2007-08-12: DF: Sweet Like Honey

Starring:

DFDaphne_icon.gif DFRudyard_icon.gif

Guest-Starring:

DFElena_icon.gif

Summary: Daphne talks to Rudy about the baby, and has a moment of panic, herself. They're interrupted by a message from Elena.

Dark Future Date: 12 August 2009

Sweet Like Honey


Bronx Zoo

It's been a few days since the bomb was dropped. It still hasn't exactly sunk in. Rudyard spent a while staring in a corner with gnats buzzing around his head. It took a bit, but he's coming out of shellshock. Slowly. Surely. Now? He's trying to work with the bees on harvesting some honey for the kitchens. The bees are being cooperative, so no special suit is needed as a precaution. Mainly, the bees are too enthusiastic about taunting the guy and giving him crap about the good news.

—-

Fact: Daphne does not like bees. At all. Ever since she was stung many times over by them a couple years ago, she's kept away from them, because, while lightning may not strike twice in the same place, she doesn't want to encourage it by holding up a proverbial metal rod. Unfortunately, her path toward the sea lions is taking her right past the beehives; at least Rudy is there today to keep the little flying pests AWAY. She'll tolerate them, but only because she trusts her husband, but that doesn't mean she doesn't give the bees a DIRTY LOOK. "Hi," she says quietly, so as not to startle the bees. "Look, we should probably talk, you know— Sometime this year. You really only have nine months, so preferably before May."

—-

<Baby mama incoming!>
<Bun in the oven, 3 o'clock!>
<Your woman approacheth!>

What kidders, those bees. Rudyard extracts another frame from the hive.. and nearly drops it on the ground as Daphne speaks up. Clearing his throat, he glances at his wife, then puts the frame with the others. "Ah.. yes.. sorry. Didn't hear you approaching." Likely story. Gathering the framed screens he has collected, he gestures his head towards the room prepared for honey extraction. "I.. of course.. Let's talk." DOOM. DOOM.

—-

It's hilarious, really. She's amused with Rudy's reaction, though she's pretty sure that if this keeps up, she'll become annoyed with it eventually… Mostly because he's the father, and he kind of needs to get over that really quick. She's let him have his few days of dread, and, as usual, she gets some residual statements from the bees, but she 'hears' them as more images, rather than actual words. The message is clear, though. "Your bees seem more excited than you are," she says, giving him a pat on the shoulder. She'd take his hand, but it's occupied by BEE JUICE.

Daphne's really felt nothing yet, but that's no surprise. She keeps expecting to, but so far, Elena's the only one who's been able to actually tell. As well, she hasn't told many people, mostly out of caution, and even if she is excited herself. It's just that she doesn't want people making plans, only to—

Well, it's a hard time for a pregnant mother. More seriously: "It's not just about talking, Kipling." Her hand remains on his shoulder. "What's wrong?"

—-

Rudyard is rigid, and doesn't mean to be standoff-ish, or to seem as if he's not excited. He's.. to be blunt. Scared to death. "They're.. They just like to give me a difficult time. Take the mickey out of me." Take the man out of Britain, can't take the Britain out of the man. Once inside the extraction area, the frames are set into place for draining and trimming. Hands now free, he sort of shirks away from Daphne to wash the honey off his hands. "I /am/ excited.. Nothing's the matter. What gives you that idea?" On second thought, bad question to ask.

—-

She frowns, drawing her hand back as Rudy moves. She also gives the frames a bit of a poke, because honey is good, and she's now stealing it from the honey thief himself. DAPHNE'S NOW. HAHAHA. By the time he turns around again, she'll be completely innocently licking her lips, and not because she's stolen honey. Really.

You believe her, or a rhino will sit on you.

"What gives me that idea?" she asks, eyebrows arching, incredulous. "The meerkats told me you didn't even say hi to them as you walked past today. You've been staring off into space, you didn't iron your shirt— " Pausing, she points. "Rudyard, it's a baby, not a disease. And if anyone should be scared, it's me. Hell, I can't even really leave to find medical attention. I have to have the doctor come to me." And they have to start screening now. There's nothing like letting a sell-out Empire-allied doctor into the zoo. Midwives? Maybe. Might be a little early for planning, but there's no time like the present. "You think I haven't noticed?"

—-

Rudyard actually looks embarrassed when he turns to face his wife. Maybe even a little ashamed. "Daphne.. I know it's not a disease.." He keeps his voice low as he walks back over to Daphne, placing his hands on her upper arms. "You know how much of a people person I am.." And by the look on his face that he's not doing so well at hiding. He's scared witless at the idea and prospect of being in charge of an infant. "Bloody meerkats.. gossip mongers, they are.. I.. damn. I'm mucking this up aren't I?" He doesn't quite like the idea of having Daphne poked and prodded and screened. A gun will be procured and used on any Empire allied doctor who deems the baby has no ability. If that's the case.

—-

She's not upset, in fact, she smiles. Yeah, she knows how bad Rudyard is with people, but she's sure that when he sees their son or daughter, that isn't going to matter. "Well, yeah. They never shut up. It's like listening to a record on a loop, except each time they start over, they add something new." Not as bad as ferrets. Nothing's as bad as ferrets. In summary: if the meerkats experience it, they will talk about it, sometimes in detail, until something more shiny comes along and they have to drop the story from their repertoire. "You're not. You're not 'mucking' anything up. It's only been a few days, and you have a right to be worried." But - unsaid - worrying about it isn't going to fix it, or make the baby go away. "At least tell me you're worried because you're happy." Or… something. Daphne has to believe he wouldn't be this frazzled if he didn't care.

—-

Rudyard leans forward to press a kiss against Daphne's forehead. "What isn't there to be worried about? What if something happens to you? To the b.. baby.. What if the child is born and doesn't have an ability? What if a doctor determines that ahead of time and there's some abortion forced on you by the government? What do we do then?" There's a pause as he stops in his endless babbling stream of what if's to say, "Our child is going to hate me."

—-

What isn't there to be worried about? Well, not a lot, at the moment. Rudy's right — anything could happen to Daphne or the baby. Malnutrition, an accident, stress… All that could end up being detrimental in the end, however… "If the baby has no ability, is that really going to matter?" She smiles, reaching up to play with Rudy's hair. "I'm already looking for someone we can trust. No one's going to take this away, and if he or she doesn't have an ability… hopefully things will be easier for her— Or him— one day. You know this can't last forever. Eventually, someone's going to decide that it's Petrelli who's in the wrong." Feelings will be hurt for a long time. The humans know that most of the Evolved are good people… But if their baby is human, one day it could make fitting in easier. No one can call the child a freak, at least.

"Our child is going to have no long term memory 'til she's at least three years old," Daphne says with a chuckle. "So you have that long to get it right. And I'm sure if you try, she'll appreciate it." Might as well stick with one pronoun. Daphne wants a girl. "Look, I like you, and you never thought that would happen."

—-

"NO! I mean no.. I don't give a ruddy meerkat fart about that. Ability or no.. What I care about is some damned government spook targeting you, the child.. I swear to God, I would have you carried kicking and screaming up to Canada before something happens." Is that enough conviction from Rudyard? He almost says that he would prefer a baby without an ability. Lord knows he had a difficult time growing up with one. Then again, he was the freak in a family of normal people. ".. I don't know how you put up with me." He gives his wife a very embarrassed looking smile, "You're still on about a girl.. Not that I'm complaining. I've got three sisters." And to be honest.. he's not sure how in the world you would begin to raise a boy.

—-

Daphne rolls her eyes a bit. "Well, I've been running a rebel-slash-refugee camp for more than a year now. If they haven't caught me yet, what makes you think they're going to target me because I'm pregnant?" Seriously, Rudyard. You just DIDN'T THINK THIS THROUGH. If they come after her, it's going to be because she's friends with the Saints and the Alliance, because she hides humans and 'criminal' evolved, because she's eventually going to attack the president with a god damned WHALE and he'll never see it coming. Not because she's expecting.

"I put up with you because we actually have a lot in common." There's a pause, then, "Well, to be honest… … Elena was by last night." There's another long pause after that, mostly because Daphne's trying not to lose that frown she has plastered on her face. She is a mean person. Seriously. "There's two, Kip. One boy, and one girl."

—-

Rudyard can't help it. He's in panic mode as the thought of being a father sinks in. "Well.. it's.. it came to mind alright?" He raises a hand to drag through his hair as he exhales a noisy breath. "Yes.. yes we do.. aside from speaking with nature." If he looked panicked before.. well.. as Daphne drops that on him.. His brown eyes widen to saucer like proportions and he looks ready to simply keel over. In fact, he reaches shakily for the counter behind him. Sorry. He buys this hook, line and sinker.. despite the fact that it's only a few days into development and things of that nature simply cannot be determined this soon. Right? RIGHT?

—-

It's a severe struggle, painful, almost, to maintain her straight-faced, bold lie. Daphne's able to keep it up for several seconds, though, carefully managing to not laugh until her husband nearly falls over. At that point, despite all efforts, she snorts, nearly doubling over herself when Rudyard falls for it. God, he should know her better than that by now.

Then again, this is the first joke she's pulled in a very long time.

"You should see your face," she says. "It's not twins." …Hopefully. Twins do run in Daphne's family, but that's another story. "I have no idea if it's a boy or a g— Rudyard, it's only a few days old!" Like Elena would be able to tell its gender at this stage, or even if there were two. Granted, Daphne doesn't know how Elena's ability works.

"I'm sorry. That was hilarious," she adds, wide grin on her face, eyes watering a little. At least one thing can be said about the kid - it's made Daphne smile a lot more than usual.

—-

"Right.. right.. yes.. I knew that.." is said in a shakey sounding voice. No really.. Give Rudy a few moments as he struggles to regain his composure. He turns his gaze up towards the ceiling as if asking for some higher guidance in this situation. "You.. my darling.. are an evil creature. At times. I sincerely doubt that I would have this any other way." At any rate, he does seem to have lightened up. "So… what do we do now? Aside from get you medical attention?"

—-

"Sure you did." She believes that like she believes President Petrelli is going to have a change of heart and shower the United States with pink flowers and apologies. Evil? Nah. Just… Well, she is in a lot of ways, because she was totally just playing on the fact that she knows Rudy would panic if he heard there were 'twins.' With Daphne's luck, there really are. Maybe even triplets, just because God seems to like throwing everyone curveballs recently. They'll just have to pray for one kid. At least they'll have a whole bunch of really good babysitters - and she doesn't mean the gorillas, honest.

Daphne shakes her head, because she has no idea what to do now. It's unfamiliar territory - she's dealt with pregnant animals, even pregnant women in her camp. But she never thought she'd have her own child on the way this soon. "I don't know. It's not like we can distract ourselves by puting together a nursery." Rooms are in short supply. Taking a whole one for the baby would be selfish.

—-

Rudyard nods his head distractedly. "I suppose.. we could put up a partition in our room.. of sorts. Do the best we can with what we have by way of making a nursery." His mind is still racing as he struggles with maintaining a coherent conversation on the baby subject. "We could.. start throwing out name ideas.. if you want."

—-

Geez, that's one thing she hadn't even considered. Names. It's… kind of like with animals. If you name it, it's final. Makes it more real, means it's yours, part of the family, far beyond just being a thing that happens to exist within your walls. To that end, Rudyard's managed to throw Daphne this time, because she literally blanks at the idea, and has no suggestions to offer whatsoever. "Name. I guess we'll have to— " The evil creature is thusly slain, the colour draining from her face as she stares into Rudy's eyes. Where he seems to have accepted it now, it's just suddenly dawned on Daphne that she's going to have a baby. "Oh. God."

—-

Rudyard blinks and charges forward whatever few steps there are to steady Daphne. "Now who's turn is it to panic?," he says this with a slight smile. There's no triumph at the tables turning, only affection. "I would say we have time to plan, but I'm fairly certain the months will fly by." Gently, he starts to guide Daphne towards a seat, "Come along now, have a sit down."

—-

But— but…! "Have a sit down," she repeats, giving Rudyard an odd look. Couldn't he just say 'sit,' or 'let's sit' or something? But the point is, sitting down is a damned good idea at the moment, because while she's not feeling light-headed, she is feeling a little weak. Perhaps she's just been in denial this whole time… After all, she did think that this was Rudyard and Elena playing a joke on her. Maybe she hoped all along that one of them would say SURPRISE! :D and that would be that. But the idea of naming their child…

They could name it after someone they want to remember or honour, like she names the meerkats, but… No. "She should be her own person." A name that no one else they know has. That'll be tough, because they know a lot of people now. "Something unique, but not ridiculous. I just… don't know." Sitting, she runs her fingers through her hair. Nine months suddenly seems like a couple hours in the grand scheme of things.

—-

Rudyard kneels down on the floor next to Daphne's chair. Looking up at her, he smiles, resting a hand on her knee. At first, he is a little thrown off by how his wife starts off the discussion of names. He soon catches on however. He's familiar with her naming scheme. "Of course.. What do you think of Eve? Or Rachel?" Something Biblical, with hope.. "Or how about Deborah? It does mean 'bee' in Hebrew." In case Daphne's not paying attention, he's joking on the last. Somewhat.

—-

Uh. Wait, he's talking? Right, catch up. "Rachel is nice." She doesn't know a Rachel. Eve, also nice. BEE?! "We can't name our kid /BEE!/" she says, somewhat approximating Rudy's reaction when she told him that little fib about the fact that they were having twins. BEE?! NO. There are a whole bunch of other biblical names they could use before getting to /Bee./ Like Methusela, if they have to, but hopefully, it won't come to that. "Jenna's a nice name." They'd better hope it's a girl.

Somewhere along the line, she managed to get hold of his hand, and she's slowly squeezing the life out of it, and suddenly thinking of all the not-so-happy things about caring for a child, starting with morning sickness. How is she going to run the zoo when she's spending all morning getting to know the inside of a toilet? Or— Having an 18-year committment! What happens when they have to educate her!? WHAT IF SHE DOES HAVE AN ABILITY!?

Deep breath. "You better not get any more ideas about running off to Canada. I'll end you."

—-

"Not even Beatrice?" Rudyard adds with a smile full of humor that meets his eyes. Mischievious he can be. "Darling… uhm.. Daphne.. you seem to be squeezing the very life out of my hand there. Not that I am complaining, but I would quite like to have the feeling in my fingers." His free hand rests upon Daphne's.. the one that's squeezing his other hand to pieces. "What do you think of Phoebe?" For someone who was damn near fainting himself, he's got some suggestions. Nevermind that. The console is ignored. It can wait. THIS is important.

—-

Phoebe is pretty. She could get used to that, maybe. Emilia, maybe. Caroline - Carly. She's always liked that. There's still time, though… Something that sounds good with a middle and last name, certainly. Something that's not too common and not too weird. Something that won't get the kid made fun of in school. All important things to consider, but…

Looking over Rudy's shoulder, she notes the light on the console. That gives her something to focus on, which means she doesn't have to think about baby names at the moment. There's so much to prepare for, and not even near enough time to do it. Standing, she does release Rudyard's hand, but only a little. At least his fingers won't turn blue.

Password - there's one of those, which she enters with one hand. Another password, just in case, then she's free to receive the message. "Go," she says quietly, to the screen.

—-

Unfortunately the communicator has absolutely no idea the couple is being cute. The console keeps beeping. And beeping. And beeping. Finally, Daphne answers it. When the screen activates, it's Elena, transmitting from the Saints' new headquarters. At least it looks comfortable, judging from what the Zookeeper can see behind her. Shelves, a kitchen counter. Books. "Hey Daph," she says. The young woman's face is serious. "Rudy. I need a favor….I know you guys are probably celebrating a little bit right now but there's no time. The President nabbed Cass."

—-

Rudyard flexes his hand once it is let go of. Rising from his kneeling position, he trails after Daphne, folding his arms across his chest. His mind is already churning on taking care of his wife through this. For one, no more long nights with little sleep. If he has to forcibly put her to bed at a solid hour every night.. So be it. The mushy expression of love flees his face when Elena gets to the nitty gritty of this visit. "… I see.." the expression around his eyes harden. "What do you need?"

—-

Yeah, but she has to stay up! This entire thing is going to be a disaster. Because she doesn't want to be coddled and she's going to be, and in the end, Daphne is going to bite him, with a lion. It won't be pretty, but— More about that one later.

The news is kind of the cold water in the face that Daphne needs to pull her out of shock. Unfortunately, Cass was pretty high on her list for potential primary care - not only that, but she was an important member of the resistance. She doesn't have to ask why the hell Nathan would want her for that reason alone. Hopefully? She's still alive.

There's not going to be any rest - not as much as Rudyard would like for Daphne, anyway. There's just too much going on for her to have the luxury of staying in bed all day. "Anything. You need us looking?"

—-

"No….don't risk it." Elena closes her eyes. "There might have been a leak. They hit Bat Country." Which had precautions. Panic rooms, secret areas, and several alarms to call Flock members for its protection. "It was bad. Half of it's rubble. We managed to find out that whatever the Amazing Flying Fucker wanted, it was specifically Cass. They went in with every intention of taking her, and we've reason to believe they didn't get Lachlan or her daughter, who we can't find." She hesitates, and then she continues. "Cass apparently left instructions for Ali. In case this happened, we try to run Lachlan and her baby to the border. But I know him. He's -not- going to leave the country without Cass. We're doing what we can to get more information, and then we'll be going in hot once we know where to find her. But intel is slow incoming, and I know Cass. She's not going to bow to these morons. Which means they'll be after Lachlan and Abby too. We want to prevent that from happening. I was wondering if you have stray dogs or rats you can spare, program them with a message to find him and deliver it. We didn't have a chance to tell him where to find us if he needs help."

—-

Rudyard places a hand on Daphne's shoulder, as if to say down girl, or easy. There bloody well will be some rest for Daphne. Again, argument to come on that later. At the information, he lets that soak in, before turning to look at his wife. The dogs.. that's her territory. He's not going to be much use in passing on information in such a manner. Unless suddenly Lachlan can speak to insects as well.

—-

Everything's risky! They could send birds out. Lots and lots of pigeons. They'd be shot down methodically, but some would get through to report back, and… pigeons see everything, right? But it's still dangerous, even if Daphne plans to do it anyway. Wherever Cass is, there will be pigeons looking for her.

So rest easy, or something.

It's hard to take everything in, because it becomes all the more apparent than no one is really safe from what's going on, least of all a leader. Certainly not Daphne, baby or not, which is a scary fact to consider. Anyone could die, anyone could be taken, anyone could be a target. Now, she has to worry for two. Reaching up, she places her hand over Rudyard's.

In any case, there are lots of stray dogs and rats around, so Daphne nods. "Yeah, plenty. There's a pack in Central Park that I feed when I can, they'll be glad to help." She'll need to get to them. Then again, there are lots of strays around the zoo, too, as well as the tame African wild dogs that live over on the hill. "What do you want the message to say?"

—-

She knows Daphne will do it anyway - but Elena will leave that to the Zookeeper. Some things don't need to be said, her response was more of a suggestion than an outright no. In fact it shows, with the slight smile on her face at the married couple. Even now she could find -some- semblance of light in these dark times. With Rudy's hand on her shoulder and her hand on his, she could take a picture with the webcam and hang it up their base. But pictures, too, were risky, and she was all about risk management these days.

She pauses, thinking about the message, and then speaks up again. "The message should read that the Saints have moved, and we can pick him up on the Battle Shell." Armored. Full of Gene-weapons. Anyone who tried to intercept was going to have a hell of a nasty surprise. "We can rally at the Park at night if you've got eyes and ears there. If you've got strays there, they can help keep a lookout too. That's where we'll pick him up. 11:00 pm." She gives a date. "Thanks a lot, Daph, Rudy. I really appreciate it."

—-

Rudyard will send out insects on the search as well. Just in case. Extra eyes cannot go amiss. "I'm in on the search as well." For Lachlan, Cass, and little Abigail. In fact, he's already sending out the call.. since he doesn't have to verbally speak aloud. "There's no need to thank us. We would help without your asking us."

—-

And so, Daphne's moment of panic is brought to an end by the need to Do Things. The baby is still there, safe, and can certainly wait for a name. Besides, taking her mind off things is probably more beneficial in the long run, because it's less stress on everyone. Because even a secure com link can be tapped, Daphne nods, reaches out, and shuts the connection down. She's hoping she'll remember everything, because she can't rist writing it down.

For that reason, she'll have to hurry. "Looks like we have some work," she says to Rudy, taking her hand off his, giving his shoulder a pat, then starting to head off, back into the zoo. She'll have to leave it to get to Her Strays, but— She's not sure just running off is the greatest idea. Her husband will worry. "…You want to come?" she asks. It's risky as hell, because he's wanted, but she'd much rather not go alone.

—-

"If you think that you are leaving this zoo without me going along, you've got another thing coming." In other words. That's a yes. Rudyard's right on his wife's heels to accompany her.

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