Mr. President

Mountainside Planetarium - Clutch Only 
During the Eventide Clutch Autumn Gala

There was someone here that had Safiya was bound and determined to talk to. He likely would act like he was miserable the whole time, but it didn’t stop Safiya from casually drifitng nearby. With a simper on her lips, and her eyes still clouded white, Safiya set her sights on Lazraham Lincoln.

The pixie dust that shimmered in the dim light difted away from her wings, past a group of clueless humans, and toward where Lazarus was skulking in the fringes. The golden motes of sparkles gathered in a plume around him, brushing soundlessly and without sensation over his face and around the brim of his hat. From where she stood a few feet away, Safiya waited for him to spot her.

@Lazarus Clay

 Parties were not so foreign to Lazarus - it had been a long, long time since he'd been to one, and he was pretty sure the last one he had attended had been in a saloon - but it still felt strange. Being in a room full of vampires was both comforting and disconcerting, in that they were all much like himself, and yet so very different. Stronger than humans, and with leagues more experience. They were all so privy of and comfortable in their world.

 He was tempted to help himself to some young volunteer's neck and then take his leave. Go practice piano or read a book with Edvin's cat, whom he had grown particularly fond of. At least he could take off this forsaken beard.

 Sparkles appeared out of seemingly nowhere, fluttering around his face. He frowned, brows furrowed, wincing as he anticipated one hitting him in the eye. Then, he saw her - fresh out the undead womb Safiya, staring at him with her white eyes and coy smirk. "Do you always get folks' attention by throwin' stuff in their faces?" The question came, some amusement buried under a layer of discomfort, one hand rising to wave the sparkles out of his face.

Safiya chuckled mutedly as he scrunched his brows and rose a hand to wave the glitter away. She caught his gaze, and flashed him a wider smirk as he questioned her tactics. "Only you." She said simply, and blinked as she dropped the illusion all together. It was getting a little painful, and she didn't want to get crabby with an undead headache. So instead, she drifted forward, light on her toes. "Were you alive when he was president?" She asked as she eyed the hat and beard. "It's a good look on you." She moved her hand to her chin, miming stroking a beard.

 Only him. So special. Lazarus scoffed quietly, unspoken in his gratitude that she dropped the illusion. As cool as it was, his brain was pretty sure one of them was going to burn a hole in his face. He relaxed marginally as they disappeared, watching her with a somewhat terse expression as she came closer. Was it actually a good look on him? He doubted it. He frowned slightly, watching her stroke her imaginary beard, wondering if she was making fun of him. It sure seemed like it.

 "I was," he said simply, leaving it at that. Slowly, he reached up and began to pry the fake beard off his face. Just the feeling of it was irritating him, and he sighed an unnecessary breath of relief as it came off. "What're you supposed to be?"

He was! Probably could have done the math, but oh well. She was sort of expecting some sort of elaboration, but nope. She needed to learn not to expect that from Lazarus. Her brows arched as he moved to peel the beard off. "Oh-" But it was too late for her to reassure him he didn't have to take it off. Had she made him feel, like insecure? Oops? A distraction came in the form of his question. Her jaw dropped some.

"Don't tell me, in all of your years, do haven't seen Peter Pan?" He asked, stunned. "I'm Tinkerbell. Raziyya is Peter Pan, Beau is Hook, and... Edwin? Is a crocodile that ate Hook's hand." That was his name, right?

 Lazarus stuffed the felted beard in his pocket, listening to her speak. He did know Peter Pan, but only recently, and it wasn't something that had really stuck with him among the sea of information he'd been absorbing. She was Tinkerbell - okay. He remembered that. He laughed quietly, amused though it was without much of a smile. So she was a part of the ensemble that his mentor had been beaten into.

 "Yeah. Edvin," he corrected her gently. If it smarted him to be left out, he wasn't about to admit it even to himself. "You're close with them?" Perhaps a prying question. He wondered if maybe Beauregard or Raziyya had been the one to bring her into this life.

Edvin, right. She’d try to remember how to pronounce it right. At the question, her brows raised with an affirmative hum. “Raziyya changed me.” She said, looking across the room toward the woman. She moved to lean on the wall beside him.

“You know Edvin well?” He’d said he wasn’t really close to anyone but he cared enough to correct his name, so. Maybe not.

 Oh. His suspicion had not been off the mark at all. Briefly, his eyes flickered across the room, following Safiya's gaze to the woman in question; idly, he wondered what the circumstances had been, but he would keep his curiosity to himself. She came to stand against the wall beside him, and he crossed his arms.

 Did he know Edvin well? There was a moment of silence as Lazarus considered how much he was okay with her knowing. "I live with him," he admitted finally. "I've known him for, eh... six months or so." He shrugged, tilting his head against the wall slightly to adjust the stupid hat on his head without touching it.

Oh. Of all the answers she’s expected, being room mates wasn’t one of them. She was about to ask if he’s who changed him, but the timeline of knowing him definitely didn’t line up. It was becoming quickly apparent with Lazarus that prying too much usually didn’t go well, so she didn’t press for too much.

“Oh, nice. I’ve been staying with Raziyya for a bit until I can get into an apartment.” She was going to sign a lease next week, actually! ”Where’d you live before you lived with Edvin?” Not too personal, right? She cast her eyes down as she switched on the lying thing. He wouldn’t notice if she was inspecting her nails, would he?

 Staying with her sire made sense. Lazarus could, unfortunately, understand that much. He cast the young woman a sidelong glance - he did not miss being a fledgling, the dire thirst that was leagues harder to control than it was now. At any rate, she seemed to persevere with ease thanks to her apparently upbeat attitude.

 He frowned at her question. There was a moment of silence as he continued just telling her Denver or something, but he did remember her abilities. He couldn't know whether or not she was using her truth-seeking power, or how far it might stretch. His frown deepened some. He didn't care for that power, but he didn't want to get caught in a lie. "With my sire," he grumbled. "Somewhere in the desert. Red Rock." He wasn't sure if that was exactly where they'd lived, but it seemed right anyway.

Whoa, there was definitely some contempt there. He’d lived with his Sire in Red Rock, but there seemed not hide or hair of them here. It wasn’t hard to assume something bad had happened.

“Man, Red Rock to Lavender Heights. Culture shock, huh?” Maybe that’s what she’d seen in his palm. A change of lifestyle.

 Lazarus scoffed quietly at Safiya's question. His arms tightened some in their crossed position. "I reckon you could say that," he drawled, his tone somewhat bitter. He shifted his weight, recalling the night Edvin had found him - the same night he had escaped. He would have been ash long ago if not for that little miracle. "Did you ask to be changed?" he asked abruptly, deflective as usual.

Yikes. A touchy subject all around, and she didn't need the deflection to convince her to drop it. She was actually glad for the subject change. "No." She said simply. "I was. Uh." The details were... pretty fuzzy. Maybe her brain doing its own censoring of something she probably would rather not remember in full detail. "Hurt really badly by someone. Raziyya found me and saved me. Does anyone ever ask?" Like some Twilight bullshit? She accepted this life and all, but it was pretty fucked up to ask to be undead for an eternity.

 He was silently thankful that she was so easy to deter from the topic. His arms untucked from one another and moved so that his hands could slip into the pockets of his nice pants as he listened to her speak.

 Raziyya had spared her life, had kept her from being a murder victim in some respect. Funny how saving a life could require killing. He nodded in acknowledgment to her story, then shrugged softly at her question. "Maybe. I sure didn’t. But eternal life might be worth the cost to some folks." He doubted there was no vampire in the history of the world who had asked to be turned just for the appeal of being young forever.

There was the temptation to ask how it had happened for him. Like they were some guys swapping war stories, or something. But, again, she was learning. So, instead, she went with the only other tactic she had. "Yeah, I guess being automatically ten times sexier is sort of worth it." She was either nosy or making inappropriate jokes, there was no in between. Also, it was a total lie. Ugly people could be vampires, too. Too many people were in costume right now for her to try and spot one.

 Lazarus didn’t understand what she meant, but it did at least distract from his broodiness. He frowned at the young woman. Who was she calling sexy? Was this a joke and he was missing the punch line? His frustration of not understanding pushed him to questioning rather than festering this time, and he was question her simply: "What?" with confusion evident in his tone.

Of course he didn't get it. She was happy to enlighten him. "Didn't you know being a vampire makes you hotter?" She questioned with a raise of a brow. She fixed him with an expectant stare, but it broke too quickly. A grin stretched across her lips and she chuckled with a little shrug. "Or at least, that's what fairy tales and stories say." It probably just made them colder and more dangerous. And paler. Her poor tan was already fading. Was there a point in using fake tan?

 Lazarus was immediately sure she was definitely messing with him, and his concerned expression faded into something between almost-amusement and a roll of the eyes as she grinned at him. "Well, aren’t you just a regular comedian," he scoffed at her. He knew better than to believe that, much less that she was being serious. His maker had been hideous. "I reckon there’s a lot about fairy tails that ain’t quite right."

Well, wasn't he just a ball of sunshine. Safiya fixed him with a prideful smirk, and pulled herself from the wall to dip into a bow. She thought she was funny. She'd gotten a smile out of him a few times, and that had to count for something. As for his "reckoning," she had to agree. "You mean we don't sparkle and sleep in coffins?" She asked, feigning shock.

"I wonder if they'll stop writing bullshit stories about vampires now that they know they're real. We've lost our appeal." She lamented, as if she'd been one long enough to put stock into appearing enticing to anyone. Honestly, she preferred people not be misinformed. She already got enough of that from being brown, okay.

 Lazarus wasn’t sure what she meant about them sparkling, but he chalked it up to being an aspect of some story he hadn’t heard, though the coffin business was a familiar rumor. Maybe some vampires did sleep in coffins. They likely kept the sun out very well.

 He nodded quietly at her statement. Now that the world knew they certainly were monsters and were very real, he supposed it was hard to romanticize their unhinged jaws and translucent skin. Well, his, anyway - he glanced at Safiya and wondered if she would lose the melanin in her skin as she drifted further from her time spent in the sun. It was a lovely complexion, he thought, unlike his own skin, fair enough that the blue of his veins was visible in many places.

 "I think the news writes bullshit stories about us often," he countered her words, looking at her now instead of somewhere across the room. "Humans fear us to the point that every murder is a ‘suspected vampire attack.’" Which was not really true, but it happened often enough that a man as paranoid as Lazarus could be bothered by it.

"Well, the news is pretty good at writing bullshit stories about everyone." She said with a sigh that felt foreign in her lungs. "I bet that curfew from the beginning of the year was a bitch." After that video of the pyro and the vampire, there had been a huge panic and a curfew set. It had sucked for her social life, but she couldn't begin to think how it had affected the vampires in the area. Slim pickings, for sure. She wondered how many had just withered away. It was an effective tactic, she guessed. Like in 27 Days later, where they just starved the zombies and they all died out. Probably impossible to do that to vampires, but eh.

 It was unfortunate that the news could be full of shit and get away with it. Funny how freedom of speech was such a double-edged sword. Even if it wasn't, Lazarus might not be the type to trust it anyway - truth be told, it contributed to his general mistrust of mankind. What a strange and deceitful world they lived in.

 "What curfew?" Lazarus asked, genuine curiosity in his tone now. He wondered if he'd just barely missed it.

Safiya's brow stitched some. "There was a curfew that lasted a few weeks at the beginning of the year." She was surprised he didn't remember it. He'd been living in Red Rock then, hadn't he? With his Sire. "It was every city, I'm sure Red Rock had one, too." She didn't really know much about Red Rock other than that it was what she classified as "the boonies." So maybe it wasn't as bad as it was here in the city. But honestly, he had to have come into the city at some point and noticed literally no one was outside after dark. Except like, homeless people.

 This definitely seemed like it would have been the kind of thing Lazarus would have been privy to if he had been around the general population at the time of this curfew. The man frowned, mostly to himself, and looked away from her again, eyeing the vessels of blood across the room. "Oh. Yeah," he said simply. If he had learned about it, it had been taken from his memory, but he was happy to try to pass it off as a slip of the mind. Happens to everyone, right?

Oh. Right. Slip of the mind, huh? First of all, that wasn't something someone just forgot. Second, that internal polygraph needle went haywire as Lazarus' eyes shifted away from her. Her eyes narrowed, her lips pursing some. Huh. She casually folded her arms across her chest, looking at the side of his face curiously. Why had he lied? And what about? She hadn't gotten a blip about him living in Red Rock, but she was getting one from him saying he remembered this.

"Hm." She said simply.

"Bad memory? Must suck when you're trying to summon something and you can't remember where it is." Maybe it was smarter to just drop it, and when he inevitably deflected, she probably would. But it was curious. What could he possibly be hiding? They sucked peoples blood and sometimes killed them. She was pretty sure he couldn't do much that was worthy of hiding.

 He could feel her staring at him, which for some unknown reason deeply bothered him. He hated to be stared at. But perhaps more than that, he hated the words she spoke. Mostly he was mad at himself for forgetting that she was a walking lie detector, and he was angrier still for her calling him out on it. His jaw clenched and he lifted a hand to pull the top hat off his head. "My memory works just fine, thank you," he growled at her, words venomous, and he pushed away from the wall and made to leave the gala altogether.

Salty, man.

Safiya furrowed her brows as he snatched his hat off and made to move. What the fuck, dude? She hadn't done anything to deserve some bullshit storming off. That was some two year old shit, not one hundred and eighty five year old shit. Honestly. Safiya made to step in front of him, but didn't dare move to touch him.

"Hey, chill." She said with arched brows. "I'm sorry! It's not something I do on purpose, the lies thing." That was the honest truth. It just fucking happened. He was the one lying, so. He brought it on himself, really. He'd likely not even listen to reason, though, which sucked. For all of his abrasiveness, she liked him. To let him just storm away and write he off without even trying to explain herself would feel pretty shitty. "It's a weird line to walk." A small apologetic shrug.

 For being so much shorter than himself, she was a very effective road block. Lazarus stopped just short of running into her, scowling as she spoke, bristling with the desire to do nothing more and nothing less than just leave. This had been a stupid idea. She told him to chill, which did not really have the desired effect, and his lips pressed into a tight line, as if to keep him from saying something truly cruel. Then, she apologized. For catching him in a lie. Which was... weird. It made him feel weird.

 Shouldn't he be the one who was sorry? He wasn't - she should have minded her own business - but it still made him feel weird. Lazarus shuffled back a step, gripping the hat in his hand probably too hard. "I don't remember the curfew. I don't wanna talk about it. I don't wanna talk about Red Rock at all." He stared at her with the same deep frown. Why he was telling her something that still felt so private despite being pretty vague, he didn't know, except setting the boundaries without being a complete dick was... kind of nice.

See what happens when we use our words? Safiya relaxed some, having not realized she was tensing, and her brows went slack. "I got you. There's shit I would rather not talk about, either. I'm sorry I stepped over that line." Another, and the last, apology. This shit wasn't easy. No one liked being lied to, and Safiya was a curious person. So, when it was pretty obvious she was being told a lie, it got the best of her. Cue flashback to that time with Asha.

 Her words were probably meant to establish some kind of common ground, a notice that she had touchy subjects, too. Instead, it made him feel foolish. Everyone had baggage - everyone had fears. And for as much as he loathed the idea of others knowing he was afraid, he sure did let it control him a lot. This felt like too much to process right now. Lazarus rubbed his free hand over his face in a sign of exhaustion, although he could not physically feel it. "It's alright," he drawled lowly, his expression something like disappointment as he stared at the ground. "I think I'm gonna go home now." Now that he had thoroughly embarrassed himself. A part of him wondered if she still wanted to go on that hunt that she'd mentioned when they first met. For all the effort she had gone through to make things right here, he wouldn't be surprised if she thought it to be too much effort.

Man, whatever he was keeping bottled up seemed... heavy. It saddened her a little, but she wasn't one to press. Or, at least, she was trying not to be. Ever since that shit with Asha went down, she was trying to be better. This was a good first step. She was glad he accepted the apology. A little sucky that it felt like she was running him off from the party, but you know. You can't force someone to stay. "I'll see you around." She said, and stepped aside to let him go. But before he could go, "Lazarus?" Her brows raised, vaguely pleading. "Don't be a stranger." Despite his outburst and bristly personality... she still wanted to be his friend. Maybe it was some deep set empathy. Someone so obviously sad and closed off... it was worth it to try and show him friendship.

 He hadn't even sunk his teeth into a warm meal. It was okay. A bag of blood at home was worth the refuge of solitude and safety. Books and vinyls were good enough company. He was all too ready to go, but he would pause as she called his name, listening without looking. Don't be a stranger. That was a modern idiom he could understand. There was a quiet chuff under his breath and a nod of his head as a response, and then he was off, making a bee-line for the exit.

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