1965-08-12 - An Awkward Conversation
Summary: Arlo saves Ambrose from tear gas and lives to regret it.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ambrose arlo 

Another day, another march. This time for mutant rights. It's not a huge march as far as these things go, but it take up a city block. Cars can't get through, passerby are swept up. Arlo is there to protest, but having seen the way things are turning, he lets the crowd push him further toward the middle, away from the front. See, up front, some of the mutants are getting feisty. The cops have been called, and the cops have brought tear gas.

All it takes, really, is one display of fiery powers, the perception of a threat. Then there is the pop and hiss, and people are screaming as white clouds billow up within the crowd. The police aren't messing around today.

Ambrose has no sign. He has no t-shirt with some clever slogan beneath his khaki field jacket. In fact, he's mildly amused at the display being put on. As he weaves through the crowd, bumping shoulders here and there with no apparent retaliation given the jostling, and simply…takes it all in. Well, the Bane does rather, sipping here and there from life-energy surging about him. It's like wading through a pool of champagne, almost bubbly against his skin, and there's absolutely a pleasant high to be got from it. For once, he almost appears content despite the relative chaos around him.

But man, damn those cops and their tear gas. He looks up as he hears the first distant, almost hollow 'pop' of the canister being shot and then flinches as one lands nearby. Immediately, the white gas boils up and sets him to hacking and wheezing. Hard to cuss when it feels like your eyes are weeping out of your skull and your lungs are stuck in cataract, but he tries nonetheless, and in some panicked amalgamation of British English and Persian, no less. Arm over his mouth, he tries retreating, bumping off protestors doing the very same. The Bane bites out here and there, nomf, chomp, thrilled to refill the metaphorical gas tank.

Arlo's powers are a blessing and a curse. The curse part is where the burn of the gas hits him particularly hard. Blinded, coughing. It burns, damn it. The blessing comes in where his hearing improves, his other senses rushing in to fill the gaps. Okay, stay calm. He stands still amidst the chaos, and when Ambrose pinballs toward him, he lashes out a hand, grabbing him by the arm. "Come on," he says. His good deed for the day, he's going to help someone out of this.

Arlo can't see a damn thing, but he navigates the crowd by their stomping and screams. Thus does he lead the way, walking into the wind. Wind is good. Wind clears the gas away from struggling lungs and teary eyes. He won't force Ambrose to come with him, but he does seem to know where he's going.

Luck is on Arlo's side today, even if the gas nearly lays him out: the Bane is sated enough to merely sample at his life-energy, perhaps making him more tired than expected once they reach the concept of safety. He'll feel a mild case of pin-and-needles on his palm after a five-second count of gripping Ambrose's arm.

The man allows himself to be dragged along, if only to be escorted out of immediate danger of riot and gas radius. He continues coughing into the sleeve of his jacket, face mostly obscured by this action and the fall of his lengthier brown hair. One day, he may get a haircut. Maybe.

Despite being a mutant and exposed to powers, Arlo will look for a 'logical' explanation. Tear gas is tiring, what it's done to his circulation accounts for pins and needles. Ambrose gets away scot free, and Arlo's steps drag just a little. He lets sound and touch guide him away from the crowd. "I live around here," he says. "We can wash it off." Because despite himself, he's got a good soul. It's just housed in tarnished casing.

His hand is going numb, but he still doesn't make the connection. He just needs to get this stranger to safety. Walking into the wind is actually helping in that regard. At least the ability to breathe returns.

"Grab the jacket sleeve," Ambrose manages to cough in terms of a response, at least able to manage that. He knows full well — can feel on the level of something nearly psychic — how the Bane is working its way slowly up into Arlo's wrist now, sampling at leisure of the brilliantly-rich young life-energy available to it. It's not a snob, by any means, but humankind's natural joie-de-vivre is a favorite.

He shakes his arm free of Arlo's grip briefly and then offers it out again, attempting to force the young man to grab at fabric rather than to press his touch anywhere near his skin. He's still mostly blinded, but now able to breathe more easily, still accepting of needing guidance away from the scrum going on behind them at its distance.

Arlo fumbles for the sleeve, and he holds onto that instead. He's not one to quibble, if the guy prefers not to be touched. "Stupid fucking cops," he says as he continues to lead Ambrose away. Like the fire mutant flaring up had no hand in any of this. If allowed, Arlo leads Ambrose to a cheap walkup that his money is paying for this month.

"You ever been gassed before?" he says. "You need to wash with cold water. Which is good, because I don't have any hot water right now."

This person means well…whomever they are, and so Ambrose trails along like a mostly-blinded duckling of death-dealing doom. He can slap a Suggestion on them later and make them forget about him anyways, so it matters little to him in the immediate future that they see his face.

"Not since the war," he says before coughing violently. Pick your war, almost; the man's jacket is aged, however, before that of the mid-nineteeth century. World War II? …it can't be World War I…? "Cold water will do." Even with ragged voice, that's definitely a crisp British accent, odd stresses and all.

That accent seems familiar. It tickles at the back of Arlo's mind, but he's so distracted by burning eyes and lungs he doesn't think too hard about it. Whoever this is, he is still firmly in the category of Needs Help. So he leads Ambrose to his kitchen, turns on the tap, and says, "Go nuts." Nice, cold water, as advertised.

As for himself, Arlo blindly makes his way to the bathroom. There's cold water in there, too. He strips off his tear-gassed shirt and tosses it in the empty tub. It'll get a rinsing soon enough. First things first, though, he splashes water on his face.

Reaching out, Ambrose puts a hand on cold steel. He recognizes the shape beneath his palm as a ledge and then comes the explanation: ah, a sink. Yes, there's the tap running. Finding the stream of water, he gets to working at the gas. He can feel the cleanliness return to his skin after multiple splashes, enough volume in cupped hands that the cuffs of his jacket become wetted. Scrub-scrub-scrub, patiently, until he marks the point where a little borrowed life-energy won't go awry to regress the swelling and irritation in the various mucosal membranes of the head and torso.

Rush, like a final kick of inhaled hot pepper, and he sneezes once violently as everything returns to normalcy. One last swipe of a wetted hand down his face and Ambrose turns in place to blink at the kitchen around him. Ah, rather run-down, though fancier than what he calls his own. He can tolerate what's left of the gas on his field jacket for now, though he shrugs out of it and simply holds onto it. Beneath, a simple white tanktop to go with his jeans. He has no need to impress anyone, after all.

Not the Ritz by any means, but it's kept neat. No dirty dishes in the sink, no stray socks or an abundance of dust. Some attempts have been made to make the small living space inviting. There are bits of kitschy art here and there, and though the furniture is third hand and mismatched, it's comfortable: a couch, a cushy chair, no television but bookshelves. The kitchen has a card table and two folding chairs he's scrounged from somewhere.

Arlo emerges from the bathroom, bare-chested, his hair damp from where he's stuck his whole head under the faucet. He sweeps it back and tosses a towel at Ambrose. Who he can finally see. He laughs. "No shit. Look at you."

The other man glances up from his perusal of the kitschy art on the walls and looks briefly stunned. Oh God. This kid. Then comes the towel, which he catches, and then he sighs out a groan.

"Why. WHY," Ambrose asks the world as a whole even as he rubs at what portion of his hair is wet from the face-rinsing. "I have no money on me this afternoon, so do not inquire. I have no interest in what you may be offering yet again. I appreciate your kindness, but I really must go." With that, he's slung the used towel over one of the folding chair's backings and appears very set on leaving the place post-haste.

Arlo holds up his hands in a gesture meant to placate. "No scam," he says. With a huff of laughter, he adds, "All I'm offering is a beer. I don't—" His voice catches. "I don't do that. Don't like being touched." He goes to the fridge, giving Ambrose a Look. Ingrate. It's an amused look, though. "Truce," he offers. "There's still gas out there." He's not wrong. The wind has changed, bringing the thin hazy layers of white and grey right to the door.

Arlo holds the beer out toward Ambrose. "Come on, no tricks. It's not safe yet to go out there."

Damn. Indeed, Ambrose can make out the faint scent of the tear gas and it's not emanating from the field jacket slung across his arm. Stopped before the door, he lets both the outstretched hand reaching for the knob and his chin drop. Dammit to hell.

Turning about in place, he eyes Arlo and the offered beer with about as much trust as a street cur hemmed against a wall would a passerby. Still…it is a beer. A free beer. Approaching at a slow rate, he reaches out and takes the drink from his unexpected host's hand, being very certain not to touch him in the least. He backs away a good number of steps, almost out into the entryway again, before opening it. A swig and he makes a face. "Thank you." There we are, crisply said, even if it hurt to say it.

Arlo has a steady hand, and the courtesy to hold the beer out so as to put as much distance between them as possible. "The alcohol will wash it out of your mouth," he explains. He opens his own and takes several swallows. He's a bit on the thin side, smooth-skinned, with a Star of David hanging from a simple silver chain resting below the hollow of his throat.

"You're welcome," he says kindly. See, Ambrose? It doesn't hurt to be nice. He leans against the counter, watching Ambrose with those sharp, dark, inquisitive eyes. "Thank you, by the way. I was able to pay my rent today. They were going to throw me out."

"Were they. Happy to be of assistance." He doesn't sound happy at all, but conversational exchanges being what they are, he offers the sentiment regardless. Ambrose doesn't lean on a thing. He keeps an arm's length away from every surface around himself and while he doesn't seem to be the sort to cringe, there's a wary readiness that someone might recognize in the plant of his feet. He has the straight-spined bearing of the military, faint as it might be. About his neck, a length of braided leather; it looks worn but sturdy and what hangs on it hides away beneath the neckline of his undershirt. By the outline, whatever it is, it's round and small, probably recognizable as a diadem or possibly a coin.

"Man," Arlo remarks around a drink of beer, "something's got you jumpy. It's groovy, man, I don't talk to cops. Nothing's going to happen to you here." He makes no moves toward Ambrose, content to watch the creature in its new environment. The possible diadem or coin catches his interest, but briefly. Truce. No stealing, no badgering. Well, much.

"I don't think I caught your name," he says. "You already know who I am." Quieter, he adds, "or you're pretty sure you do."

The brunet has no response to the observations put forth by his host. He sips at his beer and ignores them as he looks askance at the place again. All exits are marked, be they windows or doors alike.

"You gave me a name," he says after noting the particular lock system within the front door, voice quiet and even. Those cerulean-blues flick back to Arlo and linger. "It doesn't matter if it's the real thing or not. It's what I will report to the police should I find your body behind a dumpster. Upon your head be it if your family never learns of your demise. You may call me Traceur."

"Oh, it's my real name," Arlo says. "When I die, I want them to know." His eyes narrow, and his smile loses it's kindness. "I want them to learn every sordid little detail, and I hope it's trully disturbing. I hope it haunts them to the end of their days." He raises his beer to Ambrose in a small toast, and he takes another drink.

He considers a moment, then says, "I can't work normal jobs. No one wants to hire the guy who has to miss half his shifts because he's sick. I do what I have to do, and you, Traceur, look like you're cut from the same cloth."

"Indeed. I do what I must," he echoes, choosing not to expand further on whatever he calls a lucrative hobby. Whatever it is, it's enough to keep him fed, clothed, and able to throw two-hundred dollars at pesky would-be con artists. Ambrose then gives his host what would be an entirely flat look but for the barest inkling of knowing pity.

"Whatever your circumstances, Avery, I heavily recommend that you forgive and forget. Your mother will weep herself sick and your father will pace into the night, regretting every lost instant. They will be haunted. Of this, I assure you." His gaze slides away to the door again and he then takes a swig of his beer — a big one.

The door is unlocked; Arlo didn't think to trap Ambrose at least. There's a reasonably-sized window in the living room. The bedroom door is closed, so who knows what's back there. Arlo remains leaning against the counter, giving Ambrose his space. This isn't the first pacing animal he's tried to calm.

"Good," he says, of his parents eventual pain. With a sigh, he says, "Relax. You're fine. Nothing's going to happen to you here."

"I'm fully aware that nothing will happen to me. I won't allow it." He's got that implacable tone to match the take on things. "I intend to wait until the gas disperses and then I will be gone." Probably at least for a week, if Ambrose can manage it; he's definitely disconcerted about running into a vaguely-familiar face more than once in a short period of time. The beer is mostly gone now and it has wiped his tongue of the chemical taste of the tear gas, at least.

Arlo's lips tick at a wry smile when Ambrose says he won't let anything happen to him. "Right," he says. "So you're not a tourist. What brings you to New York from… you sound, I don't know, English. Is it weird that I kind of like it when you scold me? With the accent, it's a riot." He's taking this all so very seriously. In his defense, he has no idea just how much potential danger he's in.

His gaze darts to the window and the hazy smoke beyond. "Give it another few minutes," he says. "The wind's changing again."

Ambrose is very good at those restrained and yet incredulous looks. He aims one at his host now, his mouth hanging open slightly.

"…yes, Avery, it's exceedingly weird that you enjoy this." He says it with a resigned hesitance, knowing full well that, hey: it's an accented scolding of sorts. He finishes the rest of the beer and makes his way back into the kitchen to leave the empty can on the counter like a benign offering. Then, of course, it's back out to the entryway, like a dog very insistent that it must go outside immediately. "I'm here on business," he deigns to explain in regards to the query, "— and I'm British." It seems important to Ambrose to make this distinction, even if his accent is wonky to anyone with an ear for the quintessential Londoner tongue.

That incredulous look gets a broad smile from Arlo. When he smiles like that, he looks less like an evil little shit and more like the joyful youth he ought to be. It's a good look for him. He does happiness well.

His smile broadens still at Ambrose's resigned hesitance. "British," he corrects himself with a nod. "Okay, business. You're not a suit, so it's gotta be some business." Hastily, he adds, "I'm not asking. I know you don't want to tell me. Hell, you can't stand me." The smile doesn't waver.

Ambrose finally turns in place to some degree, if only to attempt to peer further into the small flat. Might as well scope the place out. Anything where it shouldn't be…? Artifactually speaking, of course. He gives Arlo an unimpressed side-eye before continuing his visual sweep.

"I will take relief in knowing that you're not asking," he replies dryly. "I can tolerate you, Avery, and that's the extent of it. I tolerate enough in this city as is." Like tear gas! Damn buttons.

Arlo lays a hand to his chest. "Tolerated," he says. "Careful, I'll fall off this pedestal." He pushes off the counter to collect the can, adding it to his own into the trash. He lives like a pauper, but a tidy pauper. Nothing seems out of the ordinary. The art is kitsch, the trinkets are few. Anything of any real value he's probably already pawned in moments of desperation.

Arlo sniffles, a remnant of the tear gas, and instead of resuming his lean, he goes to the kitchen table, dropping into one of the folding chairs so he can keep an eye on Ambrose while Ambrose checks out his place. "I'm trying to figure you out," he admits. "I get the feeling you don't stick around to get to know people."

"I haven't had a reason to for many years." While having paused to watch Arlo go about his business in keeping house to cleanliness, Ambrose then dares another step deeper into the place. He's not got any compunction in keeping his calculated curiosity from showing. "People are stumbling blocks in my path. Dead logs. Dead ends many times. Transitory at most, irritating at best." He looks back to Arlo before appearing to recant on his inwardly travels. A few steps and the brunet is in the entryway again.

Arlo watches Ambrose with an open and intense curiosity. He makes no attempt to hide how he's trying to pick Ambrose apart. "Yeah," he says, "I know how that goes. Transitory and irritating. Don't you wish sometimes, though, that you could just relax and have a beer and, I don't know, be human for awhile?"

He doesn't expect an answer, but quiets out of courtesy for one, unafraid to try and capture Ambrose's gaze with his own.

"…I am human." For the first time, the man's voice drops into a chillingly low register. He's meeting Arlo's eyes now and his own have gone brittle-bright. Apparently, that's a nerve to be struck with frightening resonance for Ambrose. Nothing about him changes. His pupils don't shift shape nor do the irises change color. He grows no horns or fangs. He simply looks exceedingly uncomfortable and irritated now.

Arlo's features soften. He really is a pretty creature. It's a shame he's been so poisoned by whatever real or imagined wrongs that have been cast on him. When he forgets them for even a second, there's a gentleness in him. Fragile, tentative, but it's there. He sits back, and there's a wordless invitation in the gesture.

"Then come be human," he says softly. "I don't bite. I'm not going to touch you. There's more beer. Take a moment's comfort, man. You don't look like the sort who gets too many of those."

Ambrose is torn. His gaze drops to the spare chair when he sees the young man settle in and there's a painful yearning that splinters through the cold mask he wears, like fine craquelure in old pottery.

"…unfortunately, I do," he says back, gone extremely quiet; his host might even need to attempt to read lips at this distance.

Arlo's ears pick up the words. He smiles a little, in both encouragement and acceptance. No prying, no judgment. God knows he's said and done and been things that can only be described as caustic. Survival's a bitch in this bleak world. "The way I figure," he says, "I won't go touching you, and you won't go touching me, and we can just sit. I'll get us another beer, and you can tell me everything wrong I'm doing with my life."

He doesn't get up for that beer, though. Not yet, lest the movement spook Ambrose back into the doorway. "Don't worry about me thinking it means anything either. We're just waiting out a storm."

"You'd be wasting your time doing any thinking in that vein." Ambrose speaks barely louder than his earlier comment, still balking as he stays where he stands. "And why would I choose to entertain you in that manner? I'm not here as a comedic or your jester. It doesn't matter if either of us touch skin to skin. It…you could be bitten where you sit, so certain of yourself."

Still, it may come as a surprise when he abruptly breaks into motion. He strides over, grabs up the spare chair, and takes it back out into the entryway with him. With back facing towards Arlo, the man then sits to straddle it and rests an elbow on it, giving the front door another cursory glance. Blech. Still hazy out there.

Arlo shakes his head and says, "I won't laugh at you. I didn't say it was funny, I said I like it. Is that breaking any laws? If I like something about you?" Cue a grin, and he ducks his head. The smile fades, and he says with his fragile gentleness, "The only thing I'm certain of is that guys like me don't grow old. If I sat dwelling on it, I'd never remember to breathe."

Which he forgets to do for a moment when Ambrose bursts into motion. A breath of startled laughter escapes as Ambrose proceeds to carry the chair to the entryway to sit. "There you go," he says. "That's not so bad."

"Is it not so bad? Good. Come no closer." Ambrose even has the gall to rest his jaw in the palm of his hand, looking…bored. He's not about to go fidgeting, but it's very clear that his opinion of the haze outside is that it's taking too long to disperse. His eyes move away from the door and to Arlo again. By the knit of his brows, he's deciding on something.

"I don't think you'd like me nearly as much if you understood — but you won't. You're young yet. Comparing life experiences will not work in your favor," he explains quietly.

"I don't think you and I are much alike," Arlo says. "There are universals, like we both probably aren't where we thought we'd be at this point in our lives, but that's hardly a foundation." He rises to his feet, and he goes to the fridge. Another two beers, and though he was just told to come no closer, he comes to hold the can at arm's length.

"So what's in my favor?" he asks. "What do you think I'm hoping to get from this? You've already paid my rent. I've got food for another week. My needs are met."

Ambrose sits up further in the chair, losing what little relaxation hung about his posture as the young man approaches. The beer's not going to injure him, but he makes it crystal-clear that there's been no invitation and by the chill returning to his eyes, it's not going to be offered anytime soon.

He takes the beer, careful again as not to brush touches as he does, and even leans away a little in his chair despite his ramrod-straight spine. "You're attempting to befriend me, Avery. This is a terrible idea. I leave people strewn about me like fallen leaves." Opening the beer, he hazards a mouthful, never dropping Arlo's gaze. "My business is not conducive to friends."

Arlo retreats once the beer is delivered, back to his chair. He all but melts into it with a mindless collapse, splayed comfortably. Ambrose has his tension, but Arlo? He's going to relax, damn it. He cracks his beer open and takes a swallow. While he's beyond innocence, he does manage to look, for the moment, guilty of nothing in the immediate vicinity.

"Maybe that's what I'm looking for in a friend," Arlo says. "Someone I know is going to leave, and it won't be because of something I did. You'll leave because that's what you do." He gestures with hiss beer as he adds, "Maybe I just want someone to talk to, right here and now, because the future's got no guarantees."

"The gas has me as your captive audience. By all means, talk away," Ambrose replies, managing not to roll his eyes. He at least attempt to appear as if he's paying attention, not seeming offended at all about the comment about leaving. For the lack of reaction, it reveals the long-ingrained truth of the habit. He rests his arm on the back of the chair and his jaw in his hand once more, giving Arlo his grudging attention. The beer container idly clinks against the chair once or twice, no apparent pattern present.

"I exploit whatever advantages I can get," Arlo says. "So that's a thing you know about me. Let's see, what else…" He shifts a little, from one comfortable slouch to another, draped upon his chair with affected elegance. "This is wild. I could tell you anything, and I bet you just wouldn't care. I can tell you I'm a mutant, and I bet that doesn't mean anything to you. I could tell you I'm queer as a three dollar bill, and you'll have to pretend to care. It's kind of freeing."

Ambrose nods half-heartedly in agreement. He glances to the beer container and then reads over the writing on it.

"I've heard of mutants. I've come across a handful in my years traveling through the world," he comments. "They have various names: empowered, blessed…mutant only recently. In regards to your inclinations, I don't care." He slugs back beer and shrugs, so very blase in tone that it's utterly the truth. "It has no bearing on my life or my actions."

Arlo nods. "Exactly," he says. "It's refreshing, having someone not give a damn." He takes another drink, then he falls quiet for a moment as he regards Ambrose. There's something akin to sympathy in his eyes, and dash of hurt that turns hard quickly. The dangerous brush with sentiment is squashed firmly.

"So what do you live for?" he asks. "Not friends, not family, not for any of the usual human things. What's your endgame?"

Ambrose marks the shifting emotions on his host's face with a distant interest. More beer disappears from its container and then he sets it down on the floor, out of the way of potentially being kicked or bumped by an abrupt scoot of the chair — an intriguing counter-point in manners to his devil-may-care attitude.

"My endgame is my own," he replies succinctly.

"Okay," Arlo says, and there's a lack of surprise by Ambrose's answer. "What about the journey? What about moments? Do you ever have those? Where you're just present? I think a lot about the things that make us human, is all. Because whatever else I become, I don't want to lose that."

He glances away from Ambrose, giving him respite from that inquisitive gaze. "I don't know why I worry about you, but I do."

There's the sound of a small scoff from Arlo's guest. Those half-shuttered cerulean-blues don't shift away from the young man's face even if the darker pair does slide away briefly.

"You waste your time, Avery. I will be here long after you've passed from this earth. Save your sentiments for someone more…present." He then eyes his beer on the floor and wrinkles his nose in mild opinion in regards to it. "Still…I'll humor your efforts. They're quaint." A pause and then he continues quieter yet. "Last I had a moment, I watched the sun set from one of the docks in San Francisco. The view, unimpeded, the air quiet and scented of salt. I caught sight of the legendary Green Flash, seed from which the old Oriental tales of the afterlife spring from. I alone saw it. The rest of the world was busy with their bumbling about, concerned with their nows and whys and hows." His smile is ghostly. "Have a crumb."

Arlo looks around the otherwise empty apartment, then back to Ambrose, arching a brow. Who here is more present? The mice in the walls? There's an ever so slightly imperious and perhaps obtuse question in the look.

"Thank you," he says with an unspoken 'was that so hard.' "As far a crumbs go, that's a good one. It sounds peaceful, and special, like the world was letting you in on a secret." He smiles fleetingly. "It's nice. The last time I had a moment was this morning. I slept for shit last night. I'm exhausted. But this morning I woke up and I remembered this guy I met a couple weeks ago. He was a bona fide angel. The memory was better than the event, because I wasn't stressed out in the memory."

"A bloody delightful thing, to wake up without stress." A thread of bitterness winds through Ambrose's response. "I've forgotten what that's like," he continues, almost to himself. The beer is snatched up and he throws back the rest of it. Crinklecrunch — that's the can collapsing in on itself with a sudden violence in strength. He sets it down again on the floor and looks back to Arlo now, expression gone flat.

Arlo's brows shoot up at the sudden violence. "Didn't mean to touch a nerve," he says. "It was just a moment of remembering something nice. He took me up in the air, with his wings. Maybe he was just some Mutie with delusions of grandeur, but for awhile I let myself believe he was the archangel Michael, and I lay up in the clouds where everything was quiet. For once I let someone touch me, and the world didn't end. But whatever, it was a moment, and it passed, and now I'm tired as hell and look like I've been crying." Though the red-eyed effect of the tear gas has worn off quite a bit.

"How delightful. Treasure the memory. It'll keep you sane in the dark hours of the nights, when your world closes in around you," Ambrose comments quietly. He doesn't appear nonplussed about the fact that it might have been the archangel he knows from childhood Sundays. His glance to the door betrays his inclinations to still scatter at the very first possible moment. Like it or not, it's the first conversation he's had with a stranger that lasted for more than a few minutes in a good number of…years.

Sometimes fate (and the police with their tear gas) conspires against a man. At least Arlo keeps his distance. With a small smile, he says, "Yeah, I intend to. Or at least treasure it til the reality settles in that it was some Mutie with delusions who copped a feel under the pretense of keeping me from plummeting to my death. Until then?" He raises his beer. "I saw an angel. Mazel tov."

"…mazel tov," Ambrose echoes half-heartedly, pulling his attention away from the door and its miasm of tear gas outside with some effort. "There are many who would count you blessed, if that's the case." He runs his tongue beneath his lip and across his teeth before glancing to the interior of the small apartment.

"Do you happen to have a washroom I can borrow?" he suddenly asks, a hint of animation coming to his features. …maybe there's a window he can escape out of. Conversations are not his forte anymore, not after nearly ninety years of self-enforced isolationism as can be managed.

Arlo smiles crookedly. He catches every one of those glances and quirks of expression. "It's right in there," he says with a nod. "The window's not all that big, I'm afraid." It's a nondescript washroom of turquoise tile, neat save for the t-shirt thrown in the clawfoot tub to be soaked later. The window is frosted glass with no clear look outside.

"Do you believe in angels?" Arlo asks. From his tone, the jury's still out, despite having had an encounter with one. He comes from people used to being with people. Conversations come easily. It's the silence that kills.

Ooh, what a glower from the brunet. Still, he rises from his chair because damned if he's not going to go to the bathroom and try to escape out that window anyways at this point. The beer can scuttles an inch as his boot touches it, but the can remains upright.

"No, I don't believe in angels, if you mean the literal manifestation of the will of God. I believe in many things, but not kindness like that. Not without a catch," he says dismissively before padding away further into the apartment. Not too difficult to find the washroom door, but…wait. He pauses in the doorway, letting peripheral vision inform him of what Arlo is doing rather than looking directly at the young man.

And then he strides quickly for the closed door nearby and attempts to duck into the room beyond as fast as he can manage it without boosting his movements with the Bane!

|ROLL| Arlo +rolls 1d20 for: 11

|ROLL| Ambrose +rolls 1d20 for: 18

"Have you readh the Torrah? It's all catches," Arlo says. His quick eye catches Ambrose's body language, informing him of the man's goal just a little too late to actually catch him. Arlo leaps to his feet though and tries to catch up to him before he can open the door. "What are you doing?" he says, and there's an urgency, a desperation in the question. Not in there! Not the chamber of secrets!

Which it really is. Most young men don't have a full vanity in their bedrooms. This one has a jewelry box, closed, and various powders, lipsticks, and perfumes. Draped over the back of the chair is a lacy, baby blue dressing gown. It smells of rose water in here. The bed is neatly made, and the bedding is a little more ruffled than one might otherwise assume of a young man.

Poor Arlo. Hearing the lock slide home in the door probably doesn't lower his blood pressure or convince him that the brunet still toting about his field jacket means his room and its contents no harm. Ambrose leans against the opposite side of the door, allowing his head to thump lightly back on it in relief. He sniffs once, as if to clear his nose, and then drops his face. And then drops his mouth open.

"…takes all types, I suppose," he finally mutters to himself before turning to glower at the closed door. "I'm doing nothing to your things. I'm interested in nothing here. I'm leaving," he informs his host before immediately walking over to the bedroom window. It's an old and creaky thing and it's not going to open immediately for him, apparently. He curses under his breath in Persian before getting to work.

"Hey, fuck you," Arlo says. Yeah he heard that mutter. "There's nothing wrong with me. You're the pervert, going into other people's bedroom." He pounds on the door. "Don't lock the door, dick. How am I supposed to get in there to sleep?" Pound pound pound.

Outside the window is a fire escape balcony, and on it is an old Foldgers can with cigarette butts in it.

"Look, if you want to leave, then just leave. You don't have to lock me out of my bedroom like some kind of crazy person."

"You might take up an abrupt interest in lockpicking?" Ambrose calls back at the closed door, allowing himself a razor's edge of a smile. "I tried to leave multiple times. I can see there's none of that bloody gas out here," he further informs his irate host. Damn window, it's so…squeaky…and really…really…stuck. He grunts each time for his efforts at yanking it upright and when he hears an ominous creak of stressed woods, he stops. Hey, weird manners apply here. Lock your host out, but don't break windowframes.

Arlo pounds his fist on the door again. "Just unlock it, you prick," he spits, mad as a wet cat. "I won't follow your crazy ass in there, you're out of your fucking mind. No one's kept you here. I was trying to be nice while you waited it out." He slams his back against the door, leaning on it, arms folded. "I can't believe I try to be nice and you're such a shit."

He takes a deep breath. "Okay, there's a trick to getting the window open," he says kindly. Then, "But I'm not going to tell you what it is because fuck you. I'm going to step away from the door, and you can leave out the front. You fucking lunatic."

"Such language," drawls the brunet in a terrible approximation of an American accent, apparently having traipsed back over to the locked door. He switches back to the crisp British accent. "And not informing me of the manner of unlocking the window does not keep me here in your abode. I thank you for your efforts today, including that of your sink and the beers, and will leave you bills for the broken pane."

And on that rather shocking note, the sound of bootsteps can be heard retreating before the sound of — yep, that was a shattering window pane. The bootsteps return and there's the sound of the door's lock disengaging…almost completely. "If you kick at it hard enough, the door will open," Ambrose informs the young man through the wood before retreating towards the window. He has no issue with throwing himself out of it, heedless of the glass shards sticking out from wood, and then pounds down the fire escape. Wheeeeee — it's almost like Shanghai again!

Arlo cringes at the sound of broke glass, and he yells through the door, "The front door is right there, you absolute fuck!" There's more language where that came from, sirrah. "What's wrong with you!" Alas, Ambrose is already on his way long gone, leaving Arlo with a broken window, a lock to break, and so many questions.

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