2007-07-28: DF: This is How Birds Feel

Starring:

DFDaphne_icon.gif DFPeter_icon.gif

Summary: Daphne has a chance run-in with some guy from the past, who happens to be here to fix the future.

Dark Future Date: 28 JULY 2009

This is How Birds Feel


Central Park & Bronx Zoo

The streets of New York. Central Park West. There's a tall building here, the Deveaux Building. The pigeon coups have a new resident in the form of a paper crane. Peter reaches in, pulls it out and unwraps it— only to stare at what's written. Pulling out a pen he salvaged from an old store, he writes on top of it: HIRO, I CAN NOT READ JAPANESE.

The crane is refolded, poorly, and placed back inside, and he bends down to leave a note of his own, a a piece of paper advertising a rally in August.

This rally might be important. Should try to attend. The government is collecting people. Checking IDs. Be careful.

The piece of paper is folded into a— it's supposed to be a crane. It looks more like a duck. But at least it's folded. Placed inside the pigeon coup, he looks around and then jumps down off the building, using his brother's ability of flight to keep from falling to his death, and landing a little less than steady in the alley.

No signs of those sweeps of the broken street this time, he takes off around the city, relying on his legs more than he would have before. He's going to need to find something to eat soon— he thinks there's a grocery store nearby— maybe something remains on the shelves…

—-

Hm.

Sure, she didn't see him on the roof of the building, but it's pretty easy to spot the guy when he flies off the roof. She doesn't initially recognise him, but there's definitely a sort of draw there. Curiosity.

So she follows. Peter will suddenly find stray neighborhood animals trying to stop him for a pat or a cuddle, or to look for food, even if he has none. Pigeons will randomly land in his path, and at least one dog will attempt to run off with his shoe. Mostly it's cats, though. Lots of them; when people lost their homes and their livelihoods, the number of strays in the city skyrocketed. Daphne can't take care of them all, but in this area, highly concentrated by roaming ex-pets, she can at least leave a bag of dry food.

As the animals attempt to slow Peter down, she sets the twenty-five pound bag on the ground and opens it enough so that the animals can smell it. This done, she follows the voices through the streets in an attempt to intercept whomever it is that she saw jump off that building.

—-

Animals attempting to slow Peter down actually works, for the main reason of… if there's this many strays around, there must be something for them to eat. One of the pets he stops to pick up is a kitten. So small it shouldn't be away from it's mother at all, but too cute to pass up. "Hey there— guess there must still be plenty of mice for you to eat."

Talking to animals may be a possibility, but he can't quite engage it right now— not an ability he's practiced much at all. But the little handsized kitten is meowing loudly, and trying to nibble on his fingers. It's hard not to be distracted— until a dog makes a valiant effort to steal one of his shoes. "Hey," he yelps, pulling away and moving against the wall of a building against the street of Central Park West. Man— these animals must be as hungry as he is… He really will need to find supplies soon, if he's going to stay long enough to attend that rally in August. The problem with the future, though… he's sure he knows people here, but he doesn't know where to find them. And his cellphone has been disconnected. He should have left it in the past.

The kitten is set back down so it can go to it's mother, and he kneels down to pet a few of the animals. Some don't look very well fed at all.

—-

In the far past, Daphne met Peter in a pet store. Things have changed a lot since then; she's seen him after the war started, he's been in and out of the zoo, they've talked now and again. But this person looks like the boy she met in the pet store, and he hasn't looked like this in years.

One of the dogs will suddenly seek to clamp its teeth gently around Peter's wrist, not biting down, but holding on if he's able to get enough of a grip. Daphne just wants to hold him down, and she has a feeling that if this is Peter Petrelli, no amount of work is going to keep him stationary. If it's not, though…

Daphne leans on a dumpster. "Weird place to find you," she says, eyebrows arching. The dog trying to hold onto Peter is one of those lovable mutt-type strays - the kind Sandy was in the movie 'Annie.' Wouldn't hurt a fly, most likely, except for the fact that it's being asked to do so. Maybe.

—-

What— "I don't have any food," Peter protests to the dog that clamps down on his wrist, not seeming to understand the animals motive, and certainly not fighting against it too much— at least until he hears a voice. Looking over, he sees someone he vaguely recognizes. The pet store isn't fresh in his memory, and she looks different than he would have remembered— even the voice has a slightly changed inflection. The familiarity doesn't fully focus in on where he's seen her before right away.

But… "Sorry?" She's not carrying a sidearm, and isn't running around with an armored hummer nearby, so he's not going to assume she's here to check his ID and take him in to a camp when he refuses to present it.

"I— Do you know me?" It's a weird question, isn't it? He sounds mostly the same, with slight changes in inflection himself. Hair shorter, eyes lighter and more hopeful, clothing actually containing color in the form of dark blue… and he's not wearing a wedding ring on his finger, either. Just a watch.

—-

"When'd you decide to clean up?" she asks. Really, holding him down with a mutt isn't going to do much, so she nods to the dog, who lets Peter go with a wag of his tail. He's back to looking for love and cuddles, rather than acting as a well-trained killing machine. With fleas. Daphne gave up on her attempts to take care of all the animals in New York years ago— Again, there was just no way. Maybe she learned this trick from that Lachlan guy. After all, he was the dog expert. They all picked up tricks along the way.

Somehow, she manages to miss the other cues that this isn't the same guy she knows. Who cares about wedding rings? That hopeful look in his eye is unfamiliar. His voice could be an act - who really knows? Why trust anyone anymore, really.

The question throws her, though. That's when she sees that different look on his face. Something you just can't fake. Something's odd; she'd be an idiot if she didn't see that.

"Yeah. Daphne. From the zoo?" Offering an incredulous look, she contemplates the fact that he may need medical help, but she's the closest, and she's only been partially trained in veterinary medicine. He probably wouldn't appreciate if she tried to take his temperature. "You want me to leave you alone? 'Cuz… If you're done drawing attention to yourself by flying off rooftops, I'd appreciate a memo."

—-

"Yeah— two years ago to be exact," Peter answers, a careful tone to his voice. How is he going to explain this in a way that anyone will believe— even one who talks to animals, and obviously still does. Putting a hand in his pocket, he pulls out two objects, a cellphone and a wallet. Both of which are from the past. He can make an attempt to prove it, though there's really no way to do so— other than have out of date things.

"I know it sounds ridiculous. But it's true— I'm from two years ago, to the day nearly. None of thise— it hasn't happened yet…" Whatever it was. He can guess, but guessing will only take him so far. "It's not too late, though— there's ways to stop it from happening, I just have to… find out what happened so I can go back. So I can go back and fix it." Because that's why he came here— that's why he found Hiro and told him of Desiree's vision, of all the paintings— that's why he teleported to the future with him…

"What did this? What happened between now and two years ago that changed… all of this?" One event? A billion events?

—-

There's not actually a whole lot that's impossible to believe anymore. Holding onto some disbelief, though, is only natural for anyone who's been through so much. A lack of trust; Daphne never was the most trusting person in the world, but it's almost gone completely now. Someone could tell her the sky was blue, and she'd have to go check and see for herself.

And, true, the wallet and the cellphone are relics, but how much has changed in two years? Not too much.

She stares at the way she used to stare at herself in the mirror when she first discovered she could talk to animals. He's /crazy./ If there's two of them, though… If she can get him back to the zoo, then…

Daphne's not even sure where she's going with this.

"All right, fine." She'll humour him for now. She leans back against the dumpster again, and a couple of the cats fill the space between her and Peter. The zookeeper shrugs. "You know those things we all kinda worried about in the backs of our minds? You know, what would happen if people found out about us? Wasn't the humans who did it. It was people like you and me. Destroyed New York— There were a few tornados, I think? A hurricane I remember." Snow, sleet, hail, winds stronger than nature would have intended.

"It's over now." The statement carries a lot of weight, a lot unsaid. Obviously it's not over, or everything would be happy and joyous and back to normal. "President's throwing humans into detainment centers. More like concentration camps, and— what you see. This is what happened." It's a wonder that statement wasn't punctuated by an explosion; give it a few seconds, though.

—-

The wallet and cellphone are placed back into his pocket, and Peter stands as much as he can without bothering the dog too much. He'll even pick the mutt up and hold it against his chest if he needs to, but he wants to look the woman in the eyes while she explains what happened— and while the cats fill in around him. It makes him edgy, but the worst that could happen is he'll get clawed, right? "Yeah…" Those things that they all worried about. Tornadoes. Hurricanes. Unstable weather— and it wasn't the humans that attacked first at all, but those with abilities. Those like them.

There's a hint of a shudder. The people they were carrying off— no wonder they spat at their feet. Did those men with the government have abilities? Or were they normal people working for the system.

"I can't believe my brother would do this…" he says, shaking his head a little and looking visibly distraught. As he should considering the situation. "I need to find out more about what happened… so I can… go back." And change things. Make the buildings whole again, bring life to the streets— keep things from turning into what they have. And then, as if on cue, his stomach growls. "Though I could also use some food…"

—-

Daphne never knew Nathan before. She doesn't know the type of man he was, and so the only answer she can give to Peter's musing is a quiet grunt. She can believe this, because it's happening now. It's more and more likely by the day that things are going to stay like this for longer than she'll be alive. Things have to get worse before they can get better, and considering both of Daphne's parents are human, she'd be gunning for the president if she could get close enough. Now? She doesn't even know where they are, if they're alive. Granted, she's been afraid to check…

In any case, she doesn't comment. What she can offer, though, is some food and shelter. Still not entirely convinced that he's not going to attack her, she nevertheless motions back toward the Bronx. It'll take awhile to walk, but at least it's somewhere. "You'll have to do a little work if you want to stay, but at least we can get you something to eat tonight." On the house!

—-

There's a nod and Peter can't say no to food or water in this case. The most he can do on his own is look around until he find some… if she can offer him at least shelter and food for the night, he'll take it. "Thanks, you're a big help." The Bronx is a very, very long walk, though. Though the streets have less people, and there's a lot less of an issue there. At first he's thinking she means a apartment, but then he remembers something she said. Daphne. From the Zoo.

From the Zoo. The Bronx Zoo. Where there's charging rhinos. That's a really, really long walk. Looking at all of her animals, he assumes most of them actually belong here in the city and not elsewhere.

"If you want I could get us there more quickly…" It might attract attention, though, but in this day and age… if normal people are packed away into containment facilities, maybe someone flying along won't be given a second glance.

—-

It is a very long walk. She usually doesn't leave the zoo, and for good reason. It'll take them a good few hours to get back there, most likely, and she's fine with that, as long as they both stay as out of sight as possible - everything'll be fine. The strays start to wander off in their own chosen directions again. There are a couple cats who follow after for a little while, but even those drift off. If they're needed, they'll be back - hopefully, anyway. There's no reason to draw attention to themselves with a noisy pack of animals. Pigeons and a few gulls circle back into the sky. At least with the birds up there, they can't be surprised. Unless someone comes out of nowhere, which— Rule number one of living in this reality - there are always ninjas.

She stops, about to frown at him about the whole flying thing, but… It'd be a whole lot nicer than walking, that's for sure, and she'd be back long before dark, too. "It's…" Tempting. Another scowl. "There any chance you can do it without being seen by everybody?"

—-

There's a long pause. Peter's made attempts to fly around invisible before, and it never quite worked out well… But then he nods. It can't hurt to try. He's gotten stronger lately… Closing his eyes, he vanishes from sight all together, including the dog in his arms. She won't see what happens next, but a burst of wind will push out around him, possibly spooking the cats, and the mutt may yelp. A few moments later, there's a mild thud a few feet away, and he reappears. "All right— we can do that…"

It's a stretch of his abilities, but— invisiblity is easy. It's the landing that may be the difficult part. "Usually I just fly high, but there's so much air traffic that no one usually notices…" But now— less so on the air traffic.

Kneeling down, he puts the mutt away and starts to weed through the cats towards the woman. "You just have to hold on tight to me, okay?" It's… a very weird offer to someone he barely knows.

—-

Again, she's seen a lot, but…

The remaining cats scatter, and Daphne raises an arm in front of her face as if that's going to do any good to block wind and little teeny bits of dust from flying up into her face.

There's hesitation, but in the end, Daphne would much rather get home quicker. She has her animals to help her, but even they might not be enough if something /really/ goes wrong. Eventually, she nods, but her gaze remains downward for a moment, on the animals who are still loitering. With a nod, she sends them off - they'll probably head toward the bag of food. Some of the cats will just track down a couple mice, most likely.

So now? "Okay. You drop me, though, and I'm gonna be mad." Plus, she's not sure what'll happen to the animals in the zoo if she kicks the bucket… She can't imagine it'll be pretty, though.

—-

"No dropping, promise," Peter says with a hint of a smile, the first genuine smile since he got here. Moving around invisible will be a lot easier, since he can't rely on cabs. Moving closer, he puts his arms around her, pulling her into a firm hug, and waits for her to do the same. There's a break where nothing happens, as he's putting the invisibility around the both of them, or making a valiant attempt to do so, before he seems satisfied and they fly upwards into the sky, shifting directions at dangerous, break neck speeds. Hopefully she doesn't get airsick.

But this should get them there in a few minutes, tops…

The real question… are they actually invisible? It worked once, it may not work again. And there's really no way for him to test to make sure. Instead of landing in the Zoo, though, he aims for somewhere a little further away— a five minute walk. The landing isn't the best, but he accepts the weight of it against his ankles and not hers, before he sets her down.

—-

Okay, she's totally not nervous—

There's a squeal as he takes off, and there's one thing for certain, /Daphne is not letting go./ Sure, she knows Peter, but not well - they're allies, not really friends, so this could be weird, except for the fact that if she even considers for a moment trying to put distance between them… Well, that's a long fall. And so she holds on for dear life.

There's no airsickness, but at one point, her eyes open so she can see how high they are, and, looking back over her shoulder as much as she can, realises that they are a decent way from the ground. It's incredibly cool, and incredibly foolish, but she's never flown before, and damn, this is cool.

Her hair wasn't up, so when they land, it's kind of all over the place, tangled, in her face, which wears the traces of something that would be a smile if she wasn't so vehemently against doing as such. She hasn't really smiled in months. A year? Who knows. No one has, so she's not alone in that regard, but at this point, it's hard not to.

She does manage to look somehow… less acerbic, though, as she determines where the zoo is from where they landed. It's not too hard to tell, since there's noise, a sort of zoo-like smell, and also broken-down signs all around them. "Thanks," Daphne states eventually. "Means you can get dinner a little faster."

—-

Now she knows how the birds feel. Even if what Peter attempts to do in his time here won't change what those have experienced— one smile at a time is a small victory. Once he steps back, he looks at his hands. Did they manage to stay invisible the whole time? Honestly he can't be sure— they aren't invisible anymore, though. Maybe they weren't the whole way— but the sky is dark still, and the city buildings are mostly deserted. Hopefully if he came out of it midflight, they were moving fast enough no one could see them.

And— she's smiling.

"That looks closer to the woman I met." The scars are still different— the emotion buried in her blue eyes— but at least she's showing a hint of a smile. "I'll only stay a night— but if you'll allow me— I'd like to have a place to come back if I can't find anywhere else." He can't exactly rely on his family right now, or expect his apartment to still be there.

—-

Too bad this wasn't better circumstances, huh? Eventually, she'll have to get over this, because smiling like an idiot around the zoo isn't going to help anyone. It'll be a nice memory, though - something she can look back on when things get worse.

And Daphne starts to lead him toward the zoo. There's a long time before she answers. "That was awhile ago, Peter." Still, when she looks at him, there's that ghost of a smile still lingering, and it fades even as her eyes meet his. That said, the zoo is just ahead.

It's nothing like it was before. Wrapped in razor wire and makeshift elextric fencing, it looks more like a fortress than a zoo. The meerkats are off duty now, and the front gate is instead guarded by two large tigers, who, while they haven't been eating as much as they like, are still intimidating in size. As usual, though, there are snakes just inside. They do, however, stay put.

Once inside the safety of the zoo, it's likely that Peter will get several curious looks from the handful of residents who make this their home. Daphne allows him a few seconds to adjust, then reaches out and takes his arm, if he'll let her, and gives it a rough squeeze. Her answer, summed up in just a few words, is "Don't make me regret this." He can stay. But she'll be watching, and if she's not…

One of the pigs near the gate bumps up against the back of Peter's leg rather roughly. If Daphne's not watching, someone will be.

—-

The Zoo itself, when it comes into sight, is certain ominious. The tigers alone draw his eyes. Peter remembers that old radio commercial quite well. Lions and Tigers only at the Bronx Zoo. And from the looks of things, a whole ton of snakes as well… there's a time when he wonders just how many other creatures might be loose and under this one woman's express control… two years have changed a lot. "Hasn't been that long for me— but I see what you mean." A long time.

The city is shattered, and people have gained far more power than they'd ever had before— survival is more important than most anything else… and this is not a world he ever wants to see.

The eyes that stare at him are mostly ignored, because he's looking towards the animals he sees, and then the hand that touches his arm, and squeezes.

When she speaks, he looks back at her face. "I'll try try not to…" But this isn't his world. He doesn't know how things work… there's good chances he may mess things up. But at least he's here. And being watched in many different ways.

—-

Some people still think she's a little off the deep end, but Daphne's perfectly sane. The animals come first, though - always. She's heard them dying, she knows what it's like to have that in her head. And the people here… well, she's grown fond of them, too. Eventually, she lets go of his arm. "Come on. You'll have to share with someone." But there are warm beds and shelter and good things to eat, so it's not entirely bad, right? The showers still run, even if the water's pretty cold, but they all got used to that. Peter can, too.

Eventually, he'll be led to an old concession stand that's been boarded up for use as a barracks. It's not huge, but there's room for a few people in there; currently living within is a mother and her ten-year-old son, and a man who looks to be in his mid thirties. "You have some room tonight?" Daphne asks.

There's plenty. There's still floor space between the cots and matresses that are laid out. It's the boy who's first to consent, though it's likely the adults would have agreed a moment later. It's just that the boy's eyes light up, and he states, "Yeah, he can stay with us." Perhaps a bit of hero-worship going on here. Looking behind her, she checks to see if Peter followed her in.

—-

Most everyone these days is a little off some kind of end, deep or shallow. Peter's definitelly sprouted some things that would make people think he's jumped right off the end of the earth. From the future? Invisible flight path? Yeah, there's a lot of crazy going on in his head and coming out of his mouth… "That's fine— I think I'd rather not sleep alone tonight anyway." This place is one of nightmares, and he'd rather avoid them if he can. The more people around, the better he'll feel. Following not long after her, he joins her at the concession stand and hangs in the doorway up until the kid says he can stay. That makes him nod and smile, and he looks towards Daphne again, "Thank you— I'll help out with the chores and earn my keep, I promise." He's never had anyone claim him for a slacker.

Moving deeper into the barracks, he looks around to find a bed to sit on, and doesn't mind if the boy follows him around and asks him questions. Hero worship? That's new from anyone who isn't his nephews, but…

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