Soren bows his head slightly, thinking for a while before responding, “I will tell you mine if you do tell me yours. But there are things I am not allowed to tell you because it is not my business.” his voice is very quiet, and it’s clear he’s thinking very carefully about this.
It surprises the Swiss robot, though, that he’s not shaking with nervousness. Normally he would be; he’s not allowed to talk about the Family or what he does. But something in him wants to. If he wants this between himself and Shi, he has to. He’s never told anyone like this, anyone who didn’t already know about him and what he did, does, and will do.
He’s simply going to have to determine on the fly what he’s not allowed to say, and to clearly omit them. Perhaps… if he sets boundaries it will work. Can he set boundaries? Are you allowed to do that?
Do they talk now? Is that the normal course in a conversation like this?
Shi’s engine gives a funny short stop and then rev, a stall at the thought of plunging so quickly into this. It had been hard enough to even get this started, but trying to keep it moving is like fighting a boulder up a steep cliff.
Perhaps a change in topic, at least for a moment. A break from things that quite clearly make both of them nervous.
After a second, he digs into his pocket with the hand not still holding Soren’s, and pulls out the little box. It feels small in his hands, the gift silly and perhaps stupid. And yet it holds a deep significance to to Shi, and he hopes that the Swiss automaton will understand the meaning, if not his choice to give it as a gift.
“I wann’d t’ give ya this,” he holds the little box up and out in the flat of his hand, an offering that feels very plain when he can see it next to Soren’s finely crafted faceplate.
((I hope this isn’t utter shit.))
Soren tilts his head to the side a little as he is offered something, eyelids making a squeaky sound as he blinks and then carefully takes the small package. His long fingers hold the box around the edges like one of those claws in those stuffed animal machines that have become such a thing recently.
The Swiss robot looks past the box at Shi before turning it over in his hand and carefully situating it in the palm of one hand. One set of long fingers holds the box still, and the others carefully begin to open it. He says nothing as it’s opened, only staring at the contents and then looking at Shi for an explanation. It’s not accusing or mocking, but politely confused. And slightly hopeful.
Watching his old friend take the box, Shi feels more nervous than he knew it was possible to feel over such a little thing. If it were anyone else, he wouldn’t give a damn if they liked or understood the gesture he was making here… but of course, for anyone else, he wouldn’t bother.
Inside the box, nestled against velvet like a piece of fine jewelry, a broach or perhaps, more like, a ring, is a hand-cast gear. It is small and delicate, shiny because it’s new.
By Soren’s expression, Shi can tell he has to explain. His engine slows slightly, and he wonders if this was a mistake, this attempt. But it’s past the time to second guess, and he certainly can’t take it back. He has to say something.
So say something.
“Back w’n we firs’ met, ya los’ a gear, n’ I helped ya find it,” he says, voice low, hesitant still. “Ya used it t’ fin’sh this.”
He reaches into the bag he keeps belted to his hip, into a safe compartment where the watch almost always is. Pulling it out, he holds it in careful fingers, his eyes softening as he looks the old thing over, before returning his gaze to meet Soren’s.
“‘S th’ firs’ real gif’ I ev’r got. ‘N th’ mos’ importan’. ‘N I wan’d… t’ give ya summin’ t’ remin’ you a’ that day. B’cause I think ‘bout it… ‘bout you, ‘n us, ‘n all tha’… I think ‘bout tha’ a lot.” His voice falters for a moment, feeling as if he’s rambling, and his eyes brighten slightly as he tries to hone on the point.
A short pause, and then, “I cast it b’ hand. S’ ‘zactly th’ same type ‘s th’ one ya dropped, b’ I cast it ‘v silver. T’ r’mind me ‘v you. Plated th’ edges ‘n copper, t’ r’mind you a’ me.”
The small brooch is picked up out of the box between two fingers, the rest of his hand curling on the box to close it as he investigates the ring more closely. When Shi pulls the wrist watch out of his pocket, Soren’s eyes widen a little, “That’s… You still have that?” he asked, appearing surprised that he would still keep such a small thing. But it feels nice for some reason, that Shi would treasure such a thing for so many years.
Soren looks back at the brooch more closely, thing fingers unhooking the sharp pin and looking down at himself before pinning it to the knot of his tie. He closes it easily enough, and then adjusts the tie carefully.