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Mavi didn't like shopping malls. They were crowded, noisy, and filled with the smell of overcooked, overpriced, and under performing food. Sometimes, however, in a pinch everyone ended up there. Which was how on her first Tuesday night in Evermore, Mavi ended up in a fitting room of one of the keynote stores, frowning at her reflection in the low grade light of the fitting room mirror. It was cramped and she swore that the white shirt the attendant brought her had a lot more lace and ruffles than the simple, modern cut one she'd chosen from the rack for her interview tomorrow. Her emergency had been a case of wet suitcases after unloading straight into a six inch puddle of mud and water from her Taxi, as she arrived at the new apartment building where she would be leasing for the next seven months. Despite how durable her suitcase was everything inside was soaked and would need a good trip to the laundromat before it didn't either smell of mire or look covered in sludge. She was fairly sure showing up in a white shirt with brown cow spots was not the look of confidence that would help her be hired into Evermore's journalism staff. In fact, it was probably the opposite. Mavi reached for the next item on the hanger, pulling a black skirt up over her body. It was meant to be slightly form fitting and reach just above the knee, but even as she saw it hanging, Mavi could tell that these were the wrong clothes. The skirt that she'd put on was nearly floor length and once again covered in a delicate lace.
Mavi poked her head out of the curtain that protected her privacy. Where was the employee who had her clothes? Her real clothes! She walked out to the main mirrored area and caught a glimpse of herself in full bodied, 20th century style, and couldn't help but snicker. She looked...different, to be sure. It was only as she was looking over at herself in the mirror that out of the corner of her eye, Mavi swore that she saw herself, in the outfit she'd chosen, emerge from the dressing room behind her, and laugh at the clothing on her body. Turning around, she faced her mirrored self. "What the...heck."
Malva would be truthfully honest, she didn't like being cooped up anywhere. Not even in her room, which was saying something, considering the lethargic Aspect of Magic preferred solitary over everything else. She liked the silence that ensued over them like another layer of shroud. A shroud she had a soft spot over. Which is why she never liked shopping malls. Mal didn’t dislike them or go as far as to hate them but all the noise did tend to annoy the brunette and with a temper like hers, it’s easy enough to rile every bit of her without having to touch her physically. Malva kept staring at the IV bag she had placed earlier on the stand and clipped it carefully so the pressure and flow wouldn't be shook by their rather hyper patient that had gotten himself admitted because he felt from the 4th floor.
It was a surprise to see him still breathing despite the multiple bone fractures and minor concussion in his head. She took up the advice her youngest sister, Aurantia's advice and got back to the lands of working again. She missed treating people despite her main profession and area of expertise is mainly on pathology. However, she had a minor in ER, so she often went there to oversee everything else and help when needed. "You lucky sucker." She snickered slightly to herself as she shook her head in response to the patient sleeping soundly. Tucking both her hands inside her coat, she glanced at the clock that was hung near the counter and as soon as she saw it was indicating her shift was almost over. It was dark already, almost 9 pm. She was sure the shopping mall was open at this time of the day, as she usually ventured there occasionally when she needed to do a few shopping here and there, mostly due to her sisters’ nagging. They were the ones who stocked up her closet most of the time anyway.
Not that many actually came to accompany her. It's all on the gadgets, really. Whilst the Aspect of Magic admitted that she relied her sources and information hunting on Google itself as well as shopping online since she didn’t have to always force herself to go to stores, she didn’t have the time to do scroll her phone. Frustrations might accompany but overall, it was what made it fun. Knowing you could infer at almost every part. In a few minutes, her shift would be over and she could be on her merry way, attempting to resolve her current dilemma at the library. Shrugging off her doctor's coat, she hung them neatly on the rack stand, and wrapped a trench coat to replace it instead. Sorting out the remaining files on her desk, she checked herself out as she went down to the carpark. Yes, she has surprisingly opted to drive as a form of transportation since her residency was quite a distance from the hospital. It didn’t take her long to get there.
She made a quick dash over the department store as soon as her eyes fell over the burgundy hued dress and black skirt alongside white ruffled blouse. She always did have a soft spot over lace and ribbons. A trip to Berlin would mean she would need to dress herself formally when attending fundraisers anyway. That’s not the problem there, because when she changed into the clothes she chose earlier, and it wasn’t exactly hers. She looked more professional and sleek rather than the prim and polished look she wanted to go for the fundraiser. Stepping outside only to find the mirrored image of the clothes she chose on someone who looked like her, same hair color but it was straighter and not curled like hers. Definitely taller too. “Why are you wearing my clothes?” Was all that she said.
Mavi was more than preoccupied as she adjusted her befuddling outfit in the mirror. She was mentally adjusting the seventeen tabs in her brain's browser. The mall run was on the last page and frozen as the ruffles on her clothes met her mystified gaze. First and foremost was finding a job in Evermore. She knew her parents would be more than happy, probably overjoyed, if she asked them for money but she'd always liked being on her own. There was something about providing for herself after so many years of being terribly incapable of doing so that helped her breathe. She had an interview tomorrow, which was half the battle, but the other half was managing stress and looking appropriate. Mavi wasn't great at handling anxiety or fashion. She tried to keep things as simple as possible, but everything often seemed to spiral. She exited the changing room, paying little attention to the clothing on her body until she saw someone opposite her wearing the sleek lined business dress she'd picked out. The mall shifted in priority to tab number one.
It would be easy to say they looked similar: strong bone structure and deep set eyes with curved lips, both sporting a honey brown hair cut in similar layers. However, Mavi's was worn straight and the person in front of her had soft, bouncy curls. Mavi looked down at her lacey ensemble with new eyes, she could never imagine pulling such a thing off, but somehow it seemed to suit the other young woman. "...and you're wearing mine."
Mavi blinked twice. She'd never known any birth relatives, so she was used to the feeling of being lost inside a family. However, she couldn't help but wonder, was there something more than just a strange coincidence happening here? She was used to following her gut instinct as a reporter and her sense of curiosity had been lit on fire.
When she first came to the department store located at the second floor of the east wing, Malva didn't expect to shop for clothes but as soon as she laid her eyes on that blouse and skirt, she instantly remembered that she was going to a charity fundraiser event in Berlin next month. The next thing that came inside her head was 'may as well'. Mal had never been one to dress up prettily just impress nor was she the type to stock her wardrobe recklessly because she found those clothes pretty or fashionable. Usually. But ever since Cora forced her to go shopping because she could no longer do it herself when their fashion tastes differed so much. What she did not expect the second time was to come across someone who resembled her, the same features, event he hair was almost to a stick.
The Aspect of Magic had no idea who the female in front of her was, but she definitely piqued her interest in so many ways that is more than one. Her eyes were the same striking bright hues of sapphire blue, their hair was also layered at the same length and color, though Malva's were curled instead of straight like the stranger's. Though, it was clear that she was definitely taller than the purple dragon. Mal only stood at 5'6", which wasn't as short compared to others but her petite form makes it evident that those heels work wonders. Even their sizes were the same because Malva could wear the clothes that she was given mistakenly earlier, it fitted snugly.
"Well, thank you for stating the obvious, Miss Stranger" she murmured faintly and still eyed her from up and down because she really does look similar to her. It was as if she just looked at her own mirrored version, nothing too similar like a doppelganger but anyone who saw them would say they were related. "What's your name?" she asked, she wanted to know who she is, was this someone she knew? Is it her distant relative? Despite being the only child of her family, she did have cousins. "Where are you from? Why the hell do you look like me…"
"Attention, the store will be closing in five minutes. Please make your final selections and proceed to checkout. Thank you." A politely scripted voice drew Mavi away from her contemplation and back to the fact that they were wearing one another's clothes. It reminded her of a game that she'd played in middle school back when the mall had been the best place for all girls her age to hang out. She and a few of the casual friends that she'd made in sixth grade often used to choose clothing from the racks for one another and spend several hours laughing in the fitting rooms, especially when they got to try on items that were either ridiculous or extremely out of budget. As a foster kid, she hadn't worn new clothing until she reached the Talman's household and she had regrets about letting them throw all of her old wardrobe in the garbage. Beforehand, she had gotten very good at thrifting clothing and some of it, even if it was well worn had once held special meaning. Even as an adult, she always looked for a good deal and it terrorized her mother that she ever bought clothing half-priced, but perhaps there were ways Mavi knew differently than her adopted relatives that money certainly couldn't solve every problem and it really didn't buy happiness. She'd seen both a life of neglect and a life of excess and often it left her wondering where she would ever fit in.
Mavi bit her lip, before momentarily stepping into the stall behind her to swap the delicately ruffled white blouse on her shoulders for the ready made v necked tee that she'd come wearing. "I suppose, I'll be needing those." With one more switch, she handed the outfit back with a bit of hesitation. It looked surprisingly good on her, despite that it wasn't something she'd ever choose herself. Perhaps, she'd have to try stepping outside of her comfort zone more often when it came to what she wore. The intently curious gaze of the stranger was not off-putting, but it did make Mavi wonder if perhaps her long winded library hours would have more results than she thought. Maybe she was only a few steps away from finding out her history. "I'm Mavi. Mavi Talman." She said. "And you are?'
Just as she stepped outside, she was really looking back at her own reflection from the other mirror across the room, weird, this was definitely not something she picked out earlier. Before she had walked out, however, the announcement was blaring from the speakers placed in every part of the room. “That’s fast…” she murmured to herself as soon as the announcer’s voice died down after delivering the message they wanted to alert all the customers that were still shopping this late; her, being one of them, basically. With the clothes hanging on her body and fitting so snugly, how was she going to pay for this?
That was when she saw him, if it wasn’t due to her knowledge that doppelgangers do not exist, she would’ve mistaken the other female as her doppelganger. Wait, they don’t, right? And seeing as Malva was over 1200 years old, this couldn’t even be her twin. One, she’s a millennium old. Two, she was an only child. If she had a twin, even a fraternal one, she would know, much less a hidden or secret sibling. Whatever and whoever this other lady was, it’s probably best that she change out of these wrong clothes that were obviously meant for the other one, first.
She nodded briefly and went back to change her clothes before offering her hand out with the clothes she wore back at her. She took the clothes from her hand and changed quickly behind the curtain because she wasn’t wearing anything else except her undergarments underneath. Soon after, she got out and tilted her head to the side while studying her entire build, from the face to her height, even. When the stranger finally introduced herself, Malva bit her bottom lip apprehensively and wondered if it was wise to tell her name to this Mavi. Come on, Mal, this is nothing. Just tell her. It won’t hurt.
A name would not harm anyone. Mavi Talman does not ring any bell in her head though, unfortunately. “Malva. Malva Ailward” she murmured and wasn’t sure how to respond to this, “Can I talk to you for a moment?” She rushed out to pay for her dress as she dashed to the checkout counter but never quite took her gaze off Mavi.
Mavi had long created fantasies of her biological family in her head, starting in sixth grade with an idea of a mother who was an actress, married to a doting father who was a pediatric doctor who came home to their children that mysteriously took her place. Somehow, they didn't even know she was gone. It had all been an accident, a mix up at the hospital. She had never been abandoned. As the years grew by, the stories became bleaker, as did her lookout on her mother. Probably, she thought, her mother was a drug addict who couldn't care for a third baby and instead of getting an abortion had decided to give her a chance: the one gift ever given, a shot at life. Now, Mavi had come to realise that being born into the world really was nothing more than that, a roll of the dice smoothly thundering across the world, happening constantly. Whether you ended up in the pitfalls of a home with no food or the golden glow of parents who had everything was completely up to chance.
It was a bit unnerving to say the least, staring at a woman who resembled her. After all, her looks were the entire reason that she'd been lifted from destitution after all. If she hadn't looked like their daughter, the Talmans would have turned the page on her, fate would sigh, and Mavi's life would have been not much different than the other foster children she'd grown up with. As Mavi felt the gaze of the other young woman on her back, she realized it didn't feel cold or unkind, only a bit sharp and curious. Mavi quickly bundled her clothing into a shopping bag and followed the other into the coffee shop nearby.
An iced mocha latte with mint came out steaming a few moments later and she found herself across from a face that seemed oddly familiar, yet strange. "I feel like I know you, but..." She crossed her legs, "I don't think that's right."
Malva never thought she would say it. She knew she had distant family out there. Though, she may not have kept quite the record on track as of 400 years ago due to some mishaps and problems taking up her plate. Recently, however, she decided to investigate the whereabouts of her family. Malva was her family's only child, and by that she meant under the primary family tree care; her parents. But she did have plenty of cousins back in medieval Russia and the Mediterranean islands. To say the female before her resembled her greatly would be an understatement considering they were pretty much almost identical, except the hair and clothing choices. Personality too, no doubt. Blue eyes, dark hair. Mavi was a bit taller compared to the Aspect of Magic. But aside from the height, clothing style, and hairstyle, they look pretty much the same which also weirded Mal out.
She was more than grateful when the other female seemingly followed what she proposed earlier, Mal needed to know who she is. She just had to. Who knows if she was her distant relative? God knows how many times removed but still, a distant relative is a relative nonetheless and a relative is a family. After she paid for her clothes, Malva made a quick dash to the cafe and got herself a hot coffee. God knows how much of those things she needed lately. "You don't say…" she murmured softly, barely audible when Mavi remarked that she knew her, "Well, in my case, I don't know you. Doppelgangers aren't real either so I know that's not it." Mavi was clearly supernatural. It didn't take much for the Aspect of Magic to sense which is human and which is not, especially if they are immortals, to begin with, everyone had magic to them so it wasn't impossible to detect them from a distance. "I don't mean to make this weird but who are you?"
Mavi had plenty of practice introducing herself. It was a formal thing to give interviews. The more polite you are the more likely you will be to get a job, a chance, or...a family. That had never been Mavi's luck before. The Talmans were kind, but quirky. They cared more about money and appearances than anything else and there were reasons that she'd had to hide her pregnancy until the third trimester. Being unmarried and pregnant in high society New York was simply not an option. Her adoptees had tried to force her into marriage to a man in his thirties: a stable banker who smelled like alcohol and depression and wasn't anything like her.
Mavi said no. So many times that it required her to move out on her own, nearly in labor, and pay her own bills. It had been the scariest, but most fulfilling few months of her life. Only when Jonah was a year old had they finally returned to the Talmans.
Now, Mavi was on her own, sitting in front of a twin stranger. Confused beyond what she could describe, but somehow still able to get out a basic introduction. "I'm Maverick. Maverick..." She didn't know. She'd never had a last name that had belonged to her. At first it had been Doe. As in Jane Doe. Then it was Jones, for the better sake of paperwork. Finally, when she was adopted at eighteen, it had been legally changed; but Mavi had never had a name of her own. She'd never had a family or a heritage. "Talman is my adopted surname, but I came to Evermore trying to find my parents. My father particularly."
It was the nuns at the church who had called her Mavi. They thought the name Jane was far too simple for a little girl with so much spirit. A slight smile came to her face as she remembered them. If anyone had ever been family, it had been the Coventry. That was the only feeling of home she had to draw off of for reference.
She struggled to say the next part. "He wasn't human. Neither...neither am I. I want to know my history."
She was curious of this woman's identity. If there was anything that Malva was good at, it was being persuasive enough to get what she wants. And right now, she wanted nothing more than her identity and information. Who is she? Where is she from? Why is she here in Evermore? But then again, one glimpse at her and she could sense that the female sitting across her was, indeed, a supernatural. So she is part of the supernatural society, perhaps, that was why she is here in Evermore of all places. Don't get Mal wrong, the eternal city promises a good second chance for a life there. People don't discriminate and they won't actually hunt you down for being who and what you are. The so called supernatural haven was far from perfect if she would say it, but it's the best place for anyone with the likes of them. Her sapphire blue hues never once left the female's, she looked identical, and if it wasn't because of herself recognizing her own identity, she may even get confused.
Maverick. Again, the name did not ring a bell anywhere in her head. Honestly, Mavi could pass off as her sister or twin sister even, without batting so much as an eyelash. Which is a bit dangerous because Malva had no prior information nor knowledge regarding her existence. Mavi Talman. Huh, that is one name she will have to search once she gets back home. "Your father? You came here in pursuit of your...father? Your biological father?" She did say she was adopted and if so, then there was no reason to go seeking out her adopted father, no? That's what Mal got from her anyway.
When the other female confirmed that he wasn't human, the Aspect of Magic clicked her tongue in affirmation, "So… a supernatural then." Oh, she wasn't about to waste her time and skirt around the topic. Malva Ailward was not a woman who would waste a second of her time doing something she had no benefits whatsoever to. Cold, but practical enough for her to be her. "What do you mean you want to know about your history? Surely, you didn't come here empty handed and empty headed... " Was she being too blunt? Perhaps. But that's the reality of people who actually deals with Malva. "I don't remember having any distant relatives that goes by the name Talman but you did say that was your adopted family... " Oh, because nothing in the supernatural world is a coincidence. "Where are you from, Mavi?"
It was pretty clear to Mavi that Mavla wasn't exactly the most friendly person she'd ever met, but that was okay, she could deal with confrontation and perhaps if she wanted answers, someone who got straight to the point would be a good ally. However, asking Mavi where she came from was like trying to put together a puzzle with gloves on and eyes closed. Senseless. She hadn't come without any information. A good reporter to knew how to chase down a lead and despite that many of them had been dead ends, a few had slowly panned out, including the few pictures that she had of Albert Baciu. Her mother's full name was missing, left with only as "Kuttler_unnamed female" on her wrist bracelet at the hospital. So, unofficially, she was the out of wedlock child of a bartender from Las Vegas and his married mistress. As far as history, her mother was gone to the wind and her father, it seemed his last steps ended in Evermore, despite that they ended in a few photographs which were over ten years old. What got to Mavi the most was that no matter how far she looked back at images, he never aged after twenty-five. Even comparing them to old books and articles, she swore that the same man must have fought in the first world war. Granted, as of yet, she had little to prove it.
Mavi reached for her cellphone, almost willing to trust this stranger with the full year of work that she'd done. She was running out of time and leads. Perhaps, this was reckless and ridiculous, but once your DNA testing kit came back from three sources as unreadable, what other options did you have? Pursing her lips, she slid the cellphone across the table and shrugged. "Names, dates, mostly my best guesses, but granted, I haven't had a lot to go off of recently, apart from long hours in the library. It's starting to go cold."
Most of her family line didn't have enough to cover their own history, and in the better part of it, Malva was the one who helped ensure that. Whilst they may not be her direct lineage, only rooting out from her cousins instead of her own primary family due to her being an only child and since she died young without marrying anyone, much less have a child, it was the only line she was going to be able to trace back. Normally, she would dismiss every other attempt to see if someone would try to link themselves to her family but the woman before her held a strong resemblance, too much for the female to actually push away for a coincidence.
Malva raised her eyebrows in confusion when Mavi slid the phone towards her, "So you have no idea who you are. A ghost in the community. Except that you do have a legal name, social security number, legal rights as an American citizen no doubt… so not exactly a ghost there... " But they were not her real identity from what she could tell. A part of her wanted so badly to push this away and just go about her day, but how could she when she finally found someone who could actually a descendant from her family? After 1200 years, Malva is still hellbent into finding them again. She found one female, heavily pregnant, a witch who belongs to a local coven in Georgia, Atlanta. But aside from that, she couldn't trace them as much, no doubt from the cloaking spell she passed down to hide them.
She may be Aspect of Magic, but an Ailward means she has plenty of enemies to go around. Safety means everything. "What are you really doing here in Evermore, Mavi? I'd prefer it if you would go straight to the point. Who are you searching? And I don't like vague answers so I suggest you tell me exactly what you're seeking." She crossed her legs and leaned against her seat, while staring the female down, "Give me something. A name. Anything."
"I'm searching for my father." Mavi thumbed through the cell phone until a few scanned images from different centuries popped up. "I have an idea that this could be him, or at least, one of his relatives. What tripped me up at first was that they all look the same, almost, as if they've been frozen in time, right?" She had to take a deep breath to ensure that she didn't begin rambling or speak at the pace of a bullet shot from a gun. It was hard not to do when she got excited and of the few clues that she'd found over the years, these pictures were still some of the best leads that she had into the paternal side of her family. "These are the Baciu brothers, hidden to time, but who some suspect to be time travelers and...well, I think maybe they just don't age. Thomas and Albert fought in the Civil War...World War Two...and these recent pictures are from Afghanistan. They're a little blurry and registered under new surnames, but to me it's as plain as day that it's the same men."
Mavi leaned back in her chair, tapping a pencil against the plexiglass table. "I didn't have much when I was adopted as a baby, but there was a note pinned to my blanket asking my next family to remember my father who fought many wars."
She shrugged. "As a reporter, it's always been my job to follow the clues, but this has been different. There just aren't that many clues to follow. It's like being lead into the dark and trying to see into a cloud. Sometimes, I think I just get lucky, but sometimes I'm ready to give up and go back to New York. I miss my kid and...truth is maybe some mysteries are meant to stay buried."