We'd Like To Take You Home


b_eileen_icon.gif donna-varlane_icon.gif young-magnes_icon.gif b_sable_icon.gif

Scene Title We'd Like To Take You Home
Synopsis Expectedly, someone comes looking for Magnes. Unexpectedly.
Date April 4, 1998


It's taken a day. Whether that's less time or more time any of them anticipated a confrontation is difficult to say. It's hard to know what resources Samuel Sullivan has available to him, and how much time even matters when it's being toyed with as easily as clay. But they probably could at least anticipate that danger was inevitable. Or else they wouldn't be here.

The sun is only just beginning to rise, when the waning cover of darkness is utilised to its maximum potential. While dawn isn't at its point where true clarity is staining the skies purple and pink hues of coming light, the world is painted in a kind of chilly grey, where shadows bleed together. Unknown to the two warm bodies inside the more or less abandoned cottage in rural Staten Island, someone is creeping along its perimeter, someone who is masked and darkly clad, undoubtedly armed, and coming up on panther-silent feet to crouch by the ivy-riddled wall of the building.

Eileen woke first, out of all them, driven out into dwindling night to freshly scout the area with her little army of watchers after sleep had claimed her. Whether she's spared a set of morning birds to eye the building might well be up to chance and fate. After all, the stranger has gotten this far.

Magnes rolls around next to Sable, slowly stirring, then shoots up straight and starts rapidly looking around. "It's time for table of element flash cards!" he exclaims excitedly, then reaches over to start rapidly shaking Sable, having pulled the cards from his backpack. "I have to do my flash cards so I won't become stupid! The elements are what I'll use to make bombs and suppress the liberal agenda and bring democracy to China!"

There is simply no sound reason to leave young Magnes without some conscious watcher close at hand, and however miserably accepted the task might have been, Sable has kept herself awake since Eileen's leaving, yellow eyes ringed with ill-tempered red. She slept okay, adapting quickly enough to bedlessness, but she's never quite gotten used to really early mornings. The dim morning light barely peeks through the half-overgrown windows of the basement, perhaps nervous about confronting Sable's glare, fixed as it is, albeit unfocused.

She's relying on her eyes right now, because her ears are busy. Paradox risk or no, Sable's brought her iPod back with her, the one Magnes himself gave her in future times when such contraptions were available. Her earphones are clapped soundly over her ears as she depends on the relentless beats of the Queens of the Stone Age to keep her mutinously murky mind from slipping back into unconsciousness. Her chin moves as her head bobs ever so slightly with each blow to her eardrums.

Thank God, really, since that means she misses pretty much all of what the suddenly much too awake Magnes says. He was sort of cute, slumbering away, expression benignly serious the way that children get when sleeping. Now that his eyes are awake and alert… Sable wrinkles her nose and pulls her headphones off.

"Jesus, whatall th' fuck is it? Whassat y' got there?" she squints at the flash cards, "what th' hell is that for? Y'all a librarian? That a card catalogue yer carryin' around?"

"It's Saturday, April 4th, that means it's table of elements flashcards during breakfast while eating Total cereal, a banana, and a glass of brain stimulating fruit juice with vitamins blended into it. Tomorrow is star flash cards. VY Canis Majoris contradicts stellar evolutionary theory!" Magnes shouts excitedly, pushing the cards into her stomach. "Monday is quantum physics equation flashcards! Shrodinger, Pauli, Rydberg!"

So now she's the one with the cards. Sable lifts them, pretty much automatically and without anything resembling thought, reading the first in the stack with a furrowed brow. 'What are the names and atomic numbers of the Transactinide synthetic elements?'

"Oh, hell no, hell no," Sable says, shaking her head vigorously and letting the flash cards fall from her fingers in a periodic variation of 52 card pick-up. "Y'all mistake my purpose, boy. Time of crisis. Puts a pause t' all this shit. Y'all want a real goddamn education, though?" She slips a thumb up under her earphones and tugs them free of her neck, her other thumb managing the dial of the iPod, spinning through her song selection until she reaches that jewel of music genius, Sgt. Pepper's.

A small adjustment later, and Magnes' ears are securely held under the sound canceling bells of Sable's headphones. A press of a button later, and those captive ears are being treated to the opening track. There is a brief space, about twelve seconds, of partial quiet, in which Sable fixes Magnes with a steady look, enunciating clearly so that her mouth motions can compensate for the faintness of her words. "This, boy, is a fuckin' education. Musical genius, and I'd know. Listen th' fuck up. Quiz comes after."

Upstairs, the sound of wings buffeting against a window is whisper-soft, but it might as well resonate through the cottage like a blaring klaxon. Before she left, Eileen promised she'd warn Sable if she came across anything during her patrol of the property's perimeter, and although the little catbird beating itself against the glass in the kitchen doesn't carry the Englishwoman's consciousness inside of it, it speaks for her in a shrill, rasping voice.

Something outside is very wrong.

The figure goes still at the sound of shrilly bird noise around the edge of the house, hand going towards their back where twin pistols are strapped over kidneys, loosing one from holster with a too-quiet shift of leather and metal. What Eileen can make of the intruder is that she's female, and moves with an agility that seems a contrast to not the typically lithe build that one would expect of a masked ninja — but she moves like one anyway.

Despite digital format, music rattles cleanly and clearly in Magnes' ear phones, almost entirely masking that incessant chirping.

It was twenty years ago today,
Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play
They've been going in and out of style
But they're guaranteed to raise a smile.

The wall of the kitchen window that Eileen is occupying remains free of threat. However, a shadow passes along the high window of the basement — brief, like fish against the glass of a tank creating shadow. Someone moving by, the shadow cast by moving legs and quiet feet, gone in a blink.

Magnes stands up immediately, eyes wide as if he's suddenly seeing the universe unfold before his eyes. Then, he starts bouncing up and down, flapping his arms as if he's trying to fly. It's probably the most like a child that Sable has been able to see him so far. "Cats on Parade!" he yells randomly, for no apparent reason. It's also the band name Magnes suggested not long ago.

The music is trapped against Magnes' little head, so Sable's ears are free to catch the frantic flutter and the rasp of the catbird. It's really shitty timing, because were danger not imminent, Sable would be having a moment of close to pure joy as Magnes forsakes those miserable cards in favor of flapping his arms and babbling nonsense. That, my friends, it what childhood is for. And adolescence, and adulthood, if you can manage it. And don't think she doesn't recall the feline procession. The name is the needle of Fate, binding the cloth of time into a totally sweet banner that will bear their band's triumphant name. A sign.

But no, they just have to be being hunted by a gun-toting, masked so-and-so.

"Motherfucker," Sable growls, looking to the winged shadow against the window. She turns back to Magnes and moves with a purposeful swiftness, slipping her arms up under his mid-flap, catching him up and lifting him into the air. Sparing no time for explanation, she hauls him over to the stairwaya and deposits him under it, the darkest, most well covered space down here she knows about. She tugs off one earphone and says, very, very clearly. "Quiet 'n' still. Stay put. Gonna take care 'f somethin'."

This may be it. The knowledge gives Sable momentary pause. The next moment, unpaused, brings her lips to the top of Magnes' head. A light kiss. "My love's with y', any way this turns out."

The moment after, she's moving up around and onto the stairs, hand scooping her knife from out of her pocket, thumb sliding the blade into place and into purpose.

Sable's shadow crosses by above Magnes' wee head, dartingly detectable through the slats of steps that rain a fine falling of dust with each percussive stomp. Or not stomp, because likely, in a confrontation, you want to move quietly, and Sable is of a sensible breed. The villain outside certainly doesn't detect her approach, but she does seem to detect that her presence might have just been given away.

Coming across entryway that comes through the kitchen, where once upon a time, someone might have used it to move in and out to serve fresh breads and potato salad on a nice New York, Staten Island spring for an outdoor lunch, she puts a bare hand on the handle. Locked. A decision is made, after she glances over her shoulder, scouts out the area through her tinted goggles, and levels the barrel of the pistol at the locking mechanism.

Sable will be just surfacing by the time the locks of the kitchen door blow inwards in skittering metal parts and flying wooden shards. She'll have a second, maybe less, before the figure outside is inevitably barreling in.

Magnes pulls the earbuds away once Sable starts heading up the stairs, then he reaches forward to pull his backpack into the shadows with him. He starts rummaging through it, then pulls out a little tin box that says Little Genius' Science Kit (TM). He opens it up, using the light from the iPod as he starts mixing powders into a little vial, muttering measurements under his breath. He won't let his future enemies take him without a fight! "I wish mother would let me have plutonium…"

Sable has no actual combat experience, at least nothing close to this. Street-side scuffles and homeless turf wars, yes, but her only knifeplay got her a broken arm and she has a bad (altered) history with guns. The shattering of the lock nearly sends her toppling back down into the basement, and she almost loses that second-or-less just regaining her balance. A hand against the doorframe steadies her just in time to make a split of a split second decision. Knife gripped tightly, she crouches on the second stair from the top, legs tensed, ready to pounce at the first non-Eileenish thing to move into her view. Get in close, she figures, where guns are of less use, and blades make quick work. Get in close, she hopes, and her reflexes may just be able to keep her alive. She can't dodge bullets, after all.

It's far too quiet, in the wake of a gunshot.

This is what the villain thinks anyway as she skulks, undistracted, into the quaint kitchen with her gun drawn and pointed at the floor. Unaware of the layout of the land and the location of other people, she begins her roving searching through the house. The teasing sound of foot steps can be clearly heard by Sable, even if they move as quietly as they can.

Finally, the black clad figure steps into view, a shoulder turned away. Thin black cotton beneath a vest of body armor, head covered in thin wool and eyes masked. Capable as this attacker seems and moves, it's the yellow-eyed hero that gets first visual.

Magnes stays hard at work, continuing his silent muttering. "Sugar, KNO 3…" He tries to keep calm even at the sound of the gunshot, his voice wavering but staying low. He grows even more nervous, and stops reciting anything related to his project, instead trying to calm himself down. "Ionize an ant, ant bites mouse, mouse bites cat, cat bites dog, dog bites people, people bites people, radioactive animal ant people are made…"

Someone with a brutal knowledge of anatomy would know just where to slide the blade and twist to make the masked figure drop her gun. Maybe it would involve tendons or something, Sable doesn't know. She is not such a someone.

So she just goes for the upper arm and hopes for the best. Springing up out of the basement with a freakish, high pitched screech, Sable emerges from the basement like a creature from Evil Dead. One arm slings up to grapple around the assassin's neck while a leg drops down in front of hers, hooking and locking to make movement difficult. And, last as well as first, her knife drives hard at the thick muscle of her upper arm, with full intention to pull down, hard.

The screech certainly gets some attention, and not the kind that involves winging the gun around and emptying the clip, though tension springs up muscles to indicate that this was the attacker's intention before Sable was all over her. She's moving, however, not with supernatural skill, but the capabilities of a trained martial arts expert. The tip of knife scores easily tearable cotton, but doesn't leave much more than a burning scratch of red when Sable finds herself with an armful of strength and movement.

Gun fails to go off again, but the grip clips sharply in a blunt blow to the side of Sable's knee, pain without dislocation.


That would, quite suddenly, be a familiar voice drifting to Magnes' ears, and filling up Sable's, at this range. "Magnes Jay Varlane!" An elbow comes up, its trajectory aimed for Sable's face. "You get up here right now, young man!" Maybe Magnes' family is full of supervillains, because the woman engaged in fisticuffs yells with that same blood curdling, fear of god authority of Donna Varlane.

Probably because she apparently is.

Magnes' spine straightens, gripping his vial of powder, and his other vial of liquid, then quickly stands and goes running up the stairs. "Yes mother? I'm sorry I left, it was important! Can we do table of element flash cards now?" he asks hopefully as he continues marching up the stairs.

She's only met the lady once before. But Sable already feels sort of pretty good about cutting this woman.

Of course, she'll need to be better than that if she's going to survive this encounter. That fact dawns on Sable, her brain remarkably well ordered (relatively speaking) beneath the facade of snarling lunacy. Snarling and crazy is, at first, her affect. Freak people out enough, they start flinching back, leaving themselves open. But this the woMan. Automatic immunity to crazy hippy druggy fear effects.

So Sable gets quiet, just long enough to give a one second gap before she's hissing in pain, leg leaping back to escape any further punishment after the first blow does its work. Goddamn it, she always forgets, when she grapples, she can't see and if she can't see, she can't dodge. Sable considers just stabbing wildly at Donna's neck and face, but the blow and the boom of her voice cow her. She's been yelled at a fair bit in her time. There is a primal fear of this precise tone in her still.

Sable releases the woman, sliding off her back and landing on her feet, trying to keep as much of the elder Varlane in view as possible as she drops into a crouch and…

Slashes across the back of Magnes' mother's legs while Magnes watches. Oh this is just fantastic.

She's only met the lady once before. But Sable already feels sort of pretty good about cutting this woman.

Of course, she'll need to be better than that if she's going to survive this encounter. That fact dawns on Sable, her brain remarkably well ordered (relatively speaking) beneath the facade of snarling lunacy. Snarling and crazy is, at first, her affect. Freak people out enough, they start flinching back, leaving themselves open. But this the woMan. Automatic immunity to crazy hippy druggy fear effects.

So Sable gets quiet, just long enough to give a one second gap before she's hissing in pain, leg leaping back to escape any further punishment after the first blow does its work. Goddamn it, she always forgets, when she grapples, she can't see and if she can't see, she can't dodge. Sable considers just stabbing wildly at Donna's neck and face, but the blow and the boom of her voice cow her. She's been yelled at a fair bit in her time. There is a primal fear of this precise tone in her still.

Sable releases the woman, sliding off her back and landing on her feet, trying to keep as much of the elder Varlane in view as possible as she drops into a crouch and…

Slashes across the back of Magnes' mother's legs while Magnes watches. Oh this is just fantastic.

The mask and goggles are halfway off, by the time Sable's knife finds purchase.

With a shriek, Donna staggers forward with balaclava and eyegear dropped, a knee coming down hard on the floor. Mussed curls whip around as she twists to stare icy vengeance across at the knife wielder, and never mind that Magnes is coming up the stairs — she's pointing her pistol towards Sable, and firing. Gunshots ring out, muzzle flare sparks, and bullets eat up walls and floors and dusty furniture in their pursuit for the girl with superhuman reflexes.

"Stop!" Magnes suddenly yells at them both, pouring the liquid into the powdered vial, then plugs it with the cork and throws it hard. It hits the floor at their feet, and suddenly a large plume of smoke rises and begins to fill the stairs and the kitchen, causing Magnes to cough and close his eyes, gripping the banister.

The best Sable's ability can do for her now is give her a better sense of Donna's hand motions. From there she can try to instantly figure out the general trajectory of the bullet-to-be-fired and thus dodge accordingly. This is not something she's qualified to do very well, but that slight, slight advantage (aided in no small way by the adrenaline pumping through her veins, amping her reflexive sensitivity way above normal) might just save her life.

She doesn't tapdance in place to escape the hail of bullets, but is smart enough to dart at an angle towards Donna, in the exact opposite direction as the drift of her gun. This works well, and she doesn't even get to be a proper badass and feel the whizz of a bullet blow a hole through her shirt as she moves out of the way in the nick of time.

Badassery will be left to the Varlanes. Magnes drops a smoke bomb. What the hell? She shouldn't have left him unsupervised, this is what happens. As the smoke billows up, Sable makes a mad dash for the stairway down, neglecting to slash Donna in favor of folding her blade and diving downwards to tackle Magnes. If Donna keeps firing wildly, she might actually hit what she came here to shoot. It make give him some bruises, but the bottom of the stairs is a safer place for Magnes to be, and Sable's whole propelled body weight is aimed at getting him there, post-haste.

Bullets fly too fast to barely make the filmy smoke in the air whorl in their wake, but they hit nothing — just the empty space above where Sable tackles Magnes down the stairs. With a grunt, Donna glances back over her shoulder at the bleeding tracks Sable's knife made in the back of her legs, but she's determined to get to her feet. Though she can't remove herself from the damage of the injury, she seems capable — in an alarming and unnatural way — to will the pain aside.

There's the sound of scuffing, of someone pushing themself up to stand. "Magnes, your father is so displeased," she threatens, unseen, but her voice carrying like an arrow down the stairwell. "Is this how we raised you? Is this how we brought you into the world? Now you're off making friends who carry knives? Switchblades are illegal, Magnes!"

Magnes grunts when Sable impacts with him, then yells for the entire fall, gripping Sable tightly. He has tears in his eyes from the pain of what damage he takes, then hears his mother's voice again. "Sable, it's illegal! I wanna go to college and meet Michio Kaku, if I go to jail they won't let me!" he panics despite the bit of pain he's in, trying to look up the stairs. "It's just my mother! Don't hurt her! She just thinks you're trying to hurt me…"

Sable wraps herself as securely around Magnes as she can, shielding him bodily until the sound of gunshots stops, and even then, she spread eagles to cover him further.

Her quick thinking skills are actually better than most. Getting in and out of scrapes is sort of a pastime with her. Split second decisions and fast talking are practiced skills. But Sable's also a little whimsical, and a dedicated performer. So when she hisses into Magnes' ear, she's back to the story. The script comes out.

"That ain't yer mom; yer mom don't dress in black 'n' use a gun. That's a shapeshifter. It's a trick. I c'n see through it 'cause 'f m' eyes. Y'all just hide, arright? I'm gonna take care 'f it." Yeah, take care of it.


Sable crouches down by the banister, peering up into the smoke and trying to figure out what Donna's going to do. Come down, or wait for Magnes to follow orders.

What Donna will do is find herself temporarily indisposed. There's an old saying about being better late than never, and later Eileen will ask Sable's forgiveness for being tardy. The swarm of starlings that floods into the cottage twists in a corkscrew formation toward Magnes' mother at the top of the stairs, and the Englishwoman is at least mindful not to send claws and beaks for her throat. If she and Sable are here to preserve the future, that means preserving Donna's life as well as Magnes', and although the little birds tangle themselves in her clothes and hair, scratching and shrieking and slashing, the wounds that they inflict are largely superficial and do not penetrate the skin deep enough to produce fatal amounts of blood, only hot red rivulets.

The woman commanding them is not far behind. From outside the cottage, someone is calling Sable's name.

Blam blam blam goes the gun, now, wildly firing both of them at the birds — but there are too many of them, and bullets are pure chance rather than accuracy, growls and snarls coming from Donna that don't sound much like the prim woman who raised Magnes. One of the handguns fall to the ground as she uses her hand to protect her face, and then the second one, arms cowering her head as she staggers back from the assaults of birdnado. The sounds of shrieking, human and avian, and flapping wings, fills the air.

Then something happens.

Difficult for anyone who isn't attuned to the birds to notice, although they will be able to hear the very sudden and shrill cries and screams from Donna as if she'd just woken up in the middle of a dream, collapsing and flailing her hands. "Help! Help!" she trumpets in a panic, face and hands bleeding from the assault.

And in Eileen's senses, there's something that feels a little like a tug at her own brain, something telepathic plucked away. One of the birds suddenly wheels from the flock in its own will, flapping and darting out the open kitchen door in a bid for freedom.

"Shapeshifter?" Magnes asks, apparently buying it before the flock of birds suddenly flutter around the woman. When he hears the woman yell, he immediately forgets everything Sable's been saying, then starts trying to get away and run up the stairs. "Mommy!"

Goddamit it, so Sable can't turn a sheltered boy against his mother that easily. She gave it her best shot. Sable grabs onto Magnes and holds him back bodily, twisting around to put herself between him and Donna's LOS again. She really, really doesn't actually want to get shot, but like hell will she live with Magnes getting hit.

The cries for help also stir Sable's heart a little. No killer, mercy comes pretty quickly and with arbitrarily strong force when sympathies are invoked. She buries it, though, remembering what this woman seemed capable of. Lacking psychic senses, she can only assume those are either crocodile-tear cries, or rightly deserved and late-coming pleas for mercy.

If the latter, they don't go unheard. The flock of starlings peels off like a wave washing back out after rolling into shore, moving as one, but rather than disperse, they stream after the rogue bird. The swiftest of them snags one of its wings in its claws, and the two of them go spiraling down to earth, hit the sodden dirt and are descended upon by those that follow.

By the time they're finished, there won't even be bones left to be picked clean.

But there is a fully grown woman left over, bleeding and confused, dressed in kevlar, still remaining. Loose feathers in her hair. "Peter?" she calls out, simpery, balefully. "Peter? Where— where am I?" And then a note of fear in her voice, remembering that strained cry from downstairs. "Magnes?! Sweetheart! What— " And then a sickly cry as she once again notices how much blood is everywhere, for all that her wounds are largely superficial.


No gunfire, no violence, just a disoriented Republican who advocates the right to bear arms— but probably wouldn't in this context.

Magnes almost tries to run again, then just closes his eyes, laying his head against Sable as he starts to pass out. He's exhausted from the stress of the night's events, and is hoping Sable will be a pillow. "Mommy…"

Mind control? Possession? Programming? That's what it sounds like from where Sable's standing, arms wrapped around a drooping Magnes. But, frustratingly, none of these jive with the shapeshifter story, which is Donna Varlane making a liar out of her. Pain in the ass, even when she's not gunning for her. Sable dips down and lifts Magnes up, looping his arms around her shoulders and using her arm as a sling under his bum. Slowly, carefully, she makes her way up the creaking steps and towards the recovering Mrs. Varlane.

"Whippoorwill, get on in here, I think she'll like talkin' t' y' a little better," she calls out to Eileen. Sable does believe that Donna will better appreciated Eileen's well pruned eloquence, but Sable also really doesn't want to bear the brunt of the wounded mother's confusion or rage. A little sneaky of her, but Eileen took her damn time, now didn't she?

Whippoorwill— Eileen appears at the top of the stairs at Sable's request, her windswept brown-black hair in a loose tangle and the collar of her wool coat turned up. She's been running, and with the birds now gone, she has to navigate the cottage with extreme caution, one hand gripping her cane, the other gliding the tips of her fingers along the nearest wall as she moves deeper inside.

Eloquence nothing. Her breathing is laboured, strained, and it's unlikely that she has enough oxygen in her lungs to call out Sable's name again, never mind string together a series of tactfully arranged words designed to redirect that confusion and rage elsewhere. She at least has the grace not to open and close her mouth, and sucks in air through furiously flaring nostrils instead.

It doesn't seem like Donna would listen to Eileen anyway. Her dark eyes narrow on Magnes limp in Sable's arms, and she doesn't see either woman.

"Magnes!" Despite injury, Donna is lurching forward, her hands out for her son and worry knitting lines in her brow. A gun carelessly skitters away when her foot knocks it aside. She may be a terrifying mother, but she is a mother. No longer in a position to be framed for the murder of her own son, it seems the mission is more or less complete, with drifting feathers still floating in the air, and shallow scratches marking flesh.

No one said fixing history was the cleanest operation.

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