts ringing, Black Hole by Be Your Own Pet. "I don't know." is his answer to Quinn, and he answers the phone, "… Hello?"

It is easy to find the people you are looking for when they make themselves so obvious to you. In Huruma's case, finding Elaine's friends has been no difficult task; she called the girl's phone back for lack of answers before setting out, getting some choice input about locations from a mutual acquaintance- no matter how much she dislikes the idea. Even so, finding Magnes was surprisingly simple. As she got to the building, she could feel them inside before even getting to the floor. Huruma barely avoided slamming into one little person on the way out of the hallway- paying your own heed and ducking into corners helps quite a lot.

When she gets to the door separating her from the group, Huruma pauses to listen in against the door. The woman's weight on the floor outside is spaced, and her stance unobtrusive to the filtered shadows already under the door. She is there for long enough. Enough to hear Magnes, Cardinal- a woman she does not know, the tinny vocals of a cellphone. Enough to figure out that Elaine may have called her too little too late.

The door swings open as Huruma grips the knob and- quite literally- slides right in and knocks it closed behind her.

What? She's not gonna miss the most crucial moment because there is a slab of wood in her way.

"Hello there, Magnes."

The voice is most certainly hauntingly familiar to him, the one belonging to the man who he had battled a little while ago. "You know, Elaine has been talking about you. About how you'll 'rescue' her. I need you to do me a favor and tell her yourself you're not going to come and get her. We both know that's the truth."

"I think I can guess who they belong to," Cardinal murmurs, and as the phone is picked up, the shadows crawl along his front and shoulder, gliding tendrils up the side of his head so it can listen in on the cellphone.

Looking around her feet for the shadow, Quinn instinctively pulls them up into her hear, holding them close - she's actually worried about stepping on the shadow that is Richard Cardinal. She remains silent when the phone is answered, able to hear a voice but not make out the words.
But when Huruma enters, her gaze darts to the door, eyes wide again with surprise. Yet another person she doesn't know - clearly Magnes had a more diverse range of friends than she realised, Ferry or not. "Um, hello," she says quietly, giving a small wave. "Magnes, you have another friend here…"

Magnes offers Huruma a nod, and holds a finger up for Quinn to hold on when he hears the voice on the phone. "James." he acknowledges, and listens to the rest of what he has to say, shaking his head. He didn't learn a hell of a lot about hostage situations in the academy, since they're supposed to leave that sort of thing up to people who know what they're doing, but he does know that he's supposed to try to play to the other person's needs, and use whatever information he has about the person to try and keep the situation under control. "Listen, if you really want her, if you want to show her that you're a better boyfriend than me, then fight me, somewhere people can't get in the way. Greenbelt, Bloodroot Valley. Fight me and beat me and Elaine is yours, I'll back off forever, her other friends will too." He pauses briefly, and adds, "Can I hear her, to make sure she's alright?"

Huruma gives the girl she doesn't know a courtesy glance, white irises focusing for a few second to take Quinn in. She looks back up soon enough, eyes drawn to the curling plume of darkness around Magnes' shoulder. Her head tilts down, and then she waits, listening. Though Magnes' way of handling this apparent situation is not up to snuff with a real negotiator, she isn't about to yank the phone from him. (Yet, perhaps.)

There is a heavy sigh on the other line, one of disappointment. "Look, kid, whatever ideas you have of Elaine, you really have no idea. She wants to be wtih me, regardless of what you want. She's just confused is all, and you just need to tell her that you don't 'love' her. We can be pals, right? Just tell her that I'm the only one she needs." There's an unspoken threat in his voice

"She'll just think I'm lying if I say that. You know how Elaine is, actions speak louder than words. There's this gift she gave me, one that meant a whole lot to me. If you come out there, and meet me, and then bring her, I'll break it. If I break that figurine right in front of her, she'll know I'm serious about not loving her anymore." Magnes explains, trying his best to negotiate the situation into James not hanging up and leaving forever. "If you really want Elaine, you know this can't be done with a simple phone breakup."

There is a slight pause on the other end of the line. Magnes can hear the gears in his head turning. "…You make a valid point. I've given you less credit than you deserved. Alright, that works with me. Bring along everyone you want, as witnesses, but trust me, you won't want anyone doing anything." He coughs, clearing his throat. "Where would you like to meet, Magnes?"

"Like I said, Greenbelt, Bloodroot Valley. There will be leaves floating in the air, not moving at all, you won't be able to miss them." Magnes almost finishes with that, but quickly adds, "Can I please hear her say something? I don't want to speak to her, I just want to hear her, to make sure I'm not wasting my time going there to dump her if she's not even going to be there."

There's the slight sound of muffled movement on the other end of the phone before Elaine's voice comes on, albeit a bit hoarse. "Hey… I'm okay. I'll be okay, Magnes. I know it'll be okay. I love you."

"We'll see how it goes." Magnes offers an indifferent reply, trying to keep up the act, and wipes his eyes before any real tears can stream down. These ones are of relief; she's alive. "Alright James, I'll meet you there within two hours. Call me back if you get lost, Greenbelt is huge."

No doubt to the distress of Magnes, the very audible sound of a slap resounds in the earpiece. "I told you, never say that to anyone other than me!" There is a cry on the other end as James brings the phone back up to his ear. "The Greenbelt. You got it. Thank you, sir. You're saving me a lot of undue stress." The phone line clicks, an end to the call.

"What a pleasant fellow… pleasant fellow…" The shadow slithers away from Magnes's ear and form, spilling down the wall and up behind Huruma, looking as if a bird had perched upon her shoulder - but only in silhouette. "…this isn't how I'd handle it, Varlane. You know that. But I'm going to let you make the calls this time. The Greenbelt it is… This time…"

"Fucker's dead." Magnes says as soon as he makes sure his end is hung up, and slides the phone into his pocket. He stands up and heads into his room, then walks out with the sheathed ornate damascus steel saif. He doesn't even bother strapping himself with guns. "We're going in the car, but Cardinal can go ahead of us. Take this sword, Cardinal. When I get him in my range, I'll pull Elaine away with gravity, and Cardinal, you drop the sword. Quinn, you grab her and take her at least two hundred feet away from us. Huruma, I need you to paralyze him emotionally, long enough for Cardinal to get the drugs into him."

He's looking to Huruma now, with a firm nod. "But he's strong, so once the drugs are in his system, I want you to release him, his ability's too unpredictable to let him lash out from some strong induced emotion for a long period of time. Once the drug's in his system, I'll fight him until it takes effect, and then I'll kill him." He says this with absolute conviction, none of the doubt from just a few minutes earlier."

"Huge for you, maybe." Is Huruma's first comment once the phone call ends and Cardinal slinks up behind her. Her nostrils flare in silence, towards Magnes. lips tight. "You underestimate me, Magnes." She hacked up one of his girlfriend's enemies once already- she'll be more than happy to do it again.

"Sh'called m'last night, you know- b'fore evening- asking t'call her back about getting rid of him. She would no'be in this mess if you all had simply allowed me t'do what I do best." Huruma's voice lowers as she speaks, finally closing with a click of her teeth and a short, irritated hiss of air. "If you let wounds fester they will b'there t'wound you further."

"Wait, what?" Quinn is draw back to the forefront of the conversation at the mention of her name, eyes moving. "Magnes…" Quinn's expression falls, looking down at the floor. "I don't think I can do this," she says quietly, biting her lip. "I think this is a bit much for me, love Elaine as might." She means as a friend, of course. "I'm sorry…"

She closes her eyes and rises to her fee, eyes moving to the door. "I'm going t' check on Sable," she says quickly, immediately beginning towards the door. She does stop and pause, looking back over the shoulder. "Let me know before you head out, but… I don't think I can be there for this." And with that, the door opens and Quinn slips out.

"It's alright, Quinn. Huruma, you can grab Elaine, the rest of the plan will go as normal." Magnes states before sitting the sword against the couch for Cardinal to grab. "And in case you're wondering about the sword, it's because I have a theory about James' ability. I'm probably wrong, but, yeah." Magnes isn't going to say that his theory is entirely based on Wonder Woman comics, and instead heads back to his room, grabs a black backpack, and starts heading for the door. "We're going right now. Check on Sable, then get downstairs. Tell her to go back to Gun Hill in case Eileen comes by with something. Everyone ready?"

"Enough, Huruma," Cardinal's ghostly whisper stirs behind her, "He's decided that this one's his fight… let him make his own mistakes. Maybe this time the lessons are personal enough for him to learn."

"It's alright, Cardinal, she's right." He nods to her as he opens the door, giving her a serious gaze. "Next time I'll listen to you. And Cardinal, don't forget the sword."

If you are close enough to see the line between the whites of Huruma's eyes, you are possibly too close. She peers over her shoulder to the Pan figure, lips turned into an obvious frown. It disappears only somewhat when Magnes re-addresses her, and she looks to him. He has known enough of what she does to have learned to listen to her- but perhaps Cardinal is right too, and this is personal enough to actually make him take other's experience and his own lessons into account.

"Plans so not tend to go as normal. Expect to deter from it. Even if it does, you'll have been prepared." If he is going to start really listening to her, now is likely the time.

"I'll bring it." Shadowy fingers coil about the blade and its sheath, drawing it into the darkness with nary a ripple to make its vanishing. "Are you sure you want to do this the hard way, Magnes? Does it really mean so much to you to do this out man to man with this guy?"

There's no sarcasm in Cardinal's voice, no judgement; just calm curiosity. Once there's an answer, he'll go. At the speed of dark.

"I'm going to kill him, and as long as Elaine's safe, there's a certain way I have to do things if I'm going to live with myself after." Magnes honestly answers, and heads out the door.

Staten Island Greenbelt - Bloodroot Valley

It takes a while to actually get over to Staten, but after a little over an hour, they're in Bloodroot Valley, out in seemingly the middle of no where in the incredibly large nature preserve. He's gotten a very large mass of leaves above them, all standing still and seemingly unaffected by the wind, enough leaves for someone actively looking for them to see. He stands there in the valley, allowing everyone else to choose their positions, backpack on one arm with what is presumably the figurine.

He'll listen to Huruma, and he's come prepared. "James!" he exclaims, to let the man know he's arrived, if he's anywhere near.

After a time, the man comes out of the woodwork, appearing and toting a very beaten Elaine by the arm. He doesn't see Magnes at first, so James seems to respond to Elaine's resistance with another very audible slap. However, as Magnes calls his name, the man responds loudly. "I'm here, I'm here, as promised."

Cardinal is nowhere to be seen. Presumably he's around somewhere, but it's difficult to tell where the living shadow might be in a place like Bloodroot Valley.

Stumbling along as she's dragged by James, Elaine looks a bit worse for wear. Most visible are the bruises that cover a good portion of exposed skin, particularly her arms and neck, and she allows herself to be dragged along, occasionally still putting up a fight—which is where James' smack comes in. Her eyes meekly scan the woods around them for a moment, and for the time being she's silent.

It is not a chore for Huruma to go unnoticed. Even less of one if it is her job to do so in woodland, brush- Such places are perhaps where she can work best, skulking between long shadows and snaking under low-hanging branches. Largely, she can only be seen when she wants to be.

Just maybe, Elaine might spot an oddly shaped piece of dark in the trees back towards where she and James had come- but it is gone as soon as she may realize it was there.

Magnes starts approaching James as he walks forward, nodding as he pulls his backpack off and starts to unzip it. Then he pulls out the figurine. He fully intends to get within ten feet of the man. "I've got it. Come close enough so she can actually see it."

James smiles at Magnes, beginning to approach Magnes. "I asked you to bring witnesses, Magnes. Can't trust you too much if you didn't bring witnesses, but…" He still holds Elaine close to him, unwilling to let go. Poor girl! The man held his hand out. "Alright, give me the figurine."

A shadow slowly spreads itself up and over James's back, a slow and steady passage as if an eclipse was spreading across the skies over the Greenbelt.

"Clearly you do not'ave keen observational skills." Huruma's telltale sound filters out of the trees behind them, her smooth voice low in volume. Mottled light illuminates black on brown when she breaks out of the dark, eyes catching the light with a certain maliciousness that at least Cardinal has seen up close, somewhere in the time he's known her. "This is it? Him?" Her voice turns into a drawling snipe at James, and clearly- she is not impressed. Not at all.

"Don't underestimate him just because of how he looks." Magnes adds, reaching in to grab the Batgirl figurine, but just as he's reaching to give it to him, he jerks his arm back and grabs James' wrist with his right hand, squeezing as tightly as he can. Every limb in James' entire body is suddenly weighed down, doubling, then tripling his body's weight. But the arm that holds Elaine is /squeezed// instead of weigh'd down, squeezed in a way that causes a hand to open with enough force. "Elaine, run to Huruma!" he exclaims, slipping the figure back into his backpack with his free hand. "It's just us, now. And I fucking love her."

James rather suddenly finds things have suddenly turned out all wrong for him. His whole body doubles over and his arm is wrenched open, letting Elaine go. He roars with anger, stomping towards Elaine and Huruma with all his might, his feet thudding on the ground. IF they knew what he was doing…

With what little energy she has left, Elaine takes advantage of Magnes' action and wrenches herself safely out of James' grasp. She stumbles quickly towards Huruma. She doesn't bother looking back the direction of Magnes and James, though she hears James behind her. It's easier for her to focus this way.

As the pair struggle together, the living shadow sweeps over James' face. It avoids the man's eyes, stirring over his mouth instead and sliding within - over his tongue and teeth.

Unsurprisingly, Cardinal doesn't want to be in there for very long. It's kind of gross. Also, James should see a dentist, and yesterday.

She is estimating him lower because of what she feels in his head, not how he looks. Huruma is ready when Magnes moves. Though one long arm is palm out to catch Elaine's, provided she is quick, Huruma is also striding forward to present herself as a threat. Elaine has more than enough space to duck behind her- or even into the woods.

The dark woman lets out a curdling snarl, lips peeling back over her teeth, nostrils flaring and eyes slitted beneath a knot of brow. At the same time, she completely buries James' emotional state- taking it from jealousy, anger, contempt- and upending it so that all he feels now- is fear, terror, anguish.

All shall love me and despair.

Magnes takes this as an opportunity to get James as far away from Elaine as possible, jumping in front of him and slamming one swift kick into his gut, trying to kick him clear across the valley by switching his gravity to make the area behind him down upon impact. "Huruma, let him go as soon as you see the sword. Then this gets personal." He's pissed, relieved, and full of conviction. It's rare that his emotions are ever so clear and unclouded when he's anything but a ball of depression, but he seems fully intent on killing the man.

James is stricken by Huruma's emotional assault. Of course, he is perfectly open to Magnes as he stumbles around in a mental disarray. The force of Magnes' kick sends him flying, tumbling on the ground but gaining his footing. Wow, look at how strong he was getting. "Oh, I am going to enjoy this…" His mind once more clear, he leaps almost astonishingly fast at Magnes putting his added force into the lunge, intending on knocking him across the area.

James is stricken by Huruma's emotional assault. Of course, he is perfectly open to Magnes as he stumbles around in a mental disarray. The force of Magnes' kick sends him flying, tumbling on the ground but gaining his footing. Wow, look at how strong he was getting. His mind is still quite disturbed…well, more disturbed, but through his emotional haze, he finds his mark: Magnes. His feet push him off at a startling speed, charging almost astonishingly fast at the man, intending to pound him across the area, or into the ground.

Elaine nods at Huruma as she moves past the darker woman into the trees, though she doesn't head too far back. The last thing she needs is to run into the woods where she doesn't know where anyone is and risk running into James if he gets away. She peers cautiously around, though her eyes focus on Magnes and James, keeping herself upright by leaning against the trunk of a tree.

A pair of capsules corporealize from shadow, appearing at the back of the stalker's mouth to tumble down his throat as he lunges about. As the negation drugs are delivered, Cardinal boils out from the man's mouth once more, sweeping back along his neck and back once more in a retreat.

As the silhouette of living dark washes over the grass, it leaves the sword behind as if the shroud being drawn off something, glinting there on the ground.

Huruma keeps pressing on him. Through his attempts at reasserting his anger, and concentrating it- Huruma is continuously draining at it, replacing it with a hollow despair. She can see the glint from the corner of her eye, eyes ticking after James to spot Magnes- did he see it?

Magnes starts running for James when he makes his leap, diving down to grab the sword, and clips it to his side as he decides to stand his ground. Now he can completely cut loose, and test every theory he's put together about James' ability. "Everything you've done to my girlfriend, because you love her? I'd never, ever hurt a hair on her head. But you… I'm going to pay you back for everything you've done to her." He slams one foot into the ground, digging a good two inches into the dirt, then sticks the other one in. When James impacts, Magnes squeezes, trying to force him back with an incredible amount of weight, while James pushes him back with a great amount of power and speed.

The ground starts to crumble with dirt and grass flying in every direction around them as the gravity manipulator continues trying to hold his ground and the kinetic redirector continues pushing. "I won't let you anywhere near her, ever again!"

The tree trunk supports Elaine's weight as she leans wearily against it, letting her gaze stay on the fight a good distance away. Her gaze shifts between the combatants, simply grateful for the fact that there was a plan and that they all might just make it out of this okay. Except for James. He could die. Elaine would be happy with that.

James feels his mind slip as a ground-breaking fear seems to take hold of him. His determination seems to slip as he reaches Magnes, their forces colliding with massive force on both sides. With all his might, his punch forces itself onto Magnes, attempting to break his will, despite his own beginning to waver.

"You really know how to pick a man, don't you, Elaine… Elaine…?" The silhouette of one Richard Cardinal sweeps up along the tree that Elaine is leaning upon it, "…I suppose you're starting to improve, though. At least Magnes would rather strangle himself with an autoasphyxiation hose than punch you."

Huruma knows that it is only a matter of time until the negation takes effect. She slinks back, her eyes and influence steady on their little antagonist; one hand clenches into the soft bark of a sapling, and she pauses there, intent on seeing this through. At least until she might need to cut in. As an aside, she also makes a vague attempt to feel out Richard, should he have stayed. It comes as remote relief that he is back there with Elaine.

Magnes is squinting to keep dirt from flying into his eyes, then suddenly a punch impacts with his chest, and enhanced gravity or not, he suddenly goes flying from the energy suddenly sent into his body. He seems to be heading back near everyone else, gripping his chest, but while he's in the air, he removes and tosses his backpack into the air, then pulls his phone from his pocket and tosses that to the left. "He almost punched through my chest…" He rotates in the air, his feet impacting hard with the ground again, creating a large line of dirt where grass gets bunched up behind his shoes.

He coughs a few times, having a bit of trouble breathing from whatever that punch rattled inside of him, and reaches over to draw the saif from its scabbard. "James! Did it make you feel good about yourself, beating her like that?" he calls back, starting to quickly march forward, occasionally stomping the ground to cause a large chunk of dirt to pop up, then thrusts his palm forward to send it flying at James.

Elaine's not really noticed Cardinal until now. There's only one reason for him to be here… he must have helped in some way, but… the words are not what the battered woman needs at the moment. The tree is released, reluctantly (as it was supporting her weight a bit) and she steps back. "F-Fuck you! You don't even know me." She moves, stumbling off, further into the trees.

James grins maliciously as he regains his footing on the dust-spread scape. He watches as Magnes flies away from his punch, noting his strength. Something seemed to stir within him, an odd feeling of discomfort, but he paid it no mind. He was using his ability a lot, so that was probably the reason.

He snarls at Magnes moving forward to meet the man. "And do you enjoy living in ignorance, knowing that Elaine will never love you the way she does me?" Wow, he really is insane. "You don't understand. You're too young, too stupid. You don't know what real love is." He straightens himself. "Thanks to you cretins, she's forgotten. All I'm doing is teaching her devotion and love, undoing what you have done."

"Oh, for the love of God…" A whispered sigh from Cardinal as the battered teenager stumbles back from the tree, "…will you stay still so Magnes can find you when this is all done? This isn't exactly the safest place in the city at the best of times, even counting Stalky McAbusive over there… over there…"

Huruma is tempted to not look away- Magnes may get walloped in those three seconds- but in the end she pries herself away from James' mind, and pries herself from the sidelines. Her Destination? Elaine, of course, barring Cardinal scaring her off by getting her mad.

"Elaine? Get to me, girl, do no'go wandering off-"

"Ignorance? You have no idea what I have with Elaine, you don't know a damned thing about love. You can't teach love, love just happens. Do you know how hard it was for me to first tell her I love her? I was afraid of losing her. The last girl I dated, a bastard like you blew her brains out, and she permanently forgot me." Magnes suddenly charges forward, clearly on the offensive now. He swings a kick that's far more powerful than anything he did as the White Knight. There's no people and buildings standing everywhere, he doesn't have to hold back. "You'll learn what it's like to be defenseless and weak, and then get beaten by someone stronger, angrier, and scarier than you."

Meanwhile, perched on a nearby tree, a crow cranes its neck slightly, intently taking in the entire scene.

While Elaine might not be happy with Cardinal, Huruma she trusts. After all, it was Huruma she'd wanted to help in the first place. The girl moves towards the woman, though she says no more to Cardinal. It's merely a glare before she stumbles towards Huruma.

James growls as he takes the kick, sending him tumbling once more and rolling across the ground. He staggers to his feet, and it's obvious that he's hurting a bit. However, he presses forward. "You think I'm scared of you, you fucking child?! I'll rip and tear you apart! No more than you deserve!" He as well charges forward, his anger renewed now that Huruma was no longer holding his mind. Lunging with a powerful jump, his fist thrusts forward, intending to impale Magnes.

There's nothing to glare at anymore, unless some of those shadows are Cardinal. It can be hard to tell.

"If you really need a reason to be pissed, I should say, Elaine said I'm the best she's ever had." Magnes sheaths his sword again, then starts charging himself, stomping his feet into the ground and slamming his own fists forward into James'. This is the moment of truth in figuring out how his ability works. He has to be completely focused on everything that happens when their fists collide, trying to meet him with an equal amount of force.

When their fists meet, and Magnes manages to just barely keep himself from losing his footing, their combined energy flows through his body and rips violently into the ground, sending a good radius of it flying into the air, and the two tumbling into unstable dirt when a large plume of dust rises high above the trees.

Huruma's gaze follows off into the woods for a moment, while her hand reaches out for Elaine's elbow. She sighs out through her nose towards where she can last feel Cardinal, before attempting to gently guide Elaine along with her. "Come. We must b'ready t'help him should he need us." She is heading along the sidelines, just inside the trees, but close enough so that they can keep eyes on the fight without being seen themselves.
ORDER: It is now your pose.

Elaine moves along with Huruma, nodding gratefully towards the woman as her eyes scan the dust around the two of them to keep an eye on what's going on.

James seems to stumble a bit at the shockwave, his whole body become wracked with pain. His body seemed to falter as the shockwave subsided. He struggled to his feet. Too much power… He looks at his limp arm, feeling the muscles and flesh being torn. "Nnnn…You have to do better than that to anger me, kid…" What's this feeling? My energy is just being sapped or…or something… Indeed, he felt a great amount of weakness about him as his energy started to simply cease to exist.

"Every night, for the past few months, Elaine has told me she loves me before we go to bed. And every morning, she says she loves me before we get out of bed. She loves me, and I don't have to force or teach her. It's almost sad that you can't accept it, but I have to do what I can to protect her. I won't lose someone else due to inaction." Magnes is standing in the heavily damaged ground surrounding them when the smoke clears, his left arm limp from a dislocation, but his right hand is holding the saif again as he begins to slowly approach James' form as it appears. "You're going to die here. I'm going to kill you. I won't regret it, Elaine will love me more for it. And you know what? This is the right decision, for everyone."

He closes his eyes, concentrating for a moment, then yells as his left shoulder pops. He still can't move it, but he doesn't want the thing hanging there. Now he starts running for James, holding the saif out to his side, fully intending to use it now. "The man who took my ex girlfriend's memories, I think he used to own this sword. I'm going to kill you with it." he says with calm, cold, conviction. "You hurt Elaine."

Now he was struggling. Seemed he might be suffering from internal damage. He falls to one knee, breathing heavily, tasting blood. He looks up at Magnes with hatred in his eyes. "You fucking evil son of a bitch…You steal my only love…you steal my only joy…FOR WHAT???!!!" His energy seemed almost completely sapped now.

"I didn't steal anything, you ruined whatever you had the first day you hit her. You made that choice, and you made the choice to beat her the way you did today. I had compassion, I asked them to give you a chance to be something, but you ruined it." Magnes runs a finger over the sword as he stands a good five feet from James, staring at the blade as he speaks. "Kinetic redirection. I worked it out. Physics was never my best subject, but it's hard to undo what your parents want you to be. Now you know what your ability is called, before you die."

He holds the sword out to his side again, now looking him directly in the eye. "I'll take care of her, I love her, she's my world right now. All will be well." he offers a rather compassionate smile, then suddenly swings the saif in a practiced motion, gravity enhanced to increase its force slightly, fully intending to decapitate him in one swift painless motion now.

While the pair stay back on the edge of the clearing, Huruma is momentarily torn over keeping Elaine from seeing this part; but of course, she falls back on the adage that Elaine will not have closure- nor will she be accustomed- if Huruma were to block it. As such, she stays there with a firm. warm hand looped under the crook of Elaine's arm. There has been no real need to offer the girl influence, which has also come as a surprise.

The dark woman's features light up, so to speak, when Magnes goes for the final blow.

As Magnes goes in for the final blow, Elaine doesn't turn away. She doesn't flinch. Her fists ball up tightly, then release as Magnes finishes him off. There's a brief exhale of air, a sigh. "It's over."

James barely gets the time to growl out at Magnes before the blade meets flesh. No! She's mine! No one else will have her! No one else! These thoughts resound in his head in the very last instants of his life as his world becomes rather suddenly filled with intense pain and everything spins around him.

Magnes closes his eyes, a silent prayer, then he starts heading back for Elaine and Huruma, swinging what blood he can from the blade before he reaches into his pocket and grabs a cloth, carefully wiping it off. He still feels his conviction, a level of compassion, but when he says Elaine, it's pure relief and whatever emotional mix it takes to express love. "It's over. Huruma, could you do something with… him?"

As the blade cuts, the shadow murmurs in finality… and is gone. Cardinal doesn't linger now that the matter is handled.

Huruma has no issue in letting go of Elaine when Magnes starts over, fully expecting her to meet him. Regardless, Huruma does just that. She knows what love feels like- even if she cannot explain it. If you ever need to know if someone means it- surely Huruma can let you know.

"Of course." Her eyes move off to examine the body from afar, lids narrowing.

Elaine watches as Magnes heads back over towards them, a weary smile on her face as she gives him a nod. "Thank you." She murmurs, but that's all she really gets out. She still looks a bit unsteady on her feet.

Magnes suddenly wraps his good arm around her, holding her close, but careful not to hurt her. "I love you, Elaine." is the first thing he says, closing his eyes as tears once again stream down his cheeks today. "Let's go to the hospital, then go home."

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