ArchivedLogs:The Good Fight
|The Good Fight|
"Not enough people have family like that."
<NYC> Montagues - SoHo
Montagues harkens back to the day when SoHo was filled to the brim with artists, with its mismatched furniture, all plush and decorated heavily with carved wood, but remains trendy enough to keep its newer patrons by making sure that furniture is clean, in good repair and inviting. The antique tables all have been reinforced to seem less creaky. The real draw of the cafe is the smell: fresh roasted coffee mingles with perfectly steeped teas. Spices from crisp pastries mingle with the tang of clotted cream but don't overwhelm too much the scent of chalk on the menu boards.
The cafe is filled with people, but not overly crowded or jam-packed. It's lively, energetic - after all, a major mutant rights protest *did* just finish up. A good number of the people in the cafe, sipping on drinks and chattering away with each other, are protesters from that rally. But just as many are ordinary New Yorkers who just wanted to drink a non-alcoholic beverage, or eat a pastry, in a nice, comfortable place. In the middle of all this, on his phone, checking Twitter for news on the protest (both in the media, and from other activists), and waiting to get his green tea, is Jared Williams. Dressed in jeans and a long-sleeve t-shirt with the STAR WARS logo emblazoned on the front, he's trying to force himself to Turn Off and just relax...but not before one last checking of his feed. He pauses momentarily, looking up and glancing around, taking in his surroundings...
The young woman hovering near Jared looks a little pale, a little shaken. Desi wears a gauzy leaf green wrap tunic and a gauzy ankle-length skirt in royal purple, a patchwork corduroy bag slung over her shoulder and perhaps incongruously heavy black boots with silvery buckles. She hasn't ordered anything, though she has a thermos tucked under one arm and her hands wrapped around her smartphone, swiping furiously. As the cafe grows more crowded, she retreats a little closer to Jared and gazes around. "A lot of people are regrouping here, probably," she ventures, evenly. "Most of my friends who came aren't answering texts, though. I think they probably got swept up by the cops."
With as many people as are here, the bell over the cafe door is tinkling with some regularity. A pair of men vacating the coffeeshop hastily when a tall cloven-hoofed red-furred woman joins the line behind them, a trio of young teenagers tumbling in the door to look up from their phones with wide eyes and nervous giggles. And now it chimes again -- this time admitting a tall blond man, dressed impeccably in well-tailored pale trousers, a green seersucker button-down, dark Ferragamo loafers. Lucien holds the door open a moment behind him, his other hand tucking his phone back into his pocket, vivid green eyes sweeping the cafe before he beelines towards the counter. He does not, at first, say anything, instead just looking Desi over with a small furrow of brow. And then reaching to pluck her thermos from her arm, trading it for a tall matte black one and a small cookie-laden Tupperware. "You are in one piece." His quiet voice carries a distinct Francophone accent.
The man trailing in Lucien's wake blends in considerably better with the crowd in a black t-shirt (featuring a stylized image of a man clutching a book to his chest, consumed by flames) fraying jean shorts, and brown athletic sandals. The two men bear little resemblance save in their eyes, which are the same striking shade of green. /His/ searching gaze betrays no small amount of anxiety, and no small amount of relief as he follows Lucien to the girl's side. He wraps her in a tight embrace. "Thank the gods!" he adds. Then, looking around. "Didn't you come with Alice?"
Jared looks over at Desi, "I'll make some calls, see if anyone else has seen them, and if they did get snatched up, we'll sound the alert online so they don't get mistreated inside. But don't worry, I'm sure they're gonna be okay." He smiles a bit, to soften what he's saying. His voice is soft, paternal - they're both adults, but Desi was his student, so there's that gulf of authority between them, one that Jared takes seriously. As he's saying this, two others step in - a very well-dressed man, and his not-so-well-dressed (comparatively speaking) companion. He looks up and smiles in a polite way at them, but doesn't introduce himself - he doesn't feel like he's in a position to yet.
Desi mirrors Jared's smile--or tries, at least. Hers comes out a little fainter. "Most of them have been arrested plenty before, I'm sure they'll be out in the morning. I'm just..." She ducks her head sheepishly. "...not usually up that close when things get intense. Still, I'm grateful..." If she intended to explain her gratitude, she never completes the thought as she is suddenly inundated with fresh tea, snacks, and hug. "Thank white privilege, more like," this is slightly muffled by Matt's shoulder. "I'm fine. Alice--not so much." She extricates herself, if only to uncap the thermos, but she stops short of drinking from it. "Oh! Professor Williams, these are my brothers, Matt and Lucien."
"Are we really /thanking/ the gods of white supremacy, now?" Lucien sounds quite dry, one eyebrow quirking -- up. And following this: "Does Alice need bailing out? When will you hear?" The introduction finally pulls his eyes away from his sister, flicking in a quick sweep over Jared as though only just noticing the man. His head inclines, a small smile touching his lips. "Ah. Forgive my rudeness. I heard about the end of things on the news and -- well." He offers a hand out to Jared. "Professor? I should thank you, perhaps, for seeing my sister safely out."
Matt releases Desi easily, taking her empty thermos from Lucien and stowing it in his own messenger bag. "That...probably played a bigger role than divine intervention, yes. Look, there was at /least/ a five-minute gap in your updates! I got a little tiny bit worried." His brows furrow deeply. "Oh, dear. One of my coworkers is on the legal aid staff for this, I think, I can check and see if she's heard anything." He had turned his attention to Jared only just before Desi remembered to introduce them, and offers the man a quick, warm smile. "Nice to meet you. Were you here for the march, too?"
Jared grips Lucien's hand and shakes it, smiling back brightly, and then shooting that smile to Matt. "Not a problem, I always try to get all of my people out safely where I can - especially when they're my students." He glances at Matt, taking in his question and his eyebrows rise as he starts to answer. "Well, I kind of helped organize it." A moment later, he cuts in again, "Well, not just me, a bunch of people. But I was on the organizing committee and all that. You do what you gotta do to make sure people are treated like people, you know?" He glances at Desi, and then back at Matt and Lucien. "About Desi's friends, a couple of the people on the organizing committee for this march are lawyers, the activist type. I'm certain the people who got locked up are being treated fine, but we'll raise hell regardless to make sure."
"It got a /little/ chaotic there," Desi agrees. "I figured you'd probably cope with silence better than an update like 'getting beaten up and arrested now BRB.'" She looks down at the phone she still clutches. Then, slowly tucking it back into her bag, she opens the container of cookies instead. "I texted her sister, she hasn't heard anything either, but said she'll be in touch. The last two times they mostly released the mass-arrested people by morning, so hopefully...yeah." She glances aside at Jared, smiles again, a little more vibrantly this time. "Well, we came out here to raise hell, after all."
"Organizing?" Lucien's smile twitches -- just a /hair/ wider. His handshake is firm, and comes with an ever-so-faint whisper of warmth -- nothing overt or particularly noticeable, just a background trace of comfort and happiness that could just as easily be attributed to the amused warmth in his eyes. "Well, then, perhaps I should rescind my gratitude. Thanking you for keeping her out of trouble you got her into in the first place seems a touch counterintuitive." There's no actual censure in his voice, really, so much as a faint undercurrent of laughter. "Was Hell appropriately raised?" His smile fades slighlty as he rocks back on a heel, one hand crossing over his chest and the other tucking loosely crooked fingers beneath a chin. "Is the world closer to /justice/?"
Matt drapes his arm over Desi's shoulder. "I hope so." He flicks Lucien on the arm with his other hand. "Be nice!" But he doesn't sound particularly upset, either. "Or at least be /fair./" His lips press together and his shoulders hunch, just a touch. "There's a lot of work to do, to be sure."
Jared shrugs, smile still on his face. He's used to this reaction to the work he and others do. "What can I say? The most anti-mutant president in this country's history, and things looking bleaker and bleaker, someone's gotta stand against it. But that's just me." He shrugs again, politely.
Desi bites into a cookie with probably more force than entirely necessary, but then chews very sedately and washes it down with a long gulp of tea. "It's not just you, Professor." Her words come out calm and measured. "Even if we accomplish nothing else, we're making politicians look incompetent, which is /something./" She leans harder against her eldest brother, though this might not be all that apparent to anyone else. "And I don't think that's all. We're telling people that this isn't going away. That not everyone turns the other way."
"I am being perfectly fair," Lucien objects mildly, brushing his brother's hand away with a small flick of his own. "Look at the current election season. /Plenty/ of people do not look the other way. They look straight at the issue and come to the conclusion that this country is not doing /enough/ to keep mutants in their place. Marches are all well and good, if you need to raise awareness. By now most people are quite /aware/. But mutants are dangerous. And the conclusions they draw may not be /yours/."
Matt's hand squeezes down on his sister's shoulder. "Most politicians don't need a whole /lot/ of help looking incompetent, but it is something all the same." His eyebrows lift up--just a small tick. "I do not imagine anyone marched today to make the world aware of /mutants/. But demonstrating that people--thousands of people--care enough to continue doing this, week after week? /That/ is also something."
Jared nods, and raises his hands, gesturing to go along with his speaking. "Humans have horrible attitudes toward mutants, and it's up to us to change those attitudes, and to fight for them to be treated as human beings. And to let them know that we - both mutants and those who support them - aren't going away, aren't going to lie down and take whatever's thrown at us and them." He laughs lightly to break the tension. "I mean, all the advances made for mutant rights around the world - Washington state's anti-discrimination statutes, Scotland overturning mutant registration in '86 - it had all a mutant rights movement *pushing* for those changes." The smile fades off his face, and his tone grows more serious. "It may not happen tomorrow, but if we keep fighting, people like Derek Simon will lose, and mutants *will* have a better life and destiny here. I really believe that. I mean, I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't."
Desi busies herself with the rest of her cookie, taking her time and alternating with sips of tea. But even after she has finished the treat, she remains quiet. Her shoulders grow tense, then relax, then tense up again as she listens to the men speak. A fierce and sudden desire for them to just stop bubbles up in her--and into Matt, even as she sucks in a sharp breath and starts to pull away.
The breath Lucien pulls in is slow, one hand turning up and over. "We barely treat other /humans/ like humans. Even when they cannot light us on fire with a thought." His hand drops back to his side, lips compressing just slightly at the breath Desi draws in. "But I wish you the best in your fight."
Matt opens his mouth to speak, but then just quietly and effortlessly cancels out the compulsion Desi had begun to impose on him. He lets her pull away without a struggle, though his brows furrow with concern. "Well, we had best get home and see to supper before Gaetan decides it's pizza night for both himself /and/ the pup." The smile he offers Jared now is tired but still warm. "I appreciate the work you're doing--and looking out for those working alongside you. Have a good evening."
Jared nods, and smiles warmly but not too familiarly (after all, we just met) at Lucien, and then at Desi and Matt. Nodding at Lucien, he says "Thanks. I understand where you're coming from, but thanks." Noticing the barista saying his name, he widens his eyes and turns, just in time to grab his green tea from the barista's hand. He turns back to Desi, and smiles at her, "I'm glad you came, and I'm glad you believe in this. Have a great night, Desi," and facing Matt and Lucien, "It was great meeting both of you. I'm glad Desi has family like you that care about her so much. Not enough people have family like that." Glancing at his watch, his brow furrows. "And I actually get home, too. Gotta write some reports for my program." He looks up, "Thanks for the conversation all," with a warm smile, and then he's heading toward the door.