Self Respect


colette_icon.gif magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title Self Respect
Synopsis One of these two people has it.
Date February 15, 2011

Siann Hall

It's staying lighter out for longer these days, winter is officially coming to an end and spring — despite what the weather feels like — must be on its way.

With daylight fading, it brings out all sorts. The last few people looking to get errands done before curfew kicks in, the nine-to-fivers getting off of work, terrorists. While the invisible woman stalking through the corridors of Siann Hall may not be one in her own mind, society itself brands people like Colette Nichols terrorists, and in a sane world they'd have applied the same label to the man she's coming here today to meet. A man that she's heard has had his own fair share of troubles as of late, even if more of the heart than anything else.

The sound of someone knocking in an empty hall is unusual, the rap rap rap rap of a four-beat knock on the door of Apartment 404 leads Colette's photokinetically cloaked self to the doorstep of the one man she knows for having historically erratic behavior, Magnes Varlane. If there's anything that she can count on at the moment, it's Magnes' strong-headed and strong-hearted nature.

Yawning and scratching the back of his head as he stands from his piles of biology and etiquette books, Magnes opens the door with a black suit jacket over a blue Superman shirt, with a simple pair of blue jeans. He's completely barefoot. "Hey, uh, who's…" Gravity extends with a bit of alarm, since who knows why there's suddenly no one at the door. But there's clearly someone… "So, uh, hello, invisible person?"

"Yeah— yeah sorry." The voice isn't familiar at first, not when coupled with the lingering smell of cigarettes. "It's me, Colette," the latter bit gets understated in a whispered tone, and a moemnt afterward a spot of air nearby to Magnes whorls with black and white definition of a face's silhouette that quickly becomes apparent is Colette's disembodied face, like paint applied over an invisible mannequin. "C'mon, let me in, I don't want anyone t'know I'm here."

As her face blurs away back into the background, Magnes can feel the very slight weight she displaces around her, the gravity of her presence a telltale distortion in his extended gravity field. "I need— I need t'talk t'you about somethin'."

At least she didn't try inviting herself in from the fire escape.

Magnes steps out of the way, motioning for her to come in. When she does, he closes and locks the door behind her. "I'm just gonna say right now that if it's about Elaine, I am beyond done with Elaine lectures." he says with a bit of an exasperated sigh. "So, what's up?"

"Elaine?" The voice sounds closer now, the presence feels closer. Booted feet report softly against the floor on the way in, and as Colette's invisible form begins to become outlined in values of light and dark, she turns midway into the apartment to look back at Magnes, one hand raised to lower the hood of her sweatshirt down from her messy hair. "Nah, I— this isn't about Elaine at all. Um, so— so I guess that's good, right?"

When Colette cracks a lopsided smile, Magnes can see how thin the young girl has become since last he'd seen her. Cheeks are shallow, made accented more so by her high cheekbones. Dark circles shadow her mismatched eyes, and her leather jacket hangs too large off of skinny shoulders.

"Has um— " Colette turns to look into the apartment, then back to Magnes, biting down gently on her bottom lip. "I ain't like… interrupting anything, right? I— " there's hesitance in her posture, in the light-footed way she carries herself, uncertain if she's welcomed or not.

"I'm single and I live alone now, so not really. Take a seat on the couch, and you need to eat more." But Magnes isn't one to point out a problem without trying to correct it, so he heads into the kitchen and grabs a container of white chocolate chip cookies with Oreos inside of the chips. That's right, Cookies & Creme Chip Cookies, which are handed off to her. "So what's up?"

Colette's eyes widen at the crinkle of the plastic and the presence of the cookies. Biting down on her bottom lip, she hesitantly considers them, as vulnerable to their presence as she is the pudding cups that her sister managed to get her to eat part of last night. Wrinkling her nose, she smiles away the offer politely. "Maybe in a little bit," the girl admits, looking over to the living room with an awkward shift of her shoulders for the strap running across it that holds up her heavily laden courier bag.

"I um— this isn't really a— cookie conversation. I… has… anyone told you about what happened to my dad on the 8th?" Dark brows furrow, and Colette wrings her gloved hands around the bag's strap, taking one hesitant step back towards the living room, probably with the intention of finding a place to sit. It's been a long walk.

Magnes sits the cookies down on the counter, and walks out to take a seat on the couch, hunched slightly with elbows resting just over his knees. "I don't think so, I don't hear a lot of what goes on, and I haven't been keeping up with the news as much. When a giant dome happens, it tends to be pretty obvious. So, what happened?"

When the dome is brought up, Colette's brows furrow together and her mismatched eyes avert to the floor. There's a genuine crisis going on, and God knows what with the Ferrymen, and she's found herself lost in her own personal problems. Moving around the table by the sofa, Colette comes to sit down beside Magnes, unshouldering her courier bag and setting it down on the floor at her feet, there's a plastic clunk and a sloshing noise, and this close Magnes can smell the stink of gasoline on her clothing.

"My… dad got taken, by— by someone who works for the government." Having told the story enough times now, Colette has hardened herself to some of these cold facts. "He— he was taken right out of his home, his— fucking partner at the precinct ratted him out to the government. This guy— Colonel Heller— he's the one responsible."

Looking over from the floor and up to Magnes, Colette still seems to have a visible difficulty keeping her emotions under control. "He— this Heller fucker killed a bunch of the Ferrymen during the riots. He— he lined them up against a wall and just— he just gunned them down."

Sliding her tongue over her lips, Colette folds her hands together between her knees and sits forward, turning her attention down to the floor between her booted feet. "You know where this is going…" where everything tends to go, where Magnes' life always seems to lead.

There's a knock on the door, and somebody wants something.

"Listen, Colette… I feel just as bad as anyone, I want to help you, but what are you expecting me to do?" Magnes looks down at the bag, taking note of the smell. "This is not my life anymore. Infiltrating, blowing things up. Every time I go out and do something like this, it makes my life a little bit worse. Do you even have a home? Look at how thin you are, this life isn't doing you any favors either."

He hunches down a little more, placing his fingers against his forehead in a gesture of frustration. "Just tell me what you want me to do."

When Magnes points out how thin Colette has gotten, she seems taken aback by it. One hand comes up to her cheek, bare fingertips touching there before lowering away. She stays silent, trying to ignore that Magnes might actually be right about that. Drawing her teeth across her bottom lip again, Colette fidgets in her seat, then looks back up to Magnes finally.

"I'm— I'm with the Ferry right now. They're— I've been staying at Grand Central, it's— Tasha's there, I'm fine." Trying to dismiss the concern with a feigned smile, Colette picks at loose threads on her courier bag's strap. "I— I don't need you to do any infiltration, it— this isn't something that's going to go unnoticed."

Unable to retain eye contact, Colette looks down to her lap. "I'm going… some people I'm getting together are going to go after Heller. We know where he's based out of, and we're gonna grab him, pull whatever secrets he has out of his head, and then— " dark brows crease together, "then I'm going to kill him."

Looking up to Magnes with wide, nervous eyes, Colette's lips twitch in uncertainty of whether she should pretend to smile or not. "I— you're one of the strongest people I know, aside from Gabriel. Heller's got a small army, got his own damn FRONTLINE squad. I— If it comes down to it, I— I'd want you there to help me get to him. No sneaking. Just… just doing to them what they did to us."

"Colette… you can't just ask me to do something like this. You're practically asking me to throw my entire life away for revenge." Magnes closes his eyes, his expression and demeanor betraying a bit of inner conflict. But he doesn't give her a chance to try to convince him, he just says, "I need to make a new costume to hide my identity, something different from my older ones. But there's only one condition I'll be able to do this on. I need a solid alibi for the date in question, if you or I can't find a way to do that, then I can't agree to this."

"Alibi for what?" There's some teenage bitterness in Colette's voice. "For what— what life? This?" One hand gestures around the apartment, a touch too judgmentally. "Magnes they're gonna come for all of us eventually. Me, you, everyone you've ever cared about that has our DNA. Everyone knows it's coming, whether it's the government or Humanis First— people like us can't live normal lives. We aren't— we aren't fucking superheroes that get to have secret identities. We're just people, we're always Superman."

Biting down on her bottom lip and exhaling a stressed sigh through her nose, Colette looks up from her lap and across the room, then over to Magnes. "This… this is all just temporary, everything you have. They're gonna' take it all away one day. If they're going to call us terrorists and— and dangerous even if we try not to be? Then fuck 'em. We might as well go down swinging than with our tails tucked between our legs."

It's times like this that Colette wishes she could empathize more with Magnes, knew more about the same pop-culture references he'd grasp. Her childhood and his were spent differently, and she envies him for his, flawed as it might have been.

"But if that's— if that's what it'll take for you t'help me, I'll figure something out. But who's this alibi even for? Who're you going to tell it to? The government doesn't need a proof or due-fucking-process to kick down your door and arrest you now, just an excuse."

"And what's your big plan? Make us seem like even more of a threat? Does Eileen even know about this? This is my life, and I am not going to be defined by my ability. I don't see you or anyone else calling or trying to talk to me until you want something. This is probably why Peyton left." Magnes stands up, frowning as he stomps off to the door and unlatches the locks before swinging it open. "I'm not doing it, it's too much. This is not going to solve anything, it'll just lead to even more consequences for all of us."

"Don't you understand? You're wasting your time. Your revenge today is more Ferry deaths tomorrow. Feeling like you're accomplishing something isn't the same as actually doing so." He motions to the door, shaking his head. "You should leave. This is all behind me now, I'm sorry for getting your hopes up."

"They're going to kill us anyway! Don't you get it? This is what they've wanted all along!" Boosting up to her feet when Magnes asks her to leave, there's a frantic look on Colette's face as she tries to scramble and recover. "Magnes— Magnes no matter how much we keep our heads down it's not going to make a difference. Magnes they kidnapped my father! He's— I don't even know if— " She struggles to be strong, but when emotions get high, her jaw starts to tremble, eyes wrenching shut and one hand sweeping up to dry and eye defiantly.

"Eileen isn't the boss of my life, this— this isn't her decision to make. I'm not here on behalf of the fucking Ferry, I'm here because they took my father from me. He— he took me in when I didn't have anything. He adopted me, he's— we're not even related but— but he took me in off the streets, he— he gave me something worth living for when I thought I didn't have anything."

Swallowing noisily, Colette stands there at the couch, eyes watery and jaw trembling. "Magnes— please."

Magnes closes his eyes again, head silently lowered as if he simply can't stand to look at her. "It's breaking my heart to say no to you, and I know you think I'm the most horrible person in the world right now, but I can't, and I'm sorry. I mean that." He keeps holding the door for her, raising an arm to rub his eyes. "Please go…"

Irrational anger replaces the emotions Colette was feeling, and as she snatches her sloshing courier bag up from the floor and swings it over one shoulder, there's a seething frustration visible on her face. Briefly. Not even halfway to the door Colette is dissolving into the background of Magnes' apartment, her booted feet slapping against the floor as she makes her way past, the perfume of cigarettes and gasoline wafting after her as Magnes feels the displacement in local gravity when she moves on by.

Once she's out in the hall, he hears over the sound of her footsteps a strangled noise in the back of her throat as she struggles to keep herself together. There's no goodbye, no thank you either, just the distancing of her unseen footsteps sounding off against the hallway's carpeted floor.

Magnes Varlane has gained the power of self-respect.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License