We Are All We Have


vf_elisabeth_icon.gif vf_magnes_icon.gif

Scene Title We Are All We Have
Synopsis Two wayward travelers find some common ground.
Date November 9, 2011

The Hub: Living Quarters

She has insisted since they arrived on not turning off the lights in the room, even when they’re sleeping. She’s obtained one of the small lights they use to illuminate the hallways at night for use in their little slice of privacy. Just based on his own observations of her, either negation or being underground is not something Elisabeth handles well. Perhaps it’s a little of both.

The way she sleeps — stock still on the cot, as if combat napping while waiting for the first sign of an attack — it cannot be that much of a surprise when her body finally forcibly shuts down on her and shoves her into deep sleep. What might come as a surprise to Magnes is the way she goes from the full depths of sleep to AWAKE in the space of a heartbeat and jack-knifes upward, perfectly silent but the terror in her face unmistakable when he re-enters the room — he’s never come in after she’s been asleep before. The low vibration of sound waves, nowhere near their usual strength just because the negation drug is just beginning to wear off, is not enough to carry beyond their little cell but it’s certainly enough to rattle the contents of their room and ruffle his hair.

Her blue eyes are a little wild as she pushes herself backward on the cot into the corner where the head of the bed snugs the wall and crouches there, clearly expecting… something horrible.

When Magnes enters, and spots Elisabeth's apparent state, he closes the door behind him and begins to walk over to her. Crouching down next to her bed, he frowns with some concern. "Why don't you tell me what's wrong? I have good news, you know. It might make you feel better." He's in a plain black t-shirt with some random band he's never heard of. Gojira? Wtf? And some blue jeans they managed to find.

She hasn’t had a full-bore panic attack in over a year. She clenches her jaw tightly against the scream that never escaped and instead works on breathing. In… out. She holds up a finger to him to indicate that she’ll answer him when she can, but it’s clear that until she can breathe, she is not going to be able to manage a response. It takes close to ten minutes for the physical reaction to finally calm enough that she can pull her knees up to her chest in the corner of her bunk and wrap her arms around her knees. Tipping her head back against the wall, she closes her eyes. Her skin is damp with sweat despite the chill in the air, and she still seems to be shaking. But Elisabeth finally finds her voice.

“A lot of things have happened to me, even in the time you’ve known me, Magnes. They’re things that for the most part you were either ignorant of or oblivious to — they certainly weren’t your problem or concern.” Glancing toward the door, she admits quietly, “This one could potentially be at least partially of concern.”

Drawing in a breath that she lets out oh-so-slowly, she tells him, “A few years ago, I was doing some work with Phoenix. I wound up getting taken. I shouldn’t have survived Humanis First that time… but it’s not the first time I’ve apparently evaded death.” She shoves a hand into her long hair. It’s started to mat a bit — hard to care for in this place. “As a result of my visit with them, I have occasional problems with anxiety. They kept me negated, in a room that was so loud I couldn’t hear them coming. The only time it got quiet was when it was time to … hurt me.” She shrugs a little. “It was cold there. And damp. Felt like a concrete bunker.” She glances at their room with a rueful half-smile. “I guess I’m having some PTSD flashbacks. This situation is practically designed to set off every one of my triggers.”

"I didn't know… I did know that they were kidnapping and hurting people, but I didn't always know who, or how. But there's a reason I tortured Danko." Magnes isn't sure she knew that, but he says it with a very stone cold straight face. "Collapsed his lung, pulled his tooth out. I knew they were hurting people I cared about, I couldn't… I couldn't not do something."

He reaches out, offering his hand, though he doesn't try to touch her, he simply makes the offer. "I don't know what I can do for you, all I can say is that you're safe. I have my ability because we were doing tests. You're in my gravitational field, no one can hurt you. I'd know if anyone was coming if they got close enough. And, you know, the moon's gravitational field is so strong that I can actually tell you where it is right now." He points up, with the hand he didn't offer, exactly where he insists the moon is.

She clearly didn’t, and Danko’s name brings her eyes to Magnes’s face. Is it bad that there is a level of unholy glee in her expression? Elisabeth asks, “You tortured him?” She breathes out, trying to think about that. It’s a good thought! “He’s the one who blew my brains out,” she murmurs. When he puts his hand out, she doesn’t exactly startle, but she looks… awkward. As if allowing him this close to her personal nightmares is too much.

Biting her lip, she reaches out to put her hand in his for a long moment, though. Hers is ice-cold. Blue eyes flicker up to meet his face, and Liz squeezes that hand tightly. The rolling low-level sound that has filled the room, though thank goodness hasn’t gone through those thick walls, can still be felt as a prickle against his skin, and she’s still shaking even as she holds his hand. “When I don’t have my ability… like you, I feel… cut off. It’s like being in a soundproof room wrapped in cotton wool with no fresh air. I think once I get used to being negated, it’ll ease. At least… it did when I blew out my power. We’re all nothing if not adaptable, right?”

She pulls in a breath and without releasing his hand, because she does appear to be taking comfort in the simple contact, she asks, “So… what’s your good news?”

"I wanted to kill him, throw him into space. I can do that, you know, I've just never been able to bring myself to. So I ended up torturing him. It's how I learned what organs are what, when I'm feeling around with my gravity. At first I was trying to get information, but after a while I just… I knew he wasn't gonna say anything, so I wanted to hurt him." Magnes stares down at her hand, thinking for a brief moment.

"Well, me and Ruiz figured out how to make wormholes. That's the good news. I even walked through it. The bad news is that the wormhole is basically a portal that just leads to a different part of whatever room we're in. We haven't quite figured out how to go to another universe with it yet. But I am working on a model for travel through time and space." He pulls a journal out, then sits it onto her bed before he opens it to the page with the two pictures he drew.

"There are a few working theories I have for how we could do it, and one might require getting Peter to come back here if we can't get someone to augment my ability. But right now, well…" He shrugs a bit helplessly. "I think our best bet is Edward Ray calculating when a hole in our universe will open up again, then when Ruiz opens his black hole, it'll connect to that one, and I'll use my ability to make it even bigger, and stabilize the hole on the other side too, then we could feasibly save everyone in this entire facility."

"I figured out why neither of us died and everything." he enthusiastically adds. "When black holes stabilize into wormholes, it's like walking through dry water or something. It doesn't feel like much of anything, really."

She listens with a singular focus, as if just having someone spewing words at her is a help in dealing with the panic problem. And then Elisabeth nods very slowly. “Okay. Well… we’ve been working on a string map — God help all of us, this Edward Ray apparently didn’t know how to use one.” Glancing at him the blonde shrugs a little. “I didn’t want to tell you that immediately. I wasn’t sure whether it would be important. I still don’t have any real idea why he was able to calculate the variables on someone actually coming through the hole in the universe. But… it sounds promising?” she offers hesitantly.

With a final squeeze of his hand, Liz releases it and admits quietly, “But Magnes? I’m… starting to think that this is not going to be a short trip. I think we’re talking at least weeks, if not months.” The possibility of it being even longer is one she cannot tolerate right now. “Especially if part of the reason we were able to do what we did had to do with those solar flares. And I still think it does, honestly. Whether that was a boost of some kind, a compass point, whatever… I think there had to be some kind of interaction with the particles that come off the sun when it’s in high activity mode.”

"It's possible. I've been augmented before, but I didn't turn into a black hole. Though, maybe I'm always holding back, subconsciously, like Superman? And I don't know if Evil Cardinal's augmentation was different from Gillian's…" Magnes crosses his arms, resting on his knees on the floor next to her bed.

"Well, the things we know for sure is that two black holes make a wormhole, we now have that confirmed. If I can turn into a black hole and come through Ruiz's, then logically, a second Ruiz in our universe should be able to connect with this one. Or, uh… there's also that evil Magnes that I never quite figured out." he states as if he forgot until just now. "But these are all assumptions based on what I know about black holes because of Ruiz's ability. What we don't know are the variables for why we were specifically pointed at this universe, my only working theory is that all of the universes exist in fixed points in time and space, like a tesseract. But solar flares might play some unknown role in coordinating interdimensional travel…"

He rubs his chin, going into deep thought now. "I think I need to tell all of this to Edward Ray. He might be able to develop some sort of probability model. Maybe solar flares are somehow the way he did it? Maybe his probability isn't always conscious, maybe there's some intuitive aspect to it."

There's a pause, and, out of the blue, he seems to shift topics. "It must be lonely only having me."

Elisabeth smiles just a bit. “His Evo ability is seeing probabilities. He was probably not negated at the time. But… yes, I think talking to Edward is definitely the next step. He’s not a physicist, but he’s a mathematician, so… if nothing else, he’ll at least be able to follow that part of things. Which is way more than I can manage.”

She’s quiet after his last comment, and Elisabeth looks … uncomfortable. “It is,” she finally tells him softly. “I don’t… I’m not exactly the trusting type lately, and you and I… don’t exactly have the best relationship.”

"I'm not really honest. Most people don't really… know a lot about me. Even the girls I dated didn't, really. Can you tell me anything about me from before you or anyone you know met me? Most people can't, except that time Sable and Eileen time travelled and met me as a kid, which was apparently erased from my memory." Magnes folds his arms on the edge of the bed, laying his head on it to stare up at her and talk.

"My parents, especially my dad, he showed up on TV after years when I was being interviewed, Pete Varlane, I don't really know a lot about my parents even though I grew up with them. They kept teaching me all sorts of things, logic puzzles, physics, how to solve all sorts of math problems, logically work things out that I might not really have any familiarity with. It was non-stop, always tests, even breakfast was a test. I know how to identify when my food's been tampered with, they taught me what to do when I've been poisoned, how to handle a kidnapping."

"I remember this one time… I was literally taught how to hide a thought, how to repress information. I started repressing a lot when I finally left my parents, when I got tired of it all. But now I'm trying to just… I'm trying to bring it all back for you, so that I can be useful to you." He ends up frowning again, not seeming to be in the best of moods. "I can't keep hiding and being dumb just because I think that's what it is to be free and normal like other people. I want to be there for you, I want to make you feel less lonely, I want to make you feel safe. I can't… I can't live up to what Cardinal is, but I can at least try to be the best version of myself…"

Tilting her head as she studies him, Elisabeth finds herself sorry for the child that Magnes was. “I’m sure that your parents were doing the best they could with what they knew,” she comments quietly — if only because she can’t imagine why a parent wouldn’t. “Maybe it wasn’t the right way to parent you, but… babies don’t come with instruction manuals or anything, so…” She shrugs a little.

There’s a moment where she looks rather touched at his assertion. And she tells him, her sincerity very clear, “I don’t need you to be anyone but yourself, Magnes — don’t play stupid, don’t play smart. Just be whatever you are. Am I going to be annoyed by you? Probably — we’re very different personalities. I’ll likely annoy the shit out of you too. But we’ll figure out a way to rub along without killing one another. ‘Free’ and ‘normal’ in the way you’re defining them? It doesn’t exist. It’s an illusion that we all buy into, trying to feel less alone in the world.” Her blue eyes flicker a bit and she says softly, “I appreciate that you want me to feel safe. I … don’t know that you can do that for me, Magnes. But thank you for that. I will be here for you as much as you let me, and I’ll try not to just … close off. Okay?”

"I like you, I was just always kind of afraid of you because I know I'm not… well I know I didn't put enough thought into the things I did. I always figured I could avoid being what I was taught to be if I relied on my ability and some quick thinking enough. But I can't do that anymore." Magnes offers his hand to her again, though this time he adds an explanation. "I won't try to be Cardinal, but I also know that you can't do this on your own, you need someone who can be equal, someone who can do things that you can't, just like I need someone who can do things that I can't. We'll get out of this together."

"What I want to do for tonight is, well… if you take my hand, I can attach your gravitational field to mine. You won't feel anything, or notice any difference, and once you're out of range it'll break the attachment. But if you sleep, and you're attached to my field, I'll feel it if someone tries to take you or something." he tries to explain, though isn't necessarily sure how to put it in words exactly. "I don't think that's gonna happen to you, and I know it's not a magic cure for how you feel, but it's extra security if you want it… If someone grabbed you I could just pull you back, or make you too heavy for them to carry, or put you on the ceiling or something."

Honestly touched, Elisabeth starts to laugh. “Well, I really don’t believe anyone is going to be in here to take me anywhere I don’t want to go,” she tells him. But she reaches out to take the offered hand one more time. “That said… making sure that both of us are safe from whatever might come through the door? Not a bad plan. I still don’t feel… let’s just say that this place and what’s happened here? Trying to adjust to how people are different and knowing who or what they were in our world and not make assumptions about them here? It’s a hell of a lot harder than I really had a clue it would be.” She shrugs. “Every once in a while, I catch an expression in Edward’s face that… just makes me really leery. So stay on your toes around here. You don’t have to be suspicious of everyone? But… it might be a good idea not to trust too many of them either. As you pointed out … it’s awfully convenient that we landed here.” And she’s not real sure she believes in coincidences anymore.

"Denisa and Mala are alive here. I want to take them back. If somehow I can't take everyone back… I have to at least take them back. I know they're different, I know they're not my Denisa and Mala, but they deserve more than this, some version of them deserve to grow up, to see what a possibly decent future is like…" Magnes gently squeezes her hand for a moment, then leans his head down, wiping his eyes on his arm. She might feel a slight shift in her equilibrium for a moment, like going over a small bridge and then back down in a car. "Alright, we're attached. I uh, I can fight a bit now, so I won't be totally useless. I was taught how to fight by Hiro's sister, and I had some fighting training from somewhere else, I think it got erased from my memory where it came from."

Slipping her hand back out of his, Elisabeth says quietly, “The Company.” There is a certainty to her words, simple as they are. “Agent Denton brought you to me when you failed to live up to their expectations. He asked me to make sure you were okay. And yes, they erased it. But muscle memory is powerful. So some of the training will stick.”

The blonde nods a little bit. “I have no intention of just ditching the survivors of this virus here, I promise you that. If we can find a way to get out of here, it’s not just for us.” They are both in agreement on that one. “We don’t leave people behind if we can help it.”

"It's definitely possible to take them all out, it's just a matter of figuring out how to put the puzzle pieces together. And, most importantly, we know we have the puzzle pieces, and we're somewhere with the best puzzle solver in the entire world." Magnes considers this, The Company, huh. "I was a secret agent. I guess that explains a few things… I probably could have been good at it, but you know, I already told you what my main problem has been with myself for a while."

He leans up again, his eyes a bit red now. "I kind of wish I could have been a better boyfriend, or even a friend to some people. But I wasn't honest enough with myself or them. Yana's made me realize how immature I've been about life… but I kind of get the feeling that Yana might be a bit, um, maybe a little evil? So I'm thinking I might just stay friends. I did meet this new girl though, Odessa. She might come off as a bit evil, but I think she's probably just misunderstood. I don't know a lot about her."

Elisabeth’s brow quirks upward at the name Odessa. “Odessa… white hair? Eyepatch?” Pulling in a slow breath, she murmurs, “I’m not entirely sure what to say to that, Magnes. I think… when someone shows you their true colors, you should believe them. It’s… possible that evil is a strong word. But… the files here have a lot of information that is … a very close match to our world. If you really want to know before we go home? I’d advise you to do some reading.” Because he will have to make his own choices on that front, assuming such a chance ever comes to pass anyway.

"Yeah, that one! And, well, I don't know, I barely know her, it's not like I'm trying to get married or anything, I just wanted her to be less sad about life, and she seemed nice kind of. But I'd read the files, I trust you. To be honest, I trust you more than a lot of people, because you're reliable and Cardinal wouldn't ask for your help all the time if you couldn't be trusted." Magnes allows his arms to drop to his sides, then just lays his head sideways on the bed. "I should learn to be less immature about women, and people in general. I shouldn't date people unless I can be honest about who I am."

“Well…. Honesty about who you are is always the first step. Even in a relationship with yourself,” Elisabeth admits with a faint smile, resting her chin on her knees while she remains curled up in the corner of her bunk. Her blue eyes have fewer shadows at least than when he entered. “One of the men I was with… he commented once that the reason I drew the kind of men I seem to draw is because I just flat don’t lie. I tell them straight out who I am and what I’m doing… and if they don’t like it, they have to choose for themselves.” She shrugs. “So almost every man I’ve ever dated has … kind of wound up staying my friend, even when the dating was over.”

She grins slightly. “Although I have to admit, it’s weirded out a few guys in that time, too. When you don’t fit the mold, it tends to create a bit of dissonance for some people.”

"I like that you're not confusing. I always end up making a lot of assumptions and then screwing everything up, but I've always felt like I knew what you were feeling, even if I didn't know what you were thinking, or why you were feeling something." Magnes admits, shifting his head to watch her from his rather awkward perch. It must be less uncomfortable to stay on one's knees for so long when they can control their own weight.

"I think the only reason I've never really opened up to you before is because we were always on some important mission, and there was never really any time to be people… Cardinal is lucky, to be the kind of guy who can get someone like you." he says in a particularly sincere tone, smiling. "I've been lucky too, I just always messed things up, always running from who I am, never really wanting to think about how to grow up. Claire, and then Elaine, they were the best things I ever had. With Claire, I just… I panicked at the end, I felt so hurt I didn't really know how to respond. I was being a child, I should have been there for her even if she couldn't remember me, but I was just…"

He slides off the bed, crossing his legs on the floor, turning his body to watch the door. "I've screwed up so many things, failed to be what so many people needed me to be. Whatever happened, whatever it was that made me turn into a black hole, that was probably something I could have avoided too. And now… you're here." There's a long pause, and he drops his head down. "I'm sorry."

There’s a faint blush across her cheekbones when he comments on how lucky Richard is. She’s never really thought of things that way. “I think that I’m lucky one,” she admits quietly. “Although… I did have to make him promise not to resurrect me or, like, go insane and destroy our timeline if I died.” The attempt at humor probably falls a bit flat, and she reaches out to grab his hand of her own volition this time.

“Don’t,” Elisabeth tells him in a quiet but firm tone. “You couldn’t have avoided what happened, Magnes… you were programmed to it, the same way all those people at the riots a year ago. This is not your fault. In a world not ours, a man did a horrible thing to someone he loved and he quite literally went insane with the pain of it. He spent the rest of his life trying to fix it, but doing it all the wrong ways.” She shakes her head. “Do not ever blame yourself for what happened. Learn from the mistakes — yours and theirs — and just keep walking forward. Because it’s all we can do.”

Magnes cranes his head back to stare up at her. "I don't know if Adel survived, I don't know if anyone survived. I don't know what my evil clone or alternate dimension guy or whatever is doing. And then I think… what if we're here for longer than months?" He looks genuinely concerned, when he says that. "There's so much I wanted to do, I wanted to get better at relationships, not be bad at alcohol, suck less at being a man." Closing his eyes, he adds, "I'm sorry, I know you don't need to hear this."

“Everyone needs someone to talk to,” Elisabeth tells him quietly, simply holding the hand that she took when she reached out, resting the entwined fingers on his shoulder since she’s sitting behind him. “I don’t know if anyone survived either,” she admits. “My one and only focus at that point was getting to you to stop you any way I could.” Blowing out a slow breath, she tells him in a weary tone, “If we’re here longer than months? Well… then I guess this becomes our new home and we die of a virus that we were lucky enough to stop on our world. And we hope that whatever comes after this life is a lot fucking nicer than the past several years in this one.”

"Well, in case you're the last woman from our universe that I'll ever know, I'll try to actually grow into a decent person who can get good reviews when we die." Magnes closes his eyes again for a brief few moments, finally opening them to say, "I can't sleep, mostly because all of this kind of sucks. I've been avoiding going over to my bed."

Liz smiles a little. “Yeah… sleep is a commodity I’m having a tough time with too. How about we sleep in shifts for a while? Until we both feel like … things are settling a little.” It does all suck. “We both need to rest, or things will definitely get worse. And I don’t want you off the negation drugs all the time, okay? People are still dying down here, obviously, and when you’re not actively experimenting, I want to be sure we’re both covered.” She squeezes his hand. “Safety, you know? I …”

The blonde bites her lip hard and confesses quietly, “I can’t lose you too, Magnes. We are each other’s only proof that we haven’t lost our minds. And you are probably our only hope to get home. I can’t lose you.” He’s the last person she has to protect, really.

"I won't stay off the drugs all the time. I'll go back on them in the morning, there's a lot we have to do before we need my ability again, I think. And I really think we need Peter back here." Magnes shifts her hand to hold it against the side of his face for a moment, closing his eyes again. "You need the sleep more than me. I won't let anyone hurt you."
Finally she scoots out of her fetal position in the corner of her cot and scoots downward, still holding his hand tightly. “I’ll get a couple more hours, and then you need to get some. And then when we both have a bit of rest… I’ll see what I can do about finding that guy K-Mart. It might be time for me to see if he’s got something like an iPod or something that I could use to sleep. Sound fair?” Elisabeth won’t let him give up his own rest for her. They have to watch out for each other.

"Yeah, that's fine. See if he has any comics or anything, or like one of those classic children's books like Wizard of Oz. I want something to read to the kids." Magnes just sits there, allowing her to get settled in. "I'll see Edward too. Don't worry, we'll get out of this. If there's anything I know, it's making impossible stuff happen."

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