1965-07-29 - Easy Score
Summary: London, the late 1920s. Kai and Ambrose cross paths.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ambrose kai 

Things were terrible, then they were roaring, now they're terrible again, and Kai Alfsson has gotten is fake papers updated, since there's no way he was born thirty years ago looking the way he does. Clean-shaven, in plus fours and a button shirt, with suspenders, a cap on his golden curls, he barely looks older than sixteen. What he needs is something to put age upon him, but facial hair isn't fashionable. So there he is, a kid to look upon, glancing up and down the street for a mark. He needs money to get a ticket for a ship to America. London has gotten a little too Londony for his tastes.

The first World War has left its mark on everyone, even the victorious. Young lives were lost and while the partying had been bubbly champagne and beaded dresses, waistcoats and crystalline chandeliers late into the night, all good things must come to an end.

In his khaki field jacket and knee-worn trousers, Ambrose makes his own way down the street in London. From beneath his own cap, he eyes the passersbys almost sullenly, like a kicked stray dog. He's got a few day's growth on his face and a hair length that suggests he hasn't trimmed it in several months if not a year at least. He looks like a veteran of the World War and, in a way, he is, though he had no cohorts to call lost. He's already got a mark: a couple ahead, husband and wife, walking along with their noses held high. Their tweed and twill and the peek of maribou from beneath the wife's long coat gives away the fact that they are part of the single digit percentage untouched by coal levies and the strikes seen downtown. He keeps his distance as he trails at a half-block or so, hands in his pockets, face averted downwards to keep the bill of his cap obstructing a clear view.

Kai squints, a small frown forming on his lips, and he hastens his stride so that he can fall into step with Ambrose. "I saw them first," he says in a low tone. "They're mine." He sounds English, Londoner even, though there has been some linguistic drift, so his accent is perhaps more upper class than the rest of him look. The frown is short-lived, his features softening. There's nothing going on here anyone needs to pay attention to. Just two blokes making their way down the street.

"Tell you what, you look like you're down on your luck, so I'll split it with you, whatever we get." Because Kai is a soft-hearted soul. Generous to a fault, really. And he's vibrant with life, a mere baby among a people who are known to live thousands of years with a strength that is rivaled only by the Asgardians.

Ambrose misses a step when he sees the young lad fall into step beside him, but that's the most obvious of his reactions. His matte-blue eyes slide to give his new "partner" a disgruntled glare from the shadows of his cap's brim. He lets his feet do the traveling as he susses the youngster out.

"You're not splitting a thing with me, jobbie." His accent, while also English, has subtle stress upon vowels and a minor rounding of what sounds might hiss otherwise. Childhood in a distant place leagues and leagues south remains an infallible mark in his speech. "And I make my own luck." He watches as the husband and wife make a turn down one of the more beautified streets, into an area of Victorian architecture and high-faluting green-belts. "Scarper before you get yourself hurt," he adds. "Mine is a dangerous business."

…how is the kid not tired yet? Most people at least yawn by now, what with the ambient drain in the immediate five feet about his person. Kai gets another suspicious side-look as they reach the corner of the street.

Kai gives Ambrose the snottiest of 'no, you' looks when Ambrose glares at him. "Fine, I'll take it all," he says. He's fueled by the fires of mutiny, having been told what to do! He doesn't break stride with Ambrose, and not even the slightest hint of weariness touches him. He needs that money, damn it. He misses New York, and too many people know him here.

"This is how it's going to go," he tells Ambrose in a light, fey tone that is oh so conversational, "you cut me in, or I'm going to run up and tell them I saw this mean ne'er do well stalking them with a friendly reminder to be more careful."

It's enough attitude to make Ambrose stop walking at the corner. He gives the shorter man a look of disdain before glancing down the way. The couple have apparently run into their equally well-off neighbors and are now chatting. The woman gestures to the house they stand before proudly.

Ah-hah: that house there, two down from the lamp post and with the wrought-iron gate. Lacquer-black door, golden knocker shaped almost as a laurel. Hoity-toity bastards.

"Go on then. Make a palooka out of yourself, kid." He jerks his head towards the gathered conversation half a block down. A policeman in navy-blue and polished buttons stands nearby and has most definitely noted the lingering presence of the two men; he's not about to act on it…yet. The master cat-burglar continues with quiet intensity: "You think I'll be standing here when you tug on the dame's coat-sleeve and pull the pity act? I'm not aiming for their pocketbook." That much he'll let on, if only for the off-chance to see disappointment spread over the youth's face.

Kai smiles crookedly, like he knows something Ambrose doesn't. Namely how people melt for the big sad eyes and blistering sincerity. That was, in fact, his ploy to get into the woman's wallet. That and an upperclass accent to show he's on the level, just down on his luck. It shoudln't work, sometimes it doesn't, and yet…

"Oh, I get it," he murmurs as he glances at the house. "Yeah, that's such a cushty score even a mezzo-brow like you can't muck it up. See you here at ten after everyone's gone to bed." Joke's on Ambrose. He'll be staking out the place much earlier.

"Right," replies the brunet in dubious tone. "I'll be in and out before you can cry wolf and run to your Mum…maybe even send Buttons over there to hold your hand while you cross the street." The policeman isn't paying attention to them anymore at this point. They've made no ruckus or caused anyone of note any problems. He's watching a small gaggle of men outside a pub drink watered-down beer and become increasingly louder in complaint against Churchill. "He'd help you out, eh?" Yeah…probably to juvenile detention. Ambrose flashes Kai a toothy grin before then walking away. He disappears into the thinning crowds of the evening with nothing else to add.

A few hours pass. No one's out walking the streets except ne'er-do-wells, those of the night less fortunate and in need of coin for rent, and the rare single or paired officer with truncheon. The lamps all burn brights and fog hangs in low places such as the bottoms of slick cobble streets and ditches. Everyone who can be warm is warm, including the couple now asleep in their bed with side-candle blown out.

With no more noise than necessary, Ambrose runs along the peak of the next house over and with a silent exhale, throws himself across the twenty-foot divide. It seems to take no effort and he lands gracefully on one of the flat sections of roof, above a window. With face wrapped up in a fringed black headscarf and having swapped his khaki coat for something longer and heavier — charcoal grey worsted wool? — he's difficult to pick out from below, much less at the same altitude two stories up.

Kai gives Ambrose another snotty look. Yeah, let the man think he's soft. He doesn't need to know Kai's business! Hell, half the time Kai doesn't know Kai's business. Too much money spent on opium, not enough saving up for getting out of here. Well, that changes tonight.

He's there well before ten, staked out under the window, tucked under the eave. Hello, Ambrose. He's huddled in a tattered grey coat a few sizes too big for him, a gift from someone who didn't imagine the Elf would simply leave without a good-bye.

"About time," he whispers. He fiddles with the window's lock and 'snick' it opens, even with his hands trembling from cold. Maybe someday in the era of electric alarms, Kai will have something to worry about, but here and now? There isn't a lock alive that can stymie him. "I'll keep nix, you do the job, we split the cordy gear and you never see me again." He doesn't want to get caught in there, that's for sure.

"BLOODY HELL!" Ambrose's reaching hand jerks back and away and he's got a gun between him and the whisperer before Kai can even begin fiddling with the window's lock. "You…stupid son of a dog!" He spits in near-silent fury. What is with this kid?! The Webley & Scott service revolver, one of two, is placed back into its holster. "No — no, absolutely not. I'm taking what doesn't belong on this bloody continent and I'm gone. You sit there and make friends with the pigeons in the morning if it suits you." Dropping down upon the sill, he then chooses to go silent as he disappears into the dark room.

The upper floor is quiet. The room he stands in must have been intended for children, but appears to now be a small study. Definitely masculine, given the touches of darkwood and leather and books and…yes. A display case showing off antiques of the Orient and beyond…all from countries most definitely not Britain. The glow of the streetlamps below shines off ivory and a singular shade of enamel-blue. Ambrose's eyes narrow appreciatively and he begins to walk towards them silently.

"I'm stupid? You're the one flailing!" Kai hisses. He holds up his hands, making a gentle, lowering gesture. "Put away the squirter." Which he gives a cautious eye, but not a terribly afraid one. Up close, guns can pierce the skin, and they can hurt like hell, but a bullet's never killed him yet. "There, we go." As Ambrose slips through the window, he calls down quietly, "While you're having a heart of gold, or whatever your situation is, grab me some silver."

He frowns. Ambrose isn't going to get him shit, and after he unlocked the window! He slips through the window and lands softly, with Elvish agility. Ambrose goes for the treasures of the Orient, Kai goes for the desk. Even a nice letter opener could fetch a good price.

This is before he can see in the dark, and what a handy tool that will be, though it comes at a cost. For now? For now he sees by the light of the moon, specifically the softest glow that rises to his skin. Maybe it's just the way the streetlamp hits him through the window? Whatever, by his fingertips he can see a silver snuff box, which he pockets, a letter opener made of ivory and steel. Into the pocket that goes…

Slung across his body off one shoulder is a modified rucksack, flat beneath his coat until filled with newly-gotten gains. This he shifts into better reach as he squints at the antiques sitting out freely upon the shelf. He can tell that all of the ivory pieces, while real material, are knock-offs; the stylistic nuances of the etchings upon them are Western in origin and that's ivory from the northern continents, not of Africa. What the hell kind of grammar is that anyways? It's the small and innocent-looking handscroll that catches his eye.

The sound of rifling about the desk makes him turn and he pauses long enough to give Kai another knife-like glare between the shoulder-blades and then roll his eyes. Whatever. He's got bigger fish to fry… Away the silk artwork goes into the sling-sack, as carefully as can be managed, along with a small wooden mask most definitely not of British origin. He knows someone who will take it back to its home. Nothing else of interest for Ambrose now, and so he walks back over to the window. It's an easy little job. The man pauses at the window as if something just occured to him and turns around. He slowly untucks the length of headscarf about his mouth and asks, very seriously,

"What are you?" He saw the moonglow on the young man's skin. He's seen enough things in his life to accept some weird. Might as well ask anyways, considering the kid's still not tired or ready to drop dead.

Kai eyes the glare, and he answers it, that fresh-faced, sweet-eyed cherub of a boy, by flipping him two fingers. Then he goes back to rifling. Some rare coins, those will do nicely, a fountain pen that looks very posh indeed. The cigars he pockets on general principal. He works quick, fingers nimble and light.

At the question, he lifts his head, giving his hair a toss so the curls fall away from his eyes. "One of the Ljosalfar," he intones ominously, gravely, and with a pinch of cheek. It's not like this berk's going to take him seriously. He finishes pilfering everything that isn't nailed down in the desk area and starts toward the window, the glow dimming as he goes.

"And…that's what now? Ljosalfar?" Whether he deliberately mangles the word is up for debate. "Sounds like you should be off drinking mead instead of robbing rich folk." Ambrose adjusts the strap about his body so that his antiques won't go flying off into night. Scampering across rooftops is a risky business sometimes, even with one's physiology boosted to near cat-like levels.

As Kai approaches, the man stays where he stands before the open window and holds up an imperious hand to attempt to make him halt. "And you're not even bloody yawning, what the hell?" His voice is still no louder than necessary to be heard. He goes dead-still and stares towards the study door as a sudden, muffled sound is heard. Nothing to worry about, just the man snoring loudly one room over.

Kai explains, tenderly for the poor mortal, "If I don't rob rich folk, I can't buy mead." He stops as Ambrose puts his hand out. His brow furrows. The comment about not yawning is unexpected to say the least. "I mean you're not the most enlightening conversationalist I've ever met, but you're not that boring. It's that kind of poor self-esteem that makes men cranky, and let me just say, you really are."

His gaze flits to the window. "Look, can we discuss this over a pint? I'm satisfied with my take, I'm obviously not going to turn you in, but we need to get out of here before Sir Whatsit chokes himself awake on his own phlegm."

"He's a heavy drinker, not a heavy smoker. What you've in your pocket is something he would savor and not burn to ashes on a whim." Ambrose continues scowling down at the young man. "He won't wake until morn, when his bird shakes him until his teeth rattle. But you," and he points a nearly-accusatory finger. "You're not human…or if you're human, you're different. What, you're cursed too? I've got enough trouble without your Mystical hooey following me around."

Still, the younger interloper is correct. It's time to leave the joint; it's been cased, rifled, and one burgles another day when one successfully runs away. Fixing the headscarf up over his face again, until all that shows are his eyes, he turns, listening to Kai all the while because he's there — and half-wondering if there's a literal threat to be had in the kid with the glowing skin.

"Sometimes, I wonder," Kai muses, upon the topic of being cursed. Then he frowns. "My Mystical hooey? I've been around a lot longer than you, with your… your non-mystical banality." Yeah, take that, Ambrose! He spreads his hands and says, "I'm no threat to you, mate. I'm just trying to get out of Dilly and catch the next ship to the States. There it is, the agenda of the great Lyosalfar."

He steps closer, because he's going out that window. Before Ambrose, after, it doesn't matter to him. "Come on, let's scram. I'm not going to put the oliver on you either. I know you're broke."

Ambrose laughs quietly with an edge. "Broke, am I? Hmph. Finally getting good at fooling the gentry," he says as he exits out the window and onto the sill. It doesn't take much effort to light-step out onto the angled roof and bip-bip-bip, up to the spine of the roof he goes. It's a brick-width to step upon and easy enough for someone with balance. He's silhouetted against the half-moon appearing behind the wispy clouds of night.

What if… The master-burglar seems to weigh something before then dropping down into a balanced crouch and offering out a hand to Kai. Whether it's to help him up alongside him or to shake it, either intent is possible. "I appreciate you being on the level, kid. You might want to work on the whole…glowing bit. Good luck making it to the States." Now if Kai takes it…that's a whole other ballgame.

Kai slips up through the sill and onto the roof with the same agility that brought him into the house in the first place. The coat is heavier, and it clinks a little. Its deep pockets have been well fed. He traipses up after Ambrose gaily. Despite his desparate circumstances, there's still an air of a game to him, a certain fearlessness.

It's that fearlessness that prompts him to take Ambrose's hand for the help up, even though he doesn't really need it. Despite himself, he enjoys the company of mortals, even if he'd never let himself get close to another one again. Not after the last time. They are transient pleasures, like sex or hard drugs. "Oh, I can glow a lot brighter if I want to," he says. He's got a fierce grip, the little Elf does.

The touch makes him blink a few times. There it is, the yawn. "I've got to stop staying up all night," he says. "Can't get a good night's sleep during the day." He shakes his head, curls bobbing, as he shivers himself awake. "I think I'll catch a few Zs before I pawn this stuff." He's still on his feet, though.

The predatory smile is hidden away behind the black material of the headwrap. It's something sly and shows too about his eyes, where crows-feet earned from long hours squinting across desert dunes etch themselves. Let's see this uppity young buck recover from the Bane. Hands clasp, the grip of the other man is stronger than the average Joe on the street, and —

WHOA. Literal decades have passed since Ambrose felt this especial purity of life-force rush into him. It's like taking a shot of ice-chilled khave straight to the bloodstream! While Kai's jaw merely lolls open and shut, the master cat-burglar is frozen in place and almost blinded by the influx. His grip clenches hard and then releases even as he stands up and takes a few wobbling balanced steps in retreat. He's not passed out, but the lines of age upon his face have diminished until he seems to have regained five years of life alone and he's rather pale now in comparison to his headscarf.

"God help me," he whispers before turning and frankly bolting away along the roof's spine.

How many times has Kai ended up in a potentially deadly (for a mortal) situation and never realized it because he simply has no idea? Sure, he's tired, but he did just rob a house, and he didn't exactly have much to eat today. Besides, he loves his sleep. So he honestly has no idea what just happened.

All he does know is the strange bloke grips his hand rather hard for a mortal and reels back. While Ambrose turns and bolts, Kai stands there scratching his head. "All right, then," he says. Then he slithers off the roof and into the shadows. He doesn't understand why people do the stuff they do. Half the time, he's not even sure why he does what he does. He just knows he's getting a nap before he turns these stolen goods into cash.

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