Finding Tigger

Characters: Lexi Nemo (Tendril), Klavdiya Vasiliev (Okhotnik)
Rated: G
Summary: Following the finish of Clea's healing, the giant tigress went off on her own. Yet Lexi has decided to follow her and check up on her.
OOC Date: 2017-11-19
IC Date: 2017-11-10
Where: Forest of upstate New York

Hours after the tiger's departure from the soup kitchen, searching through Mutant Town has not turned up any sign of her. She seemed fully healed, thanks to Clea's magick. She refused to change in front of new people - she had her reasons, but did not choose to explain them, even to the sorceress with the 'understand tiggers' spell in place - and simply left after a bit of rest and devouring the food and water made available to her.

None of Hunter's people know where she is, and though they probably wouldn't share if they did know, they're not lying. A few might mention that they saw her before the troll attack, and that she seemed prepared to put herself between them and the troll. But none seem actually aware that the tiger was Hunter. They only know that thank goodness that weird giant tiger showed up to help. They also make the point that Hunter often goes off on her own, sometimes for a few days at a time. They try not to crowd the woman, for obvious reasons.

On the other hand, Lexi does have some advantages most searchers wound…in that she has a starting point for said tigger and a scent trail she can follow that's pretty distinctive. So with a combination of asking probing questions while trying not to offend (very honestly saying she might have been hurt during the attack more than she seemed), she's spent her time carefully making her way along said trail, trying to see if she can locate where she's gone.

Following the tigger's scent gets Lexi up into Harlem. And then the trail disappears, right into the East River.

Ugh. Better though it may be, that river is still not clean. At all.

Checking out the other side does not initially yield a new trail. But if Lexi is determined enough, she can eventually push further away from the shore and finally locate the tigger's trail again. Apparently she actually sprung some improbable distance up out of the river at it's edge to get into some woods and out of sight, before continuing her path northwards.

Moving at normal human speeds, however unrelenting she may be, it'll take quite a few hours for Lexi to follow the path on foot, but it leads right through the outskirts of suburbia and into the forested hills. And then the scent of fresh blood.

Yes. The tigger left the city to go hunting. Because homeless women do not have the cash to afford huge stores of meat at the grocery.

Quite so. She should see Lexi's food bill monthly. There's a reason she bums at the free cafeteria at the mansion. Still, she slows a bit, relying on learned survival skills now as she moves more cautiously and quietly, heel to toe, and alway keeping alert to her surroundings. And especially to trees she might have to climb in a hurry.

Long before she sees anything, Lexi will pick up the bone-vibrating basso growl coming from beyond some trees and a hill. The growl interrupts, but only briefly, the meaty crunches going on, as something very big snaps and grinds down on bones. Explosively.

Lexi has learned some things about what not to do when walked up towards a predator. She's fairly sure that the tiger maintains control…she was talking with Clea, after all. But startling her probably isn't a good idea. Therefore she approaches from upwind, letting her scent precede her, before moving closer, not moving nearly as stealthily as she could.

The source of that vibrato growl does not move or change as Lexi adjusts her approach. Neither does the continuing crunching of bone. And when Lexi finally makes it to the top of a small hillock she can see the tiger curled up with the remains of what is probably a wild pig, about halfway done devouring even the skeleton. There's enough that it seems likely that is not the first creature she has devoured.

And those amber-backlit emerald eyes are staring right at the mauve mutant as she crests the hill, watching her intently. Her posture seems like the gigantic feline equivalent of a school child's or perhaps a prisoner's in a cafeteria: my food, mine, keep away.

Of course, Lexi is here, now, and without her translator. And the cat does not look like she's hurting anymore. Which means she would now be in her prime for a physical confrontation of disastrous proportions.

Lexi approaches, cautiously, then a good distance away seats herself crosslegged. watching the cat. But not looking like she's going to get any closer for the moment, or at least that she's not going to interrupt the eating. She -is- moderately hungry but she'd prefer her pig cookied and butchered rather than gnawed on, normally.

The tiger eyes Lexi, but does not do much more than that, continuing to eat lazily but keep her paw out, possessive of her food. Then a rumble sounds - not the one still coming from the tense eating animal, but from the tummy of a certain mauve mutant girl who is, as stated, hungry - and the tigress pauses, tilting her head to the side, watching Lexi for a moment.

What follows are actions seen more often in prides of lions than amongst tigers; the tiger extends her claws, burying them in the shell of the pig she is working on, and tears it apart with brutal power. Then she hooks a paw under one of the halves she has created, and launches it towards Lexi. An awkward missile, it won't reach her, but it will get close.

The tigress stays still, the rumble of her growl dying down, now, as she watches the mutant girl, almost expectantly. Not being an animal person by profession, there's no telling of Lexi can recognize the actions of a pride leader, providing for a hungry pride member. She has kept her own chosen share, but is providing for another. And watching to be sure her gift is understood, and accepted.

Whether it is then eaten or not is another question.

Lexi blinks a bit at that, those gold eyes following the piece of meat until it plops down nearby, then flick back to the large tiger and he remaining hunk. After moment, she goes on all fours and slinks gracefully forward to snag the bloody meat. Her nose wrinkles slightly as she takes in the bloody flesh, then extend a tendril to wrap around it as she treats again. This time, she pauses, finding a cleared spot as she starts to build a small fire. Tiny, really, but then, she mostly just wants enough to cook over, making a little cairn of sticks, before she gets out a lighter to light it on fire.

After that's done, however, she delicately starts shredding off pieces of muscle, sticking them on a strong stick like kabobs, then starts to roast them over the fire. Sure, she COULD eat it raw. And she has done something similar. But it's going to be a bit for the tigress to finish her meal. She doesn't feel she needs to rush.

Soon enough the sweet smell of roasting pork fills the air, as she turns the stick occasionally with the air of someone who's done something like this before, then, after blowing on the first bunch, starts to wolf down the mostly roasted meat.

The tigress watches until Lexi gathers up the meat, then she settles back down. No more growling, now. She just settles, quietly, and puts most of her visible attention on finishing up her meal. She is probably very aware of what Lexi is up to, but she doesn't stare after her. She leaves the young woman to her own apparently capable devices, and just chows down.

With only half the remaining pig to work from, the tigress is done that much sooner. As before, she is incredibly thorough; not even much in the way of bones are left when she finishes. It is in fact more thorough that is normal for a tiger, but Lexi already knows this is no normal tigress. Once she is finished, the tigress rolls onto her side, watching Lexi, and then hunkers down quietly, digging out a little divot and pushing what little is left into the hole, then covering it up.

Quite the finicky visitor to the woodlands.

By that point, Lexi has demolished the pice tossed to her, her stomach pooched out slightly, before she lets out a faint belch, covering her mouth, then watches the tigress bury the remainder. After a moment, she stretches, standing, then extends a pair of tendrils, concentrating. The tips flatten, extending out, then harden into bone-like 'shovel' that she uses to first put out the fire, patting out the flames and embers, then uses them to dig a hold of her own to deposit the remainder of the dead porker, as well as kicking the embers into the whole to start covering it up.

"You know…." she says, conversationally. "I did this th' other way 'round before. Then I was buryin' th' pig ta cook it though. Came out pretty nice. Learned it from this Polynesian guy I met once on a dig. Was only fair, th' pig tried ta eat me first."

Having finished burying the remainder and the embers safely, she wonders a bit closer, slowly in case the tigress takes offense. Otherwise, she sits down near her, facing her, crosslegged again as the tendrils withdraw into her back again. "Feel better now?" she asks. She kinda figures it goes without saying, but it's polite to ask.

The tigress watches Lexi, but does not make any movements or sounds that would indicate she has gone back to being unhappy with her presence. She settles comfortably, panting only a little bit, as she watches the mauve girl settle so close. Her ears rotate visibly to focus on Lexi, and flick as she starts talking. A soft chuff is offered in response to the question, but little more.

Definitely not a 'talkative' cat.

After a bit, the tigress rises up, taking a slow walk around her own eating site, and then around Lexi's. It's easy to figure out she's being thorough about things before moving on, making sure there won't be any problems. Then she twines her way back, butting her big head against the girl's shoulder, and slinks on past and into the woods. She doesn't run, just stalks along patiently, until she reaches the edge of a small stream, where she pads to the edge and lowers her head, lapping at the water.

The mauve mutant watches for a moment, her head turning to follow the movement. At the brush against her shoulder, her silvery dreadlocks shift, as if an invisible breeze blows through them for a moment, before she stands and follows, padding after to the stream in question. Rather than leaning in to lap, she uses her hands, cupping some of the water to drink quietly

She looks over at the tigress next to her, then tenatively reaches out, before her fingertips find the ruff of the back of her neck, scritching into the fur there. A bit firmly, to get through the thick coat, and moving up and down, mussing it lightly as she does.

The tiger pauses, turning her head to regard Lexi. She doesn't growl. She doesn't swipe at her. She just stares at her for a bit. Then she goes back to lapping up water for a bit. When she finishes she backs away from the edge and lays down, resting her head on her paws, letting her eyes drift closed.

Lexi takes that as a sign to stop, sighing a bit as she watches, her lips quirking a bit. Well, that was perhaps violating personal space…she's never actually touched a tiger up close before. "…I know th' others don't know ya well enough to say so - I mean, who ta thank - but…thank ya for fightin' th' troll." she says softly after a moment. "Ya saved lives. Not everyone is willin' ta put themselves on th' line like that, ta be hurt protectin' others. They shouldn't be expected to, that's why it's kinda special when someone chooses ta do so." She leans back on her hands. "…like…when they're doin' it not 'cuz they want glory, or ta be important, or ta get respect, but 'cuz they honestly wanna fight ta protect people."

The tigress gives a huge, massive yawn, her tremendous jaw opening so wide she likely seems as if she could swallow Lexi whole. Then she closes her mouth, muffing, and lets her eyes drift open, watching the mauve girl. Her tail flips lazily behind her, as her ears swivel to focus on Lexi, flicking a bit. She can't talk, so she doesn't try. She just lies there, quietly.

After a bit, the tigress reaches out one of her massive paws and - claws retracted - bats at Lexi's hip, as if to 'hook' her hip and drag her closer. Granted, she could do this easily with her claws out, and even so she could probably be more forceful about it. But instead, she just bats at Lex, as if to guide her to her own decision to get closer.

Lexi mmphs as she's lightly batted, squirming, then after a moment, she pushes off with her legs and hands, sliding closer to the tigress. Trustingly, as she doesn't flinch away. Until she's sitting close enough to brush against her side as she shifts next to her.

"Like this?" she asks after a moment, tilting her head as she meets the tigress' eyes.

Once Lex gets back to her, the tigress leans against the girl, resting her cheek ruff against the girl's thigh. Then she settles again.

Yes. Right like that.

Lexi smiles a bit at that, leaning back into the big cat, then scritching behind one of her ears as she sighs, then snuggles into her. She doesn't really say anything…just comfortably curling up against the tigress, then closing her eyes as she rests her cheek against her furry shoulder and bonelessly drapes herself a bit back against the predator.

"Mmmm, warm…' she murmurs, her chest rising and falling in slow breaths of air.

Noticing that Lexi is comfortable enough to let herself drift towards sleep, the tigress lies still, only the tip of her tail betraying activity, and lets the mauve girl sleep for a while, snuggled against her warm, furry form. She has fed, and her body is relaxed. She can afford some time, here, to relax. She is a mite curious why the woman followed her out here, but she did seem to be one of those goody two boots, constantly interested in others' well-being. It's odd, but not unacceptable.

The full stomach probably contributes to Lexi's dozing. But also she just feels safe where she is, for the moment. If there was a threat, her "protector" would let her know, after all. Appropriately, it's more of a cat nap than anything else, as she stirs after about fifteen minutes or so, yawning a bit, then mmms. "Are you all better now?" she says drowsily.

The giant tiger finally moves, turning her head slightly to regard Lexi with emerald-eyed curiosity. She nods, slightly. Sure, she's fine enough. Feed and watered, her hypermetabolism is no longer raising furious protest. The healing process is done, and her bones were all properly lined up. Things are pretty good, all told.

Lexi mmms. "Better than me…I heal fast, but not that fast." she says, sitting up as she stretches lithely. "Though we eat about th' same ta heal like that, an' looks like your body works like mine in that it uses up what ya got already for store." She sighs a bit. "Though had to rebreak yer bones…that sucks. Mine just goes back to how it started, pretty much.

The tiger flips her head back and forth a bit, ears twitching. It's true, her bones don't just reset themselves. But she does heal much, much faster than most. In fact, she can finish healing a broken bone in a day or so. She is in no means invulnerable, but she does patch herself together pretty well.

The girl sits up a bit, regarding you curiously. "So…uh…ya can understand me like this. Do ya like scritches, or pets, or stuff…? I can stop if it's, like…an intrusion?" she offers after a moment.

The tiger lifts her head, and lays it on the mauve girl's thigh. She can't really say anything, and expressing herself clearly is a challenge like this. But perhaps this act is enough to be clear in spite of those limitations.

Lexi mmms and reaches up to start gently petting the big tiger's head as it rests on her thigh. "Somehow I was expectin' cat powers, but not a tiger." she says absently as she scritches behind those flicking ears lightly. "Not that I mind a tiger. Yer a pretty tiger, really. I've not been this close ta a big cat in a while. Just, like, zoo stuff. Field trips." She smiles a bit. "Youtube stuff, like that…"

The tiger lets her eyes drift a bit low, not quite closed but clearly relaxed, as the girl continues patting and scritching. In spite of herself, it feels good. It is exceptionally rare - almost unheard-of - for someone to be in a position to offer such gentle ministrations. Even more rare that they would defeat their terror enough to do so. The tiger has little experience with such things. But she has apparently decided to embrace the experiment. Thus far, she likes this. And it's nice to listen to someone just talk.

"Well, there was th' panther in Brazil…but it was more interested in eatin' me than lettin' me pet it." Lexi murmurs softly. "An' th' last time anyone let me pet them in any way was…well." She shrugs. "Long time past. Too busy runnin' around ta slow down enough for that."

The tigress tilts her head a bit, regarding Lexi as she starts stories and doesn't quite finish them, especially the one about the panther. That seemed like a good one.

As Lexi continues with petting and scritching, eventually a new thing happens: the tiger starts to vibrate, a deep basso rumble … a pur as gigantic as the tiger herself, conducted right through her body into Lexi's very bones.

The girl seems to sense the query, or reads it as such. "Oh, the panther? Well…I was workin' onna dig there. Th' Parque Arqueolgico do Solstcio, near there. It's like…an old indigneous stone circle. Kinda like Stonehenge in England, but in lots worse shape." She tilts her head, her fingers sliding down to scritch through the tiger's ruff against her neck firmly at the purr. "It wasn't really there, but a cave system they broke into that had some old burial tombs. Real old stuff, but they found an' actual mummy. Which isn't somethin' they really did, that's more an Incan or Mayan or Toltec idea, up in the Andes, so it kinda stood out. Great warrior, they thought. So I got ta go, since there was a chance that he might be an early mutant, that sorta thing. Like…oh, Gilgamesh, or Hercules…they could have been mutants. Physical power is a common mutation, after all, so warrior chiefs that stand out are usually a good place ta start lookin' around for me, when I'm researching at a dig."

The tiger's ears flick and flip in response as she listens to the tale. No panther in the story, yet, but she is smart enough to listen and let it flow, figuring the panther will show up eventually. Interesting, though, that apparently the girl sees herself as a mutant-focused archaeologist adventurer of the old sort. The tiger is not terribly familiar with Western popular culture, so she would never think or use the words 'Indiana Jones', but the concept still translates, such as it is.

"Ya understand, I can't come out an' tell people what I'm lookin' for. I mean…I know some old artifacts have been destroyed by people who just didn't want ta admit we were around a long time ago. That we aren't some sort of new 'aberration'. So I had ta go off by myself. Sneak away at night ta do some work, ta make sure that the local tomb robbers didn't get to the tomb stuff I wanted to see first. It's practically a business there, th' local officials take bribes ta let 'em in past the security most times. I figured I'd get a few pieces, maybe, make sure they were protected. What I could." She hmmms. "Just it turns out panthers like to hunt at night, an' they're a bitch ta see at night too…."

The tigress chuffs several times, perhaps a feline equivalent to laughter, as she continues to purr, leaning into the patting and the scritching, listening to the story. She even nods when Lexi explains about needing to 'rescue' the artifacts she wants from those who would destroy them to hide their significance from the world. But yes. Tigger thinks a panther hunting in the night is funny. Go figure.

"So, there I was, in the jungle…" Lexi begins. "An' I'm creepin' pretty quietly, cuz I can see pretty well at night. Full moon. Night animals making a racket, that sorta thing. I got what I was lookin' for an' I'm headin' back ta hide it for, ah, importing back ta th' states. When suddenly, everythin' goes quiet. I mean, like, completely quiet. Just some of the bugs left, who are too dumb to know ta hide. So I know somethin's out there."

The tiger flexes her paws, and then starts kneading Lexi's leg as she listens intently, nodding at the last. Yep, that sounds like a major predator's approach. She likes learning bits about the mauve mutant's abilities.

Lexi squirms slightly at the kneading sensation, but when no claws come out to poke her too badly she relaxes again under the sensation. "So, I know somethin' is out there, an' that it's gotta be big enough ta worry all th' other critters. An' there aren't that many big predators in th' jungle like that. I mean, there are snakes…ugh, don't get me started on th' snakes, but they're slow." She pauses, then mmphs. "Gah. Okay, jaguar, not panther, forgot. Different name where I was, slightly different look. Same big cat pretty much, just different fur patterns. Anyway…." She strokes her fingers through the fur of the tiger's back gently. "I slowly put my back to a tree and sniff th' air, but I'm not gettin' any scents. I mean, a jungle is a -pain- to get a clear scent on most times anyway, cuz there's so much stuff, so many plants an' animals, but I'm not smellin' anything too strong. I figure it's gotta be on th' move though, so I extend some tendrils an' lift myself up into a tree, just ta be sure…"

The tiger continues to knead Lexi's leg, purring, accepting the petting and scritching. Her tail flips idly as the story continues. When Lexi laments the difficulty of scents in the jungle, the cat gives a tiny nod. But most demonstrative is that before Lexi continues the story, she lifts her paw up … pointing her claws at the sky as her eyes look deep into Lexi's. Then she retracts her claws and continues with the kneading. She has apparently figured out the panther was up above Lexi, slightup downwind, and thusly imperceptible until the very last moment.

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