2007-04-18: Save The Bunny, Save The World

Starring:

Daphne_icon.gif Peter_icon.gif

Summary: After meeting at a pet store, Peter discovers that Daphne can talk to animals, and Daphne discovers a very sick bunny.

Date It Happened: 18 APRIL 2007

Save the Bunny, Save the World


Pet Store, New York City

To be honest, Peter did not come into this large pet store for what he's ended up doing. He came to look at toys, buy a puppy training book for instructions, and also to figure out exactly what he needed to make his house more puppy proof. Said puppy, right now, is still in observation and check up at the vet, checking shots, getting registered and most importantly in this day and age… getting a microchip implant. He'll be picking her up tonight, with all the paper work signed and paid for. Right now, though… this former male nurse stands in front of the open animal cages, sticking his hand in and letting the ferrets attack him. They're playful critters, of questionable breeding, but that's not what he cares about right now…

They really like attacking his hands. The little scratches and nibbles they leave behind heal before they even start to hurt, so he just keeps playing with them, giving them new fingers to maul, and picking one up to allow it to squirm around in his hand. No, he's not interested in buying, he just couldn't help it.

A few feet away would be the rabbit container, with multiple bunnies, mostly trying to hide in houses from children who tap on the glass and want their mommy's to grab them. Two bigger and braver ones hang near the edge, dark black, one with a white speck on her nose and a second on one of her front paws. Even further down would be the hamsters and the gerbils, and the poor birds with clipped wings that keep them from flying out of their open top glass cages. Dogs bark from the puppy viewing area, and fish swim in expensive tanks.

Right now? He's most interested in playing with the ferrets. Helps that they play back.

—-

Walking into a petstore is always a trial for Daphne, though she's gotten used to animals talking to her by now. It's… been awhile since they started. It's just that, here, they're all talking at once. They don't want to be in cages, they want to run around on the floor, play, get to those kittens in the cage next door, bite that mean parakeet in the next enclosure, oops, that dog just pooped, but don't worry, he can clean up after himself (ew) plus, and this is the worst part, a whole range of ill animals whose owners won't know they're sick until they can barely stand. That mostly applies to the small rodents, though Daphne's learned that those things are smart enough that they warrent extra care.

The ferrets are always the first thing she hears when she walks into this place, because even when they're asleep, they /never stop./ They seem especially rowdy today, with calls of /PLAY WITH ME/ and /NO I WAS HERE FIRST/ and /I'M GOING TO ATTACK THESE LITTLE WORMS OF DEATH/ - meaning Peter's finger's, of course, and other such random snippets of conversation. Because she's curious, she heads over to the cage herself, smiling as she idly notes that they're planning to all rush the cage door at once, because even if all of them don't escape, surely /some/ of them will. To that end, she grabs a couple as they manage to almost escape, and they seem to calm down in her arms fairly quickly.

/It's okay. Settle down./

…And they do. Of course, if Peter's listening in, he'll probably just here some really weird thoughts sent in the animals' direction, because she's 'speaking' ferret language. "These things get everywhere. I have four of my own," she says, draping the two she's grabbed over one arm, while she holds their backside with the other. "Good pets, though. Just hyperactive. You thinking about getting one?"

—-

As they suddenly rush to try and escape, Peter manages to catch two of them as well, though they don't calm down anywhere near as much as the ones she got do. They struggle and squirm. Almost there! Almost there! But no, his not small hands have them firmly held, and their claws don't seem to bother him as they do other worms of death. They too catch the thoughts sent their way, but they stubbornly try to continue squirming, hoping to crawl up onto his shoulders at least.

Carefully placing them back inside the cage, where one takes the chance to try and bolt again as soon as he takes his hands away. Somehow, in a way he takes for granted, he knows the ferret's plan, and puts his palm in the way to push him back. No, no, silly ferret. "They do seem overactive, yeah," he says, pushing the black and brown one back a few times, so he can get the door closed. Harder to rush, that way. Instead, they shuffle around to feed, or poop, or play with each other instead.

"No, I'm not planning to get one. I— actually came to get some things for my new puppy, but— I got distracted. And these guys are very playful." And one keeps nosing and scratching at the glass. Come on, let me out. Want to play more. It's easy enough to guess without even hearing anything, so again, he dismisses it as something completely normal. And as usual, he's not trying to read anyone's minds right now. Neither would be try to read this woman's. "Are they all this playful or are these just extremely calculating in trying to escape and get bought?"

—-

The two in Daphne's arms, while not totally still, seem content enough to look around at their surroundings. They keep plotting, she keeps telling them /no,/ so it's okay. Really, there's nothing in the world cuter than a baby ferret, except perhaps /several/ baby ferrets. Or baby ferrets, kittens, and puppies. Or— well, a pile of baby animals is generally guaranteed to get an 'aw' reaction from almost anyone, including Daphne, who works with them day in and day out. She's cooing over them.

"They have two modes. Hyperactive, and asleep." There's really no inbetween… Seriously, they'll be running, running, running, then just suddenly pass out from exhaustion. They don't /slow down./ Evenn in the cage, when they see their plan is foiled—

For a moment, Daphne seems a little distracted. It's hard not to be with so many voices in her head, all at the same time. But eventually, she edges open the door again to put her own two little fuzzy bundles back. "I actually have lots of animals," she says. "Takes a good chunk of my day to keep them all clean, but it's worth it. You'll love having a puppy." Closing the door again, she puts her hand on the glass. The ferrets pay attention to it for a couple more seconds before becoming interested in something else. "I'm Daphne, by the way. Sorry, didn't mean to run in and steal your ferrets."

—-

"Sounds like an interesting pet to have. I think I know someone who might like one," Peter says, thinking of Elle. There's a squirmy white one that seemed to take great pleasure in biting him, but at the same time somehow seemed cute and wanting of attention. He'd probably name it Lightning. Maybe he should find out when her birthday is… it's just idle thoughts, as he starts feeling oddly drawn over towards one of the other cages, glancing towards the rabbits. The ones that look calm— he could have /sworn/ they were calm when he looked at them last, seem to have a weird aire about them now. They don't actually feel as calm as they look. Almost as if…

Shaking his head, he stands up and uses the hand sanatizer on his ferret'd hands, rubbing it in and allowing it to dry, while she puts her ferrets back in, and she talks of her animals.

"I owned a couple dogs when I was a kid, but even then… I didn't have to do all the work." They had maids and trainers and dog walkers and all that kind of stuff. Not to mention an older brother. "But I've never had one on my own, not since I moved out. Snowy'll be my first. She's an— the vet said she was a minature or toy American Eskimo, he's not totally sure until she reaches full height. Someone abandoned her at a dog daycare. He suspects because her eyes are blue and she wouldn't qualify for a show breed." It's sad, but… that's the way life happens to be for animals who are born "flawed".

"I'm Peter. And it's fine. Some of them would have escaped if you hadn't come up behind me when you did." He's got a warm, friendly smile, though one that's a bit lopsided do to his naturally crooked mouth. He's flawed too. The black rabbit with the white spot on nose and foot starts to shift, still laying on it's side, but— she's giving off very unpleasant vibes. She hides it very well, but there's something wrong with her. She knows it. And she knows she can't show it. The predators will get her.

The former nurse's brown eyes shift towards the rabbit and narrow in confusion.

—-

When she thinks about it - really gets past the fact that the voices she hears are animals - it's kind of like just being in a crowd, except specific voices will stand out a little more among those talking, especially if they happen to be directed at Daphne. "They're kind of a cross between a cat and a dog. They're kind of okay on their own, but they need a little care. Mine have their own room." So they get plenty of 'out' time, which means they're very happy ferrets.

Daphne presses her hand to the glass, one of the kits noses it.

"I have a little westie," she says. Idly, she thinks she could probably ask Peter's pup about her parents, which would shed some light on the 'what is she' mystery, but that's something she can't actually say out loud. It's been harder the more she's gotten used to it, but all she has to do is remember Laurel's pictures… "Yeah, people are weird with animals. It's like it's not cool to judge people on how they look, but there's 'show quality' dogs and the rest are garbage. It's sad. Some of the ones people throw out have much better personalities than those show dogs."

Turning to the rabbits as Peter does, and with her concentration now focused on them, she frowns. Given that she doesn't expect Peter to have her ability, she doesn't even notice right away that he's bothered, too. /…Hey, what's wrong?/ Daphne asks - paraphrased, of course. There's no answer at first, then she adds, /I can take you somewhere that can help./

/Hurts. Here./

A brief flash of an image follows, pain along the rabbit's back, her stomach. Daphne knows the rules about 'saving' animals - never /buy/ them from a pet store, because they'll just get more - but… "I… ah— huh." Turning quickly, she heads toward the small animal supplies. Starts pulling things off the shelves with determination.

—-

"He said something about blue eyes tending to mean progressive blindness, but he didn't see any signs of it in her, so… I'm hoping it's just a trait she could have passed down." Could have, because Peter's certainly planning to get her fixed once he's sure she's old enough for it to be safe. That way he won't have to worry about taking her for walks and having a strange dog decide to mount her at random. Not that he dislikes litters of puppies, but he understands that a lot of medical problems stem from such things, and he'd like to avoid it, if possible. The longer and happier his puppy's life is, the better. He'd like to have her until he's forty, assuming he lives that long.

While he's looking at the bunny, she gives a hint of response to something he didn't quite hear, but it's louder this time, more distinct. He can actually make out an impression of words. He starts to approach the pained rabbit when Daphne moves away, towards the small animal supplies. He frowns, watching her for a moment, but doesn't follow right away.

"Hey… are you okay?" he asks the rabbit outloud, leaning down to get closer to it's level with his eyes. The answer is a plain /Hurts./ Simple, really, but also carries a feeling of not wanting to eat, despite being hungry. And another impression… something that makes him glance up and towards the young woman pulling things off the shelves with determination.

With one last glance at the bunny, who looks relaxed, but definitely is not, he starts to move towards the small animal aisle and asks, "Daphne? What's going on? That rabbit is sick, isn't it? The one with the white nose?" He glances back. From this distance, the impression is softer, lighter, muffled in other impressions, mostly of hunger and complaint…

—-

"Still doesn't excuse—" She's not really an animal activist, but when they tend to talk back, she kind of has to respond. It'd be like ignoring a person if she just ignored them all the time. Somehow, they know she can hear them, probably by her body language, some sort of mental response she can feel, but in the end, they're /people/ to her now, which is why she hasn't touched hamburger or anything meat-related in quite a while. It'd be like tearing into her next-door neighbor.

Looking back at Peter as he asks the question to the rabbit, Daphne pauses in her endeavor to pull everything rabbit-related from the shelves, and just… stares. No. Can't be. It's a fluke of some kind. "They don't know the first thing about taking care of rabbits." That's probably a lie. Daphne wouldn't come to this pet store otherwise. In any case, she's going to have to take a chance with introducing a new rabbit to her own mix— She'll just have to hope she can talk the ferrets into leaving bunny alone, and hope that she can convince the rabbit not to terrify itself to death.

…Rabbits. Sigh.

Momentarily, she looks tense as she answers, her words somewhat clipped. "…You work with animals long enough, you can see the signs," she states. Calm? Not really. "I'm going to see if the manager'll release the rabbit to me. If not, I'll be calling the ASPCA."

—-

To be honest, Peter avoids meats, but not for the same reason. It had a lot more to do with a conscious choice on his part to stop such activities, unless he had no other options, and even then… he usually turned away most of the food the Company brought him that contained meat until they realized he wasn't eating it. That's not really topic right now, though, is it?

Moving up behind her, he nods to her responses to his question, though they don't technically answer what he'd been asking for. What she says /does/ make sense, though… if she has as many animals as she said, she might recognize signs, and even he did— but— The whispers are starting to give him a headache. Almost the same as telepathy with people. A hand goes up to his forehead, kneeding the skin there for a moment, before it lowers. "I don't know why— but I know the rabbit is sick. She…" How does he even know it's a she? "She— sorry, nevermind." He shakes his head. It's not that he thinks it's crazy, or that he's making things up, so much that he's… pretty sure that anyone else would find it crazy. And think he belongs in a loony bin. Just like when he tried to tell his brother he could fly. It's no better than that, worse even. She's a complete stranger who he met over ferret wrangling.

"So you're going to have them release her to you? You— you're going to help her. Take her somewhere that can help?"

—-

As a contrast to Peter, Daphne probably wouldn't have given up meat if her food didn't talk back. They kind of know, though. It's weird… Animals aren't as naive as some people make them out to be. They don't know exactly what's happening to them, but they know that some of them leave and never come back. They're perceptive creatures, especially after so many generations.

Thing is… She knows Peter can't know that rabbit is sick. There's no outward signs. The only way Daphne knows is because it told her. Again, she stops picking things off the shelf, and looks upward to meet the man's eyes. "She what?" Daphne asks, blue eyes rather expectant, intense. She's almost not willing to give herself away, would rather leave the ball in Peter's court, but… there's just no way unless she told him. There's no /way./ It'd be another couple days before the pet store even realised anything was wrong, and by then, it'd probably be too late. Warily, she looks around. No one's near enough to them to overhear, so… "This is gonna sound crazy, but—"

Saying it outloud is /nuts./ And if she's wrong…

There's a rack full of little hand baskets, to which Daphne walks, and drops in all the things she's picked up so far. Water bottle, hay, treats. She has some of this stuff, but she'll have to keep this one separate from the others for a little while, at least. "Did she… Tell you?" She pauses again, adding - because it sounds so crazy - "There's no way you could know that rabbit's sick. I— I mean, you've never— Have you? Have you had rabbits before, or… What? How did you know?"

—-

Most likely even the store manager wouldn't know the rabbit is sick. Without constant watch, the food in the bowl still gets ate, by the other tiny fuzzballs in the glass cage. They couldn't possibly know that she hasn't eaten until she starts losing weight, and by then… she might only have hours left in her life. Only a solo bunny, kept in a cage alone, would get noticed for this condition.

Peter couldn't possibly have this experience, so it's an easy observation on her part, as would be his use of the female gender, and the fact that he's trying to dismiss that he'd said anything at all. There's hesitation when he's called on it, and he glances back towards the cage, following along idly for a few moments.

Did /she/ tell him?

That question stops him in his tracks, leaving him staring with a stunned look in his eyes. If it wouldn't be for his experience with telepathy, he might think the question, and the experience, would be nuts, but… he glances back towards the rabbit cage. He can still hear the soft whispers, in the hum of other soft whispers. Did she tell him? He guesses so…

But…

This has never happened before.

"She— she's in pain. Doesn't want to eat, but… she's hungry. She feels like she'd rather just lay there… and…" God this does sound insane. She'd said much the same thing, so when he looks back, his eyes have an oddly lost and not quite understanding quality to them, but also a /very/ understanding quality to them. Especially when he says, rather matter of factly, "Guess we're both insane."

—-

Maybe she just ought to buy it. Save herself the trouble, save the rest of the store a /scene./ Because she already knows if she tells the manager she's just taking the rabbit - or calling the ASPCA - there's going to be words, and Daphne, despite the fact that she wants to save the rabbit— it's just so much of a hassle. It won't be the first time she's chickened out while telling herself that it's better for everyone. But she'll be watching these rabbits from now on, and most of the other animals in the petstore, too.

But. That's beside the point. Either she's beng mocked, or Peter's just developed the ability to hear animals.

Picking up her basket of stuff, she heads back toward the ferret cage, looking past the glass and to the little animals inside. They're still chattering in her head, some of them casually note she's back, but the others are too busy arguing. It's like chaos in a little glass box, personified by baby animals that are way too cute for their own good.

And then, suddenly, they all line up, looking out, just… sitting in a row, obediently watching Daphne.

"I'm not," she says. "I thought I was at first, but then I figured out I could do this." When someone walks by, the ferrets lose interest in standing neatly in single file, and go to explore the interesting parts of their cage, which they've seen a million times before, but yet, it never ceases to amaze. These are, after all, ferrets. Her attention returnst to Peter, she looks upward, then back at the basket in her hand. She probably shouldn't have said anything, Laurel's probably going to kill her, but… "You're not going to tell anyone, right?"

—-

Definitely not being mocked. And… yes, Peter did just now develop the ability to talk to animals. Just right this instant. And now he knows why. He watches her silently for a few long moments, before he catches chatter in the back of his head and glances at the ferrets. Within moments, they're lining up. Lining up for /her/. When he looks back at her, he realizes that's where another odd chatter came from. Not quite like telepathy, but so very close. Almost as if echoing off the other animals, the ferrets in particular.

"You can talk to animals…" he says after a long moment, looking back towards the ferrets, which have chosen to mind their own business. Something they are so very facinated by. When he looks back at the young woman, he catches the worry in her expression, and he immediately understands, "No— no, I won't tell anyone. I mean… it's not every day that…" Okay, it does seem to be every day, with some people. And with him, he's practically getting a new ability a day, or at least a week. Hopefully this won't start endangering his life again. "I understand."

For someone who just discovered he could talk to animals, he sounds as if he understands a little better than he should. "I've never heard animals before— but I've heard people. It's… very different." He says, giving a hint of what's going on with him, if not all of it.

"Can I help you? With the rabbit? I could— probably buy it for you…"

—-

Blue eyes look upward again, this time, it's clear that they're surprised, rattled, /something/ in the vicinity of disturbed, as she states, "So can /you./" At least, he can /hear/ them, though talking back took Daphne a little while to get the hang of. And, well, along with the fact that she's disturbed, she's obviously very confused. This isn't the place to talk about it, though, and she's not sure where /is,/ but— but— "How?"

Obviously, he's got an ability. That much is clear to her. It's like hers, except he can hear people, too. Well, maybe that's it. "Maybe you heard /me,/ and just thought you were hearing the rabbit?" she suggests. Because when they were talking back and forth, if he was hearing her, then that would just explain everything.

—Except for the fact that he's telepathic, and oh god, she's just located someone else who's /totally insane,/ except not, because this is real, and it's not some dream, she's been hearing animals for months now!

Catching the attention of a passing employee, Daphne states that she'll be buying the rabbit, bites her lip when said employee tells her how tame and calm the rabbit is, and allows it to be put into a box. The box is handed over, and held under one arm while she holds the basket in her other hand. "No, it's fine. I do this sort of stuff all the time. I can probably give her to my friend after I take her to the vet." Hopefully the poor thing survives - Daphne's caught it fairly early. "If you want to help, you can tell me what the hell's going on. I mean, if you know. Because to be honest, until a couple months ago…" She trails off as they near the checkout, and thus, more people.

—-

"Yeah, I can hear then," Peter says, glancing towards the ferrets again and watching them nose around with apparent interest. The ones that aren't nosing around… are curled up in a giant ferret pile, or on a hammock, sound asleep. He doesn't hear them at all. But as he looks back towards her, she offers an explaination of how he might be hearing them, and— honestly he doesn't see any reason to correct it right now. Other than to say, "I'm not reading your mind right now that I know of. But— it does seem to have a new focus around you." His voice is soft, as he moves closer to her and tries to keep from speaking too loud. They'll leave this between them, and the animals.

"I'm glad you can help her. And especially that you'll try. It sounds like she's in a lot of pain." Most people, as far as he thinks, wouldn't even try if they knew. "It's weird, because you can't see it. I guess rabbits are adept at hiding the pain they're in." He's really not that knowledgable with rabbits. The opposite of humans, though. Humans are sometimes easy to tell if they're in pain. Especially young ones.

There's a lot of hesitation, and he glances around a little. It would probably be best not to be seen talking with her, if the Company happens to be keeping an eye on him. He's not sure if they are… but he wouldn't put it against them. "Why don't you get the rabbit? I can explain /some/ but— Honestly I don't know much. Other than that… there's others like us. That do other things. And I believe we're here for a purpose… I know that sounds crazy." It sounds crazy to people who believe in people with extraordinary abilities.

—-

Understanding is difficult. Mostly because hers and Laurel's abilities are so startlingly different, that she just anticipated never finding another person with the same ability as her. Especially because it's so… Weird? Unusual. She can't describe it. At one point, she also thought it was utterly useless, but things have changed as she's gotten a grasp on her ability.

"She is," Daphne says of the rabbit, holding up the box briefly. Tonight, she'll have to convince the rabbit to eat and drink a little, but tomorrow, she's going right to the vet. "I'm a vet in training myself, so hopefully they won't give me too much hassle about diagnostics and all that. I work at the zoo, so I guess it's /some/ credibility at least." It's worked in the past. "Almost all animals are hard-wired to hide pain. If they're predators, they get run out of their territory. Prey, they get eaten. It's just too bad there isn't a way for them to tell more people they hurt."

With the rabbit in her arm, and the extra supplies she'll need to care for it, she checks out with the cashier, who doesn't seem to be particularly interested in his job. Wouldn't know a sick rabbit from a well one, most likely. Once they're out of the way of people, Daphne says, "I don't know about a purpose," but she doesn't sound as if she thinks it's completely crazy. "Really, I'm still in the 'why me' stage." She shrugs helplessly, holding up the rabbit in the box again, as if to emphasise the point.

—-

On the other hand, Peter's met so many diverse abilities that he's about ready to explode… all the time. But that's not a piece of information he's sure he wants to share with just anyone. "That makes sense, I guess. I was a nurse, but— people are different than animals. You usually have to rely on them to tell you what's going on, as much as any tests you can run. How people feel is a better indicator than anything else. I could imagine this would help you with doing that job in the future."

As he follows behind her, he takes a long moment to try and look at her neck. Though depending on the cut of her shirt, he may not be able to see what he's looking for, and her hair may also be in the way. So he doesn't worry too much if he can't look… He's definitely trying to spot a set of black marks. Just in case…

Her words make him laugh softly, and he shakes his head, "I wish I could tell you that you get over that… but I haven't yet. I just— accepted it. It's who I am. Same as my… hair color, or eye color, or my height. It just— most people don't have to worry about certain things."

Like blowing up New York.

"I know this is weird, but… can I have your number? I might want to talk to you sometime. And— I might be able to introduce you to some people who could help you."

—-

"It's just… good to know there are other people." She knows one, but in order to protect Laurel, she's not saying that, just in case Peter turns out to be one of the Bad Guys. She can bet she's not gonna be sleeping tonight, wondering if the Men in Black are outside her room, waiting to sweep in and kidnap her. She's gonna have to call her friend ASAP. And, while Daphne has suspicions about other people… Nothing's confirmed. With Peter, she knows, because no one could have known the rabbit was ill. No one. Except someone who can talk to animals.

Given that it's warm out, Daphne's shirt doesn't cover much of her neck, and there are no marks on it. She's completely oblivious to anything like that; as far as she knows, there could be people out there who know, but no one who's actively monitoring. Who knows! "Well, it comes in handy," Daphne says. She shouldn't need to expand on that, because it's got her a job, she'll probably be an awesome vet one day - at least, she likes to think so - and she has a lot of insight into what animals are thinking.

Looking rather uncomfortable when Peter asks for her number, she figures that if he's one of the bad guys, he won't need that to get to her. She might take a weird route home just to give herself peace of mind, but… Isn't this paranoid stuff supposed to be Laurel's thing? "Uh, yeah, I guess." It's another moment before she sets her things down and pulls out some paper so she can write down her number on it. Little letterheads from the Bronx Zoo. The paper she hands to Peter. "Hey, good luck with the animals. They seem to respond to pictures best at first. At least that's how it was with me."

—-

The lack of any marks on her neck gives Peter some relief, whether she knows it or not. She's yet to be found and taken in by the Company, which means she's a perfect candidate for… the not-Company. Which would be the best name he has for them. Because what the Company is, they are actively trying not to be. The less she knows, the better, as well.

When she hands over the letterheads, he reaches into his carrier bag and pulls out a small card he'd gotten printed up recently, just for this kind of emergency. Includes his full name and his cellphone /and/ home phone number, though no business or place of employment at all. "Try the cellphone first, but if it's disconnected for any reason, you can call my home phone."

Trading for her card, he glances at hers, then pockets it carefully. "Good luck to you too, Miss Rousseau. It was very nice to meet you." And as if to show he's /not/ following her, he turns back towards the pet store and moves to go back inside. He didn't buy anything when they left, after all. He still needs to get his puppy training book, and a few other things.

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