Too Good to Be True, Too Good to Lie


magnes_icon.gif bella_icon.gif

Scene Title Too Good to Be True, Too Good to Lie
Synopsis Magnes arrives to his session with Bella mostly sunny, with some inexplicable dark clouds. Bella reassures him on the matters of his personal and professional life, toeing the Company line.
Date August 8, 2009

Company Owned Studio Apartment

A studio apartment generously provided by Bella's employers.

It's later in the afternoon, and Bella's door flies open like sunshine and rainbows, Magnes just casually floating through after locking it, resting gently on her couch. There was no knocking. "I'm in a really good mood and I'm conflicted at the same time. And sorry if I walked in while you're naked or something."

No nakedness today, though her hair is maybe a half shade darker from a not-so-distant past shower. Otherwise, though, she's entirely decent. In fact, for once Bella appears to have been hard at work before Magnes' session; she isn't perusing magazines, listening to NPR or baking. Instead she's at the kitchen counter, sitting on a stool, sorting papers into piles, taking the time to skim each before setting it neatly, hands brushing over the corners just to make sure everything looks nice and professional. She herself even looks remarkably snazzy, in a two piece suit (one she recently cracked out for her meeting with Minea), and her hair in a stylish but relatively austere bun (as buns tend to be).
As Magnes enters, however, she shoves the task she's tending to straight to the back of her mind. Her best client is here, and its more than her professional duty to give him her full attention. She beams. "If I were naked, the door'd be locked," she gets up from the stool, and moves over to the armchair. The only thing missing from her ensemble are heels, a black pair of two-inchers that are set out but that she's not wearing, preferring to go unshod until the last possible moment. Her petite, panty ho'ed feet and legs actually look fairly comical without the shoes to complete the ensemble, so she ends up looking eccentrically casual
She crosses her legs and braces a knee in both hands, a motion that indicates engagement. "Tell me all about your good mood and its underlying conflict."

"Well," Magnes starts, with a bit of a smile as he stares up at the ceiling. "The good news is that I had my first official date, and my first official post-date kiss, with the nicest most easy to talk to and understanding girl I've ever met, who actually bought me a Batman shirt instead of telling me not to wear stuff like that." Oh yes, he is very very excited about that. "Bad news is, this girl isn't Elle, and I feel guilty about that. Thoguh a part of me knows Elle won't even care, I've been thinking of just slowly phasing me and Elle into a friendship, so I can still help her and all."

Bella frowns slightly, though it's one more of sympathy (as if it's sympathy he needs after getting a date /and/ a kiss) than of any actual reprehension. She nods at his suggestion, the 'friendship' idea. "I don't wish to sell Elle short. She's an intelligent young woman that I hope will flourish in our organization, but," she smiles, "I do think there's a better fit for you. Someone who, for example, buys you Batman shirts. That's, simply put, pretty awesome. So are you worried about how Elle will take it when you tell her?" she arches a brow, "Considering buying an insulated rubber suit for the occasion?"

"I'm not so sure I'm anywhere near powerful enough to bend electricity with gravity, but, I'm just gonna man up. If she fries me to a crisp, well, that's just a consequence I have to take." Magnes assures as he sits up and crosses his legs, wearing black loafers instead of skates today. "The girl, Claire, she says she doesn't want me to dress like this when I see her anymore, she wants me to dress how I'd normally dress, not how I think people want me to dress." He seems to have an almost perpetual grin as he speaks, adding, "As happy as I am, there's totally gonna be a needle that pops this bubble, isn't there?"

Bella's lips quirk to the side. "Honestly, I hope not," she says, "Though I'm sure you know that, as an Agent, we'll probably have to do a background check on your new lady fair. However, I have hope and confidence that it'll be fine. It's important to have someone you can be yourself with. Living a double life is very hard, and you need space to simply be Magnes, not always Agent Varlane," she tilts her head, expression significant, "Not that Agent Varlane isn't an important part of who you really are as well. You have talent, and a desire to excell, to do good. It's what makes your future with our mutual employers so bright."

"I, uh, you have to background check people I date?" Magnes asks with a raised eyebrow. This was not in the job description! "Well, I don't even know her last name yet, so, that might be a bit hard. And as far as excelling, I screwed up and got my arm bitten off. They put it back, but, it was still a bad screwup…"

Bella wrinkles her nose. "I'm not the one to make that decision," she says, "But I can see why it would be necessary. Think of it this way: the CIA, NSA, FBI… all those scary three letter agencies, they all have even more comprehensive background checks. Your whole life is under review if you want to make Top Secret clearance. What we're doing, our job… how much more important is that than busting marijauana runners trying to cross the Mexican border? It's a sad precaution that /might/ be necessary. Think of it like part of preserving your secret identity, so to speak," trying to make the comic book analogy not sound /too/ stale, "We live in a world where shape shifting spies are a potential reality. Being careful is the only way to make sure awful people like Humanis First don't tear down everything we've built."

And all this without mentioning that his ARM was bitten off. With her Company policy justification speech over, she moves back to Magnes' more personal concerns. "May I ask how it is you had that," she nods at his arm, "To help zip up your fly?" Which is to say 'how'd you get your arm back?'

"Company healer. And I guess you're right, I just don't feel good about entering her personal space. She's a nice girl…" Magnes frowns a little as his eyes avert to her stockings, then quickly try to avert to the nearest non-sheer object. "I really wanna quit, I mean, I know it'd be bad to quit, I know I don't really have a choice or they'll discredit me and take away my pardon, but I just feel like I'd be better off on my own lately. I mean, I screwed up a lot, but I never got my arm removed."

Bella's legs remain unperturbed, but the psychiatrist herself frowns, though not at the stray glance. "Quit? Well, I'm glad you're at least being upfront about this concern. I'm… frankly a little shocked. But I understand that doubt is a totally natural response to the grim realities Agents face," she sets her hand to her chest, "I get anxiety dreams about being kidnapped by terrorists, and I don't do /any/ field work. Though…" her expression becomes thoughtful, seeking, "I have the sense it's not the danger per se that bothers you. Tell me about your doubts, Magnes. I very much want you to stay with us," she smiles, "Professionally and personally."
Announcement: Rose shouts, “Reminder: The Chandra Suresh Memorial Center for Evolved Education will officially open its doors at the dedication ceremony one hour from now! There are still two spaces on the guided tour, and plenty of room in both demonstration and reception scenes. If you want to check it out and have not signed up, please do so!”

"Getting my arm bitten off hurts, I might go so far as to say it rivals getting all my bones crushed, but it doesn't quite get there. All this happened because I was afraid to fire my gun, or the taser, or even use my gravity on his entire body. I hesitated, again. This is why Minea beat me before, I hesitate, I don't feel like I'm cut out for this." Magnes hunches over, resting his forehead on his hands and elbows over his knees. "And the secrets, the borderline lies, all for something I didn't ask to be doing in the first place. And then there's the Minea thing, she never left us in the first place. I had to go through all that for an undercover mission."
ven had any -bad- ideas, come to think of it.”

"Try to keep in mind how hard it was for /Minea/," Bella says. She doesn't sound chiding, just emphatic. "I met with Agent Dahl for her debrief, and heard about how difficult it was to play her part, to accept the scorn and anger of her friends and colleagues. But while she was undercover she helped many, many Evolved, and assisted in the dismantling of a danger that threatened the whole world. It may not appear like this, but what she did was heroic, and truly self sacrificing. And I /know/, Magnes, that you wouldn't be happy with anything less than heroism. Because in everything you've ever told me about, it's never been the pain or the hardship that troubles you most. It's being unable to protect the helpless, being… well… powerless, despite your power. As an Agent you will tests and trials, but that's what a hero's work demands."

"I don't mean to sound selfish, I honestly don't, this is just, hard, it's really hard. Do you know how hard I try to word things so I'm actualy telling the truth, because I hate lying to peope I care about?" Magnes lays back on the couch again, though he keeps his eye on her. "And no one I know outside of the Company, who actually knows about it, has ever had anything good to say. This is still making me second guess even being a part of it, and if I did decide that I truly wanted to leave, I still couldn't."

Bella wrinkles her nose, "Obviously I can't say that no, you could leave, it wouldn't be a problem. That's not how either of our lives are anymore. And while I was offered a position, you were regrettably shanghai'ed into it. But that does not change that you are excellent at what you do and," she lifts a finger, "Much more importantly, you are the kind of person the Company /needs/. Needs badly. The grey areas, the checkered past… we'd be stupid to pretend it's not all there. And the virtue of the Company is that it can take troubled souls with great potential, like Elle, and turn their tendencies towards a greater good. But someone like you, Magnes, someone who really does want all the right things, someone who will take the highest ground, you are precisely what keeps the Company from fooling itself with its own aspirations to goodness. Without you, Magnes, and people like you, the Company risks losing its conscience. You are absolutely /indespensible/."

"So…" Magnes' look turns thoughtful, his mood not so bad once she's given him something to think about. "You're saying I should stay and try to keep, or turn the Company honest?"

Bella's smile is wry, "I'm saying that we're both stuck here, and if we don't make the best of the situation, the Company and ourselves, /that/ is the only real failure," she says, and it's only a half joke, "But I'm being cynical. And that very cynicism is what means that the responsibility really is /yours/. It's a great burden, but it wouldn't be yours if you weren't equal to it."

"Do you ever feel like joining was a huge mistake though?" Magnes asks in a tone that suggests he certainly have. "I mean, sometimes I think I might have been better off if I just flew away and went on the run instead of accepting Veronica's offer. Well, I couldn't fly at the time, but I could have done something…"

Bella shakes her head, and what she says is actually genuinely the truth. "I've always founds, after I've given the matter my full thought and attention, that there's no place I'd rather be. Talking to people like yourself, remarkable, strong people and doing my little mundane part towards making a better future for a radically changed world… What else should we be doing? What else would have meaning compared to this?"

"I'll essentially always be doing some form of this. If it wasn't this, I'd be in SCOUT, or maybe that group Phoenix, or this other group that wanted me, maybe I'd even be by myself and just have a loose association of people that help me, who knows. My point is, I'd always be doing this, my primary problem is all the secrets and lying, and while I knew every hero had to go through this, the reality of secrets and lies is a lot harsher." Amadeus explains, trying to get her to see essentially what's bugging him. "The fact is, I'm never going to lie to someone I care for. It doesn't mean I'll tell them the truth, but I'll also never lie, it's not fair to them."

Bella nods, acknowledging the central issue that, to be honest, she'd been dancing around because of its density and seriousness. The secrecy is one matter that is near non-negotiable. This Company isn't going public any time soon. "Then you may have to compromise, in that classic American way. You cannot lie to the one you love, and that is to your credit. But you can't compromise the trust placed in you by your colleagues. So you have to find someone you can be with that you don't have to lie to. And that's what open communication with our superiors is for. Work with them, go through the necessary hoops, and press for a situation where you can make it clear to your loved one that your job is very important and very secret. They needn't even know what it is you do, but they must be someone who can be happy with you being faithful both to them and to the important work you do."

"I'll figure something out, I don't know what yet, but I'll figure something out." is all Magnes can really say, sounding quite helpless on the matter. "If I knew there'd be so much guilt, I probably would have ran."

"And if you had run, and kept running, you might have spent your life thinking you should have taken the deal," Bella says, "Please, Magnes, for the time being… stand firm. You have stability here, you have co-workers who respect you, admire you, you have important work and," she nods at his 'new' arm, "An excellent healthcare plan," a small smile, offered with the joke as a palliative, "Talk to me before making any huge choices. It would break my heart to see you leave us, and if you do, I would want to /know/ it was the right choice for you."

"I won't make any huge decisions without telling you, I promise. I just want you to know that I'm conflicted right now, even if I am somewhat happy with my love life." Magnes lets out a deep sigh, finally sitting up again as if he's getting ready to leave. "I registered too, but, I may have bent the truth just a little, and left some things out."

"If it's not one thing, it's another," Bella says, but her tone is affectionate, warm. She uncrosses and recrosses her legs in sympathy with Magnes' shift in posture, "Registration's an imperfect system. Useful, but imperfect. I don't think it's at all a sin to bend the truth in those places. I'm hardly an entirely law abiding citizen myself," she flashes an impish grin.

"All that matters is that the Company knows what I can do, I don't need every dirty cop in the country knowing. I wrote that I can make myself weigh less or get heavier, which includes flight. That should be enough for them. I still heavily disagree with registration, so, I didn't think it'd hurt to bend the truth a bit." Magnes stands, beginning to get a wide grin as if something just popped into his head. "Can't believe she got me a Batman shirt, and wants me to wear it…"

Bella gets to her feet as well, taking her physical cues from Magnes. She steps up to him and sets a hand on his shoulder. When standing this close, and without any sort of heels, her slighter stature is more apparent. "That's wonderful. You see? Some girls /do/ have good taste."

"The crazy thing is, she used to be a cheerleader, and she's hot. Holy crap this is too good to be true, it's too good to be true, isn't it?" Magnes asks, getting suddenly neurotic about it.

"Any cheerleader worth dating is sick of high school football studs and spike-haired jocks," Bella assures Magnes, "You're precisely the kind of man a smart cheerleader realizes she really wants once she grows up enough to realize it."

"Were you a cheerleader?" Magnes asks, since she sounds well-versed in cheerleaders suddenly. "I mean, it wouldn't be hard to believe, but I pegged you for the intellectual hipster type in high school."

Bella laughs and fiddles a little wit her hair, as if high school were suddenly so forcefully remembered that she felt the need to fix it. "Me? No, no. Field hockey for me. I didn't really do the clique thing. I preferred to get along with everyone. But I /was/ in the running for class president! I lost," she wrinkles her nose, "To the homecoming queen. Sweet girl, I don't hold it against her. I hold it against our society."

"I didn't go to high school, or elementary school, home school for me, not sure if I told you that. My parents wanted me to be a physicist. Maybe that's why I have gravity powers but I'm bad at physics." Magnes suggests, shrugging, then he heads for the door. "Thanks for the talk, and uh, in case Elle kills me, it was nice knowing you."

Bella smiles, "Good luck. It'd been a pleasure knowing you." Joke, joke!

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