1964-07-02 - Clamour in the Park
Summary: Lucian goes outside. There's a piano. Rosemarie has ice cream. Music happens, awkward happens. It's pretty normal for these two.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
lucian rosemarie 

Be it said the man goes outside. Some would think he is a gargoyle at Lux, never bothering to step beyond the front door of his club. Those observers would be very much mistaken to believe Lucian has any such limits placed on his activities.

As though to prove the invisible chorus wrong, he spends several hours simply meandering through the permeable borders of the Village and its surroundings. An artist in SoHo; a visit to a particularly good newsstand in Greenwich Village, a wander around the East Village streets where Immigrants and poor émigrés from the middle states find themselves.

The situation is hardly out of hand after a lunch among working class folk schlepping cheap food - Italian noodles, in this case, and he dines on mozzarella, basil, and sliced tomatoes. Stranger things have happened than the Devil having a jaunt around town. He tweaks a few mortals here and there, setting them on different courses by choice of a word, a few bills dropped into a musician’s guitar case.

Noon is fading, the hot sunshine bleeding through the sky as he takes refuge in that great greenspace part and parcel of Greenwich Village’s identity: Washington Square Park.

Musicians here, bohemians and hobos and potheads, he passes by. A few call out. He ignores them. The destination he wants is hardly worth the time. It’s an old parlour piano wildly painted in rainbow hues, psychedelic styles coming early to the park. Anyone who wants can bang on Grandma’s salvage. The bench often features pigeons or drunk hopefuls trying to woo the demanding crowds, and often no one is ready to stop for the out of tune thing at all.

But the defiant keep cleaning it up anyways. They tune it. They replace the wires. It’s not a labour of love, so much as sheer obstinate determination. Some guy who hasn’t shaved in three days is picking out a tune to a man with an acoustic guitar, and both of them are banished by Lucian descending. The blond man makes his wishes plainly clear: “Move.”

“Aw, man, I don’t gotta do a damn thing,” says the player.

“You will move.”

“Fuck you.”

Lucian steadily gazes at the man for a moment. “I don’t think so. You’re not my type. Save that for the big Puerto Rican you keep down in the —”

The pianist stands so fast the keys tremble and the bench falls over. Colour bleaches from his face. He looks to his friend, who stares at him, and then bolts off.

With small cup of ice cream in hand, Rosemarie walks along one of the side paths through the park. She’s not the only one out and about for the sunshine of the warmer spring day. Families bustle about, children clamor at their parents, couples laugh, and even the singularities seem to be a bit less grey for the warmth beaming down. Her dress is a knee-length sheath affair in black blocked solidly from collar to hem save for a curve-following swiping of mint-green from capped shoulders down. It seems the librarian is developing a sense of fashion beyond blouses and bottoms accepted as work attire. The courier-purse doesn’t work at all, and neither do the flats, really, but perhaps that’s part of her charm. At least her hair is up in a proper bun. It allows for appreciation of the faint breeze along the back of her neck.

She bring the spoon to her mouth and looks up as she hears someone shout in indignation. Tucking the dessert to her collarbone and side-stepping, she avoids being bowled over. Craning her neck to watch the rough-whiskered man continue running away as fast as his legs can carry him, she frowns.

“What on earth.” She’s one of the many in the crowd to consider and wonder and like all good sheep-ple, she disengages her attention once he’s out of sight. Maybe he pickpocketed someone and got away with it — this time. Adjusting her courier-purse across her front rather than propped on her hip, she then walks on.

The strums of guitars, major and minor chords flashing and clashing and sometimes harmonizing in benevolent serendipity, float through the air above the milling murmurs of the crowd. It flows about the musicians sitting on benches, stone walls, even on the concrete itself. She makes her way around pockets and groups, those drawn by particular talent or charm to replace a lack of it. Eventually, she finds the piano, that shambling Frankenstein of instruments beloved by the elements and enthusiasts alike. She doesn’t remember that particular splotch of painting along its outer curvature, but it flows easily enough into the rest of the decoration.

She recognizes that blonde hair, however, from across its top, and it’s enough to make her carefully swallow the melting ice cream. Her tongue tacks to the roof of her mouth, lost in the sweetness of the chocolate. Dammit, but the sun does the man justice in a way that seems nearly…supernatural.

Rosemarie swallows again before mindfully checking that no ice cream lingers about her lips with tongue and wetted fingertip. There won’t be any missing her if she approaches from his angle. Either she’s in plain sight or framed by the propped-open lid. Her movements never cease to contain an aspect of mincing, of breathless curiosity, when it comes to this barkeep.

Especially now that he’s got a clear place in her echelon of understanding per the fact that, believe it or not, archangels do exist.

The two musicians formerly claimant to the piano make their departure. Rules of possession follow the oldest laws: he who roosts has the place, and no matter what someone wants to say, they’re not going to dislodge him.

Dusting his hand against the bench dismisses the debris that other souls have brought along, the remnants of pencil eraser filings, slips of grass, crumbled ash and a bit of paper. Two hard sweeps scatter that around him in a broad half-circle. The spotted gravel path wouldn’t be the best of places for even a concert pianist to set up with an experimental new instrument. But it’s served admirably for centuries of jongleurs, singers, and village green players.

He doesn’t pay any heed to the muttering and the looks shot his way, be those admiring or contemptuous or stained in three feet thick jealousy with anger atop. Collusion with the fine weather and a full audience spread out across this corner of the park allows for the ideal backdrop to make the most out of the moment.

After all, Mozart would create wonders with practically keys strapped to a few wires and the virtuosos of yore used instruments as accompaniments at best. Lucifer needs none of these things to accomplish his aims. Instead his broad fingers splay across the cracked and weathered keys set to be replaced with plastic rather than ivory. He feels for the mellow centrepoint when the keys give up their tension and allow a stroke of the pedal to modulate for their ultimately flawed voice.

There’s not much in the way of an interlude picked out, no difficult strumming required. He settles into G minor on the piano at a slow, moderate tempo, going without any minstrels strumming away on their proverbial lutes.

They stand no chance against that rising and falling melody stepped up and down on the first bar in four-four time. Not the audience bored and going back to their own business right up until the instant he opens his mouth. Breath unnecessary to sustain him fills his lungs and flows over his vocal chords.

“Girl,” a growl, begins slowly enough.

“I love you much,
Can’t count all the ways — ”

And there falls the ferocity, his tenor flooding around the uptick in the notes dragged out of the instrument. Betrayal and longing fit together as the words link together, a train building steam under its own strength.

“I’ve died for you, girl,
And all they can say is,
‘He’s not your kind.”

Perfect within the imperfections,

Ultimately flawed because he is perfection, even in the proximity of something that renders him deliberately imperfect. She’s munching on ice cream and pretending nothing is pure or precise, her.

She makes her way to stand not far from the piano, still hanging on the far limits of what might be publicly construed as “too close to the pianist”. There’s a crowd gathering, having seen the shuffling of the players, and she risks another spoonful of ice cream even as he watches him settle on the bench.

This…this should be good, as Rosemarie well knows from the time spent at Lux. The piano there is sumptuous in comparison to the near-derelict model he commands before even striking a chord, but still…she’d bet that there’s a way for the master pianist to make this old creature shine.

And dear god, he does.

Her spoon, inverted concave to the roof of her mouth, remains behind her pursed lips as Lucian begins to sing — frozen, unlike the dessert melting away in mouth and hand. She’s not the only one with eyes for the barkeep, even after only the first few lines of what song he commits to with marked inflections of emotions.

Men and women alike pause walking by, come over if so, gather closer in if already a part of a willing audience. Someone bumps her elbow, but the librarian hardly notices. Her movements have slowed to a thoughtful speed, more effort focused upon listening than paying any attention to whether or not her spoon ends up again inside the cup of mostly-slurried ice cream.

She is, however, the only one with cinnamon-brown eyes going faintly golden about their centers. The Otherness perks within her psyche. Oh yes — that barkeep.

The piano is, ultimately, just a prop for the soul baring disclosure restraining a roar, draconian and inchoate. If he were able, holding onto a silver microphone, he would be prowling in front of those assembled masses. A blur of humanity, he could be singing to each and every one regardless of their gender.

A few notes make a spare backdrop to validate the smoldering croon that sounds nothing like the saturated pop bands. Echoes of the British invasion, yes, and elaborate emotional styling of Motown and bits of soul or rock mined from heartache or ruin float up. Lucian rises from the bench, no need to stay down.

But restraint is the rule of the game. Let them taste the tip of the smoky iceberg before he unleashes on them, more in common with the Animals’ nascent lead singer than anything else. It’s promise, drenched in darkness, kept in a nice suit but nothing civilised or tamed.

“They never get tired of putting me down,
And I never know
When I come around
What I’m gonna find.”

For good measure, he curls his lips back, biting off that intent purr. It races up the spine and settles somewhere deep in the innards, straining against the speed that promises to break through his failing hold. Some music can be a runaway train, some a serenade. Few are both.

“Don’t let them make up your mind.”

And oh, there she is, standing out with the hints of gold.

“Don’t you know, girl,
You’ll be a woman soon.


The flash of teeth seem bright, giving her reason to nearly hiccup where she stands. Not the only one quivering there, tucking her limbs in close simply to keep from elbowing someone, Rosemarie’s knees collide in subconscious reaction. That melodious growl invites her to worry at the scar at her lip for a second before catching herself.

It’s entirely unfair, this uncanny ability to weave such earnest sentiments into his music.

She’s watching the movements of his arms across the width of the piano. His hands dance across the keys, or she guesses so by the shifting of muscles in his shoulders. When she dares to look up again, the weight of his summer-hyacinth eyes resting upon her feels as a palpable weight.

A delicious tickling of sensation takes over her skin, electrifying and mortifying all at once. Her cheeks flush within the span of a few heartbeats. Thank god everyone’s staring at the musician entreating someone — anyone? — within the crowd. The unfurling of the azurine crests from behind her ears is unhelped and they rise in sweet interest without breaking the line of her hair atop her head. The Otherness wonders at the barkeep’s actions. Clearly, they’re having an effect on its host.

Please, what?

“Please, come take my hand.”

The crooning pause leaves promise wrapped around the melody broken by the odd glittering of the piano keys. Lucian hardly sways, frozen for a moment in the tense balance between eternity and the temporal moment.

He can make the private profane, the audience matter not at all. Some singers have that talent of honing in, gazing across the distance to a single person and generating all their attention along those lines. It’s uncommonly soft as he slides through the chorus.

“Girl, you'll be a woman soon.
Soon, you'll need a man.”

Then all hells break loose as the rumbling temblors threatening the unleashing of upheaval finally hit. Crackling electricity surges free of its containment, and he snarls out the words, practically, though they keep bits of their buttery velvet smoothness. Kicking up the tempo, he forces the piano to bend to his whims, taxing its tuning with artful flourishes.

“I’ve been misunderstood for all of my life,
But what they’re saying —
It cuts like a knife.
‘The boy’s no good.’”

Turning his head, he gazes at the crowd gathered in their numbers, and practically turns the melody on its edge, lashing it that way.

“Well I’ve finally found what I’m lookin’ for,
But if they get their chance,
They’ll end it for sure.
Sure they would…”

Her sigh is one of the multitude, lost to the spring breeze that whispers past with supportive velvety warmth to accent his appeal. The faint clatter of the plastic spoon to the concrete is nonexistent in her world.

The hand freed of gripping it rises in hesitant wistfulness to his call, Rosemarie’s subconscious inclinations revealed in the gesture. God, his eyes are so damn blue that she may as well have evaporated into the spectrum of light itself that endeavors to do them justice.

A few folk in the crowd flinch for his sudden lash upon them and sensing they are possibly no longer the recipients of his sweeter soothing, many frown. The most offended turn to leave, though they never depart — it’s best if the pianist gets some hard glares thrown in his direction, even a faintly guilty as they are.

The Otherness approves on its own level. It recognizes a potential claimant as to its host and those fully-golden eyes dilate to reflect the interest.


“Baby, I’ve done all I could.”

Golden otherness, be pinned down by those words alone. He doesn’t separate them casually, his fingers clicking the keys down for a light twinkling adagio.

“It’s up to you.
Girl — you’ll be a woman soon.”

Those lyrics alone invite the world to be upended, a mad dash for the nearest vehicle or the bus stop for the next Greyhound departing in the early twilight hours. He turns from the wrathful scourge upon an unknown audience, hurling blame and taking the shots of a duelist with all the honourable intentions left. He practically pauses, stilled for a moment on the keys.

The psychedelic piano needs the rest, groaning and straining to keep up.

“Please, come take my hand.”

Collective sighs and frowns around mean nothing. He captures them all in that far flung net, taking in a deep breath that wasn’t ever necessary in the first place. He can taste them on it — their human foibles and their passions, their sins and their longings. Bottle that and it’s whitefire, something incredibly rich and powerful. Its kick hits the senses on the first sniff, and the musicians of the world have known it since time immemorial.

“Girl, I’ll need a woman, soon.
Soon, you’ll need…” He all but licks his lips, feline clearing of the slightest impression of perspiration that isn’t really there. It takes a moment. “…a man.”

He plays the keys and with fire in his momentary pause. His entire audience hangs on the edge of that cliff, so very ready for the freefall entailed by whatever comes afterwards.

Rosemarie isn’t the only one on tenterhooks. The perking of those ocean-blue feathers means the Otherness truly understands what this entire show may entail. It approves…but it’s still out to test the master pianist further. The primal nature of the Shi’ar muses on this deep underneath it all.

Its host — not so much.

Her stomach does a decidedly butterfly-filled flippity-flop for whatever constitutes that slip of his tongue. Oh. Oh that’s just not damn fair, she decides, visibly biting at her lip, already pinked as it is with lipstain. The impress of her nibbling brings the color forth further. Her foot in its low-slung heel remains toe-down on the ground, ankles touching.

It seems proper to be daydreaming of kissing the barkeep, as every good fan does of their favorite musician…even though she blushes all the more for it. This brings her to avert her eyes guiltily, something he might pick up on even as this distance, but she’s got the spine now to look back up at him again with hesitant entreaty.

Keys struck in particular order imbue their moody euphoria upon a matter dark enough to constitute misery in a bottle.

He growls wordlessly along to the melody repeated there, carrying the sound further on a low register no human voice could follow. It’s never been a problem being heard.

The spaces between pangs of thunder are the moments when the world collectively holds its breath. Thirst for some conclusion almost denies a finish, for he’s willing to leave them hanging on the cusp of their proverbial seats for an end, a finale.

Better to depart with a bang than a whimper, conventional thinking says. It’s a puzzle to figure out, even for those experienced bystanders who have long since concluded the showoff intends to make a serenade or a memorable strike upon the imagination. His pauses are morally indefensible.

Think about it. Leaving them yearning with an ache is the highest applause a performer can receive. He effectively targets their imagination and leaves them done in, presumably as badly as he is.

“Girl, you’ll be a woman soon.

At that denouement, he slides away from the piano and walks away.

Morally indefensible. Excellent way to define it, the way the notes hang around from the geriatric beast of a piano after he leaves it.

Half in a fugue of enrapture, Rosemarie has a few beats of her heart dancing about her upper chest to realize that the barkeep has effectively ended the song on a cliffhanger —

— she can hazard the quartet of words that hang in the air with the tease of an apple pie on a windowsill two houses over…if only the pie used liberal amounts of heady liquor to impart its flavorings and possibly tasted good enough to knock one on their keister.

She’s not the only one moving. The audience watches him depart, moving aside, and then comes the murmuring afterwards. A few folk disengage from their frozen stances and follow in his wake, perhaps curious of his skill, looking to identify a face, or to take him up on the shimmering promise unspoken.

She’s the fastest however, suddenly very afraid that someone else will beat her to it or even that it was all for naught — not for her, anyways, as silly as a fancy as it feels. The cup of nearly-finished ice cream is dropped in the process, left behind like Cinderella’s slipper to spread in a puddle upon the concrete.

He’s beyond the slowly-dispersing ring of passersby when she catches up.

God forgive her assumption and the reach for his hand, with its pianist’s fingers, graceful and masculine.

Lucian moves fast even when not intending to rush. His whole natural movement pushes aside impediments and drags along the world with him, as the consequence of existing in such tight boundaries. It’s not a big city to contain such an ego.

Mostly, his thoughts are tempered by the possibility of finding some new experience to savour, something not done in the better part of a century or a week. Inklings stir in his thoughts to try. Something in the Financial District, perhaps. Maybe a halfway worthwhile development announced by some aspiring company. Possibly a stop at a bookstore to see the newest discoveries to whet the literary appetite.

Truth be told, he’s not thinking about mortals at all. Not those left behind. They’ve been erased from the general state of his thoughts.

An unknown hand reaches for his wrist. He doesn’t even turn, bending his arm slightly to capture the assailant with an iron-clad grip that can prevent most motor vehicles smaller than a tank from rumbling away. He braces his foot against the ground, prepared to take another that might shake himself free.

“I really wouldn’t. The consequences aren’t worth the momentary gain,” he comments. Before, perhaps, realizing how small and light the target is.

Somewhere Dad is laughing. Always, Dad is a bastard. Fuck you, Dad.

Rosemarie’s breathy sound of surprise for how tightly he captures her in a turn-about-fair-play of a move, is nearly inhaled again for how it strikes her — the audacity of what she’s just done in an impulsive decision that may be her utter downfall.

“…r-really?” stutters that small and light target very much enamored with everything that just went on and everything about him and heaven help her because his grip might be the only thing that keeps her from melting into a puddle on the ground like the ice cream abandoned by the old piano he momentarily graced with his touch.

Her stammering voice cleaves through the divide. On one shore, Rosemarie Falcroft admires a musician. On the other, Lucifer Morningstar ponders whether positioning himself as a talented eye for music or influencing humanity through the newfound lens of rock and roll, or the British invasion, may be a worthwhile endeavour.

In between, his hand holding her tight enough that a mere jerk of the wrist would surely flip her off her feet and send her flying.

Lucian’s wanton indigo eyes blink clear and he immediately withdraws his arm. With it goes the imprisonment of a bracelet around her forearm, the smudged outlines on her fair skin surely only imagined.

“Miss Falcroft,” he says in a tone infinitely more formal than cordial and nothing like the growling timbre of the musician minutes ago. Shuffling figures might be sizing up the situation and how awkward this could be. “Planning to rob me would be a terrible decision.” As if she’s the thieving, light-fingered librarian kind. One can never be too sure. “I shan’t interrupt your day any more than evidently I already have. Mind your path.”

Because archangels ready to toss trouble far and wide are on the prowl.

“I — I — I — ”

She what? So very many things zip through her mind at beautifully-fluid speed as Rosemarie tucks her fist against her collarbone, rubbing at where he momentarily kept her in check. Her skin dances there as if kissed by the light static of a dry winter’s room.

— wasn’t going to rob him.
— didn’t mean to interrupt him.
— am so sorry.

A laugh escapes her, brittle as a thin pane of glass. Those crests slowly begin to droop.

“That was b-beautiful. I m-must have misint-t-terpreted something. Excuse m-me.”

And on that, she quickly turns to retreat, chin tucked tightly and eyes nearly shut. The mortification is strong in this one and feels to eat her innards alive.

“Misinterpreted something?” Lucian is midstep off to find himself a new record contract or the winnings of a very satisfied customer base. That beckons a moment of contemplation. Will this woman ever let him make it a yard without a declaration of some stuttering measure? Whomever designed her tongue to fit a Shi’ar beak did a piss-poor job of it. He’s going with Raphael’s influence there.

If he’d stayed silent, maybe she would have successfully retreated back to her apartment. Lola would have been pleased. There would have been much lap-snuggling, the radio or TV on, maybe some sappy book and a cup of tea and maybe a tissue or two for the bruising of it all.

But the man has to put that damn inflection of a question on it.

As if some puppeteer’s strings draw her up, she comes to an abrupt halt. The puppeteer happens to be that same atavistic undertow that drags her about one-hundred and eighty degrees to face him again. Him and those stupid hyacinth-blue eyes and that damnable voice and the unfair musical skills and her favorite windowpane to throw herself against.

Once more into the brink, with a suicidal twist of a smile to her plump lips. Standing still, he’s presented as the target.

Proud and confident as he is, she’s into his personal space and up on her toes and —

— laying a kiss slantwise across those ridiculous lips. It’s quick, warm, dry, chaste, and hell yes does she then turn about and attempt to retreat again, color high in her cheeks and a glitter to her eyes.

Hey, you only live once — and she just kissed the devil.



They weeble, they wobble, and they don’t fall down. The influx of movement does not take Lucian by surprise, not in the least. He may lack a perfect telepathic understanding for what mortals might do, the way he once had when in possession of the mantle of Hell’s overlord. That doesn’t undermine the billions of years, as humans measure, he spent watching and learning and mastering.

No surprise, then, that by the time she is on her toes, Rosemarie has already solidified his understanding for what she wants, how she executes, and what comes of it. Also, that she might have stepped on his shoe is not without valid possibility, either.

The wee, frightened bird dares to peck something after all. That it happens to be the absconded Devil matters only marginally. He traces the back of his knuckles along her cheek in a serrated grazing motion sure to mark the warm flesh with an implicit heat that the summer temperatures do nothing but inflame. His hand curves from the midarch down to the underside of her jaw. Warm lips touch hers but briefly in the immediate present, a promise of pressure and ownership of every moment when he tips his head. There is nothing less. He can’t not be in control of himself.

He then raises those golden brows at her, for she escapes back to safety. He doesn’t chase her there. A man of his age doesn’t have to chase at all. They fall at his feet or fall by his hand, and effort does not fall in line with Lucian’s nature.

“Run, little piper, run for your life.” He shows his teeth in a grin, barely enough to intimidate and radiating a height of cockiness that embodies the pride he has, and the pride he chews on gladly. “Otherwise you might imply you’ve chosen something. Play your hand when you are absolutely certain and not acting on impulse alone.”

A wink, and he’s off again in a test of her convictions. That merry whistle trails after him.


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