Pretty And Elaine


vf_elaine_icon.gif vf_magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Pretty and Elaine
Synopsis Elaine and Magnes get to know each other a bit better.
Date December 9, 2011

The Hub

Magnes has found a wide corridor, not too far from Elaine's room. It's nice and quiet, away from people, but also isn't cramped like his room. He's sitting down, going through that high school physics book. It's one thing to get good at physics enough to pass tests, it's another to actually understand it. And until he can try to get more complex books from K-Mart, he at least wants to brush up on the basics and suck at them less.

He's in his Surge shirt, and looks very intensely focused.

Back in her oversized t-shirt, hair pulled back in a bun, Elaine doesn't look much different than when Magnes first met her. As she heads towards the classroom with a box of supplies, she spots Magnes and stops near him. "You look studious, sitting out here with your nose in a book. My students could learn a thing or two about dedication looking at you. Not that they need to work that hard at their age." She rubs the back of her neck. "Nevermind."

Magnes reaches up to take her hand, trying to gently usher her down with him. "It never hurts to study, as long as you don't have strange parents teaching you strange things." He smiles at her, closing his book with a little piece of cardboard to save the page. "High school physics books don't have a lot about fifth dimensional space. But you know, you never know what might be hiding in basic science."

Elaine slides into a seat next to Magnes, setting the box on the far side of her. "I never had strange parents. My parents were very ordinary up until the day they died." She turns a little towards him. "But studying the basics is important. Everything is layered upon the basics. You can learn a lot of complicated things by having a grasp on the root. Even language is like that… the latin root 'bene' meaning 'good' is used in all kinds of words… beneficial, benign, benefit, benefactor… each word is more complicated than the root but still means the same thing, in essence. I'm sure physics is like that. The rules are the same, it just builds off of it."

"God you're beautifully intelligent, I don't know how I never realized it back then…" Magnes shakes his head, clearing his throat. "I mean… okay I know that sounded weird." He reaches over to touch the side of her face. "So, hey, if you could do anything if the world was how it was before, what would it be?"

Elaine blushes, her eyes shutting as she seems to think. "College. I'd teach college. At the college level people really start to think, they understand when people explain things to them. I'd teach language on a serious level… and maybe I'd be a translator for archaeological digs. Like… like Indiana Jones, but less whip. Does that sound silly?"

"It doesn't sound silly at all. I once rode on top of an airplane to Japan and then accidentally destroyed the shibuya Crosswalk when I fought a super powerful Evolved guy named, uh, Jake, because he kidnapped one of my mentors' sisters." Magnes crosses his arms, nodding quite proudly. "I also saved the world a few times, but I guess this whole virus thing was kind of my limit."

"That all sounds incredible, Magnes. I'd almost not believe it but for some reason I don't think you'd lie to me, not about something like that. Not that I think you'd lie to me at all," Elaine looks embarrassed. "Really, I don't want to save the world. I just want to save a few people, that's all. I'll leave the world saving to you."

"The girl, the one who was, well, you but not you, things were great with her, other than, well… me being kind of immature about some things. But there was also me running off and wanting to be a vigilante all the time, fighting criminals, coming back beat up. She didn't mind when I did the big stuff, even though it was terrifying to her. But… the little things, that I kept doing every day, she made me choose…" Magnes reaches to take her hand, gently squeezing it. "I chose going out and fighting criminals all the time. I thought it was what I wanted, but… I never regretted things more in my life. And when I realized what a bad decision I made, she already moved on with my friend."

"It sounds like it was a hard decision. You chose what you needed to at the time… life took you in a different direction from her. Maybe she moved on, but maybe this was better for you. You learned a lesson, you learned what you needed to learn from hearbreak. I haven't experienced much of that myself but I know it can be a good learning experience," Elaine says, giving his hand a small squeeze. "The important thing is that you learn from your mistakes."

"If I chose her, I probably wouldn't be here. But… I'm glad I met you. It was worth coming here to meet you." Magnes admits, moving her hand over to his lap to just idly stare down at it, running his thumb over the back of it. "I don't understand why you trust me so much, why you see so much in me. I haven't done much to prove anything to you."

"Maybe you haven't done much, but I look at you and I see hope. I see something in your eyes that I haven't seen in anyone else's. You're something different Magnes." Elaine smiles over at him. "Maybe you're confused as to why I see so much, but maybe it's because I see you as you are. Maybe no one else is really looking at you."

"When you say stuff like that, I just want to make out with you for two hours." Magnes teases with a a bit of a grin, but shakes his head, becoming serious again. "I don't know… I guess I feel bad, like, I haven't earned it. But I'll work hard to feel like I do. I'll work hard to show you a better life…"

Elaine turns red. “Well, maybe some of this is just on faith. I trust that you’ll come through.” She gives him a smile. “I’m flattered that you want to show me a better life, that you want to work hard. No one’s ever really promised me something like that. You make big promises, Magnes, I just trust that you’ll follow through on them.”

"I'll do everything in my power at least. We have a rough journey, a lot of things that need to fall into place…" Magnes gets onto his knees, turning to face her, placing both hands on her cheeks now. "I'm afraid… everyone here, it seems like this place is so fragile. We have the Vanguard above our heads, a virus in the air… I'm just afraid of being too late, I'm afraid of seeing people die before we can get out…"

"This place is fragile, I won't lie to you Magnes. We're surviving because we're tough, though. We're the ones who've made it this far by being tough, by being careful, by playing it smart. So I'm gambling on you if I have to make a gamble,” Elaine says. “Because I like you. Because I believe in you. Because I've been waiting for so long for something or someone to put my hope into. I'm sorry if I seem very enthusiastic…"

"Just be careful, alright? I don't want you to get into any danger. Let me get into the danger. You'll have time to get into trouble when we get out of this place. I just… everything here is more risky than normal." Magnes slides his arms around her shoulders, leaning in a little more. "Isabelle's afraid I'll get serious with you too fast, fall in love and stuff. I keep thinking that I don't care too much… being in too fast love is better than chasing after lots of empty things just to kill time in the apocalypse."

Elaine offers him an honest smile. "I'm one of the most careful people you'll ever meet. In most things I am super extra cautious. And I admit, you make me a little nervous but that's only because this is all new to me. Isabelle is right, sometimes going fast is scary. But life is short down here, going fast is kind of a must. I could get sick and die tomorrow."

A pause and Elaine shivers at the thought. "Not that I'm going to because I'm very healthy and careful and I'm going to stay alive."

Magnes removes his arms, taking a deep breath. "I'd love to rush, but I don't wanna rush in a way where… I mess you up or something. When we get out of here, you could meet someone better for you. I haven't been a particularly mature, uh, boyfriend, and if I became yours, I don't know… I'm just afraid I didn't learn well enough from my mistakes, even though I really hope I did…" he explains, sounding genuinely worried, possibly a bit guilty.

"I mean, I'm new to this relationship thing so bear with me… first of all, the only way you'd mess me up is if you let me fall for you and then you left me. That'd probably mess me up," Elaine explains, reaching out to take one of his hands before it gets too far away from her. "And even with that, it's my choice too."

Her gaze searches his. "What if I don't want to find someone better for me? What if I decide I like you and I want to make it work and are committed to working through mistakes? I don't know who this other woman was but I think I'm a lot more dedicated than she is or was."

"I think that I made things too hard for her, because of the kind of life I was living… she isn't a bad person, but she was different from you. At the end of the day she'll always be one of my best friends, but…" Magnes stands up now, taking the hand that took his. "Let's go back to your room. I'm… I'm not going anywhere without you. But let's get to know each other. Tell me about your past, where you came from. Were you a Lighthouse Kid?"

Elaine pulls herself to her feet with his help, lacing her fingers with his as she moves to lead the way towards her room. "I'm glad you at least remained friends with her. That's important, I think." She laughs. "Look at me, talking like I know anything about this. Anyway, I'm not sure I know what you mean about 'Lighthouse Kid'. Is that slang for something?"

She stops by her door, opening it before leading him inside. "I've not got the most interesting of stories. Grew up like a normal kid until the bomb… was orphaned. I ended up on the streets for a while, took some schooling in order to learn how to teach, world went to shit and here I am. It's a wonder I'm so well-adjusted."

"Huh… The Lighthouse thing is a little difficult to explain. Not quite slang. And I don't know the whole story. You'll learn it eventually." Magnes says as he, well, momentarily considers a discussion that might have to happen in the future, between… two Elaines. "I had a crappy dad, grew up being taught a lot of strange things, I wasn't allowed to really have friends, but my mother allowed me to have a computer, to make internet friends."

"Magnes, were you in a cult?" Elaine asks, point blank. "I mean, taught a lot of weird things, not allowed to have friends… sure sounds like a cult to me. Least my parents were good to me. I got to go to Scotland on a school trip, which was neat of them to let me do. Probably saved my life, going there. I would've died in the explosion otherwise."

Magnes pauses at that, then laughs, shaking his head. "No, uh… man if I tell you about my dad you'd think I was completely full of it. I'll wait until I actually have proof." he explains, still smiling in amusement. "My dad didn't want me to be influenced by normal kids, I think. It always made him angry if I seemed like I was straying away from my studies."

There's a pause, and he adds, "I'm glad you didn't die."

"Oh, he was one of those helicopter parents who wanted their kid to be a genius?" Elaine chuckles, brushing a stray strand of hair out of her face. "Well, maybe he understood your potential, at least. Parents usually mean well for their kids. Maybe showing you that you could achieve more was his way of affection."

Elaine shrugs, making her way to go take a seat on the edge of the bed. "I'm really glad I didn't die too. Kinda gotten used to the living thing." She pauses. "Life was rough after the bomb, though. I don't talk about it much but I had nothing. The bomb took everything from me except my life. I'm not religious or anything, but I have a healthy amount of belief in fate, so I figure I'm still here for a reason, whatever that may be."

"I've kept it together better since meeting you. This has all been difficult… I have a lot on my shoulders." Magnes reaches down to pull his shirt up, then turns to her, motioning to his scars. Bullet wounds, slashes, stab marks, strangely large tooth marks that are definitely not human. One of his arms also seems to have a long tooth mark, as if his arm was bitten off and then somehow… is there now. It looks normal, except for the very odd scar. "This is basically what saving the world looks like. This is what she had to deal with."

"Holy shit!" comes out before Elaine can stop it and the redhead stares at the scars. Gingerly, she reaches forward to touch one as if somehow it would fade away or jump out at her if her fingers brushed just slightly. She tilts her head, looking this way and that to take them all in.

"I can understand," Elaine begins, "what she felt like. You're safe now and I still feel worried, as if I should protect you from things that have already hurt you. She must have felt awful, seeing you hurt." She reaches out to touch the odd scar. "But these tell stories. They're little pieces of you, moments in time, mistakes or otherwise… they're just things that make up a whole Magnes. Sure, you get hurt saving the world, but the important thing is you come back. Life is precious."

"I like to think I'll always come back… And yeah, I don't think I'll do the vigilante thing anymore, but sometimes… sometimes it's like, duty calls, and I have to do the right thing." Magnes' gaze lingers again, and he shifts a little closer to her, hand resting on the side of her neck. "I really am afraid of messing you up, of doing something that hurts you, all because I'm rushing…"

He leans in a little, his face dangerously close now. "Do… do you wanna rush? I mean…" A pause, and he repeats the word, with emphasis. "Rush."

"Well, as long as you always come back then I think you're fine," Elaine says, shifting to face him a little more as he does the same. She looks like she's about to say something and then he's saying words. He's saying words and Elaine's doe-eyed gaze is on him, full deer in headlights.

Her heart beats up into her throat and she wipes sweaty palms on her jeans. "I… I mean… I'm not against rushing. Just… Magnes, I don't know anything. And I don't just mean rushing, I mean us. I talk a good game but I've been going in blind with you. You'd have to teach me everything."

"That doesn't bother me, but if it bothers you, it's okay." Magnes says as he starts to remove his hand from her again. "I just wanna do whatever is healthy for you, so don't worry too much, okay? I'm perfectly fine with continuing to get to know each other."

"You're so nice, Magnes," Elaine murmurs, leaning her head in close so she can rest it on his shoulder for the moment. "I always imagined I'd be dating some jerk who didn't care about what I wanted." She lifts her head so she can look at him seriously. "You keep saying you want what's best for me but… what about you? Am I good enough for you? Am I enough?"

"I think it's easy to be the jerk who doesn't care when he doesn't realize he doesn't care. Being aware can be… difficult, when you're still new at relationships." Magnes is, of course, talking about himself, but he nods down at her, smiling. "Of course you're good enough. I've been trying to know more and more about you, and nothing you say suggests that you aren't enough. There's people around here I like, who I'm attracted to, but… I haven't thought about a single one of them since I met you. So, if anyone isn't enough, it's not you…"

"Don't let me turn into a jerk, okay?" Elaine looks him over. "And I'll keep you honest too." She reaches a hand up to put on his cheek this time. "So out of all the pretty people around here… and we do have some pretty people… you pick me." She grins. "I actually feel pretty special. Thank you."

"Usually pretty comes in a package. Pretty and pessimistic, pretty and being The Most Dangerous Pretty Person, pretty and just not for me." Magnes leans into her hand, closing his eyes. "You're pretty and Elaine. That's all I can ask for."

He opens his eyes, then starts to lean forward. "I won't let you become a jerk." he promises, taking her arms to slowly lower her backward. "I've never been a teacher before, but, well, I guess there's a first time for everything…"

Elaine strokes his cheek lightly, listening to his words as a blush slowly creeps up on her face. "I've never been so happy to be Elaine in my life," she murmurs, watching him as she slowly lays back. "And pretty… happy to be pretty too." She looks back at him, opens her mouth to speak but instead just smiles at him. She didn't need words to tell him that she was the happiest she's been since the bomb.

She just smiles.

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