"Didn't you used to get arrested for /refusing/ to fight Nazis?"
<NYC> Grand Army Plaza - Brooklyn
Across from the entrance to Prospect Park stands the immense triumphal arch of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument. The oval plaza behind it has an enormous centerpiece fountain featuring the allegorical figures of Wisdom and Felicity with various attendants. There's plenty of space for strolling and sitting here, and it's a popular place for photo shoots.
The plaza is packed, today, with demonstrators carrying a dizzying variety of signs, banners, shields, and flags. The alt-right presence is heavy with white power symbols ranging from Nazi swastikas to various Confederate flags to old Norse runes. There is one small contingent (which the main body of the white nationalists are trying to avoid while actively side-eying) whose flags show a swastika ringed with a double-helix wreath, carrying signs to the effect of 'Vanguards of the Master Race', 'True Ubermensch'. One almost disturbingly attractive blond-haired blue-eyed man among them has a sign that simply shows the silhouette of Magneto in his signature helmet and cape.
Facing them off is an actually somewhat larger gathering of leftist protesters from a grab-bag of organizations and disorganizations. Their flags and signs are similarly disparate, though heavy in antifa symbols, flags from IWW and other labor groups, and generally the colors red and black. A fairly significant portion of those present on both sides are visibly armed beyond the usual survival necessities in a city that has periodic zombie plague outbreaks, and some are even wearing tactical gear.
There's almost as much press here as actual demonstrators, mainstream and independent alike. The NYPD is out in force as well, though without riot gear for the moment, merely standing in long lines by the sidelines, looking bored and, in some cases, disdainful. Quite a few of them are streaming the scene on their smartphones.
"Do you think they /know/ he's Jewish?" Ryan is eying the mutant nazis' Magneto flag with a /highly/ dubious expression. He's perched up on a cement post, dressed in black rain pants (despite the sunny day!), gleaming silver Docs, a tee shirt that reads 'This faggot bashes back.' in rainbowy text around a red and black anti-fascist flag logo. He's also sipping from a glass Coke bottle, through a straw. "Fascists do have Google, right?"
Steve follows Ryan's gaze. Frowns even deeply than he has been doing since he arrived. "Fascists also have extremely selective attention to detail. And memories." He is wearing a sky blue t-shirt with the image of Captain America's shield on the chest -- perhaps somewhat redundantly, since he has the /actual/ shield slung across his back -- much-abused blue jeans, and scuffed black combat boots, with a glittery rainbow water bottle hanging from his belt. "This...this certainly brings me back." His jaw is set hard, his shoulders tight, as he looks over the still-gathering crowd.
Dusk's /wings/ today are far more simple in design than their usual intricate paintjob: just red and black, stark and divided in an enormous anti-fascist banner when they're unfurled. At the moment they're not -- just folded in neat against his back, gleaming black-tipped claws occasionally twitching. He's otherwise dressed plain -- old Vans sneakers, jeans, a black tee with a red stripe across its chest. "These days seems like the entire country's got a pretty fucking selective memory. -- /YO/," a flare of his wings, a beat (that stirs up a powerful down-draft), and he's briefly above the crowd, "edgelords, you know Magneto would crush you like fucking bugs, right?"
"Oh my god..." Marinov's hands are resting on the top of their head gently as they survey. "I think that fascists use Bing," jokes the young mutant hollowly, looking wide-eyed at all the various alt-right signs. They wear a black tank-top, a pair of short black shorts and a red jacket. The tank-top has a rendering of a swastika crushed under a boot, with the words, 'Stomp that shit out'. There is already a tension carried in their frame and a light rise of fur around their neck.
The mutant nazis shout back at Dusk as he begins to descend, but if there was any coherent reply in the angry outcry, it's drowned out by the rising (and impressively coordinated) chant from the main body of the white nationalists: "FUCK YOU FAGGOTS!" to a cadence that usually take the format of "Let's go, our team" so familiar at athletic events. The chanters begin a steady, slow push toward the leftist protesters, a line of symbol-laden home-made shields at the forefront. The anti-fascist contingent pushes back, and somewhere along the line diving the two sides, a scuffle breaks out, though it is hard to see through the press of bodies who started it or how serious it is.
"That would explain /so much/." When Dusk takes flight Ryan stands up -- atop his post, first, head tipping back to follow the winged mutant. He hops down pretty quickly when the line of chanters start to push forward, not actually bothering to reliquish his soda. "Not /really/ my type, yo." His initial cheerful answer, before his louder (much louder, assertively /amplified/) ringing counter-chant -- "We're here! We're gay! We stomp the KKK!" It continues even without his voice to guide it -- his /actual/ chanting lasts only as long as the first swing that is taken at him. Smile now brighter and just a bit /bloodstreaked/, he is quick to chuck his glass bottle away (helpfully, over the shields and into the crowd of nazis) before throwing a hard left hook toward the man who just hit him.
Steve's expression turns briefly more perplexed than angry. "What's 'bing'?" He raises his eyebrows slightly at Marinov. Looks back up at the chanting, and then the pushing, he also wades into the fray, though with considerably less cheer than Ryan. "We're here! We're gay! We stomp the KKK!" he booms, his voice lacking the benefit of audiokinesis but formidable all the same.
The left picks up Ryan's counter-chant quickly, ragged at first but quickly smoothing out and drowning out the nazis' faux-stadium bravado. Ryan's attacker staggers back from the force of the blow, but he is replaced by several others, hands grasping at him in a bid to throw him to the ground. Steve has an easy time getting to the front line, and the first nazis to stand in his path look not a little intimidated. They press their shields closer together and lower their stances, as if bracing to be tackled. Behind them, one particularly eclectic flag (divided into several sections to feature the stars and bars, the stars and stripes, /and/ a coiled rattlesnake, all overlaid by a swastika) tilts violently and then rises back up even faster as its bearer smashes its pole down at Steve's head.
Dusk swoops down in a flurry of wind, a streak of red and black, skimming low over the fray -- not to attack, per se, but to /yank/ shields from the hands of many of the nazis at the front. They're made quick work of in his hands; it looks improbable that they should break and splinter and crumple as easily as they do, whether heavy wood plexiglass or metal, and yet.
"Umm, Bing is- we'll talk about it later," says Marinov, just before the chant starts up. They join in, voice not as strong as Steve's, but it's something. "We're here! We're gay! We stomp the KKK!" The felinoid teen pushes through the crowd, stepping towards one of the nazis reaching out towards Ryan. "Fuck off and your signs are ugly," they growl, grabbing at him to tear him away from what he's trying to do and staying low to keep some leverage.
Most of the nazis duck as Dusk stoops toward them, but a few try to swat at him with their shields, flags, and signs. None of these are particularly effective at preventing him from breaking up their phalanx, however. The muscle-bound man whom Marinov grabs wheels around on the teen, "Hey look, the freak brought a /freak pet!/" he roars, not so trying to shake off Marinov as steer them /in/ to the ranks of his fellows. "Grab 'em in the /pussy/!" yells another man in the crowd, to a few peals of forced laughter, as he swings at the feline teen.
Ryan throws a hard elbow at the ribs of one of the men who grab at him, sends a sharp kick towards another one's shins -- that doesn't stop him from going down, ultimately, amid the press of people crowding at him. He's tucking, half-rolling in the direction of the man Marinov is pulling at, aiming for some gap in the booted feet to get himself back to his feet. "/Ugh/." A bit strained but no matter. "Fascism is bad enough but bad puns?" Some things are a bridge too far. There's a sudden quiet -- all around them, a sudden louder peal -- in a directed funnel just in /front/, as much of the aggregate noise and clamor of the crowd is gathered, focused, amplified into a reverberating outward boom that shudders (painful, disorienting) through a column of the attackers in a relatively straight row back from the one grabbing at Marinov.
In the time that it took the flag-wielder to wind back for their strike, Steve has pulled the shield from his back and raised it to block the pole. In the same motion, he brings the shield down ahead of him and pushes back against the now somewhat less robust line of somewhat less robust shields in front of him.
Dusk thumps down to a landing -- amid the crowd of nazis, /on/ the crowd of nazis, he's not overly picky, dropping his armful of crumpled and splintered shields on the ground at their feet. "You got yourself /some/ priorities, man." One wing is stretching out, almost casual as a long hard wingspar lifts straight into the path of a few men intent on charging the group of counter-protesters. "You okay, friend?" Called louder as his eyes cut over to Marinov.
"Ohh--oh shit." Marinov may be quite strong, but they are not heavy at all, and thus pretty easily dragged forward by the musclebound man. Instead of trying to pull back, they wind back their fist to punch him in the chest to try and dissuade him from pulling any further. Their ears fold back protectively, despite fortunately not being in the targeted zone when Ryan's boom blasts through the crowd. "I'm... okay!" Marinov calls back.
Ryan's sound blast actually knocks down the punning nazi before he has a chance to hit Marinov. He falls down onto the person behind him, who is also unsteady from the blast. A row five deep goes down like dominoes, in time to trip up the nazis Steve pushed, quite of few of whom also fall, the rest dropping down low to desperately push back at him, but either way leaving Ryan enough room to get back up. The man whom Marinov had grabbed and who then subsequently grabbed back emits a loud 'oomph' upon being punched, his grip loosening, though his free hand aims a punch at Marinov's midsection in retaliation. Farther back, the crowd /tries/ to part around Dusk as he lands, but there's not really enough room. Amidst the scrambling, falling bodies and the shouting, pushing ones trying to get past the obstructing wing, there's a glint of steel as one small, dark-haired man in a white dress shirt and khakis pulls out a knife and slashes at Dusk, low and quick and distressingly precise.
Ryan rolls back to his feet, tongue swiping over his teeth. "Man, it feels like playing with the /lane/ bumpers on, how easy y'all go down." Blood and incipient bruises or no, he is yet cheerful about his newfound sport of nazi-bowling. His hands come together in a resounding clap -- this time aiming another narrow-focused cannon-blast of reverberation in a sharp line toward the man slicing at Dusk (and, hey, through a couple flag-waving others standing between them as well.)
Steve keeps pushing on, plowing into the ranks of nazis, grim-faced. He works his way closer to Marinov and Ryan. With another forward shove of his shield, he turns to call back to the antifascists, "Forward!"
The man with the knife, perhaps owing to his stable fighting stance, does /not/ go down at the amplified blast from the clap, although the flag-bearers behind him do. He flinches hard, though, slapping his free hand over his ear. The rest of the nazis are trying to regroup, surging forward to pick up their fallen warriors (or just stop over them, in a couple of cases. Behind Steve, the left also rallies, surging toward to clash again with renewed energy.
The Vanguards of the Master Race take this opportunity to come to their less-evolved brethern's aid. The handsome man with the Magneto sign charges into the gap space that had been cleared by Ryan's blast. Fragments of broken flagpoles, half-drunk water bottles, and other miscellaneous fallen objects suddenly rise up into the air all around him and then fly, with great speed if not any particular accuracy at Ryan and Steve and, perhaps only incidentally, Marinov.
Dusk's eyes open wider at the slash that comes at him. His hand slices down in a sideways snap at the knife-wielding hand (harder than he might otherwise have in a plain fistfight) though not quick enough to stop the gash through his shirt, the blossom of red that oozes along his stomach. He pushes forward even so at Steve's command, shoulder turning in toward the man who just struck at him. A low growl rumbles in his chest at the sudden barrage of detritus that is flying -- taking a step forward his wings flare out wide and huge, their full span more apparent now as their large flaglike membranes raise in a(n unfortunately very sensate) barrier in front of Marinov and Ryan.
Marinov tries to dodge out of the way of the punch, but there are too many bodies around and they still take at least a glancing blow. "Hfff..." They roll with it, though, used to much stronger blows from Fight Club and lean in to give him a mighty kick to the gut. "Huhwha-?" they ask when objects start to rise. At first, they expect this to be the work of a mutant ally and relax slightly, but the uncomfortably attractive mutant nazi's presence causes them a distinctively feline growl to emerge from their throat and their ears remain flattened. The feline teen extends their claws, but stays behind Dusk's wings to avoid being hit with debris. "You okay?!" they call over the sounds of the crowd, lots of growl in their usually smooth voice.
Dusk's wing makes a muffled crack against the knife-fighter's forearm, which bends at a rather unnatural angle just below the wrist. The man shrieks, dropping his weapon and curling in around his injure arm even as Dusk plows into him. He goes down, and two of his fellows rush forth to aid him, their eyes fixed wide and fearful at Dusk even as they drag the wounded man away, screaming for medics. Most of the nazi telekinetic's projectiles bounce off of Dusk's taut wing, but some of the splintered wood tears into the membrane, wetting the bright red skin with dark red blood. A few of the objects make it over the wing into the crowd of leftists behind them or past the reach of the wing toward Steve. The telekinetic smirks and turns his hand in the air, making a beckoning motion. Steve's shield abruptly tugs to one side, and then forward, interfering with his ability to block if not outright coming off his arm.
Ryan's hand comes up reflexively, blocking his face at the hail of detritus and dropping only with the first pattering of shards against -- Dusk's wing. Not /his/ pretty mug, /phew/ -- though relief is soon enough displaced by remembering to stay mad. Fingers coming up to touch lightly at Dusk's wing, pressing at it -- not that he could move the huge thing if he wanted to but just to /encourage/ it to fold back up out of his way, he's stepping forward with hands lifting like he's conducting a /symphony/.
Probably not necessary, but a little flair never hurt --
"Cover your ears," he's encouraging the leftists behind him; the waves that jangle forward are loud enough this time to be heard more clearly all around, even if the /force/ of it is directed at their opponents. On each downward stroke of his invisible symphony, a cymbal /clash/ -- at least that's what the crowd hears, more or less. What it /feels/ like, first for Pretty Nazi and then for his buddies in turn, is a stomach-churning nausea and a shuddering ripple of pain.
Steve raises his shield to deflect the incoming missiles, but the shield doesn't quite cooperate and a broken length of wood from someone's picket sign slashes his arm open. Undaunted, he forages on. He does not cover his ears at Ryan's warning, and the noise barely even crinkles his brow, though granted it is not aimed at him. Charging at Pretty Nazi, he winds back a mighty right hook and punches him in his square Aryan jaw.
Dusk's snarl is harsh, fangs bared as the debris tears into his wingsail. His growl deepens, continuing (but now rather drowned out) as Ryan begins his symphony of pain. He glances over momentarily to Marinov, checking to make sure the teen is okay as well -- "Just a scratch, it'll heal," even though there's a noticeable flap of skin hanging loose and leaving a possibly not-flight-worthy rip in his wing. Bloodied wings curl in against his back, leaving a nice clear path now for Marinov (and their claws) to get back at the nazis. His eyes are screwed up in a bit of a wince at each clash, but, with his growl still layered underneath his speaking voice and his snarl (tight, tense) curls up into more of a smile: "Now you're playing my song." Dropping just a tiny bit back to shift alongside rather than in front of Marinov, now, one of his wings sweeps forward, hard long bone thwacking at the legs of the True Ubermensch.
Ryan's warning prompts Marinov to grab the ends of their ears and tug them down hard to try and drown out the sound. When Dusk's wing lifts out from in front of them, though, they let go and just keep their ears down as tightly as they can while still having claws free. "Nuh uh," they say, digging said claws into one of the so-called Vanguards of the Master Race's shoulders to keep him from helping his attractive cohort, punching him viciously in the side with their other hand.
The nazis in the rear ranks waver for a moment and then begin fleeing. What started out as a few cascades, and soon /most/ of them are departing from the plaza at a precipitous rate, casting down signs and flags as they go. The Vanguards of the Master Race remain, if only because they have been overrun by the anti-fascist contingent surging triumphantly forward. The telekinetic crumples at Steve's feet just in time to get smacked full-body by the sweep of Dusk's wing. The one Marinov leaps on flails and trips on Dusk's wing, falling flat on his back. His strength is quite formidable, and he's able to get free despite the disadvantageous position, but the teen's claws leave deep gouges in his flesh.
/Now/ the police move in, half trying to clear out the leftist protesters even as they take the plaza and half rounding them up for arrest. A knot of officers in riot gear zero in on where Dusk, Ryan, Marinov, and Steve are still tussling with the Vanguard, rounding up anyone they can reach.
When the nazis turn to flee, the cymbal crashing segues seamlessly into the twanging strains of "All You Fascists" -- less loud, no bursts of pain accompanying, just Woody Guthrie's voice singing after them: "Yes sir, all you fascists bound to lose." It plays through the whole chorus, Ryan's conducting ending with a flourish, a deep bow --
-- that he offers with a /smile/ to the approaching cops. "Wow, what a surprise. Guess it's pretty clear you y'all are here to protect and serve, huh?"
Steve turns around and stares down the cops coldly. "Are you actually going to take us in for chasing off /literal Nazis/?" His voice is calm, but he stands his ground, shield held at his side. His right fist clenches and slowly unclenches as he lets out a long breath. Glances at Ryan and nods. "Least it shows which side you're on."
"Things have changed a lot since your day." One of Dusk's wings has been half-unfurling again, gently shaking off some of the blood that is dripping down from it. When the cops approach he folds it back in with a /quickness/, though. "Didn't you used to get arrested for /refusing/ to fight Nazis?" It's probably a rhetorical question. Dusk is sticking close to his friends, standing taller, jaw set, but not moving as the cops arrive.
"Fucking cops," grumbles Marinov to themselves, backing off from their assault on the Vanguard. They put their hand on their side with a bit of a wince and give the cops a baleful glare. "Guess some people don't appreciate it when you clean up trash..." mumbles the youth before falling silent and standing still near to the others.
A few of the Vanguard still lie groaning on the ground, though any who were able have fled, the police making no obvious effort to capture them (or, in fairness, anyone who is actively departing the scene). As for those who remain, they are methodically binding them with plastic zip-tie handcuffs. "Nothing personal, Cap," says one heavy-set Sergeant. "They got a right to freedom of speech, even if you don't agree with them. We're just following orders, keeping the peace."
Ryan is glancing to Marinov, watching the teenager with a greater tension in his frame. It eases, in part, when the police start corral people /without/ the further application of weaponry; only once they start handcuffing (and not hitting) does he allow himself a breath. "Think we got a long day ahead of us. Hope you didn't have other plans." Hands already crossing at a carefully wide angle to impede (as much as possible) toooo much overtightening of the zipties, he crooks a grin over at Dusk. "Happy birthday, man." His shoulders tense up again at the Sergeant's words, though. /This/ time his eyes dart to Steve; his words (derisive though they may be) come with a softening flutter of calm that eases over the others nearby him. "The fuck are people going to learn? You can't /have/ Nazis and free speech." His jaw sets a little bit tighter. "At least, you can't have both for /long/."
Steve returns the shield to its harness and presents his hands. His eyes widen at the cop's words, his mouth falling slightly open and his shoulder tensing. His eyes dart to his comrades -- meets Ryan's gaze, assesses the damage to Dusk's wing, lingers at last on Marinov. He swallows hard and clenches his fists harder, keeping them still for cuffing, though at Ryan's words he relaxes -- slightly, but visibly. "Selective memories," is all he says, finally.