(2016-11-28) Study vs. Coffee
Study Vs. Coffee
Summary: Seth + Coffee vs. Study vs. Other Students
Date: 2016-11-28
Related: N/A
NPCs: bystanders
Scene Runner: N/A

Mug Shot Coffee Shop, Shady Cove

The barista is generally busy with orders, but most times still manages a wave of welcome. A large sign serves as the menu and orders are taken just beneath it. It's as lovely inside as it is on the outside. Rounded, wooden beams support the upper floor. The walls are packed with all sorts of travel memorabilia, most likely all collected by the owner. Tourists seem to be some of the more catered to clientele here, the drinks and atmosphere with the added food as a bonus.. Several small tables dot the area with a few larger ones thrown in for bigger groups.

note: some poses were reformatted to reflect that Dianli had an RL interruption so we moved her entrance.

- - - - - - - - - - -

Sometimes there is a need to be away from the place where it's better, down where it's wetter. Sometimes, one needs to get an overpriced espresso drink with pumpkin pie spice in it. Even though pumpkin pie spice really only ever belongs in pumpkin pie.

Today is one of those days, and Seth Gebsen is one of those people. He's returned from the weekend where he took his family to his other family's place for the giving-ness of thanks, and he has found that he gets to be thankful for … MORE HOMEWORK! Yaaay!

So he's here and he's got a thermos-full of espresso and pumpkin pie spice and heavy cream because who needs that frothy light stuff, and he's determined to get his study on!!

Now who's going to stop him? Step on up!


Strictly speaking, Alexander doesn't 'need' an espresso, or any other kind of coffee. But since he's figured out that he /can/ eat, it's probably time for him to get in the habit of it. So that means finding time during his outings to stuff edible things into his face-hole. Which is why he's come to the coffee shop! He too gets in the line for things. Alexander is wearing his normal non-uniform outfit… just a t-shirt, jeans, and those heavy, clunky boots. Over his shirt he's got a reasonably warm coat. And everything black, of course!


Who needs that frothy light stuff? Keith does, of course. "Iced, Half Caff, Ristretto, Venti, 4-Pump, Sugar Free, Cinnamon, Dolce Soy Skinny Latte, please."

The Cheshire cat waits a second for the reaction from the barista. In Italian, ristretto translates to 'restrained.' The sheer paradox of the order is enough to threaten the integrity of the time-space continuum.

Now, there are usually two reactions from baristas: The Gaze of Horror, and the Go Die In A Fire glare. The barista taking Keith's order clearly looked like she was trying to attain BOTH gazes at once, which was an impressive feat all by itself, and thus Keith felt a lot more lenient with his little game.

"Just kidding, a capuccino will do!"

And he gives her a good-natured grin as he pays for his drink and stands off to the side to wait for the order to be delivered (hopefully without it being laced with cyanide.)

"They love me here," he adds over his shoulder to Alexander.


Tabitha spent her break at the school, which involved the first time in the 'semi-normal' half of her life that she'd not spent Thanksgiving at the orphanage. But she did help serve up a large T-day meal for all of the other Coral Springs shut-ins, so she at least wasn't bored. Classes of late have been boring on the other hand. With the extra study time not sleeping has provided, she's not only caught up on what she missed while being held hostage but has finished her other assigned lessons save for the tests.

So her main reason for coming into town is simply a change of scenery. She comes into the coffee shop not to get anything to eat or drink, but because it's got the most interesting array of aromas and flavors for her aura to take in as an alternative to actually consuming anything. She does get a large mug of hot cocoa to justify her taking up a table, though. She can always take it back to give Rissa later. She gives a nod to the other students waiting for their orders, mostly annonymous being her layers of total body coverage (even her mouth and hands are tucked behind a couple warming layers today), but the comically oversize Supergirl hoodie she wears all the time might ID her.


Seth mutters imprecations at the way the history went on this Earth. Really. REALLY? A hundred year war over land that neither side had a right to claim, and it segued directly into a thirty-plus year war where cousins had hissy-fits over which ones were too inbred? Humans!!

He looks up and flinches at the auras lined up for coffee. Right. Should get used to that. Turn it down, Seth. (He doesn't turn it down. He's still trying to make sense of his homework and Second Sight helps. A little. Sometimes.)

Wait. That one and that one and that one and especially THAT one are students. Even the dead one. So what's with the weird plaid markings on two other people in line?

"PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR HOMEWORK!" his rational adult brain demands. So he drowns it under a big gulp of coffee and starts sketching the unwarranted astral plaid onto a blank piece of paper.


Hearing the familiar voice, Alexander looks that direction, and finds Keith. He snickers.

"I understood about half of that," he states, with a chuckle.

His own order? Super-simple, like Tabitha's. In fact it's probably just a cup of hot cocoa, exactly the same. Speaking of Tabitha, he nods to the to-him-unknown hoodie-wearing woman; he doesn't know her well enough to know what she always wears, after all. He makes a note to get to her and ask if she's all right once she gets her coffee. He hasn't quite noticed Seth yet, but he will!


"There's nothing to understand, really. Making coffee drinks is just basically throwing together what you can find behind the counter and convincing the sucker who paid for it that it is exactly what he ordered." Keith raises an eyebrow. "I didn't think you'd need to order coffee, with… y'know. How do you do it? Does someone else have to drink it and then you can drink the ghost of the beverage? I'm fairly new to topics of The Other Side and all."

The cat looks around the place with a modicum of curiosity. Seth, he spies in the distance, and gives him the two eyebrow-lift salute. Him, he remembers briefly from his physical. As to the others… well. That Supergirl hoodie is familiar…. or is it?


Now that she's been inside long enough to get a bit warmer, Tabitha maneuvers her arms out of the hoodie's sleeves, then pulls off her mittens. And then pulls off the gloves that were under the mittens. Then reaches up to pull off the thick wool scarf that was wrapped around her neck and lower face. She leaves all the rest of her multiple layers in place, though. Warmer doesn't mean warm, especially in her case. "That's why I keep it simple and stick with hot cocoa. Easier for me and the barista and it lets them keep their sanity reserves for folks like you, Keith." Her now visible hand and mouth scars plus her voice are likely enough for her to be recognized.

She pays for her drink and starts heading directly over to stand next to the table Seth's at. "Is this the Coral Springs table tonight, or are you really in love with your homework?" She asks with a small smirk.


Seth has kept the area around him clear of distractions by making shadows that look something like people, and telling them to look more like people, but with actual humans coming and going, they've been fraying a bit. Still, other parts of the store are more crowded, and suddenly there's room by Seth as his attention lapses. So far he's not too worried because he's distracted by trying to get that plaid aura on paper. And now, he has it. For what it's worth.

Oh! Suddenly there are places to sit! Seth realizes that he's going to be surrounded by noisy ordinary humans if he doesn't prevent it, so he waves to his fellow students. Tally-Ho!

He peers again at Supergirl Hoodie, whom he knows to be Tabitha by the way her aura is exploding with energy like one of those capacitors on a power pole when it gets hit by just enough lightning to NOT make it blow up, but it's still more than it ever wanted to handle. But hey, Seth doesn't really know what her limits are or anything, and he's totally not going to talk about that kind of thing here in the presence of normal people who might freak out. They might call someone who knows something and then his parents would show up and explain why they can't kill a school full of 'monster' children because they're not actually hurting anyone. And then they'll look at Seth with that very, very disappointed expression in their eyes. So no public talks about potential Girl Bombs.

"It's the Coral Springs table now, yes. I do have to do my homework. I hate everything having to do with the time between 1337 and 1485 though."


Alexander snickers at the question from Keith.

"Heh. No, I can still eat and drink. I still have a body," he replies. "It can handle food, and the doctors at the school think that it'll be good for me to try to be as 'normal' as possible. I'm still working on the sleeping part."

When Tabitha starts un-mummy-ing herself, Alexander looks over. NOW he recognizes her! He smiles in her direction.

"Hey," he offers in greeting to her. And he also snickers a bit at Seth's words (assuming he can hear them). Though homework is kind of a thing, so Alexander doesn't want to disturb Seth.


"It takes a lot of sanity to deal with me," Keith winks at Tabitha, "'s why I come with a warning label."

When the Coral Springs Table is inaugurated by Seth, Keith is one of the first to zip over.

"Homework? We have homework?" the Cheshire cat asks with a certain lack of interest, quickly grabbing a chair. He's been coasting on his 'but I'm new here!' status effect for the first few days, but it has been made clear to him that he needs to Take Things Seriously or else. Parking his behind on the chair, he leans back with his arms behind his head.

"If you want a good year, try 1865. That's the best year in the history of ever, and don't you doubt me."

He directs his green-blue eyes towards the other members of the table as Alexander explains the need to be normal.

"Normal is overrated. I could try to look normal, but I'm trying to keep the hocus pocus under wraps for now. It tends to upset some people."

Yeah, he feels rather bad for having caused people to freak out. It's not like he had been a naked Odalisque, either…


Tabitha slips onto one of the seats at the table once Seth gives approval.

"I'm a fan of 1941, myself. But I am a rock guitarist."

She smirks at Keith's warning label comment but doesn't rise to the bait. She sets her large mug of cocoa in front of her and gathers some of her aura around it to take in its taste and aroma without ruining the moment by actually drinking any. She smiles at Alex's comments about eating and sleeping.

"I can get myself to sleep fairly easily still. I gave it a try the other day to see if I still could. Eating, though… that's problematic of late." She just shrugs this off.

Keith's various comments get a grin, "I'm done with my homework for the semester. If they'd let me test out I'd try to make it so I could be a junior next semester. It just feels weird being a sophomore when I'm almost a legal adult."


Seth gives the "are you aware of your tongue" look to Keith, and no, that's not the expression that causes someone to become aware of their tongue, but rather, the one that says "did you really mean to ask that first question?"

"We have homework. I do anyway. I'm not sure what classes you're taking besides remedial underwater basket weaving."

The snark has landed, ladies and gentlemen. Seth frowns at his books and closes them, slipping the papers inside a peechee folder and all that into his backpack. That done he can pay more attention to the caffeine.

"It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the beans of Java that thoughts acquire speed, the hands acquire shakes, the shakes become a warning. It is by caffeine alone I set my mind in motion," he says piously, and then chugs the cup and refills it.

"What? My parents taught me that."


An exhausted-looking Dianli steps up to bat. She shuffles into the coffee shop, quickly shucking her too-large parka in the steamy heat of the place. She walks up to the register and asks, looking haggard and miserable, "What have you got that has the most caffeine."

After some discussion behind the register it is decided that a large "Americano" with two double-espressos added would probably do the trick. Which is what Dianli orders. She steps aside to wait for her order while casting her gaze over the people and items inside.


Alexander follows Keith over towards where Seth's sitting, but doesn't sit down just yet. He'll sit a table over, close enough to talk and not have to shout, but far enough that he won't disturb Seth's personal space. As to Keith's words of being normal? He tilts his head.

"Maybe. I was normal before uh… THING happened, so maybe it'll help me stop feeling like I'm floting through life like a balloon filled with ectoplasm." He smirks. Tabitha's words get a nod. "Still? You think it's ever going to get better?" he asks.

Probably not, but he can hope, right? Even if he doesn't need to eat, he can still taste. And he snickers at Seth's words. And it's an outright laugh at the pious-sounding chant.

"That, my friend, is from 'Dune'. The Mentats used to say something like that before taking their super-brain juice that made them super-smart."

Dianli's appearance gets his attention then, and he frowns a little. A moment later he smiles and offers a pleasant wave in her direction.


"I don't have any trouble sleeping or eating. But then again, it sort of comes with the territory. I take some killer cat-naps."

Cue the sad trombone, everybody. Keith gives Seth a piercing look at the quip about the underwater basket weaving class. He grabs his cup and swishes its contents around.

"I'll have you know that the only reason I took that class is because I crush the bathing suit look."

Apparenty the Spice must flow for Seth. Not wanting to be outdone in the battlefield of references, Keith tries to think of the first thing he can say…

He raises his cup, "To boldly go where no man has gone before," he says, and then downs his drink.

It is only after the coffee has cleared his throat he stops and seems to think upon what he said. And then he does so again.

"… what the hell did I just say?"

Fortunately a new arrival comes in just in time.

"Hey there!" Keith says, waving at her in a 'come join us' gesture, which is really 'distraction! distraction!'


Dianli, while waiting, sees Alexander's wave, smiling (sort of) in response and waving back. She collects her caffeine bomb and heads across to join him.

"Hello, Lerkst!" she says as she gets in non-shouting earshot, an artificially cheerful grin pasted over her fatigued face.

"…Keith was it?" she adds as she glances over the feline suspiciously, looking around for illusions, delusions, and other things that don't mix well with her state of mind. Tabby gets a fake smile too, Seth getting instead a once-over and a nod as she waits to be introduced.

"So, how about that homework stuff?" she asks brightly, acid dripping from her tongue. "Never ever gets tiresome does it?"


Tabitha nods to Alexander, "Yeah, and I doubt it'll change anytime soon. I think when my tongue was regrown it came back wrong or something. But at least I don't have to eat anymore. It'd be so much worse if I still needed to eat but had to force it all past the wet ash taste."

She leans over and gives her cocoa a long sniff while the geeky quotes and misquotes are bandied about, only really understanding enough to know that they're somehow geek related.


"So my Mom was a Bene Gesserit, so sue me," Seth says Alexander-wards in a famously long-suffering accent (cf Mel Brooks).

He smirks at Keith's Trekkism and says, "Are you sure?"

Then the caffeine kicks in, oh you poor unfortunate souls, and he starts singing, "Bene! Bene! Bene! Bene Bene Gessereeette…" almost under his breath, except that it's quite audible to those nearby. He can sing. Quite well, if he's in shadow, and he is. He looks at Tabitha again and flinches again, recovers, and shows her the drawing of the plaid aura.

"Do you know what this is?"

He shows it to Keith and Alexander.

"Either of you?"

The two people who had the plaid in their auras seem to have gone to a table across the room and he can't see them to tell what they might be plotting with their terrible plaidness of being. So instead, he says, "Everyone here knows everyone right?"

Because it's better than talking about the homework he's now not doing.


Alexander snickers at Keith's mention of 'cat naps'.

"I bet. Napping in the day must be…" He pauses. Oh God, it's going to be a bad pun, isn't it? "…Claw-some."

Ugh… Yes. Yes, it is a bad pun. However, Alexander grins broadly nonetheless. Dianli gets a smile, and when she calls him by that nickname, he grins.

"Hey. How are you doing?" He doesn't want to just announce that she looks like she's been dragged behind a horse, metaphorically speaking. That's just not polite. And then another snicker at the words of homework.

"I know, right?" Tabitha's words get a blink, and then he winces. "Yeah, you do have a point," he admits.

Seth's words get a grin. However, he blinks at the drawing. "Uh… no?"

He's never seen an aura before, so he doesn't really know what they're supposed to look like. But he nods to the question of everyone knowing everyone else at the table. "I think so, yeah."


"Does anybody mind if I sit?" Dianli asks, hovering outside of the acceptance zone. "I could sit over there instead if you're doing something special," she offers.

She looks down at the drawing of plaid.

"Pretty pattern. Looks … Could come from Xinjiangren, I guess. They have lots of weird patterns like that. Neimenggu as well, but I don't think they criss-cross." She looks across at Seth. "Are you studying to be a fashion designer or something?


Keith gives Alexander The Look for that pun.

"You just made every baby incarnation of every deity out there cry. I want you to know that."

Dianli's question gets an affirmative nod, "Keith. That's me. The cat who came back and all."

The plaid drawing draws Keith's attention and he hms, studying it closely. "Well, that almost sort of kind of looks like the O'Neil clan tartan, in that uncanny way where it totally doesn't, which is why it made me think of it."

The cat leans back and sips his coffee slowly, satisfied with that answer.


Tabitha tilts her head slightly when Seth shows the plaid drawing around. She started to use the gesture as a visual cue so others can better tell when they have her focus.

A moment later she shrugs, "It looks like plaid," is her so helpful contribution.

She nods when asked about knowing the others. She gestures to Dianli for her to join them.

"There's room. We're helping Seth avoid his homework, which I consider to be an act of supreme mercy."


"Please sit. It's hard to drink coffee and talk when you're standing up," Seth says, and looks a second time at the pattern. Huh, it IS kind of pretty.

"I saw it in the auras of a couple standing in line. I've never seen a plaid aura before. It's weird."

He leans back and takes a slower sip of the coffee, this time appreciating the pumpkin pie spice and the wonderful sense of its unavailability at other times of year. Of course, he COULD have gone for the eggnog flavoring. But there are certain things that all the grown deities will strike you down for, and coffee with eggnog flavor is two of them.

"Thank you by the way. My homework hates me. Especially the math. All the numbers dance around and mock me."


Alexander waves Dianli over closer when she asks to sit. There's room. But then he snickers at Keith's 'Look' and at the statement. And Tabitha's mention of avoiding homework gets a grin.

"I know, right?" Seth's mention of the auras gets a blink. "Oh, right. I can't really see things like that, unless it's death-related. That tends to be… disturbing, to say the least." As for math? "Oh man. I know what you mean." His eyes cross briefly and he seems to deflate in his chair a little.


"Numbers are rude little gits, anyways. We had no truck with them in Wonderland, so feel free to ignore them here, too," Keith adds, finishing his coffee.

"So you can see auras, you say? What's my aura like? I always thought it would be something along the lines of a nice creme-de-menthe after dinner, long walks in the moonlight and Yoko Ono singles. That sort of thing. But then again, whose aura *isn't* like that, am I right?"


"Aura?" Dianli asks curiously as she slips into a seat.

She casually pulls out a bottle from her bag and tops up her coffee with its amber contents before putting it away.

"What's an aura? Is that like qi?" She holds her hand and looks at it as she makes it start to glow a little blue. "Or do you mean this nimbus of mine, something like that?"

She forces the blue away with a bit of concentration and then takes a sip of her coffee. "Oh, that's the stuff!" she says.

A suspiciously sweet/pungent scent wafts from her cup.

"Avoiding homework is wise. I've burned through three notebooks already from frustration."


"What are auras like? Kind of like qi, kind of like the magical signature of existence. It's complicated," Seth grins — he's showing very sharp teeth again quit it — and points in turn around the table.

"Washed out and pale and black on the edges but with a small sphere of lightning in the middle." Alexander

"Mostly light and dark purple, volatile, with constant changing patterns except for the slash, and the thing that looks like a grin." Keith

"You can make your aura visible to everyone, and it's always blue and spark, with fast washes of color around your heart when you have a strong emotion." Dianli

"And last and not least, a nested doll effect with lots of brilliance of many colors on the outside, and a really bright star closed up inside where you had an archangel the first time I saw you, and a transparent crackly shape in the middle that the star is leaking out of…" Tabitha

Seth closes his eyes, and grabs for his coffee again. Yeah, so much for keeping this trick under wraps. Really, just don't turn it on in public, snake boy.


Alexander looks at Keith with an odd expression.

"…Do you have a little egg-shaped man in your head that grabs the first words he can think of that will make people mentally go 'what even the actual hell'?" he asks.

The tone is playful, mind, so he's probably kidding, at least on some level. Dianli activates that energy cloud thing that she does, and Alexander tenses a bit. He can't help it; he's a little scared of electricity, given how he died. He's pretty sure it can't kill him TWICE, but it's still likely to hurt if he gets zapped! He also says nothing about the topping off of her cup… he knows what it is, but he's not going to get her in trouble over it.

He blinks when Seth points at him. Blink, blinkblink. Head-tilts. "…Makes sense," he acknowledges.


Tabitha shrugs, "Only aura I know is the one my body generates. I keep it invisible most of the time so people won't freak out since anyone on the same city block as me is inside of it."

Alcohol doesn't really get on her mental radar. Her species can't get drunk so she has no real thoughts on the subject. When Seth points to her and says what she looks like to his sight, she stiffens slightly as some of what he describes is eerily close to things she needs to investigate once she feels she's physically ready to travel the distance required.


Keith grins, "Sounds about right. Purple is the color of nobility, after all." A beat. "And bruises." Which makes perfect sense.

Alexander's question gets him to laugh, and he replies:

"Actually, I used to, but not anymore. He wanted a raise and I told him that I would pay him exclusively one synonym per word and no more. Little cheeky bugger wanted to upgrade to superlatives. I told him it was the stupidest thing and fired him on the spot. Now I just let whatever percolates in here," he taps his temple, "Erupt out of me without any restraints. It's ever so liberating."

The cat stands up, "Please pardon my rudeness. I just realized I need to ring my old man up and guilt trip him for leaving me here over Turkey day. I'll be back in fifteen or so…" he takes out his cell phone and exits the coffee house with a determined look.


Dianli, now that the coffee has cooled somewhat, takes a more solid slug of her augmented brew.

"I'm not following, I'm afraid," she says. "Probably because my brain isn't working. What does plaid qi have to do with all this?"

She nods almost in relief as the walking, talking acid trip gets up to go.

"Enjoy the conversation," she says with a polite smile.

Back to the topic she's been harping on.

"Is plaid bad? Good? Does it mean there's more than one person or something?"


"I don't know what it means," Seth says, "except that normally people have one or two primary colors in the form of a light that suffuses them, and alternate colors that surge and flow along meridians of their body, but most peoples are sloppy. Most humans. Sometimes they'll be organized. Those two, the colors were not just organized, they're color-banded and woven, and they flow around their bodies without losing the relationship. I dunno what it means. Maybe they're Scottish."

He frowns and tightens the lid on his thermos, then sips about half his remaining coffee.

"I should ask one of the teachers if they know what it's about. Probably the Lady."


Alexander starts to laugh again at Keith's explanation of the little egg-shaped man.

"Y'know, from you? I'm tempted to take that literally," he replies with a chuckle. And then Keith makes his farewells! Alexander nods. "Give 'im hell." Pause. "…Not literally. That seems like it'd be messy."

Dianli's question gets a look, but then he looks at Seth. Alexander doesn't really know why it's odd to see a plaid aura. Looking again to Dianli, "Maybe it's like a person having purple eyes? Just unusual and super-rare?"

He snickers a bit, though, when Seth suggests it might just be because they're Scottish.

"Well, that last thing would be easy to figure out," he notes.


Tabitha leans down over her still steaming cocoa and takes a long sniff.

"To me, unless I focus down so I'm only getting the visible light spectrum, everyone looks like a shifting blend of thermal and bioelectric patterns. Almost like a live action MRI like they show in medical shows. I've got no idea what a plaid aura would mean."

She shifts her perception focus around the room without moving her head at all.

"Are they still in here, and if so can you point them out to me?"


"If they cause trouble let me know," Dianli says. "I've not been sleeping well, so I'm kind of in a lousy mood. I wouldn't mind causing a few sparks on bad people if you get my drift."

She glowers down a bit, settling her far more visible aura back down. Her hair, having started to rise, falls back down.

"Apropos of nothing, I've been thinking about code names. I've taken it down to two. One was suggested by a friend, the other I sort of dreamed up myself. I won't tell you which is which."

Another swig of her coffee+.

"What do you guys think of either 'Defib' or 'Cataclysm' as a code name for me?" she asks.


Seth opens his eyes again, and peers across to where they had been sitting. It seems they've left. Well, he'll know them if he sees them again. Assuming he's sitting around with his Sight unbound like an idiot anyway.

"They're no longer in the building, that I can see. Ah well."

He looks directly at Dianli again, still sighted, and chooses his words carefully, watching her responses.

"I don't like Cataclysm as a codename for anyone. It's villain-flavored and it sounds like a bad thing to encounter, and you're neither. Defib is positive, it's the controlled use of electricity to restore a proper heartbeat. I like it, but it might not show enough scope, or it might make people think you were only good for certain kinds of healing," and if that isn't him passing a Metis-style test of diplomacy, Seth isn't sure what is.

"Anyway. I have to get back to the school. I've figured out that I need to have math shown to me differently, and I have to figure out how to get them to want to give it that way."

Seth stands, hoisting his bag to his back. The last of his coffee is (gulp) gone, and he wipes the inside of the cup with a napkin before sealing the cup onto the thermos.

"See you tomorrow, most likely," he says, making his way outdoors. There'll be a shadow somewhere that won't be in too many people's line of sight … he can shortcut back to his room.


Alexander blinks at Tabitha's statement.

"That's got to be confusing," he observes.

Dianli's words of being in a lousy mood get a frown.

"There's a training area, too," he offers. "I'm not sure if punching a dummy would be quite the same, but…" He trails off. Seth gets up to leave then, and Alexander nods.

"Take care," he offers.

(cue the commercial break.)

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