singthesong: (Travel)
The Balladeer ([personal profile] singthesong) wrote in [community profile] bigapplesauce2016-07-14 11:32 pm

Send Up a Flare [closed]

Winter is cold.

It seems obvious in retrospect, but the Balladeer had never given it a great deal of thought. Why worry about weather you won't experience? Presidents have a tendency to get shot in the capitol, during warmer seasons. Even as months passed in Manhattan, it took the sudden Rift blizzard for the full implications to sink in. Busking in the park isn't a good way to make money year-round, is it?

It's not the disaster it could be. There's other places. He sees people playing down in the subway stations all the time! So one day, when Steven is with Greta, he wanders alone down to the nearest one to set up shop. The environment is close, full of people and noise and heat, all reasons he never bothered to try this during the summer or fall. But it's not so terrible; he's played through worse, and he even sees a few people he knows passing through! Mostly locals, but Sunshine's bakery is nearby too. He gives her a quick smile and wave as she goes by.

For a few hours, it all goes perfectly well. The tips aren't as good here, but that's fine. They can get better. His focus on encouraging that response is strong enough that he doesn't detect any notes of displeasure approaching - not until he can already see the look on the policeman's face.

Apparently you're not actually allowed to busk in subway stations.

"This seems petty," he observes, torn between indignation and misplaced guilt as he's escorted out into the street. The police station? He has to go to the police station for something like this? "Haven't you got anything better to do? real criminals...?"

This should have happened to him in Dallas.

Rather than protest anymore, he just fires off a quick text before getting shuffled off. Self-pity and a fake ID won't get him out of this one.
rae_of_sun: (apologies)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-07-16 02:00 am (UTC)(link)
When her phone buzzes in her pocket, Sunshine assumes it's Spike, or maybe Castor. She's not expecting the Balladeer, and her eyebrows creep up her forehead as she swipes her thumb across the screen and reads his message.

Her first impulse is to wonder why he'd be under arrest; the second, less charitable one is to wonder why he's texting her about it. They're friends, but she wouldn't have characterized them as post-one-another's-bail-friends. Doesn't he have someone closer he should be contacting about this? He has to, right? Gods, he'd better, otherwise that's just sad.

But, okay, that's not entirely fair. He's probably just texting her because she's closest. The platform he was frequenting is near the bakeshop, and she's already on her way out the door (a dubious advantage to starting her day at an ungodly early hour - at least she gets to head home before it's dark and depressing outside). If she hustles, she might even be able to catch them before he gets taken to the station and processed... which seems like a good thing to avoid, because having a fake ID might not go over well, and explaining that he's a Rifty could be even worse. Not everyone is exactly comfortable with that idea. Hell, she wouldn't be surprised if the local law enforcement has an expiration-free BOLO out on anyone exhibiting otherworldly characteristics.

Which is why she tends to keep her head down when said local law enforcement enters the bake shop. Which isn't to say she hides in the back when she sees a flash of navy from the other side of the counter. But when they start airing their Weird Rifty Stories over coffee and muffins, she doesn't advertise that those are her Weird Rifties, thank you very much. And by the way, look at what my boyfriend can do with his face!

Maybe that's cowardly. It's definitely cowardly. But it also means that when she spots the Balladeer, and realizes she also recognizes the transport authorities frog-marching him down the sidewalk, she finds herself in a position to actually help, as opposed to just make things ten times more complicated and awkward. Assuming her jurisdiction as Cinnamon Roll Queen extends beyond the boundaries of the shop.

She manages to cut them off at the intersection, and also manages to do a creditable look of surprise as she takes in the tableau. It is a weird frigging sight. "Officers," she says with just a hint of dryness before raising her eyebrows at the Balladeer. "What did you do?"

"Hey, Sunshine," one of them says, looking distinctly more affable than he had two seconds ago. "You know this guy? Caught him busking in the subway."

"Yeah. He's a regular, too." Not quite as regular as Juarez and Rossi, but close enough that she doesn't mind implying that there could be some bakeshop customer solidarity going on, here. Looking a bit wounded, she adds, "Is busking seriously illegal? It just seems sort of... endemic."
Edited 2016-07-16 03:17 (UTC)
rae_of_sun: (interested)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-07-22 04:06 am (UTC)(link)
Sunshine raises her eyebrows in wordless acknowledgment of a point well-made, though the look she gives the Balladeer has a hint of don't-screw-yourself-over-here to it.

"People could use a little day-brightening," she says, tilting her head to indicate the general mess left over from last week's snowstorm. It didn't take long for all that pristine whiteness to turn into a grotty, slushy mess, and while there are areas in the park that are still charming, the city streets are looking decidedly unromantic. Nodding at the Balladeer, she adds, "And if you take him in, I'm going to have to bail him out, and payday isn't for another week."

Never mind that she could wheedle bail money from Aziraphale in twenty seconds or less. Hell, the angel could probably arrange it so that as far as the cops are concerned, the Balladeer was never taken in in the first place. But memory tweaking feels underhanded even if an angel's doing it, and she'd rather avoid the hassle.

Fortunately, the idea that they're inconveniencing her seems to weigh on them a bit more than the idea of making the Balladeer's afternoon unpleasant. Rossi cracks a wry smile. "What, he doesn't have any other friends?"

Sorry, Balladeer. Sunshine glances between him and Rossi, one eyebrow raised as if to say, take a wild guess. It gets a laugh, and yeah, it isn't very nice, but you know what is nice? Getting someone out of an arrest, that's what.

"You realize if we release him into your care, he's your responsibility," says Juarez.

"I take my responsibilities very seriously," Sunshine says with a very serious nod.

Both men make a show of consideration, and then Juarez releases the Balladeer with a good-natured grunt of dismissal. "We better not catch him again," adds Rossi, following suit.

"You won't," Sunshine says. "And next time you're in the shop, you can tell whoever's behind the counter that your order's on me."

Juarez grins. "Is there a price limit on that offer?"

"Less than whatever his bail would have been," she deadpans, taking the Balladeer's arm. Look, she's showing responsibility. And also making it implicitly less convenient for them to change their minds. They don't seem inclined to, though - there's some laughter and assurances that they'll hold her to it, and then they saunter back towards the subway, leaving her with her lanky new charge.

Sunshine looks up at him, releasing his arm. "You okay?"
rae_of_sun: (interested)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-07-30 10:09 pm (UTC)(link)
"Illegal enough, I guess," Sunshine says. She wonders if wrangling buskers is like this universe's equivalent of being put on Tinkerbell patrol - and, if so, what Juarez and Rossi did to deserve it. "Though you'd think there would be something more serious than a free subway concert going on somewhere."

She notes the grimace, but isn't sure what to make of it beyond the fact that he's having a rough day that was almost a lot rougher. She almost asks if he's sure he's okay, but she's not entirely sure she wants the unfiltered answer. It's enough to know that he just got busted for what was probably his livelihood, stipends aside. And though she managed to get him off the hook, it wasn't like she did his dignity any favors in the process.

Instead, to her own slight surprise, she finds herself asking, "Do you want to go get a drink or something?" Uh. Okay, well, this is a little awkward, but also, she's done being an invalid, and she likes the Balladeer. "It's... been a while. And I'm assuming you're done with that for the day." She nods at his guitar case.
rae_of_sun: (smile - bemused)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-08-12 01:16 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, gods, so he texted her by accident? In some ways, that's a relief - at least he isn't so strapped for friends that she's actually his emergency contact. But it's also the sort of misunderstanding that would best be punctuated by a wry laugh and parting ways, like, ha ha, hilarious, glad we're on the same level as far as our low-key friendship goes, see you around. Not: well I guess we're super-friends now, let's hang out immediately. It feels like she's desperate for socialization, which she isn't. Or like she's treating him like a stray dog, which he isn't.

Though he does have the bounce-back optimism of your average puppy, so that's lucky. They can salvage this, right?

"No problem," she says with a one-shouldered shrug. "Saved you having to pester one of the angelic types." Which is probably what it would have taken. She gets the impression from Juarez and Rossi's Weird Rifty Stories that they aren't heavily interested in befriending any of said Rifties, so the odds of anyone else in the network having much sway over local law enforcement seem slim.

And hey, at least local law enforcement in this universe just eats her food and tells her stories and doesn't try to wheedle her onto the payroll by way of battling the forces of darkness. She could wax nostalgic about just having the kind of sway that feeding people gives you.

"There's a pub nearby," she says, angling her head down the sidewalk before letting her body follow. Not Wilmot's. She has nothing against the place - she actually kind of likes that well-worn Albion atmosphere - but sometimes you want to sit in a pub that doesn't remind you that you're Not From Around Here. Too many otherworldly shadows flickering in her periphery gives her a headache, and the native human population's lack of demon or peri or magic-handling blood makes for a soothing homogeneity in that regard. She can ignore New Yorkers.

Working in Old Town has given Sunshine a good eye for comfortably shabby places that refuse to get with the gentrification program, a necessary skill if you want to get a drink on the Upper East Side without paying something criminal. She leads the Balladeer to a place called Keegan's, which is narrow enough to feel cozy but long enough to not get claustrophobic. It's early enough in the day that there are only a few other patrons seated at the bar, so she doesn't feel greedy claiming an entire booth. Hey, he has to put that guitar case somewhere.

"What are you having?" she asks, taking a demonstrative little step towards the bar. Normally she'd be having tea at this time of day, but the situation calls for a light buzz. It's already been weird; why not add a little day drinking to the mix?
rae_of_sun: (pondering - exaggerated)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-08-14 03:00 am (UTC)(link)
That's a kind of loaded-sounding way of phrasing it, but Sunshine shrugs it off. He could just mean that it would be horribly embarrassing to have to call either one of them, to which she'd agree. He'd either be dealing with Aziraphale's stuffy disapproval or Gabriel's relentless teasing, and getting arrested is bad enough without adding either of those things to the mix.

"I was going to ask Olena to surprise me," Sunshine says, raising her eyebrows at the woman behind the bar. If it was busy, she'd pick something straightforward, but it's not, and she knows Olena well enough to guess she won't mind getting a bit inventive. Hell, she's probably bored.

True to Sunshine's guess, Olena perks up at the prospect, her eyes narrowing at the implicit challenge. "What about you?" Olena asks, sizing up the Balladeer. "Do you trust my expertise?"

"You should trust her expertise," Sunshine advises, leaning against an unoccupied barstool.
rae_of_sun: (welp)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-08-15 11:57 pm (UTC)(link)
"Eh." Sunshine gives a noncommittal shrug. It's hard to call herself a regular when she's spent much of the past month just dragging herself to work and back, too bone-tired to attempt anything else. "Often enough to know most of the staff." Which she makes a special effort to do. Hey, she knows from personal experience that a little effort in that regard can go a long way. Whether or not she likes her own customers can be the difference between them enjoying the metaphorical (or literal) fruits of her latest culinary experiment and them not even knowing fun experiments are happening. And now look - all she had to do was be nice to Olena to get herself interesting off-menu beverages during slow periods. Worth it.

It helps that Olena's a professional sweetheart, of course. Shiva knows how she keeps it up in this city, but she does.

"I'm sort of... getting over an illness," she explains, nose wrinkling. Now that she's over it - and knowing the cure was so frigging straightforward - it's easy to look back on it as a sort of prolonged embarrassing mistake, like she had her shirt on backwards ever since the summer solstice. Well done, Sunshine. Except having your shirt on backwards is just embarrassing, not a legitimate threat to your health, but who's counting?
rae_of_sun: (awkward)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-08-17 01:17 am (UTC)(link)
"I am," she's quick to confirm, because the last thing she wants is a pity party thrown in honor of her inability to notice a backwards shirt for a month or so. "No lasting damage. Though," she pauses long enough for a self-deprecating snort, "next time you're sick, that's the perfect time to pester one of the angels. They can just..." she makes an illustrative finger-twiddling gesture with one hand to indicate 'miracle you better.'

She winces at the rush of cold air, and it turns to a wry smile at how near the Balladeer's unwittingly guessing. "It really wasn't," she says with more feeling than the phrase would normally deserve. "But the storm didn't knock us out. Aziraphale's in my building, so we were set." Her smile softens into something more genuine as she adds, "And Spike got me an electric blanket, so that's been put to good use." She's not sure the pleasure of having it while the storm raged outside was worth Spike actually being out in the thick of it, though. "He actually got caught out in the worst of it. Daine had to escort him. You know Daine, right?" Sunshine sort of assumes everyone knows Daine. The girl gets around, and she's been here longer than most. Poor kid. Still, probably best to make sure the Balladeer knows who she's talking about before she mentions what Daine was at the time.
rae_of_sun: (oh really?)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-08-23 03:56 am (UTC)(link)
"She was a bear," Sunshine supplies. "Or so Spike told me." Which isn't to say he'd really embellish the whole shape-shifting aspect just to make it all sound more impressive. The storm's nastiness kind of backs him up; 'an actual kali goddamn bear' seems like one of the few living things equipped to not die under those circumstances.

Besides, if anyone's story is skewing too close to the 'outlandish' end of the spectrum, it's the Balladeer's. She has to think about his question for a few seconds, because 'Steven' does ring a bell despite the fact that she hasn't really been in a mingling mood these past several weeks. "I think I might have texted him," she hazards. If she's remembering correctly, Steven texted pretty much everyone. If she hadn't had the energy for mingling, she definitely wouldn't have had it for enthusiastic overtures of friendship from a kid.

"Is he staying with you?" Gods, she hasn't given much thought to how Rift-orphans might be surviving after the collapse of the factions. The only young person she knows about besides Steven is that zombie kid living in Aziraphale's unit. "I don't suppose there's a system for how to deal with minors anymore."
rae_of_sun: (taste test)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-08-29 02:57 am (UTC)(link)
Gods, that's depressing. It makes Steven sound like a stray dog or something. Well, okay, that's not a fair comparison, because a stray dog could just give Daine whatever the animal-based equivalent of a phone call is, and a new Rifty - age notwithstanding - can't really do anything but blunder around and hope they're lucky enough to run into one of their fellows in displacement before a cop. Or a mugger, for that matter.

"Maybe we should be working something out," she says, though not with much enthusiasm, because it sounds like another full-time job, and she already has one of those. Plus, it would probably entail a lot of standing around in the cold and waiting for something to happen, with a side of hoping it happens within a two-minute walk. It's probably necessary, especially now that winter's happening, but that doesn't make it less of a carthaginian chore.

Then again, she arrived when it was nice and warm out, and while there was still an integration system that wasn't just 'here, let me drag this angel away from whatever non-angelic thing he's doing and let him set you up.' How trollish is it to cringe away from the possibility of paying it forward?

Fortunately, Olena is a master of convenient timing. "Okay," she says, sliding two mystery concoctions across the bar. Sunshine's is a pleasingly lurid shade of fuchsia that just about matches her top, so points for presentation. "Give these a go."

Sunshine takes an experimental sip, then raises her eyebrows, barely suppressing a cough. Olena isn't pulling any punches today, but that's probably just as well. It's cold out. "This," she says, "will definitely do. Thanks."
rae_of_sun: (impish)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-09-01 12:56 am (UTC)(link)
For that matter, how did the factions do it? A well-organized, plainclothes militia? Even if they had the requisite tech to track the Rift's shenanigans, it's one thing to know it dropped something at any given coordinates and another thing to get there before the aforementioned something wanders off or gets hit by a taxi or whatever.

It occurs to her, too, that this probably isn't a problem anyone's waiting on a baker and a busker to solve. Maybe the angels can just tell when a new arrival shows up. That technically falls under their purview, right?

Sure. Let's go with that. Besides, she's kind of distracted by the Balladeer's hilarious reaction to his drink. He's looking at it like it spoke to him. This, she decides, is going to be a blast.

"Come on," she says, heading back over to the booth and sliding in opposite the guitar. Once she's settled, she gives his drink a pointed look. "What do you think?" she asks, biting back a grin.
rae_of_sun: (inquiring)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-09-12 09:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Oh, yes, this is definitely going to be a good time. Sunshine watches him take exploratory sips of his drink, then shrugs. "I'm normally more of a tea drinker, but some situations call for something stronger." Actually, she's not sure she has any alcohol in her apartment. Spike usually has some on hand, so it hasn't been an issue.

It's sort of weird that he never drank back home, though. Does that suggest that his prior life was so charmed that alcohol was never needed? Granted, she didn't do much drinking over the course of the whole mess with Bo. When your problems are that kali terrible, you want to keep your head - or at least not give yourself a chemical head start in losing it. So maybe the real question is whether this universe is comparatively better (which is why he'd feel safe enough to drink) or comparatively worse (which is why he'd be miserable enough to).

... The Balladeer never really struck her as miserable.

"Have you been experimenting?" she asks, testing the waters.
rae_of_sun: (interested)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-09-20 01:04 am (UTC)(link)
Okay, 'charmed life' is starting to look marginally less likely, what with him not knowing it's a social thing. Maybe his friends were all teetotalers. That seems like a safe bet, right? If nothing else, it's a less carthaginian depressing bet than 'he had no friends.' Let's not tread down that particular road.

"Elliot makes a mean bellini," she says with a sage nod. "Those are just... fizzy wine and peach nectar, basically. Or I just trust Olena's judgment." Which just goes to show how little she actually drinks. The Balladeer could be in way more knowledgable company.

Except for the part where it really sounds like drinking in any kind of company is relatively uncharted territory for him. By the time she's downed most of Olena's latest concoction, Sunshine's curiosity is starting to get the better of her.

"So, hang on," she says, propping her elbow up on the table and leaning her head against her hand. "Did you just... not drink at home? At all? I mean," she waves a hand in preemptive understanding, "more power to you; I wasn't a big drinker back home, either."
rae_of_sun: (ugh what)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-09-22 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
Wait, what? Sunshine blinks owlishly at him for a few seconds, trying to parse what he's said. It doesn't seem to make sense, and she's not that drunk. Pleasant tipsiness generally doesn't translate into a complete inability to understand words. She's pretty sure it's the context that's escaping her. Like, only one guy could get beer? What is that about? Was he the only one with a car or something?

"Did you live in a commune?" she finally asks, giving each word equal weight. Isn't the point of a commune that you don't hate everyone else who lives there? Was he a hostage? No, she's not asking that.
rae_of_sun: (uhhhh)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-09-28 11:39 pm (UTC)(link)
That is one mystifying excuse for an answer, and Sunshine watches him deliver it in befuddled interest, like she's trying to impress a date who brought her to an abstract art exhibit. "Yeah," she agrees, as if she has any idea what he's talking about. Well, it's true that things can go south when you've got a group of people who are drinking, sure, but the phrase 'feedback loop' isn't doing anything to debunk her whole 'commune' theory. Or, if it wasn't an actual commune, what was it? Like, how close to that kind of thing can you skirt without breaking out the tinfoil hats?

Some part of her wonders if an extended family of coffeehouse employees might compare, but she's pretty sure it wouldn't. If movie nights were that fraught, they wouldn't keep having them.

She's not sure she really wants the conversation to switch to her home life when she doesn't have anything like a bead on his, but if he doesn't want to talk about it, there's no non-asshole-ish way to make him. Stick a pin in it.

"Baker," she says, lifting her glass in an ironic little salute. "My stepdad ran a coffeehouse. Charlie's." She takes a swig of her drink, guilt and curiosity and a sheen of alcohol-induced 'fuck it' brand apathy prompting her to add, "That's when SOF wasn't trying to hound me onto their payroll." He probably doesn't know what SOF means. "Special Other Forces." That probably doesn't clear it up much. "Sucker cops." Is this helping? "Like..." she slumps forward a little, "the division that handles all the vampires and ghouls and were-whatevers."
rae_of_sun: (hmmmm)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-09-30 12:37 am (UTC)(link)
Hey, now. Sunshine might have bristled under the collective stares of Pat, Jesse, and Theo, but before she'd earned their full attention, she'd liked them. Even their full attention wasn't enough to make her go off them comprehensively (that was more her mother's purview/skill set). They were an extension of the coffeehouse family, and okay, they weren't close enough to earn invitations to movie night, but they're still close enough that the implicit insult spurs a flash of proprietary defensiveness. She's allowed to be exasperated by SOF; it's not a privilege extended to people from completely different universes.

... Granted, the Balladeer's ignorance is pretty easy to excuse by the exact same 'what the hell does he know?' line of reasoning.

"It's not bad for the reasons you're probably thinking of," she says carefully. "I mean, Tinkerbell Patrol is bad - dealing with little old ladies who think there are fairies hiding in their gardens and--and spoiling their milk, or whatever." She shrugs. "But most of them are dealing with more serious Other threats. Things have gotten quieter since the Wars, but it's still... not great." Snorting faintly, she makes a bar-encompassing gesture with her glass. "Pretty sure my universe's Manhattan isn't going to be... habitable... anytime soon, for example. I don't think anything is even growing there."

Not that she wants to stray any farther down that conversational tangent. Living in this Manhattan for so long, she's almost starting to forget how bad things were - and presumably still are - back home. Hell, in the months she's been here, she's probably rubbed shoulders with about as many individuals as there are in her America's entire Eastern seaboard.

Ugh. She stares down into her glass, brow furrowed. "So, SOF's solid. Way more competent than I am outside my bakery. But I'm a magic-handler, and I have this... thing with vampires. That's what they want." Her thing. Eloquently explained, Sunshine. Still, it might be more dignified than making poisoned werebiscuits, which is just plain gross.
rae_of_sun: (lemme splain you a thing)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-10-12 11:13 pm (UTC)(link)
Sunshine lets out a snort of amusement at the idea of vampires around here needing fighting. Sure, a certain someone does need to be fought with every now and again, but domestic spats aren't what the Balladeer has in mind.

And that's setting aside the whole pan-universal severity scale of vampirism. Granted, Manhattan is so densely populated that a sly enough sucker could probably get by without anyone noticing anything amiss. But the Giggler was probably the most overtly threatening vampire she's run into since she arrived, and he followed her here. Maybe every other universe's vampires are the lite kind.

Which seems colossally unfair, but if she's being honest, it's pretty in keeping with her own universe's brand of Others and magic. They get all the dark, awful, life-destroying (literally or figuratively) stuff, and none of the fairy godmother, magic wand, curses-can-be-broken stuff. It's a frigging lousy system.

"Oh, all sorts of things," she starts, more than a little tempted to follow it up with 'date' or 'bake for,' but again, that's not really what he's asking. "But I think it's just the 'kill them easily' part that really got SOF's attention."
rae_of_sun: (debating)

[personal profile] rae_of_sun 2016-10-31 01:09 am (UTC)(link)
It's good that he isn't pressing for details, because she's tipsy enough that she might give them, and then they'd both be sorry. It's sort of hard to enjoy a nice beverage after dealing the mental images she could conjure up.

Fairies are a safer subject, and she rests her chin on her hand, considering. "I don't think so. I mean... not the live-in-your-garden-and-wear-harebells kind. The kidnapping kind, maybe, but they're probably just over in Albion." She flaps a hand dismissively. Albion can keep 'em. America has enough Other-related problems without that. "What we really have are things that can make themselves look like fairies, but are actually nastier. Some demons can pull off that kind of thing."