Out Here All Night

Southeast Portland 
#21
 Giovanna’s mouth curved up at the woman’s clear dismissal of the suggestion. It was always better to check. Humans, and sometimes witches, could be terribly romantic at the prospect of immortality. She gladly blamed pop culture for the fascination. But had Madeline been a shifter, Giovanna’s speech would have been slightly different—given her an offer, perhaps? No. Likely not, as much as a meal of shifter blood sounded like heaven after several years of stubborn abstinence. She had done the sire thing once, and that was plenty.

 “Both, honestly,” Giovanna said, letting candor do the heavy lifting. “Mine usually stick to the fringes. Isolationists at heart. I was not content with that existence—too boring after the first century.” She grinned, the pointed ends of her canines showing beneath dark lips. “So I made some…important decisions after the Second World War that catapulted me to a more desirable place.” Eventually, she would need to bow out. Thankfully, that time had not come. She could age herself creatively when her time was up—perhaps claim to be her own daughter in the future. The list of ideas to maintain the charade of living grew ever-longer.
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#22
 She wasn't a kitten, some sweet pet of an animal that posed no real risk of harm, but there was comfort in the knowledge that one way or the other she wasn't the ideal candidate for a meal. Allowed her the slight flexibility in questioning that kept things interesting as she tried not to stare at the tiniest flash of teeth. "Question for you," Fleeting concerns that it would come across threatening but deciding that it didn't seem like too much of a risk.

 "Do you ever think that as time goes on, with people putting more of their lives out there, that this is all going to blow up one day?" Not just about vampires, though being young and beautiful for a multitude of decades could certainly lead to some hard to answer questions. Rather a heavy cloth that pressed in and on the whole lot of them, as different as they were.
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#23
 “That we shall all be forced into the sunlight? Giovanna asked, amused. “I believe it is coming, yes.” She examined her fingernails again, lamenting over a chip in the polish that had occurred in the last little while. Aggravating. “But we will carry on. Just as your kind has found a way to hide in plain sight, so has mine.” She shrugged—an elegant move that only rustled the curls around her shoulders. “They can’t kill us all—and if the word gets out, the worship will begin.” Giovanna looked away, staring intently at the wall. You have likely never experienced that since you can only multiply by reproduction, but I know it well enough that I don’t plan to advertise.”

 Discomfort struck her like a hammer, causing her to squirm in her seat. Timelessness sounded superior to some—even she benefited from a few extra lifetimes—but if it ended as a constant competition for resources...Giovanna didn’t wish to indulge these thoughts any longer. “You’re young,” she observed, head whipping back to look at Madeline. “You certainly know that the world has talked for centuries, just not quite as much as they are talking now. Are you more concerned about the explosion itself or its aftershocks?”
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#24
 It wasn't really something she'd thought to dwell on before, but now that the vampire across the room had mentioned it ... the worship. She wrinkled her nose at the idea of the sort of people who would cower and the types who would come running. Advertisements, seedy deals, people desperate to throw money and hope to find a vampire who wouldn't kill them instead of turn them. A fetish for some, surely. A shit show for everyone, that felt hard to argue no matter your perspective on the playing field.

 "I don't think you have to worry about the explosion itself unless you're at the core when it happens. There will, I assume, be a couple of weeks where people are just freaking out and spitballing theories, but -" She tapped her pen a few times, clicked it twice for good measure and made herself stop as to avoid becoming trying. "It's after that where I'm worried. The legislation, the hate groups on all sides - maybe I'm just being very tin foil hat about all of it though." It was hard to mask that she didn't think that was the case in the slightest.
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#25
 Madeline’s facial expression mirrored the disgust within Giovanna. Though her pool of potential progenies was smaller than that of a reaper, the idea that some desperate shifter might come to her for rescue from sharing their body with a beast made her sick. Even centuries later, Giovanna missed the lynx—not the fur or the chaos of a clan of thirty men and women plus their children shifting once a month, but the understanding she and her beast had reached when she was young. It made her nostalgic enough to vomit. That, on top of the nausea she felt at the idea that someone might want freedom from that warm life, made her pick up her phone again. A small security blanket to get her feet back to the ground.

 She listened then to the other woman, ears sharply aware of the nervous pen-tapping. She did have a point. Though, Giovanna rather thought it didn’t matter where the bomb would first trigger. Hell, it might even be more effective as an organized strike, though no person with such intentions like that had come to her for advice. And could one even call the immediate results aftershocks? It sounded like more explosions to her.

 “No,” she said slowly, choosing words. “Those are valid fears. But the fact remains—they cannot locate nor identify us without the help of our own kind. Are you worried that some have flipped?” Vampires who wished to kill other vampires? Giovanna almost rolled her eyes. There might be sport in it, yes, but absolutely no reward. Had she actively hunted a shifter recently, perhaps she might feel differently, but as it stood, she didn’t see a point. Eoin and his crew were righteous fools, yes, but at least their silly crusades ended in a meal. That at least made sense. “The regulation would fall hardest on me and mine.” She nearly sneered at the end. “Watch us, and you’ll know most of my curtains are closed during the day, and I only go out at night.” But she wasn’t an idiot—having a breather at home felt very like having a pet, and a kitchen, one of their toys. “You? Nearly invisible.”
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#26
 Nearly invisible. And wasn't that the goal, really? In every sense of her existence - sure, as a witch hidden in plain sight - but even as an individual? And while it didn't feel insulting in the slightest, there was a sense of doubt. That things would really be that smooth, that there wouldn't be some heinous person or creature more than happy to serve as a bloodhound if it meant protection for their own skin. All the same she was right, vampires would perhaps be the easiest to pluck, a trickle down effect of destruction that had her rubbing her hands together under her desk somewhat nervously.

Campfire horror stories, a dog-earred bit of pulp fiction, probably not real. Not anytime soon, for certain.

 "I don't know anyone to be concerned about, but it just makes sense that sooner or later someone's going to fuck up the perfect streak." Shrugging her shoulders. "I guess it could be lucrative for some witches, but I don't think anyone thinks the lifelong headache would be worth it." It could be lucrative for her, theoretically ... though the idea of doing anything so entirely self-driven and mad was hard to even entertain.
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