More silence. Glitch was right, Cain reflected. There were a lot of buttons, the first thing Glitch had noticed about the uniform and yes, they were shiny. Not sure a magpie-fascination with shiny things is top of the list when they're recruiting Tin Men, he observed, but only to himself. And it was hard to deny that the uniform looked... it was... He swallowed and glanced away, suddenly aware that he was staring. Glitch was standing at some approximation of attention, briefly stern and distant, and Cain could easily imagine him as he'd been back in his palace days, his absorption in some fascinating conundrum making him seem aloof, even cold.
Two rows of bright silver buttons running down the length of a dark green coat, the cut simple but smart. A single line of silver braid at cuff and collar, echoed in the epaulettes with their silver crest - the Queen's sign, overlaid by the stylised O.Z. that Azkadelia's cogs and lightning had temporarily usurped. Matching trousers, trimmed with a line of silver piping along the seams, and a green peaked hat, bearing the simple star of a Central City policeman. Glitch caught his expression and preened a little, tweaking his sleeves straight and clasping his hands behind him.
"Don't get too attached to it. Inspector Knowles said that I could borrow the uniform, just so you could see what it looked like, but it has to go back tomorrow, okay? You can't go out in it, or..."
"I know, I know. Impersonating a policeman is an offence, punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of..." Glitch paused, realisation dawning brightly upon him. "Hey - I remembered! Some of those books of laws you brought home must be sinking in after all!"
"You're doing great, Glitch. You'd make a wonderful Tin Man." And it wasn't an outright lie, but Cain had to admit to himself that the praise probably wouldn't stand close scrutiny. Glitch was investigating the sewn loops that would, on a real Tin Man's uniform, hold his shoulder holster snugly against his body. The thought of Glitch with a loaded weapon was enough to send a cold shudder down the length of his spine, and Cain's opinion wasn't much swayed by Glitch putting his hands together in a childish mime of a gun and sighting down the length of his arm towards the apartment door, making little gunshot noises. Sorry, Sweetheart. Headcases aren't allowed guns, and that's one law I'm not about to argue with.
"Yeah - Glitch Goldstraw, Zipperhead Division." He gave Cain a rueful grin, drawing back the 'gun' to shoulder-level. "I can't see it happening, somehow. But I look good in the hat!"
"You do look good in the hat." Which was slightly askew, on top of Glitch's unruly curls, and all at once, Cain wanted nothing more than to grab it by its brim and toss it away so that he could lean in close and provide his easily-distracted partner with something that would take his mind off the subject of Tin Men, shiny buttons and all. He suppressed it, and instead busied himself refastening the coat where Glitch had buttoned it askew, remembering a time when he'd been on the other side of the buttons and the world was entirely different. A sharp, shrill sound jerked him bodily out of his reverie.
"It has a whistle," Glitch announced gleefully - and a little redundantly, Cain thought, given that his left ear was still ringing with the sound of it. The whistle, also shiny, dangled from a narrow, heavy chain hooked to the left epaulette of the uniform, and Cain very gently extracted it from Glitch's fingers and put it away in the sleeve pocket where it belonged.
"Standard police issue," he explained, straightening Glitch's hat carefully, stealthily tracing the line of the newest scar, almost hidden beneath the hairline. Even if the operation had worked, I don't think they'd have let you join up. And I sure as hell wouldn't have been happy about it. But if the only qualification was suiting the uniform you'd be a Chief Constable by now. "One whistle, silver. One life-preserver or nightstick, wood and leather. And one pair of handcuffs, st-"
He might as well not have bothered straightening the cap; it was pushed off when Glitch leaned forward and kissed him, and it landed somewhere nearby with a heavy, muffled thump. But that was okay - a hat could be found again, and a crumpled uniform could be ironed. Shiny buttons could be sewn back on.
It was only when they discovered that Glitch had lost the key to the handcuffs that the trouble began.