Take That Advice


vf_elspeth_icon2.gif magnes_icon2.gif

Scene Title Take That Advice
Synopsis Against her better judgement, Elspeth tries to balance encouraging and discouraging the temporally local Magnes
Date June 02, 2012

The Village Renaissance Building: Room 309

It's been a few months of conversations, lunches, and things like that with Elspeth. Even though she keeps some emotional distance, Magnes is, well, Magnes, and just tries his best. He at least knows about her sister now, thanks to Isabelle, even though he doesn't know the particular extraordinary details, so he hasn't pushed things like he normally would have.

Still, he's knocking on her apartment door, with a white cardboard box that one generally puts clothes in. He's wearing a cream colored suit, though there's no tie over his button up, and he keeps the thin blazer open. He's probably been doing job interviews again.

There's always hesitate when Elspeth looks through the peephole in her door and sees Magnes on the otherside. She always has to work out if answering it is worth the stress, if she can work out which one awaits her on the other side. In time, she's figured out a good way to figure it out - if there's a smile, or a head held up, it's probably not the one she knew before all of this.

Secretly, she likes it that way.

So when the Magnes native to this world knocks on her door, it's a few moments before it opens while she susses out his identity and what she wants to do. But after a moment, he can hear the door unlatch before opening. "Magnes." A look down at the box, at his attire, and she furrows her brow. "What's- uh. What're you doing here?" She tends to insist that they meet somewhere besides her place. It makes her more comfortable that way.

"Sorry, I was out doing job things. I've been thinking about maybe doing something with law, I don't know, I need to talk to Gabriel. But uh…" Magnes opens the box, revealing a white shirt. It's very well made, yet simple, nothing too flashy. He tried to make something in the style she seems to prefer. "I made you a shirt. I just… I haven't sewn anything in so long. I stopped doing a lot of stuff I liked doing when I was drinking all the time. And I thought, since you helped me start down this path, I'd make the first thing I sew be a gift for you."

"That's, uh." Words blink by in her head until she lands on what is the most honest on to her. "That's weird." She looks down at the shirt, wrinkling her nose. "How did you even get-" She raises a hand to stop any immediate response, because really- "Never mind, I don't want t' know." She looks him in the eye, and then lets out a long sigh, opening up the door all the way.

The inside of the apartment is very spartanly furnished - a modest TV sits on a crate in front of a couch, a table with two chairs sits in what constitutes the living room, and that's really about it. "It looks nice," she offers to him as she moves back into her apartment. A bowl sits on the table - mac and cheese from the look of it, still warm. "Light and airy." Which means Magnes has been paying attention. Again, she wrinkles her nose a bit.

"I'm glad t' hear that you're getting back t' life Magnes." She's //been hearing about it, really, but this is the first tangible piece of that she's ever seen.

"I have an eye for it." Magnes answers anyway, rather than go into detail. He's one of those people who can eyeball measurements, though he does have trouble with certain kinds of measurements, he doesn't go into all of that. "I could cook for you." he offers, after spotting the mac and cheese, much like the other Magnes offered. "I can bake pies, cakes, make homemade pizza, or whatever else, if you ever want me over."

He moves to take a seat in a chair, smiling at her. He smiles at her a lot, clearly enjoying her presence. "I've been thinking about maybe being a cop, I don't know. I need to talk to Gabriel about it. I know he has a million abilities, but being a cop has to still be hard, you know?" He stares down at his hands, frowning. "My ability kind of sucks. I mean, it's fun, I like jumping really high, doing cool stunts. But touch based gravity manipulation… it's nowhere near as cool or as powerful as other people's."

This is the first time he's ever gone into any real detail about his ability. Elspeth would know, of course, that the Magnes she met before definitely doesn't have a touch range limitation. "You're really cool, Dawn… I know the shirt thing is kind of weird. I just wanted to do something thoughtful, you know? Though I know I'm probably not the coolest guy…" He also expresses a lot less confidence than the Magnes she first met.

Elspeth raises a finger, ready to protest how creepy having an eye for her measurements and using it may be, but as he's already moved on she decides to file it away for the moment. She looks towards the box with the shirt, taking it and moving to set it over on the couch by itself. She'll tend to this later. It's with hesitation that she looks back over to him, still for a moment, before she again sighs.

"It's fine," she says on the subject of cooking. "I- you don't need you to cook." There's an uncomfortable echo in this moment of a conversation she's had before, something which makes her visibly falter a bit as she reaches up and runs a hand back through her hair. She eyes him at her table, her implied destination from the food sitting at it, and slowly makes her way over.

"A cop would be good. The city always needs more of them." As if she'd really know .She pulls out her chair and slides back into it. "You always tell me you want to do good and help." She looks him square in the eyes. "That's a better place to start than a lot of other ideas. Structure. Ideals. Whatever else." The subject of his ability earns a wary look, brief but noticeable. She's not about to tell him he could do more with his. Not with what she's seen. "I'm sure it has it's uses," is a diplomatic approach. "Gravity does a lot. I knew someone who could do interesting stuff with gravity. Her name was-" She stops short of saying Ygraine, gritting her teeth. "Well. It doesn't matter. I don't see her much these days."

Magnes frowns slightly, then forces a bit of a smile. "I don't mean anything by it, but… did I do something?" he asks, his tone more concerned than accusing or anything. "It's just that, well, you can be so distant, and I don't know if that's just how you are, or if it's something I did. I mostly just want to get to know you, you're really nice, and I like talking to you."

He watches her now, waiting for an answer, though he seems like he's somewhat braced for some sort of rejection.

For the briefest of moments, Elspeth considers telling him the simplest way to explain the reason she feels the way she does: the truth. But, she knows full well that wouldn't actually help, on top of the fact that it would just make her seem crazy rather than aloof. She doesn't answer him immediately, instead choosing to tend to her mac and cheese.

She gets a few bites in before she reaches up and wipes her cheek. "Magnes." She pauses, looking right at him. "If y' haven't figured it out yet," she offers to him, taking a deep breath. "When we met, I told you that I wanted t' be left alone." She hesitates for a moment - was that this Magnes? She can't remember anymore.

"I just-" She wrinkles her nose. "I don't have a lot a' good memories of dealing with people." She raises a hand to cut him off before he speaks. "I know, I know. A teacher." Lowering it back down, she shakes her head. "The shirt is nice. A little really weird, but nice. I talk t' you because- I dunno. I should hate you." It's not the first time she's said that, but she's never elaborated. "But I want you t' be a better person. Bein' a cop's a good start."

Magnes stands up, letting out a low breath. He blinks a few times, looking just a bit down, but his mood is calm. "I really like you, Dawn. Like, I like you like you." he says, but then he holds up a hand, before she can respond. "But I know that you don't like me that way, I know that you want to be left alone. I thought that maybe, I don't know… I thought that maybe we'd become really good friends, but there's just this… I don't know what to call it."

He motions his hands all around, as if to indicate some unknown force. "I just… I can feel that you don't want me around very much, and unlike a lot of the times in my past, I have to learn to respect that, I have to respect what you want." He starts to walk to the door, grabbing the knob, but he doesn't look back. "I'm not asking you to have feelings for me or something, but if you do want to be friends with me, you have my number. I don't want to force a friendship onto you." he says in a tone that betrays both defeat and also a bit of hopelessness.

That is the general tone of this Magnes' life. A cycle of trying and then giving up after a while. Though perhaps this time the cycle is actually the right thing to do, he's not particularly sure, he's never sure.

"Barrier," Elspeth replies flatly. She sits at her food, watching him carefully as he gets up. What he's asking of her feels impossible - she's tolerated him the last few months for a variety of reasons but "genuine friendship" hasn't been near the top of the list. She's not convinced it's possible, really. She sets her fork back into her food, and turns to fully face him.

"You're right. I don't." She watches Magnes for a moment, taking in a deep breath. "An' y' shoudn't." Lips thin, and she rises up from her seat. She doesn't move after Magnes, instead she crosses her arms. "But that, right there, Magnes? That's how I know y'r learnin'. I know who y'could be." She narrows her eyes, moving closer to him. "And who y'could be is awful. Reckless, thoughtless, without that respect for th' people around him an' what they may want."

She stops short of where he stands at the door and shakes her head. "So here's th' deal. Slow down a bit. Get over this- this already givin' up crap. Y' like the idea a' bein' a cop? Good. So do I. See if that Gabriel guy can help y' out for all I care. Hell, maybe look int' the UEO or- whatever it's called if y' want t' use that ability a' yours." Touch gravity manipulation. The Magnes she knew definitely looked like more than touch.

She stops, runs her hands down her face, and then holds them up. "An' look. I'm sorry. I didn't always used t' be like this, but- I told ya. It's been a rough last few months. Y' mean well, Magnes, an' I can appreciate that, but stop tryin' so hard. Don't stop tryin'. But stop- I dunno. I probably sound like t' worst teacher right now. But I'm a grown woman. I don't need y' t' cook for me. Nice thought, but I've got it, for instance" There a beat pause. "Start by not just showin' up next time. Call. Text." There's the weighty implication there - to both of them - that there will be a next time. "Maybe then I can have a chance t' try an' get myself more straight."

If that's possible. The truth is, she doesn't like this either. She misses being- well, as carefree as she could be. Worried just about teaching, about Aislinn, Elaine, Ruiz, Lynette. Having to listen to Steve try and talk Aislinn out of her impatientness. Listening to Dessa play piano,or watch Dirk try to be the best he could be, in his own way, or chuckle at K-Mart being smarmy and charming. Instead, she finds herself just angry and resentful all the time. And while seeing Magnes doesn't help, a part of her truly wants to help him be better than his counterpart.

…which run contradictory to her desire to never see that face again. It's a tough juggling act.

"I can't help how I feel about someone, but I can help if I respect the lack of mutual feeling. I don't want to make the same mistakes I did with Abby, where I strain things. I want to learn to be better… it's just…" Magnes moves his hand away from the knob, leaning against the wall to face her. "I'm so afraid of screwing everything up, my father constantly called me a screw up. I just… I want to make good decisions, and years ago I just started removing myself from people's lives, I started to think that people were better off without me."

"But… okay." he smiles, this time it's less forced. "I'll do that, all of that. I still want to be your friend. I know that you're going through things, even though I can't really imagine what it's like. My parents… they died under mysterious circumstances, I never even got to go to a funeral or anything. One of my best friends Isabelle, she disappeared a while ago, and now she's suddenly back." That might be a clue to Elspeth, as she of all people should have an idea of why Isabelle would suddenly pop back up.

"If I can make your life easier somehow, I want to. I don't plan to be some awful person. I don't know why you think I'll be an awful person, but I won't be, I'll work hard." He crosses his arms, suddenly thinking, hmming. "This might seem counterproductive, but why don't we go do something fun? You're going through a lot, but… it wouldn't hurt to try. If you don't enjoy whatever we go do, we can stop, if you do enjoy it, then, good."

"Isabelle?" That catches her attention more than anything else. She narrows her eyes a bit, not at Magnes, as he continues on. Isabelle. If it is her - and that seems like a safe betgiven what she's heard - that explains that, and Elspeth makes a mental note of it. She would have to track down Izzy and see what in the world she's thinking. Then again, is she much better, standing here talking to this world's Magnes as she is?

"People don't plan t' be awful, Magnes. They stumble into the wong life, the wrong situation, the wrong place, and everything turns upside down." Fingers on one hand curl tight, into a fist so tense her knuckles start to pop. Go do something fun. It sounds so easy, but she doesn't have money t spare to much of a desire to leave.

Still, something nags at the back of her mind, and after a moment, she closes her eyes. "Fine," she relents. "I need to get some summer clothes anyway. We'll go out." Said begrudgingly, but the tone of her voice, her words, is softer this time. "The shirt will be nice to have. One less thing to buy." She rolls her shoulders as she makes her way over to the couch, where her bag sits. "An' Magnes? Don't tell any more girls you can eye their measurements." Another starting point for him.

"I thought it was an impressive skill." Magnes admits, but nods, apparently agreeing. "We can go somewhere cool. I can take you anywhere you want with my ability."

"But you know, if you need clothes, all you have to do is buy fabric and I'll make you some things you might like." he offers, his own mood a bit lighter now, less inclined to metaphorical flight. "We could go skating, or I could teach you to skate if you don't know how. Or maybe we could do something you haven't done in a very long time. You've been in a bad place, right? So maybe there's something you like that you've neglected a lot."

Elspeth takes a deep breath. "It's okay t' keep some things t' yourself, Magnes." At least when it comes to skills that involve looking women up and down. She shakes her head, a look over to Magnes. "Maybe another time. Right now I need more now, for summer school. Don't really have time for much else today." And that's really all she's willing to give Magnes at the moment. She doesn't wait for a response from him before she motions to the door.

"Come on. If we're gonna go, let's go."

She'll finish lunch later.

"What kinds of places do you find fun?" Magnes wonders, heading out the door and stepping back so that she can lock it and such. "Museums, skating, anything that you might be able to lose yourself in and enjoy. I'll get us there." he offers, earnestly just wanting her to enjoy herself.

"It's hard t' say," is both an honest and an evasive answer. "This wasn't come f'r me until recently, I went for a while where teachin' and-" hanging out with Aislinn - "um- look, let's just go… so this f'r now." She eyes him carefully for a moment. "Do y' have a car? Because that'd be nice instead of having t' pay for a cab again."

She heads up to the door, gently pushing him aside before she pulls it all the way open. Might as well get out and get this done.

"I don't have a car, I get across the city with my ability. Wanna give it a try?" Magnes offers, starting to walk. "I'll get a car ASAP, since not everyone enjoys jumping around the city like we're in space, but it's fun." he assures, offering her his hand. "Let's just go to Coney Island. That should be fun. The beach is clean now, so we could enjoy that too."

Elspeth's eyes widen as she remembers how Magnes had arrived on the rooftop back in her home world, with Kazimir Volken in tow. "Jesus, that's right, y' fly, don't you?" She raises up a hand, worried he might wonder how she knows. "Look, no, we'll just catch a cab. Y' don't need a car Magnes, it's New York. I just- I'm not big on heights." She steps out the door, motioning for him to follow. "Shopping. Coney Island another time." Maybe. Doubtful, but she's never been.

"Hah! I wish I could fly. I just jump really high, like the Hulk. Maybe you saw me and thought I was flying?" Magnes was definitely flying back during the fight with Kazimir, but for whatever reason, much like how he insists his ability is touched based, this Magnes' ability is significantly less progressed.

Whatever makes them as different as they are seems to have had a profound effect on learning to use their respective abilities. "I have some money. I'll pay for the cab, you save your money for clothes. Deal?" he asks, holding the door as they head out.

"Fine. Deal." That is a compromise Elspeth is more than willing to make, though she gives him a funny look at his comment about jumping. "Like Superman? Leap over tall buildin's in a single whatever?" She chuckles, the single most genuinely positive emotion she's shown in the entire conversation. "Y' work with gravity, Magnes. Trust me. You can fly if y' put y'r mind to it. Just don't go walkin' off any rooftops to try it out, okay?"

"Hey, it's okay, if I fall it's kind of like an astronaut falling in space. I technically can't fall, instinctively I lower my own gravity." Magnes explains, standing on the sidewalk now as he waits for a cab to pass by. "My gravity also gets very low when I'm unconscious. I kind of float when I sleep, if nothing's holding me down. I didn't realize it until I woke up suddenly and then fell down into my bed."

"But yeah, it's just like Superman! I can totally leap a tall building in a single bound!" He smiles, and looks up for a moment, and she can probably already tell what he's thinking, but he seems to stop that train of thought when he looks around for a cab again. "Do you have an ability or anything? Or, is there an ability you would want?"

"Okay, then do go walking off rooftops," is said with a slight, sadonic chuckle and a shrug. The talk of his ability is - as much as she doesn't want to admit it - interesting to her. So different, from it's description, than what she actually witnessed from Magnes back home. "Still think y' should try it sometime, though." Why is anyone's guess.

The question of does she have an ability is light a weight on her mind, shown in the way her pace slows and her eyelid fall halfway. "No," she says plainly. "And no." It's mostly true. She was never jealous of Aislinn for having an ability - it meant people never left her alone once they found out about it. "They're troublesome. More hard than good sometimes, even with the good intentioned folks."

"I'm trying to think of how I would fly." Magnes rubs his chin, at that, temporarily ceasing his search for a taxi. "If I jumped into the air, I could stop myself, and just float there, but I wouldn't be moving in a different direction…"

He seems to be genuinely curious about how to solve this puzzle, but when he does find a cab, he holds his hand out, and he pulls up close for him to open the door for her. "Having an ability is fun and all, but I think I need more than that if I want to be really special."

Elspeth offers Magnes a rare smile at that. "Yes. Yes you do." She eyes the open door, but manages to hold back a sour look as she climbs in. "My…" She closes her eyes, sighing. "sister had an ability. But it was how she cared for others that made her so special." It had always been what Elspeth had envied in her sister.

Teeth rake across her lip, suddenly feeling immensely more uncomfortable in the cab. She looks back over at Magnes, before snapping her gaze on ahead. "Macy's, please. The nearest one," she tells the driver, before lapsing into conflicted silence.

"Your sister sounds like she was amazing, I wish I could have met her." Magnes frowns a little as the driver starts to move, then gently rubs the back of his neck. "I always care about other people, but I never know how to approach them, what to do. I feel like I have this tendency to ruin everything, or not know the right things to say or do. That's why I ended up imploding in on myself, why I cut ties with my friends years ago, why I started drinking eventually when Panucci's failed." the pizza place he's mentioned.

"I just…" He doesn't look at her, now, he stares out the window instead. "I thought the world was better off without me. I thought I'd never be able to lead a normal life. I'm still skeptical."

Elspeth can't hold back the scowl that forms on her face when Magnes says I wish I could have met her. Actually biting her tongue is the only thing that keeps an angry, vitriolic comment from being fired back at him. It would just be the usual anyway - right words, wrong person. "She was," is the only response she gives, voice slightly uneven as she looks down at her hands in her lap.

An exasperated sigh flows from her lips as she slouches in her seat. "The world would be better off without most a' us," she remarks quietly. "So don't think about it. Just… do what y' need t' to get by. Stop… worrying so much." She's talking to Magnes, but for a moment it almost feels like she's talking to herself too. "You can't lead a normal life if y' don't want t', do do y' want t'?"

"I don't think I'd want to live a life if I never met you. When I met you, it was like I woke up. I'd probably still be drinking a lot if we never spoke, so I owe you a lot." But, that doesn't answer her question, so Magnes adds, "I do want to live. We can help each other live, I really believe that. I want to show you that life can be good and fun again."

"Don't be so dramatic," is both instruction and comment of annoyance, Elspeth closing her eyes as she speaks. "But there y' go. Just… I dunno. Try t' be like everyone else, but be y'r self, which makes no sense, but- I dunno. Ash would have somethin' t' say like.. Be y'r best self, but don't walk over others t' do it."

Another shrug follows. Elspeth doesn't yet open her eyes, instead letting out a long sigh.

"Let's both take that advice." Magnes suggests, offering his hand to her. "Let's be our best selves."

Elspeth gives Magnes weary look. She doesn't look at his hand; she knows it's there though. Teeth rake over her lip, as numerous reponses begin to flow through her brain. None of them are what Magnes wants to hear, but they're all the things she wants to say at the moment.

Instead she offers a weak smile and turns her attention ahead, to the shopping trip that awaited them. She wasn't sure how many of these she had left in her, but for now she would at least try to enjoy herself.

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