1965-08-25 - Timepiece Ressurected
Summary: A Spanish doubloon is exchanged for a restored pocket-watch and other information is exchanged as well. Things end cordially for once involving Ambrose.
Related: Ticked Its Last Tock
Theme Song: None
elmo ambrose 

8am was the proposed and agreed-upon time. Having not slept a wink over the last night and not suffered an iota for it, Ambrose makes his way down the street towards the housegoods repair shop. In the pocket of his khaki jacket, nestled in an archival-quality casing on a bed of velvet: the Spanish doubloon. On the belt of his black fatigue pants, both modernized service revolvers, out of immediate sight due to the fall of his jacket. He attracts little attention as he walks, chin slightly tucked, looking the part of the man on his way to do something important.

At the store door, he pauses and then reaches for the handle. If locked, he shakes it slightly to test and see if the bells jingle within. If open, he steps into the shop proper and his eyes scan the front room for Elmo.

The door is locked; the stenciled shop hours on the window say it opens at 9. Elmo comes to the door, though, and unlocks it to let Ambrose in. He looks like did not in fact take Ambrose's advice and get any rest. "C'mon in." Elmo glances him up and down, and backs way up so he can come through the door without any accidental contact.

"Watchmaker," says Ambrose quietly by way of greeting as he enters the space, his face turning to enable him to always keep watch on the taller man. "If I didn't know any better, you decided sleep was for the weak."

Elmo gets an equally-impersonal once-over from the Englishman and then the Jackal continues walking further into the front room. Still, his eyes never leave the other man. "I have brought what we decided upon. Shall we exchange wares here or…do you have another preferred place within the shop?"

Elmo smirks back, a twist of his mobile mouth. "Sleep's for the bored, more like. Nah, just come over to the counter. Last thing I need is nosy damn yentas tellin' the neighborhood I took some strange man to the back room." Elmo rolls his eyes. Leading the way over to the repair counter, he gets behind it. He pulls Ambrose's watch not out of some drawer there, but out of his own pocket. Flipping the cover open, he shows it to Ambrose, not speaking, letting his work do the talking for him. And such work it is. The watch is polished to a fine gleam; not that it was dirty to begin with, but Elmo has ferreted out every speck of tarnish or corrosion. It looks like it did the day it was made. And, of course, it's ticking. The time is precisely right, 8:03.

Ambrose returns the smirk with a thin curve of lips, no more a smile than necessary. He follows behind the man and over to the counter, his right hand resting on the small box containing the Spanish doubloon within his jacket pocket. His eyes fall to the pocket watch the very second it appears and he looks up at Elmo briefly before holding out his left and empty hand.

"For once, word of mouth pans out in my favor. Refreshing," he admits, gaze flickering over the watch once more. It does look…new. His heart pangs, to his surprise, though he doesn't let it show. "Here, let me see her."

"Show you her works if you want," Elmo says, setting the watch down, very careful, almost tender. He lets Ambrose do the reaching, again clearing out before he can risk being touched. "Machined a hairspring, plus a couple other wheels were threatenin' to slip. Cleaned her out top to bottom. You take good care of her, she just needed a few new parts. Seems like she's been in operation since she was made."

"You know the truth, watchmaker," replies Ambrose softly as he then takes a finger to turn the watch over. He scans its outer case and again, the ghost of a smile appears on his lips. "Your eyes do not deceive you. It has been as such, keeping time since its first winding — an old friend of mine indeed. Please," and he pulls his hand away to gesture at the pocket watch. "You're welcome to showcase your efforts. I might learn something in the process, all the better for upkeep in the next hundred years." He says this without a hint of jest anywhere about his expression or person.

Elmo grins, and it's genuine; he's so excited to get to show Ambrose the work he's getting paid so much for. He's got the jeweler's tool in his hand while Ambrose is finishing speaking, opening up the watch's heavy, smooth gold housing. "There, that's the hairspring. Here's the crown wheel, was showin' some wear. Just smoothed off after this long, yannow? Pivot, that's bit here here, gettin' juuuust a touch wobbly, tightened that up. Man, they don't make 'em like they used to, huh?" The insides of the watch are as pristine as the outside. Every miniscule cog and wheel shines.

The master-thief listens and observes as each part referenced is pointed out by the delicate tool. He leans in the required amount and no more to see where the gears interlock to perfection now. Indeed, they shine, and he's…admittedly more impressed than he would have guessed.

"You exceed my expectations, watchmaker." Pulling back to stand upright now, Elmo receives a small and yet true smile for how it shows in Ambrose's cerulean-blue eyes. "And no, they do not. It was much more difficult to replace parts, much less find the metal required when it was originally crafted. For your efforts."

And he then places the small box on the counter, sliding it forwards until it rests at the same latitude as the open pocket watch. Nestled in the circular divot of sturdy foam, protected by a sturdy and crystal-clear museum-quality case, is the Spanish Cob. "6.77 grams of gold by weight, struck in Seville in 1622. Crown and shield on one side, cross and treasure on the front as you can see." He leaves one finger atop the case as if patiently waiting for Elmo to release his pocket watch in turn.

Elmo closes 'er up, tiny motions of the tool in his clever fingers. He smooths over the gold casing with a calloused thumb, almost a fond goodbye. "A little metallugurical analysis, a little chemistry, a little machinin', no sweat. Ain't had this much fun in weeks." He lets it go, releasing it back to its owner with a quirk of an eyebrow. And claims his prize, eyes getting big. "Wow." The coin he turns over in his hands just like he had the watch.

"Glad to hear that you appreciate your work." The pocket watch disappears into Ambrose's hand and he lifts it up, considering it with a reverence just shy of that given to the coin by the other man. He then kisses the outer casing gently before reaching inside his jacket. It goes away into an inner pocket after he clips the restraining chain in place.

"I wouldn't have it out of the protective covering for too long," he comments in regards to the doubloon. "Nor would I be handling it without archival gloves. It is old metal. You like as not know how to address it with care." He looks to Elmo again and his eyes narrow in the slightest, as if weighing the man against machinations of his own.

"I'll learn," Elmo says, careless, no big deal. "Good doin' business with you, Traceur." Which is absolutely not the guy's real name, but does Elmo care? Elmo does not. He tucks the coin and its box in his pocket. He glances up, sees Ambrose kissing the watch, and his smile is understanding. Yeah. He loves objects, too.

"Yes, a pleasure doing business with you as well, Elmo." Still, the Englishman continues standing there, hands in his pockets of his jacket. He's looking at the mutant as if he's sensing something beyond the norm — and not the sparks that he last saw dancing between long fingers.

"You asked for an old coin first, watchmaker. Not cash. Not a check. This tells me that you deal in either collecting or in affairs of your own. Which is it, if you don't mind my interest…?"

Elmo considers that question, fiddling with the delicate screwdriver he hasn't put away yet. "Cash, eh. Need it, but it ain't fun, you know what I mean? Interestin' things, rare things? Now that's fun. Things talk to me. Tell me a lot of stuff I wanna know. Somethin' like this coin? Hard to come by for someone like me." He gestures wryly at himself: some young working-class Jewish kid, not quite old enough to vote, working in a tiny housewares shop despite what he can do.

"The coin would be hard to come by for someone living in a penthouse off of Fifth Avenue," Ambrose notes lightly. He continues giving Elmo a suspicious look, though he makes no sudden moves or appears overtly threatening. "Still…you are in a field of work where you might have come across older items over the years. I understand a collector's attitude. Have you come across anything of interest lately? Perhaps items from the area of the Red Sea?"

Elmo tips his eyebrows up, curious. The suspicious look Ambrose is giving him is puzzling him, but he doesn't seem threatened. "Red Sea? Nah. Not my kinda thing. I know those alter kackers— " those 'old farts'—"at the jewelery repair down the street call me a watchmaker, and they're not wrong, but they ain't right either. I do machines and engines and electronics." He gives Ambrose a look back, searching. "So what do you do?"

Apparently, he's incorrect in his assumptions right off the bat. Ambrose slides his eyes elsewhere and closes them briefly, like as not in self-remonstration, before returning his attention to Elmo. His facial set is far more bland now, poker-face.

"I work with antiques, hence my ability to access your coin. It is a difficult field sometimes, but ultimately rewarding when I put in the proper effort," he replies.

Elmo's said something wrong, he can sense that much. Ambrose is suddenly lying to him. And he can translate 'work with antiques' as 'doing something illegal with antiques'. There's an aura of trouble around Ambrose and he can smell it. "Bet you see all kindsa gevaldik stuff," he says, and although he tries to say it neutral, he can't help a tinge of envy and interest.

The master-thief picks up on that wee nuance of speech and he gives Elmo that same sliver-smile seen last they spoke.

"Oh yes, gevaldik indeed — even geferlekh, my good watchmaker. As I mentioned before…it can be difficult. Many people attempt to stand in the way of my efforts to retrieve them. Selfish, the bastards." He breaks his poker-face by wrinkling his nose in honest disgust briefly. "All I'm doing is returning them, after all. It's somehow a hard thing for many people to process and for reasons that I have never understood."

Elmo's eyes light up and he laughs, totally delighted. "You speak Yiddish!" He leans toward Ambrose with that manic smile, focused on him. "Puttin' stuff back where it came from—that, I can get behind. The Nazis…" he trails off, waving sharply, because Ambrose knows, surely. "My parents were rich in the Old Country, you know? Now here they don't got bupkis."

Drawing back half a step, Ambrose keeps a proper distance between himself and the watchmaker, even looking mildly dismayed to have spurred such a wave of interest from the man.

"Yes, I am…well aware of the Nazis and their actions during the second World War. I still remember the sand in my boots. Rommel and his…pack of hyenas." The Englishman's timbre drops into something low and cold briefly before he seems to compose himself. He clears his throat and adds in a far lighter tone, "I am not intimately familiar with Yiddish. Only certain words. I had many dealings with businessmen in the Far East, in Shanghai, in past decades. Viennese Jews."

"There ain't that many of us anymore, since the war. Biggest concentration of Yiddish speakers in the world is right here in New York." Apparently Ambrose has discovered the key to Elmo, and it's his mother tongue. Elmo gives him another one of those searching looks. "Listen. Most a that stuff, ain't my business, and I'm not gonna poke my nose in it. But if you ever come across some of the stuff the Nazis took from us, and you wanna bring it home? You let me know."

Ambrose nods and there's something overtly formal about it in the marked delay, even down to the stance he takes. It dates him possibly more than anything else on his person…other than the revolver hidden away beneath the hang of the khaki jacket.

"While my interests do not generally cross over into your people's belongings, I shall. I find what the Nazis did to be anathema. They left behind them suffering and destruction, all in the name of power. I do not search for power." He blinks hard again as if the slip of the tongue was unintended. A hand emerges to rub briefly at from temple and across one brow before he gives Elmo another bland look. "Forgive me. I forget myself sometimes."

Elmo raises his eyebrows. "Railin' against the Nazis? Buddy, there ain't nothin' to forgive." He checks the clock, a much more humble version of what Ambrose has in his pocket. "I gotta chase you out. Won't do if my boss sees ya here. Good luck out there." And now, he actually offers his hand.

Ambrose looks at the hand offered to him and then up to the other man's face.

"Forgive me if I…do not return your handshake. I do not mean disrespect. You have been honest with me, watchmaker, and that I take to heart more than most people found on these city streets. I'll pass on your name to anyone in need of fine skills." He turns and begins to walk towards the door. Before he leaves, he pauses and glances over his shoulder. "Take care of the coin, will you? It was difficult to procure those many years ago." He laughs, almost to himself, with a dark little note. Still, he's cordial in how he adds, "Another time, Elmo." Then, with a jingle of bells, the master-thief disappears and melts into the morning crowd on the sidewalk.

Elmo shrugs one-shouldered, unoffended. He watches Ambrose leave, and there's a lot going on behind his dark eyes. One hand goes into his pocket, curling around the coin in its plastic jacket. Then he goes about preparing the shop to open.

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