T&A

Landing Strip 
#1
Cris was wearing the one outfit she owned that made her feel kind of attractive.

She didn't know why. She barely even understood why she was here. Something Katya had said to her a while ago stuck weirdly in her brain. That she'd figure out whatever it was she was into eventually.

You know. With sex.

The good news was that this place was as far from Cedar Creek as possible, so there was basically no chance she'd run into anyone she knew here. Maybe? She'd heard about it in some late night radio ads after work.

But it was terrible. Really terrible. And tonight it was absolutely packed with men she could definitely say she was not attracted to. Even the women made her nervous, and she wanted to apologize for looking at them. Flopping tits, asses that jiggled. It was normal. It was human. It did nothing for her.

She sat in a booth, expression blatantly bewildered, and clutched a beer in her hand like it might save her from what a bad idea this was.


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#2


This was not Carmen’s usual haunt. Not that she had found herself one yet, but she could safely say that Landing Strip and the people that strolled naked within it were not that.

She felt indifferent towards it all.

Whether this was Werewolf territory was yet to be determined, but there was a Witch here. A short-haired, young Witch, who looked particularly perplexed and out of place. A human, Carmen could ignore, but there was a particular desire that surrounded a Witch.

She was not one for misbehaving if she could help it, she reminded.

With a firm grip on herself, Carmen approached her booth. She took a moment to straighten her new jacket, pushing it to the side some, before sitting.

”You are without company?” she asked without glancing at the girl, hands clasped together in her lap.
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#3
Cris felt her arrive before she saw her.

The brain tingling. She sipped her beer, fingernails working at one corner of the label. Her eyes fell away from the clumsy dancing bodies and to some stain on the floor several feet away. Gross.

But it was safer to look here until she figured out what she was feeling and where it was coming from, trying to play it cool in a crowd very much not her style.

The source came to her, directly, enough so that it left her feeling faintly suspicious. Cris looked to her as she spoke, and...

This woman did not belong in a strip club. Her brows furrowed slightly, and there was a telltale tingling in her fingers. A few different powers did that, and she glanced briefly to her hands for some sign of what was to come.

Here probably wasn't the place to play with this, whatever it was. It was a destructive one.

"That obvious?" she answered quietly, resolving to stop tapping into the power for just a minute, her eyes returning to the strange stripper dance.
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#4
Her tone was slightly meek - perhaps the result of their environment. Carmen’s was decidedly not.

She smiled faintly, looking towards her now and seeking her gaze.

”You do not look like you come here often, that is all.” Carmen considered that for a moment. ”Then again, neither do I.”
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#5
This was pointed.

It wasn't entirely clear to her what the endgame was, but she knew when she was being approached for a reason. The sights and the smells and the sounds and everything about the atmosphere here had her on edge, and Cris did not enjoy the sensation of being so far off her game. Hooting and hollering and sweat and... sex. She didn't realize how much a place could stink like that, but it did here.

She set her beer to a table to the side so she could take one hand into the other, thumbing at her palm. Her fingers tingled.

Not here. Not in a crowded place. This was a lesson learned many times over.

"So then why are you here?" she asked, looking to the woman who was old enough to be her mother.

Whoever she was, she was pretty in a grown up and elegant sort of way, and Cris was certain she stuck out here more than anyone.
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#6
Witches were not all that dissimilar to Vampires. This was Carmen’s opinion, as both a Vampire and a doctor. To both be powerful in a sense of magic - that was not unrelated.

It did not inherently award trust to Witches. Yet at the question, her arm found the table near her side, letting it rest there. She regarded the girl’s hands as she fidgeted. If she was nervous, Carmen did not especially sense it.

”I am looking for the Werewolves.” Carmen would let that sit for a moment, before adding more. ”I did not expect to find a Witch.”

Her fingers gently tapped the table, before the faint smile from a few seconds ago returned.
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#7
A witch.

That might have been an insult if she didn't have a relatively keen understanding of what was being spoken about here. That was a new term for her, and... she...

Didn't hate it.

One of the many struggles of having some kind of underground community where no one talked to one another or anyone else about anything was that naming was a real bitch. She regarded her powers as... powers. She was someone with powers. "Gifted" had been used before, but that felt so pretentious.

Witch was almost something she could own. She rubbed the pads of her fingers together. Stop itching. Stop tingling. Focus.

"Werewolves are in Cedar Creek," she said quietly, looking out toward the show but seeing through it more than anything. It was some attempt to look casual to other onlookers.

The next question was obvious.

"So are you a witch or a vampire."

She was smart enough to speak it quietly, and the generally raucous nature of the crowd made for good cover. If Cris could touch this woman's hand, she'd know well enough the answer, but that level of closeness wasn't something either of them had earned yet.
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#8
The girl was not oblivious. This pleased her.

Carmen inhaled the smoke of the room, appreciative of being indulged in the smell of an old habit Vampirism had made her quit, for the majority. Fire was not forgiving.

She ignored the show, save for a brief glance.

”Would you like to find out yourself?” Carmen asked, extending her hand towards the girl. Perhaps a tip for the future, if she was unaware.

Unless she gave Carmen a reason to convince her to forget this, that was.
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#9
She knew this drill.

Other magic users didn't act this way. Other witches. Gifted people. Whatever they were.

Dax hadn't taken much. Could she manage two days in a row? People lost more blood than... whatever that had been and didn't die. But this wasn't her typical arrangement, and that made her nervous. With Osvald and with Dax, payment was agreed on in advance.

Cris was caught here, singled out in a crowd, and her heart thrummed nervously for it.

"It's going to be cold," she said, not rudely, but factually. "I don't. Want to touch your hand. Nothing personal, but."

Her gaze fell to her own fingers, and then she looked to the woman.

"My witch... thing is to copy whatever your witch thing is, and I don't want to accidentally use it on you. We should probably go outside."
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#10
She was offended, but the explanation eased that.

Carmen returned her hand to her lap, the fingers which were tapping the table stopping abruptly. She was unsure of it. She was in control right now, and leaving this booth was a situation she might not have control over.

Ideally, she would be a more powerful Vampire who did not feel the Witch’s existence as much as she happened to. That was not the case, however unfortunate.

”You would rather risk being alone with me than try to hurt me?” Perhaps she knew she could not hurt her, or perhaps she was not afraid.

The girl’s heartbeat, she noticed then, told Carmen otherwise.
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#11
Cris didn’t understand what she wanted.

Well. Of course she did. Of course she understood. But the way this woman went about it unnerved her. Cris was used to playing interrogator. She was not so comfortable being questioned herself.

"I know you can fuck me up if you want to. And I don’t have any reason to hurt you. Even if you’re making me nervous."

Looking down to her hands, she turned one palm up, exposing faint marks on her wrist. She pointed to them briefly with her other hand.

"Normally I charge money but I just want to go home tonight alive. So."

Maybe the woman would feel especially generous and offer her cash, but that seemed unlikely.

Looking at her own hand, a brief flash of static leapt between two fingers, and she quickly shoved both hands into her lap.

Fuck.
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#12
Truthfully, Carmen did not particularly enjoy the power she had over the girl simply because she was a Vampire. Making humans and Witches grovel was not her game. It was a cowards.

Carmen glanced to the marks on her wrist wordlessly. She saw them perfectly clear. It earned her interest, wondering as to who was paying her. Was it these Bone Hollow Vampires? Perhaps they had told her of Cedar Creek’s status.

Static briefly leapt between the girl’s two fingers then, and Carmen smiled wider than before.

”You are very special,” she observed, gaze resting on her face again. ”I will not hurt you. You are free to leave whenever.” Carmen lowered her chin slightly, something of a gesture towards the exit. ”But I would be curious if we went outside and you answered some questions for me.”

She was not interested in dangling life or death in front of the girl’s nose. She could do as she pleased.
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#13
Yeah. Cris was real fucking special alright.

She grabbed her beer and finished it in a few meaningful gulps, then gave a belated nod.

"Alright."

It would be with little ceremony that she’d rise to move toward the exit, shoving her hands into her pockets to keep them from... zapping anything, apparently.

Of course, that in itself was dangerous considering she had her phone in one pocket and a lighter in another.

She would leave without incident, slowing as she reached the outside air so that vampire lady could lead the way from here.
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#14
Carmen did not know what alright meant. A few seconds of consideration and she decided if the girl meant to leave then and there, she would have said farewell, not alright.

Brushing her jacket as she stood, Carmen made for the exit without a glance to the surrounding people. The exceptionally tall girl slowed as they reached outside, but she continued towards the corner of the building, glancing around it. There was nobody there.

Straightening, Carmen stopped.

"I am new to Mountainside," she informed, turning to face the girl as she slid a glove on each hand. She could choose to care or find this information unimportant - it was all the same. "You are not wrong in saying Werewolves are in Cedar Creek, but I believe it extends much further than that. You have connections with Vampires? Clients, perhaps? Would you tell me what you know of them?"

While she found herself having to look upwards some, Carmen was unperturbed.
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#15
Gloves seemed like a good idea. Cris wondered if they’d be enough to stop her in the case of a power like this. She pulled her hands from her pockets, eyeing her fingers again, feeling their insides seem to vibrate.

But she would focus for now.

The woman sounded new to mountainside. What a world where Cris had become vampire tour guide.

"I don’t know where else they live. But they definitely live there. They’ll probably try to murder you because I guess vampires and werewolves aren’t supposed to like each other."

She shrugged. Their politics were beyond her.

"All the vampires I know live in downtown."

One hand waved half heartedly that way.

"That’s probably your best bet if you’re looking for friends."

Her gaze traveled back down to her fingers, and she held her breath as she sent a spark dancing from one to another again.
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#16
The girl answered her question plainly enough, also highlighting that Werewolves and Vampires were not supposed to like each other here. The coyotes had treated her kindly enough as a rogue. Interesting, interesting.

Friends was not a term to be used lightly, but the girl's distraction took her attention too.

"It is electrokinesis," Carmen regarded her fingers for a moment. "Have you mastered any powers?" She finished putting her gloves on, ensuring each finger fit quite as intended by the design.
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#17
The woman had a word for it. She had a word for everything. Cris liked that, thirsty for knowledge as she was.

"Mastered" was a strong sentiment, but certainly there were powers she was better at. Though she... also found little pride in the one she knew best, so. She went with second best.

"I don't know the names of anything. Other than... electrokinesis now," she said, glancing to the woman with a hint of appreciation. "I can only use them when I'm near someone who has one, so I don't get much practice time."

And then... whatever it was. Maybe this chick would have a name for it.

"There's one that lets me change the way I look. I used to be really good at that but haven't tried in a while. I could be unrecognizable if I wanted to."

Cris smiled faintly for the memory of it, even if the time spent practicing had been a particularly problematic period in her life.
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#18
She had a very dangerous power. Carmen had not even been able to sense she was borrowing her energy - it gave the girl an upper hand in almost every situation.

That was very good.

”I say you are special because I believe you can master every power.” They, on the other hand, could not. Even the strongest Vampire Carmen had ever known had two powers.

Her words, as well, were telling.

She did not spend much time with her Vampire clients. Not enough to borrow their abilities and learn.

”You might be interested in finding yourself a group of Witches.” Carmen began towards the parking lot, placing her hands in her pockets.
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#19
This was strange.

This had become strange. Or maybe not strange -- just unexpected. Cris was entirely sure she was being led out here for someone to drink her blood, but instead she was... supportive? The mastering of every ability was something Cris had spoken about to Osvald, a buzzed fantasy for if she ended up with eternal life.

Her brows furrowed, but it was out of a desire to understand.

A group of witches. They didn't really group, did they. She knew... the girl at the mall, and that interaction had gone poorly. The guy in the car and his sister. Plus Katya's not-girlfriend. A million strangers she only bumped into.

She followed, wanting to walk beside this woman, interested in her interest.

"What's your name? I'm Cris."
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#20
The threaten of a lull in conversation after that did not help her as she did what she could to ignore the girl’s heartbeat.

Unaware of this, the girl walked beside her, apparently disinterested in returning to the strip club.

Carmen smiled faintly to herself.

”Cris,” she repeated the simple, one syllable name. ”I am Carmen Abela.” If she was to tell her Vampire clients about her, Carmen did favour the delivery of her entire name. ”I will show you a trick, if you will.” She lifted one hand from within her pocket, laying it flat. ”It is cheap but will not do harm. I only require your phone.”
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#21
Carmen Abela. Or Carmenabela. But probably the first one. Cris never thought to offer her last name in casual conversation. What was Katya's last name? Osvald's? Anyone's ever.

What came next was another twist in a pretty twisty conversation already, and her hand lingered on her phone for a few long seconds before she offered it out, placing it face-up in this woman's palm.

The briefest touch alone would be enough to offer a quick zap, something only mildly stronger than the typical static shock. Still, she winced a little, for having done it rather than any pain.

"My bad," she murmured, as close to an apology as she was prone to getting, but remained otherwise clearly interested in this... trick.
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#22
”You are fine,” Carmen said, briefly wincing in discomfort.

By the time the mobile was handed to her, Carmen had freed one hand from a glove. She had not expected for this to become a show, but she did not mind it, either. Perhaps it would give the girl some understanding into what she was currently in possession of.

”Your mobile is at 22% battery,” she observed factually, holding it with her bare thumb over the connector. Carmen looked towards Cris for a moment, her eyes desaturated of their usual colour, before she felt a power release from her thumb and the phone screen came to life again.

”You are welcome to check if that is the case now,” Carmen said, handing her phone back.

There was an unpleasant tingling in her thumb, and she did not hesitate to slide her glove on again.
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#23
Her “mobile.”

Yep. This lady was definitely a vampire and not from this area.

Cris had some guess as to what this might be about, and yet as it happened, her eyebrows still rose in surprise.

"This is... dumb of me, but I never thought about it as... like. Electricity that could be used," she said, thoughtful as she took the phone back.

One hundred freaking percent. That was awfully convenient.

She turned the phone in her hands, briefly checking for some sort of... burn mark or something.

Nothing.

"I probably shouldn’t do it today, because I did it yesterday. But I’ll trade you..."

An explanatory flash of her wrist.

"For you to teach me things. In the future."
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#24
Thought about it.

So Cris had experienced electrokinesis before, perhaps?

Carmen's expression faltered at the offer, simply the power Cris had over her by carrying the blood of a Witch.

A blood source would be convenient, she could not deny that. If she was so desperate for an easy meal, though, she could go to this Vein Drain she and every other Vampire had heard of for its complete lack of discretion. "I do not take pleasure in drinking from people I intend to know," Carmen explained, stopping by her car. She felt her keys in her pocket, but did not retrieve them yet.

It was not a matter of queasiness as much as it was... there were other options. Though she had met more than enough Vampires in her time who would accept Cris' offer with no hesitation.

"If you would provide me with information when and if you hear about Werewolves and Vampires, I would be appreciative."

An informant was a respectable title, and Cris was subtle enough to mingle with...

Everyone. Quite right.
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#25
How had this become Cris stalking the vampire that had stalked her in the first place?

That was kind of her life, really. She followed her eagerly to her car, holding her phone in one hand as she listened intently.

The answer wasn’t what she expected, though. She couldn’t help but regard it with some degree of skepticism, but it fit along with what Katya had said about her guy. It wasn’t all about blood.

Did that make her resent Osvald? After a moment she decided... no. If only because their arrangement had been decided upfront.

Plus, how could she be all that upset with him when he paid so goddamn well. While it was nice that Carmen could look beyond that, Cris would offer up her jugular for a grand.

"Well. I can tell you — werewolves are... hurt by silver. I’m pretty sure. And I can reach out to my vampires and see if they want to... uh. Say hi? If you want."

Her vampires. Are you forreal, Cris.

She would open up a new contact on her freshly charged phone and ready herself for Carmen’s number if she’d offer it.
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#26
Silver. Was that right?

Carmen's head tilted back slightly, looking upwards as she considered this information. Perhaps instead of religious items, Werewolves had a weakness to silver. Or if they were unlucky - both.

She glanced back to the girl after a few moments. If Cordova's Vampires were Clutch Vampires, it was likely she would meet them one way or another. Yet.

"If they are interested you are welcome to pass along my number." After which she recited it to her, half-expecting her phone to buzz in her pocket with a text from Cris.

Europeans were, admittedly, not so clever to exchange numbers in such a simple fashion. It was always two people knocking their phones together, both hissing out numbers.

"Send me a text message whenever you would like to learn, Cris." A student. This girl gave some sort of purpose for Carmen, beyond her digging around Mountainside. "Witches are an extension of Vampires, or Vampires of Witches. Whichever you prefer."

She pulled her car keys from her pocket.
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#27
Whoa.

That last bit.

About witches being an extension of vampires. Or. The other way.

The sound of her mind exploding was almost audible. Was it really that hard to believe? They both had the same sorts of powers. Cris did feel drawn to them the way she did her own... kind.

She hardly understood what any of this was about, but in the end, it didn’t matter. With a nod, she briefly looked down to her phone, then to Carmen.

"I... never thought about it that way."

Electrokinesis. Witches. Extensions of one another.

Huh.

"I’ll text you. Thanks, uh. For stopping by."

She gave an awkward little wave, then turned to head over to her own car. One text would go out to Carmen (named exactly that in her phone):

It’s Cris, just passing along my number
Unknown

And then, in her excitement, she would proceed to accidentally send a jolt of electricity into her phone, sending the screen into darkness.

Fuck.

(Lucky for her, it would eventually restart.)
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#28
Then she was pleased to suggest a different perspective. Perhaps Witches had arrived first and Vampires had split off from them, or the other way around. All that was true was that it was impossible that they both possessed the same energy and exerted it in the same way by coincidence. That would defy all science.

Carmen nodded deeply at the girl's funny gratitude, giving a wave of her own. "Enjoy the rest of your night," she bid her, unlocking her car and sliding into the driver's seat.

There was an immediate and thankful exhale brought on by the barrier between them which was her car and as Cris departed, distance. She did not have to think she might suddenly give in, but had the chatter been more idle...

Carmen rubbed her thumb against her pointing finger, deciding she would make a stop on the way home. Perhaps to that diner she had found. It would not be difficult to find a meal there.

A text arrived as she had that thought, and Carmen saved Cris' name as she'd spelled it in the message.
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