Of Gyros and Autographs and Cats and Things

May 22, 2016:

Wrapping up a JL:A appearance, Tigra meets Nerina. Conversation follows, then it turns a bit weird.

Metropolis - Centennial Park

Established in 1860, the spanse known as Centennial Park is positioned in
the center of the New Troy island, the city's largest recreation area which
spans from Midtown all the way to Downtown and skirts the Suicide Slums.

Around the ouskirts paths wind their way into the light mottling of trees
and flower beds, where the serenity and tranquility from the hustle and
bustle of the city can be left behind and slowly blocked from eyes and ears.
Open spaces allow for different activities with families as well as golfing,
small vendors set up booths to sell wares, snacks and every so often a stage
will go up to cater to a larger event that cuts through some of the
tranquility.

In another area there is a hedge maze, once extremely difficult, over the
years it has been sized down because of complaints of people getting lost in
its paths for days, if not more.

Cutting through the middle of the park is a twenty-eight million gallon
reservoir populated by forty-six thousand species of fish and open to
boating, while on the west side of the canal a few wooded acres are set
aside to cater to more privacy from the rest, also having trails for things
such as hiking and horseback riding.

Though, what tends to bring the visitors and sight seers to the brink of
this large park is the large monolithic statue of Superman, who oversees the
city of Metropolis as a whole and now calls it home.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions: superman

Plot:

Mood Music: None.


Fade In…

A nice, sunny day in Metropolis makes a good reason for Centennial Park to be active. Combined with it being Sunday, and many areas of the large space are occupied with families, tourists, and more. Some hike, while others explore on horseback. The reservoir is a main focus, and a number of vendors seem occupied with thinking about how much money the day will bring them.

The Superman statue is also popular among the visitors, and someone else from the Justice League: Alliance can be found not far away, wrapping up a small public appearance intended more for the children. Instead, it turned into something a little larger that drew a crowd with a wider range to their time on this planet, but it remained peaceful enough.

Peaceful enough, that is, in spite of a tail that may have been yanked a couple times too many, for it's wrapped quite close to the striped cat-woman as the crowd disperses following whatever the gathering was all about. To be sure, Tigra looks somewhat flustered while still managing a cheerful enough expression.


Wandering across the park from the pond front, a young blonde weaves through the dispersing crowd and pauses to take a bite out of the foil-wrapped gyro in her hand. Her face and hair are sun-bleached to a light walnut and platinum that disappear quickly in the shuffle of taller visitors - even some of the children overshadow her slender frame. A light breeze scented with trees rustles her loose gray sweater; in this weather offering shade more than warmth.

Her blue eyes peek around the shifting bodies to find the source of the gathering until they finally catch sight of Tigra. Nerina tilts her head to the side as she eyeballs the curiosity and chews another bite.


There's a banner up with the JL:A logo and other stuff on it. It even has Tigra's name showing, along with the word 'Meet' in front of it. With her having been met, helpers are already breaking things down so others can make use of the area. No time to waste.

The wide variety of scents to go with the equally unique people does more to blend it all together than not, though some things do stand out more than others. Even with the trees and more natural spaces close by, the general smell of the city can still be picked out by those with the senses for it. At least this city is cleaner than many. Given that, certain things that are of a higher priority to the feline cause her to devote more attention to them. Food is one thing, and as her tail curls protectively around a leg, she tilts her head in the direction of the vendors.


Nerina's human senses are blessedly noise-blind to the city smells beyond the park, letting her enjoy the perfume of water and nature unmolested - the wafting smell of hot food from the nearby street vendors doesn't count.

With the crowd further dispersed and tear-down begun on the banner overhead, the nymph draws closer, only to stop and change her mind, continuing to watch from a distance. It's not quite far enough to keep her own distinctive scent from mingling on the wind, carrying a mix of pond-water and salt when it's not overshadowed by the tzatziki-smeared lamb in her wrap.


A few people linger just beyond that range of 'trying too hard to be noticed,' as if they're too nervous to approach Tigra while hoping she'll be the one to initiate conversation. They end up more or less ignored, unfortunately for them. As the rest of the crowd thins further and most of them go off to enjoy other things, that sniffing eventually leads the striped woman's attention toward none other than Nerina.

A fangy grin follows.

Whether that's good or bad, the woman isn't given very long to think about it, for Greer strides more confidently in her direction, tail uncurling to take a more natural position behind her, the tip flicking side to side. "Hey there. That smells good. Where'd you get it?" A finger, claw surely visible, gestures toward the partially-eaten gyro.


Nerina finds herself looking up in surprise as Tigra approaches briskly. The werecat looked smaller from a distance - well at least a little smaller. She holds up her food and then points towards the left-most stall of the vendors, whose sign at the moment is turned out of view.

"Over there," she answers with a strong lilt of the Italian accent that's become so well-rooted in much of the north-east. "This is… agnello, uh… lamb."


Tigra has the demeanor of someone comfortable around others, contrary to what one might expect given her appearance being so abnormal. Let others be the ones to deal with it! She's going to be herself.

The hand that was used for the pointing lowers to settle at a hip, her gaze following the gesture toward the stall in question. "Hmm. Not too expensive, is it? Some of these guys like to stick it to the tourists a little," she asks and says with that grin sticking around. "Either way, it looks like it's worth it."


The young blonde nods, not emoting strongly one way or another. Rather than exuding confidence or hesitation, Nerina just seems mostly neutral - she's not offering much of a smile either, though her eyes dip down enough to notice Tigra's own teeth.

"The price was okay," she assures, then pauses for a moment. "Who…" her eyes dip further down at all of Tigra's, well, fur. "are you?"


One might suspect Tigra does this - whatever 'this' is - just to see how others react. More than that, what she's doing isn't even that bad! One thing she's definitely doing is trying to 'read' Nerina, see how she's handling the attention, the focus. Is she comfortable or not? Apprehensive? Things like that.

After crossing her arms in front of her, Tigra shifts to jerk a thumb back toward the banner. "Says it right..oh." It's already been folded up, but at that moment a child of about five breaks away from his parents and runs up to her.

"Tigra! Tigra! Can I have your autograph?" he pleads, tugging at her hand. At least it's not the tail (again).

She casts a quick glance toward Nerina as if to say 'There you go,' then she puts on a wide smile and crouches down to get on more of a level with the kid. "You want my autograph?" When he bobs his head eagerly and holds out a marker and one of the promo pictures he apparently got from earlier, some silly thing with her pretending (probably) to go at it with an oversized scratching post, she taps her chin thoughtfully.

"Sure thing, sport." Sport? Did she just call him 'sport?' "What's your name?"

"BILLY!"

There's just a split second of freezing in place, but Tigra does just that before she clears her throat and scrawls out a few words on the photo, accenting the 'T' of her name with a tail-like curl to it. "There you go. Now where are your parents? Over there?" She spots them watching, and she pats him on the shoulder. "You be careful, and stay close to your mom and dad. They'll take care of you and keep you safe." He thanks her and goes in for as big a hug as he can give, which she carefully returns, and with that over with she straightens back up, flashes Nerina one of those looks that says 'what can you do?' and says, "Comes with the job, right?"


Nerina covers her mouth to hide a smile and turns to wander a short distance away, casting her gaze over the shining water of the pond while Tigra pens an autograph. She peeks back out the corner of her eye until the child is back off to his parents and lets out a long sigh. When she walks back, the nymph's managed a little smile which she offers the werecat.

"You are very popolare," she notes in surprise.


Tigra gives a shrug to that, and while she doesn't know any Italian it isn't hard to figure out the word that's used. "Kids can be little monsters sometimes, but I'll take a tugged tail over being shot at." Pause. "Usually. Some of them have quite a grip."

With that whole interlude over and done with, it gives her the chance to follow up with a couple basic questions. "Now that you know my name, what's yours? And what brings you to Centennial Park today, aside from the food?"


"My name is Nerina," the young woman offers with well-practiced fluidity. "I'm just enjoying nature - and-a little shopping," she adds, patting the day bag on her back. With one hand holding food, the other one makes up for it with active gesturing. "I'm surprised you're so populare with people as a mutante, you look…" As Nerina sweeps the height of Tigra's body a lot of words come to mind. What wins out is, "dangerous."


"Nerina," Tigra repeats with a nod. "Well, Nerina," said a second time whether it's just to get the pronunciation down or to 'taste' it in some way, "it looks like there's a lot going on here today, so you picked a good time to wander. As for me?" The tail flicks again, seemingly cognizant of the focus on her.

"Honestly, I think being part of the JL:A helps with some of that, but people seem pretty accepting here in Metropolis. I mean, everyone knows Superman's from another planet and he's got a statue here. How strange does that make me in comparison? I know I stand out, but it's all relative." There does come a little wink at the word chosen at the end. "Mmhmm. Probably."


"The Justice League," Nerina echoes, familiar at least with that. "So you stop crimes. Other than the artigli, do you have any other powers?" she asks while miming Tigra's claws by curling her fingers.


Tigra nods once. "We stop crimes, we save the world sometimes, and we even take pictures with babies who are drooling all over our fur. Well, all over my fur." There's probably a spot or two that's already drying up, but..well, she stops to lick the back of her hand a few times like it's completely natural before going on after figuring out what Nerina means with the 'claws' and 'artigli.'

"If you mean beyond the catlike senses, reflexes, and all that? Nah, not really. Much more than that and I'd be way too cool," she declares, that fangy grin back again.


Nerina seems to take the licking in stride although her own hand twitches a little as Tigra cleans herself. "So then how do you survive… guns?" She asks simply.


Tigra considers this for a moment, her eyes sliding back over toward the gyro stand, then she shrugs. "Try not to get shot in the first place?" That seems like a reasonable concept, right?


"I did not think cats could dodge bullets," Nerina laughs softly. Noticing Tigra's gaze, she nods her head towards the stand and gesture broadly with her arm. "If you're hungry, go eat."


"Bet you didn't think they could walk upright and talk either," Tigra jokes. If the twist of her grin isn't enough of a sign, maybe the flicking of her tail is. "Anyway, stuff heals up, you know. Avoiding having to deal with that in the first place is always better." She's nodding to the last part, adding, "Oh, I will. Don't you worry about that."


"Vero," Nerina admits with a giggle. With her success so far, the Italian girl tries another question and gestures Tigra's form again. "How did you… become this? Mutante or… something else?"


Tigra takes a moment to consider how to answer this particular question. "Well, you see, when a cat and a person.." She makes a face, cutting herself off in the middle of the joke. "Nevermind. I can't even go there. Not a mutant, though. Call it something else." That 'something else' goes unexplained, so far.


Nerina quirks an eyebrow and furrows her brow as she thinks on that. "So you're a… combination?" She guesses in a more subdued tone. "From a lab?" That joke might not have crossed the language barrier.


Tigra keeps watch on their surroundings. You never know just who's around, good or bad. "A combination? I..guess that's one way of putting it, but no. I wasn't made in a lab." Though, if she had to admit it, the involvement of labs in general did pave the way to what eventually happened. That's not said aloud, though. "It's complicated," she notes with a shrug, adding, "But some things need to stay secret for most."


Nerina nods and a look of pity that was growing on her features disappears in a warm ray of sunlight. Her blue eyes glance down again, this time to Tigra's collar. Even that small gesture brings out the difference in their physiques, which might be some twenty pounds of feline sinew.

"Did you want to?"


More of that 'reading' going on, likely Tigra trying to figure out why Nerina was going with this line of questioning without openly asking her about it. The shift toward apparent relief is noted, if not commented on, only for her to wonder, "Want to what? Eat?"


"Be a gatto," Nerina answers bluntly as she gestures again to all of the fur Tigra is showing. There's a light of interest in her eyes but like before the girl's expression is more muted than her tone and it's hard to tell curiosity from concern. Despite looking young enough to be in high school, the Italian tourist? doesn't seem to wear her heart on her sleeve.

"Uh… a cat," she corrects.


"Oh." Gatto. Close enough to gato in Spanish for Tigra to figure that out, as if the indicating of her fur and stripes and all that wasn't enough. She halts the step she'd begun taking toward that gyro stand, rubbing 'round an ear. Usually at least mostly hidden by her hair, signs of a pointed tip can be made out now. "Guess you could say I had a choice, though it wasn't really a hard one to make in the end. So whether I wanted it or not doesn't really matter." Looking at her, does she seem to hate how she ended up?


Nerina nods and brightens a little more at Tigra's answer. "Well, you look nice. You have a good body," she offers. No doubt she's the first one to say *that* to Tigra today - right?


Amusement flashes and Tigra says, "Thanks. I've heard that a few times today, but there were a few guys who put it a bit differently. I may or may not have hissed at one."


The blonde girl giggles at that. "You are showing a lot of…" Nerina gives up and gestures down her sweater at everything she's not showing beneath it. "Pelliccia. Are you not cold?"


Tigra clears her throat, adding, "They got the hint before I had to go any further. Usually even the dumbest people can figure out what hissing means." This is waved off, or maybe the question of her in relation to what Nerina's got on is. "Hmm? Weather's fine, at least to me. Are you saying you're cold here?"


"If I dressed like you I would be," Nerina replies.


"But there's the difference," Tigra answers, directing one of those pointy fingers right at Nerina. "You have no..pelliccia, or whatever you just said." She's assuming the meaning now, based on the gestures from before. "So for me, it's not a problem."


"But in two more months I will be comfortable and you will be hot," Nerina rebuts, growing into a little catty playfulness as she acclimates to the feline. Her eyes fall upon Tigra's prominent claw again and she quickly swipes the back of her hand up it, almost instantly opening a red line between her thumb and index finger.

The girl looks curiously at the cut and smiles in amusement. "Wow, you have sharp artiglio," she remarks before sticking the fat of her hand into her mouth and sucking on the wound.


Tigra sniffs once. "I have my ways of dealing with—" However, she cuts off because before she's finished, before she's even drawn her hand back within her own area of personal space, the other woman does something she would have never expected in, apparently, getting herself scratched on purpose.

This leads to her taking a couple steps back just to stare and squint at the reaction, which only causes more staring to follow. "What in the world did you do that for?" she all but demands, the tail lashing a couple times, her expression hinting at initial confusion.


Nerina takes her hand back out of her mouth long enough to answer, exposing a red smear that shines as fresh blood already leaks freely along its edge. "I was curious," she replies with a note of cheer before muffling herself again.


The answer causes Tigra to shake her head a few times. "I'm supposed to be the curious one, and I don't go around cutting myself on purpose, or cutting myself on others," she huffs. Not a chuff, because that would mean something entirely different.


The edges of Nerina's lips curl into a mild smile as she sucks on her wound. "I'm fine," she assures in another break. By now Tigra's heightened scenes can probably spot the tell-tale coppery scent she helped create.


Tigra still looks somewhat put off by this, leading to her saying quickly, "Good, because if I hear later on that I attacked some random person in the park, I will come find you and we will have words." No, she doesn't promise more scratches. When she inhales, it should be no surprise she catches as much of Nerina's scent as she can, including the smell of the blood, and her tail lashes again side to side.

For some reason, this shift has led to a change in her demeanor to the point she turns to excuse herself with a cryptic, "See you around, maybe," the gyro stand forgotten given the fact she's moving in a direction away from it.


Nerina giggles at the werecat's sudden flightiness and takes her hand from her mouth again to point with it, red mark and all, back towards the gyro stand. "The food is that way."


Tigra simply leaves, but not without one more agitated dart of the tail before she disappears around a bend.


That just makes the girl giggle more as she licks the blood from her hand. Beneath the pink stain, the wound itself has already vanished.

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