Buskers And Skateboarders


devon2_icon.gif elisabeth_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Buskers and Skateboarders
Synopsis It's just a morning in the park. Not too crazy
Date July 6, 2011

Near the Esplanade

Walking through Battery Park City near the Esplanade, it would be hard to tell if it weren't for the virtual city of tents that New York is a town still under martial law. There are families sitting on the grass enjoying the 75 degree day, there are teenagers skateboarding and playing frisbee, there are people walking along the edge of the water. Elisabeth and Devon happen to be two of those, the blonde dressed in a pair of denim capris, scuffed canvas shoes, and a sleeveless purple top that matches one of the two streaks in her long hair. Even with half the mass yanked up into an alligator clip there is a significant length of blonde floating about her shoulders. She meanders along finishing an ice cream cone as they people watch.

It's become quite the area for busking. Street performers line the far side of the Esplanade. There are people with musical instruments, mimes (God help us all), dancers, and magician-wannabes galore. It looks like what used to be a 'normal' sunny summer day.

Beside Elisabeth, Devon tags along. In blue jeans and plain hunter green t-shirt, sneakers that have seen better days, he's looking far more like a teenager today even if he is a little more observant than your average adolescent. His hands rest deeply inside his hip pockets as he idles alongside Liz. His head turns to watch a small group of kids near his own age as they move past, even turning until they fade from sight and into the background. A small shrug of a shoulder brings the teen around again, eyes flicking off to something else of some interest. Like the mimes.

Elisabeth glances at him, following his gaze after the group of kids. "Anyone you know?" she asks mildly as she finishes her ice cream cone. "You could go hang out, you know. Just… be cautious about it." He is, after all, wanted now.

Sadly, that's the way of the world now, isn't it? Life under martial law. Everyone is either wanted, or wants to stay out of the gunsights in order to keep what little they have to themselves. The fact that people are out here on the streets is a testament to the grip that the military has on the city - people, no matter who they are, need a place to call their own, and some of these tents are the only roof that can be claimed for a few of these families. Amidst the buskers, beggars can be seen, in clumps of two or three, or resting singly, with hand-stenciled signs on cardboard, each telling a heart-wrenching story of need, and asking for a few dollars to help. The proud have been brought low in the name of 'safety and equality.' Protection from the 'evolved threat' has been a cudgel to take everything from everyone. The United States is a Police State now.

Jaiden, always wary, has dressed in a simple pair of green khaki shorts and a plaid button-down shirt with the sleeves rolled up past his elbows, his arms bare. Feet are clad in simple sandals with thick rubber soles, allowing him to walk in relative comfort, even in the hottest part of the day. "

"Ho there, Lizzie." he says when he catches up to the pair meandering through the park, tapping her on the shoulder first before darting around to walk next to her, a bottle of water gripped between the first and middle fingers of his right hand, swinging in time with his steps. "Nice to get out and about sometimes, innit?"

Devon glances behind again, then shakes his head. "They looked kind of familiar." But not enough to strike up a conversation with no matter how his attention lingers. "Probably from some class or…" He shrugs and slants a look back to Liz just as Jaiden appears. The older man is offered a small nod and a soft spoken, "Hey," in greeting.

Elisabeth doesn't startle, if only because the Australian accent and the voice that sports it are intimately familiar to her — she glances over her shoulder with a faint smile. "There you are," she observes lazily. "Yeah, it's nice." Her eyes go back to Devon curiously and then back in the direction the kids went. A faint furrow of her brow appears but she continues walking with the two men. "Okay," she says to the younger boy. She's not entirely sure she believes him — he's acting a little strange about it, but it doesn't seem to be a big deal.

As they near where one of the guitar players is strumming, Elisabeth starts to chuckle softly. The tune is very old, but who doesn't appreciate Led Zeppelin? "There's a lady who's sure all that glitters is gold, and she's buying the stairway to heaven," she sings under her breath.

The guitar player's going to have a hell of a time when he gets to the end of the song and really has to crank the playing up. If he can pull it off, there's a $5 in it for him, but if not, a couple of bucks, here and there. "Sorry for being late. You know me - want to be sure we're not being followed and the like. Crowds are surprisingly good for anonymity." He falls into step along with the pair, hands deep in his pockets, shouldering Elisabeth playfully as she sings the first part of the first verse. "Come on, lizzie…can't leave it there." he clears his throat and continues the song. "When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed, With a word she can get what she came for. Ooh, ooh, and she's buying the stairway to heaven."

Another look is slanted toward the two adults as they begin singing, finding a mix somehwere between amusement and the utter horror reserved for youths when adults are doing something that could be construed as embarassing. Like singing in public. Devon takes an exaggeratingly wide step to put some distance between himself and the other two, a grin growing as part of his jest. The step takes him around the guitarist's back side, then angles back toward Liz and Jaiden.

The guitar player seems to have realized that he's got an audience because he turns his attention toward them and smiles as he takes up where Jaiden left off. "There's a sign on the wall but she wants to be sure, 'Cause you know sometimes words have two meanings."

Elisabeth laughs at Devon's horrified expression, and she blushes visibly at the elbow that Jaiden gives her in the ribs. As the young man with the guitar and long hair continues the next couple of lines, Liz throws up her hands and laughs. Then she moves to follow Devon — cuz if you're going to make a bit of a spectacle of yourself, you might as well go all out. She loans her higher-pitched voice to a harmony with the musician. "Oooooh, it makes me wonder. Oooooh, it makes me wonder. There's a feeling I get when I look to the west, and my spirit is crying for leaving…."

A ripple of people moving begins, spectators shifting toward the sound. The guitar's notes are still gentle, but louder now. Very subtly traveling a bit farther to gather in those just a hint beyond the normal range of the sound. But even as the music begins to draw them, three teens on skateboards rip through the outer circle of people making no attempt to actually miss the crowd. It looks more like they have every intention of chasing off the crowd so the buskers have no chance of making money today.

An Australian singing voice isn't something that's normally heard outside of a bar, but there it is. It's not Jimmy Paige quality, but it's passable as the guitar player starts to transition into the first chorus from the first bridge, he gives a grin, takes a breath, and belts it out just as well as anyone could. "In my thoughts I have seen rings of smoke through the trees, And the voices of those who stand looking. Ooh, it makes me wonder, Ooh, it really makes me wonder."

Stones, propelled by little droplets of water, slide between feet, past shoes, and from cracks in the sidewalk to lay in wait for the skateboarding youths. If more drastic measures are required, then they shall be taken. A knowing glance is given to Elisabeth, one arm going around the woman's shoulders as Jaiden harmonizes with her.

He'd groan, if not for trying to keep from laughing. Devon grins and shakes his head, the long suffering teenager in league with a couple of crazy grown ups. "You two ought to get your own show," he asides, humor in his tone. More might be said, teasing words to go with his easily joking attitude, but a commotion from crowd interrupts the thought. He edges himself sideways, steadying an older person set to topple by a neighbor who'd been clipped by one of the teens, and the grin he'd worn falters faintly as he catches a glimps of the trio.

Elisabeth's higher voice sends the next stanza out over the crowd, subtly enhanced with audiokinetic ability. "And it's whispered that soon, if we all call the tune, then the piper will lead us to reason. And a new day will dawn for those who stand long, and the forest will echo with laughter." The words are ridiculously hopeful for the world around them, but Elisabeth infuses them with as much of her own brand of hope as can be laced into them. It's not much, that vague, subtle thing she has often done with crowds to keep them calm or incite them to action. But maybe it'll bear fruit.

The rocks skid under skateboard wheels, and two of the three teens topple right off their boards into the crowd. Several college-aged males haul those two up by their scruffs. The third one brings his skateboard to a stop to stare at the singers, his brown eyes narrowed. Something has tweaked him onto strange things afoot and he's suspicious of the entire crowd now. Two of his buddies just tripped on themselves. It looks a little off kilter for sure.

Not for any reason other than clumsiness and the stones on the path! honest! See? There they are. Aside from the little droplets fading into the pavement, there's nothing to show that they moved there by their own power. After all, who would believe ROCKS, of all things, moved by themselves?

Jaiden can tell Elisabeth is using her power - from his arm around her shoulders, he can feel the subtle subsonic thrum coming from the woman in his belly, and instead of trying to sing over it, he supports it, letting his voice curl around hers, tempering it in places, emphasizing it in others. Hes' got a fairly decent singing voice, too. He's not Povaratti, but he's passable enough for New York City streets. He nods to the guitar player who is really starting to get into the song, bobbing his head and rocking back and forth in time to the music. This, he thinks, must be what it's like to be a rock star! And through it all, the words keep coming. If there's a bustle in your hedgerow, don't be alarmed now, It's just a spring clean for the May queen. Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, There's still time to change the road you're on……"

Bum…bum…bum ba bum bum bum ba….

The grin is all but gone when the last skateboarder is left standing, Devon's expression shifting between blank and guarded. A couple of those standing closer to the disruptive teen glare or push back, minute gestures of their displeasure at interruption, then fall back into singing or simply enjoying the song. But it's the blonde headed boy who veers forward with muted confrontational intent.

"Got a problem," Devon asks the other teen. His tone, though still quiet enough to not interrupt those listening to the busker's music, holds a note of recognition. Not unlike the second glance he'd given when the kids passed earlier. The response isn't the expected sort, a sneer and a strong armed push send Dev to the ground, hands coming free of his pockets in a delayed attempt to catch himself. Around them, the crowd edges away, creating a small pocket of space.

Well, that isn't going to be good. Elisabeth nudges Jaiden to go step into the matter, and in the meantime she glances at the musician and jerks her chin at his guitar. Keep playing is the implicit instruction. "~~Your head is humming and it won't go, in case you don't know, the piper's calling you to join him; Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow, and did you know your stairway lies on the whispering wind.~~" Keep your eyes on me, people. Let the stupid kids scuffle and let the kid's 'dad' step into it.

A slight nod to Elisabeth gets Jaiden moving. But Jaiden? 'Daddy' Jaiden? The thought causes a grin to appear for a moment, but as he moves through the crowd or rather, the crowd moves around him as he approaches Devon and his problem, that grin falls away, his face turning stony, his hands hanging at his sides. "Ho there, lads." An amiable greeting, if an odd one, coming from an Australian as he reaches down to help Devon to his feet. "You. Piss off." he says once Devon is standing. "You and your mates go to the other side of the park. Civilized folk are listening to music here." He nods towards the other two youths, points at them with his right hand, and then at his eyes. Implication? I'm watching you two too.

Jaiden also has the advantage of looking like he can bench press a small truck, so that probably has a bit of an imposing factor on his words.

Though Devon is already starting to pull himself upright, he accepts the help all the same, muttering a thanks while frowning toward the other youth. The delinquent, like most who think themselves a station above everyone else, smirks at Jaiden and Devon. His expression, condescending and sneering while at the same time wary of Jaiden's imposing presence, speaks volumes of what he'd like to say while standing and staring at the two. The "Whatever," that eventually comes in its stead is muttered and sarcastic as his skateboard is kicked up and caught to be carried off. And while the skateboarding boy wisely passes wide around the Australian, he doesn't scruple to shoulder roughly into Devon as he passes.

The blonde teen's response is to turn with the motion instead of fighting against it, and allow a hand to come 'round to catch the other boy just as roughly against the back of the shoulder. A stumble results and nearly brings the troublemaker to his knees, one hand catching himself on an unfortunate bystander and the other brushing fingertips against the hardened surface of the sidewalk. The clatter of hard rubber and metal bearings in their trucks as the skateboard falls to the asphalt mark a short lived victory before the board's owner turns with his own hooking fist and catches a slightly frowning Devon just above the eye. He doesn't wait for retaliation or refute, a look of cocky triumph and wariness darting to Jaiden, followed by him turning with intent to disappear into the crowd.

By this point, the song is coming to an end and Elisabeth's voice drifts above the sounds of the scuffle, pitched to haunt. "And she's buying… the stairway… to heaven." She shoots a grin toward the guitar player, offering him a bit of a bow as the the gathered observers dig in their pockets for money for the busker's open case. He'll make a decent bit of change off that one. In the meantime, the blonde slips into the crowd toward her two guys just in time to catch the little bastard throw a fist. Her jaw clenches in fury and it's all she can do to keep herself from vibrating with it. But as she touches Jaiden's arm he can feel the buzz. "Hey, guys… let's get out of here. I would love a cup of coffee."

It's a kid, not more than seventeen, who just threw a punch at another person his own age to prove, in his eyes, a point. A stupid point, to be sure, but a point nontheless. Jaiden couldn't prevent that punch from happening, but he can prevent it from going any further. It wasn't a solid punch, either - more of a flicking of the hand in order to get the men away from him.

Jaiden smirks and holds up a finger. "Everybody gets one, mate, an' that was yours. Get out of here before I break you across my knee." It's not an idle threat, and the way that he says it along with the body language braodcast shows that he means it, but at the vibrating touch from Elisabeth, it all goes away, the giant Austrailan turning into the smiling bloke that he was once again. "Allright, Lizzie. Let's go get a coffee and talk of some more pleasant things."

Devon's head rocks slightly with the strike, jaw setting as his teeth grind together. He takes a step after the other boy as Jaiden speaks up, watching the threat be heeded or disregarded while the crowd swallows delinquent. Sighing, Dev turns back to Lis and Jaiden, hands retreating into his pockets. He takes a slow step toward them, to follow, casting a final glance over his shoulder before dismissing the whole incident.

Elisabeth's expression is calm but her blue eyes are narrowed on the kid's back. She is so in the mood to go kick his ass personally. But that's not exactly good for laying low. She throws an arm around Devon, transferring the subtle vibration to him — he can feel the buzz. But she forces a smile. "Stupid little fucker out to be counting his lucky stars I sent Jaiden instead of coming over myself. I'da stuck my foot up his ass so far he'd have required surgery to remove it," she snorts in disgust. "C'mon. Sorry for embarrassing you," she tells the teen. They look for all the world like a small family at this moment.

Jaiden is good at not wanting to break people in half - yes, he can do it and sometimes does indulge in those more base instincts, but, like Liz, breaking teenagers in half is not a good way to keep a low profile when you're on the run from the cops. "Be an interesting fashion statement - having matching teenagers on your feet." He observes dryly, adding a few bills to the busker's case before starting to lead 'his family' away from the crowds and towards one of the coffee shops that ring the park, catering to the denizens of the city. "Hey Devon, you can take a punch pretty well, you know."

"He's not worth it," Devon replies to Elisabeth. He glances toward her, concerned by the vibrations. But it, too, fades into the background as the apology draws out a grin. "Embarrassed? Pfh, not possible. —Well maybe. A little." He holds two fingers up, the pads touching each other, to display just how embarrassed he might have been. A look lifts past Liz to Jaiden and he nods to the older man. "Thanks. I could've used a body guard about your size growing up, though. You've got that crush you like a bug look without even trying."

Elisabeth chuckles softly, amused. "He does, doesn't he?" She glances at Jaiden and comments to him, "JJ didn't have that so much, I don't think. Not that I saw. Takes more after Monica, I bet."

Jaiden chuckles, giving Elisabeth a squeeze around her shoulders at the crowd starts to disperse, the busker pleased with his rendition of Stairway and quite possibly more pleased with the amount of cash that it brought in. "You'd be surprised, though. Dynamite comes in little packages, too."

Of the disturbances only moments ago, there's no sign. The exchange between their comrade, the teen, and his 'dad' left the two remaining skateboarders unwilling to stick around too much longer. Hasty apologies came, earning freedom from their college age captors, before they, too, fled into the crowd. Jaiden does look like he plans to make good his promise on any one of them.

From Devon comes a look sent to Liz and then Jaiden. Curious, but deciding against voicing it at the moment. Instead, he finds himself preferring to walk alongside the pair.

The trio wends their way through the dispersing and mingling crowds, slowed at times by a performance and other times guided along in the flow of pedestrians. The weather is fine and there's no rush to move along, no further disruptions the tarnish the minutes stolen for normalcy. In time, they find their way to a coffee shop, to wrap up the outing and enjoy the fineness of the afternoon together.

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