Reindeer Games


emily_icon.gif geneva_icon.gif hailey_icon.gif

Scene Title Reindeer Games
Synopsis Geneva takes Emily back to her place so she can return Hailey's Wolves copy. Hailey has a calf.
Date February 19, 2019

Hailey and Geneva's place, Park Slope

In all the time Emily Epstein has been acquainted with Hailey Gerken, she's never actually been to the animal empath's residence. She's determined to return the borrowed copy of Wolves of Valhalla to her directly, but… can't help but be discouraged at seeing just how far away from the civilized parts of the Safe Zone the two happen to be living in.

"You two really live out here on your own?" she asks Geneva as she walks beside her, more bewildered than skeptical. She doesn't doubt that it's happening, she just questions the how.

The building they approach, after all, looks to be in good condition, until you consider the lack of power… the lack of running water.

"Yeah. There's a reason why I didn't try flying all the way out here to see Hailey as a hummingbird, I probably would have died trying." Geneva is 100 serious as she says this, hands tucked in her pockets as she trots at Emily's side— the long, freezing journey across the city would likely have ended disastrously for her. "But it's not so bad. Shitloads of free space, for one thing. And no rent." No utilities, plumbing, or amenities, either, but a little creativity (and tolerance for roughing it, to some extent) solves all those problems.

Before Geneva has the chance to unlock the front door, a high pitched howl followed by another, and another interrupts the afternoon's silence. Hot Hands Jr knows the sound well enough by now, but to hear it .. it's chilling. They can hear Hailey's voice too, barking commands that no one is likely listening to, because her companions are mostly of the animal variety. The one that isn't just happens to be the one with a key pausing for entry.

In the front picture window, they can see Jim, a bundle of anxiety, jumping up and down and screaming. Luckily, there's enough soundproofing that all they can do is imagine the ear splitting cries from the small monkey. He leaps up onto the curtain rod and brings the whole things down in a shower of red velvet and brass fixture. It's only then they can hear…

"Damnit Jim, you're a monkey not a doctor!! Stop fussing around!!" It's Hailey's voice and she sounds exasperated.

Emily stops as she sees the monkey, seriously reassessing the plan to go in. It's been a minute since she's seen Jim, and she can only imagine what it's like inside. With potentially other Jims.

Sometimes Emily thinks she and Geneva can be pretty similar, but there is no way she could handle living with this.

"Maybe we should just go meet her out back," she suggests with forced nonchalance, adjusting the strap of her backpack.

Presumably Geneva is accustomed to the type of absolute chaos that she witnesses in the window of her home, or at least the high possibility of it. So accustomed, as a matter of fact, that she does not slow her pace even a little. "C'mon, Hailey's probably got this," she says over her shoulder as Emily halts, though she soon squints back up at the building to see if her housemate is actually okay. She still sounds as genuinely nonchalant as Emily is feigning to be, but there is still at least some degree of concern there. "Hailey! Do you need help?"

"Geneva! Thank god you're here!!"

The reply is dripping with relief and when they round the corner to the back of the building they can see why. The empath is kneeling next to a reindeer on its side and is massaging its bloated belly. "I need dry towels and warm blankets, hurry hurry!!" She's stripped of her coat, which is lying in a bloody lump between herself and the deer's head. Turning her head, Hailey sees both of them and waves Emily over. "You! I need you to take over!"

Emily has a blank expression for four long seconds after Hailey gestures at her directly. Jim's curtain-pulling incident makes sense suddenly, both for the stress he was exhibiting and what he was trying to grab. Blinking slowly, she starts to pull her backpack off, reacting instinctively rather than thinking.

"Tell me specifically what you need, Hailey. Keep her calm? Pet her?" Not sticking her hands anywhere in any bloody business. But she's willing to help. Somehow.

"Don't be such a weiner and massage her, just like I'm doing now," Hailey replies to Emily, a little calmer now that there's more sets of human hands. Apparently the reindeer feels a bit calmer too because the high pitched howls are slowing to just whenever the blonde's hands stop. "Be firm but gentle," she continues on, "let her feel it but don't hurt her… more than she is already."

The empath moves around to the back of the deer and is in position when Geneva comes back out with an armload of terrycloth towels and wool blankets, more than enough to get the job done. Hopefully. "Geneva, get to the calf in the coat and dry it off. I need to get this other one out.." Then, she reaches in with both arms and sinks them up to her elbows. The expression on her face is a sour one, because Hailey thinks it's just as gross as the other two. but.. that's the miracle of birth and when she removes her hands, a couple of hoofed legs can be seen sticking out.

Emily's expression becomes more severe at Hailey's tone, but she approaches the reindeer slowly after letting her bag drop on the ground behind her. She swaps positions with the empath, warily eyeing the deer. She is not a big-animal person, and it shows, but she gets right into rubbing the deer's belly. Way better than the alternative, which she can't bring herself to watch, at least not directly. "Better you than me, I don't know shit about … whatever it is you call this," she mutters under her breath, more for her own benefit than anyone else's.

It is not only Emily who is out of her element here. Geneva also doesn't know jackshit about playing midwife to wild animals, much less one of this size, which is why she is rather relieved that massage duty had fallen to Emily and not her. She kneels apprehensively by Hailey's fallen, bloody mess of a coat, lifting up a flap to reveal a knobbly-kneed little creature that shrinks away from her weakly. Dutifully, and also with gentleness now that she has seen the calf firsthand, she gets to work swathing it in towels and proceeding to dry it off as requested.

Placing a booted foot on the reindeer's rear, Hailey grabs the slick little hoofed feet and pulls with wall of her might, leaning back as far as she can to gain as much leverage as she can. Both she and the reindeer scream, the reindeer with pain and Hailey from effort, when the empath collapses on her back with another shivering little calf on her lap and torso.

They're both a bloody mess.

Exhausted, the reindeer snorts and lays on her side for a few more minutes. Emily knows when she's about to get up because there's a bit of kicking involved. The empath doesn't have to bark out any more instructions, she's fairly confident the other young woman will move when she feels the need. Though, she does meekly say, "Can I get a towel?"

Until that point, though, Emily's more or less glass-eyed, unblinking with her head swiveling from reindeer to Hailey-and-calf. "You did great," she tells the new mother, continuing to pat her down. At that first kick, she scrambles back to her own feet and away, not even paying mind to her knees being soaked.

It takes her a moment to realize she's the only one without a baby animal in hand, at which point she makes a stammering that sounds like an affirmative to Hailey before grabbing one of the terrycloth towels that were brought out. Walking it over, she asks with her earlier feigned nonchalance, "So this is just … everyday stuff for you out here?"

"First time here," Geneva volunteers cheerily from her spot, continuing to carefully wipe down the calf in her arms with a second fresh towel. Though she is somewhat frazzled herself, she does not show it, noting Emily's reaction with some amount of amusement. "So, Hailey. What're you gonna name these guys? Er… are they guys?" Among other things, she does not feel like moving and possibly hurting the newborn she has in order to find out.

Hailey is busy rubbing the goop off the newborn, but isn't so busy that she can't grin up at both Geneva and Emily. "Second time with reindeer for me, first time was last year." Once it's dried, she releases it to its mother, who fidgets impatiently waiting for her calves to join her. Picking herself up off the ground, she looks down at her clothing and wrinkles her nose with disgust. She is covered.

"I don't name them," it's just a matter of fact. "They're probably going to be food. Well the boy anyway, the girl we can keep for milk." The circle of life at its finest. Practical, sensible, and pragmatic. At least Hailey and whomever shares in the spoils will be fed.

"Gene… can I bother you to heat up the tub for me? I feel a bit gross." At least she spared Emily and gave her a relatively easy job. "Just a bit."

Emily only shakes her head as she shuffles back away from the reindeer, back toward her abandoned backpack. She lets out a slow breath, giving herself a moment to process everything that happened. If anything, hanging out with Hailey was never a boring matter. It was also one that left Emily like this frequently — very out of her element, often unsure, and occasionally outright rejecting of the situation. Active participation was certainly progress.

A bit of humor comes back to her as she looks back to Hailey, though. "Just a bit?" You think? She shakes her head, the amusement brief and rapidly devolving back into discomfort. "If you want me to get out of your hair, I can… leave you all to it. I'd just wanted to stop by to drop something off."

"Yeah, that's no problem. No offense, but you do smell gross." This is said with a light but cheeky grin. It is not only Hailey who will be treating herself to a hot bath after this, but there can be no doubt that she deserves it the most. After a final few pats, Geneva releases the second calf to go clambering off to its mother, tossing the slime-covered towel off to one side of the lawn and stretching slightly. "Nah, you don't need to stay if you don't want, Em. Hey, did you bring your own copy too? I've been wanting to read it ever since… well, you know, but I can't remember if I already asked you or not."

Emily's sarcastic comment isn't lost on Hailey, who appreciates it with a rowdy laugh as she looks down at her clothes. "Just a bit…" she agrees with a wide smile and shakes her head to Emily, "You don't need to leave either. We've got eggs and stuff inside if you're hungry." A menagerie of animals generally keeps them well fed and despite the scene of Gillian's birthday, the empath isn't adverse to killing a chicken to put food on the table. After all, food is food, and chickens don't die afraid when you can calm them down. "Gene makes a killer spaghetti and I made a freakishly good cinnamon frittata."

And then she's plodding toward the house to see what happened in there while all of the anxiety and fear happened out here. She didn't see Jim, but she could feel his tension. "Come on guys, I'm gross and starving and not really willing to stand out in the cold."

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