Sibling Riflery


sf_kara_icon.gif sf_yi-min_icon.gif sf_yi-shan_icon.gif

Scene Title Sibling Riflery
Synopsis Brother and sister disagree on whether or not to stand in the Linderman Group's shadow.
Date September 15, 2020

It smells like sweat and cash here.

Hit 'em up, get 'em up
Put 'em up, we wakin' up

Pulsing music throbs into the concrete, overhead lights shine down on a half dozen tables where young men work shirtless and glistening in sweat over scientific scales, mirrors, and cut lines of cocaine with razorblades.

Ride with my dogs, ridin' high when we pull up
Ride with my dogs, ridin' high when we pull up

Several men watch the stairs up to the florist’s basement, a spray-painted mural of a city on fire with an enormous pair of eyes in the sky spreads out behind them. They’re heavily armed, guns tucked into their pants, SMG’s with folding stocks sitting on nearby tables. They pass a joint held in a clip around while talking in Taiwanese.

When we ride, when we pull up
We be high, when we pull up

At a long workbench near the entrance a couple of men sit behind a chainlink fence where handguns are kept in vices, sparks showering from hand-held grinders filing off serial numbers. One particularly severe looking dog lays on the ground nearby to the chainlink fence.

Coupe with the top down, no ceilin'
Rocks on the watch now, Armageddon

A heavy steel door blocking off a back entrance that leads to the subway opens with a noisy crack. A broad-shouldered man steps aside to let a tall, black-haired man in a sleek suit step inside. No one looks at Yi-Shan Yeh in the eyes when he enters and he moves through space like a king through his peasants.

Roof on fire, fire
We ride, ride

A topless young woman stamping logos on small plastic bags steps up from the table and approaches Yi-Shan and he greets her with a hand cupped to her cheek and fingers raked through her hair. She tucks a small baggie of powder into his breast pocket and then walks back over to her workspace.

Pull up in a tank, 'bout it 'bout it (haaan)
Yeah, on Ciroc, in the drop, full of beams

A young man greets Yi-Shan by the opposite entrance by the spray-painted mural, exchanging a firm and familiar handshake that draws both men together ending with a mutual back-pat. Yi-Shan cracks a smile and motions back to the chain-link fenced in area and then flashes a smile, slipping a wad of cash to the young man before slipping past the security checkpoint.

Yeah, we the squad, 100 cars full of tings
Yeah, I pull up with fire boy, the chinchilla

A few couriers sit on mismatched furniture in the small, adjacent room, drinking and smoking. One salutes Yi-Shan with a bottle of beer as he walks by and Yi-Shan offers him a subtle up-turn of his chin in recognition. A young Taiwanese man in athleisure and trainers boosts up from his seat and greets Yi-Shan much as the man at the checkpoint had. Jewelry glitters on his hands and around his neck.

Yeah, it's Frenchy Montana, Thrilla in Manila
Roof on fire, we be high like a wheelie

Yi-Shan leans in and whispers something in his ear, eliciting a nod in response. The young man flashes a smile at Yi-Shan and leans in to whisper something back before escorting Yi-Shan through a steel door into a ten-by-ten concrete cell where a naked man is handcuffed to a steam pipe.

Shawty bad, talkin' MJ "Thriller"
Welcome to the party, sippin' on the Act'

Bound and gagged, the prisoners immediately struggles and squirms when Yi-Shan arrives. But Yi-Shan doesn’t waste any time in taking a gun from the young man at his side, points it at the prisoner and shoots him four times in the chest and once in the head. Yi-Shan wipes off the gun and offers it back.

Pull up in a 'Rari, DJ bring it back
Fell in love with shawty, money like Shaq

“Is my sister upstairs?” Yi-Shan asks with a motion to the ceiling.

Welcome to the party (live it up)

Not Long Later

The Rose & Trellis
Brooklyn, NY

September 15th
9:18 pm

In the basement there are two rows of coolers to keep flowers fresh in a perfectly climate-controlled environment. But the small basement storage area hides greater transformations. A trap door under a Persian rug leads down through a hole sawed through the concrete floor into a converted sub-basement that would have at one time been a part of the old Brooklyn subway system. Now it’s something else entirely.

Yi-Shan Yeh emerges from the trap door hatch, closing it behind himself. “Ah-Min,” he calls up, facing the stairs to the shop, before making his ascent.

The Rose & Trellis has the aesthetic of a cottagecore homeopath’s house. But every dried herb hanging from the exposed beams, every fresh bouquet of flowers set in a small wooden barrel, every bespoke collection of incense and dried flowers kept in tiny glass jars is a calculated choice to market at a specific niche of clientele looking for high-end organic florist experiences. During the day every Karen, Beth, and Barabara in a five mile radius is sniffing candles and talking about their chakras while they pay top dollar for what amounts to wildflower arrangements.

But at night, it is home.

"Ah-Shan." The returned term of endearment comes floating down to Yi-Shan's ears well before he finishes clambering up the staircase, and there is a grade of fretfulness carved into those two syllables he knows so well.

Whatever it is likely isn't directed at him, Yi-Shan can guess. Though his twin sister has come to live out her days here in America as capriciously as a pampered cat, she hardly gets angry. Even more rarely is such anger ever intended for him. She does get vexed on frequent occasion, though, and the current source of that vexation appears to be the small, old-fashioned TV faced towards her on the countertop where she is occupied. Normally, in the darkness of afterhours, it blares with the cheerfully omnipresent distraction of whatever Chinese broadcast or Korean drama Yi-Min has left on as background noise while she attends to post-closure business. It's as much a part of the home Yi-Shan knows as the sights and scents of this little perfumed haven.

Now, the screen sits black and still.

"«When you get the time, I may have to get you to check the dish outside again. This silly thing isn't working,»" she tells him in Taiwanese, pointing at the offending object with a sharp elbow without stopping or even pausing in her present task.

In the meantime, in a fragrant blanket of silence that seems strangely heavy for that absence of familiar sound, she is setting the finishing touches on a pot of tri-colored forget-me-nots. That choice is a tongue-in-cheek allusion to what that fanciful blanket of little whorls is actually hiding in its soil: a packet of what is known in other corners as 'forget-me' pills.

The flooring isn't the only thing here concealing a glimpse of a different world beneath.

“«You could get cable,»” Yi-Shan says as he quickly crosses the distance between them and comes up beside his sister, a hand on her shoulder and a kiss to the top of her head. He looks at the TV’s dead screen and their muted reflection in it, then gives her shoulder a squeeze before stepping away. “«If that old thing doesn’t need an adapter,»” he adds with a motion to the television.

Yi-Shan leans back against the counter, resting the heels of his palms on the edge, elbows bent and ankles crossed. “«The Young Prince,»” he says in segue with a tongue-in-cheek tone, “«his offer still stands, if you could stomach working in the same building as him.»”

"«Not on your life»," Yi-Min snorts out derisively, even as she reacts with fondness to Yi-Shan's physical greeting. A fine shade of hauteur has already crept over most of her face at the second of his suggestions, as expected, but there is enough room left over for the much softer quirk of a smile he leaves behind when he steps away from her.

"«Not so long as your favorite prince would be in charge of everything I have worked so hard to build up. Now, if Nicole were the one asking me, it might be different.»" It's a spiel Yi-Shan has heard before. Just as Yi-Min has roundly heard all of Yi-Shan's complaints regarding his employer.

As for any talk about getting cable, she just waves a dismissive hand, then dismisses it again with an even shorter syllable. "Mhen." No need.

“«You know that’s not possible,»” Yi-Shan says with a frown, turning around and leaning over the counter, hands clasped together and elbows propped on the wood surface. “«One of these days you’re going to have to concede. The Tongs got pushed out last year, and the ones that didn’t leave cut deals. It won’t be long before the Ghost Shadows and the Flying Dragons either cut or run, and then that leaves small operators.»” Yi-Shan points with two fingers to his sister. “«You.»”

Exhaling a sigh through his nose, Yi-Shan rakes his fingers back through his long hair, pulling it away from his face. “«Eventually the big fish eats all of the little ones. I don’t want that for you.»” He’s trying to be a good brother, but they had always come to cross-purposes when it came to Yi-Min’s rigid sense of independence. Yi-Shan was the more fluid one, able to adapt to any situation, any leadership, any change. He would bend a knee and bow his head when needed to, not for fear of his own pride.

“«Where is your love?»” Yi-Shan asks, deciding to change the subject because of precisely all of those differences between the two.

The existential irony of all of this is one that Yi-Min cannot possibly know. It is in fact the very presence of Yi-Shan, lanced through the branches of her life in this world like the trellis behind an espaliered tree, that enables her to possess such a rigid sense of pride.

Without him, she might just have found herself taking on many of the same qualities of the him that had never been. Graceful fluidity in each and every manner of thing, taught by a quest for purpose in a quiet, lifelong void— the selfsame one created by his absence.

But this is the way her roots wend in the here and now, and Yi-Min simply snorts at her twin. Still sharply, still fondly. "«If the wind turns, well, who is to say I cannot choose to bend at any time? You worry too much, dear brother.»" As for Kara, she merely shrugs, careless.

"«She is due to be in. I imagine she will be along at any moment.»"

It's then that the bell attached to the front door chimes quietly, despite the general lack of lighting in the storefront.

"«I'm sorry I'm late,»" Kara Prince calls ahead of her as she pauses to pull the door shut behind her and lock it now that she's arrived. Just in case. She's only two minutes late, but her voice carries sincere apology in it— and as a result, her tones aren't quite what they should be.

It's a frequent issue, for all her earnest trying.

"Traffic was more of a bear than I'd hoped it'd be…" She dithers on her way back to the back, fingers catching on hanging dried herbs to enjoy the feel of them under her hand before she makes her way to the back. A question is on her lips as she rounds the corner, breath taken in for it, even, when she notes that Yi-Min is not alone.

"Oh," she notes his presence, and at least on the surface, it sounds pleasant. "Yi-Shan, I didn't realize you'd be joining us tonight." Again, though, she doesn't seem overly bothered. Whatever it is she meant to say is laid aside for the moment, all in favor of approaching Yi-Min, to peck a kiss between her temple and cheek.

She'd once been shy about such affection, but that was literal years ago. She's comfortable now, no matter the company, in her devotion for her partner. Kara settles her hand on Yi-Min's shoulder, thumb rubbing adoringly. The low light catches on the ring on her hand. "How was your day?" she wonders. With a touch of a frown, she notes, "Still not over yet, obviously…"

“I’m not a day,” Yi-Shan offers, “or work,” he adds with a look to his sister. “So to say her day is over is fair.” Tilting his head at an angle, Yi-Shan settles a look on Kara that is at once sly and endearing. “But you come right when called,” he admits to her in light of her concern over being late. “No sooner did I bring you up than you manifested, like Ah-Min’s dreams come to life.”

Yi-Shan smiles playfully, then suddenly turns and boosts himself up to sit on the counter, resting the heels of his palms on the countertop. “We were just making idle small talk,” he says in a way to dismiss what he had brought up to Yi-Min.

“It’s late,” Yi-Shan notes to Kara, “have you not eaten yet? You’ll get sick.” In spite of himself, Yi-Shan cannot help but have some of his mother’s nurturing affectations.

The touch of Kara's hand seems to provoke a rainbow of reactive emotion from Yi-Min, short and stark; it begins with a harsh cringe at hearing the butchery of her native tongue… but then more subtly unruffles into her own brand of affection, even if somewhat grudging in light of the first.

At the end of it, her smaller hand captures Kara's on top of her own shoulder, just for that moment. Even deploring as it is, the fondness returned inside her look is neither hidden nor false.

Nor is the sardonic look of 'really?' she shoots over at Yi-Shan when he makes his comment.

"Listen to my little brother," she remarks in English, shaking her head in a clipped manner. "And his cheek." But she leaves his query open for Kara to answer, and even joins him in glancing that way while awaiting her reply.

Kara shoots Yi-Shan a briefly quizzical look over the acrobatics in his reply, wondering at them before returning her look to the flowers Yi-Min had still seemingly been arranging. She moves past the moment, hand still on her partner's shoulder.

"Well, if I'd picked up something on the run on the way here, I figured that would be even worse than seeing if you had eaten yet," she counters, looking down at her. Her brows arc up expectantly. Has Yi-Min looked after herself today?

"I have," Yi-Min confirms briskly, realizing belatedly she hadn't answered regarding herself. Reproof is still there; it's a silly question to her. Of course she always looks after herself.

"Ah. Well." Kara can only shrug high. "I'll put something together when we get home, then. Are you about ready to go? Or is some great business keeping you?"

She takes one look around the closed shop a bit melodramatically to emphasize the point she's trying to make.

“The only business keeping her is my cheek,” Yi-Shan says in return, letting his head loll to the side with one brow raised in inquiry. “But perhaps, Prince,” he says with a feigned gallant wave of a hand at Kara, “you could talk some better sense into her than I, about taking the Linderman Group’s offer before they squeeze this business like a lemon.”

Yi-Shan slides off the counter, feet hitting the floor hard. “Not that I would let them,” he professes with a hand over his chest, “but I would prefer not to have to turn on my employers as they consolidate their control over the city. Poor leadership or no.” And Yi-Shan would not be this candid around anyone other than Yi-Min and her paramour.

“But I suppose that is my peace,” Yi-Shan says with a spread of his hands. “And I have given it.”

"It is a terrible idea, and well you know it." Yi-Min immediately counters, knowing that Yi-Shan would be returning to this subject. "Would you really prefer me to see my poor little shop crushed beneath Faulkner's bootheel for all of time? I value my freedom so, xiao di, because I doubt they would treat me too kindly. Nor allow me much room at all on their leash."

Damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. What is a poor, innocent purveyor of flowers to do?


After all of this, she only shifts a dry, lingering look Kara's way. "Yes. As you can see, this is the only great business I must deal with."

With the beginning quirk of a frown, Kara follows the conversation only long enough until there's a lapse for her to interject herself again. "Well," she declares mildly. "Then I'm stealing you for the night, and no one can stop me."

Yi-Shan's reference to the true business being run here goes right over her head with the way Yi-Min deftly deflects it. Instead, a smile comes to her face as she reaches for her partner's hands to pull her off her chair, to encourage her toward the front door.

There was the last bit of summer to enjoy before the weather turned. Patios to lounge and drink on and partake of each other's company on. Eyes to stare into while the stars reflected from them… so to speak.

"Can you wrap things up for us here, Yi-Shan? I'm being very greedy tonight." Kara begins to grin knowingly, grabbing Yi-Min's bag to drag with them both.

“Go,” Yi-Shan says with a Cheshire smile to them both. He had grown quite fond of Kara and appreciated the way in which she cared for his sister. “I will be downstairs, keeping the lights on.” His brows rise with a pump of playful enthusiasm, swaggering his way around the counter and behind it.

“Two two enjoy yourselves,” Yi-Shan adds, moving to the stairs to the basement.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.

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