1965-10-19 - DO NOT HIT WITH BAT.
Summary: When thieves collide and feathers get ruffled nd stolen.
Related: None
Theme Song: None
ambrose elmo jp 

October. Chill was in the air and a parade of brightly coloured mums seemed to be decorating the otherwise bleak concrete expanse that was the run down rent section of Mutant Town… There was still with no payphone though there was a post that stuck out of the ground with a pot of flowers on it with a sign sticking up out of it that read in terrible scrawl:

The garage was open and the boys were working on, yeah, a hearse. Twenty year old one too. Someone wanted itrunning again to do an urban hayride with. JP still thought it was creepy so, eh, it might be right on the nose.

Gearhead's Garage, here he comes. His shadow slides first along the pavement outside of the garage, tall and lean, eventually crossing into the open bay proper once he makes it far enough up the drive leading to it. Ambrose looks the quintessential New Yorker in his dark winter coat and jeans. The military boots are the odd thing out. He has an easy walk, though it's not comfortable; it's almost a smooth slink, his footsteps rolling to make the least amount of noise. On his head, a baseball cap, blank of insignia, and from beneath it, dark hair can be seen. It's not unfasionably long, but indicative of lack of interest in upkeep.

"Quaint," he calls out ahead of him by way of warning, if no one's noticed his approach. "Both, actually, the vehicle and the sign," and he pauses on the very edge of the garage flooring. A turn in place and gesture back at it before he looks back to the gentlemen inside. "A good evening to you both." Of course he sports the Londoner accent, but for the odd roundings here and there of the Fertile Crescent.

"Pass me that 3/8th," Elmo is asking JP, half inside the engine compartment. Seriously, how many jobs does this guy have? In coveralls and generously smudged with grease, long hair tucked back at the nape of his neck (it won't be fashionable until the 21st century is well underway, but ask him if he cares), he pops back out when he hears Ambrose's voice. "Hey!" he says, cheerful, unbending himself. "What's up? JP, this is Traceur." He thwaps JP's shoulder fondly. "This's my partner I told you about."

JP was tucked into the wheel well. Looking around he looked through the wrenches on teh ground by him. Finding one he pulled it up giving the top of the car tap tap for Elmo's attention. Then the voice and the words he doesn't know, or thinks he knows. head popped out, smudges of grease on his rough handsome mug. "Traceur? Tres bien. Wait, why it matter who anyone like?" He looked to Elmo eyebrow arched, "Il sait qu'il est au mauvais endroit pour avoir un probleme avec ca?" He looked back to Albrose, looking a bit confused but offering a hand.

"Watchmaker," and Ambrose gives Elmo a nod of greeting. His eyes slide to JP and his brows meet in mild confusion. The expression then melts to a patient amusement. Interesting. He slips into fluent, old-continental French, with all the accents and notes of courtly tutoring those decades ago.

"Pourqoui aurais-je un probleme ici? Je n'ai offert aucune insulte ni menace. Je suis ici sur invitation." A gesture towards Elmo as the one who offered the initial invitation to visit and then the master-thief gives JP's offered hand a wry look. "Thank you, but it would be best if we did not shake in greeting. I don't expect you to understand, but I expect you to respect my proclivities."

Elmo snorts, half-laughing in surprise. "That ain't what 'quaint' means, JP." He wipes his hands on the rag hanging from his belt. Then another five-dollar word comes out of Ambrose and he hastily says, "My partner ain't the best with English," grabbing JP's arm to forestall any punching.

JP shrugged and said "I dunno why bein quaint no problem. We don' care who people get on with." He listened and assured, "Hey, no one gonna grab you proclivities neither, mon ami. We ain' like that." His arm was grabbed and that look was in his eye, confused, and trying to figure it all out. Okay, so the Cajun was not the most educated in a worldly sense, but he had principles and business sense, and enough patience to ask before swinging when teh guy was standing down. Pax, the man called pax. "Oh, bienvenue alors traceur. Jean-Pierre. People call me JP. Is fine. What we can do for you? I dunno what they is but you wan' we can alk about how to respect the hell outt athem proclivities." He shrugged with a wry grin. "Pourquoi pas. F'you I can prlly figure that out." Yeah Elmo wasn't wrong about JP.

Looking between the two gentlemen, Ambrose can be seen to squint the slightest, as if he's attempting not to find further amusement in the reactions before him. He still has to wipe his hand down his mouth as if erasing the beginnings of a smug-ass smile before clearing his throat slightly.

"Merci, Jean-Pierre. By 'proclivities', I mean my druthers. A tendency. A…" he pauses, thinking, eyes slanted to one side. "A bias towards personal space." He doesn't go about explaining 'quaint', given he was making mockery of the sign out front in pithy humor. "I won't dare anyone to attempt to enter it." A small curl of a smirk before that smoothes away as well.

"As I mentioned before, Mister Rosencrantz offered that I should visit should he not be present at the shop." His gaze and attention shifts to Elmo. "I spoke briefly with the professor in regards to what you delivered. We are at agreement. You've nothing more to worry about at this time."

The two mechanics are kind of ridiculous. Fixing cars and entertaining the masses. Elmo lets JP go. "I fixed a couple watches for Traceur," he tells him, "real fancy old pieces. Had to custom machine some parts, was fun as hell." And he means, it, too, in total earnest. Looking back at Ambrose, his eyebrows climb up his forehead. "Okay," he says, a little worried. "Uh. Okay. Good to see you boys getting along."

JP frowned and mumured to no one, "Pourquoi personne ne parle correctement?" He sighed. The clarification was… not helping in the slightest. The 1 1/4" wrench waves in a vague circle in the air seeming to not really to follow in reference to any professors. That was all smart-people talk and didn't concern him unless they were causing trouble on his block. "Well, welcome to the garage. And no Elmo haveno problem with any professor. People don' bring trouble onto our block, jes problems and we solve those."

"Yes, we're getting along just peachy…as you Americans might say," Ambrose replies in particular to Elmo, now allowing himself a faint curve of a smile. He catches the tail end of JP's thought to himself and eyebrows at the man before his lips part into a wider smile. It's a charming little grin, if only shadowed in his eyes, almost as a social veneer than truth.

"Again, thank you, Jean-Pierre. I do feel welcomed. Now that I've delivered my small tidbit, onwards to the real business at hand." And he dares to cross onto the garage flooring proper with the first step. He takes a moment to turn in place, surveiling the entire area, from shelving to high ceilings, and then looks back to JP. "I was informed that you and your…other gentlemen are involved in…dare I say, extra-curricular activities. Beyond that of mending broken watches and sprucing up hearses. I wish to know precisely what your interests are, in terms of what you regularly take. Second-hand parties have assured me that your group's interests do not overlap with my own, but I would hear it from your own lips. Have you any interest in antiquities dating from 3000 BC onwards, specifically from the area of modern-day Kuwait and Iraq?" He levels a most serious look at the head mechanic in particular, eyes gone almost cold.

"He just don't like bein' touched, Jeanushka," Elmo murmurs. "Like me, yannow?" He's fiddling with the wrench in his hands, turning it over along its axis, making it glint in the shop lights. Then sighs when Ambrose goes right ahead with the complicated words. He translates for JP, perfectly patient with the Cajun. "He's sayin' he wants to make sure we're not steppin' on his turf. He uhhh works with real old stuff, like from history. You ever seen a picture of that mummy that was on display at the museum? He had all this gold and jewelry and pottery? Stuff like that, that's Traceur's bag."

|ROLL| JP +rolls 1d20 for: 19

JP was tiring of this fast and his jaw tighened. Given the guy was trying and Elmo invited him JP tried to level with Ambrose, "Je ne suis pas anglais. Votre francais fonctionne bien. Je ne comprends pas la moitie de ce que tu dis, mec." (I am not english. Your French works well. I do not understand half of what you say, man)

JP looked to Elmo taking a deep breath reeeeally reaching for patience and given his week? Well he found it. "Sparkplug, speak parts-pieces to me." He listened and when Elmo added the 'like me' he went to say something and thought better of bringing up what Elmo cared to have done to his 'proclivities'. Right. ahem. "Old stuff? Why people wanna pay for old stuff?" He looked to Ambrose and looked to Elmo and upnodded to the door. Brown eyes (just eyes, not orbs) looked to the other thief getting what was going on. "Okay, let's speak. Maybe we can help each other out."

Ambrose looks between the two men again and nods, acknowledging the difficulties at hand as well as the silent suggestion to retreat to the office.

"Je ne veux pas vous offenser, mais oui. Je serai plus clair dans mon choix de mot. Les vieilles habitudes de parole meurent d'une mort dure. Il serait impoli de continuer a parler francais quand les autres ne comprennent pas," he says firstly in that old-school French. (I do not wish to offend you, but yes. I will be more clear in my word choice. Old habits of speech die a hard death. It would be rude to continue to speak French when others do not understand.) Never a good idea to leave a first encounter without establishing a neutral if even positive accord.

"That you…are not interested in this…old stuff is a good thing. It means we could be friends. Please, lead the way," he adds, lifting up a hand briefly towards the office proper. It's hard to check himself and keep those five-dollar words out of his sentences, but good practice nonetheless.

Elmo slides JP a sly and amused look. Uh huh, proclivities. He tips a hand over, eyebrows quirking, at Ambrose. "Step into our office." Opening the door, he stands back to let Ambrose go through without risk of contact. Which is actually how he acts with everyone, so it doesn't seem weird. As he comes in, he tells JP, "People pay a lot of money for that stuff. Because it's real rare. But it's tough to sell if you don't know the right people. Like tryin' to sell a Bugatti."

JP arched an eyebrow. This? This he understood, "Je ne comprends pas votre anglais, nous nous… retrouvons dans une impasse." Ambrose didn't want to be rude to Elmo for not speaking French but JP was not at all getting the English. He walked in and topped off his coffee and dropped into the chair that was there for JP and Elmo to barely use. The office had two desks. A nice prominent one that had Vitale's stuff on it, and a neglected cradenza which kept a stabby thing on it for memos and of couse, the coffee pot.It was here with privacy JP's demeanor shifted. He listened to Elmo's council and aaaaaah'd getting it now. "Sooo I run across antiques I call you first see if you interested or got a buyer. This? This I can do. So you work for you or you got an employer, Traceur?"

Entering the office, Ambrose is quick to step to one side and allow the others to enter, not quite with his back to one of the walls. He observes the room and its decor, noting the empty desk and its items scattered across it. The man makes no move to sit or relax, a sign of distrust despite the cordiality of proceedings.

"I am…" Rewind, simple words. A small sigh, schooling of his own patience. This was worth the effort. "I do not know what a Bugatti is, but I do not sell to just anyone with money. I have a small number of buyers who have the…same interests as my own. I work for me. I am not asking you to call me, no. Now that I know you are not interested in my…old stuff," - one can just see him wanting to say 'antiquities' - "I am offering my services in return if necessary. If…you need them," he amends, expression neutral and open as best he can manage.

Elmo hops to sit on the mostly-empty desk. His expression lightens when Ambrose makes the effort to talk on JP's level and he actually smiles a little, catching Ambrose's eye. "Car equivalent of that doubloon," he says, explaining what a Bugatti is. Although he doesn't think of his role on the team as the go-between, he does it pretty well. His eyebrows go up again and he glances at JP, then back at Ambrose.

JP nodded slowly taking his coffee black with chickory root. It's as nature intended clearly. A slow nod confirmed Elmo's translation. "Bien. So here's the thing we usually more interested in: Anythin lucrativebut I'm picky about targets. Call me old fashioned but jail time sucks. My people? They like things that can move or things help em survive. Sometimes Cash works great. weapons, tech, cars sometimes. Old stuff? Antique? I got no buyers for. Not unless I turn gigalo for some lil old people which, hey, ya know, they wanna pay out? Is good too I guess, but not exactly a line up for that."

The Jackal's eyes flick to Elmo at his explanation. "Ah, very good, thank you." Another short nod to the electrician and then a pointed narrowing of attention towards the man behind the desk, sipping at his coffee. His nose wrinkles in a shadow of dislike for the drink; it'll be tea for him until the day he dies, however many decades that is into the future.

"It does not matter what your people want. There is not much that will stop me, people and technol — tech alike. I offer my help if you want it. Otherwise, I will keep to — be…staying on my own…turf." Erk, that was a hard one to simplify, somehow. And at this point, he can't help it, even after the scratch at his jaw. He looks from Elmo and back to JP again. So properly, accent and all, he asks, "…I'm sorry, but did you say 'gigalo'?" Laugher twinkles in his eyes despite himself because it's just ludicrous.

Elmo now translates for Ambrose, arms folded lightly, one boot swinging. "We don't wanna stop you. You do what you gotta do out there. Ain't our business. Thing is, we're doin' this for a purpose. Not just to line our pockets. We're tryin' to do right by our people. Mutants." He considers his next question, looking thoughtfully at Ambrose. "You ain't never told me what you can do. I showed you—" he offers up his left hand, electricity sparking to life in a swift blue glow. "You know I can fix a watch so good it runs for a hundred years. So what is it you can do?"

He snorts, at the whole gigalo thing, and glances at JP affectionately. Lets him explain it, if he wants to.

JP looked to Ambrose stone sober with a nod. He sipped his coffee. Oh shit he was not joking. The faintest hint of pride crept up into a grin of expression, "Best in four counties and prolly the five boroughs." Wow dead serious. That look though in JP's eyes was all business considering, but offering in Elmo's wake of conversation, "I'm a box guy. You won' find better. Can be a door guy… they jsut shitty boxes." There was that impish grin.

Consider the man briefly bereft of words. Ambrose regards the man sipping his coffee long enough to come to the conclusion that, indeed, JP is not joking, and then simply and civilly nods his head in understanding. "Yes. Many safes are nothing more than shitty boxes," he agrees.

But's Elmo's asked a very relevant question in this entire meeting of minds. The Jackal's gaze then slides to him and lingers. Shifting his weight in old habit of keeping his joints loose, he then sighs and slips back into his usual speech inclinations. "What I line my pockets with comes from luck and benevolence. I do not have to be paid in order to survive. That you attempt to do well for your people is honorable. Do not stop it. My quest is my own and mine alone. You ask what I can do…" His tongue slips to wet his upper lip unconsciously.

"I believe I can show you without causing you lingering harm. Either of you," and he looks between the two gentlemen. "Either of you can be subject to it. I need not touch you in order to show you the least kind of my abilities. However, if you wish to see another aspect of it — one that allows me my flawless record, having never been caught, not in over sixty years — " The light stress there in comparison to his current physical looks. "You are welcome to take my hand. I promise that the effects will not persist." And there's an upturned palm held out, offering up all the daring in turn.

Elmo listens, dark eyes serious. As Ambrose slips back into his usual language, he translates quietly. "He's saying he don't go after money, it just sometimes happens to him. Says we should keep on doin' what we're doin'." He's interested in Ambrose's power, but—that number! Sixty! His eyebrows fly up. "Sixty years? Hey, hey, hang on, you don't look like no sixty year old. But that'd make you even older, wouldn't it? If you been doing this for sixty years."

He looks at Ambrose's hand, now just dying of curiosity. "JP…lemme do it. I can't bust out the lights nomore." A deep well of trust there; he doesn't doubt that JP will look out for him. Whatever happens, he has complete faith JP can handle it. And so he reaches out and delicately touches a fingertip to Ambrose's hand.

JP snickered and grinned fascinated with this development. Reeeeally? "Merde, I'd be happy t'make it past another twenty." Dark humor he had. Rubbing his jaw he set down the coffee cup looking at the hand and Ambrose. He was speaking a very vague iteration of English he knew but he caught the important part. Oh what the hell. "How you not go after cash man? Cash buys the future. If I bring you in on a job, what you offerin and what you want?"

"It would be for the pride," he replies almost breathily to JP, not looking at the man, but at Elmo instead. "And nothing else. Well…beyond my self-preservation." Now comes the slow reveal of teeth again and…the Bane strikes, loosened from its host's noose of control.

At Elmo's fingertip, a numbing pins-and-needles begins. Insidiously, it begins to creep up into his first joint…and then into his second finger-joint if he hasn't yanked away by now. Left to its druthers, it'll crawl up into his wrist with ease. In its wake, pulsing through Elmo's blood, a sense of lethe — a sudden need to yawn and sit down because that last cup of coffee has left his system entirely. The ghostly inclinatino to a nap…and to lie down forever, and forever is a very long time, but how peaceful it would be.

As for Ambrose? He sucks in air through his teeth at the particular 'flavoring' of life-energy that the Bane partakes upon, something light and zippy, like the kick of selzter to bubble up the back of the nose and the taste of metal between his teeth — not of blood, but of static. He almost wants to sneeze.

Elmo doesn't pull away, playing a game of superpowered chicken with Ambrose, grinning uncontrollably as the Bane nibbles him further and further up his arm like an amorous suitor. "F-feels like I'm bein' grounded out…" Then he wavers, eyelids drooping, letting out a breath in a tired sigh. His hand drops from Ambrose's, as he blinks sleepily. "Uhn. Man. Feel exhausted." Everything about him droops like a wilting daisy.

|ROLL| JP +rolls 1d20 for: 3

JP watched and was a very patient guy. Casual, not overly worked up and willing to see out information where he needed it. Young, perhaps in age only, but responsible for those in his charge by blood or confidence for twenty years. It was all he knew to be and that came back with a dynamic shift in the mechanic form talking thief to thief int what was described by others as 'yard boss mode'. "Point taken. Let em go." His eye flitted back to Elmo waiting for compliance before stepping over that last threshold into an actionable state.

"He's no longer touching me, he's been released," Ambrose confirms to JP even as he brings down his own hand to his side. He stretches fingers and clenches them into a tight fist as the Bane twinges at an incomplete drawing of energy. "Yes. You should be exhausted." He now speaks to Elmo. "I have taken vitality from you in a controlled manner. Another minute and you would be no more." Yes, that kind of 'no more', the one involving pushing up daisies and kicking buckets. "Any guard I run into? Any interference — taken care of, one way or another. I would have show you my other more preferred action, but…" A slight sneer. "Your professor would not have approved…and I value our peace."

The master-thief looks again to JP. "Your man will be fine with a nap."

JP was not a happy camper. "Nous n'avons pas d'enseignant et la seule approbation dont vous avez besoin est la mienne. Ne fais plus ca a mes gars. Doom sur vous, la prochaine fois que vous blessez mes gars au lieu d'utiliser vos mots. We Clear?" Oh yes a lot of French. A lot of very clear, cery specific pointed French. "And go fuck whatever this professor is you speak of. He don' run this block." Clearly JP's got no clue who this is they're speaking of, and the hilarity of the unintended entandre no lost on Elmo likely.

Elmo sags over, propping himself up with a braced arm on the desk. His usual fizzing energy is just flattened out. "Nap sounds like the best thing in the world," he admits. Slowly he lifts his eyes to JP. He doesn't understand too much of that French, but he doesn't really have to, not with the look on JP's face and his tone. He looks back at Ambrose, dazedly puzzled.

The Jackal holds up both hands in the face of that flow of angry French in his direction. His own response is in the same tongue, smooth and cultered as was his learning.

"Calme-toi, s'il te plait. Il a ete prevenu a l'avance et ne souffrira pas pour cela. Comme je l'ai dit auparavant, une sieste l'aidera. Je ne suis pas ici pour marcher sur vos pieds, jeune coq. Comme je l'ai deja mentionne, je suis ici pour offrir de l'aide. Rien de plus. Nos interets ne se croisent pas … et je prefererais ne pas croiser le fer. J'ai d'autres accords que je ne veux pas souiller." Long story short: look, I'm not here to start trouble — he'll be fine, let him rest — and he did volunteer as tribute, let's be honest.

"I would find a chair were I you," he adds in English to Elmo in particular, his expression strained around the eyes.

JP kept those eyes locked on Ambrose, unmoved. Clearly a line was crossed and the badger was poked in his den. "Tu es au milieu de ma putain de journee de travail, maintenant il est mort pour moi par terre." He pointed at Elmo and the shop beyond the wall. Oh yeah, good luck getting wrok done on time this afternoon. "I keep my rules simply, so that future forward we are clear. You bring a hand, warning or no, to one of my guys and or interrupt my business or income? This is a problem. Compris?" He checked to amke sure they were on teh same page.

JP continued in patient english trying to get the understanding across calmly which was hard as he was jsut about livid. He was tryig though. So… so trying. "I know, to like many of you I'm some little Mutie fuckwho is nothin but a street thug. This my family. This my neighbourhood, and this my home. I cannot protect them and look after them and take care of business, when I got a guy down cause some guy wants to be fancy and jsut not use all his words. Ya get me?" Breathing. Breathing was good. He looked back to Elmo which would be another talk later between that was stupidnad what hte hell did that feel like and when we gonna finish the car? Three way attention in conversations were fun. Looking back to Ambrose he waited, now calm not happy but calmer.

That was stupid, all right. Elmo can't turn down a dare, what what he supposed to do? NOT touch Ambrose? Ask for clarification? Feh! "Fuck it, I'll finish the car right fucking now," he mumbles. "Just watch me." He doesn't go anywhere, staying right where he is, swaying in place. But he does blink drowsily at Ambrose. "Surprises. Remember? We don't like 'em."

"…yes." Ambrose now wears the severely polite mask used in cases where he's keeping his own dander in check. That one word he says to Elmo, still observing him with that sense of strain around his eyes.

His attention then shifts to JP and he slips into French yet again. "Mon dieu, je ne lui ai pas dit de faire quoi que ce soit. Il est son propre homme. Je ne neglige pas son choix individuel ni votre avance dans cet endroit. Et vous savez tres bien que si vous etes un vrai voleur, les actions comptent plus que les mots." A faint sneer comes and goes, brief fracturing of his mask, and all relaxation leaves his body. "Besides…you needed to believe me. It is one thing to claim to take of life and another to demonstrate. He will be fine." The last sentence is broken down slowly and clearly enunciated as only an Englishman can accomplish.

A sigh and subtle lift of his chin. "I have overstayed my welcome. Thank you for your hospitality. Know that if you have need, you can find means to contact me. I ask nothing but the chance to hone my skills in return." And companionship, but that he doesn't say aloud. The English is repeated in French, for JP's benefit, and then Ambrose makes to leave the office.

How was Ambrose to know that was the sticking point for the yard boss? He might say the one thing you don't do but… payphone. Aww payphone. Sadness. "I would have believed you. Trust? That built by talkin. Next time? Explain. I'm shit at English, we ain' stupid and we ain' gonna tell you you a liar. I would no disrespect guest in my home for no reason like that." He took a deep breath and tried to really pull himself back from a nine to about a four. "Coulda lost a guy last week. None too happy about it so you can appreciate why I'm pretty fuckin sensitive on this shit. Elmo," He looked to his partner and said only, "Jumper cables in my trunk." Looking back to Ambrose he nodded, "Maybe we try this again, another time."

Elmo grins wearily, letting his eyes drift shut. "Jumper cables. You got it, boss." A good end to a rough meeting.

Ambrose pauses in the doorway, his eyes flicking between the limp-rag watchmaker and the now cooler yard boss. He sticks to English, continuing to keep it simple. "I understand why you worry. I do not mind returning another time, yes. Perhaps next week, in the evening," he says, tone even and enunciation crisp. "Again, I am sorry for interrupting your day." Already, there are plans to leave what he construes to be an appropriate amount of cash slipped under the front door for the lost time. JP does have a point in this. "Be well."

And with that, the Jackal slinks away, haunted by the suspicion that he's going to be privy to that little display catching up to him, one way or another.

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