After Nightmare's appearance, there had been little to do. Crime wasn't running rampant now that the news of my existence had spread.
I lay upon my back on the cold grey concrete floor of the warehouse, watching an overhead light flicker as it attempted to revive itself. Footsteps echoed towards me. I sat up sharply, my eyes scanning the room. It was Nathan.
I relaxed and rose to meet him.
"How are you?" He asked.
My English had become much better as of late, "Good actually. Yourself?"
"Good," He murmured quietly.
I flicked my ears in amusement at his lack of words.
"Do you...do you want to see something?" He asked.
I blinked. I had never left the warehouse in broad daylight before. He caught my look and smiled, "I think its time the world saw you for what you are,"
Another brilliant idea, courtesy of Nathan.
"Susie, come this way!"
"I really hope that's a costume"
"Somebody call the zoo!"
"No, call 911!"
"Dude, is that a full body tattoo?"
"Kids these days..."
I was outside, in broad daylight, my arm linked with Nathan's. Winter was fast approaching and frost coated the windows of apartment buildings and stores.
A few people stared at me while others shrugged and continued on their way. This was New York. You've seen one freak, you've seen them all.
I walked tall on the balls of my feet, giving me the appearance of wearing invisible high heels. I smiled at a curious child who stared up at me with big brown eyes. He giggled and blushed, toddling after his parents. Nathan laughed at this. I reached up and swept his long black bangs out of his eyes to reveal the bright green. His face fell into a look of surprise.
"There you are," I murmured. He grinned, "Here I am,"
I smiled back.
He pointed to a building up ahead that read NEW YORK CITY ZOO on the iron gate.
"That's where we're going,"
A little shiver ran up my spine. I was going to see my genetic ancestors.
The lioness pressed her face to the bars, sniffing curiously at my outstretched hand. I laughed as her wet nose left a streak on my fingers, whiskers tickling my skin. A long, rough, moist tongue tasted me.
The large cat made rumbly noises in her throat. I identified them as a sort of question, asking me what I was. I responded by my own noise which was something of a snort. It meant that I didn't know. The lioness rubbed my hand in sympathy for me.
The alpha male beyond her, lying on the large rock formation, growled at the sight of me. The lioness touched her nose to the back of my hand, a quick farewell, and sauntered back to her pride.
"Goodbye," I breathed. I watched two cubs wrestling, their tails flicking left and right.
"I knew you'd like the zoo," Nathan told me as the two cubs tumbled past us, snarling with young, high pitched voices.
"It's amazing," I replied, moving away from the lion enclosure. Opposite it were the zebras. The entire herd ran as I approached, making sounds only they could make, tails lifted in fear.
Nathan laughed, "Yah you better run!" He called after them, "She'll eat you for dinner!"
"Mommy, mommy, one of the lions got out!" A little girl with a red balloon cried, pointing a finger in my direction.
A zoo official heard her cry from his place on a park bench eating a donut. He threw its remains in the garbage and began marching towards us.
"Uh-oh, time to get the hell out of here," Nathan tugged on my arm but I remained as still as a statue.
"Miss, I'm going to have to ask you to leave," The official said, his brown mustache twitching in anger. I couldn't see his eyes beneath the brim of his hat. He was rather portly, dressed all in dark green.
"Why?" I asked, somewhat confused at this demand.
"You're frightening the visitors,"
People were walking by us without a second glance. If anything, people were more fascinated by my presence than frightened. They probably thought I was some sort of attraction.
"They don't seem frightened," I told the man.
He lifted the brim of his hat, scratching his forehead. I saw that he had beady blue eyes.
"Well, I'm going to have to ask you to leave anyhow. Now please, before I call security!" He was beginning to raise his voice, but he still wore the persona of absolute calm.
Nathan hadn't stopped tugging on my arm, "Please Fang, let's just go,"
"Sir, would you rather I be in that cage? I am just as human as the next girl, and I have every right to be here," My claws were slowly sliding out from my anger.
"Ouch!" Nathan cried out. I looked back. His palm was bleeding.
"Oh no, I'm so sorry!" I gasped, taking his hand in mine.
"No, it's okay, I know you didn't mean to," He smiled at me, but his teeth were gritted in pain.
The flesh was lacerated, blood streaming down his wrist and seeping into the sleeve of his jacket.
I looked back at the zoo official and gave him a death stare for him to have nightmares about later before I walked out of the zoo with Nathan. Once we were outside the gates, I led him to an oak tree to the left of the entrance.
"Give me your hand," I told him. He laid his hand palm up in mine.
I bent down and licked the wound clean.
"Wow. That actually feels good, surprisingly. Kind of like letting a dog lick a wound," Nathan commented. His fingers relaxed, uncurling to allow me to clean the blood.
I licked until the bleeding stopped. He examined the wound, "Do I need stitches?" He asked me.
I shrugged, "Only if you don't want a scar,"
We sat down in the brown dead grass and leaves at the base of the tree. It was awkward for me to sit like a human, so I curled up on my side at Nathan's feet. Most likely out of a force of habit, he reached down and scratched behind my ears. I purred in delight, stretching my claws out before me.
He moved down my neck to my chin. He stopped scratching and cupped it with his hand.
I opened my eyes and looked up at him. He pulled my face towards his and before I knew what was happening, we were locked in a tender kiss.
My fangs brushed his bottom lip. His tongue slid inside my mouth. He fell into the grass beside me. Our bodies were pressed tightly together in an embrace.
"What just happened?" I murmured, my mind a cloud of confusion and ecstasy.
"Shhhh...." He put his finger on my lips, "I love you," He whispered.
Was I dreaming? Where had the stupid human boy gone? Who was this man?
I didn't know how long I lay there with him. Probably until the official from inside came to tell us to get off the lawn.
I had found love in both Nathan and Nightmare.
Which one would I choose?