Author Topic: Novacaine  (Read 4550 times)

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Offline Harlequin

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Novacaine
« on: May 29, 2008, 07:16:25 PM »
Low lighting; the scent of brewing coffee; the low buzz  of quiet, polite, conversation – usually revolving around such mundane topics as art history, current fashion, What I Did This Weekend, and, perhaps, last night\'s discrete sexual encounter. The merry tinkle of the cash register. Smiling baristas. It wasn\'t often one saw Morgaine Layfette in a setting such as this. And when you did, she was usually wearing large, dark sunglasses and trying very hard not to be seen.

Tonight, she was doing exactly the opposite. On any other night, she wouldn\'t be caught dead as she was now, and, tomorrow, if you said you\'d seen her here, she\'d call you a liar.

She was seated on a stool near the back of the shop, where tables had been cleared away for a makeshift performance space; tonight had been billed as a sort of open-mic fiesta, meant for college students and aging hippies to who wished to break out the old guitar and pour their hearts out to an audience of other college students and aging hippies by way of soul-wrenching songs about breakups, or Fleetwood Mac covers (respectively).

She certainly looked the part, in her torn jeans and thrift-store T-shirt, with the obligatory acoustic guitar in her lap. Unlike everyone else, however, she didn\'t introduce herself to the audience. She wasn\'t doing this for them. This was for her. She strummed a few chords, and, satisfied, she played the opening to Green Day\'s "Give Me Novacaine".

"Take away the sensation inside,
Bittersweet migraine in my head
It\'s like a throbbin\' toothache of the mind
I can\'t take this feeling any more."


The Indian girl\'s slight Delhi accent put a new spin on the familiar words, and she settled into the rhythm easily, replacing the drum track with the tap of one foot on the lower rung of the stool.

"Drain the pressure from the swelling
This sensation\'s overwhelming
Give me all a kiss goodnight
And everything\'ll be alright
Tell me that I won\'t feel a thing
So give me Novacaine."


As she began the chorus, her head nodded to the words, and a curtain of hair fell from behind one ear, obscuring her tattooed visage. Her eyes were closed, however, and she made no move to fix it.

"Out of body and out of mind
Kiss the demons out of my dreams
I get the funny feelin\' that\'s alright
Jimmy says it\'s better than air."


The first verse had mirrored Billy Joe Armstrong\'s detachment. She\'d simply sung the words – but this verse, she felt. The words came out hard-edged, but pleading. Misery and rage twined together, transforming the lyrics and twisting her voice. Her hands wrenched the chords from her guitar as if they were a lifeline, but a detestable one, and she clung to it for dear life as she sang the second chorus through clenched teeth.

Typically, a brief interlude played after the second chorus, but she stripped the tradition away, taking the melody and twisting it to meet her mood – a brief, jilted appregio that only barely resembled the original music – before she pulled it back, and repeated the chorus again. The wild rage was all but gone from her voice, replaced by a bitterness sharpened by anger, and dulled with pain. Though less intense, there was more raw emotion in that chorus than she\'d shown in some time. When she raised her face to the mic, tears shown on her tattooed cheeks.

But then she stopped singing, and played the closing chords. When those faded into nothingness, the room was silent. Her performance held the sort of raw, pure emotion that made people uncomfortable. She\'d shown this audience something of herself that very few people had ever seen, and nobody knew what to do with it.

She rescinded the stool to the next guitar-wielding college kid to a smattering of applause, wiping her face with the back of her hand in a sharp, furtive gesture.

Morgaine was here tonight because her life was falling apart at the seams. Everything she stood for, everything she loved, was slowly being taken from her by forces she had no way of reckoning with. With every fiber of her being, she fought against the acceptance, though, using the only weapons she had – her body, her voice, her bike, and her guitar. Sometimes, however, she just wanted not to feel.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #1 on: May 29, 2008, 11:32:26 PM »
Tau Leander was utterly perplexed by the entire scenario.  He sat at a table close to the door, on his own and looking the part of a trendy coffee house dweller fairly well in his slightly flared jeans, brown sandals, grey skin-tight T-shirt (it had long sleeves) and black suit jacket.  All he needed was a multicoloured scarf wrapped around the broad column of his neck to fully embrace the part, except he didn\'t have that much fashion sense.

Unfortunately, he didn\'t have a great deal of common sense either, for as the object of his observation finished her song, he was the first to begin applauding - with gusto.  It was a human tradition, one he was certain of, and so he went with it, clapping loudly when others remained awkward in an almost stunned silence.  He wasn\'t sitting up overly straight and tall in his chair - in fact, he was sprawled in it with his long legs splayed beneath the table as he always chose to sit - but he got obvious looks of rebuke anyway.  The audience seemed determined to condemn him for his applause and although he stopped it around the time the third person looked his way, it was enough to label him as odd.

That wouldn\'t do.  He was attempting to remain under cover here, observing the woman his spies had informed him was most likely to be the leader of Wild Hunt and therefore the one who probably knew the most about shifters the band had encountered in the past.  He was also keeping an eye on the Hunt because they\'d sounded informed and troublesome; what he\'d just witnessed seeping into the room out of the tattooed girl\'s mouth wasn\'t troublesome, though.  Something about it had stopped people returning the usual amount of polite audience enthusiasm, but it hadn\'t sounded like trouble, it had just been... raw, in a way he connected with and took no discomfort or pity in (unlike the rest of the socially-adept listeners).

Tau\'s gaze flew to the figure of Morgaine as he realised he\'d attracted stares and that he\'d stood out.  Stupidly, he froze mid clap and now his hands were pressed together before him, his expression the perfect advertisement of guilt as he watched the teary woman walk his way.  Maybe she wouldn\'t hear him, or look up?  She was looking rather... preoccupied right now, after all.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2008, 03:45:23 PM »
The entertainer in her, as ever, was piqued by the enthusiastic applause emanating from one of the patrons. In this instance, however, it only served to provoke her ire – because, as an entertainer, she knew what kind of performance drew what sort of applause. And – as Tau had probably gathered by now – he\'d gotten it wrong, just now.

The red-eyed glare she leveled on him as she approached could have razed buildings.

Attention drawn, she looked him over. The guilty look on his face, coupled with the raised hands, palms pressed together – reminded her of a penitent worshipper, which played nicely to her vanity. The look softened, but only slightly.

She noted his attire – perfect for the setting, but something about him was slightly off. Slightly apart from the rest of the patrons. Maybe the way he sat, or the way he held himself. He was uncomfortable; perhaps only playing a part, as she was.

Perhaps the most curious thing, however, was the fact that he didn\'t bother t hide his guilt. He didn\'t look away from her, and he didn\'t seem to be paying any attention to the kid who\'d taken a place on the stool– which, logic would dictate, was the sort of act he\'d come here to see.

Morgaine stopped as she came upon his table, that tight, venomous expression still dominating her somewhat tearstained face, guitar slung over her shoulder.

"You\'re watching me." It wasn\'t a question, so much as an accusation. A fairly innocuous one, from the singer\'s viewpoint, since she had no way of knowing that he had, in fact, been tailing her – and no inkling of such. The way she said it, one would think she\'d caught him peeping into her window as she undressed.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2008, 01:41:45 AM »
Believing he\'d been caught in the act (and inwardly cursing himself for his ineptitude when it came to human stealth, when he was superb at it in cougar form, it was what he was built for - but a fully grown male cougar prowling the streets of the city was going to stand out even more than an inept man doing it), Tau lowered his hands to the table, palms pressed to the surface as if he\'d covered something private on the furniture\'s surface.

"I am," he admitted in his deep, rumbly voice, still holding her gaze and wondering how she\'d react.  He\'d been told things - read reports as well - by his trained spies... things that led him to believe this woman would react gregariously to his admission, to his presence.  She was frequently drunk, always coarse and near deranged when she sang at the front of her band.  She wasn\'t the type of woman who would take being spied upon mildly and his feet moved automatically, bracing him better, so that he could spring to the side if she decided to lash out.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2008, 02:15:25 PM »
The singer admired the way he held his ground. She had expected him to flounder and stutter and look away – so she could sneer contemptuously, and stalk out, leaving him feeling like a bug under her heel. But he held her gaze, and so earned a bit of her respect.

What little that means. She pushed the thought away.

In fact, instead of avoiding her ire, and the confrontation that it might provoke. Sensing motion, her eyes flickered downward. She noted the way he moved his feet, as if in preparation for a physical fight. There was something automatic about the movement; almost instinctual.

"Why." Even if he hadn\'t met her meager expectations, Morgaine wasn\'t about to back down. Her expression, after all, hadn\'t softened in the slightest. Once again, she didn\'t ask a question, but simply demanded an answer.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 03:09:52 PM »
Confusion flickered briefly in his bright blue eyes, though his features didn\'t alter in any way as he maintained eye contact.  Her expression was hard, distant, but her brown eyes were filled with a fascinating broiling that was easy enough to keep staring at, despite the way her words threw him.

Ami obviously hadn\'t said anything to Morgaine about her encounter with him, yet she\'d figured out he was tailing her... or had she?  Tau couldn\'t decide and since he wasn\'t nearly as limber mentally as he was on his feet, he decided he\'d have to play it fairly safe.

"Because... you\'re of interest to me."

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2008, 03:26:05 PM »
Of interest?

Of interest?

"No shit," she spat contemptuously. If she wasn\'t of interest, he wouldn\'t be watching. She\'d liked his directness at first, but now he was sidestepping the question, and the contradiction was trying her patience, "Give me a real answer."

Her brown eyes – slightly red at the edges – bored into his piercing blue ones in an open, animal challenge. Though, the whole eye-contact thing had more of a canine bend to it, so it might not mean anything to Tau.

Ami had, of course, told everyone about her meeting with the shifter, but Morgaine had far too much on her mind at that moment to think about a conversation she\'d had weeks ago. The thought of being tagged and tailed had crossed her mind, but she figured that they were public enough on that scene that word would get around eventually – even without Ami\'s meddling – that such a thing was an inevitability. The thought of someone relegating her to a dossier in a drawer somewhere made her grind her teeth, but she wasn\'t thinking about that now.

All she was thinking about now was this jerk in this coffeehouse, squirming away from a question he didn\'t want to answer.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2008, 03:37:04 PM »
He dropped eye contact then to glance around the café, trying to ascertain how much attention they were getting.  Morgaine was used to being in the limelight, he knew that, but he found the prospect of notice intimidating to the point of wanting to retreat quickly.  Having a beautiful, fiery woman who moved like a cat and sang like an angel looming over his table with her guitar slung negligently behind her and challenge flaring ominously in her eyes was not the way to avoid notice.

Thankfully, whoever was on the stage at the moment had captured just about everyone\'s attention and Morgaine wasn\'t blocking anyone\'s view but his since he was at the table farthest to the side.  A few glances came their way as he scanned, but they were looks of annoyance at the fact he and Morgaine were talking through the performance, judging by the body language he was reading.

"That is a real answer," he murmured, looking back up at Morgaine.  The left corner of his mouth lifted in a softening smile.  He liked her rawness and her aggression; the same story was not told in the way she stood or the way she bearing her weight just then, but he\'d learned to understand that that was the way with humans.  They always said one thing and acted another, so he didn\'t judge her for it.  "You\'re a person of interest to me and my organisation," he elaborated, tilting his head so that the tattoo on his neck might become more apparent and might answer her question without too many details stated out loud.  "So, I\'m watching you."

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2008, 03:56:02 PM »
Morgaine felt as though she\'d won some small victory when he looked away; gauging the reactions of others. It made her feel slightly more in control; back on solid ground –and she would take all of that that she could get. As for herself – Morgaine couldn\'t care less what other people thought, for the most part. This – as far as she was concerned – wasn\'t making a scene. This was simply a tense conversation.

Morgaine was a master at making scenes. She made more scenes than Hollywood. It was almost like a hobby.

The next words out of his mouth, however, took her completely by surprise. She visibly stiffened when he flashed the tattoo.
Her immediate thought process went much like this:
Gang mem–
No
Oligarch
Shit
SHIT
Wait
Ami


The last thing she needed was more trouble of the supernatural kind. She just hoped this was the fella Ami had been talking to. "I haven\'t gone out of bounds." Her tone was confident (She was pretty she hadn\'t done anything to upset the Oligarchy), but wary, and slightly hushed, now, as she\'d decided that gaining attention to this particular subject was unwise. Angrily, she pushed a lock of hair behind her ear.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2008, 04:09:51 PM »
Her action drew his gaze, just as flickering movements always draw a cat\'s attention, and he admired her hand, the smooth look to her skin, the graceful way she curled her hair behind her ear, before he looked back into her eyes.

"I know you have not.  I was just interested in learning more about what you know, that is all.  Ami did not have many details to give me; I wondered if you did, or if you have had other contacts since being here.  Contact with other Shifters," he clarified, gaze dropping to follow the line of her arm and then move sideways to assess her body language again, as he dropped this very important word.  He felt he would learn more by looking at her body than he would into her eyes, as interesting as they were.

It was a damn shame that the place reeked so strongly of coffee as well, for it interfered with any extra information he might be able to gain from the scents her body emitted.  It didn\'t matter, though; they were having a nice, polite human conversation for now.  "Also, I wanted to hear you sing.  I was told you were good," he said bluntly, the smile twitching about his lips but not materialising just yet.  It was an ironic expression, really, though he was unaware of what his face was telling her.  The only thing he knew was that his lightly coloured eyes tended to give nothing away and that was reassuring.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2008, 04:24:50 PM »
The singer\'s tight lips almost twitched upwards at the corners at those last words. Almost. But it was a big step away from hateful glaring, anyway. Apparently, flattery would get him everywhere.

Morgaine\'s singing voice wasn\'t traditionally beautiful, but it was versatile, and her range was astounding. It didn\'t hurt that her passion and vitality were evident in every word she sang, be it ancient ballad or Weird Al.

She wasn\'t particularly pleased about having been ambushed with this conversation at such an oddly vulnerable moment in her life – but it would be better to have done with it now, before things got more complicated. Besides – she couldn\'t help but note – the guy was more-or-less straightforward about what he wanted, and she liked the frankness in his eyes. It was what she\'d liked about the shifters they\'d had contact with, briefly, in the town before this, as well.

It occurred to her that it might be a good idea for her to sit down, since it was awkward to conduct a conversation with one person sitting and the other looming menacingly. Not that Morgaine would ever loom over Tau; even sitting, he was just about as tall as the dark-skinned hurricane. "You mind if I sit down?" she asked, at length. Her voice was still tight, but it had lost most of it\'s wariness – replaced by something that might have been exhaustion, but barely a hint of even that.

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2008, 04:45:21 PM »
"I would be pleased," he nodded, straightening up a little so that his legs weren\'t entwined with the chair opposite him - where they\'d strayed after she\'d continued talking and not made a move to swing that instrument of hers at his head.  The way he slowly pulled his body into a more upright sitting position made his seem very reluctant to be doing anything except sprawling but the fact that he did it was testament to how much he wanted to talk to her.

He watched her intently as she organised herself to be sitting in a chair, rather than standing above him, liking the way her body flowed like a hot chocolate poured into a mug at the counter, the strain of her simple T-shirt over her breasts and the pull of denim covering her rear.  She had an attractive body, small but curved in the most appealing of places and it caused a pang he hadn\'t expected.  He didn\'t often catch himself admiring people just because of the way they looked or staring at them because their movements were appealing, not suspicious, but he did with Morgaine.

The index finger of his right hand began to tap the table silently, in time with the flicking of his right foot beneath the table, but he didn\'t give the impression it was an act of nervousness, more of contemplation.  His arms shifted forward onto the table also, rounding out his broad shoulders as his arms curled into a vaguely circular pattern.  It was almost as if, if his whole body couldn\'t pour itself around the table, his arms would do the job for him, atop it.

His gaze followed the line of her jaw, grazing over the tattoos that covered her scars before settling on her nose and sliding slowly up that to her eyes again.  He had the urge to tell her he thought she was beautiful and that he would like to be alone with her, so that they might have contact rather than sitting across a table, but he restrained himself.  Things weren\'t done like that in the human world and besides, she was a work contact.  It would be unprofessional (or so he\'d had situations like this described to him, anyway; professional really wasn\'t what he was all about but he was striving for it, especially now he had a new boss to impress).

"Do you have any information for me?" he asked, watching her eyes steadily now, his blue eyes flicking as he looked from her right to her left and back again.  "Anything that Ami has not told me?"  He assumed the other girl would have told her leader everything about their encounter, but this was one way to be sure.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2008, 05:18:17 PM »
Once seated, Morgaine leaned forward to swing her guitar around, and then slip it over her head, leaning it against her chair, though she kept one hand wrapped protectively around its neck. She took the opportunity to give Tau the once-over again, keeping in mind what she knew of him now.

He was quite handsome – though, she hadn\'t yet met a supernatural who wasn\'t attractive – but in a less pretentious way. He was much more solid – both in build and manner – he seemed somehow more real, more attached to this realm. She liked the shape of his mouth, and the cut of his brow – the latter, she noted guiltily , reminded her of Buffy\'s Angel.

She didn\'t really know much more about the shifters than Ami did, but Ami didn\'t generally communicate very well, unless you knew what to look for in her speech. And Morgaine knew she\'d left things out intentionally, as well.
"I haven\'t had any other contact with shifters here," she told him, first off, "That I know of. You don\'t exactly go announcing yourselves." Her eyes unconsciously followed all of his little movements, taking them in as she talked, before returning her gaze to his "But – Jesus Christ, son, try sitting still! You\'d think somebody put springs in your ass."

Offline Existentially Odd

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2008, 05:33:50 PM »
He blinked at her in surprise as she chastised his constant movements and it made him aware of what he was doing in a way no-one had since Jed was around.  The thought of his brother caused a wash of warmth to enter his chest and he laughed out loud at Morgaine, grinning broadly at her as his foot and his hand stilled.

"Sorry," he apologised, not sounding very sorry at all.  He sounded happy, if anything.  "It is a habit to move something when I do not have a tail.  Mostly, people do not notice."  His smile stretched just a little bit farther as he regarded her, his eyes twinkling as he shared this private joke with her.  Suddenly, talking with her about shifters she\'d known didn\'t seem nearly as important as pursuing the fact that she\'d noticed him in a way no-one else bothered to.

Of course, since she\'d also told him she\'d had no further contact with shifters in this city, that also helped conclude that side of his business with her, so he wasn\'t sure how to continue being in her presence if that hook was gone.  "You are as observant as you are beautiful," he told her cheekily, warming to the sentiments he was feeling and, as usual, not really monitoring what came out of his mouth.

Offline Harlequin

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Re: Novacaine
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2008, 05:51:42 PM »
She hadn\'t meant to lighten the mood. Really, she hadn\'t. The comment had just come out!

But then she saw how that brooding, serious face of his lit up when he smiled, and she couldn\'t help but feel at least a little bit better. The corners of her mouth lifted, and she allowed herself a chuckle.

Oho! But what was this? Were we flirting, now? That was certainly an improvement from all this serious business.

Morgaine could never resist a good flirt. Even if they didn\'t use contractions. she laughed, too ; a louder, more raucous sound.

Usually, she would have written him off as sleazy; maybe he\'d heard that she was a freak in bed, but something about the way he said it told her that he wasn\'t just flirting – he was saying something he honestly believed to be true.  "Ooh, charmer" she raised a brow, glad to be back on familiar territory, "Pretense, pretense. If you wanted my number, you could\'ve just asked."