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Latest revision as of 13:47, 21 April 2020

In Which No Customers Are Served and Other, Lesser, Blessings are Counted
Dramatis Personae

Dusk, Polaris, Taylor


"Sanity? In this economy?"


<NYC> Evolve Cafe - Lower East Side

Spacious and open, this coffeeshop has a somewhat industrial feel to it, grey resin floors below and exposed-beam ceilings that have been painted up in a dancing swirl of abstract whorls and starbursts, a riot of colour splashed against a white background. The walls alternate between brick and cheerfully lime-green painted wood that extends to the paneling beneath the brushed-steel countertops. There's an abundance of light, though rather than windows (which are scarce) it comes from plentiful hanging steel lamps. The walls here are home to artwork available for sale; though the roster of prints and paintings and drawings and photographs changes on a regular basis it has one thing in common -- all the artists displayed are mutants.

The seating spaced around the room is spread out enough to keep the room from feeling cluttered. Black chairs, square black tables that mostly seat two or four though they're frequently pushed around and rearranged to make space for larger parties. In the back corner of the room is more comfortable seating, a few large black-corduroy sofas and armchairs with wide tables between them. There's a shelf of card and board games back here available for customers to sit and play.

The chalkboard menus hanging behind the counter change frequently, always home to a wide variety of drinks (with an impressive roster of fair-trade coffees and teas largely featured) though their sandwiches and wraps and soups and snacks of the day change often. An often-changing variety of baked goods sit behind the display case at the counter halfway back in the room, and the opposite side of the counter holds a small selection of homemade ice creams. A pair of single-user bathrooms flanks the stairway in back of the cafe; at night, the thump of music can be heard from above, coming from the adjoining nightclub of the same name that sits up the stairs above the coffeehouse.

It's been nothing but chaos today at Evolve, a heavy stream of traffic -- both old regulars stopping in for some long-desired comfort and new faces just looking for an escape. It's an odd sort of atmosphere, oscillating between almost festive and almost tense -- a collective breath held too long and caught just on the edge of a laugh nobody seems quite ready to let out. By the time Taylor is taking his lunch break he's looking a little ragged, many arms wilting at his side, eyes heavily lidded, steps dragging. He pulls himself off toward the back, toting a laaaaarge mug of coffee and a bowl of tortilla soup with a side of crispy chicken wings, plucking at the strings of his apron with one slim arm. "Sorry, no," he's telling a hopeful-looking blonde woman who is starting to approach him, even before she begins her question, "I'm on my break."

One of the couches in the back is occupied, currently, by a gangling heap of bones wrapped up in corduroy and velvet-soft wings. Dusk has sprawled himself out, taking up more room than maybe he really ought in the crowded cafe, one wing curled around himself like a cloak and one spread out on the couch. In faded brown cords and a soft blue v-neck tee he would look almost casual, though the sharply gaunt boniness of his frame, the heavy pallor of his skin, the keening edge of hunger that is in the back of his mind sizing up that woman as she approaches Taylor, these detract a little from his casual air. Even so, his sharp-fanged smile is as warm as ever. "Damn right you are. Yo, T, saved you a spot." He sits up, unfurls his other wing, beckons beside himself on the couch. Even pushes his dishes -- he's got coffee and stroganoff -- to one side to make room. "You bite anyone's face off yet?"

Polaris's shift hasn't technically even started yet, but she's been here anyway, sometimes helping out but more often just kibitzing with the regulars. She's in a close-fitting black babydoll shirt with a cartoon mug wearing a pair of round black glasses and holding a wand, captioned "Espresso Patronum!", black jeans. Her boots, belt, and wrist cuffs are all adorned with copious steel hardware, and her leaf green hair is loose at the moment, though extra wavy for having been braided most of the morning. She trails Taylor somewhat, carrying her own lunch--tofu bahn mi and a tremendous pumpkin spiced latte--her mind notably more chaotic than usual, filled with anxious darting thoughts that clash with incipient grandiose ones. "Hey! How you been?" this is bright and probably aimed at Dusk -- she's seen plenty of Taylor today. << Oh my god he looks like death warmed over how is he still so hot is it messed up to think that--sorry Taylor. >> "If you're beat, I'll ask if I can start my shift early? Take a little pressure off?" << Or would I just get in the way. Fucking madhouse in here. >>

"Please, you are not the first person to look his way and think damn I want a piece of them bones. Bro," Taylor is dropping heavily down onto the couch, his limbs writhing themselves into something like a comfortable configuration as he slumps into the crook of Dusk's wings, "you got no idea the kind of necrophilia-tinged dreaming you inspiring up in here today it is a distraction." He swipes up his coffee, wincing as he takes a large gulp but following it with a second one anyway. "I been on my best behavior but I've had some close calls. Lord please know what you are asking. Start your shift early do you value your sanity?"

"Sanity? In this economy? Who can afford that?" Dusk's opposite wing stretches out, too, beckoning as well -- plenty of couch for all. << Not dead yet. >> The sharp hungry edge only spikes as Taylor settles in. He reaches for his bowl, spearing a piece of beef and munching on it. "Not my fault I make a damn fine corpse." He tips his chin up to Polaris. "I've been enjoying this excellent coffee. I mean, like, also starving and going fucking crazy, but thank God that's over. How you doing?"

Polaris blushes, but her smile is unself-conscious as she tucks herself beneath Dusk's other wing. She sets the sandwich aside and curls both hands around the mug for the time being, her intricate wirework rings clicking softly against the ceramic. "Yeah, that last whole month um..." Flashes of a claustrophobic cell, alternating and overlapping with a hospital room, fleeting and spare on details but surreal and near-overwhelming in their emotional intensity. Outwardly, her breath hitches just once, barely perceptible. "I mean, we didn't have it all that bad," she concludes finally, soberly. << Can I just offer him my blood blood? Is that weird? (Kinda hot though) Ugh shut up you've watched too many vampire movies. >> "I do value my sanity when it's around, but that ship is about to weigh anchor anyway, so I haven't got much to lose. Gotta do something with all this energy that isn't--driving my housemates up the wall." << Or banging strangers in the bathroom. >>

"Not this bathroom, please. There has been enough weird-ass shit happening in there today. Be glad you missed the sinks all turning to fucking blood this morning like I know we been doing plagues and all but we do not have to cover them all." Taylor coils an arm around his soup, cradling it in a nest of thick muscle as he leans back against Dusk's wing. "-- shit, sorry, I guess that would've been a damn buffet for you. It was a nightmare, though. -- You tried gardening? I hear that's, like. In now."

This does get a tiny rumble of growl out of Dusk, brief and low in his chest. "You know who pulled that trick?" His question is veeery casual, but the sudden desperate hope that flares in his mind is not, underlaid with fragmented half-images of days spent curled up in bed, his arm poked full of toothmarks as he tries to ignore the too-loud feel of Hive's pulse thumping in the next room; packing up Alanna's food and cage to send her to Ryan care for; "What the hell are you doing?" through Steve's gritted teeth as his own snap on air. Dusk closes his eyes, tips his head back against the couch. "Eh, I feel like this past month was probably hell for just about everyone who wasn't some rich asshole. Wendy was still doing deliveries right? Probably nerve-wracking."

Polaris leans forward to peer at Taylor. "Wait that actually happened? Haley mentioned, but I seriously thought they were kidding." She settles back, as well, nuzzling Dusk's wing gently, long glossy hair catching against the velvety nap of his fur. "Oh man, lemme tell ya, I have left a trail of wilted plants in my wake. Wendy's great at it, though." Her shoulders pull in a bit tighter. "Yeah, I mean--she never got sick, but the way folks were about Asian people. Way some folks still are..." Her hands tighten around her mug. "I know the walls got ears, but either of you know if Leo's...safe, at least?" << Like the media would know or care if Prometheus grabbed him back up. >>

"People have been a fucking bag of dicks, I can't imagine. I've heard some shit from Dai and he only barely went out." Taylor's eyes tighten at their corners, his shoulders tensing at the images rolling off of Dusk. "I'm -- sorry, man, I don't actually know. I'll keep an ear out, if they turn back up. I -- thought we had it rough but man it sounds like you got a raw-ass deal these past weeks, how..." He hesitates. Takes a bite of soup. "Are you holding up?" His brows furrow deeper at the question of Leo, and he shifts uncomfortably where he sits. << I'm sure Ion wouldn't let him just -- hang. >>

A soft purring thrum starts up in Dusk's chest; his wing rubs gently back against Polaris's cheek. "Eh? Yeah, I'm hanging in." There's a brief tension in his jaw that belies the heart-stop shattering that momentarily weighs down his thoughts, a sudden despondent stab that he banishes as soon as it hits. He swallows his bite of beef, shakes his head. "Glad you all stayed healthy. Fucking terrifying. Flicker didn't come home through most of it, but I was --" He chuffs out a quick snort. "Just, thank God." He swirls his fork through his noodles, his wings tightening fractionally against his companions. "I don't know about the long term, but he's safe right now."

Polaris curls closer to Dusk beneath the press of his wing, quiet for a moment, nursing her coffee. "Thank Leo," she says softly, her smile coming slow. "But I guess I can give God some credit, too. It was a wholeass Passover miracle." Sudden and unbidden, her mind flashes to the chaos and terror of a single moment in a Riker's Island cell, feeling herself reach for the steel in the mercenary's gun and knowing she wouldn't be quick enough even as the man collapses onto himself, his body caving in as his skin turns blotchy and-- She whimpers quietly beneath her breath and buries her face in Dusk's wing. "I'm glad he's safe," comes earnestly enough. Also earnestly, "*Fuck*."

Taylor's brows knit. Then knit even deeper. His eyes dart between Dusk and Polaris, and his shoulders hunch down, several arms coiling in around himself as he slowly sets his soup aside, lifting his coffee instead for a long and silent swallow.

"Yeah." Dusk just wraps the other two a little bit closer. "I'll count the miracles we've had and -- try not to feel greedy if I pray for just a few more."