Logs:Dramatic Yet Incompetent
|Dramatic Yet Incompetent|
"No offense to Mel but the coffee here? Not worth this price."
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.
Late morning on a Wednesday is not the busiest of times, generally, but nevertheless Montagues is attracting a decent sized /crowd/ today. The ubiquitous of social media means that it has not taken all that long, during what would otherwise have been a quiet coffee break, for Twitter to spread the news of a celebrity sighting. Some people, with at least a halfhearted attempt at decorum, are hanging back to snap surreptitious (or so they think) photos, though every so often a more brazen fan actually approaches for autograph, for a selfie.
Flicker is just watching all of this from the periphery. In his unassuming black polo, khakis, blue-grey cardigan, for all the rubbernecking spectators care he might as well be part of the scenery. Seated on a soft armchair catercorner to Ryan, he sips at a large cocoa and grabs snatches of conversation in between the frequent interruptions. "-- you couldn't /pay/ me to go to dinner with someone like him, though," he's picking up some thread of discussion as if interruptions had never happened, as one fluttery teenage boy departs their table.
Ryan's bright and practiced Insta-worthy smile fades into a snort-laugh as he turns back to the table. "Seriously. There are /way/ more charming escorts in literally any city. It's nice to have solid examples to point to, though, for everyone who pretends like deplatforming fascists does not work." He has a very large coffee, and a tempeh-lettuce-tomato sandwich, from which he's so far only managed to snag a few bites. The button down shirt he's wearing is vividly colored, bright bold shades with a geometric design; his dark slightly silvery-sheened denim jacket is draped over the back of his chair.
Steve has been in the back doing whatever Montagues employees do in the back when not actively roasting coffee, but he presently emerges with a spray bottle and rag. He's dressed much like the other workers, entirely in black: poplin button-down shirt, flat-front herringbone trousers, oxford shoes, and an apron marked with the establishment's small, tasteful logo. His eyes catch on Ryan, then Flicker, and he gives a polite nod but does not make any active attempt to draw their attention as he goes on about his work. He removes a cup and saucer from a recently vacated table and deposits them in the bus tub before wiping down the table, moving on to clean the long counter at the front window, and then the island with service items. At last he picks up the black plastic bus tub to bring it into the back.
Sitting primly upright, more to keep her wings clear of the chair back than anything else, Isra has been remaining still while Ryan sees to his fans. Now she relaxes a little. She's dressed in a metallic green velvet dress, trimmed in gold, that clings to her slim, muscular form. A black cloak, also trimmed with gold braid, hangs over the back of her chair. Her skin is its natural gray, but dusted with gold, horns and talons a solid gleaming metallic gold. She picks up her coffee--also quite large--and takes a sip, her eyes tracking to Steve without lingering. "I hardly see what basis upon which they can even begin to argue that it is not effective," she comments, her voice low and rumbly. "I am sure such arguments are merely displaced discomfort with challenging...anything, I suppose." There's no rising intonation to indicate this last is a /question./
The door to the cafe opens to admit four individuals. Two of them have no-nonsense military fades and all wear bulky winter coats -- perhaps slight overkill for the chill of this almost-spring day, but understandable given the bite of the wind from certain angles. They do not chatter among themselves quite as much as most groups of patrons might, instead perusing the menu soberly once inside, stealing surreptitious glances at Ryan and his companions. After placing their orders, two members of the group go to sit down near the door to the cafe, while the other two hover near the counter where their food and beverages are expected to appear in due time. Once the ones near the door have settled at their table, the two by the counter make eye contact with each other before calmly reach beneath their coats and producing pistols that they level in unison at Ryan.
"I don't really know. Some people just really love engaging with fascists, I guess." Flicker leans forward to snag a potato chip off of Ryan's plate. Sits back with his cup, relaxing into his chair. He glances reflexively up toward the door when it opens, if only briefly. "And not that I have a very high opinion of Australia, but --" The rest of this cuts off, his eyes widening. Not, in fact, at the emergence of the pistols themselves but at the sudden tense gasps, horrified cries, that ripple around the busy room. Flicker doesn't exactly put /down/ his cocoa so much as it just blips from his hand to the table in the same moment he moves -- not really to get /up/. Just to lean in and clamp a hand down on Ryan's wrist.
Ryan has just reached for his sandwich again, taking the opportunity of a brief uninterrupted moment to take another quick bite. It's one he nearly chokes on shortly after, sandwich falling from his hand to land in a messy splat on the floor. "Oh /shit/," is about all he has time to say. His eyes are skimming the room, taking quick stock of the (many) bystanders even as Flicker is grabbing him.
Steve was just about to round the end of the counter with the bus tub, but slows at the movement of the two nearby reaching to draw their guns in his peripheral vision. His own body language starts changing even before he even fully turns, stance dropping low, shoulders relaxing as he lets the tub drop to the counter, weight shifting onto the balls of his feet. By the time the pistols emerge he has pivoted mostly to face the gunmen. "Take cover!" he shouts, his voice firm and commanding, even as grabs at the nearer shooter's gun arm to force it down. Then quickly adds, "On the floor!" He twists the man's arm and attempts to slam the off-balance shooter into his companion.
Isra reacts to her own companions' alarm first, a growl rising harsh in her throat. It is hard to tell whether she /intentionally/ upsets their table, tips it accidentally attempting to rise, or tips it accidentally trying to follow Steve's instructions. A cozy cafe is not the ideal environment for a six-foot-plus gargoyle with six long limbs and a tail to maneuver in. Coffee, cocoa, and plates go crashing to the floor, and the table becomes a barricade, though not a large enough one for the likes of Isra. But she gamely takes a fighting stance all the same, wings mantling out and--probably incidentally--pushing two nearby patrons out of their seats and onto the floor.
The shooter with the fade -- the one lucky enough to be standing near Steve -- makes a choked sound as his arm is twisted, and stumbles sidelong into the shooter with the fashy beside him. Fashy's reflexes are fast enough to allow him to jump clear, however, and he whips his gun around to fire on Steve without waiting to settle into a more stable position or. You know. Aiming.
If the appearance of the guns and Steve's shouted orders didn't get the patrons moving, the report of the gun certainly does. Some drop to the floor and duck under tables, and some run for the door only to find it blocked by the shooters' two companions, both of whom have also drawn pistols. One of them raises his voice and says.
"We're only here for Ryan Black," he declares blandly. "And his demon-freak boyfriend there." Notwithstanding the fact that /Flicker/ is the one holding Ryan's hand right now, it seems likely he is referring to Isra. "The rest of you can get out of here alive if you /calm the fuck down/!" This, along with his gun, is definitely aimed at Steve.
As he finishes speaking, the fourth person -- who wears a USMC high-and-tight -- leveled his gun steadily with both hands at Ryan, and squeezes the trigger.
The few brave souls crouching under their tables trying to dial 911 are finding their mobile devices have no signal where they did only a minute ago.
Somewhat paradoxically, Ryan actually relaxes just a smidge when the men announce their intention to kill him. His eyes flick between the gunmen -- the door -- Steve wrangling one of the shooters -- the panicking crowds. He gives Flicker only the slightest tug in the direction of the table as Isra upsets it. Even while the men are speaking, his voice is sounding low and contained enough that only Flicker can hear. "The jarhead by the door." There's a concentration in his expression -- that shifts just an instant later into resignation. "C'mon, that's just /insulting/." As the coffeeshop music continues the first strains of Lady Gaga's "Shallow" begin piping through the chaotic room. His quiet humming along is hard to notice -- in the tumult most people likely also would not notice the ambient music growing just subtly louder. The music carries with it a determined calm -- certainly, under the circumstances, nothing near enough to sway the resolve of focused gunmen but enough at least to aid the panicking bystanders in actually listening to the instructions to take cover.
Flicker, too, is eying the distance between them and the door with a touch of apprehension. Even before the empathic assistance, this is fading into resolve at Ryan's direction. He snaps into a blur of motion even as the fourth gunman is starting to take aim. Ryan finds himself deposited in an unceremonious lurch behind the upturned table. Flicker, in his usual spectral fashion, has blipped -- up overhead above the chaos, then back down to land just beside the man who shot at Ryan. He is reaching for the gun as he lands -- not trying to /wrest/ it away but simply (as far as can be seen) disappear it. (Its intended final destination, the inner cushion of a nearby stuffed chair -- so sorry, Montagues.)
Fashy's shot goes wide, and the sugar bowl on the counter behind Steve explodes into sweet, sweet shards. Steve doesn't even flinch, but twists the arm of the unlucky gunman he'd grappled even further, maneuvering him to provide better cover from the two guns pointed at him. While he's still shifting, he reaches into the bus tub for a dirty plate and throws it like a frisbee -- it flies surprisingly true, all things considered -- at High-and-Tight's face.
Despite the division between front of house and back and intentional sound barriers, it's hard to miss the disturbance that tears through the Monday morning work. Melinda looks up from her work to glance at the closed caption cameras, eyes widing and heart immediately starting to pound in her ears. "Fuck. fuck... fuck..." She picks up the phone, slips the receiver under her ear and calls 9-1-1 -- or she would, if there was dial tone. Phone slammed into place, she jumps in her skin at the first sound of gun fire. Rather than running away, she slinks towards the coat rack and picks up Steve's shield, jaw clenching with determination.
It takes her a moment of hyping herself up to force herself to continue, lips parting as she peeks through the small window on the door to be sure no one is immediately in the way or shooting in her direction. Blue eyes track the dish Steve throws as her bows furrow and eyes narrow. Despite nausea welling up inside of her shaky body, she pushes through, almost immediately yelling.
"For fuck's sake, Steve, you forgot your ... serving tray!" The first part is mumbled, as her mouth isn't quite working through the clench of her teeth and the fear that chokes her breath, but 'Steve' is loud and clear, and the rest rushes out at a stumbling pace. She chucks the shield like child trying to frisbee - throwing more that whipping - before diving down behind the bar with two of her employees.
As the slow acoustic strains of 'Shallow' pull a wave of calm over the huddled patrons, a few of them turn their signal-less phones to record the spectacle. When Flicker reaches High-and-Tight, the gunman is still looking confused about where his target went -- the bullet embedded itself in the far wall -- and then startled at the abrupt appearance of additional Person beside him. He tries to pistol-whip Flicker, but the pistol part of the attack goes away mid-swing. Unless Flicker removes himself from the path of the attack, though, he'll still receive an awkward but heavy punch-slap to the head even as a slightly saucy white plate strikes High-and-Tight edgewise and snaps the man's head back.
Steve's unlucky gunman yelps as his arm is wrenched further, but finally has the presence of mind to draw a knife with his other hand and blindly slash backward at Steve's torso. Fashy, meanwhile, has steadied his aim and fires again.
"Leave the goddamned /barista/ and /get Black/!" barks the leader -- who has apparently decided not to risk shooting Unlucky in an attempt to take down Steve -- as he crosses the cafe in long angry strides to get a shot at Ryan where he's taken cover behind the fallen table.
Isra flinches at the cracks of gunshot, ears pressing back hard against the sides of her head even as she sinks lower take cover. But when the leader comes searching for Ryan she springs at him in a way that human bodies definitely cannot do, talons spreading wide and wings snapping down to giver her an extra boost of speed and lift. Chairs scatter--a couple of them outright crumpling--where she strikes them.
The leader's eyes go very, very wide when Isra pounces at him. He backs up one long stride, fires at the apex of her jump, and continues backpedaling in case she is not deterred.
A teenager -- one of the fans who had come by for a selfie with Ryan earlier -- clambers out from where he had been sheltering under the table. He's holding one of the cafe's trays in in a white-knuckle grip as he comes up behind the leader in a somewhat cartoon-esque bid to smack him on the head.
This might actually have worked, although how effective a weapon the flimsy tray would have made is another question entirely, but that the stage whispers of his more sensible friends ("What the fuck, Kaidan!" "Oh my God what are you doing?") gives him away. The leader whirls on him when he's only a step away, gun leveled to the boy's chest, near to panicking in the wake of Isra's (admittedly more intimidating) attack.
The drone of the music continues placidly beneath the staccato punctuation of gunfire and pained yelps. From behind the makeshift shelter, Ryan keeps a careful eye on the room. The beginning of /some/ kind of instruction starts to shape itself within Flicker's hearing range -- but this cuts off with an odd dissonant warp of sound as the teenager rises. The music (still playing through the speakers) doesn't falter, but the artificially enforced tranquility threaded through it /does/. Ryan launches himself out from behind the table, half-dragging and half-tackling the kid right as the leader turns. Without time to actually /return/ to his hiding place, he opts instead to pull the teenager nearer the floor, angling his own body in front of the boy's as he tries to usher the youth back behind a nearby toppled chair. "You /just/ told me you were gonna show that pic off to everyone at school, you gotta actually /get/ there tomorrow, yeah?"
Flicker half-ducks as the plate comes flying in their direction; this doesn't stop him from catching the cuff just on the side of his head a moment before High-and-Tight's own head snaps backwards. He grabs for the stumbling marine's arm, taking the man with him in a quick blip across the room -- in order to drop him just above the leader's head.
Steve turns at the sound of his name and sucks in a sharp breath seeing Mel venture out from cover, the momentary distraction enough to allow Unlucky's knife to leave a long red gash in his side. He barely winces, and before he can admonish Mel to get down, she has thrown the shield and fled. He lets go of Unlucky, plucks the shield out of the air, and braces it between himself and Fashy just in time to deflect the shot that would have otherwise caught him square in the chest. "I am not a barista," he quips, flinging the shield unerringly at Fashy's gun and punching Unlucky -- probably hard enough to break his jaw -- before reaching back out to catch the shield when it ricochets. "I'm just here to help."
The leader's shot, panicked though it is, finds Isra in the abdomen and her leap falters as her body pulls instinctively inward around the wound. She crashes to the floor--destroying another chair in the process--and struggles, wings flailing, to right herself before collapsing again, tail lashing and twitching beneath the hem of her dress. Her growl comes loud and continuous despite her rapid breathing, rises into a snarl when leader turns his gun on the teen, and then Ryan.
The leader's terror turns to delight when Ryan /presents/ himself for the convenience of his aspiring assassins. He draws a bead on the musician and pulls the trigger just as High-and-Tight re-materializes above him and succumbs to gravity. The two men go down into a heap of awkwardly angled limbs -- not before the gun goes off in Ryan's direction, though its aim was surely fouled by the impact.
Fashy's shot skips harmlessly off of Steve's shield and pings off of some pipes in the fashionably exposed industrial ceiling. Unlucky tries to scramble back and bring his gun to bear, but still has his (now bloody) knife in his left hand and doesn't quite have time to figured out how to dual-wield before Steve's fist connects with his jaw. Blood flies from his mouth as his head snaps back and he crumples without ceremony onto the floor. Fashy is about to fire again when the shield smacks the pistol from his hands -- slicing open his right hand in the process -- before bouncing off to be restrieved by Steve. He shrieks and clutches his hand as it begins gushing blood, then makes a beeline for the door.
Ryan's teeth grit; briefly, the coffeshop music warps into a strange high pitched whine that would likely set nerves jangling even /without/ the accompanying shudder of empathic unease that comes with it. His hand has lifted to clutch at his chest as he dives back behind cover. When he drops it to help steady himself, it leaves a bloody smear against the floor. The musician looks down at himself with a grimace, frowning at the dark wet patch spreading against his shoulder. "Asshole. My nana gave me this shirt."
Flicker lands heavily beside the tangled heap of gunmen. Only for a second, though. He's taking in the room, the blood, with a decided crumpling of expression that would be easy to miss in the brief second that he is still. In the next moment, he's stooped to take hold of -- /some/ limbs, he isn't picky -- and vanishing with the attackers still in a tangle as he blurs toward the nearest window and then past it, dumping the pile-of-bigot unceremoniously about two dozen feet above the hood of a van idling outside.
While Flicker is taking out the trash, Steve is looking around. "Are there any doctors in the house? If you're injured and you can move on your own, please come to the end of the counter," he says, his voice firm but calm as his eyes take in Ryan and Isra. "Please check on your companions, I'll be right back." He does not set down his shield as he runs into the back and returns -- /extremely/ quickly -- with the shop's first aid kit.
Isra has managed to prop herself up with the aid of her wings and actually attempts to stand up, though it is unclear whether she is doing so out of a desire to follow Steve's instructions or merely to go to Ryan. Either way, she slides back down to the floor in short order and makes the rest of the trip at a crawl. The growl in her throat never quite abates, not even she reaches her friend and asks, "Where are you hurt?"
"My pride," Ryan replies with an exaggerated huff and an attempt at a smile that -- doesn't quite manage to surface through his pallor and clenched teeth. "Flicker's like a doctor, right? Half a doctor? Gotta count for something." He still keeps a hand pressed, more gingerly than is actually helpful, against his right shoulder; there's a decent amount of blood seeping through his fingers. "Hope they didn't get you too bad." He's turned a frown toward Isra's midsection. "No offense to Mel but the coffee here? Not worth this price."