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move from the darkness

Discussion in 'Pandora, Year 1 - 7' started by Magnus Bane, Mar 24, 2018.

  1. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    March 15th, Year 7
    tag: @John Silver

    Magnus felt a little guilty leaving Alec behind while he went to visit John, but John made it pretty clear when Magnus called to ask about coming to visit that he'd prefer it if it was just him. Magnus couldn't entirely blame him -- after the fallout of everything the month before he wasn't sure how awkward the first meeting between Alec and John was going to be, and that probably wasn't the sort of thing he felt like hashing out while he was trying to detox himself and recover. But Alec understood, or at least he said he did.

    So it was by himself that Magnus arrived at the facility that John was staying at, signing himself in and waiting until he was allowed to go see him. He wasn't sure if he'd be going to John, or if they would bring John out to the waiting area that he was in, or how any of this worked. There were rules, he was certain, though he had no idea what they were. He'd already been given a general overview of things he might want to avoid talking about, making sure he wasn't sneaking anything in for him, etc., etc.

    "Alright, Mr. Bane, you can follow me," one of the workers told him, and Magnus stood up and straightened his dark blue dress shirt down over top of his faded grey jeans before following her through a doorway, surprised to find that he was actually a little nervous himself. What if John didn't really want to see him, or what if he was doing much worse than Magnus liked to hope? What if he said all the wrong things and only made all of this more difficult?

    It was too late to turn back now, though, and he braced himself for whatever he might find.
     
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  2. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Sometimes it was odd to think how priorities could shift when life enforced change upon one.
    While John had always hated the cold, he was now occupying the garden of the rehab facility most of the time - whenever possible. Not only did he not bother to dress warm enough when he went out, but he also simply didn't mind the cold wind anymore.
    The garden was the only place in this hellhole that made him feel a little less trapped. A little less like he was a walking file number with no relevance other than his diagnosis scribbled upon a stupid piece of paper.
    With every passing hour it became harder to convince himself - remind himself - that being here was the better option, that he was doing himself a favor.
    Because, frankly, everything had been better out there.
    Or at least, so it seemed.

    John took a drag from his 7th cigarette of the day.
    Smoking didn't help as much as he hoped it would, but it replaced the emptiness with something, it kept his hands busy, gave him something other to do than stare at the flowers slowly beginning to bloom.
    His loose T-shirt wasn't covering the scarred track marks on his arm, the bruises of which were only slowly fading, nor did it fully cover the bandage around his right shoulder where the stranger had pierced the skin with a knife.
    The black ink of his two small tattoos upon right wrist and right upper arm, created a stark contrast against his goosebumps-covered skin which had once been much less pale than it was currently.

    Angie's visit had managed to stir up the day for a little while, it had made things seem a little more colorful, a little less hopeless. But that had been two days ago, and now the world was bleak and heavy and lonesome again. John had never before felt so empty. Nothing felt good anymore, not the way it had with the heroin and the venom. Every fix had revealed an easier, brighter side to life, and now all of that was gone again and he was left with the remains of a world that had once felt much more worthwhile.
    He missed it. Every goddamn day he left his room thinking about this blissful syringe-full of escape, and every night he went to bed with the same thought.
    But it didn't help him sleep.

    They had added more meds to his list ever since his third therapy session with the doctor whose name John didn't bother memorizing. And now he was supposed to see another doctor, a different one, some kind of specialist about this thing called PTSD which was apparently responsible for the nightmares and flashbacks the heroin had kept at bay.
    That was what he's been most afraid of. The biggest reason preventing him from even attempting to quit.
    And it was hell. He couldn't sleep and when he did, he woke with the smell of smoke and the taste of blood and a scream stuck somewhere in his throat. He woke to the sound of a gunshot sending birds flying high into the blue skies and the lullaby of the sea, spilling blood like ink into its depths.
    Other than dreams, there were also stumbles through reality, when on occasion his mind got hung up somewhere else and in the blink of an eye he was in a different place - a place amidst war and death and loss and everything hurt.

    The white-coats here took care of a lot of things, no matter if John liked it or not.
    Aside from handing him medication meant to soothe the withdrawal, they had also stitched up his stab wound properly, changed the bandage and cleaned up the injury. They also send him to check-ups about his leg, all of which John would rather have gone without.
    Without the numbing qualities of the drug, every step was a pain again and he found himself falling back into his limp much more often. His shoulder ached, too, the stab wound healing much too slow for John's liking. A part of him wanted to hurt. Hoped that if only he suffered enough, he would be forgiven.
    But the other part of him just wanted it all to stop.

    When there was knock against the glass slidedoor that led to the garden, forcing him out of his drifting thoughts, John looked up from the cigarette in his hand to find Magnus on the other side of the glass.
    For a moment the former pirate didn't move, just watched how the worker who had accompanied the warlock left them alone, returning to their office desk.
    Silver was aware that he didn't look his best. He hardly slept, and that was getting to him. He smoked too much, too. Between the bandaged shoulder and the limp in his step and the scarring track marks, most of all though, he probably looked very, very worn. Exhausted not only in the physical matter of the word.
    Looking in the mirror sometimes made him feel like he was looking at his own self several months back in time - when the war had still been continuing and he's been the one meant to lead it.

    He took a last drag before putting out his cigarette and discarding it in the closest trashbin, blowing the smoke out into the cool spring air, he only then turned to slide open the glass door and let Magnus step out to join him - he wouldn't have needed to do so, the warlock could have opened that stupid door himself, but somehow John felt like he's needed to let Magnus know that he did want to see him.
    There was only a short moment of hesitation, a passing distance during which John just stared at the other, before he pulled the slightly taller man into a tight hug with his healthy arm (or, well, his not-stabbed arm, seeing as neither arm could really be called healthy at this point).

    "I didn't think you'd come to visit..."

    The words were unusually honest for him but more out of exhaustion than any more intimate reason. He couldn't be bothered to hide, to lie anymore. Not to those who knew anyway. Not to those who wouldn't buy his smile and a cheery I'm doing great.
    There was no use in claiming he hadn't doubted that Magnus would want to ever hear from him again. Maybe, the warlock knew that already anyway. Maybe he could guess that John had assumed he's caused the man too much pain as that he could ever hope to see his friend again, at least not on good terms.

    John's voice spoke of the same exhaustion the rest of his appearance easily revealed, sounding used even though it hardly was - insomnia and nicotine were probably to blame for that.
    He held the hug for too long, too tight, needing to just stay in the warmth of a stupid embrace for a little while. Hoping a hug could somehow put him back together again so he wouldn't need to figure out a way of doing so himself.

     
    #2 John Silver, Mar 28, 2018
    Last edited: Mar 28, 2018
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  3. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    Magnus noticed a lot of things about John just from looking at him through the glass door, but the most prominent was that he simply looked exhausted. Not just tired, but entirely worn out, and it was the kind of exhaustion that you could tell if you looked hard enough was just as much mental as it was physical. For a moment he thought John might just stare at him and then turn him away, but then he came to the door and opened it, allowing Magnus access to the garden area.

    The next thing Magnus noticed was the smell of cigarettes. Not just the one he just finished smoking, but the older, more stale smell that came from sitting on someone's fingers long enough, getting in their hair and their clothes. John wasn't just smoking now, he was smoking a lot, which, considering the alternative, wasn't the worst thing he could be doing.

    But it was easy to forget all of that at the words he spoke in greeting after wrapping his arms around him. It was so easy to get caught up in the moment, in the here and now of knowing that John was safe, and on the road to getting clean. He brought his own arms up to wrap around his friend, returning the hug with an extra squeeze, but careful not to hurt his arm.

    He had so many things he wanted to say but he remained silent for the entire duration of the embrace, perfectly content to simply be there for him, something which John had obviously been questioning up to this point. He wouldn't stood there like that until they kicked him out if that's what John wanted.

    But eventually, when they took a step back again, Magnus gave John a small smile. "Of course I came. I wanted to be here earlier, but when I called at first the doctors thought it might be best to give you a little time to settle in rather than bombard you with immediate visits and... reminders." Magnus couldn't help but feel guilty about that. Using his magic to help with the pain of the withdraw symptoms for so long an enabled John to go on as long as he did before... "I'm sorry if I should've come sooner." Magnus didn't have a lot - or any, really - experience with this. This was new territory for him, and the last thing he wanted to do was something that might make things worse for his friend, intentionally or otherwise.
     
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  4. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    The hug lasted for a small while but it never quite felt long enough. He never wanted to move away from it, just close his eyes and pretend to be anywhere but here. On a hot beach with a wife he's lost, in the midst of some random English streets with mud to his feet and sea gulls far above his head, the smell of the ocean, and him, much too small to handle the world, always hungry for things he could never have.
    Anywhere but this godforsaken place which was branding him for a slip-up he's so badly needed.

    Even when they did part, John's hand lingered against Magnus' arm as if he was afraid the other would disappear if he broke contact.
    Or maybe he just wanted to know him close.
    The other's words made John shake his head shortly. He didn't blame anyone, for anything. He wasn't even sure whether he blamed himself.
    "Don't. There's nothing to be sorry for."

    For a moment John was silent, just staring at his own fingers against Magnus' shirt, before he finally dared retreat his hand.
    Magnus didn't disappear.
    Nodding softly towards one of the garden paths, he invited the other to take a walk with him. All things considered, it was a nice, pretty big garden. It even had a small lake. John was pretty sure he would have went mad by now if it weren't for this garden.

    "How.. are things with Alec?"

    The guilt inevitably stained the words and for once John was feeling too weak to cover it up. He knew he's really fucked this up and out of all the things he's done under the influence, this was the one he regretted most of all, perhaps the only one he truly regretted at all.
    Most of what he's ruined had been his own life, but this was an entirely different case.
    This was something he should never have dared to stain, and yet he had. So what that he's never wanted to cause harm? He had, and that was all that mattered in the end.

     
  5. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    Magnus made no motions to move away from John as his hand lingered on his arm. How long had it been since he had someone visit him? Had Aaron come at all? Did he have any other friends he would've told about this? Magnus was only just realizing that, for as quickly as he'd grown to consider John a friend here in Pandora, he knew very little about his life outside of their own personal interactions. If what John needed right then was some physical interaction Magnus was more than happy to simply be here for him.

    Assured that he'd done nothing wrong in waiting to visit, the pair of them turned to head down a path through the garden. He wasn't surprised to find John out here instead of cooped up inside, even if the weather hadn't taken a warmer turn quite yet. He wanted to talk about John, about how he was feeling and how his recovery was going - if he was in pain, if he thought this was something he could keep up with even after he left. There were a million things he wanted to ask, but mostly he just wanted to make sure he was okay.

    But John didn't start by talking about himself. Instead he asked about Alec, and the warlock could hear the guilt behind his words. "They're good. He's good," Magnus said, face breaking into a small smile at the thought of Alec even here, even now. He couldn't help it. "He wanted to come today, but got called in to patrol. He said to tell you he hopes you're doing well, though." Magnus wanted to make sure he passed that along, because he knew how much it would mean to John to know that Alec didn't hold any ill will against him for anything that happened. That neither of them did, no matter how much he might blame himself.

    And just in case it didn't go without saying, Magnus decided to say it. Because now more than ever it was vital that John didn't hold on to any more demons than he already had to deal with. "None of that was your fault, John. Anyway, it all worked itself out in the end. Water under the bridge," he said, with as casual of an air as he could muster and accompanied by a literal wave of his hand, as if waving away any lingering concerns on the matter.
     
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  6. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    The paths in the garden were considerably even but John was still getting used to the chronic pain in his leg that had returned with the same intensity as his withdrawal symptoms had kicked in on the first day, and so he allowed himself to hold onto Magnus' arm for support while they walked without proper destination, his steps much more uneven than the warlock's.
    Of course it was partly his fault that the pain was so bad. He had spent too many hours arguing with doctors and snapping at them to stay the hell away from his leg.

    When Magnus reassured him that he and Alec had made up again, John was doubtful at first. Wondering whether the warlock was merely trying to soothe his concerns, not wanting to be truthful not to upset him.
    But mentioning that Alec apparently meant him well, too, soothed his suspicion as well as surprised him. It wasn't that John had expected Alec to hate him for the rest of eternity now... but he kind of had.
    It was probably evident in the almost shocked way he looked towards Magnus, an unspoken question in his glance as if he was somehow expecting there to be some catch to the other's words.

    "Thanks."
    The smile that almost made it to his lips never really reached his eyes.
    Doing well was a matter of perspective. He was mostly healthy, had a roof over his head and food to eat, a warm bed to sleep in. In that regard he was doing very well. Better than he had oftentimes in his life. But on the other hand there were many aspects that were far from well, especially when it came to his mental and emotional state. But when had either of those ever been really doing well?

    It seemed Magnus didn't need any explanations, perhaps he understood that John blamed himself even without saying. Maybe it was just a very common aspect of such situations or maybe John was just this predictable, or maybe Magnus simply knew him well enough by now to be able to tell. Whatever the reason, the warlock's words - as friendly and reassuring as they were intended to be meant - only lured a bitter laugh from the sailor.

    None of that was your fault
    It was easy to say that but John wasn't stupid. He knew it was his fault - not because his self-loathing drove him to think so but because it was the logical conclusion.
    It had been his addiction to kick this whole mess off in the first place. His secret that had caused conflict between Magnus and Alec.
    How could this possibly not be his fault?

    But he didn't want to argue or waste his breath proving that it was his fault indeed. It wouldn't make a difference anymore. He couldn't change the past, no matter how clever his words.
    He could only shape the future, with a little bit of luck.

    For a moment John fell silent, just watching the flowers around them slowly beginning to blossom in the early spring breeze.
    "They diagnosed me with something called PTSD. They explained what it meant but I don't think I'm really understanding it."
    Maybe he didn't want to bother understanding it. Because as long as he didn't understand, it was easier to distance himself from it. To convince himself that none of those odd terms and symptoms were in any way really connected to him.
    That he wasn't sick or broken or in need of help.
    That there wasn't anything wrong with him, that the world hadn't managed to ruin him.

    "They seem to think that to be the reason for why I ... "
    He had to pause for a second, trying to find the right words but unwilling to speak them.
    ".. why I took heroin in the first place."
    If one bothered to pay attention there were a lot of avoidant phrasings in John's words.
    The way he never referred to the doctors by name, the way he proposed this as if 'they' had made those aspects up themselves rather than merely concluding them from the things John had been forced to spill in his therapy sessions.
    To someone who'd pay attention, it would be obvious just how desperately John was still trying to distance himself from everything in this place, especially all that was in fact related to him and his addiction.
    But to those who knew him, that surely wouldn't be surprising in the slightest.
    After all, when had John ever tried not to escape all that was painful and all that he feared?
     
  7. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    Magnus frowned, but didn't say anything more, at John's bitter laugh. He'd said what he had to say on the matter - and whether John believed his words or not, it was all he could do for now. He didn't blame John, not for the way things played out. Magnus could've told Alec at any point, but instead he snuck around, researching things in bars across Pandora, keeping books at the library at the school so that Alec wouldn't stumble upon them and realize what he was doing. Not lying about the times he met with Raphael and John, but not telling him about them, either. That was all on Magnus, and the way he chose to go about trying to help his friends.

    He knew that John might not see it that way, at least not now, but hopefully he would in time. The fact that Magnus was here now, and would continue to be here for as long as John would allow, would hopefully serve to drive that point home. He wasn't angry at him, he didn't hold any sort of resentment over what happened, and so long as John didn't push him away entirely, Magnus would remind him of that simply by being present.

    But John didn't say anything more on the subject after the laugh, and Magnus allowed it to drop. Especially when what followed was a diagnosis that, while it caught him by surprise, made sense given what little he knew about John's past before Pandora. "It's a fairly recent concept, even for my time," Magnus said. He imagined some of the more modern concepts of psychology could be easily lost in translation to anyone from a time before accepted labels for these sorts of things. "But it's an increasingly common thing, so the good news there is that if they're diagnosing it, they probably have a good idea of what will help the most, now." He was sure John had seen his fair share of battle, of loss. Of whatever happened that made him lose his leg. Magnus had no doubt that it was a pretty accurate diagnosis, even if John's discussion of it was concerning.

    He sounded like he didn't want to accept it. As if he could write off his 'whatever that means' dismissal as a way to ignore the problems he came here to face in the first place. Magnus was glad they were out here in the garden and not stuck in some room sitting across from one another at a table. This felt much more natural, and the little silences that fell between them were easier to have sit there, despite their weight, while looking at the budding nature around them.

    "And what do you think?" Magnus asked. John spoke a lot of the doctors and what they thought, but if Magnus wanted to hear that he would've called and spoken to them. He wanted to know that John was alright, and what he was thinking and feeling. It was why he came to see him, after all, as nice as "How are you doing with everything?" Maybe those were some loaded questions, and maybe John wouldn't answer them. But he wanted to know that, even if everything felt awful this early on, John was at least getting something from putting himself in here. He knew better than to ask if he was okay, or how he was feeling, because those answers were obvious. He was in the earlier stages of a controlled withdraw and it was going to be awful for a while yet to come.

    But beyond the surface, he hoped that John was at least getting some sort of help out of all this. That he could see it working in the long run.
     
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  8. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Walking here together almost made it easy to believe that everything was alright. That it was just two friends taking a walk to catch up with things after a while apart. It was easy enough to distract himself with the beautiful nature around them and the quiet singing of early birds but John tried not to allow himself to do so.
    He knew this wasn't a place of avoidance, that letting everything pass him by was a waste of time and wouldn't get him anywhere. If he didn't want to fall right back into his habits once he was out of here, he needed to invest effort and work into this whole thing.
    It was just that he wasn't certain whether he still had enough left in him to invest.

    Magnus' words on the diagnosis were sparse and not really informative - but John didn't want lectures from his friend, so he was fairly glad the other didn't try to explain to him what this diagnosis meant or what it could or would result in.
    He had shared the information because he's felt he owed the other as much, at least. Keep him informed, make sure he knew his care had never been in vain.
    But, as so many things John spoke of, it wasn't quite as simple. Retelling information the doctors had given him was easier than speaking about how he felt, what this place did to him, what voices whispered in his head at night.
    And maybe with someone else he would have easily been able to pull that off, but Magnus was too smart not to realize what John was doing. And perhaps he cared too much not to ask.

    And what do you think?
    The sailor lowered his eyes, stared at the cobblestones to their feet and watched his own irregular steps for a silent moment which surely lasted much longer than he consciously realized.
    His fingers dug a little tighter into the sleeve of Magnus' shirt but they were adult men god damn it and Magnus was his friend. He didn't need to be protected from something John himself couldn't even call by name.
    And the warlock deserved worlds better than having his friend hide from him and be avoidant and defensive about any question posed.

    John swallowed before forcing his glance away from the ground and towards the clouds instead. For a moment. Just to feel the weak sunlight against his skin.
    "I find it hard to think anything at all. I miss the needle every damned day and sometimes... sometimes I wonder whether any of this is even worth the bother."
    But this wasn't even half the tale and no matter how heavy the truth might have weighted, he didn't want to keep it from Magnus.
    Not after everything the other had gone through just to help him.

    "The world is bleak now that I'm sober and it never seems to be getting easier to find any beauty in it now. Everything aches. I am restless and I can't sleep and I am afraid of the things I see when I close my eyes."
    All these words sounded pathetic to him. They were filled to the brim with the kind of weakness John had always battled with all his might. And he hated himself for saying them at all.

    "I miss my wife. But then I realize that if she were to see me this way, she'd resent me.
    Any apology I can think up just doesn't seem enough but there is so much I have to apologize for. To Aaron, to you, to Raphael, to Naomi and Arcade and-"

    He cut himself off for a moment to take a breath.
    It were useless words in the end. Words that wouldn't change anything. But Magnus had asked and now John didn't know anymore how to speak in careful choosing.

    "But worst of all is that I don't know if I can make it through this. I am terrified that all my apologies will be in vain. I feel miserable, Magnus. And I have never loathed myself as much as I do now."
    Again silence fell. The words themselves ached but what ached most was knowing that it was probably far from what the warlock had hoped to hear.
    Somehow a part of John still couldn't shake the thought that the other had come here to find peace of mind for himself first and foremost, because people were selfish like that and because thinking Magnus had actually come here because he was worried was somehow much more difficult to bear.

    While his words up until this point had been almost desperate, a touch too fast, too strained, what he said next was calm once more. Sounding much more securely in its rooted meaning, much more unwavering in whatever may come.
    "They say only the dead see the end of war. I thought I was done with it when I ended that war. I didn't think it would ever catch up with me. But it has now and I don't think I can fight it again."
    In the end, perhaps, this was what it came down to.
    This was another small part of what was hidden away at the very core of all the things Silver had tried to run from.
    And it wasn't to be taken lightly.
    "But I know that I don't want to die and ultimately if I don't at least try to fight it again, I choose death, don't I?
    And I can't do that. I haven't survived this long just to die from a fucking overdose in some stupid world where all I had to do to survive was to actually want it."


    A soft shake of his head accompanied the chuckle that escaped him though it lacked any amusement.
    "I know I have to do this. If not for my own sake then at least for you, for Aaron. For those who matter. I don't know if I can make it but I have to try. It's the least I can do."

    Maybe at some point he would realize that therapy was most useful when done for oneself and not for another. But so far it was near impossible to think of it this way. As selfish and greedy a man as John could be, when it came to self-destructive tendencies he was just as skilled as when it came to survival, as ironic as that was. And while he's used to only ever do everything for himself, only get involved when it was to his advantage, those times had changed now.
    There were people he cared about, people he wanted to be his best possible self for. And that was so much more important than doing so for himself.
     
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  9. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    Magnus honestly didn't know what to expect after he asked those questions of John. The immediate glance down at the stone beneath their feet, the feeling of hands gripping just a bit tighter against his sleeve on his arm, told him that it wasn't something John particularly enjoyed thinking about, no matter what answer he gave out loud. If he gave an answer -- part of Magnus expected John to simply keep walking and remain entirely silent.

    He wouldn't force him to talk. He wanted to know, yes, and he cared enough to ask -- but if John wasn't ready to open up to Magnus about whatever it was he was feeling, about whatever it was he had on his mind these days, now that his mind wasn't so clouded with drugs and chasing highs to think clearly- Magnus wasn't going to badger answers out of him.

    But he didn't have to. After returning his gaze upwards first, clinging to the silence a moment longer before speaking. First came the admission that he still missed the drugs, which didn't surprise him to hear. And then came a lot more, slowly at first, and then in a rush of words that held a sense of urgency in their importance, the weight of them sitting heavily on Magnus as he listened, silent, waiting for what followed. He fought the urge to chime in multiple times with kind words and reassurances, instead just nodding now and again to show he was still listening without interrupting. He was careful to listen, attention rapt and undivided, until he was certain John was done, at least for now.

    "I think giving it a try is all any of us hope to see," Magnus said finally. "No one expects to to walk in here and walk right back out a changed man, or anything as cliche as that." He gave John a small, kind smile. Hearing him say he was giving this all a shot because he didn't want to die as as good a start as any. "I can't say I know your wife, or anything much about her, but I like to imagine anyone who knew you - anyone who knows you - would be proud to see you doing what you're doing right now." He felt confident enough that he was speaking for himself and Alec, but also mostly likely for Raphael (who was going through the same thing himself) at the very least. He liked to imagine it would hold true for the others mentioned.

    "And I assure you, and will continue to remind you as many times as it takes, that you have absolutely nothing to apologize to me for, whether this works out or not." He had to admit it was a possibility. Whether John fought the doctors too much, or whether this sort of treatment simply wouldn't work with the former sailor, the possibility of rehab being a 'failure' was a very real one. All he could do was try his best to be supportive, whatever that entailed in the moment.

    "Of course, I do think you're underestimating your own abilities here. I have no doubt that you'll come out of all this on the upswing." He chose his words carefully, knowing that 'come out alright' might be too bold of a statement, and elicit only more condescending laughter in response. But the idea that he would come up with things starting to turn around, well, that didn't seem so very impossible. The idea of getting better was different from the idea of just magically being better.
     
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  10. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Kind words was something John had never thought much about. They could be powerful, they could be helpful, if phrased correctly and not overused, but more often than not they were just a tool to gain trust, to create false reassurance and safety. They were an easy excuse out of an uncomfortable situation, the kind of thing one felt obliged to say more often than not.
    And it wasn't until Magnus spoke such kind words, that John realized he's needed to hear them - not only because he would probably be able to count on one hand how often people have said anything nice to him at all, and even less so meant it - but also because it didn't seem to matter in that moment whether Magnus' words were in any way close to the truth.
    They were soothing, in a way. Encouraging. And they didn't sound like empty promises, unlikely to ever come true.
    They made John feel a little less like he had to stem the entire world in an attempt at making things right.

    So he just listened, just took whatever the other was willing to offer and for a moment, things seemed.... better. Lighter.
    "Thank you."

    It seemed like too little an answer, like too little to express his genuine gratitude, and he still needed to learn how to do that; how to be grateful, how to apologize, how to hold on, no matter how terrifying it seemed.

    For another moment they just walked in silence and John looked out for the spring sun, eagerly awaiting its warmth and light and smell of a summer breeze. Awaiting the days when he wouldn't have to rely on cardigans and jackets for much longer and when walks along the beach wouldn't feel like the end of the world.
    "I thought about moving, once I'm out of here. Tavoie Borough, I thought. I've always liked that place. I played with the thought of gifting Aaron the spare key. If... he'll want it, that is..."

    For a moment he left a frown slip, a thoughtful glance to the side revealing that perhaps he's spent much more thought on this than he wanted to let show.
    "Would you help me move? Your portalling abilities would spare me a lot of backpain and trouble."

    His smile returned easily, a move performed too often to be switched off easily now. He met the warlock's eyes questioning, a touch of hopeful enthusiasm revealing at last that John had not given up on himself quite yet.

     
  11. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    Magnus was starting to wonder if perhaps he'd over-done it with the pep talk. He never knew where to draw the line when it came to these sorts of conversations - at what point did one start to sound more condescending than actually encouraging? Did John even want to hear anything he was telling him, or was it all going in one ear and out the other as he counted down the minutes until Magnus was gone and he was alone again?

    But they seemed well received in the end, and the small 'thank you' was more than enough for him to hear in return. He was glad he came here, glad he took the time to visit John even when he wasn't entirely certain John wanted to see him. It was a risk, the possibility of having the door shut in his face the moment he arrived, but the welcome he got was anything but cold, and seeing John smile again was promising.

    "That sounds nice," Magnus said. "Alec and I looked at a few places that way over the winter, it's a good area, I think you'll like it." If John thought a change in scenery would do him some good then it certainly couldn't hurt. And planning for the future, beyond just getting a new place but also potentially giving Aaron the extra key, meant that he was really thinking about his future after he got out of treatment. That gave Magnus cause to smile more than anything else.

    "Of course," he agreed easily. "I might be able to move everything in one go," he said, working through the spell in his mind. It would be a little different than the times he uprooted himself in New York, relocating his apartment to avoid detection or simply for a new view, but he might be able to make it work. "I'll see what I can cook up before then." He made the promise, equally glad for the distraction to focus on later.

    "And if I'm feeling particularly generous perhaps I'll even help decorate," he added with a wink, only half-joking, remembering a conversation or two they had over Magnus' particular design choices in his own house after he and Alec moved in.
     
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  12. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Sometimes it still took him aback how much approval he was receiving from those he had come to call friends. How much support, how many kind words.
    It was the kind of thing he couldn't help but be conflicted about. It was a constant battle of a deeply rooted fear, the disgust he felt every time he let someone take care of him, the way he hated himself for showing weakness. And it was the fear of commitment, of abandonment, the fear that all of this would come to an end and if he allowed himself to care too much, it would ruin him.
    These things didn't make recovery easier and John just wished he would be able to stop worrying for once, stop being so damned on edge all the time. But it had been literal decades since he's allowed himself to ease into a more or less stable life - and that wasn't a skill easily learned.

    And yet, it was good to see Magnus smile.
    See him appear a little more relaxed, a little more content.
    Being selfish didn't save one once one actually cared. And much to John's misfortune, he did care about Magnus and even in his own struggle he hadn't been able to ignore how much all of this affected the warlock, too.

    I might be able to move everything in one go

    John didn't know how the other's portalling powers worked, but that seemed a bit excessive.
    Blinking, he looked towards the other, trying to figure out whether Magnus was joking - but apparently not. It wasn't that John had a large flat. Far from it, really, and yet moving all the furniture at once sounded problematic.
    "Really? That's... impressive."

    How often exactly had he said these words to Magnus already? Too often, surely.
    At the offer of helping decorate, the warlock lured a first proper laugh from the sailor.
    It sounded a touch rough around the edges, a little worn. But it was a laugh nonetheless.
    A surprising offer yet one very much appreciated.

    "I couldn't possibly decline that offer. As long as the bird likes it, too."

    He grinned at the warlock; clearly the cockatoo would also have a say in the new place's decorations.

     
  13. Magnus Bane

    Magnus Bane The Mortal Instruments

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    Magnus shrugged, giving John a modest grin. What could he say? It would be a great deal bigger than most of the magic he used in Pandora thus far, but he didn't think it would be a problem. It certainly wasn't out of his skill set. "I only used that sort of magic before with locations I already had on reserve, waiting to be relocated to. I'm not sure if it'll work in Pandora, but I think I can rework a thing or two to account for the environmental changes." The forces that kept Pandora constantly shifting, new locations and new people arriving daily, it seemed, were difficult to work around when it came to some of his location-based spells and wards. He was learning and adjusting, but this wasn't like the early 1900s when he had entire apartments waiting to be moved into at the drop of a dime (or, more usually, the unfortunate discovery of his location by people he did not wish to have that information).

    "If not I can at least conjure things up in smaller batches, and portal the larger pieces." Either way would be much faster than the mundane way of moving things about, so even the least amount of help he could offer was infinitely better than John's alternatives of doing it on his own. "Just let me know when and where, and I'll be there." It was an easy promise to make. Of course he would set aside the time to help his friend. A bit of advance notice so he could make sure he had the reserves necessary for that amount of magic and it shouldn't be much of an issue.

    He was only half-joking about the decorating, but was pleased that John seemed willing to take him up on it. It'd be a nice excuse to spend some extra time together after John was out of here... honestly, before he agreed to have Magnus come visit, the warlock was concerned he might decide to isolate himself from him after everything that happened. Finding out that wasn't the case was the best news he got in a long while. "We can always decorate around the cockatoo. He can be the centerpiece of the new place."
     
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  14. John Silver

    John Silver Black Sails
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    Whether it was truly the general kindness of people John still found himself surprised about, or the fact that this kindness was directed towards him, he couldn't tell for sure.
    If he would ever figure out a way to just accept that, he didn't know, either. But for the time being it was perhaps the best thing that could have been gifted to him.

    As for the workings of magic? Well, that he would probably never understand but he didn't need to. It was all the more beautiful for all its weirdness and John gladly took it for what it was, without asking or attempting to make sense of it.

    We can always decorate around the cockatoo. He can be the centerpiece of the new place.
    Laughter escaped him at these words and the image those words created in his mind - it was a ridiculous idea but John couldn't quite say he hated it, either.
    "Are you offering to decorate my entire place in peach and pink tones? No, thank you. The Captain is suffering from a much too large ego as it is, he really doesn't need the encouragement."

    This was good though. It was a little slice of the life he's had before everything's went to hell around here. It was nice to chat about stupid home decorations and not think about today or tomorrow or the itch in his bones and the scars on his arm.
    Leave it to Magnus to know exactly how to cheer him up, be it on purpose or not - and John hadn't genuinely laughed in a while, not realizing how much he's needed to.

    They strolled through the garden without any hurry, and John didn't bother checking the time. He enjoyed the other's company, glad to leave the clinic behind for a little while and hoping Magnus would come to visit a few more times, even though he understood that this wasn't easy for the warlock either.
    It wasn't really easy for anyone.
    But maybe that was alright.
    Maybe that was how he knew it was serious.

    Holding onto Magnus' arm, he let the other choose which of the little paths to walk while their topic of conversation changed with time, and for a little while, John forgot about where they were and why they were here.

    The End

     
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