2007-12-26: Any Other Way

Starring:

Jane_icon.gif Lee_icon.gif Dani_icon.gif

Guest Starring:

Danny Ferrera

Summary: Jane is targeted by one of the men who she, Lee and Peter confronted about snooping around Enlightenment Books a month earlier — but he's not exactly the best villain.

Date It Happened: December 26th, 2007

Any Other Way


SoHo

New York City

Evening slowly approaches in Manhattan. Somewhere near SoHo, it's business as usual. It's a clear night, even though the forecast is predicting rain — at least it's not too cold out. That is, it could be worse. The day after Christmas, decorations can still be found glinting in store windows. A city bus hisses, rumbles and pulls away from a well-used bus stop at a street corner just after a ragged young man gets on.

Dani steps off the bus as it stops, pulling his coat around him tightly in an attempt to stay warm. He pauses and glances up and down the street for a moment before he starts down the sidewalk, moving against the flow of pedestrian traffic.

Lee is out bargain-hunting for the new year. Books, papers, pens, supplies, stretching that crummy classroom budget as far as it will go. Bags from a half-dozen thrift stores, that big office supply store going so far out of business that people are making offers on the shelves…bundled up in a big peacoat and the scarf his sister gave him for Christmas, which he does not know have the colors of House Ravenclaw on them. She'll tell him later and he will protest mightily. For now he is just happy to stay warm.

Out on the street this evening, on foot as she's accustomed to being, Jane has her guitar case over one shoulder and a backpack over the other. It's her thick winter coat, jeans, and cold weather boots for clothing. The gloves on her hands have the fingertips missing, so she can still work the instrument's strings and frets. As the bus stops to take on and discharge passengers, she's stepping up to a spot near a building. The gear she carries is set down, the instrument case is opened, and a small portable amp is plugged into. She'll spend the next several moments checking the tuning. Sound from the red Fender Strat is audible, but not so loud as to deafen.

A young man with a shaved head, dark brows, a slightly scruffy chin and jaw, all offset by bright blue puppydog eyes, watches the people on the street through the window of the building behind the street performer, Jane. It's an internet cafe, by the looks of things; couches, tables and lots of computer screens, geeks and hipsters. He looks to be the former, if anything; he's wearing suit and tie that fit somewhat awkwardly. He sips from a cup with more tension than green tea really inspires, looks down at something in his hand, and shoves up from his seat.

Dani continues down the sidewalk, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his coat as he stops and looks into the window of a shop, looking over the items on display before he takes a glance towards Jane as she tunes up her guitar.

Lee is just going in to the internet cafe - of course he's going to go in when there's a sign up that says "40 percent off all coffee you've never heard of" - when he spots Jane. "Hey," he tells her. "Merry Christmas." He considers Jane's busking to be essentially an eccentricity. "That's gotta make your fingers freezing."

She's unaware of the man in the internet cafe behind her moving when she's spotted, being as her back is to him. The woman, a brunette of five feet eight inches with hair spilling around shoulders and down her back, nods once at Dani as he approaches, then gives Lee somewhat more attention as he speaks to her. A smile forms, and she replies pleasantly. "It can, sometimes, but I love to play, and you know me, if the mood strikes I'll just set up and go. How've you been, anyway? Keeping Portia and gang in line, getting them all ready for eventual citizenship?"

She finishes tuning up and launches into a song, one she likes to open with, but sans lyrics for now. It's a metalized version of New York, New York.

Lee says, "Most everyone passed their finals, so we're on track for the state achievement test in January." He waggles the bags in his long-fingered hand. "Using up the end-of-semester budget so it doesn't get cut next year."

The young man at the cafe window leans far back in his chair so that his profile isn't so obvious anymore, and hesitates that way for awhile, stealing glances outside before he grabs a cell phone from his pants pocket and shoves up from his seat. "Chris, I'm tellin' you, we should've switched from the start. This chick is gonna recognize me, dude, and it's gonna be all over." Of course, no one outside can hear him — he's counting on that. He steps to the door, opening it an inch while there's no caf traffic, eyeing Jane, then Lee. "I know, just, Christ, there's another one— no, shut up, I'm cool."

Dani offers Jane a nod in return before he looks back at the window for a few more minutes, studying what's there for a moment. He turns back to Jane as she starts to play, nodding his head slightly with the music.

She nods briskly to what Lee says, while her fingers continue to work the instrument so skilfully. "Playing the bureaucratic game, I get it," Jane answers. "The bean counters have to be satisfied, or they'll make everyone's heads and butts hurt." Inwardly she smiles grimly, and thanks herself for not going into the corporate life.

Lee says, "Yep, I'd hate to have even less in my budget next semester…so I'm going to grab some coffee, you want something while I'm in there?" He indicates the cafe behind Jane.

"I feel like an amateur, we could do this so much better… but— no, it's cool, I said it's cool. I'm goin' in." At the entrance of the cafe, the man's blue eyes narrow, their youthful, puppy-like quality hardening and becoming determined — steeling into something darker and older, less benign. He pushes out into the evening air, shrugging a long coat on over his ill-fitting suit and shouldering a black messenger bag. Shifting around so much with his coat and bag, he doesn't notice that he drops one of the things he was holding: not his cell phone, which he tucks away safely, but a photograph, which lands on the stoop of the cafe as he heads onto the sidewalk.

Danny Ferrera — that's him — approaches Jane. He rifles around in a pocket, change jingling, but it's a few bills that he manages to draw out and toss into the guitar case. "Hey, uh…" he greets awkwardly. "I dunno if you remember me," he says, sweating nervously, not able to look Jane in the eye. He glances at Lee the same way. Danny has a fairly forgettable face, due in no small part to his small stature and smaller demeanour. "I think we had a misunderstanding…"

Dani turns towards the cafe as the door opens again, noticing the dropped photo, he stops and picks it up. He looks at the picture, checking both sides of the photo before he looks to Jane then to the man who approached her, an eyebrow raised slightly. He slides the picture into his back pocket and pulls his shirt over it and starts towards Jane, digging out a few bills.

Lee eyes Danny sidelong. "We did? Probably it was my fault. Were you doing something completely reasonable according to your experiences and personality and I called it stupid or unreasonable? I do that a lot." It's not exactly an apology. What the hell is it anyway?

She stops playing when the man speaks to her, and his face is remembered. Jane is quiet and serious suddenly. "A misunderstanding," she repeats. "Do tell." Her features show interest, but the expression is very much saying 'this better be good'. "And look at me, if you would."

The young man stares unsurely at Lee. "Uh, something like that." Danny manages to look at Jane when she tells him to. "My friend, he… he gets these ideas… you know, maybe you don't even remember, it was nothing. Your friends are crazy, though— " A look to Lee. "No offense." Back to the guitarist. "Do you have a second? I'd like to— well, I'd like to apologize. I'll even buy you a coffee. T-tea? They have … energy drinks too, just in there," he gestures to the internet cafe.

Dani takes a few bills out of his pocket and drops it into Jane's case before looking up at Danny. Yeah, Danny is the lesser of the two Dans. He then looks to Jane and Lee. "You guys may wanna tell this guy to piss off." He says as he stuffs his hands back into his pocket.

Lee says, "The guy's buying, why would I tell him to …heyyy, you're that guy that was with that asshole trying to bug the UFO bookstore. No kidding, the Village is crazy, notify the press, right?" He laughs. "Didn't you get arrested or something? I thought I heard you got arrested."

In her brain, Doctor Forrest is calculating quietly. Apologize. Buy her a drink. It's a rare woman who hasn't at some point heard the strategy of slipping in roofies to get certain advantages, and this guy was involved with trying to bug the bookstore. Curiosity exists, but she can buy her own drink and make sure it doesn't leave her sight. Or better yet… talk right here. Eyes settle on Dani for a moment, as if she's considering just that, but she looks at Danny again. "I'm good here." With two guys for backup, if needed. "Speak."

"I didn't— I wasn't doing anything wrong, I didn't get arrested," Danny insists with a hint of irritation. He eyes Lee almost warily before shifting from foot to foot and spreading his hands out in the air, palms down. "Look, I'm sorry, miss" he pretends not to know Jane's name. "I uh— " He's sweating bullets. He steps in close to Jane - or at least, her guitar case — and tries his hardest to lean in as close as he can. Good luck with that, Danny. He keeps his voice low, a hissing whisper through his teeth. "I know about you, okay," he tells her. "I know what you can do. With your voice. With your… screams. I wanna know more. Don't you think we could go somewhere more… private. Hey?"

Dani raising an eyebrow as Danny leans in, looking to Lee or Jane for a cue. He's not going to act unless the others do since he doesn't really know the situation. Just knows what he's seen thus far. He doesn't really hear exactly what is said in the whispers. "Got something you'd prolly like to see." He says to Lee and Jane.

Lee says, brushing off Dani just for a moment, as he is winding up to lay into Danny again. So much for that apology. "Look, let me give you a bit of advice on your New Year's resolution. I would say your resolution should be learn simple logic and make the tiniest bit of sense. From bugging a bunch of Bigfoot enthusiasts to Jane's voice? Come on now. Get serious. She doesn't even believe in Bigfoot I bet. Think before you open your mouth and embarrass yourself." He looks at Dani with some surprise, unsure if he's been propositioned for a drug deal or stolen merchandise.

She's intrigued by what Danny knows and how he knows it, she'd love to make him spill right here on the spot. Really would. But… there's Dani nearby, who probably doesn't need to know the details of what they'd discuss, and so Jane considers getting him to go somewhere with her and Lee. Until Dani speaks of something they should see. Her eyes settle on him, and she utters just two words. "Show us." To people who've not been around her much, they may think she's a tough rocker chick who might try to kick ass. She's got fierce eyes now, and her jaw is set. But what she knows is her own experience. Bag and tag marks on her neck, memory holes, cold turkey suffering, prophesies of grisly death… All that on top of a Yale legal education.

"This isn't about freaking Bigfoot." Danny steps back, looking out of sorts. He's not making a lot of sense, Lee is definitely right there. Furthering the impression that he's off his rocker - or more true to fact, a man under a great deal of stress — he suddenly grips at his head, at hair that he doesn't have, face contorting, as he looks nervously from Jane, to Lee, to Dani.

Dani looks from Lee to Danny to Jane and nods. "Sure thing." He says, moving closer to her as he pulls out the photo that he found. Once he's close enough he holds the photo out to Jane. "Your friend here," He says, nodding to Danny. "Dropped this."

The photo is a surveillance style photograph of Jane — grainy, but recognizable, zoomed in through a window while she's in a kitchen. Her kitchen. On the back is 'J.F.' in black marker, with a red 'X' through it, smudging the letters' ink into red and black smears.

Lee eyes the picture sidelong for a moment, then says, "Your friend wanted to bug the location of the premier Bigfoot-spotting club in lower New York State and…what the hell, Jane, is this your kitchen?" He turns it over, before passing it on. "Okay, another resolution for the new year, don't X-out the names of potential murder victims, that only happens on TV when they need a cheap, provocative narrative crutch to replace real suspense." he snarks, but more nastily now, more cutting.

Her back stiffens on sight of the photo, and she instantly turns to stare Danny in the eye. Concern over what Dani might learn now vanishes, this is a moment to be seized. This guy, she realizes as suspicion moves to confirmation, was trying to lure her somewhere to get killed, kidnapped, or both. And Jane is a woman who not so long ago made her peace with dying if death found her. But not without a fight. If she's going down, she'll take people with her if she can. The eyes flash danger, and she brandishes the guitar like a weapon now, aiming to poke Danny in the chest and force him toward a wall. "Guys," she snaps, "grab this man. Check him for weapons."

Danny continues to clutch at his head, trying quite desperately to spin away from the guitar. He steps back, nearly off the curb into traffic. "Okay! Okay. I didn't want to have to do this! Not like— not like this." He starts murmuring to himself under his breath. He blinks hard a few times, sucks in a breath. "Making a point, making a point, making a point…" The young man reaches swiftly into his messenger bag and pulls out a pistol, speaking of weapons. Instantly, its safety is flicked off and it's pointed at Jane — but swings wildly, then, from the woman to Lee and Dani and back again. Sure, he's in plain sight, but— "Making a point. Making a … a point…"

Lee says, "Just because he's acting like a third-rate WHOA!" It's such a tragedy when someone's exquisitely witty repartee is interrupted by impending gunplay necessitating an undignified whoop of panic and a grabbing of concrete. He dives for cover behind a nearby table, grabbing Jane's arm as he does so. "That's not a point, it's a felony!" he yelps.

"Gun!" Jane spots the weapon and seeks to defend herself against it, the guitar she's brandishing as a weapon is brought to bear, being swung at the firearm with an eye to knocking it away before it can be fired at her or anyone else. But she misses altogether and falls backward into Lee, her arm having been grabbed and the aim disrupted, her movement also making her lose balance when grabbed. The instrument instead impacts the table just as they disappear behind it.

The man with the gun doesn't look like a man who would normally be wielding a gun, let alone threatening to use it. He's better suited to wielding a keyboard and mouse, and yet here he is, threatening to kill someone. "You have to go!" Go means die in this case, it seems. "You're one of them! You shouldn't EXIST, I can't… we can't let you— " A bullet rings out.

Dani rushes Danny as the shot rings out, ducking out of the way slightly as he hears the shot, but continues towards Danny, in an attempt to tackle his ass.

Lee continues to scramble for harder cover than a table with Jane in tow. "Don't attack a guy with a gun with a guitar. They should have taught you that at Yale." he counsels her. He also yells, "Don't be an ass, Ferrera, there's a cop right over there!" Well, maybe there is, maybe there's not.

"Jesus, Lee," she grumbles as she gets pulled away from the target and loses her ability to strike fast without being in the line of fire, advantage gone. Her jaw is set, and she mutters "How about kick the guy's ass with the guitar and take his gun before he can shoot? And… I really want to interrogate the guy before cops get him anyway, to know who wants me dead. Maybe they get me, maybe not, but not. without. a. fight!"

Danny is a wiry little guy. He scrambles away from his similar nakesake, Dani, better than he fires a gun. It's all a whirlwind. BANG. He stabilizes the awkward pistol and fires off another shot at Jane the moment after he's avoided being tackled.

Dani rolls to the ground as Danny manages to avoid the tackle. He stays on the ground for a moment as he looks at Danny, staring at him as he tries to create enough shadows over Danny's eyes in an effort to blind him.

Lee doesn't even take the time to argue with her, he is trying to get behind tougher cover, like the corner, or a brick wall, or maybe one of those Linux guys, the neckbeard alone would stop bullets.

She's watching the man with the weapon as best she can from cover, looking for an angle to go at him from, when she sees it being aimed at her again. Jane scrambles back in the direction Lee moved a bit, getting herself out of the line of fire, and this time keeps her head down. She calls out for Dani's benefit. "Get him into a spot where we can help you without getting shot, I'll come out, man." Her eyes try to see what's going on as best she can without becoming exposed again.

Plan A would have been ideal for poor Danny Ferrera. Plan B has bullets lodging into the wall of the internet cafe. Screams erupt nearby. "Ahhhrgg!" he gives a guttural cry of frustration, confusion and, well, fear, one hand flying away from the weapon to clap over his eyes, as if blinded. That would be because he is blinded — by Dani's unseen attack. The gun, flailing wildly in one hand, discharges.

Dani calls out to Jane. "I'm trying." He says before he stands up after the shadows take effect. "Now. He's blind." He says, going for the gun.

Lee dances out of sight on light feet. He does move quick and graceful for someone whose job is basically standing in front of a blackboard saying 'everyone please pay attention'. "Blind?! He's shooting right at us!!" he gawps uselessly.

She moves to where she can act when clear, poised behind cover to stay out of the firing line yet be close enough to dash out fast and help subdue the gunman. Jane is fuming now, and filled with questions. She isn't even certain she'd want to give the man to the police right now, but realizes she'll have to. Shots fired has to have a response team on the way fast.

Yeah, Danny is shooting right at them, but his aim his way off; the bullets go wide, slamming into buildings, shattering glass, going anywhere but into the bodies around him. He stumbles backward off the curb — into traffic.

Dani tries to get to Danny as fast as he is able before he gets hit by a car.

Lee yells, "Look out!" He must mean that bus. Or that car. Or that other car.

The shots have stopped, so Jane comes out from cover. She doesn't speak, that might give a bearing on her location and cause the bullets to come again. Feet carry her toward Dani, she moves to help him pull the man out of traffic and disarm him. Her features show anger, a smoldering rage. People trying to kill her really piss her off. Her intent to find out all she can before the cops show is written all over her face.

The failed gunman is intercepted by Dani moments before he would have been struck by a yellow, checkered taxi; the driver blares his horn, either not seeing the waving gun or not caring. Squinting, clutching at his face, he's no longer firing any shots. He can't see, his world is black, he's … doomed.

Dani starts to pull Danny back to the sidewalk where it's safe…ish with Jane's help, trying not to get hit by any cars in the process.

Lee emerges from his hiding spot, saying, "What the hell, stop shooting, that's not helping anything! You almost got creamed by that bus!" As always, Lee helps someone by pointing out their deficiencies. He must get a lot of Christmas cards.

She reaches out toward the man Dani is leading back to the sidewalk, her first priority being to take that gun from him. No more shooting, thank you very much. If she can disarm him, then she'll assist in the leading back and begin to fire questions, but first things must be first. She hasn't yet checked her guitar for damage when it hit the table instead of Danny's hand.

Sidewalk — this feels like a sidewalk. Danny's eyes rove wildly — black and shadowy, where they were bright blue before. The gun is taken from him easily, but he doesn't stick around to be interrogated… or at least, he tries not to be. He turns on his heel and makes a break for it, attempt to wrench away from his saviors/captors/victims.

Dani continues to lead Danny to the sidewalk until he tries to make a break for it, but tries to keep a hold of the man. Danny breaks free from the grasps of his captors, just barely and Dani tries to regain a hold on the fleeing man.

Lee just watches the two of them go, shaking his head. "What an idiot." he mutters before yelling again: "Hey, you know, you told us your freakin' name, moron, the cops are probably going to have a real short fuckin' list of suspects!"

She also isn't strong enough to hold on to the man, Danny breaks away from her and gets away. Jane scowls, and looks at the gun in her hand for a long moment. Her anger seems to build, until she shakes her head to get calm again. He's gone, now there's the other Dani to speak with. "You still have that photo, man? Frickin' psycho nutjob stalker, thinks I can break things with my voice, like I've got some superpower." And after speaking, she's listening for sirens, for cops on the way. There was a gun, and in public, shots fired, there must've been so many 911 calls made. Psycho nutjob stalker, yes, that's it. That's the story she'll give the badges.

Jane wouldn't exactly be wrong, either. The story fits. Maybe that's all he was. Whatever case, he's gone, crashing into random pedestrians as he goes. It's only a matter of time before it's a car or building that he runs into-or is it? Up ahead, Danny slows down, rubbing at his eyes-then races off down a corner.

Sirens are, indeed, on their way.

Dani shakes his head to Jane as Danny escapes. "No, I gave it to you guys." He says as he looks around the area for a moment before looking at his watch. "I need to make a phone call." He says, pulling out his cell phone and dials a number.

Lee nods to Dani. "Oh, I still have it here." Jane must have shoved it back at him when the gun came out, or maybe he yanked it back in all the ruckus. "Thanks, man. Was a good ty. He didn't seem interested in talking." he says to Dani.

Oh, crap. There are now two problems in play. One, there are cops on the way and she's holding a captured gun. The last thing Jane wants when they get here is to still be holding it. So she puts the thing carefully on the pavement and steps well away so the police can take it, being certain to keep her hands in full view. Now, the other problem. Dani and his phone call. "Hey, dude," she begins, "if you're some conspiracy nut trying to call the Enquirer and sell a story about people with superpowers and witch hunters, I'll call all my Yale law classmates and we'll sue your happy ass so hard you'll have to save for three months to get two pieces of lint. You don't believe that shit about superpowers, do you, man?" He might, she realizes, have one. It wouldn't be the first time, but the odds are against it, and safety first.

Dani waits for a few moments as the other end rings before it's picked up. "Lyssa, it's Dani. I'm going to be a little late in picking you up. I got stuck in the middle of something, but I'll be there as soon as I can." He looks to Lee as he speaks and nods before speaking into his phone again. "Okay. It shouldn't be too much longer. I'll be there soon. Okay. See you soon." He says into the phone before hanging it up. He looks to Jane. "Don't worry. I was just calling my date to let her know I'm going to be running late." He says as he puts the phone back into his pocket.

Lee eyes Jane sidelong, then eyes Dani sidelong, but doesn't contribute to this exchange. Clearly he was willing to cut Dani more slack, but still appreciates Jane's caution.

It's covered, she believes, the story established with the stranger, and she relaxes a bit. "Sorry, man, for your date getting messed up because some psycho wants to kill me." The gun remains where it is, watched, while Jane waits for those cops. "Thanks, both of you, for the backup."

Dani shrugs. "It's okay. She understands." He says with a chuckle. "At least, that's what she says." He sighs as he looks around for the cops. "Yeah. It's aright."

The NYPD roll up to the scene — one on foot, jogging over from nearby, and another moments later in a squad car; its duplicate rushes past with sirens on, in pursuit of one Danny Fererra.

Lee gives his statement to the police - he's actually sort of used to giving statements to police about superpower-related shootings. He mentions the photograph and the rambling, repetitive things Ferrara was saying, but tactfully omits any accusation of Jane supposedly shattering things with her voice. If that's true, she has enough problems without Lee making them worse. Just a good citizen, that's Lee.

When her turn comes, she identifies herself as Doctor Forrest, shows her driver's license and bar card, and reports the situation, including the name if she remembers it, but doesn't mention the previous encounter at the bookstore. The photo is mentioned, everything relevant that doesn't pull in Peter or Cass. When, some time later it's finally all over, she thanks Lee again and makes her way elsewhere. There will be more nights in her apartment, she won't abandon it, but this will not be one of them. Tonight her bed shall be in a five star hotel.

Meanwhile...

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