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Dramatis Personae

Nom, Sebastian




<XS> Lake

Bright, bright, bright; the lake glitters wide and expansive here, stretching off into the distance. Sunlight, moonlight, starlight, it catches them all. Lapping at the rocky shore, its deep waters are frigid in winter and cool even in summer. A stone pier stretches out a ways into the water, wide and smooth, though often icy in winter.

The water teems with life nevertheless, home to myriad species of fish that provide for ample fishing or just lazy watching on a slow summer day, for those who want to take a boat from the boathouse out to the center of the lake, or perhaps lounge on the pier and try their luck.

It's a sunny-ish afternooon, cool and crisp but pleasant enough. The school grounds are bustling, students out enjoying the day -- enjoying it with the /fervent/ devotion of procrastination on all the things they /should/ be doing before classes resume again. Out on the rocky pier there is one diminutive figure, tiny and blue-skinned perched on the edge of the rocks, an androgynous-amphibious form crouched beside a small stack of books.

Perhaps B /hasn't/ been procrastinating on homework; there's a notebook open with neat rows of Spanish notes printed but at the /moment/ the teenager is not homeworking but peering down into the water, enormous black eyes opened wide and clawed hand curled against the edge of the stones. Dressed in oversized black hoodie (it reads 'HERBIVORE' in a yellow cross over the breast), chunky black ankle boots studded in silver, tight black jeans (also silver-studded up their seams), purple sleeveless top spangled with glittery silver stars, the sleeves of the hoodie have been rolled up past the elbow. The better to stay dry for the quick-darting /swipe/ down into the water, for a /very/ brief moment razor-sharp teeth bare in a triumphant grin. Just a moment, then the smile fades; the clawed hand pulls back with a wriggling-writhing bluegill held fast. VICTORY.

It is not too long after that that strange, amorphous shape slices through the water, it's form ever changing to suit the needs of coasting through the water. The shadow grows larger as it grows closer to the surface, and then it breaches the surface with a spray of water, landing on the shore. It's flesh-colored, and seems to be a mass of gleaming talons and flashing teeth. Too many mouths on its round center mass and tendrils, and more. Almost like a grotesque 'web-slinger' of sorts, a tendril of raw muscle fires from it to a tree above, and helps it right itself. Before much else can be said, it trembles and resolves into 'Nom's 'normal form', only slightly feminine in build and clad in a black wet-suit like contraption. This has the side-effect of dropping several fish from some internal pouch onto the ground.

The girl crouches like some sort of frog or raccoon and begins to toss food into her suddenly too-wide mouth, the fish disappearing with a series of crunches. The girl makes many satisfied sounds as she does this. Apparently not up to date on current social conventions. Then... she notices 'B's bluegill. The expression on her face is nothing short of envy. Despite the fact that she has... plenty of fish.

B's eyes grow enormously wider at the shape that emerges onto the shore, huge pools of black that dominate hir narrow face. "/Woah/." Hir claws sink hard into the writhing fish and ze skirts backwards a couple steps on the pier, watching the huge -- /shape/ with open fascination. "Wha -- /woah/." Hir grip on the fish doesn't let up, hir other hand still clenched down against the stone. It's only when Nom resolves back into more humanoid shape that anything more like conversation comes out of hir, a tiny-shy smile spreading across hir face. "That's -- /so cool/."

B's head tips down, looking at the bluegill and then at Nom's pile of fish. Down at the bluegill, up a Nom's pile of fish. "-- I'll trade you for a pumpkinseed?" ze offers finally, one thin arm lifting to hold out the bluegill.

Nom looks at the fish longingly for a couple of minutes, a gravelly grinding sound escaping the back of her throat. Swallowing bones? Her mouth resolves into a more normal shape, though when her mouth opens, she still seems to have a lethal case of 'lamprey-mouth'. Several sounds come from her mouth. Oddly enough, rather than a sound, her face resolves into a toothy smile, and she straightens up, as if remembering: Oh yeah. I'm human! Nevermind that this person looks mildly like food. Everything does. The rule is: If it communicates, it's not food. Also, it complimented her, and she LIKES that. Her hand snakes down in a tendril to snatch her fish up and into the scoop her other hand fans out into. She strides over to examin hir.

"Ain't... gotsen... seed." Like she's not used to speaking. "Sss... Nom." She points to herself. Then at B,"Not-Nom?" Really, she's asking what his name is, not whether he's food. The shy smile probably telegraphs her good intentions though... right?

B's eyes lock on Nom's teeth, wide still though this seems more /intrigued/ than afraid -- perhaps this might be due to the excessively sharp shark-teeth briefly visible in hir own mouth when ze speaks. "Oh -- hm. What /do/ you have?" Hir nostrils flare, head craning forward slightly to -- sniff? Sniff-sniff-sniff, towards the scoopful of fish Nom carries. The hairless ridge of hir brow furrows together at Nom's questioning. "Nom? I have noms." Ze holds up the fish, still flopping-gasping in the air. And drops it into Nom's pile. "I'm B," ze introduces hirself, claw tapping at hir sparkly-starred chest. "Are you new here?"

The girl watches the boy sniff. Her nose pulls forward off her face on a sort of tentacle, and a moment later, it's sniffing B. She shrugs and retracts it. Then, with quite a bit of obvious mental effort, she selects some large fresh-water variety of fish, and holds it out to B. A peace offering? A gift? She points at herself,"Nom." Then at Sebastian,"B." As to the question of 'new'? She nods. Then she explains,"Speak... hard." She makes a finger-gun, points it at her temple, and makes a gunfire sound with her mouth,"BOOM. Speak hard, now." Recovering language skills? She's finding it difficult. A mouth suddenly opens on her belly, wide and full of teeth. She dumps the rest of the fish in it, and smiles,"Mmmm."

"Woah /cool/," B chirrups again, bouncing slightly on the toes of hir boots at the rearrangement of facial features. Hir hands clap together before reaching out for the fish, taking it in both hands. "Wait, your /name/ is Nom?" Hir brows lift again, another tiny closed-lipped smile flitting across hir face. "Hi -- woah." This time it's not a /cool/ sort of woah, just wide-eyed and a little dismayed. "Someone /shot/ you? Wherewhy?" Hir nose wrinkles up, head dipping with a small unhappy shake. /Not/cool. Ze opens hir mouth, tearing a mouthful of flesh off the fish with a small pleased hum.

Hir eyes widen /again/ at the trick with the new mouth, though, and hir hands lower, chewing frozen briefly in just stunned appreciation. It takes a moment to remember to /keep/ chewing. Swallow. Swipe tongue against lips. "... that. Must. Save a lot of time. Uh woah. I mean wow. I'm starting to get the nom thing. Where'd you get in from? Before here, I mean?"

She nods with a happy, toothy smile when B complements her, and again when asked if her name is 'Nom'. When asked about the where and why of the shooting, she can only shrug helplessly. "Shoot. Brain. Longtime heal." She strokes her fingers along her chin thoughtfully, then plops down on the pier and starts picking splinters off of it. It's almost absent-minded the way she pops them in her mouth, chews, and swallows. Like someone eating chips,"Screaming. Violence. Hungry. Angry. Food. Always hungry. Bald. Give medicine. Less hungry. Thinkright." She looks very distressed about this.

"Gave girl pills. Girl clothes." She makes another toothy smile. "Good things. Good place. Good people." She wraps her arms around herself in a hug, and squeezes. Indeed, her face looks downright beatific for a moment.

B's brow pulls together at this, slowly, expression just falling into concentration as though he's trying to make sense of this explanation. "Does that taste good? We could probably get you more real food?" Ze waves a hand back across the huge lawn towards the distant mansion. "The kitchen's always full of food." Ze rocks back to sit down properly on the pier, lips pressing together with a small echo of Nom's distress flashing across hir own face at the disjointed story. "Kind of a lot of violence out in the world. They -- try to keep it out of here." Hir small-shy smile returns. "They are good people. And I like girlclothes." Though the mention of girl /pills/ just makes hir blush, gleaming-blue cheeks flushing nearer to purple. "And good doctors here, too. Can -- hopefully help. With the healing. Because /brain/ shooting is -- that's really rough. {I'm sorry.}" These last two words aren't in English, spoken instead in quiet Vietnamese, though the /tone/ of apology is clear enough across language barriers.

"No. Just hungry. Always hungry." The last statement from the girl carries a nearly heart-breaking tone. She even gives B her best 'I've never been fed, ever' face. She pops up on her feet though, and makes grabby-motions in the direction of one of B's hands, then points at the house,"Show." Pause. "Brain fix-self... Know-talk gone. Learning." In other words, the brain damage is healed or healing. The memory of how to speak has not come back. "Am violence. Am hunger." She bounces up and down in a gleeful manner though,"Girlclothes." She points at Sebastian, and exclaims,"Dresses! Skirts! Woosh!" She spins about, as if twirling in some imaginary ballroom gown. Cheerful at least. Still, as for the apology? Body-language and tone are easier. "Okay. Better now!" She points at B's face, and asks,"Makeup?"

B dips hir head, wolfing down the rest of the fish Nom gave hir -- bones and all -- and stoops over the water to wash hir hands in the lake. "I get hungry kind of a lot. The kitchen has a ton of food. I can show you." Ze pulls hir hands out of the water, shaking them hard to flick the wet off them. Ze presses the back of hir hand to hir lips, stifling a giggle. "Skirts are pretty great. Oh!" Hir eyes widen, lighting briefly. "I have /so/ much makeup. -- OK, actually I only have /some/ makeup, then I steal a lot of makeup from my Pa? But it comes out to the same thing. My Pa has /so/ much makeup," ze says with another giggle, "and I use it. It's really glittery." Ze dries hir hands against hir sweatshirt, gathering hir textbooks into hir backpack and standing. "I could show you. If you like glitter anyway."

"Always hungry. Never stop." More sad panda eyes. "Kitchen eats. Six per day." She taps a finger against her chin in thought,"Like food. Glitter. Makeup. Dresses. Boys. Cartoons. Food." Of course, she says food twice. "Showshow! Show pamakeup! Glitter! Please!" Definitely effusive and enthusiastic about this whole makeup and glitter thing. Tongue far too long, she licks the fish bits and blood off her face, shakes the water off herself, and points at the house again,"Lead."

B swings hir backpack up onto hir shoulder, bouncing slightly on the toes of hir boots. "Makeup and dresses I can help you with. And oh gosh if you like glitter you are gonna /love/ my Pa. He teaches art here. And baking! You should /so/ sign up for one of his classes." Hir smile now is just a little bit brighter, as ze starts to lead the way back towards the mansion. "Sometimes you can put glitter /on/ the cupcakes. That's like /two/ of the best thing together. -- I think," ze says brightly, "you're going to like it here."