2020-04-01 - Happy Birthday?


Ambrose is back in town. And it's his birthday!

Log Info:

Storyteller: {$storyteller}
Date: April 1st, 2020
Location: Cold Stone Creamery, NYC

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April 1st. April Fool's Day, yes, but another day: the zenith of the seventh evening hour roughly marks an entire century and forty years of life for one particular Jackal. He's spent the day with his family, contentedly sequestered away and primped and pampered to his heart's content, and now he's excused himself to run an errand. It's a simple one at heart: let young Miss Lena know personally that he's back in the city rather than let it continue to be word of mouth potentially passed on.

He's gone and texted the young woman to meet him at Cold Stone Creamery, of all places, and he's loitering outside at one of the metal latticed tables in the comfortable warmth of his dark long-coat. A beanie-hat maroon-red in color is pulled down over his ears. While he might appear the epitome of patient nonchalance, Ambrose definitely has the Bane lingering beneath his skin as a wary guard-dog.

After all, he might have left some things behind in Patna, but other things remain here in the city with a continued interest in him.

Whatever the girl had been doing. Whatever readings, or training, or tea drinking that was at hand - the message is not ignored. Pulling herself away from her lessons, she explains to Melinda that she's going to meet with Ambrose. Not a request, more of a telling. It just so happens that Melinda offers to drive the girl instead of forcing her to walk. Lena agrees.

Once they arrive, it doesn't take the girl long to find him. Pale eyes mark him out of the small crowd in an instant. Near ripping the belt off her body, she slips from the car and rushes toward him. Careful, oh so careful of that dark thing wearing his flesh, she tucks her head in and hugs the man from behind. Her flesh doesn't touch him, instead her head nestles against the middle of his shoulder blades. Her arms wrap around and she squeezes.

May doesn't sigh at Lena's abrupt exit from the car, but it's a very close thing. She shakes her head slightly and proceeds with finding a parking space. Not exactly the easiest thing to do right now, so Ambrose and Lena will have at least a couple of minutes to talk before she catches up with them.

They'd better not gorge themselves on ice cream, though. She already has dinner planned.

Unable to sit for too long outside of the Creamery, Ambrose is indeed risen to his feet and squinting down the way at a small group of people when he's suddenly — hugged!

Lena will no doubt feel him stiffen in surprise and, indeed, his hands even rise up at the height of his ribs, palms out, as he blinks wide-eyed. The Bane surges and then hits the short-line of his self-control as he quickly calculates height…and admittedly notes the feminine hands and nail polish on the fingernails attached to them. Away it goes into his bones, at no risk of biting.

Carefully, slowly, he turns as not to elbow Lena in the face and laughs quietly at her. Whether or not she lets go is on her. "Good ruddy lord, I was not gone for so long," he murmurs, dimpling to one side. "Only a few weeks at best. You look well, little bird, Kent will be glad to hear of it." Then, haltingly, he drops hands on the rounds of her shoulders and patpats gently (and somewhat awkwardly).

"Forever." She corrects him. "You've been gone forever. The last time I see you is when Mel gives me a treat. A fucking treat!" She was still burned up about that. She does not let go, either, her arms woven around him as if she were the rope that would keep him grounded. Now her head rests to his chest. "Is Kent here, too?" She asks, having missed him as well.

"I know you know how to hug, dammit. Do it or I'm not letting go."

"A treat?" echoes Ambrose with a bounce of a laugh she surely feels with her cheek pressed against his chest. Ah, yes, the cookies in the tea room of Cover Story. He remembers now, though the entire affair seemed like a lucid dream given his Astral status. Weirdly enough, the tea conjured up by Loki had been good, even if it had been…not really real. That one is still a brain-twister to the Jackal.

There's still no risk of any accidental zaps with the kid-skin gloves and his coat closed up about his scarfed neck as it stands, but he still wrinkles his note at her dictum. "Of course, I know how to hug, I was not raised by wolves. Puh." His chest rises and falls in a sigh and, granted still with obvious hesitancy, he then closes his arms around the younger thief. Loose, his hold, but enacted nonetheless. "Kent is still at home. He claims he was too full for ice cream yet. We had dinner this evening inside rather than celebrating on the town, as it were." He glances down at Lena and now? A small, knowing smirk curves his lips.

Celebrating what indeed?

Lena Snart sinks into the hug. She often wasn't very touchy at all. It was something about the man, and Kent, that changed that. Melinda? Well…did they hug? Did they ever really change their facial expressions to one another?

She lingers there, a moment longer, before finally pulling away and granting him space. "I want to see him. Kent, I mean. I need to tell him what a handsome son he has." She teases, her dark lips pressing a dimple into her cheek. "And you, of course." A beat, she blinks. "Celebrating being back home? Sacking a God? Thought you'd have celebrated that earlier when you were dressed in fancy silks, oh lordship."

"Ah…hah. You have formally met Sterling." Ambrose nods too deliberately, his expression rueful. "Do be aware, little bird, that he has his moments as Kent and I do, inhuman, and never have I seen him make a friend. Nor have I seen him grieve this. He is different." Gentle warning having been leveled, the Jackal then continues. "However, he did gift me with a rather nice new set of knives with mother-of-pearl inlaid to the handles."

A beat. "While I did indeed take part in bringing down a god, it is another event entirely. We were celebrating my birthday. I am one-hundred and forty as of…about half an hour ago," the brunet informs Lena with what is probably the proudest smile she's seen him sport. It takes years from his face.

"I know he was different. You're all different. Then again, I am, too." She shrugs and glances at the table he was once taking up. "Were we getting something to eat or did you just want me to find you here?" That urge is there, still rolling through her body to do something. Be close. Keep him close. With a tapping of her fingers, she chews at her bottom lip. "You're home now," she begins. "And I have no idea what to say to you."

Clearing her throat, she looks up and around. Where was Melinda? "Oh, Happy Birthday."

Having finally found a parking space, May is walking back toward the ice cream place seemingly entirely casually, hands in her jacket pockets and everything. Of course, once she's within eyeshot of the pair she watches their interaction mostly out of curiosity. After all, the only time she's seen these two in the same place before just the other day was when Loki turned Lena into a fox kit. And really, that doesn't count since almost all of them were four-legged at the time.

As luck would (not) have it, she was not close enough yet to pick up on either of them mentioning Ambrose's birthday. Is that for the better?

"Lieutenant Atherton," she offers once she's close enough, likely seeming to appear out of nowhere behind Lena, unless the kid's been listening and learning from some of their more practical lessons.

"Thank you for your wishes." Still beaming to himself, Ambrose stands there, hands now in his pockets. "And you do not have to say anything in particular. I believe we are having a perfectly normal conversation thus far?" Now he dimples a smirk. "My absence has not appeared to dull your ability to do as such." A gesture of one hand towards the Creamery indicates its presence. "I did think to offer ice cream to you in light of the day at hand."

But wait. There's a May. Lena will likely note the return of a modicum of wariness about the master-thief's entire poise as his eyes flick up and behind her. "Ah, Agent May, of course. I wondered if you would be far behind." Did he? He might have. "I have offered young Miss Lena ice cream. Would you care to join us?" asks the Jackal, switching flawlessly into the shielding of his more charming persona rather remaining relaxed.

Lena Snart felt her now. She was a quick study this one. Knowing May was there, she shifts in step to allow her more room into the conversation and circle. This was…odd. Now that they all understood, knew one another, knew their 'forms'. Eyeing the icecream, she glances to May as if in question. Low and ill fate waits for those that ruin her dinner plans. "I'd like to cease our studies for the evening," she requests to Melinda before offering a soft smile. "It's Prick's birthday."

Prick, is it. May ahs at Lena's words. "I see. Then I suppose the studies and the vegetables will wait another day." Looking at Ambrose squarely and reaches into her jacket…

…and offers Lena two twenty dollar bills. "Ice cream is on me." This time. "I'd like a small strawberry mango smoothie, please."

'Lord Prick' it is, and the man takes a moment to glower at Lena for her choice of words. When May gives him that level look, he returns it with an envious sangfroid and subtle lift of his chin. If she pulls a weapon, then —

Oh, no, it's cash money. Ambrose's eyes flicker to Lena to see how she responds, though he speaks up: "Of course, a smoothie as such. I think chocolate myself, with peanut butter and the peanut butter cup candies liberally swirled. Hmm. Either that, or a vanilla with berry jam worked through. I shall decide once I see the offerings. Will you wait out here, Agent May, or do you wish to attend?"

"That's nice. You can order it yourself. You're a big boy now." Lena tells him as Ambrose starts listing choices. Accepting the cash from Melinda, she moves toward the door of the shop and holds it open for both of her companions. "Either way, shouldn't take long."

And it doesn't. Order made, and provided, everyone is allowed the freedom of sitting outside again. Cold plops, offers the change back to May, and then starts to dig into her cup - creme brulee with coffee, topped with hardening chocolate glaze.

May glances through the shop window to the interior, where she counts no less than four children under the age of eight. Oh HELL no. "I'll wait out here." And so she does, keeping the table from getting claimed out from under them.

May finds herself to be pleasantly surprised that Lena offers the change back, she'd fully expected to not get any of it back. Of course that doesn't show on her face, heavens no. Instead she just absconds with a spoon to eat the smoothie. Because there is no way to look dignified while drinking from a straw.

"Hang on to the change," she tells Lena.

Chocolate and peanut butter for the Jackal and when he and Lena exit from the shop, he's already a good number of bites into it. "How I existed without the delight of such a confection is beyond me," the brunet murmurs as he takes up a seat on the far side of the table, habitually putting the maximum distance between himself and May. He glances around in an equally established habit of checking for immediate danger or suspicion before settling back into his chair more.

His eyes shift between the two women before returning to Lena in particular. "And I presume your time in my absence was spent being tutored?" It's an absolutely leading question still openly ended and blatantly obvious in front of May. Ambrose keeps his regard on the young woman, eyes lidded low enough that ambient light will flash nightshine-red in his pupils at one point or another even as he continues eating his ice cream. Green spoon, of course.

"And other things." She tells Ambrose calmly enough. "Mel is doing fine by me and that's all I really need to respect someone. Besides, she's making me more dangerous." Lena muses now, sly in her grin. Digging in, cracking the coating, she eats it first before digging into the softness of her whipped icecream. "At least, I hope I'm doing well." She blinks and looks toward Melinda.

May's response to Ambrose openly asking Lena about the tutoring? Nothing visible, that's for sure. And Lena's look presumably in reaction to being told to keep the money? She eats another spoonful of the smoothie.

"Just remember. Next week we start interpersonal communication training." In other words, nicknaming someone Prick now has a set expiration date. Get your snark on while you can, kid, because next week, it stops.

At least in May's presence.

'And other things', she says. Ambrose's eyes narrow. Apparently, that's a discussion to be continued another time, away from the presence of her new tutor. He lifts his brows, gaze shifting musingly to May to hear of further training in things beyond manners in the public sphere.

Though, of this, the Jackal is grateful. He learned long ago that despite being a master-thief, he is not masterful at instilling basic manners with proper care beyond that of a drill sergeant.

One corner of his lips curls in silent glee to hear about the communication training, however. That will, no doubt, be humorous to observe…and to test.

"This sounds delightful, the lot of it," he replies almost too sweetly before spooning up another peanut butter cup.

"I bet it does, ass." She mutters, giving a soft glare in Melinda's direction. "You know you're not taking that street kid part of me, right? I can sit straight, walk right and grit my teeth, but you're not taking the me out of me, Mel." Lena declares up front. Maybe she was worried, or scared, to do so when just in May's company. She was a very intimidating woman. "I respect you, but I'm not wearing a mask and I'm not playing pretend." Beat. Icecream. "I think it, I say it. Call it honesty."

Glaring to Ambrose, she sighs. "Don't you get a giggle out of this either, Your Prickness. I'll suddenly remember why I don't enjoy your company as much as I thought."

"I don't intend for you to stop being who you are. But in some situations, pretending to be something other than you are can be very useful." And then, May apparently chooses to demonstrate.

Her posture changes completely, going from upright and proper to more slouched and relaxed. She finally puts the drinking straw that came with her smoothie to use, and offers Lena and Ambrose both an entirely sincere but not overdone smile.

Yes. You should be very afraid now.

She even uses her spoon to steal a small taste of Ambrose's ice cream. "'Cause, y'know, if went around all day saying exactly what I'm thinking every moment I'm thinking it, I wouldn't have a job. I'd have told my boss way too many things DECADES ago."

All Lena gets in reply to her name-flinging is the subtle jump of shoulders and the muffled sounds of laughter. Ambrose plucks the spoon from his mouth and swirls it through his ice cream, giving her and then May a glance of feigned innocence.

He watches the Agent's shift of airs with distant interest. He's seen Kent do similar things for nigh on a decade. The ice cream theft makes him blink and frown to himself. In response, he shifts the chair back an obvious foot of space before resettling.

"Indeed, honesty does have its moments and it is not all of the time — though you wound me, little bird, tsk. Not enjoy my company? Clearly, you are confused. I am positively enjoyable." Smirk. Bite of ice cream.

"Please don't talk to me like I'm stupid." Lena counters to May and Ambrose, both. "I know how to act when I'm on a job and when I'm in certain company depending on what I want to achieve." She did. It wasn't her first time doing so, either. Watching the show, the change, she looks at her ice cream and pushes it aside. Suddenly, she wasn't hungry anymore.

"I think I'm going to go. I'm glad you're back in town." She tells Ambrose. Then she looks to May. "I'm glad I don't have a boss. Anyway, you guys may have some shit to work out, since, y'know, you can be friends with flesh instead of friends with fur now."

Ambrose's clear recoil when May steals the ice cream makes her smile drop away instantly, and perhaps a split second of doubt flash through her eyes before she looks at Lena abandoning her food to take off. And almost like putting on a jacket, her level and expressionless demeanor settles back into place.

"For the record, Lena," she says in the tone she always uses, "this is the mask, and the armor. We'll talk tomorrow." She doesn't look over at Ambrose, setting her own smoothie aside now.

She has no intention of making the young woman stick around if she doesn't want to.

Taken aback at the shift in conversation, Ambrose sits in his chair and warily looks between each woman. His spoon remains buried in the chocolate ice cream, a green projection with handle pinched in his fingers. Tongue slipping beneath his tongue to polish at a canine tooth, he then returns his attention to the dessert in his hand.

"Right. I wish you both well then. Thank you for joining me this evening," the master-thief says, gathering up his dignity about himself as his own armor, dated as it might be in Victorian society. Working at fishing up a peanut butter cup requires his focus now. He doesn't look up as they depart.

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