We Come In Peace

Cast: date: '28 August 2012'
place: 'I.P. Kozlov''s Emporium'
participants: 'Benjamin, Cedric, Ella, Ruth'
synopsis: 'Ella, Cedric and Ruth take on an assignment and goes to see Benjamin Turner in an attempt to see if he''s truly touched and offer up a point of contact to the Watch.'
log: "There's something unique about the sound of bone clicking against bone.\n\nIt's an acquisition that will undoubtedly cater to the same clientele that the shop girl represents - morose, dark, bookish - a new, modern form of the gothic culture that has fused with so many other alternative scenes. Benjamin frowns as he balances on the tall ladder, holding the bone-windchimes away from himself as he reaches to slip the small loop of cord over a hook in the ceiling.\n\n\"Nobody's going to know what it's for,\" Lydia says without looking up. She strokes the heads of the small reptile in her hands, then slowly lifts her dark-lined eyes to her employer. \"It just looks like a bunch of bones hanging there. It's too high.\"\n\nWith a sigh, Benjamin starts to make his way down to the ladder. \"Well, it's the only place for it,\" he says matter-of-factly. Safe once more on the floor of the shop, he adjusts first the jacket, then the tie of his dark blue suit. \"If you're so keen on their particular music, I suggest you purchase the item for a meager five pounds.\" He sighs, then musters a bright smile. \"Right then. Off you go. My turn.\" With a slight roll of her eyes, Lydia straightens up, replacing the turtle in it's terrarium with a few low coos before grabbing her shoulder bag and heading for the door.\n\n\"Come up with one of your stories for it, Mister Turner,\" she says, \"Or else people will just thing someone strung up the leftovers.\" The bell dings, and the girl is gone, leaving the proprietor to his business.\n\nThough Ella doesn't often do field work, this is a foray into a /place/ which is just her sort of thing. The store would appeal to her on any given day, and the task at hand important to her. However, she's not eager to go on her own so here she is now, pausing in front of the store and gazing at it with a squint as the sun beats down on the rather busy street. She is an expert in avoiding bumping into people, and makes sure she now stands out of the way of people passing by. Nudging her glasses into place, she glances to her companions and smiles a little nervously. \"Lovely store.\" Despite the two-headed goat, she seems to really mean that. Not dawdling, she reaches for the door, opens, and enters.\n\nRuth tips her head back a degree or two as she walks a step behind Ella, a faint and content sort of grin on her lips that suggests she appreciates this rare, sunny day. She, too, is somewhat talented at avoiding shoulder-brushing others, though it's fair to say that passers give the dark-haired woman a wide berth, even as she pauses behind Ella to eye the storefront. \"Mm, s'alright.\" is grunted out in some form of agreement with the librarian as she puts a hand out to hold the door open for her companions. Ding! The chime announces their arrival.\n\n\"I've got that, thanks.\" With an encouraging smile at Ruth, Cedric reaches out to take the chore of holding the door from her, allowing her to precede him inside. He's just tagging along behind the other two, although the truth is that he's not averse to this area himself and had no objection to being invited along. Neither does he seem to have a problem with respecting either girl's space bubbles, and he tails the two inside without further comment.\n\nThe bone windchimes get a distinct /look/ from him, though, and once inside, he eyes the place and its contents with a mixture of interest and wariness. \n\nTwo chimes of the old bell above the door are enough to spark Benjamin's attention away from the task at hand. He looks up over the lower shelves in the middle of the shop and smiles at the effective flood that oozes through the entrance. \"Afternoon,\" he greets with a smile. It's a good business day, it would seem - nothing at all to do with yesterday's strange warnings. Nothing at all.\n\nBenjamin lifts a stack of leather bound books from the counter and heads toward one of the perimeter shelves. \"Are you looking for anything particular today, ladies?\" He looks past them to Cedric, following his gaze momentarily to the windchimes and inwardly chuckling. \"Or are we just taking it in for the sheer delight?\"\n\nThings. All over the place. Though Ella appreciates the store, she is overwhelmed by all the items and didn't really consider that before entering; now she freezes near the door, sidles to the left to let the others in and lets her gaze roam wildly and intensely around the place, trying to sort out where everything is. /Everything/. \"Wind chimes. Tintinnabulum in latin. Believed to keep off evil spirits, often combined with the phallus, which was also a symbol of good fortune and a charm against evil,\" she babbles, pushing her glasses up with a gloved hand.\n\nShe seems to be doing better after that little point of trivia, managing to focus on the proprietor as she sort of slinks towards the counter, avoiding to touch anything, even if she wears gloves to protect her skin. Those gloved hands are carefully placed on the counter and she just /stares/ at Benjamin.\n\nRuth lifts her chin and flashes a wan grin back at Cedric as she steps inside and slips past Ella, both gloved hands slipping into the front pockets of her hooded jacket. Faded blue eyes cut warily towards the tarnished mirror, then the dangling bone wind chimesthe latter get a slight arch of brows out of her. There's a quiet draw of breath through her nostrils, then her gaze wanders towards the shelves, the source of that old book smell. Things - so many things to look at. \"Doin' a bit of gawking,\" she remarks to Benjamin with a turn of her head, eyes tracking across the shop owner in an appraising, and perhaps slightly uncomfortably open, fashion.\n\nThere's a twitch of a smile at Ella's words, gone in an instant, restrained as she clears her throat and looks back to the wind chime. There might be a cheap joke rattling around in her mind, but damned if she's going to make it.\n\nCedric has little enough to say - the shopkeeper has very likely correctly assessed his role in this group of shoppers, from his form of address, and doesn't address him directly. He, too, looks around warily at the contents of the shop, but seems not dissatisfied with what he finds, and after a few moments contents himself with leaning against the counter and folding his arms across his chest, watching the girls look around.\n\nBenjamin's trip to the shelves is stopped abruptly by the two sets of stares he gets from the women. His own gloved fingers curl moreso over the leather spines and covers of the stack. The weight of it shifts to one hand, and the other curves inward, the white cotton scraping against the raised bands of the binding. He clears his throat, dipping his head and finding a patient smile to wear to face Ella with. But he falters, his eyes dropping to her own hands on the counter before settling on her face. \"Also a ceremonial bell in the Roman Catholic Church, to serve as a sign that a basilica is linked to the Pope. Quite ornate, as would be expected.\"\n\nGloves. They seem to be a theme here today, and Ella notices his, making one eyebrow quirk. Mind, it'd make sense to wear gloves in a store like this, handling delicate bones and other esoteria. There are a myriad of reasons to wear gloves… But, her staring has a reward as she does see past his skin and what she sees almost startles her and her eyes widen, her skin paling. It's almost like looking into a male mirror image of herself, except for the difference of the eyes. \"Oh dear. /Oh dear/,\" she breathes. \"Your store is wonderful, Mr. Turner.\" She knows his name, but that might not be indicative of anything except nosiness. \"I believe we share a few… quirks.\" Right. How do you handle this, really? She glances at Cedric and Ruth, hopefully.\n\nGloves for everyone! Ruth's own are black cotton, and she pulls one such gloved hand free of her pocket and lifts it, absently scratching at the side of her neck as she looks back to Benjamin. Clearing her nose with an indelicate sniff, she staresstudying shop owner's hands, his face, the way his gaze falters. Her own expression's gone a bit blank, head cocked off to one side just slightly. \"Start out with introductions,\" she offers to Ella, casting a quick glance back towards Cedric - mind, she makes this suggestion without actually offering her own name. How unfriendly!\n\n\"Quirks not limited to the various definitions of a Latin noun, I imagine,\" Benjamin continues in a muttered deadpan. Taking a deep breath that expands his chest almost comically, Ben continues on his way to the shelf. It means turning his back on the two by the counter, but that's not necessarily a good thing. He can't see them, sure, but he also can't see them.\n\nHe glances to Ruth, noting her own pair of gloves. The lines on his face twist into a less friendly smile at her suggestion. \"And thank you - not as fine as the British Museum, perhaps, but as they say - there are more things in heaven and earth than what someone deems worthy of a glass case or a velvet rope.\" He slips the books one by one onto the shelves, handling them with care, but also dragging out the process. \"I must say you have me at a disadvantage.\"\n\nIf Cedric is the bodyguard of the group, and he certainly does seem the body type for it, he at least doesn't seem to be the mean sort. He's the only one of the group /not/ wearing gloves of some kind, and his hands, while strong, are just beginning to develop calluses, rather than the sort that have been there for years. He pushes himself away from the counter at the awkward moment that seems to have fallen, and is about to greet the proprietor, but the man's got his back turned, so he waits for the others to begin.\n\nElla's glasses just never stay in place for long, so she nudges them up once more, with her mouth still o-shaped in amazement and face pale in nervousness. \"Well yes, we are three and you're alone,\" she fully agrees to his assessment. \"That would seem, to most, to be a disadvantage. However, we're simply here to introduce ourselves and to come with an offer, which is most definitely to your /advantage/.\" She's gotten started now, and she even smiles - an altogether genuinely warm and sympathetic smile. \"Something happened to you. You're not alone to have experienced such things and to come out of it… changed.\" She talks to Benjamin's back, but if he turns the smile will remain, as will large green eyes studying him with intent focus. \"My name is Eleanore Hamilton, and if you take a closer look at me, you'll know that I am changed too.\" It takes some effort on her part to not just blurt it all out, but rather try not to reveal too much right away.\n\nRuth pulls her other hand free of her pocket, lifting it in a dismissive splay of fingers through the air at Benjamin's latter words. The unfriendly smile is returned, equally devoid of warmth. Disadvantage? Surely not. And yet, the dark-haired woman (dark everything, really, did the store not carry anything but black clothing, Ruth?) doesn't immediately give a name. Instead, she lowers her hands to the counter and drums her fingertips against the surface quietly, seemingly quite willing to let that awkward moment linger as she watches the proprietor. Then Ella speaks, and she cocks her head back to regard the librarian for a moment before finally nodding and offering up, \"Ruth James.\" and… that's it. Let's let Ella do the talking, shall we? Brilliant.\n\n\"Cedric Moseley.\" The apparent packhorse/bodyguard of the group doesn't appear to be interested in threatening anybody. His voice is a rough baritone, almost a bass, and his words are laced with a definite London accent. One hand rests on the counter, but otherwise, he seems content to let the others do the talking.\n\n\"Lovely,\" Benjamin says softly as he places the last book on the shelf. He turns slowly, looking at each of the three by the counter now in turn before adjusting his jacket. Ella's smile fails to find much a reflection in Ben's own face, though he tries. \"Forgive me, but I'd rather not. Consider it a compliment?\" Benjamin reaches one hand up its opposite sleeve to tug on the end of his glove, securing it moreso.\n\n\"Right, so -\" Benjamin strides toward the counter once more, angling himself to go behind it while giving the curtained passageway a significant enough berth, \"now that we're all accounted for, what is it that I can do for you?\" The gears in his head turn behind a mask of strained pleasantry. Benjamin scans the faces once more, settling unsmiling eyes on their chosen spokesperson.\n\nElla is not surprised by the reaction. \"Oh, is that a book about herbs?\" she says, squinting over her glasses at the book shelf, fluttering in that direction as if suddenly, she's forgetting all about why the trio came here to begin with. She doesn't nudge anything in her path, moving with a smoothness of motion only born out of training something. \"Ruth, Cedric - I might do some shopping while I am here. Hope you don't mind,\" she says, giving her two companions a sheepish smile. She babbles on, talking to Benjamin even as she's browsing through the book carefully. \"You can't avoid it forever, you know. Eventually it catches up with you, and when it does, we're just a phone call away; we'll leave you a card before we go. There really is no need to go through it all on your own.\"\n\nRuth slides her hands back into her pockets once againbit of a restless thing, that woman. Her lips purse to a thin line as she watches Benjamin cross the shop and move back towards the counter, then part with a draw of breath that's sighed out a moment later. \"It's more've what we could do for you, Mr. Turner,\" she remarks with a nod towards Ella re; shopping. Drifting a few steps away from the counter herself, head cocked to the left as she peers at the various wares on display, Ruth adds, \"little bird slipped me your business card yesterday,\" and then simply nods again at the librarian's latter words. \"Strength in numbers and all. Think about it.\"\n\n\"That particular botanical text includes a discussion of the Viceroy,\" Benjamin comments dryly, looking from the women now browsing to their 'guard'. \"I seem to have gotten along fairly well so far,\" he adds with an arch of his eyebrows. \"Though it is…comforting to know that-\" but he stops, pressing his lips together and scowling. Benjamin clears his throat and inhales through his nose.\n\n\"My apologies, ladies,\" Benjamin looks to Cedric, \"Sir.\" Steeling himself and drawing himself up, Benjamin narrows his eyes. \"Gathering about for tea and polite conversation about… well, about our commonalities does not present itself as very appealing. I mean no offense, of course.\"\n\nLooking up, squinting at Benjamin over her glasses, Ella stares at him again with that somewhat piercing look. \"We are not counting on convincing you right here and now, of course. Though I always keep hoping that will happen, it is a rare thing. Myself, it took about ten meetings and two months before I decided to give it a try, and that was even after I spent six months in a mental ward because I was deemed completely insane. Rather annoying, since at the worst I might have a little OCD and really, that's nothing you lock someone up for. I suppose screaming everytime I touched something gave them the idea.\" She closes the book, and steps over to the counter. \"I'll have this one, please.\" Her gloved hand brushes against the cover of the book in a near longing manner, as if she'd rather touch it properly. \"Cedric, Ruth - do you want something?\"\n\nRuth's looking over the shelves with passing interest, hands remaining tucked away in her pockets, and there's a slight forward tilt now and again as she leans in to inspect this title or that. \"I was easy enough to convince,\" she offers with a shrug so half-heartedly it barely registers as a twitch of her shoulders. The shop at large is given a once-over, at Ella's question, and then her eyes settle on the bone wind chimes. \"Y'said they keep off the evil spirits? Could do with a room full've them.\" It is, however, a thought she seems to dismiss immediately - judging by the way her idle exploration of the shop is taking her closer to the door.\n\nAt Benjamin's words, Cedric abruptly straightens and fishes a lighter and a pack of Marlboros from his jeans pocket. His tone is abruptly sharp and holds an undertone very much like a snarl. \"I'm going to smoke.\" Without looking at anyone or waiting for an answer, he turns on his heel and exits the shop, all of his movements at breakneck speed and with little care for what might be on the door. \n\nThere's something to be said about talismans against the darkness. Benjamin quotes the price of the old book to Ella, but he makes no move toward the ornate register. \"Perhaps if you and your people had known me then,\" he says in a softer, gentler tone not meant to carry past the counter. Time only heals so much, and examining scars too closely isn't always wise. \"But do leave that card. Perhaps someday I'll lose my senses enough to warrant its information.\" Timing can only be chalked up to random happenstance, really. He pauses, his eyes flitting to Ruth and beyond the glass outside to Cedric before adds, \"Do forgive my behavior,\" in that same low voice.\n\nElla looks abruptly at Cedric as he hurries out, a sharp inhale of breath and a thinning of her lips suggesting she worries. Her hand trembling lightly as she takes out her wallet and counts out the asked for money. \"Mr. Turner… there's nothing to forgive as you've not done anything wrong. And please, do call - ask for me, Ruth or Cedric. And I would not at all mind that cup of tea with you some time. I'd love to discuss literature or esoterica - we don't have to talk about anything else. At the end of the day, what I am, is a woman who likes books.\" She gives him a kind smile, and picks up the book while sliding over that promised card. \"Thank you, Mr. Turner. Have a nice day.\" And she too turns to leave, giving Ruth a little lopsided smile of 'guess we'll see where this goes!'\n\nRuth turns her head to watch Cedric's departure with a more or less unreadable expression, eyes going a bit blank. The chime of the bell as the door falls shut behind him has her blinking out of her reverie and shifting her focus back towards the counter. She offers Benjamin a tight smile—it doesn't entirely reach her eyes, but it seems a shade or two less unfriendly than her previous attempt. \"No worries, mate.\" Ella's look is met with a faint shrug, though a bit of fondness for the librarian creeps into her expression as she reaches out to push the door open. A relieved sort of breath escapes as she steps through and the sunlight spills over her once again.\n\nCedric is outside, easy enough to find in a nearby alleyway although out of the main thoroughfare and away from where he might easily be bumped. Notably, he's got his back to the shop door and is busily lighting a cigarette post-haste. He says nothing and makes no sign of being aware if anyone approaches him but his shoulders are spring-tight, and not until he has lit up and breathed in and out that first long drag of cigarette smoke does he relax in the slightest, and not really then.\n\nA series of clacks, churrs, and chimes come from the register as Benjamin deposits the money, after which he picks up Ella's card. \"Afternoon,\" he says, looking up to watch both of them go. He can't help but think back on what the man yesterday had said. Friendly. Helpful. Persistent. The first, well, yes. They couldn't be faulted there. Helpful was quite vague, but intriquing. Persistent? That remained to be seen.\n\nThings were definitely getting interesting though.\n\nElla casts one last glance over her shoulder before she's out, the kindness of this woman shining through; or she's just an extremely good actress. And then she's gone, waiting for Ruth before she goes to locate Cedric, taking a few deep breaths, pausing there to get her bearings. \"I believe that went as well as it could have. Are you two alright? It can be so… disheartening and upsetting.\" She glances between the two, trying to hide her worry for Cedric but failing miserably. \"How about we go get some tea at the office; we got a report to formulate anyway.\"\n\nHand in her pocket again, digging around for a moment, Ruth produces a sugar packet she likely nicked from a coffee shop up the street. She rips it open and lifts it, tipping the packet forward to dump its contents into her mouth. Chewing mechanically, she approaches Cedric and studies him for a moment - no concern plays across her features, at least not so obviously as Ella's. The empty packet's wadded to a small ball between gloved fingertips and tucked back into her pocket. \"S'alright. Let's go.\"\n\nStill Cedric doesn't turn to face the girls, and says only, \"I'll catch up.\" No, he isn't moving. Not yet. \n\nElla lingers on for a a moment, but then nods andsmiles her quirky smile at Cedric. \"Let's go,\" she agrees with Ruth and walks alongside the other girl. \"Lovely weather,\" she chitchats, her voive drifting off amongst the noise of traffic and people passing by. Glasses are nudged back into place, pumps click-clack on the asphalt."
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