Claws And Effect 

 She felt a bit out of place, which was perhaps saying something. Standing out front of the pet rescue like some sort of sentry that exuded ... something - probably not the warm enveloping softness of a human finding and claiming their furever friend. But either way, she had the blue leash from Kwik Trip wrapped twice around her hand - no mongrel hooked to the end as she looked to the time on the screen of her phone.

 He had four minutes until he was past due, but it would be a teachable moment so she wasn't much pressed one way or the other. Little on the agenda save for finding and bringing home so unwanted dog or another. Really, she was pretty sure this would end poorly - but fair was fair.

 Death taught him to accept gifts without question.

 Tatum couldn't define the driving force behind her sudden generosity. Half reaper, half creator, Evalyn was as enigmatic and unreachable as a deity. Even her thoughts were esoteric. Growing more comfortable with the activity of taking, he met her in front of the shelter, only a little late.

 His first words were an apology. "I'm sorry." No excuse, just remorse. "Will you come in with me to pick one out?" He asked, wondering how much of a chaperone she was being tonight. Was she here to share the moment or to make sure he didn't bloodlust from the excitement of a genuine (however canine) friend.

 "It's your dog." She neglected the apology all together, finding it uninteresting and a weak lead into their evening. "I'm curious to see what you'll drag home but I don't care to have a say in it." Content, really, to keep herself as detached from the process as she could.

 All the same she held the door for him in the way in, happy to attach like a shadow just at his six. Resisting the natural urge to be as practical as she could be, to reiterate that there was a whole spectrum of ways that this could be a recipe for heartache. "What're you looking for precisely?"

 "Something friendly." He said, a little too quickly. His throat itched where she'd torn it out and he swallowed out of habit.

 They were ushered into the back with a wide smile and a wary glance from the volunteer on duty. There must be a reason the shelter stayed open this late, and it made sense. Catering to a nocturnal clientele meant more homes for animals in need. Besides, it wasn't like they would be used for fodder.

 The cacophony that met them made a dark and malevolent piece inside him twitch. Walking down the chain-link corridor, Tatum's head swam as he took in the bouncing, barking prospects. There was no use trying to talk. Thankfully, he had a fix for that. Something even-tempered. Medium-sized. Healthy and young - but not a puppy.

 It pleased her to hear him, so to speak, using his talents - training a muscle that would be of great use one day. Their shoes made a rhythm against the tile as she looked from one kennel to the next, wondered to herself how many of these creatures would end up being tossed away. Tatum seemed the type who would swallow in a wave of animals - who would sacrafice the quality of his life to collect as many of these things as he could.

Baffling personally, but it wasn't a rare breed.

 "Good boy." She could have just as easily been talking to one of the more mild mannered residences that they dawdled past. "What about that one?" She jabbed a finger at some sort of mutt that was stout but had the coloration of a Doberman. It was a listless sort of suggestion, no money in this - it would cost her the same one way or the other.

 Tatum stepped up beside her, stiffening at the nearness, as if his body had its own memory of the trauma she’d wrought. "Capone." He looked down at the mixed breed. "That’s a good name for a shelter dog. Usually they’re something awful like Brownie or Carl."

 But Capone wasn’t housetrained and he was reactive around kids. Children certainly weren’t in his future, but he didn’t need a dog that would draw attention. Walking to the end of one row, he started up another and stopped at a medium black-and-white collie mix. "This one seems nice."

 It was a fair assessment once she actually looked at the little slip of paper tucked into the plastic sleeve to the front of the dog's kennel. If it felt so negatively about children then it probably wouldn't open that many avenues where hunting was concerned. And while there was a chance that Tatum planned to use the dog as a companion and nothing more, it felt like a waste.

 The second dog that he drew attention to looked far more his speed as a whole. Friendly and all but smiling, tail wagging as they neared and she reached out to grab the paper and get a better look. "Pepper." Friendly, on the younger side, female. She looked over at him, shrugged in case he was waiting for her final judgment.

"It's very ... you."

 He’d learned that expecting friendliness from her was as hopeless as asking a cat to bark. But while her tone typically matched the chill of her cold, dead skin, Eva seemed to be a student of a practical malice.

 Tatum was learning that cruelty wasn’t so much a mood or affinity, but a skill.

 The young vampire stared down at the chummy-looking dog, all smiles and sweet disposition. It was very him, or the him he was before. Perhaps the dog could serve as a reminder of the goodness he'd strayed from. "I like her."

 Returning to the front, he asked to see Pepper and they were soon ushered into a back room with scuffed walls and neon toys littering the floor. Kneeling down when the dog was brought in, he extended his hand in the same trusting way he'd proffered it to the black dog who'd come in the night to end him. "Hello girl, do you want to be friends?"

 She was quiet as he went through the motions, only forcing a closemouthed smile when the attendant glanced her way. Happy to allow him his moment and quietly fund it. Settled in the corner of the visiting room, legs crossed and arms folded as if she was resigned to take up as little space as possible.

 The mutt made it's rounds, sniffed about at all the toys and residual scents of animals now absent. It stopped near her foot and sniffed at her in turn and she shot Tatum a sideways glance, said nothing as it wandered his way. "Let me know when we're done." Little point in trying to be nice to the thing if he would pass it up.

 "We're done. I think she's perfect." He said, stroking her side and when she came close. Turning back, he slowly stood. "Thank you for this, Eva. I appreciate it." Of course he wondered if the dog came with strings, but he was a little too elated to look for them now. "Do you want to come back with us and see her get settled in?" An unappealing invitation, he was sure. So he sweetened it. "We could eat afterward." Tatum avoided the word 'hunt' whenever possible, happy to remain in quiet refute of who he was and what he needed.

 Thank you. It was a nice set of words but it was better suited in action. She'd allow that to slide for now, not wanting to push too hard too soon as she rolled forward and back onto her feet. "You're welcome. Let's go handle the paperwork. I'll meet you when you're ready to go out, there's really no point in me lingering." It was his dog, after all. Wanting to make sure the lines didn't blur too terribly simply because she did one halfway kind thing for him.

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