2019-09-23 - Making 'Friends'


Ambrose and Lena start opening up. Lena hates it.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: September 23rd, 2019
Location: The Cockerel, NYC

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The Cockerel's not a pretty place. It's no diamond in the rough, no hidden gem only known to those who have lived in the city for so many years. It's a dive full of shadows and full of the working class. Lena is a brighter sight than most seen in the interior, but luck's in their favor. The joint isn't filled to the brim with leather-clad, bald-headed, motorcycle thugs or any of the local troublemakers.

At the moment.

Ambrose leads the way in, practically sweeping in at his pace, and pauses to hold the door open once he's inside. It's apparently safe for her to enter, given he's scouted the place and found only regular patrons present. Everyone gives him either something close to a smile or an out-right glare. The Jackal has no friends here — it's not his own pub, after all, the one tucked away near to the river in Brooklyn.

"I'll have my usual pint, Phil," he calls out on approach to the bar. Two stools are available and he takes up one, leaving Lena to choose the other. "Whatever the bird wishes, she can have, given I shall be footing the bill." With a sigh, he then slouches back into the backed stool, an arm lazily slung over the corner of its backing. "Go on then, Miss Lena, order what you wish," he tells Lena, glancing from her to the selection of bottles on the back wall. It's impressive despite the quality of the surroundings.


Lena Snart follows after. Places like this were something that made her comfortable. Unquestionably comfortable. Smiling, she doesn't even seem to mind if anyone looks her way in a kinder (questionable) manner. He walks, she follows. In time, she slips up onto the stool beside her elder thief, her pale eyes passing over the selection before shrugging. "I'll have what he's having, Phil, thank you." A shift on her seat, she pulls her legs up as the undersides of her pale legs stick against leather. Crossing those limbs, one over the other, she leans against the bar, arms crossing, back hunching.

Silent, or now, she takes in the room for the first time. And there, she smiles.


Ambrose lifts an eyebrow at her order, but still looks back to Phil and nods curtly to confirm it. The mostly-bald bartender sports a long braid of steel-grey hair down his back along with a bushy beard and could either be a stand-in for Friar Tuck or a pirate if he had a single gold earring. He gets to pouring out two pints of the darkest stout on tap, something from the Pacific coast by its labeling.

The master-thief considers Lena before he speaks up again, over the soft side-chatter of the other patrons and the low guitar reels of some rock song from the computerized jukebox in the corner. "I take your present demeanor to reflect your familiarity in this situation? Or is something amusing?"


"Hmm? No, nothing funny. Well, your way of talking makes me giggle, but hey." She smirks teasingly. A look around again, she shakes her head. "No, I just…I love places like this. I can fit into fancy when I need to, but I loathe it. Makes me feel dirty, I guess. This? I adore shit-holes." A glance to Phil, "No offence." After paying some attention to a game being played out, the clack of balls and cues, she turns her gaze and sets them on Ambrose.

"Just feels right, I guess. You must like coming here, especially if the tender knows you /and/ you have a usual."


The Jackal lifts an eyebrow at the jab at his accent, but it's an old and well-entertained comment, so he lets it slide. He follows the train of her attention and watches too the game being played out on the mustard-yellow felt. Billiards were never his forte, though he can remember fond times leaning in and over green felt for bets and fist-fights. Ah, for a good bar fight…

Phil gives her a neutral look at her comment and then goes back to filling up the second pint glass.

A vague smile shadows Ambrose's lips. "I would not say that I like coming here, but…I am perhaps enough of a regular to have gained the reputation as such." Phil drops off the two pint glasses, deeply-dark beer topped in creamy foam, with no comment before he disappears down the bar. Ambrose takes one of the glasses and lifts it. "To your health — and the poncy buttons dripping over their own damn boots." He sips deeply of the stout afterwards.


She couldn't read the man's mind, but it would be no surprise that she did, too, enjoy a bit of a brawl herself. Less so much herself than Mick, but her enjoyment was evident. Accepting the glass, she looks over the stout and listens to his cheers. Glass up, she starts drinking. And drink, and…drink. Perhaps it wasn't just harder liquor she knocked back without thought. Panting out, she licks her lips of foam and sets the now empty glass aside.

"Not bad. Bitter as fuck but…hey…thanks." She at least offers Ambrose's way. "Now," coming back around, she pivots in her seat to face him directly. "Why don't you like coming here? You seem comfortable enough. And if you don't like it here, why in the hell did you bring me here?"


Her empty glass is eyed with a visible thoughtfulness and a little nod. Ambrose sets down his half-finished drink and slouches back into his stool again. Phil is given a lifted finger from the bar's countertop for another pint to be brought over to Lena and the bartender blinks; whoa, that's a rarity, the particular beer disappearing at such speed.

"Because it is a place where we both hold relative anonymity and no one here could hold a candle against my ability to return offense leveled at me," the Jackal explains mildly. "I like it well enough, do not mistake me. They are one of only two locations to keep this particular stout on tap. And now, I ask you: why do you adore shit-holes?"


"I don't know. I shouldn't. I grew up in one so you'd think I'd want nothing to do with anything like that." She shrugs again, leaning against the bar on one elbow, resting the side of her head against the bowl of her palm. "I just didn't leave it, so places like this are just comfortable to me. World's shit and you have some place to belong."


Ambrose nods yet again. "It is a blessing, to have a home. I did not have one for…some time. I understand any discomfort you have experienced." Taking up his pint glass, he empties it with gulping swallows and sets it down with a hollow clunk. Phil hears this and simply begins filling a second glass with a bartender's usual patience.

"But I am hearing you grew up in a bar? That must have been quite the childhood," he continues, his tone encouraging exposition on Lena's part even as his cerulean-blue eyes linger on her.


"Don't be an ass." Easier said than done. It seems that empty belly, shock healing and then a full glass of beer straight up gets her going. Well, gets her tipsy. Accepting the secondary glass, she offers a thankful smile to tender. "I didn't grow up in a bar. I visited a few when I was little. Slept in a few. I just meant where I grew up with a mess. Ran down, broken up…y'know." Tapping the glass with her dark tipped fingers, she breathes and drinks, slower this time. "I'm…not doing this, though. Spilling myself out while you just sit there and listen. Your turn."


A quick smirk showcases dimples as Ambrose gets called out for his subtle snark. With an innocent expression now plastered on, he takes the new glass of stout and lifts it to Phil even as the bartender departs. A third of the beer vanishes as he listens and with a small burp, he sets down the glass upon its condensation ring precisely.

"Nonsense, you've an entire sixteen ounces of alcohol weighing in at least…eight percent by volume, if I remember correctly — possibly nine. All I need to do is sit here and gently shepherd the conversation along and you'll be singing to me." He smiles faintly again, knowing that his build will allow him far higher tolerance to the favored drink.


"Sing for you?" She murmurs gently, reaching over and hooking a painted nail against the collar of his dark shirt. With a pull, she drags him closer as she leans up, a breath away and smirking. "You want me to sing, do you, Pretty?" Still smirking, she lingers and pushes him away, returning to the lazy of her barstool, beer in hand. Another drink down, she licks her lips of residue in a casual manner. "Shepherd."


Ambrose's gaze goes admittedly sharp. His smile curves into something decidedly…predatory — almost unkind as he leans into the tug. A shove back is resisted in pithy spite, given his lean muscle doesn't mean lack of it, and he then settles back into his barstool. Mocking thoughtfulness, he taps his bottom lip with a fingertip, his elbow rested on the bar's countertop, and narrows his eyes at Lena.

"If you've a favored song on the jukebox, by all means, go and sing. They do not indulge karaoke here, but you may be forgiven after your second stout, little bird." He smiles again, just enough to flash his teeth. "But I shall shepherd. Do tell me of your first successful take."


"Oh don't look at me like that. I know you won't do anything, anyway. All look and no spark." Waving her hand a bit, the girl polishes off the glass and presses it away with the tips of her fingers. A scoff, she cants her head to the side. "You…want me to go sing by the jukebox? Really?" Shrugging, she glances its way and then back to Ambrose. "I'm not gone enough for that." Then comes a question of her first take. She sombers at that, thinking it over before speaking again. "I…was about six? Seven maybe? Tiny hands get into tiny places. I was never really sure what the take actually was, but I got a cut. It was huge. Five whole bucks. I could buy anything I dreamed of."


"Five whole dollars," the master-thief echoes in a light, deliberate cadence. "I regret not entering the field at a younger age. I can imagine I'd be more of a terror yet." His smile is entirely self-appreciative, the cock of the walk. "I was not entertained by the idea of slipping a wallet or testing a safe's numerical coding until I was eight years old. Granted, safes were not electronic in that day and age, and I was far more likely to be shot upon sight than arrested as I might be today."

Ambrose pauses for a moment, seeing if Lena's stout-sudsy memory reminds her about his claimed age: one-hundred years her elder.

"I cannot claim that I was a professional until I was at least…" He squints off over her shoulder briefly. "In my early forties, I would hazard."

His own drink is beginning to slip into his posture now and beginning to influence his own shared information.


"It took you that long?" She teases, giving a roll of her shoulders before looking back toward the bar keep. She wasn't asking for another stout, however. "Shots," she requests, her finger flipping up and toward a harder amber fluid lingering on a rear shelf. "He's paying, so all I can handle." Beaming, almost sweetly, it's in that moment that her youth starts showing.

"I love messing with locks. It's where I got my skills, really. Like I said, tiny hands. Now I'm annoyed with myself if something takes me too long to get into." Shaking her head, he was still driving the way. "Wait, no. Your turn, Pretty. First take, go."


The Jackal's dimples show again now as he watches the younger thief catch up to the fact of his hand still upon the proverbial wheel. Ambrose smirks at Phil across the way and nods. "Let her earn her hangover," he murmurs to the bartender. With a shrug, the mostly-bald man pours out a series of five shots of the amber hard liquor and sets them down before Lena. The rest of the second pint of stout disappears and Phil arrives with a third not seconds later.

"Gods be damned, man, but you are on your game tonight. I shall tip you a fifty," he promises the barkeep.

Shifting on the stool, he then eyes Lena again. Without dropping the shared gaze, he reaches and curls his thumb under the thin steel chain hanging about his neck. Into view rises a old, old silver coin threaded on it.

"A siglos coin, circa 400 B.C. It was my first take after my…incident. I luckily escaped with my life when I stole it. Its luck has not steered me wrong." He tucks it away beneath his black shirt. "Nor stifled my…spark," he's sure to add with another coy smile.


"You could have fooled me. I guess having someone to go home to kinda stops the fun sometimes, hmm?" Even so, she follows after that coin. "No, no, lemme see." Fingers close, shot taken, she reaches for the chain but doesn't pull it up or off his person. She waits, however, seeming to reconsider him, it, and then lowers her hand. "Lemme see?" She asks again, not having gotten a real good look at it. "Also…what incident are you talking about?"


The coin appears again in a similar manner as before even as Ambrose sighs. Up it rises into view and he keeps the chain strung over his thumb, all the better to snatch it away in case of an attempted grab.

The coin itself is indeed silver. On one side, a lion-and-bull motif; on the reverse side, an incuse rectangular punch. By the coating on it, it has been preserved against skin oils burnishing its patina. In idle mimicry of a sideshow hypnotist, he twists the chain to make the coin rotate slowly.

"Look, but do not touch," he dictates with quiet firmness as to the coin. "You see, I had no one to go home to for nearly fifty years…and no home to speak of for decades. How to frame it in a manner you as a mundane will understand…" he muses, volume gone sotto-voce. "In certain cultures, trespassing is sorely punished. I was unaware of this when I entered a property I should not have. I am paying the price many times over."


"I get it. I'm just giving you shit." She sits back. "Can't help that you're pretty and just the right type of annoying." She smiles again, setting herself up for another shot. The didn't touch the coin either, didn't even twitch to. "It's beautiful." She compliments at length.

"As far as homes go? Not…sure I really have that yet. A place to sleep, sure, but it's not steady. It's all temporary." Knocking back the drink, she shudders as it burns its way down to her belly, mixing with everything that went before it. "So, you stole that and were cursed for it? Was it…magic or something like that?"


Her compliment brings the British brunet to return her smile, if along with an arched eyebrow. He's clearly pleased by it and not opaque enough to prevent it from showing. In a velvety tone, the Jackal replies, "You are too kind." Away the coin goes beneath his shirt and he reaches for his third pint.

"There is nothing wrong to be found in temporary lodgings. One is far less likely to be tracked down and caught by stubborn rivals." A sip of his beer and Ambrose sighs down at the foam. "I stole nothing, though I will not claim that I went into the tomb without an intent to do as such. I was simply in the right place at the wrong time." Lena gets a side-long look shaded in accepted rue. "It was indeed magic, little bird, of the most enduring kind, anathema to all life around me. As you once did not understand how to pick a lock, I once did not know how to bring it to heel."


"A tomb…" She repeats, another shot down until she takes a break. For now at least, the raven haired girl leaves the bottle alone. Another shift, she faces him as she had before, resting her face back within her palm, cradling her face and bunching up its pale flesh, causing her to make a face. "You full fledged were cursed in a tomb like a movie or fable?" Chuckling, she shakes her head. "Mick would love to hear someting like that. He'd probably write about it…" Thinning her lips, she considers something before relaxing and keeping silent.

"Shepherd." Comes her request.


"As the lady requests." Ambrose takes another long sip of his stout, his tongue traveling slowly along his upper lip to collect excess foam. He eyes the empty shot glasses. Phil does too as he walks by and makes an expression of surprise. "I am impressed," the Jackal notes of the five disappeared shots.

Then clearing his throat, he continues. "My story would not make for bedtime reading. It was a hard lesson learned, not to trespass. Now, mind, I am fully aware that I continue to trespass on the regular, so…perhaps I am simply a spiteful son of a cur." A smirk flashes. "But a tomb? Yes. Unfortunately, it is long gone beneath the sands. I cannot send you on some errant treasure hunt for what is now buried leagues deep beneath the waves of the dunes." Then the crook comes out. "What is the most precious thing you have acquired in your efforts?"


Lena Snart rolls her pale gaze back toward Phil. Smiling his way, a wink, she turns enough to pour a shot and offer it the tender's way. "Want a nip?" She wiggles the glass. If he takes it, she cheers, if not, she'll down it herself. Whistle wet, she rests back and allows herself to focus back on Ambrose. Her expression is crimson by now, heated from the alcohol burning through her system. The light haze of her vision, however, doesn't distract her from the man's story. Then, the question.

Cold parts her lips and then closes them again. She looks away and shifts legs, allowing one down and crossing its second over it. "I don't know if it's something acquired, really. I don't own it and I'd never want to. I have something precious because of it, though. My sister didn't have to live like I did."

A pause, she rubs at her eyes. "I met Mick, too."


Even Ambrose has some color at his cheeks after two and a half stouts, but the perpetual light tan of his skin remains preserved by the Bane after the century-plus of time passed; it's harder to see in the bad lighting of the bar itself. Phil does not deign to drink himself, far too absorbed in trying to figure out how to make a Pink Elephant — what the hell is a Pink Elephant? The bartender ends up frowning down at his phone towards the end of the bottles.

"Properly vague, your acquisition," the master-thief notes as he begins turning his pint glass on its bottom edge within the circle of condensation. The stout turns and rises up the interior wall but never spills. "I am going to assume you speak of Mick as your acquisition then. Very good." Slowly, his lips split into a sly grin. "The Crown Jewels of England," the Jackal claims, though he adds: "However, not for long. It was a matter of pride, you see."


"No, I…that's not what I'm saying. When a job goes well, it goes well. When it doesn't, it doesn't." She moves her hand and shows him a silver pinky ring wrapping around the tiny digit. "This? I took this from a job gone wrong. Honestly, it's a reminder of things can be so perfect and then there's one 'slip' and it all goes down." Rolling the ring with her thumb, she settles back again.

"I'm not being vague, what I'm saying is the best things I have because of what I do are my sister's freedom and being around Mick."

It hits her, causing her to growl at herself. "Nevermind. I've had too much already. I don't like opening up and this is bullshit."


"Ah, now I understand." Tilting his head to one side, the Jackal lets the curve of a smile linger on his lips, no longer flashing teeth. "Yes, mistakes can be costly — but they are astute teachers where life is concerned. It is so easy to stumble and find oneself kneeling before one's crumpled pride. Yet, even shattered kneecaps do not slow the most tenacious." Letting out a comfortable sigh, he then chuckles. The sound curls up behind his closed teeth, warm and rough.

"Will you be needing a cab then, Miss Lena? You have had enough to properly souse any man I have shared a pint with." The rest of his pint disappears before the glass is set down with a soft clunk.


"N-no, I'll walk." She mutters, now firing up - less at Ambrose but more so raging at herself. She was talking, without thinking, and that was dangerous. "I-Fuck." She sighs and slips off the stool, only to stumble and reach out, holding to his sleeve to stablize herself. Still pink in cheek, she glares at the man and grumbles. Turning, she starts to move out of the building. She pauses, however, returning and taking the rest of the bottle, carrying it off by its neck.


The Jackal doesn't flinch at the grab. If anything, he eyes her hand before his regard returns to Lena's face. Her grumbles get parried with that infuriatingly-faint smile of his.

Phil shows up on the opposite side of the bar and folds his arms at the sight of the bottle disappearing along with the young woman. Ambrose sighs musically and glances over at the bartender with a compelling smirk.

"Assume it is on my tab, old chum," he says before retrieving his billfold from his front pocket. Three very large bills end up on the counter and the fifty dollar bill promised earlier end up in the tip chair. "I would not be a gentleman if I let her continue on her way without at least keeping half an eye on her, hmm?"

Phil just shrugs. Not his circus, not his monkeys. Ambrose stands up and has to place a steadying hand on the chair before he stalks out into the night after Lena, fully intending to trail her at a proper distance until he's at least moderately certain she's close to her safehouse.

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