The carnival had cleared out and with Jeans help, the big cats were dressed down and groomed for the night. Kerr let the tamer know that she’d get their food handled and to go get herself something to eat. It had been about two weeks but she was getting used to the modern binder and had even started wearing her work clothes a bit more kempt (instead of untucked and loose in order to hide her curves). It worked better and made her feel more confident in her appearance. Edward treating her as if she wasn’t strange for keeping up the ruse, despite not having to worry about the law anymore, also helped.
“Here you go King. Pretty boy.” She said, setting the large flank of meat down and laughing as he nuzzled her. Kerr gave his mane a scruff before leaving the cage. Sheeba was already gnawing at her dinner. She moved over the wash bucket and washed her hands. The tiger sniffed and she looked up and turned, seeing someone who looked like they might be lost. Tall, thin, Kerr tried to remember if she’d seen him around before. “‘Ey. Lost?”
Marty was still getting the layout memorized when he quietly spied someone in the animal cages. Definitely some sort of non-binary person but intense and quite beautiful. He made his way further in and watched them until they finally looked up and spoke. Beautiful and so corruptible, he loved them already. “Was that, innit? Looks like I’ve found the most gorgeous person ‘ere though.” He couldn’t help but lay it on thick, people seemed to love that about him and it worked in getting what he needed on a regular basis.
At this point, someone might notice how dim he was and from behind Kerr the tiger growled at him. Dumb animals couldn’t hide their mistrust. “Marty, new talker.” He said extending a dim hand to Kerr’s.
Kerr was a bit speechless for a moment, not used to someone being so forward. And not used to someone showing her attention. Jean had, but they came to an understanding and they were friendly now. Then Edward had recently… was there something about being in the future? Maybe something funny was going on. Being nothing most of her life and now… people were noticing her.
“Shhh Sheeba, it’s okay. Zion’s a safe place, remember.” The big cat sniffed a warning and went back to its food. Kerr shook Marty’s hand with a nod. “Kerr.” She introduced herself, not acknowledging the previous comments. “All the animals are tame, but best to keep away from the bigger ones without a keeper or tamer near.”
He smirked at her as she not so subtly dodged his comments. “Are you then? Tame or wild?” He chuckled and shook his head as he walked up close to her. “Funny thing about dangerous animals is that somehow they still get captured.” That last part was said in her ear as he passed her.
“You could spend your whole life in fear of them but all you have to do is pop down to a zoo and face your fears.” He huffed in a dark laugh. When he came back to face her his smirk wasn’t flirtatious as much as predatory.
Kerr grabbed the bucket that held the meat and carried it to a barrel with water. She transferred some of the water into the bucket with a ladle, sloshed it around and used her rag to wipe it out, letting the water to the ground in an area clearly muddy from other such actions. She then hung the bucket up. “One thing to see a game animal through the bars of a cage. Another face to face.” She said, that accent of hers lingering with her words. Since talking to Edward, it had come back a bit more than before. “You should watch the big cat show. See them without bars.” Of course both the big cats were behaved. Well, since December. Kerr’s newly realized powers helped. A few times she’d been able to sense the agitation of one of the cats and calm it or give Jean a heads up so the show could be altered while the cat was kept off stage- or pulled from the show early.
“And if you think King and Sheeba are ‘captured’, then you’re mistaken.” Kerr had learned a bit of how they’d come to be in Zion. It had bothered her that Kristoph- or anyone would have taken one of these beautiful animals from their home. The goats and horses and chickens and sheep were farm animals. But the cats… how could anyone be okay with that?
A chuckle came from his lips at that, finding a spot near the big cat cages to peer inside at them. Sheeba wasn’t having it and hissed at him before he jumped back from the cage. “Oi, your cats are a bit on the rude side innit? Won’t be going near them anytime soon.” He winced like he’d been physically hurt but really it was only his pride that had been wounded. Yet even still he was persistent. He came up to her and offered her a winning smile.
“What do you say I take you away from the animals for a bit and we can…” he eyed her from top to bottom before finishing his sentence. “...get to know each other a bit more, yeah?” Pickup lines like this rarely worked but it was at least entertaining enough to see how it made some people uncomfortable.
“Just have a good judge of character.” She chuckled. Though they really didn’t like Edward either, but the vampire had been nothing but kind to her. Which only told her that Marty was likely something other than human- which was a pretty open array of options.
The pick up line sort of went over her head, but she nodded. “Was about to grab some grub. Just have to run by m’tent t’change m’shirt.” It had gotten quite grimy over the day and while part of her didn’t care, Edward had her taking a bit more pride- or having more confidence at least- in the way she looked. So, she’d started to wear the one of the modern day shirts when she dined in the cookhouse.
Kerr gestured to the other side of the pens where her tent was set. Having her own space also helped her keep her stuff clean enough to care about what she wore- it was a slow growth.
Her joke brought a smirk to his face and when she offered to bring him along for food he happily obliged. “That is indeed a lovely offer.” Marty had a sense about people and could see that offering to watch her change her shirt wasn’t exactly Kerr’s style. “Mess halls which direction?” He didn’t know what Carnie’s had, or what their food situation would be like, seemingly popping into the future from a hundred years in the past.
There was still so much that intrigued Marty about this place, and while he had many questions he figured he’d better make small talk before pulling out the big guns. “Never mind. Find it meself.” He waved at her before exiting the animal pen out into the main part of the carnival. In the distance he could see where a plume of smile indicated some kind of cooking or maybe a massive brush fire. Either way he needed to investigate it and he hoped it was the former.
While she would have been okay with him waiting outside while she changed real quick, Kerr just nodded and with a shrug as he left before she could answer. It didn’t take long for her to change, and thanks to having experience getting through the backlot quickly- he’ll all of Zion quickly- she managed to beat him to the cookhouse. “Didn’t get too lost I hope.” She said with a small smile as she stepped into line for grub. Chicken pudding with cheese, steamed broccoli and a brownie for dessert. It may not have been fancy, but it was filling and it fed the not quite hundred who made up all of Zion. From the front it may not look that big, but each act had multiple people, rides, games, food all had to have someone. Security and those who just got stuff done. The numbers added up. And even those who couldn’t do much, helped out in some way.
“It’s like a chicken quiche.” Kerr explained as the food was deposited on the plate Marty held. “Tastes better than it looks.” The person serving up the meal gave her a look and she just shrugged as if a challenge to prove her wrong.
A little smirk pulled at the edge of his lips as she teased him for taking so long. “Pardon me, it were a lot farther than I thought it’d be.” Even after all these years and coming from the country itself, Marty hadn’t learned proper English grammar. Watching the cook dole out the food onto his plate, Kerr must have read the look on his face when she mentioned that it tasted better than it looked. “If only that applied to people as well.” He said offering her a wink. Not like he was a vampire or anything just that he was an old horny demon.
“So, 1920 eh? I remember the 1920’s like it were yesterday. Didn’t much care for the bloody prohibition. Seriously, who bans alcohol? It’s the only thing that keeps me going in this wretched world.” Not that he’d been without it in the 1920s but it was a lot more difficult to come by.
The taste comment went over her head. As they walked to a table and got settled. For some reason she was surprised Marty joined her, despite their conversation. “You remember-? Lot older than you look.” She commented with a small nod. Just like Edward. “Was never much of a drinker myself. Not that easy to come by when you’re short of money.” Living on the street to survive, it was good she was more focused on. She hadn’t had her first taste of alcohol until she joined the carnival. “But the gents here have some nice stores. Most nights you can get something.”
Being poor, he’d been there plenty of times in his life yet he never found it that difficult to come by booze. Maybe she was just scared of losing control. He liked that, liked the uncorrupted, liked that they were so corruptible. Marty didn’t have the kind of restrictions someone like Willis had. He could manipulate as much as he wanted, he just couldn’t kill. “Oh I’ve been on this planet for two hundred years, you don’t miss a lot of things when you’ve got unlimited time.” He offered and noticed how it didn’t seem to bother her.
“It doesn’t surprise you that I’m as old as I say?” He asked her honestly. He knew this place was teeming with supernaturals, he felt it around every corner but were they aware themselves?
She shook her head. “I’ve met a few people who are older than they look.” Well, not really. Rumor about some people, the only one she knew for sure was Edward and she didn’t actually know exactly how old he was. Had it been a year ago and she’s have been shocked. But she’d adapted- more so upon finding out she was special herself.
Kerr started in on her food, arm instinctively surrounded the plate as if protecting it from others. It was a habit she’d developed growing up on the street- which also served her well when she was in prison. “I’m not… in case you were wondering. Just a human.”
Shoveling his own food into his mouth he listened to her and lifted his eyes when she spoke about being human. He quickly swallowed the food down and wiped his face with a napkin. “That’s good, might last longer around here that way.” He said with a straight face before offering her a smile. He liked the way she smiled, thought it brought out some of her more subtle features.
The comment was of course referring to himself since there were plenty of types around here he’d love to hunt. “I’d love to tell you I’m human but I haven’t been that way in quite some time.” He replied to her, shoveling more of the surprisingly delicious food into his mouth.
“Being over a hundred, I’d have guessed that.” She replied between a longer silence as she wasn’t used to talking while eating.
Once done, she pushed her plate aside a bit and brushed her fingers through her hair. “So, you visited the carnival back… then?” She asked, wondering if it was when she’d been there- if she’d seen him. Or anyone had. She could imagine the shock if he’d made an impression on anyone.
Finishing up his plate himself he moved the dish forward and washed it down with some water. He began speaking once he’d finished swallowing. “I took a bird here once back in 1917. Really just wanted to get into her knickers but I sensed something else were going on. Magic, am I right?” Of course he knew about it, he was a demon and demons were magical in their own way.
“It’s a bloody shame because I got stuck in place for nearly twenty minutes before she up and fucked off. Thought I were ignoring her.” The reason being was for the entire twenty minutes he tried to hunt Reverend Willis and for twenty minutes he was physically unable.
Kerr shrugged. “Never asked. Just special.” She said honestly. It didn’t matter what made Zion special, she didn’t know any magic, but could talk to animals. Some might call that magic, but that’s just something she could do.
Her eyes turned to the table at his talk about wanting to get with a girl and picked up her plate. She felt a bit uncomfortable, just recently having experienced… an intimate moment. Kerr grabbed his plate too and stood up. “I’ll drop this for you.” She offered, moving away from the table, clearly affected by his comment as she deposited their dishes with the other dirty ones.
Marty has really thrown her. He was forward and seemed to speak without a filter, which was very different from her. She wasn’t sure what to make of him. His physicality being similar to Edward didn’t help, or that tingly feeling she’d felt in and off all day. She worried that if she tried to make friends with him, she’d be too awkward and reserved that he’d ‘leave’. There was risk to getting to know people, but it took a lot for her to trust that someone she made a connection with wouldn’t… run.
Clearly confused, Marty stood up and walked after her. “Hold on wait a minute.” He grabbed her arm, gently. “Did I say something wrong? Can’t stop this mouth from running off the hinges sometimes.” He truly was sorry for the way he acted sometimes even if he didn’t realize he’d been doing it.
The truth was he understood somewhere deep down how it felt to be awkward or for society to look down on him, and the idea that he’d made her feel this way sent an odd form of remorse through his body. He hunted demons because demons deserved it, someone like Kerr didn’t deserve to be looked down on. “Please, let me make it up to you.” He wasn’t sure how but maybe he could figure something out.
Kerr shook her head. “Sorry, I just-“ Just what? How could she explain to someone so confident how it felt to be… not? “Not the best with people.” She admitted with a slight embarrassed cringe. “Why I work with the ‘zoo’ more than people.”
He gently placed his hands on her shoulder so that she faced him. It wasn’t an aggressive touch, merely a comforting one. “It’s a good thing I’m not really either. Do you know how many times I’ve been kicked out a pub? More times that I’m frankly alright with airing out in public.” He teased offering her a comforting smile.
“And if it helps you can think of me as a goat or a pig or something.” Both of which he’d been compared to in his lifetime.
“The goats and pigs might be offended by that.” She said softly in jest.
Kerr absently brushed her hand down her front and nodded. “So, maybe I can show you a few shortcuts.” She said. “So, ya can get to chow sooner?”
A big smirk came to his face as she joked, followed by a hearty laugh. “See, not as hard as you think when you’re talking to someone like me.” He let his hands fall down her arms and linger there shortly before letting go.
At her offer he nodded. He had no problem spending more time with someone as good looking as she was. “That would brilliant, love. Can’t well be missing out on food because I don’t know where the bloody hell im going.” He teased, moving out of the way so she could lead him.
A chill ran up her spine. Similar to with Edward, but not as pronounced.
She started to lead him around, showing him some paths between some of the wagons and pointing out different places he might be, like the outhouses and showers. After a while they ended up back near the animal pens, she stopped about twenty feet from her tent. “Course, it’s not always quicker t’pass through this area, but if you’re coming from the whip is it. Otherwise, pass between Finn’s tent and the ten in one.” She finished with a small shrug.
He turned around and smiled at her. “So where is it that you stay?” He asked, raising a brow at her and pointing a finger at her chest before awkwardly drawing it back. He’d been clear on his attraction from the get go but he wouldn’t try to force her into anything she was uncomfortable with. Turned out that was illegal and he’d gone to jail once or twice before he realized his mistake.
“Not sure where I’ll be sleeping or with whom.” He teased her but truly he didn’t intend on sleeping around much until he got his bearings anyways.
Kerr gestured to the tent. It was small, could have fit two beds maybe. “Most who don’t have a wagon, or solo tent take a bunk one one of if the bunkhouses.” She said, gesturing to one of the large tents that held multiple beds. “I’m sure you can ask Louis and he can make sure y’are set.” Her feet shuffled slightly at his gesture and comment. “I used t’sleep outside. But recently…” should she admit to him that Edward had bought her the tent? “I moved in there.” That worked. She did like having a private place to change without risking others seeing her. Not that her reasons to appear a guy existed anymore.
He peered over to where she pointed and nodded at it. Chances were he was going to be sharing in the communal tent for a while. No bother to him, he could go to the store in the morning and buy himself a roomy tent. “Well,” he began as he looked back at her with a grin.
“You ever need someone to keep you warm at night, you know where to find me.” He offered with a wink before taking her hand in his own and giving it a firm squeeze.
Kerr blushed red and shook her head. “I-“ she really had no response to that comment. “I’m not-“ she tucked some short hair nervously behind her ear.
He crossed his arms over his chest as he looked at her. “You’re not a girl or a boy?” He asked and leaned into whisper into her ear. “I know, I still like you.”
“No- I-“ It was the first time that someone had put her feelings into words, and while the concept was still alien to her she felt the need to resist it. “I’m a girl…” She wasn’t sure why she was telling him. Maybe because he’d called her out? Maybe because it was the future and it didn’t matter? “I’ve just been… hiding.” How could he like her? He didn’t even know her. Or just physically maybe.
He cocked an eyebrow at that. “Who’re your hiding from? It’s not likely that they popped up one hundred years into the future too, unless it’s someone here.” He reminded her. Maybe Kerr didn’t really understood her feelings about herself yet, or that it was a possibility.
“Listen, I’m from the future and in the future people like you don’t have to hide. Let me tell you a bit about that, perhaps over dinner or a drink sometime soon.” He supposed you could call that a date if Marty ever had a serious relationship in his life he might think it was. But for Marty, it wasn’t about that. It was about knowing how to destroy someone from the inside out.
“No one… anymore I guess. The law before.” She said. “Was easier pretending to be a guy, not the person they were looking for.” Not that Kerr was some hardened criminal. Just a bad path and bad choices that had her on the run. And once you ran… everyone started looking for you. Especially when already convicted.
She shrugged at the offer. Her goal was to socialize more. That did involve setting future events. “Sure.”
A smirk came to his face. “I’ll take you into town, show you the world in 2020. How’s Thursday sound?” He didn’t want to do it too soon, more time for her to get anxious about it. The more anxious the more he could bend her to his will. “Give a bloke a chance eh?” He added, licking his bottom lip.
She’d been to town, but the offer was kind. “Okay. Thursday would be good, got training with the cats until one, but after that my day is free.” Or rather her daily tasks she could move the times around or ask someone else to help out with for a night.
“It’s a date then.” He said with a smirk and nodded his head before backing away. “Dress sharp.” He added and walked off with a smirk toward the 10 in 1 where he was supposed to be stationed currently.