2020-03-24 - How To Move On


Melinda takes Lena out for dinner after some training. They have a semi heart-to-heart. A cute puppo joins them.

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: March 24th, 2020
Location: NYC

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After what was likely for Lena a rather mentally and emotionally taxing afternoon, May calls their lessons done for the day. After sending the girl off to shower and change into something 'passably appropriate', she drives to a nearby restaurant to get an early dinner. She opts to be seated at a table on the outdoor patio despite the lingering mid-March chill, as it would give Lena more room for outbursts if she needs.

And she suspects the kid just might. Training today was particularly trying very much on purpose.

Lena Snart loved the chill. And her idea of 'passably appropriate' wasn't so different from her normal attire. Black, ratty jeans, thick soled boots and a somewhat baggy black sweater, the girl in a chocker joins Melinda for dinner. Resting outside, she sits and takes a deep breath. Inhaling, exhaling, she swallows and looks out toward the world with half-lidded eyes. Dripping with apathy, the girl turns her attention to Melinda.

And who's that scooting around the corner, led by a pointy brown-tipped nose and a pair of ears too big for his head? Why, Ambrose, sporting the diamond-studded leather collar and the guise of his jackal form. Pawpads make no noise on the pavement as he approaches, having recognized both women seated at the patio table. Those eyes, not quite gold and not quite blue, twinkle as he stops an appropriate distance from the pairing and sits proudly. With front feet tucked close, he's as refined as one of the statues in the museums seen from dynasties bygone.

Well hello, ladies, thinks the Jackal to himself, nose twitching. Whatever have you ordered for dinner?

Because this particular guise is particularly fond of appreciating what little morsels he can wile off of unsuspecting folks. Lena, at least, knows who this little creature truly is. Slowly, he swishes his tail about his feet, looking between them.

For May, it's something that didn't match any of the names on the very sparsely English menu but is clearly heavy on the green vegetables and a pale meat that could be either chicken or pork, and a pot of green tea currently protected from the chill by a cheery orange cozy.

Oh, and a plate of potstickers. Yes, THOSE potstickers, the ones that make Darcy make inappropriate noises in public.

Deftly using chopsticks to snag a potsticker, she sets it in front of Lena. "Start eating." She notices a flicker of movement nearby — too low to be a human — and sees Ambrose-jackal there. She offers him a small nod hello, then takes a spare plate and sets a potsticker in front of one of the empty chairs at their table.

Lena Snart reaches for her own chopsticks and starts eating. Even so, her pale gaze never leave Melinda's face. Tea. Sticker. Greens and meat, she keeps eating healthly. The motion of the dog causes her to finally turn her smoldering attention away from her mentor and 'adopted mother'. Smirking, she looks at the plate and then lowers it to the floor.

"Silly string?" She asks at length toward Melinda. "The airhorn was a nice choice."

Ooh, potstickers. The brown-tipped tail uncurls from about his paws even as he rises, ears openly perked in interest at the plate set high upon the table — but now on the ground, within easier reach. The Jackal had intended to leap up upon the chair to snatch the food down, but he instead smoothly trots over to the plate.

The delicious morsel is hot still, but he licks it over and then the tip of his nose in delight. Thank you, ladies, both of you. A glinting glance between Lena and May both before he snatches the potsticker up. Teeth better made for shearing bone and meat make quick snipping work of the shared portion. Ambrose sits by the empty plate again and looks between the women. A ear twitches. He makes no sound, but what he does do is listen intently.

…what is this odd appearance of friendship between the Cold young woman and this mysterious older woman who he knew as the tortie cat?

If May has a problem with Lena moving the plate, she doesn't let it show. "Not all attacks will be predictable projectiles. Also, distractions and annoyances are typically far more difficult to handle than outright attacks." Likely having one slush-filled waterballoon explode right NEXT to Lena's hand would be a good example of that. And of course, there will be even worse in future training sessions. She might need to recruit assistance for those. Steve, perhaps, though she suspect he'd not do very well. Barnes would be a better choice, if she can convince him to help.

She glances down at Ambrose as he seems to savor the potsticker for a bit before finally eating it, then pulls a few morsels of meat to the edge of her plate. She's not going to just drop them on the ground, for multiple reasons.

"I know. If you've ever worked with Mick, you get use to thinks not…going to plan sometimes. I always worked with a few rules. Form a plan, follow the plan, wait for the plan to go off the rails, then forget the plan." Smirking, she continues eating and only pauses to sip from her tea.

Jaws tight, she swallows and then pulls more food off her plate and drops them down for Ambrose-pup. "I wanted to tell you something. I visit with Loki again. I purchased the gold skates." Purchased. PURCHASED.

Slowly, those bat-like ears rotate to the horizontal. The meat tidbits on the edge of May's plate are teasing him mercilessly now; he can smell them and his small stomach growls, only somewhat placated by the earlier potsticker. The Jackal's nose twitches in that direction at least…until Lena takes mercy on him.

Down come a few morsels off of the young woman's plate to the one set upon the ground. A quiet chirrup of gratitude is conveyed. He licks them up, crouched before the small platter with shoulders tented, and chews thoroughly. When Lena informs May of the skates?

Another small 'urf' can be heard and he sits up abruptly, eyes upon Lena alone. Good lord, thinks the master-thief, calculating what they might have cost upon guess alone.

Lena's admission earns her a raised eyebrow. "How did Prince Loki handle that?" Because she suspects the best descriptor would be 'interestingly'. "Why were you wanting those skates to begin with?"

Pulling the saucer out from under the teapot, she wipes stray tea drips from it before transferring the morsels of meat over and setting THIS plate on the empty chair nearest Ambrose, where she can still reach it easily.

"Well enough. He's always willing to make a deal, as it were. Besides, me going back to him was the best test I could give myself. Being civil to someone who's fucked me? Sounds like an idea to me." Pausing her nomming, she sits back with her tea. She does, however, move to refill Melinda's cup should she wish it.

"For my sister. She's a very talented skater and her favorite color is gold, so…perfect fit. They were made for her."

Ambrose remembers this sister, the one whose prowess lies in the field of ice skating, and the conversation he was privy to in this form those months back. There's another subtle tilt to his pointy face as he looks from Lena and to May and back. His small and pink tongue slips along his lips again.

I wonder if they will fit her or merely remain an expression of affection, he muses to himself. Someone walking past with another dog means the Jackal skirts beneath the table and to the far side, ambient light winking off the diamond-studded collar and within his eyes to, of course, nightshine-red. He makes no sound, but his ears fold flat to his skull as he watches the well-mannered golden retriever amble by.

Ew, dogs.

He can still smell the meat tidbits set down on the chair's seat closer to his reach. These get eyed. Hmm.

So she targeted those skates for not selfish reasons. This is … an interesting bit of insight into Lena's brain. She nods her acceptance of the tea refill. "Then you did well to challenge yourself." And it reminds her that she should touch base with Loki and Sigyn at some point soon, even if only for a social visit.

The passing pedestrian and dog get a brief look from her, but seeing that the hairy yellow canine doesn't so much as glance toward them reassures her that there are SOME decent pet owners out there. Sadly too few and far between for her personal taste. She reaches her chopsticks to tap on the saucer with the meat on it as a wordless invitation to Ambrose. Food's getting cold.

"I hope so. It was an odd evening." A smirk. "He even gift wrapped them for me. I'm thinking of grabbing a book or two from him, too." With that glance, she looks toward Ambrose and his hidden slunk under the table. His food was getting cold.

Head up and looking toward Melinda, she studies the woman and then shakes her head. "I still don't understand why you're helping me at all. What's in this for you, seriously. What do you get from this?"

The golden retriever continues by without a glance towards the plate or the Jackal beyond the table's central pillar. Watching the dog with slit-eyed distrust, the Jackal waits until its tags are a distant jingle before he moves. May's chopsticks taptapping at the saucer directs his attention back to it.

A quick flit of motion and with a sharp snap, he lunges up to grab a mouthful of the meaty bits. Landing on the patio again, he snick-snips through it quickly before licking his whiskers. Mmm: meat, hot or cold, the jackal-stomach is pleased.

Lena asks a very pertinent question. Sitting beneath the table's shadow now, Ambrose turns his attention towards the agent and apparent helper of young Lena. Indeed…what are you up to…? I do hope you know that she is affiliated with SHIELD, young chit, or you will be dismayed. An idle mental musing in Lena's direction.

Going back to her own meal, May takes a sip of her tea before answering Lena's question. "Primarily, I'm helping you so that in the future I don't end up tasked with hunting you down." She says this just as plainly and without changes of inflection as she does everything else. Perhaps she's unaware of how potentially threatening it could sound? "There's already too much of that going on."

She plucks the last potsticker from its serving plate and sets it on Ambrose's saucer before eating some more of the too-many-greens from her own plate.

Last potsticker…Grumbling, she reaches down and claims it for herself. She was still a bit selfish sometimes. Well, she eats half, giving Ambrose the other half. Progress? "Hunting people down, hmm? Do they deserve it? I never figured your lot would give two shits about someone like me. Thieves make it high on that list often?" It was an honest question.

A purrling chirrup of dismay comes of that last potsticker being lifted away! Hey! Ambrose eyes the half of the potsticker placed back down with little nose wrinkled. Lena is squinted at before he turns with such canine disdain (almost cat-like) and pads a few steps away from the saucer.

It must imply that Lena can have that other half as well for all he takes a moment to lick at the inner line of a fore-foot and then rub it along the length of his lips in a quick groom. It signals he's done eating for the moment.

Yes, little bird, listen carefully as to her answer to thievery. Be mindful of Interpol… Ambrose grins to himself in a decidedly canine manner, the pink tip of his tongue settled upon his bottom teeth. Interpol might have a false name for him and an out-dated picture by sixty-some years, but…they have yet to track him down.

"Only thieves with the potential to cause large scale collateral damage and a proven lack of willingness to listen to different schools of opinion." Possibly that might come as news to the eavesdropping Ambrose? Of course, May has no idea what Ambrose's story actually is, having only ever met him in his current fuzzy little imp form. "The people I work for usually have bigger problems to deal with than some individual thief or other, no matter how high profile their target."

She sets her plate aside, apparently also done eating. "It's the thieves who choose to destroy an entire block of the Financial District that get our attention. Don't become one of those."

"Never was one of those." There's no comment about her more fiery companion, however. He liked seeing it all burn away. When Ambrose didn't want the other half, she shrugs and claims it for herself. Food down and away, she cleans off her dark lips and sets the napkin aside. Back to tea.

Sitting back, she looks toward Ambrose and then gives a gentle inviting wiggle of her fingers to invite him over. "Do you often pick up strays? I'm sure we've talked about this before but hearing about it is still…interesting." A pause. "How did you get to where you are, huntress?"

Ah-hah… Silkily, the Jackal's acknowledgment of May's answer. He's grinning rather widely now with eyes gone half-lidded. My narrow field of interest grants me all but invincibility and invisibility alike. How delightful. Lying down, Ambrose folds his paws before himself and stretches his legs out to one side. Large ears rotate about as he continues to idly listen, content to be the consummate eavesdropper.

Twiddling fingers in his peripheral make him glance over. Dubiously, he looks up towards Lena from his sprawl. There's a few seconds of consideration and then, yes, he rises to his feet to saunter over. How doth the Jackal deign to sniff at her fingertips before he then plops down once more, same position, only about a foot from her chair. A yawn showcases many teeth.

Refilling her tea one last time, she sits back to look at Lena. Ambrose will no doubt get their attention again if he wants or needs anything else. She's noticed he's good about that. "Good. And if I can help make sure you never even consider becoming one of those, my work is done."

She considers Lena's questions for a moment and another sip of her tea. "Honestly, yes. I do have a habit of picking up strays." At least she can think of one or three younger agents that would claim as much. "The place I work for chooses employees with, well, very specific skill sets. And those skill sets are regularly accompanied by all manner of baggage that could potentially be the difference between surviving a lethal situation and not." She looks at the young woman over her cup at the last question. "I got to where I am by not letting my baggage affect my ability to do my job."

Granted, some coping mechanisms are decidedly less healthy than others, but…

Lena Snart blinks and frowns softly. That last one hit hard. She knew she heard it before. She knew what Melinda has told her before, but hearing it again leveled it into her mind anew. Her fingers find the top of Ambrose's furry noggin, giving a scritch and dig.

"Yeah, that. Guess we'll see if I can get there, too, for some reason or another." Blinking, she nibbles at her lower lip. "May I ask you a question that's a bit, well, personal?"

There's a small flinch when Lena's fingertips first alight upon the Jackal's skull, but perhaps out of some odd moment of nicety, he pushes up into the scratching touch.

Or maybe it feels good to his more canine state of mind, even odds.

Either way, his off-colored eyes half-lid again and those ridiculous ears wilt to the sides at an acute angle each. Mmm. Scritchies. One ear lifts at Lena's question. Personal?

May nods to Lena. "You can always ask. I just can't promise that I'll have an answer I can share with you. At the very least I'll tell you if I can't answer." She finishes her tea and sets the cup on the table, waiting for Lena to ask whatever question she thinks is personal enough to request permission to ask.

Lena Snart doesn't often show her age. Sometimes, sure, but sometimes not. At least not in such an obvious or nervouse manner. Anger was much easier to do than weakness. Still petting to Ambrose, she glances down at the wild dog in collar and then looks back across to May.

"What do you do when someone you care about leaves. Without a word. No contact, no anything. Do you hang on or…"

Beneath the young thief's nails, the Jackal's skull remains lifted at an inviting angle. He's not going to make a fool of himself by murr-ing as he might for Kent, but the eyes gone soft is proof enough of his satisfaction in matters. The other ear lifts in mirror to the other at Lena's question. She might feel the subtle turn of his head to allow himself a side-eyeing of the young woman from below where he sprawls in his canid guise.

His thoughts are for himself: You wait, little bird, but only for so long. When it appears that someone is truly gone, you then gather up yourself and your dignity and you press on. Life is too full to linger in shadow.

His heart pangs to think of that period of grief after he thought Kent dead, when he had to leave the decorous scarlet city of Shanghai behind as his self-made empire burned to the ground — a mere footnote in the vast history of the ancient city yet.

Oh. Ouch. Never has May been so glad that she has a tight control on her facial expressions as she is right this moment. This is going to be difficult for her to answer, and not because it violates any sort of SHIELD 'need to know' restrictions. Because May was the one that did the leaving.

"That is a very good question." She's clearly trying to think of a way to phrase her answer. "I think your reaction should depend on the nature of your relationship with this someone before they left. But ultimately, will it do you more harm than good to keep waiting for someone who may never return?"

"I…don't know. We were good, I thought. Everything was just as it was, even promising before I had my…run in with Loki. After that, I haven't seen him anymore. It's not the first time we just go and do then come back. But it's been awhile. I can't call him and he hasn't called me. The safe houses are empty." Swallowing, she looks toward May directly. There's that expression, of youth and hurt. "Before you invited me to be at your place, I didn't have anywhere to go." Beat. "Ambrose and Kent wouldn't want my sad ass around anyway."

"He's all I've ever known is all. Sometimes, I'm not sure what to do with myself."

Ohhhhhh, ruddy hell. Puh. Lena might feel the subdermal shift of muscle as those large ears flick back. Ambrose turns his jackal-head to side-eye her all the harder. You know perfectly well that Kent would make you a cup of tea and convince you that not only will you be fine, but that I should be allowed to hunt him down and deal with him as is my wont, comes the opinion to himself.

How dastardly.

"It's been said that trying times will prove who a person's true friends are. If he still hasn't tried to contact you, then perhaps it's better that he hasn't. And if he does finally come back, you can have a serious talk with him then." She glances up as the waiter approaches and sets the check for the meal on the table.

"But I personally wouldn't hold it against you in the least if you choose to move on."

"I…guess I'm just not sure what 'on' is." She murmurs gently. Once the check comes, she reaches for it and looks it over. Dipping her hand into her shirt line, she pulls cash from her bra and sets it into the fold of the check binder. Tip included. She didn't ask to, she just did. "Anyway, anymore lessons for tonight or do I have leave, 'mom'?"

Depending on the circumstances of his leaving, I might pour a set of cement boots and see what comes of their use, muses the master-thief in a streak of aforementioned dastardly thought. Still, he recognizes the shined shoes of the waiter and the movements suggest that the meal is over. Rising to his feet, he dedicates a moment to a stretch of forelegs in a bow followed by the individual, toe-spreading stretch of each hindleg.

Then, a brush of his tail along Lena's shin is wordless goodbye. May gets a quiet chirrup and flicker of ears as he appears from beneath the table again. And on that note, adieu, adieu, parting is such…sweet sorrow. A canid grin and there goes the pale Jackal, trotting lightly away to disappear on his way back to the manor.

Mission Mooching Morsels: success.

The 'mom' earns Lena a briefly flat look, but no real protest. Honestly, the swiping and subsequent doling out of cash for the meal earns the younger woman more ire. "No more lessons for today."

She looks down at Ambrose's chirrup and watches him trot off. One of these days she's going to slip a tracker on that little scamp to see exactly where his stomping grounds are. He wanders Manhattan a bit too freely for her comfort.

She's already had one of the junior analysts slip a line of code into NYC's Animal Control to flag and notify her if a creature matching the jackal's description gets picked up for any reason.

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