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Nova was on edge, every fiber of her being wanting to scream and run away from the stupid little cafe that she was in. There was only one problem, it was raining. Of course it wasn't unnatural here, but Nova still didn't like getting wet. She had been enjoying a coffee in the small cafe, a treat she hadn't had in a long time. That was when the unexpected weather decided it was going to start pouring, causing the unprepared to stuff themselves into these small shops and cafes like sardines. If Nova had a place to go, she surely would have left by now, but with no plan, she was stuck in here like everyone else. Of course this didn't make her happy. She had gotten as close to the door and windows as humanly possible without pressing her face into the glass like a child. The claustrophobia had her heart beating a little faster and her breathing coming out a little quicker as she tried to stay calm. She didn't understand how these other people could be perfectly fine with packing tightly together and just waiting out the storm. Nova was staring out at the window, clenching and unclenching her fists as she silently cursed every drop of rain that continued to fall. Without realizing it, she moved a bit closer to the door, bumping into someone. She turned to them, not really paying attention as she tried to calm herself, “Oh....uh, sorry.”
Ugh. Rain. That always made things so much more difficult for a vampire. Water was never really a friend for Meredith’s kind. Of course, it was really just those rivers and streams that had to be looked out for, but rain was irritating in its own right even if it didn’t actually do damage. People stayed inside when it was wet and a lack of people outside made for a lack of dinner on her part. They were already hard to find at night, just throw in natural forces to further deplete resources. Looovely.
Thanks to that weather, Mere’s trip to the Above had been a complete bust. However, she wasn’t about to return home so soon and risk having her stupid demon cat mock her for poor choices. She would stay and kill time, so to speak. Pulling the hood of her cape over her hair, Mere looked for places to sit and watch people. There was really nothing else to do. Of course, there was finding a nice pub and drinking, but really…the whole thing wasn’t as fun as she remember it being when she was human.
Human. Damn it. It was her birthday wasn’t it? Or it had been in the near past. Mere always forgot about that. She tended to only remember her human birthday in November. Never the one that had resulted in her being like this. Shaking herself from any bitter thoughts, Mere went to duck into a shop. It was still early evening, thus people were still packed in, avoiding the elements. She could look but not touch, right?
Oof—what the hell had that been? Mere looked down to find a child who had run into her. Oh, a child, by the looks of it. Everyone was a child to her, really. Even if Mere had looked 19 for the last 200 years. “It’s quite alright, love.” Mere frowned a little, catching the girl’s expression. “Are you alright?” She looked almost frantic and that really couldn’t be a good thing.
Nova rubbed at her arm, not quite used to having people worry about her to any degree. “Uh, yeah...I'm alright. Small spaces just make me a little nervous...” she mumbled. Did she really look that freaked out? Probably. Taking a deep breath she tried to focus on the girl talking to her. They seemed about the same age, but Nova knew better than to judge someone by their looks.
On closer inspection, the girl didn't quite seem all that human, and she didn't really smell like it either. Of course, Nova was never around enough non humans to tell exactly what she was, but it didn't really matter at this point. Remembering that she was just staring at the other person, she cleared her throat, “My name is Nova, by the way.” Talking to this stranger was kind of helping to keep her mind off the fact that she was still squished into a small place with a bunch of other people, but Nova was still a bit on edge, and couldn't seem to stop moving. She rubbed her arm again, something she always did when nervous.
Being bold never really suited Nova, she always preferred to blend in and keep to herself, but now that she thought about it, the girl in front of her did seem more than human. She did have a unique smell to her, something stronger than perfume or any other type of fragrance. Of course, having senses above that of an average human helped to pick that out. Glancing around to make sure no one was too close to overhear, Nova looked back up to the stranger, “You're not human.”
Okay, so it was more than a little blunt, but it got to the point without beating around the bush, one thing Nova was known for. The scent was one Nova had not come across before, and the remote possibility that she might have just met another shifter had the fear of where she was nearly forgotten. The only thing that still clued Nova in on the fact that she was still in the crowded cafe was the annoying way she was still rubbing at her arm.
While the girl said she was all right, mere could read people well enough to know that was a little less than truthful. “I would recommend stepping outside for a moment if this is causing anxiety.” Being dead and secluded hadn’t entirely removed her maternal instinct and general desire to see people in distress. Unless she was the one causing it, that is, but Mere tended to blame any delight in killing on her demonic side. Something she couldn’t control.
“Pleased to meet you, Nova. I’m Meredith, thought you can just call me Mere. Far easier to remember.” She replied, still watching the girl carefully. There was something slightly off about her. Not in the bad way, no, she didn’t seem dodgy, there was just something distinctly inhuman about her. It was odd to come across this sort of thing Above, Mere had to wonder if this was just another resident from the Below that had found their way back up into what Mere tended to refer to as “the real world.” She may have been hiding from London Above for the past century, but she still thought of it as home while London Below was some sort of dream world. Perfect and safe, yes, but not natural and familiar.
Well, it seemed that Nova was just as suspicious of her. Red eyes gleaming with suppressed amusement and a smile widening to reveal pointed, impossibly white fangs, Mere let out a soft chuckle. “You would be correct, Miss Nova.” The thing with being a vampire was, no one Below really cared and very few people Above would believe a person who said that they had met a vampire. It was fairly safe to reveal herself, unless there was a hunter around and seeing as she had more than been able to handle the last one of those that she had come across… “I believe that you can guess what I am,” She said, tone hushed to guard against anyone who might overhear. “I must ask what you are, though.” She paused, tilting her head to the side, very much unable to place a species. “I don’t believe I’ve come across anyone quite like you before.”
Nova shrugged when the stranger advised her to step outside, “Rain isn't really my thing,” she explained, a few puns about cats and water popping into her mind. Sure Nova was able to shift into more than just feline species, but with each shift she tended to acquire some of the perks of the animal, and luck would have it that the last form Nova had been happened to be a street cat. It had always been something minor that Nova brushed off as one of many side effects of being a shape shifter, and there was nothing she could do to help it, so she ignored it.
Mere, that was a different name, then again, the fact that most creatures that one would associate with London Below lived longer than average. Meaning names that were unusual now were probably popular in the past. There was also the fact that one didn't usually have control over there actual name, and Nova was a prime example of a parent's creativity when selecting a child's name. Of course it didn't mean Nova hated her name, the contrary actually, because it suited her. She continued on with that train of thought until Mere answered her statement, making Nova snap away from her mental blahs.
Nova noticed the fangs when Mere smiled, and was shocked at her self for not guessing it sooner. “So you're a vampire. I guess that would explain the smell of blood,” she said, keeping her voice hushed. It didn't really matter though, considering most of the people were talking too loudly to hear a regular conversation anyway. Nova gave a small smile as Mere tried to guess what she was, “That's not surprising, most of my type don't usually socialize much. I'm a shape shifter, not like a werewolf, considering I can shift into an unlimited amount of forms.” Nova could shift into a wolf, but she wasn't hindered by only having one form, or by the cycle of the moon, something she had always been happy about.
“Fair enough. I can’t say as I like rain too much myself. Messes up the hair, you see.” Mere gave her a good-natured smirk. No, she hadn’t lost her sense of humor in the last few centuries, it just came out a lot less often. It was odd how after long enough, if felt like you’d heard everything before. It only went to prove the theory that nothing under the sun was new at all and humans were just destined to repeat themselves with new faces, names and technology.
Oh dear, that scent hadn’t washed out yet? Ergh, well…that’s what she got for attacking so enthusiastically when she’d been out hunting the night before. Blood had a way of just getting everywhere when one wasn’t careful about things. “You’ve guessed correctly, love.” Mere replied, nodding. The lack of fear was encouraging and a little unexpected. Usually when people figured it out, it was proceeded by screaming and pleading for their life. It was all rather tiresome seeing as their pleas were either meaningless or unneeded, depending. “You don’t seem nearly frightened enough.” She let out a low laugh that sounded far more sinister than intended.
That would explain why her scent was so unfamiliar. Mere had seen Werewolves, of course, but never one like this Nova girl. Part of her was all for the idea of prodding her for information, as she did with all things foreign to her, though that seemed a bit rude. “Are you really? I’ve heard of those like you…though I didn’t know you just went romping around London.” Mere told the girl, frowning a bit. “What brings you to the Above? Curiosity, perhaps?” Or, Mere considered, this girl didn’t know about London Below. It seemed unlikely, but then again, she had gone 100 years knowing nothing of an alternate city.
Nova's mouth twisted into a half smile as she noticed the slight look of Mere's face when she mentioned the scent of blood. It was fairly obvious to her, but most humans probably wouldn't have been able to pick it up. Of course, her senses were a lot better than that of most human beings. When Mere commented that she didn't seem frightened, Nova shrugged. “It takes more than a vampire to scare me,” she said her smile growing as she heard the low laugh, “I suppose most would be afraid though,” she continued, her voice almost thoughtful.
“Most of us prefer to live in places with lower populations,” she explained, “I guess it's the whole pack instinct thing a lot of shifters have.” Of course, the pack instinct was found in those shifters that grew up with their kind, but those like Nova, who were born away from any shifters, tended to be more aloof, more like loners. “I was born here in the Above,” she said, knowing that most were mildly surprised when she told them this. Nova had never had an accent, but it was mainly because neither of her parents had accents either, considering they were born in completely different countries.
“What about you? Were you born here?” she asked. Vampires tended to be more prominent than shifters, but few usually came to the Above unless they were looking for an easy meal. Although Nova didn't really socialize, when she did, it usually wasn't with vampires, or any other types of creatures or beings, so her curiosity had her trying to hold back many questions. Sticking her hands in the pockets of her jeans, Nova rocked back on her feet slightly, much more relaxed than she had been just a short time ago. “If you don't mind me asking, what are vampires like? I've heard the old stories and myths, but not much more than that.” Her voice was a bit subdued, because she didn't want to push Mere into telling her things, or be rude, she just liked learning new things.
Mere nodded a little. “You’re a very brave child, undoubtedly…though you should know that you’re safe from me.” First off, Vampires didn’t exactly find magical and non-magical creatures to be all that appetizing. Well, except Werewolves. They had that nice woodsy flavor to them…--ahem—anyways. Mere preferred humans. Plain, non-gifted, garden variety humans. Anything more than that and she felt like she was robbing the word of someone with a purpose. After all, that’s why they had the gifts, right?
“You live in packs?” Mere asked, her curiosity very apparent. “Well, I suppose that would only set you further apart from Werewolves….I hear they like to be alone.” She paused and considered how that worked, seeing as real wolves did that pack thing as well. Odd. The girl may not have sounded like a native, but she confirmed that she was, indeed, from the area. “Are you on your own, then?” Mere asked, wondering what a child would be doing by themselves, though she reminded herself that Nova may not be as young as she looked.
Nodding a bit, Mere smiled as she replied. “That I was. Born right here in London in 1741.” It didn’t seem as long ago as it actually was. “Died here as well, 19 years later.” She added with a small laugh. The girl’s next question, though somewhat expected, caught Mere off guard nonetheless. “What are we like?” She repeated thoughtfully, playing with her ring. “Well, that depends on what vampire you’re talking to.” There were those like her, who just wanted to be unseen, overlooked and quiet and there were those like that Prospero who seemed to abuse their superhuman capabilities. “We all share the same weakness to the sun, fangs and need for human blood.” Mere shrugged a little. “But temperaments can go any way.”
Nova smirked a little, “Good to know,” she said, her tone only half joking. Nova knew she gave off an air of being unafraid, but usually she was normally very cautious, always careful to blend with the crowd and not stick out. If anything, it was because she spent most of her time Above. The fact that most people wouldn't be too happy to know that Nova could change into a variety of animals, and would probably like to see her caged or dead kept her from getting too comfy around people. It wasn't always the easiest choice, because everyone enjoy company every now and again, but it was unavoidable in most cases. That was only when she decided to keep away from London Below, mainly because she never felt it as her home, just a place to go when she truly felt alone...not like she ever saw shifters down their.
Nova nodded, noticing the curiosity in Mere's voice. “Yeah. I'm not really sure why shifters do and werewolves don't, although my guess would be the fact that shifters are becoming more and more rare.” Nova really had no idea, considering she had never actually met another shifter. She only knew things from books that she had found Below, which, not surprisingly, wasn't a lot. She did know that a lot of shifters were prevalent in Egypt and South America, and that many formed tribe like packs that had a very strict pecking order. At Mere's next question, Nova hesitated before answering, “Yes...for a few years now.” It had become more and more apparent that Mere was older than she looked, it was just the exact age that eluded her.
Nova got her answer when Mere answered her question, and she mentally did the math quickly to find that Mere was somewhere around two hundred years old. Nova thought it was strange that Mere said she had died, even though it was the correct term. The whole undead thing never did make much sense to Nova, but she had seen stranger things, and so didn't question it much. After all, she could shift into animals, being undead wasn't that unbelievable. As Mere explained how vampires shared the same weaknesses, but ranged in personalities, she nodded. It was expected, considering they had been humans at some point, so most must be different. “I see,” Nova said after a bit of time, pondering over her own species. She had heard that most shifters were quiet and solitary, with small variations. It was the way they all managed to get along with each other.
The girl presented very good explanations for the difference. Of course, investigating further would give Mere something to do. There wasn’t exactly a lot for a vampire to do during the day or when they weren’t hunting. She could always redecorate the residence again, kind of depressing though, stringing lights up in a deserted hospital. This train of though was seriously making Mere reconsider her life… “ It makes sense, really.” Mere shrugged. “Preservation and all of that. You really are the first shifter I’ve heard of in a very long while.” Mere continued. Would it be rude to prod her for information? Maybe…she was still all too aware of that time she’d run into the hellhound and poked him a little too far. “I’m sorry if this is too forward, but you really look too young to be on your own, love.” What? She did. No child should have to live like that, though it might be that Nova wanted that.
“There’s a lot to cover about vampires.” Mere smiled. “I could go into details, but I fear that neither of us really have the time for that.” Truth be told, she probably did have the time. Again, not a whole lot going on in her life at the moment. “ Why don’t you tell me a little about shapeshifters? We do have a bit of time before it stops raining, I think.” Mere turned to look outside. Yup, the view was still blurred by the downpour. Mac must be having a blast trying to get home from wherever he had been lurking down Below. “It would be such a shame to waste an opportunity to interrogate a new species.” She smirked mischievously, showing her fangs again.
Nova hesitated when Mere commented she looked too young to be on her own. Most didn't ever question her about it, because most probably didn't notice. She glanced around the small cafe, “Well...my parents were killed a few years back. So I've had to do a lot of growing up in a short time,” she said, looking back to Mere. She decided to leave the part about her finding the killer out, no one needed to know about that one. Nova had always been afraid of being called a killer, and so she had shut the world out, never growing too attached. She never wanted to lose control again, so she was more careful around others. It wasn't always easy, and Nova didn't let anyone in on how lonely she actually was. It's why she enjoyed conversing with others that weren't completely human, because they could understand her a little better than most.
“Well....” Nova began, trying to decide where to start, “There are four different types of shapeshifters. The oldest kind are like me, born from two non shifters. I'm not really sure how it happens, some type of junk DNA strand that is activated under certain circumstances. Anyway, there is what's called true shifters, which is a shapeshifter born from two shapeshifters. The other common type are half shifters, who have a parent that is a shapeshifter and a non shifting parent. The final type are called reverse shifters, and are the rarest. This is when a shapeshifter is born as an animal, and their first shift is into their human form. It's harder for them to learn new shapes, and they are normally much more instinctual and tend to be a bit more wild and uncontrollable.” Nova paused, hoping she wasn't boring Mere. “Before I keep rambling, was there anything specific you wanted to know?”
There were few things that could make Mere want to hug a person. Dead family was one of those thing. She’d had more than enough experience on the matter, though how Mere came into that position was probably far off from Nova. You never really got over killing your family, even if it was unintentional. The problem with that was that you tended to project onto people who had also lost their families. Mere had to keep herself from actually going through with her urge to hug the girl. That would be all sorts of awkward and probably unwelcome. “I am so sorry…” She settled for an apologetic look and mumbled condolences. People were not her forte. “It’s…not right that you had to do that.” Again, Mere could somewhat commiserate with the girl, but, there were differences between being a girl and being one of the undead.
Mere listened to Nova’s explanation intently, taking in as much information as she could. This was the kind of thing that she could handle, solid facts and learning. They didn’t require emotions or empathy and it was just…there. “That is all just…fascinating.” Her eyes were a little wide as she processed everything. “Tell me more about you? Your specific type…when did it start?...” Mere stopped herself, realizing that she was asking far too many questions. She always did this…it embarrassed Mac to no end. “My apologies, Nova…I get a little overexcited about new things.”