A Small World

Cast: date: 'September 1, 2012'
place: 'Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese'
participants: 'Griffin, Huruma'
synopsis: 'Two people walk into a bar…'
log: "The last legs of tourist season usually gives way to quieter nights in the city, though as any generalization it can be here and there. In current case- there- as in, there are not as many people here as there could be. Not quite the oncoming nighttime, not quite dusk. Not loud, nor eerily silent. Somewhere in the middle, with a good, solid little mix of people out to enjoy an evening. Of course, there are some more keen on simply getting laid out, and some more keen on finding the former for whatever reason.\n\nThe newest patron has no such distinction, for better or worse. Then again, it was a long, dry, noisy flight to Paris; the bounce to London mainly consisted of a long …catnap on the plane.\n\nIt does not even seem as if the tall woman sidling into the front door has dropped off at a hotel; Huruma keeps one bag slung over her shoulder, though it seems more the thick, black canvas bag of military personnel, rather than a traveler. There is a sheen of evening fog on her clothes and visible skin, and the heels of her boots click hard on the wooden floorboards. Business casual, if you want to call it that- simple, if anything. A cropped jacket, sleek black pants, a crimson cotton shirt. Nothing particularly strange, if you disregard the paleness of her eyes. The dark woman stays still for a few long moments, absorbing her surroundings and the warm smell of a fireplace amidst the murmur of pub crawlers. She will no doubt draw a few glances as she passes into the building, the duffel on her shoulder doing little to weigh down an otherwise smooth stride.\n\nIt's the quiet nights like these that are the best for going out for a drink. The good bar, the one with the amazing atmosphere, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese has always been one of Griffin's favorite places to frequent. The lanky, tired-looking fellow has his favorite spot, as well, a booth in the corner that faces the doors. All the better to survey the place, and to watch the coming and goings of those visiting the historical bar.\n\nThis is how he notices Huruma's entrance. Green eyes settle first on her face, then on her clothing, and finally, the duffel bag. Anything could be in there. Plus, the woman has some height to her. Thankfully, before his inspection begins to resemble a stare, the man turns his face back down to that delightful scotch in his glass, taking a swig in silent contemplation.\n\nFor all the sway and slink she possesses in public avenues, Huruma does not go too far in before she finds an empty booth to lie down the bag off her shoulder. It isn't stuffed, no, but whatever is in there sounds soft as it thuds against the bench. The bag's intimidating owner sits down across from it, sliding into the booth as if it were a bed of feathers. In a manner of speaking, perhaps- she has likely been running around for days, riding in cramped seats and walking her way around- and under- town. Perhaps she may sleep better, tired.\n\nFingers linked, arms stretch out, up, before they fold down again, stretching back at the shoulder. Her eyes make a cursory second survey of the room, this time to pause on faces in order to inspect them. Whether or not the woman felt him looking, she allows her white eyes to remain for several hard seconds on mister Tully before moving on. One of the few hostesses who do handle the booth business flits into view enough to provide distraction. Huruma obliges, with a purr, a murmur, a quirk of full lips; only the young lady can hear the order, and that is exactly how her patron prefers it.\n\nScotch is a delicious beverage. This is possibly why Griffin has been here drinking for at least an hour. That and he is more than likely an alcoholic, which is probably more the case. But scotch is still delicious. Finishing his who-knows-how-many-th glass, he turns his eyes to the server, raising said empty glass and letting the ice jingle within to call attention to the fact that the alcohol has stopped flowing, and that this is not a very pleasing fact.\n\nThis also affords him another brief glance toward Huruma, brows raising a bit. He takes a good long moment, as well, to ponder if he will speak or not. After careful observation of the woman, he decides, rather on a whim, to strike up a conversation with her. \"Traveling?\"\n\nNobody ever said he had to be GOOD at that part.\n\nThe hostess who sees him as she steps away is plainly apprehensive about getting him another, but chances are that she will, regardless. While the girl is away, the mice will- apparently- play. Huruma's first response to having a conversation initiated in said manner is to give the source a dubious little look. Secondly, she purses her lips lightly and offers a smug, indulgent smile across the aisle to the other booth.\n\n\"No more of it.\" Huruma folds her hands on the table, fingers linking there, weight leaning into the edge. Her voice is dark, her accent providing the customary melody; the aforementioned 'dark', is more of a velvet curtain rather than something maligned, or souring. \"I am already here.\"\n\nThe hostess returns in a timely way, setting down a short-stemmed glass of light red wine in front of the African woman. She has Griffin's fill-up with her as well, yet he has gotten enough of her smiles- there is not much of one this time.\n\nThat always happens. The loss of fake smiles when he's around. It's probably that unsettling aura around him, like he may not be the safest person to be around, despite his slim appearance and exhausted eyes. Taking the next glass, he offers the woman a respectful nod of appreciation; he'll tip well when he finally decides to drag himself home — or to whatever gutter seems comfortable enough to pass out in for a few hours.\n\n\"Welcome to London, then.\" Certainly a native himself, he raises his glass to Huruma. \"What brings you here?\" Tactfully, the man avoids any possibility of speaking about himself. He does like learning about people, though, even if they do seem to have trouble being around him.\n\nHuruma has no such compunctions with his appearance, or his aura. Truth be told, she is only finding simple displeasures in being conversed at. It is not the worst thing, no- but it can sometimes be when you've been flying for a while. She takes her time in tasting the liquid in the glass, and finally sipping it down. Deliberate, sneaking motions manage to not betray her true mood. The glass sits down once again, one of her fingers running along the rim, soon to have a nail gliding down over the side, ponderous.\n\n\"Indeed.\" Huruma watches him, eyes half-lidded and breathing at a rested pace. \"Work-related relocation.\" Well. Technically, yes?\n\n\"A-ha.\" Griffin offers a nod, sipping at his own beverage. And for a long moment, he is simply silent, his green eyes roving around the bar once more, occasionally flitting up to one of the televisions displaying sports. Finally, he speaks again. \"Well, I do hope you enjoy your time here.\" And with that, he goes quiet, chalking this up as another failed attempt at conversation. It happens often, and is thus not much of a concern.\n\nPlus, he has other things to worry about, if only for a brief moment. He flinches, dipping his face down toward the table and closing his eyes, one hand rubbing across his forehead and face. And for now, he seems likely to stay that way, foregoing his drink in favor of holding the sides of his head and staring at said beverage. He seems quite uncomfortable.\n\nThe server rolls her eyes and shakes her head, as if this isn't the first time he's done this.\n\nGriffin's actions goad his company into action, even if it comes out of an obstinate curiosity. You cannot just start something and leave it so hazily. Huruma takes her wine in one hand, slender fingers around the glass, and slides out of the booth. The duffel is not so much left behind as it is left aside; if someone wants to mess with it, they'll need to deal with her, the ungainliness, and very likely some of her dirty clothes. She did not bring anything from home that could not be replaced.\n\nRather than go off and mingle elsewhere, however, Huruma saunters on over to the stranger's booth and perches down on the other side. Blocking the view of the door, yes. Not that he will have much to worry about there- Griffin's issues are more present. And better dressed.\n\n\"Was that your trying too hard to make nice…?\" She croons, crossing one arm over her stomach, the other still holding her glass up. The woman lounges back as if she belonged to the table in the first place. Everywhere is a good place for a cat.\n\nThe man doesn't move; in fact, as the woman comes closer, he seems to shrink oh-so-slightly, if only because he can hear strange things in the back of his mind that nobody else can. Like that this woman is certainly not from anywhere he knows of. At least he can't understand a word that she is thinking; that's some small relief, though it still disquiets him to hear the thoughts of others. He remains as he is for a few beats, though Huruma has asked him a question.\n\nThen, after what seems like a horribly long pause, he relaxes, taking a deep breath. \"Something like that.\" He relaxes slightly, letting out a breath. That 'episode' was more difficult to recover from, certainly. \"Apologies.\" Briefly clearing his throat, he extends a hand toward the woman. \"Griffin Tully.\"\n\nHer thoughts seem to give a feel of her tone, even if not the words. They are playful, though there is something of a static lying in wait underneath all of it. It is enough to add to the unease of the moment. Huruma lifts her brows, tongue clicking on the inside of one cheek. The pupils of her eyes, blessedly, are dilated in the low light, and up close, the lack of color there is likely a bit less alarming because of it. She finishes a mouthful of wine before setting it aside to slip her hand alongside the offered one. As firm a handshake as one could expect from a woman of her nature.\n\n\"…Huruma.\" The hesitation makes it sound as if she shares her name reluctantly. It is likely she debated over telling him something false, instead; but as it turns out, surnames hold the most power in Europe, at least in her experience. Given names can be anything.\n\nBriefly, the man flinches, but quickly recovers this time, taking a drink from his glass with closed eyes. He really does enjoy scotch, and it makes the world a bit less intolerable on top of anything else. But it certainly doesn't help him out much with his little 'defect', as he likes to refer to it (un)lovingly. He offers a fairly genial handshake, glancing down at her hand then back up to her. Not often someone towers over Griffin.\n\n\"A pleasure to meet you, Huruma.\" He smiles faintly, sipping from his beverage once more.\n\n\"You seem like a man who could stand to know more people…\" She quips, lips tightening slightly against one another, a line shifting at the edge of her nose.\n\nWhether out of habit, or something otherwise- Huruma finds her curiosity to get the better of her after a few moments of silence; she forces her mind to see what eyes cannot, prying open that metaphorical shell. Only some of these will ever contain pearls, but one will never find any, if one does not look. Being raised semi-paranoid helps, when you treat everything as potentially hazardous.\n\nThe man peers quietly at Huruma, tilting his head toward his shoulder as he swirls the ice in his glass. \"Possibly, yes. It could work to my advantage. My friends don't often stick around, however. Not these days, at least.\"\n\nAnd then, Huruma is looking at the man's true self. And oh, is it ever a creepy sight to behold. An octopus for a head, claws on his fingers, useless-looking wings, and eerily glowing eyes is the vision that the woman is treated to, down to the tentacles covering his mouth twisting about as if they have minds of their own. Occasionally, a mouth is visible, but not often; this is filled with rows of terrifyingly sharp-looking teeth.\n\nOf course, Griffin doesn't quite realize what she's doing. He just stares for a moment.\n\nThe sudden glaze in her opening eyes is obvious, yet her expression retains its serenity; including after she opens her lips in a tantalized little smile, brows lifting, and chin dipping. He can see that she is entertained by something, that much is clear. Huruma's breath leaves her in a small coo of air, lips forming smoothly over the small sound.\n\n\"What handsome whiskers you have.\" The dark woman leans forward, shoulders rolling and forearms catching her lean onto the table. That smile is wont to cause a bit of sudden unease on its own- especially as it cuts itself as appreciative.\n\nConfusion flits across Griffin's features at Huruma's unsettling expression, and the look only grows upon the following comment. One hand reaches up, feeling at his face to see if he forgot to shave some part of it today. Nope, that all seems to be in working order. Perhaps she is just commenting on his beard. Unless…\n\nThe confusion is replaced with a brief horror. What if she can see the reason why he tries to avoid mirrors when not focusing on his grooming. \"Whiskers?\" He points at his beard. \"Um, thanks for the compliment?\" His brows raise slightly, examining the woman with a more thoughtful look. It couldn't be.\n\nWhiskers is probably a more public friendly term than anything else she could have said. His moment of horror seems to pique her interest- the timing is there, even if his expression is not. Huruma nudges aside the glass of wine on the table, nonchalant in her effort to pry a small bi-fold from the inside of her jacket. Which she immediately flicks open. Any other time, it would be for different matters- but the little mirror she presents there is explanation enough. Isn't it?\n\n\"Not to say your actual beard is not.\" Anything that he might hear coming from her head now, is back into that playful tone, in those languages he cannot understand. Huruma is toying with him, which is obvious even when barring her inward thoughts.\n\nThe reaction to the mirror is almost immediate, with Griffin turning his face away and taking another swig of his scotch — which is almost gone by now, much to his chagrin. He doesn't like looking at that…thing that always looks back at him. \"You can see those things.\" He states this rather obviously, avoiding eye contact for a time. \"You know, then.\" He nods quietly, draining the last of his beverage as he considers his options.\n\nThen, he looks up again, and nearly leaps out of his seat. It is only by a shred of willpower that he doesn't fully freak out.\n\n\"Things? Oh, mchumba.\" In his eyes, she smiles with the fullness of her mouth, a feline grimace, the shadow of a second set of teeth just behind the first. The bare, bloody black skin with its scars stands out as it is- her eyes are like twin moons, featureless under the lids. They blaze with some manner of indeterminate light, watching him with supernatural stillness. \"Things we are not.\" She lifts one clawed hand to take her drink back, draining it before she rises again.\n\n\"Have pride.\" Huruma's voice vibrates with a mote of it, the long tongue in her mouth finally flicking out, over the edge of her mouth. \"You survived.\" A hiss of air escapes her lungs as she turns, the golden skull swinging from the coils of gold chain at her neck. The shape is striking, moving with the same grace as she had when she came inside. The hostess passing by sees nothing.\n\n\"Keep your head on your shoulders, ndugu.\" Brother. Huruma turns from him completely now, shape flickering in his Sight, as she goes around the otherwise mundane motions of paying for the drink, and gathering her bag to leave. Huruma offers no technical farewell. Perhaps as she is certain she will see him again. At some point, near or far.\n\nIt is a small world.\n"
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