Author Topic: You're Not Alone!  (Read 1362 times)

Cleyra

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Shouldn't I believe the same in you?
    • View Profile
You're Not Alone!
« on: September 25, 2014, 07:12:23 AM »
There was a lot of thinking to be done. She didn't know if she wanted to be the one to do all of it.

She stared hard at the broken radio in her paws. It hadn't been broken for long. It had worked just a few minutes ago, in fact. The screwdriver was tucked somewhere between her ear and her hat.

Everything existed somewhere. There was nothing unimaginable; only things that hadn't managed to be imagined yet. You could view the world as having three stages of existence: before, now, and after. Or you could view the world as it really was, and then your body could spend the rest of its Now in a small room with regular meals and someone to wipe up the drool every few hours.

The stars couldn't just go out. They had to be somewhere. The question just boiled down to: before, or after? And once you figured that out, you had about a thousand more questions to answer, and none of them got any easier.

The radio cracked again, briefly, as she put one of the wires back where it had been. Something else had got knocked loose. Clumsy-claws. It was a tiny little thing, not like the big clunky ones they used in this city, in this time. She'd been given rather vague but intense instructions not to let it fall into the wrong hands, so when she heard footsteps down the corridor, she threw her cape back over the little project.

Cleyra poked her nose out of the cage as the man with the keys walked past.

"Excuse me," she said, "this food..." She indicated the little bowl by the door. "It's really gross. Have you got any cheese?"

The man stared at her for a while, knuckles going white around his keychain, and then kept walking down the corridor. The dogs in the other cages barked at him, once in a while, but most just whimpered.

She went back to fiddling with the radio when it was safe. It was something to do while she waited. Everyone was being really very peculiar in this town. It would only be a few hours more, she reasoned. The Doctor would come back for her, as he promised. Or else the man would go to sleep in his chair, and she would mini herself out. She was just trying to be polite, really. Perhaps wait and see what they wanted of her. Maybe they would move her to better accommodations soon? This little kennel was entirely too small for a girl her age. It had to be some silly prank they played on foreigners and tourists. Surely.

As another piece of the radio fell out and got lost in the straw, she thought about what kind of cheese they might have here. She did like trying new flavours.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 07:14:21 AM by Cleyra »
Cleyra Ardwyad - Burmecian, Red Mage
Elysive Iskra - Selkie, Freelancer

You may say I'm a fool, feelin' the way that I do!
I believe in friends and laughter and the wonders love can do,
I believe in songs and magic and that's why I believe in you!

Attyranger

  • Guest
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2014, 09:41:36 AM »
Rocket had just settled down into the straw for another light snooze when he heard the man outside again, pacing back and forth as if he were watching for danger- or escapees. Scoffing under his breath, Rocket opened one eye and stared out through the bars of the kennel they had tossed him into after picking him up off the street. It had been an embarrassing incident to say the least, one he would rather soon forget, but after being dropped off by the vessel he had hopped aboard after escaping from his last cell, he had found himself landed in a strange world that he had never been to before- and he had been to a lot of worlds. It was during this drop that he had misplaced his pistols, which, as he was searching through a neighbor hood's garbage cans, was how he was spotted by these worldly enforcers, tranquilized and dragged off to be put into one of these kennels. He had an idea about how it had happened, about how they had mistaken him for some sort of animal and taken action accordingly, but that didn't stop him from fighting back; he was sure he had managed to bite the arm of one of the men who had roped him around the neck with a wire noose before the tranquilizer they had shot into his shoulder kicked in and his world swam into darkness. He hoped that bite hurt, that it was getting infected while he sat in the straw and contemplated his inevitable escape.

“Excuse me...”

Rocket's ears perked up as a tiny voice was heard through the shuffling and the whining in the other kennels.

“This food...it's really gross. Have you got any cheese?”

Lifting his head, he dragged his body over to the edge of the kennel and gripped the bars in his hand like paws as he pulled his muzzle up to peer through. He couldn't see who was speaking, but he could see the approaching man with the keys and hear the wave of barks that followed him. Rocket sneered at him as he strolled by, making sure to flash his fangs and teeth in the most threatening way possible to remind him of what he could do without his guns.

“Yeah, yeah, keep walkin'- nothin' ta see here,” he growled, spitting outside of his cage at the man's feet as his figure retreated into the other room; the barks surely drowned out his remark, but that didn't stop him from sassing the warden. Once he was sure the man was well out of ear shot, and the barking died down to a slight droan of whimpers and grunts of discontent, he pressed himself firmly against the bars and forced his arms through as he began to fidget with the lock on his door.

“Psst, hey, hey you- the one with the picky palate,” he kept glancing upwards while he fidgeted in an attempt to catch a glimpse of whomever had questioned the food service, ”Whatcha in for? Arson? Manslaughter? Peein' on someone's leg?”

Rocket chuckled at his own joke, grabbing at the lock on his door and attempting to jiggle it loose- when he couldn't manage to release the lock, he grumbled and stepped back, kicking the metal door and turning away from it. He was going to need something else to shove into the lock and jerry-rig it open, that was for sure. Tapping a clawed digit on his nose, he walked back up to the door and peered once more through the bars, looking up and down the kennels as he tried to find something- anything- that would be useful to him. It was during this once over that he glanced into the cage opposite him and saw an old looking dog staring back at him; he looked to be a hound mix with large floppy ears and a tongue that seemed to go on forever as it panted heavily in it's cage.

”What're you lookin' at?” Rocket's eyes trailed over the clipboard hanging next the dog's kennel and read the words 'terminate'- his ears flattened and he brought his attention back to the dog, ”Hwoo...that's tough buddy.”

The dog's tail wagged slightly as Rocket spoke to him and the furred mercenary couldn't help but offer him a slight smile. That's when his ears popped up and his eyes widened.

”Bingo!” reaching up and through the bars, Rocket tugged down the clipboard that was stuck to his cage and looked it over, ”Rabies? I ain't got no rabies...psssh, whatta buncha morons.”

The words 'terminate' were scrawled across his sheet as well and he felt his whiskers quiver with the anticipation of them trying.

”Like I'd give 'em a chance-” once more he handled the board in his paws, tugging on the metal clip and attempting to break it apart to release the spring from within, ”Augh...stupid...metal...piece of...shit- nnngh!”
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 09:47:08 AM by Atty »

Cleyra

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Shouldn't I believe the same in you?
    • View Profile
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2014, 01:40:23 AM »
Fred liked his job, most days. He liked animals, even when they were biting him. Less so when they were not wearing clothes and talking, or cursing at him. It was a shame they had to put so many down, but he tried his best to find good homes, and make them comfortable until Their Time Came, and wipe most of the froth away. He was a Kind Old Man. He'd been a sailor, and managed to retire with all his limbs and most of his teeth. He'd seen weird things at night, in the fogs over the oceans. None quite as weird as this evening.

But it was alright. He'd made some calls, got laughed at a whole lot, but younger men with smarter minds than his were on their way.

He went outside, leaned against the wall, and fumbled for his pipe. It was the fifth time he'd lit up that night, but the things he'd seen...

He let his gaze wander over the cemetery across the hill next door. The kennel couldn't have asked for better neighbours. The barking never woke them. Just before his pipe sparked to life and the cemetery went black, he thought he saw something move. He really, really didn't. It was just a trick of the eye, his mind pulling his other leg after a severely baffling evening.

A few puffs later, though, he frowned at himself.

"Could've sworn there were six statues over there..."

~ ~ ~

Cleyra didn't answer. Whoever was in the other cage was very rude, she decided. As if she would do any of those things! (Well, the third one... but it had been a dare, and she didn't like to talk about it much, her tail still hurt to remember the paddling... And besides, she was much older now, and wiser, and had better bladder control anyway.)

But after listening to the animal's struggles, she decided enough was enough. It sounded like he was getting seriously injured in there!

She wrapped up the little radio, tucked it under her hat, and with her little set of electronic tools that she didn't quite know how to use, had the lock off her cage in the time it would have taken to incant the Mini spell. It was best to save that for emergencies, she ultimately decided.

She pushed the door open an inch, pressed her cheek against it to peer down the corridor one way, then the other. Her ears quivered. The man wasn't around. The dogs were quiet. The only sounds were the muffled grunts and curses from her neighbour.

Cleyra ducked out and allowed herself a good stretch, arching her back and giving her tail a good undulating fwip. She clasped her cape back on, and marched imperiously down the corridor for the two or three steps it took to bring her in front of Rocket's cage. She looked down at him, biting his clipboard. Then she turned around and looked at the dog opposite Rocket.

"Is this man bothering you?" she asked the dog.

Its eyes glazed over as it looked at her.

"Can any of you speak?" She turned around slowly, squinting up and down, ignoring Rocket for the moment.

She considered, briefly, that they might be muted. But no. She'd never heard anyone bark when muted. They were probably just dogs, then. Sometimes that happened. You had duck people, and then you just had ducks. Entirely different.

She turned back to Rocket, and poked her screwdriver at the lock on his cage for a moment. It popped open with a rusty sproing and fell to the floor.

She opened the cage and thrust her arm in, offering him her paw.

"My name is Cleyra, of Burmecia," she said. "I rather think you're a little rude, but you seem to have been incarcerated by mistake, or at the very least, in the wrong place. Nevertheless, I'm going to find something to eat, would you like to come with me, sir?"
Cleyra Ardwyad - Burmecian, Red Mage
Elysive Iskra - Selkie, Freelancer

You may say I'm a fool, feelin' the way that I do!
I believe in friends and laughter and the wonders love can do,
I believe in songs and magic and that's why I believe in you!

Attyranger

  • Guest
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2014, 08:04:55 AM »
Rocket was intent on breaking the metal contraption and pulling the spring from inside in order to aid him in his escape, so much so that he almost didn't hear the tiny voice from before prattling on outside of his kennel- almost. Looking up from his task at paw, he stared pointedly at the- whatever she was and frowned deeply. How had she gotten out so quickly? Maybe she had been planning her escape since she got in, like he had, and tonight just so happened to be the night she succeeded in making a break for it.

“Is this man bothering you?”

Rude, Rocket snarled slightly at the snark in this obviously female's voice and went back to gnawing on the board, ignoring the rest of her words as he continued to try and make due with what he had available to him.

”Can any of you speak?”

Sighing in exasperation Rocket released the board from his jaws and dropped it into his lap, ”Does it sound like they can speak- they're dogs. Dogs that can't talk or speak let alone remember who's ass they sniffed five minutes ago.”

Grumbling this out he was about to turn his back to her when he noticed her jam something into his lock.

”Hey, what are- !” Rocket sat back with a start as the lock popped off it's hold and fell with a loud clatter to the ground, causing the older dog from across the way to start barking- something that resultedly set off the other dogs in the room in one loud ruckus of howls and yelps that could have been heard for miles. Staring wide eyed at the space where the lock had been, he pondered whether he should bust out then while the ruckus was at it's peak or wait until things quieted down before he snuck away, that is until the girl opened the kennel's gated door and leaned inside, offering her clawed paw to him.

”My name is Cleyra, of Burmecia, I rather think you're a little rude, but you seem to have been incarcerated by mistake, or at the very least, in the wrong place. Nervertheless, I'm going to find something to eat, would you like to come with me, sir?”

Sir? Eat? Burmecia? Dropping the clipboard completely, Rocket reached out and smacked Cleyra's paw away, glowering over at her as he scoot himself forward until he was able to push his way past her and slip his body out of the kennel where he landed paw first on the cold linoleum floor. Standing straight he reached his arms into the air and stretched, his ears twitching and his digits flexing as he felt the muscles in his body readjust to the freedom. After his much needed stretch, he turned back to Cleyra and scratched dismissively at his ear.

”Food? he snorted half of a laugh and stepped into her, giving her a hard look and jabbing his clawed digit into her shoulder, ”You do that, I'm gonna get outta here.”

Snuffing her, he stepped around her and went to move down the long corridor to the only other doorway in the room, but stopped when he felt a strange vibration rumble beneath his paws. Ears perked and eyes wide, he glanced around searching for a sign of whatever it was that had given him such an uncomfortable feeling, but finding nothing.

”Get back in the kennel...” he breathed, stepping back towards the girl as the barking around them began to grow more and more intense. He didn't know what it was, but he had a bad feeling that either the man from before was coming back or something else was coming in. It was then that the door's handle began to turn on the far side of the room- thinking fast, Rocket jumped back and shoved Cleyra into his kennel, diving in himself and pulling the gated door closed before whatever had turned the handle entered the room.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2014, 05:17:43 PM by Atty »

Cleyra

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Shouldn't I believe the same in you?
    • View Profile
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2014, 02:20:03 PM »
Cleyra was getting more annoyed with the raccoon by the second. Which was perfect. Every team needed a lovable, gruff, rude, smart-mouthed animal sidekick! She just hoped that he would be lovable eventually. So far he wasn't ticking all the boxes.

I mean, he really didn't quite even match the animal sidekick part. She had always rather assumed that would be part of her role. But for a proper animal sidekick, you had to have the right size for the animal. He was too big, and so was she. Maybe if they found some kind of lion...

She glanced at the old dog in annoyance. No. Definitely not him.

"Well," she said to Rocket's back as he stalked down the hall, "Good food would require first leaving here, I would think..."

He didn't seem to be listening. Rather, not to her.

Suddenly he was in front of her again, shoving--SO rude!--and she was sprawled out in the straw once more, and her hat came off, and the radio with it, and was lost in the straw... And she nearly poked herself in the eye with her screwdriver!

That wasn't important. Her mind raced... Her cage door was still wide open. The lock was still on the floor.

"The lock," she hissed to Rocket, her tail agitatedly flicking at the back of his head. "Get the lock before he sees..."

What would she do, if the man with the keys started to panic at her being out of her cage? Float or Mini? Float would distract him--the first time was always difficult to adjust to. Mini would be difficult, if he didn't hold still... Better not to mini herself just yet, some people got stompy when upset...

She settled, for now, for trying to make herself appear as small as possible without magic. Hopefully he just wouldn't notice Rocket's lock missing.

~ ~ ~

Fred did notice the cage door open. It was the first thing his eyes focused on.

He crept forward cautiously, holding his walking stick aloft in front of him. Of course one of them would get out. Of course. They could talk, they wore clothes, these cages weren't made for animals that weren't animals...

He glanced over his shoulder a few times. The barking was getting more intense. Was the animal that escaped out there? It would have had to go around the building... they weren't that fast! He had managed to capture them in the first place, after all.

He reached Cleyra's cage and slowly leaned down to look in. Food untouched. Straw neat and orderly. Not even a pellet left behind. He glanced over at the Rocket's cage. Something was off, but he couldn't put his finger on it...

His neck prickled more.

The dogs had stopped barking.

He turned around.

The Angel stood in the doorway, frozen mid-stride.

Fred fainted without another thought.

The Angel didn't move. If it could think with its brain turned to stone, it would probably have thought to itself: a hallway full of eyes is not the best place for me...

~ ~ ~

Cleyra strained to peer over Rocket's shoulder.

"What's happening?" she whispered. Her fur was tingling all over. The old dog across from them looked poofy, too. So did Rocket, a little. "What was that thump?"
Cleyra Ardwyad - Burmecian, Red Mage
Elysive Iskra - Selkie, Freelancer

You may say I'm a fool, feelin' the way that I do!
I believe in friends and laughter and the wonders love can do,
I believe in songs and magic and that's why I believe in you!

Attyranger

  • Guest
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2014, 10:17:25 AM »
Cleyra had read his mind. She had had to, that or she had common sense, which was something he thought she lacked when she had stood in the center of a dog pound and asked if any of them could speak. The lock, he had forgotten to grab the lock. Peering through the bars of the kennel door, he wondered if he could reach down and snatch the forgotten padlock from the ground before anyone walked into the room- that was until someone walked into the room. The man from before had entered, the sound of his shoes only about as loud as a pillow falling on the ground compared to the racket the dogs were making with all their barking and howling; it was a little more than obvious that he had seen Cleyra's cage door hanging open- the man would have had to be blind to miss that, but when he moved past Rocket's cage and toward the door, Rocket saw his chance to reach through and grab what he had failed to grab prior. However, before he acted on this chance he glanced across the way and caught sight of the older dog from before- he hadn't realized it with Cleyra shuffling around in the straw behind him, but something in the air had shifted and the dogs, who were making such a racket only moments before, had suddenly gone quiet.

Staring at the old dog he could feel his fur bristling from the sudden influx of pulsing energy in the air and he realized just how silent it had become. The only real noise being the rustling of the girl behind him and the soft whisper she let out as she tried to get a glimpse over his shoulder.

”What's happening?”

”Shhhh...” Rocket hushed Cleyra softly, still trying to pinpoint when the dogs really had stopped barking. It couldn't have been when the man came in, they were very much at the peak of their rioting when he entered, so when-

”What was that thump?”

”SHHH!” He had turned on her now, shoving a clawed digit against his own snout to reinforce the harsh hushing he was now giving her, ”Let me think!”

His voice was a strained whisper when he spoke, but if he was being honest, and he wouldn't admit this openly, she made a good point. There had been a noise a few moments ago, one that he had failed to properly register as he was busy trying to figure out exactly when the dogs had stopped barking and for what reason. Turning away from Cleyra, he leaned a bit further against the kennel door and peered out, catching a glimpse of a shoe a few steps away that was attached to the leg of the man he had seen entering the room and moving towards the other open cage. He was on the ground.

”Huh, there's our thump...that old guy's on the ground,” his observation was detached as his eyes moved away from the still figure and sought to find what could have done that to him. Instead, he began to take note of the dogs: they were all still in their kennels, fur on edge, with tails tucked and ears back as if they were fearful of something. When his eyes finally came to his neighbor from across the way, he frowned. The old dog was lying on his side, head down and eyes whaling as he nervously licked his muzzle and panted- just like the others, he was staring away from Rocket and down the corridor. That was it, that was the one constant he had seen in all the fearful dogs- it was their eyes and the direction to where they were staring.

That direction- Rocket turned his head slowly to the left, unsure what he would be finding on the other end of the corridor- was where he found the statue.

”What the fuck...is that?”

Tall and imposing, the large statue lunged forward in a frozen pose, it's arms reaching out and ending in hooked, claw-like fingers. Despite the angelic wings that were poised in a neutral position on its back, the statue's face looked demonic and more gargoyle then angel in appearance with its mouth hanging open in a startled snarl. Although its appearance had surprised him, it wasn't its looks that made his tail bristle and his ears fall back on his head, no, it was more the mystery of how it had gotten there and where it had come from.

Cleyra

  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6
  • Shouldn't I believe the same in you?
    • View Profile
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2014, 07:11:21 AM »
"Language," said Cleyra, reaching over to give Rocket's ear a good flick. She couldn't see past him. She scrambled for her hat and the radio parts, and cradling them in her arms, rolled onto her rump and gently nudged the raccoon out of the kennel with her large, powerful feet.

"C'mon, mister, we need to help him! Move your tail... Ooo-er..."

As she tumbled out after him, she looked up and saw the angel. She jabbed a claw at it.

"That?" She squinted at Rocket. "That's a statue. It's a strange place for one, I'll admit... but... it's just a statue."

Wasn't it?

She glanced at the radio in her paw...

~ ~ ~

She had been sitting on the steps of the old apartment building, right where she had been told to wait, when the old woman found her. To Cleyra's surprise, she only gawked for a moment before nodding and grinning in a very upsetting way. Most people who see a giant rat at their door didn't react half as well. And then she's scuttled away, and come back with a box, and in the box...

A note: "From: the Doctor. Sorry, stranded in 1787. Use the radio to call the TARDIS back to pick me up. All I had in my pockets. Keep safe."

The radio, a small hand-held thing, black and dusty, with the battery pack torn off and replaced with something that had blinking green lights, even after all those years... The toggle for the frequency had been dismantled and put in with a single switch.

A smaller box, this one with a little screwdriver and some spare tiny screws, almost rusted into nothing more than brown pellets.

"Been in my family generations," the old lady said. She tapped the box lid, which had a drawing of Cleyra on it. "Used to dream of this creature, when I was a child... Now it's you..."

"Um," said Cleyra.

They had tea and biscuits inside, and the old lady fell asleep while talking, and so Cleyra fiddled with the radio. The noise it made was crackly and faint:

"...banks, libraries, you know--statues... ... ... the switch, and the TAR--... ... ... --ink, and you'll be... ... ... this pre-recorded message will... ... ... banks, libraries, you know--statues..."

She'd tried a simple Thunder spell, to see if that would give it a little more juice, make the message clearer. It... didn't. But she was fairly sure she found most of the pieces.

And then the old lady's son came home, took one look at her with half a biscuit in her mouth, and raised bloody hell. Cleyra got so spooked she dropped the biggest piece of the radio into her tea cup.


~ ~ ~

Cleyra thumbed the broken radio, biting her chin with her front teeth.

She slipped it into a pocket, along with her screwdriver, and reached for the dog-catcher's legs.

"I think we should drag him, um, somewhere else. Away from that... It could be a gargoyle, I don't know why it's not moving. Just don't... startle it."

She glanced down the opposite end of the corridor, to the door leading to the front rooms. She'd seen what looked like an infirmary on the way in. Unlike some animals here, she had gone more or less willingly, and hadn't arrived in a box or a net. She had crawled into her kennel without much complaint, certain in her narrative ability to break out whenever the villain had his back turned for a moment.

Now she was certain this was the part of her story where she would lead her new party out of the dungeon, maybe sidetrack a few rooms here and there to get treasures before there was no coming back for them, and then either find some sort of transportation or amazingly meet up with the rest of her party right outside, where they would be waiting patiently to take on the next quest.

Only that didn't sound like the Doctor at all, and just what was she doing trying to drag the villain to the infirmary by his boots?

It was the right thing to do. That was all. Sometimes heroes had to put aside good story-telling to just be Good.

She beamed!

Just like Zidane. Yessssss.

"This way! Come on, Mr. Tailstripes!"

She wasn't sure about the nickname. She hoped she'd be given a chance to change it later, if she thought of something better.
Cleyra Ardwyad - Burmecian, Red Mage
Elysive Iskra - Selkie, Freelancer

You may say I'm a fool, feelin' the way that I do!
I believe in friends and laughter and the wonders love can do,
I believe in songs and magic and that's why I believe in you!

Attyranger

  • Guest
Re: You're Not Alone!
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2014, 06:44:45 PM »
Cleyra had flicked his ear and pushed him out of the kennel and onto the floor, growling for a moment he eyed her with a glare that would have burned holes into her if he had forced enough heat into them and felt his ears fall instinctively back onto his head as a means to protect them; as the moments passed he was beginning to realize why he so often worked alone – side kicks were a waste of air. First they leave you and then, if they stick with you long enough, they turn out to be annoying little brats with mush for brains.

”C'mon, mister, we need to help him! Move your tail-”

She had stopped mid-sentence, pointing past Rocket and noticing the all too noticeable figure standing in the far doorway.

“That? That's a statue. It's a strange place for one, I'll admit... but... it's just a statue.”

”You think?” Rocket rolled his eyes and shook his head as he turned away from the mousy female, giving this statue a good once over before he turned his attention back to the old dog from across the way, the poor thing still looked terrified- so much so that he was sure he could smell piss radiating from the creatures cage. Shaking his head again, almost as if he knew he was going to regret this later, he walked up to the kennel and unlatched it, pulling open the gate and letting it clatter nosily against it's neighboring kennel. With the cage door open, the old dog lifted his head and tentatively eyed his surroundings, his nose going to work as he scented the air before he lurched out of the cage and his paws found purchase on the floor; the old dog had taken off running, going in the opposite direction from the statue and bounding over the old man's unconscious form without so much as a whimpering thank you. Rocket turned to watch the dog move and felt a smirk forming on his furred muzzle.

”Your welcome,” his ears caught the faint clatterings of the now free dog fervently searching for a way out, but he chose to focus on the noises coming from the mousy female in his general vicinity instead.

”This way! Come on, Mr. Tailstripes!”

He felt his tail bristle and his whiskers vibrate in annoyance, but he pushed through and stepped towards her, stopping only when he came abreast with the old man's boot. He wanted more than anything to just keep walking, to step over the old man's body and move on with his life once and for all- but he couldn't, not without putting in a word or two.

”Ha. Ha. Funny- yeah, tailstripes- haven't heard that one in a while,” Rocket's tail twitched slightly as he spoke, ”Hey, listen- uh Cleyra, let's get one thing straight- I don't answer to nothing, but my name- I'm not a Mr. Tailstripes- I'm a Rocket- er, I'm Rocket. Either call me that or don't call me anything at all, got it?”

He was leaning in closely now, narrowing his eyes with his ears swiveled back and huffing with sort of finality as he dropped his gaze and went back to inspecting his surroundings. The old man was still lying out cold on the ground before him; absently, Rocket kicked out at him- his bare paw making contact against the hard boot with a soft thud.

”What happened to him?”