2019-09-21 - Jackal and Bird


Ambrose and Lena meet in Central Park. At random.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: September 21st, 2019
Location: Central Park, NYC

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It's a true relief to find his booted feet covering the side paths of Central Park once again. After at least two weeks of being 'under the weather' (read as: temporarily cursed to be a child by a vengeful Fae), the Jackal is back to his usual self and up to snuff. Today's meandering walk is for the Bane to nibble as he travels, to pick up small mouthfuls of life-force from his surroundings and the pedestrians passing by. No one will be left in the lurch this way; blame Talbot for instilling this twisted sense of mercy in the master-thief. The ancient curse is nearly completely satisfied and it leaves its host heavy-lidded in contentment. Ambrose is even smiling, just a touch, at the corners of his mouth.

He blends into the mild crowds of the Park well today in a black long-sleeved t-shirt and dark jeans, hiking boots completing the look. If anything, the shirt is flattering for its fit. About his neck, a chain, hiding something away beneath his shirt in turn. His wallet and phone are both in his front pockets, to be noted, harder to snatch.


Often one for dark colors and a splash of punk-goth herself, the Captain of Cold seems a bit different today. No skirt, no tights, no boots with massive, chunky soles. Instead, the youth wears shorts, ratty sneakers, and a pair of loose fitting shirts (one under, the other tee). Her hair is up in a messy tail with loose tendrils clinging to her throat and face, her body casting a light sheen of sweat. She never did too well with heat, but this was just getting insane for her.

Eyes down, dark lidded and painted, she keeps moving in some direction with the slow gait of someone healing. She's not looking, there's no direction, she's just moving.


His eyes rove nonchalantly over each person as he passes them; some offering nods of greeting get them back, but the New York Freeze is something real — who actually says 'hello' at risk of being talked to?! It's been the oddest thing for Ambrose to embrace over the years, having been raised so long ago in an era where greetings were verbal and involved short conversations on the street.

Still…his eyes land on a particular figure approaching on the opposite side of the path and he slows in his walk. With a barely-concealed glee, he shifts diagonally until he's most definitely someone Lena could walk smack into him if she doesn't pay attention.

"What's this then… Did someone beat me to teaching you a lesson?" His voice, while soft, conceals a knife in a velvet sheath. His smile is equally as cool as he stands there, arms folded loosely. His eyes narrow at her neck in particular. "Slipped a noose then, did you?"


Greets were for nice folks, ones that actually like the day or the fact that life was crawling around them, with them. Lena doesn't look, she doesn't greet, her mind a million miles away in multiple directions. That slip was enough to cause her to bump into Ambrose, frost-hued eyes rolling up to see the features of whomever was in her way. There's a shift across her expression - surprise, annoyance, loathing. A step back, the question settles her hand against a patch close to her chest, covering (lightly) where her fresh wound may be.

Noose? Had she forgotten…a hand up, her slender, black tipped fingers touch at her throat - no covering. Damn it all. With a sigh, she drops her hand and shifts on the path, the gravel grinding underfoot. "Not intentionally."


Bouncing off Ambrose is like bouncing off a mildly-forgiving tree. He doesn't move an inch; if anything, his eyes narrow further until only cerulean-blue shows between the slitted lashes.

"I did not figure you for one who would linger in a noose. Slipped it unintentionally? Do tell. I have time enough this afternoon for a story. My evening is taken with plans, you see." He subtly dares the wounded thief to inquire further in this, knowing that her placement of her hand means someone dealt her a hard blow.


"Well, comes to show you don't know shit about me. And you wouldn't." She glares still, battling those pools of blue against her own. "Could you get out of the way?" She asks at least, fingers still pressing at her torso in the lightest way. She was protective, but not applying pressure. Perhaps it couldn't take it.

"Oh, plans?" She asks then, smirking weakly and pressing a dimple into her cheek. "Well, I won't keep you, Pretty. You'll probably need a new phone before getting to work hmm?" A glance, she notices his pockets. "Oh, seems you got one."


Ambrose doesn't move from out of her way. He tilts his head to one side, intending to be infuriating. Her commentary about his lost phone has him smiling more, just beginning to show the whites of his teeth (especially the canines).

"You're observant. Yes, I replaced the lost phone. The staff at the store were very sympathetic to my plight. I told them a ragged little street urchin thought she was amusing when she broke it." A shift in his weight perfectly mirrors her if she attempts to step around. "I am still waiting on this story, however, Miss Cold."


"Lost. Was it? I remember it being destroyed. Broken. Shattered." Then a scoff, "Ragged? Please…" She didn't disregard the street urchin slight though. "You know what you do, you know what I do - you messed up a job for me and that's unforgivable. Tell me, if you were on a mission for someone you care for, would you let it being stripped from you slide?"

She shifts, she attempts, seeing his wall of black and body block her repeatedly. Sighing, she swallows and steps back. "You're not getting a story, Pretty. You don't deserve it. Don't take it personally, you're just one of many."


Ambrose lifts his chin, now definitely looking down his nose at Lena and her denials. He takes petty solace in having successfully stymied her forward movements on the path.

"While I find your fire for your…significant other to be lauded, I would have better weighed your purely mortal existence against whomever slighted you. But you are young yet. I shall forgive this once because you amuse me," he informs the other thief with venomous politesse. "But I have a story for you in turn. Would you like to hear it? It's very short, it shan't take much of your time. It goes as such: a little bird thought she'd dabble in the business of the Jackal, thinking her wings would carry her beyond his reach. They will not — and the next she dares to stick her little beak into this Jackal's business, he will pluck her himself."


"Aww, big man. Here are the threats." She rolls her eyes and practically growls. "Fine, you want a story, I'll tell you a story." A step up and into the man's space, the scamp of a girl puffs up as that street kid shows more so than any sliver of suave lady thief disappears. "Once there was a girl that great to hate entitled fops like you. One tried to lecture her, claiming she stepped into his business when, in truth, he did the same to her. He called himself akin to a ratty dog and her a bird. The threat was heard, but when all is said and done, he'll choke on it."

Now, if you'll kindly get out of my fucking way…"


A finger lifts from where he rests his hand on a bicep and tips back and forth, tick-tock, in time with his clicking of his tongue: tsk-tsk.

"Oh no, Miss Cold, not a threat. I rarely threaten. You will find that I follow through upon my promises. Threats are lofty with heated air — words. Promises are actions followed through upon."

Then he smiles again, and interesting enough, it's more amused than spiteful this time around. "However, I do like your pluck, speaking of pluck. Truly, what, did you run into a wall scarpering from the buttons?" 'Buttons' being policemen.


Promises, of course. At length, she steps back and sighs, deeply. Swallowing, she looks down at herself and considers her answer. "Nah," she murmurs. "I got shot by some tech. I want to say alien, well it is, just not otherworldly? Anyway, burned like hell. Good and bad thing? My prototype gun busted. Helped me not burn out." She shrugs, even smiles lightly. Anger out, promises of bodily harm in the air - now it was time for conversation.


"Alien tech," the Jackal echoes, his disbelief mild at this point in time. He even lifts an eyebrow as if asking for further confirmation of the weirdness. "'Otherworldly' is a good enough description, it could mean roughly the same thing. I do have wisdom to impart in regards to your situation: next time, do duck."

Smirking, the master-thief turns and steps to one side, content in his current harassment of Lena not to bar her way further. Unfortunately, she has an accompaniment in her limping along now. "I could also heal you of your wound, but I doubt you'll accept my offer. Still…it is on the table, should you wish to entertain it…"


"Oh, this hit was on purpose." She shakes her head. "Stupidly enough…I got in its way." Shrugging, she doesn't explain why. The 'why' seems to annoy her in its own way. When he shifts, she moves, noticing that now the towering figure in black is by her side. "Heal? What? You a supe or something?" She questions, not really pointedly or with any form of negative accusation - she seems curious more than anything.

There's a silence, just a touch, before she nods. "Ok. Heal me."


"Mmmm…allow me to explain, before you go about agreeing willy-nilly to such an offer." Ambrose gives the young woman a vaguely disapproving glance, as if she'd stepped on his toes. "If I must categorize myself according to the whims of modern society, I am not a superhero in the least. I am supernatural. If you remember from our tete-a-tete at the fete, I am one-hundred years your elder. I will…kindly assign my current existence to magic, but forewarn you that my magic itself is truly unkind." When he glances over at her again, ambient light winks through his pupils to flash them carmine-red in passing.

"My healing too is unkind. What pain you have endured will be experienced yet again, more intensely, for the speed of the wound's reversal. As I might bunch a stretched ribbon upon itself, so will you experience it." Looking back over his shoulder and seeing no one, he then squints up the pathway. There is a single jogger approaching them.

"I would recommend that I attempt it when no one is within earshot. You must promise me not to scream…and a favor," he adds lightly, looking down at Lena once more with a coy light in his blue eyes.


"I didn't call you a superhero. I called you a 'supe', that slips you all into some category of not being human. Having powers." Pause, "You fit." The talk of magic and his age seems to slide off her back like water off a duck. It doesn't hit her, at least not visibly, though it's safe to say such a confession was locked within her mind somewhere.

Pain and pain again, she nods to that, seeming to understand it. A glance, she notes the jogger and then finds her gaze back on Ambrose's features. "Not to scream and a favor? Christ, why not just take me back to your place already."


Lena earns herself a snort and another smirk. "You've the features of a child to one my age. Besides, you've also a significant other and even if I felt like entertaining the idea of completely revising your experiences in this world, I have no interest in a petty squabble over a night spent in my presence. As I mentioned before, I have other plans this evening — though your compliment is noted, and I thank you. I shall treasure it," he purrs, briefly spreading a palm over his sternum.

His attention follows the jogger upon the man's approach and he listens, his eyes averted to one side, until he can no longer hear the regular cadence of sneakers. "If you think you will not scream, by all means: clench your teeth and take my hand, Miss Cold. Remember that I bite."

And the last time he touched his palm to her skin, he set a compulsion.


"You're a bad thief if you tell everyone all your secrets." Lena muses, even as she shakes her head. "I pity your lack of entertainment and pending future squabble." Falling silent, she steps off the foot path briefly and allows the jogger to pass by. They were not friends (maybe?) but they didn't look as if they were purposefully here together at the park. "I might. You might like it."

Joking aside, she peers at his hand and considers it. Glaring, brows knitting, she looks up toward the man's face, her fingers twitching. At length, her fingers slip against his out-stretched palm.


Ambrose waits so patiently as he watches the young woman weigh her chances, taking notes from the Hound's book. Talbot, he once known as the king of Shanghai's underworld, employs copious amounts of forbearance in his general existence; the Jackal's mimicry pales in comparison.

"You have learned nothing important of me, young miss Cold; only that I can choose to reverse what injuries I cause. I have been told I am quite the hand at it." When her fingers slip across his palm, he closes his own fingers ever so gently, courteous in his near-courtly taking of her hand.

This is when the Bane bites.

Pins-and-needles course up her arm to numb it from nailbed to shoulder and then spread into her chest. Lancing towards the wound, the life-energy flows to the immediate location of the injury and flares like a small sun. Ambrose remains clinically cool, his eyes half-lidded in focus. What thermal damage was wrought reverses in stark ignorance of actual required healing time. Abruptly, he lets go of her hand and a slow sigh shivers past his lips.

"There…so much better, I assume…" he purrs again, curling and stretching his own fingers down by his hip now. Save for a lingering sense of phantom pain, he's all but erased the wound from Lena like a wet cloth across a board. "As you can see…I do indeed bite."


Is that what it felt like? There's a hint of a scene replaying in her mind, from an animated movie where a figure makes a deal with a god and thus losing his abilities. The grip, careful as it was, still rips through her body and weaves the fibers of her flesh together. She bites down, jaw tensing, and the faintest whimper slips from her thinning lips. Her knees buckle, touching one another as they bend and she starts sinking. Her grip, too, cranks down like a vice. He did, indeed, bite.

Then, it was all over, the girl left panting and trembling. Her hand is still clinging to his own.


"Come now… Stand up. Up, it was not that bad," the master-thief gently chides. Now, their touch of skin to skin is devoid of any semblance of pain; even if the Jackal bites, he hides his teeth well and controls the Bane-curse's wish to take life-energy away from Lena. "You've the courage of a young lioness, steel your spine." Keeping his grip on the thief's hand as an anchor, he waits until she seems to find more of her composure.

"There we are. Now, the favor — and yes, I am aware you verbally did not agree to one, but I will inform you of it nonetheless. My interests are narrow and easy for a novice to avoid." Ambrose arches an eyebrow haughtily. "The antiques of Mesopotamian and Assyrian origin are mine to return to their homelands. That is it. Do you see how narrow my field is? This makes it delightfully easy to punish anyone straying into it given one must be rather…deliberate in their trespassing, hmm?"


"You shit talk me, threaten, sorry, /promise/ to rip me apart and…then heal me and compliment me. Are you ok?" She asks, pulling her hand away at length, even showing a hint of rose across her pale cheeks. Sure, she felt better, her fingers now touching against her shirt and pressing down, testing the waters. Huh.

"Favor, right. I took your hand so I…pretty much agreed. I'm getting sloppy lately." She mutters, disgusted with herself. Blinking, she shivers, shaking herself of any lingering feels of the odd. Then, her arms cross casually under her chest. "Ok so…you want me to help you get these things or stay away from them?"


"You are to stay away from them," Ambrose clarifies with crisp enunciation, his hands now behind his back in a facet of military poise. "They are my purview within this city. So many stray into its borders and it is my duty to tend to them. You may deal with whatever else you wish to your heart's content." Another jogger appears around the bend and he eyes the woman with vague interest.

"And your concern is appreciated, but misplaced. When you reach nearly a century and a half in age, boredom is ever lurking at your back. You amuse me, miss Cold," he adds with a sliver of a smile. "Do we have an agreement then? I will not offer to shake your hand again. It is too tempting."

Too tempting for the curse of the Bane and the consequential high its host gets from sapping life-force.


"Sure. Fair enough. I was only there for a gift anyway." She didn't understand the story, or why, but she was also the type of woman to understand people having 'favorites'. Hell, she had codename, he had a codename, and they both had a 'thing' about them. They were Saturday Morning in all its glory. As the jogger glances her way, he's greeted with a simple lift of her middle finger.

"I amuse you? You're such an asshole…" Another roll of her eyes, she shifts in her hands, one hip jutting out instead of the other. Then, she chuckles. "Tempting? What, to touch my hand again? Aww…Pretty," she teases, a hand out his way, fingers wiggling. "Com'on…"


The jogger gives Lena an eat-shit look, at least until he catches sight of Ambrose's own glare, this containing an odd reddish shift in his pupils. The college-aged kid nearly trips over his own shoes as he stares long enough and then has to press on more quickly to save face — in this case, literally, given he'd almost eaten pavement.

"That would be 'Lord Asshole' to you, little bird," he replies patiently. "And if you've a wish to be bitten again, then by all means, I shall fully sink my teeth. Or perhaps I shall convince you I was never here and you have a sudden urge to build a nest." Is he joking? If he is, it's an icy humor, glinting in his eyes.


Lena Snart snickers. She watches as the youth almost trips over himself and runs away. Snickers, then laughs. "You can have fun," she smiles gently only for her expression to fade as another 'promise' arises. Sighing, she shakes her head again, clear disappointment on her features. "Well, I thought you could be fun. Have to be the cock of the walk, huh? But, as you'd like. Lord Asshole it is."


"I am glad you recognize it." Ambrose's smile grows, shy of dimples, but they threaten nonetheless. "I am indeed the cock of the walk. There is none other like me." How Talbot puts up with the sheer volume of this man's confident pride is a mystery. "I am, however, aware of fun. My powers are not fun, miss Cold, unless you have a taste for masochism."

A gesture of his hand from behind his back suggests they both walk on even as he takes the first step in continuing down the path. His air is now refined, courtly again, as if this path in Central Park were worthy of a promenade. "I shall humor you. I find a conversation over dark stouts in questionable company to be fun — also the art of falconry, which no one has any inkling of in this modern age. This, and attending the symphony as well as the theatre. I suppose I could count enticing traffic policemen into chases on my motorcycle could count for fun…" the Jackal muses, lips pursed as he squints into the middle distance.


Snart's brow quirks at the word, there's even a hint of consiration there. Perhaps she did. Shrugging her slender shoulders, she moves and walks with the man, matching his stride with more ease given her wound's healed state.

"Lena," she offers at length. "Unless you just like calling me Miss Cold, m'lord." Then she listens. "I like drinks in drive bars. I've also found falconry interesting. Do you hunt with them at all?" Does anyone anymore? "Symphony and theatre. I like those from time to time." A pause and laugh. "I always love running from the cops. I don't think people appreciate the chase as much as they should." Watching his face, she turns her head and watches down the passage.

"What do you see, lord?"


"See?" Ambrose glances over at the young woman. "Nothing but the path. I've no sight of anything out of the ordinary." Still, his interest on her lingers as he walks. "Miss Lena it will be then." A beat. "Lord Atherton," the master-thief offers, relating his last name rather than his first name. A century's worth of dealing with the mystical as well as the mundane has him perpetually leery of names as is.

"I shall be honest with you, Miss Lena. I find your interest in falconry convenient." Another eyebrow arches at her. "I do hunt with them, yes, when I feel inclined. It is the thrill that I find most enjoyable — it is a similar thrill to be found in eluding the authorities, I believe. I do not recommend enticing them to chase unless you've a sure escape in mind. Mind, handcuffs are of no challenge to me."


"Atherton. Special." She listens for now, her feet pressing down against the gravel and dust. "Convenient? Oh, surprise, I read." She mutters, watching forward. "Got time to read when you're locked up, I suppose." Then she laughs, "Oh, giving me advice about escape? Do you think I'm a babe in the woods, naked to all the monsters out there? No, I…locks are no challenge to me." A pursing of her lips, she glances his way now. "Are you trying to mentor me?"


The Jackal continues looking ahead down the path now, his hands still behind his back in his poise. "Perhaps I see a little of myself in you and wish you to remain free of the mistakes which have scarred me for my long life."

Ambrose walks on in silent for a handful of pensive moments before he smirks.

"And I have learned that it is far better for life to hand out its backhandings and bootings, so stir my wisdoms into your tea with liberal honey. Besides, it sounds as if you may need them, given you have apparently spent time appreciating the narrow gaps of air between steel bars. And what lesson did you learn there?" By his tone, he mocks a teacher-like air of questioning, still wearing that infuriating curl of his lips.


"Are you going to tell me about your mistakes if I talk to you about mine?" In that silence, she reaches out. "And…does this make us allies?" Friends was a heavier word not yet ready to leave the girl's lips.

"I haven't been in since I was young." She explains, passive about it, an urge not to talk about it. What did she learn? Blinking, she sighs. "Don't let anyone fall in love with you if you're trying to kill yourself? They tend to mess up plans like that."


"Mmm." It's a deliberately indecisive sound in response to Lena's query that falls into silence as Ambrose listens. His smile fades and eventually, about a dozen steps or so, the Jackal glances over at the young woman again. "Yes, significant others do tend to trip up plans when leaving the world is involved. I know it well. Granted, I did not mean to leave it when I did, but my mate was insistent that I remain rather than slip off the mortal coil. It was a nasty business." By his scowl down at his feet, it truly was. "My death is in his hands alone."

Quite a claim to make, but it sounds like a promise indeed for the solemn weight Ambrose gives it.

"My errors in my youth were simple and uncouth. Hubris led me to my current state, sloth led me to…" A chuckle slips from him, rolling in the back of his throat like smoke. "Bloody hell, simply recite the Seven Deadly Sins and you will understand my experiences. Are you certain you wish to be allies with me?" His steps come to a halt and he levels a searching look now at Lena, this holding the intensity of his many years alive.


"I'm sorry." Her jaw tenses and after they stop, she turns and faces him directly. "Why did you almost die?" Heavy question, but there it was. Licking her lips passively to moisten then, she waits and searches the man's features. "Sounds like a good sample of stories. Maybe I'll hear them sometime. I'm afraid I'll run out of stories well before you do." A pause, she shrugs. "Do you want to be allies with me? I don't have many but…as things progress, well…" Falling silent, she lowers her eyes, seeming to consider something in silence for a time. "I don't trust anyone. I barely trust Mick. It won't be easy."


Ambrose frowns. "It seems of cold comfort that you cannot trust your significant other. I would trust my mate with my own life, clearly." His hands appear and he then folds his arms, half-turning away from Lena. His eyes wander off towards the end of the path again before he sighs.

"I died for a good cause." There are more details, but at the moment, the master-thief is still holding his cards close to his chest. "Against my druthers," he's sure to amend with a sharp laugh.

"But who am I to deny your wishes? You wish to consider yourself an ally of the Jackal? Consider it done, and do not toss about your status idly. I have few friends in this city myself. There is more than one individual who would be glad to see me properly vanished instead of disappearing into my boltholes."


"It's not his fault. He's my partner and I love him dearly, I just…" She doesn't finish the line of thought. It was something hard for her to accept as is. Sighing, she keeps her eyes down, sinking within her mind even as she shares space with Ambrose on the smaller off-trail.

"I tried to die out of guilt." And that was her story. Head up, she finds him again, lips thin and jaw set. There's that slick in her eyes, that glimmer of 'fight or flight' lingering, at the ready. Someone was accepting the alliance and that was enough to send her running. Instead, she exhales. "Would you like a coffee or something?"


"A coffee?"

The offer takes the Brit back by how he blinks and straightens a half-inch. "A…celebratory coffee? In accordance with this newfound alliance? You seem half-inclined to scarper yourself. Or is there another reason for this coffee?"

His gaze leaves Lena briefly to train away across the Park, as if he could see beyond the stands of trees just turning to autumn colors. "I've a preference to other drinks myself, but if you've a liking for coffee and you'll stop looking at me as if I were going to eat you alive, I shall attend upon it." Again, there's the knife-like smile, as if Ambrose were implying to be around him is a gamble in itself.


"No." She relents. "I'd rather get pissed drunk right now, but coffee just popped out first." Lena explains, leaving the pair of half-dead thieves on the path with half-spoken truthes and even less spoken histories.

Eventually, she clears her throat and moves to walk, lingering for him to join her once more. "Let's get a drink. Whatever you like." A pause, she smirks, "I'm not sorry for breaking your phone."


"You will be sorry at some point. I need simply be patient until the blossoming of guilt over it consumes your soul and you feel compelled to apologize profusely to me," the Jackal replies, mild as milk even if his smile does flash canines in a quick spike of irritation at the lost phone. "The same applies to presuming to punch me. I usually make exceptions in returning blows where women are involved, but…you had your fair shot."

Still, as he walks, a modicum of distrustful tension seems to seep from the man's taller, leanly-muscled frame. "I think we shall attend upon the Cockerel. It has a fair selection of beers as well as the harder liquors. This once, I shall pay for drinks," he informs Lena.

For now, it appears, there is a tentative peace.

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