2019-08-24 - A Bit Younger than Expected


In the flick of a twig by the Rat King of New York, Ambrose finds himself revisiting his youth against his will. Thank god for Pepper and Tony, present and able to scoop up the Jackal-kit away from danger.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Sat Aug 24 04:04:19 2019
Location: RP Room 3

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Theme Song



The funny thing about New York is that some urban legends have a basis in reality. The rats? Yeah, they're pretty big — very, very big — about the size of a cat. Now, Ambrose, in his infinite wisdom, has an issue with rats. It's a thing he can keep close to the chest when as a human, but when he's skulking about in four-footed form as he is now?

It's a bit more of a knee-jerk reaction; or rather, teeth-snap. This becomes an issue one evening when he stumbles upon a rat's nest of epic proportions. What begins as an attempt to be rid of a few larger-sized rats turns into a total fiasco when the Rat King emerges from the hole in the wall. Even the Jackal is taken aback at the size of the creature and it's…holding a stick…? And brandishing it at him?

The world goes topsy-turvy — skin and fur feel too big, like an oversized suit, before shrinking to cling tightly again. Ambrose blinks and now the Rat King is the size of a goddamn Great Dane.

Needless to say, retreat is the best policy. Yelping at the top of his lungs, he retreats out of the alley, chased by a multitude of rat sentries, all gleaming eyes and frizzled whiskers and sharp teeth. His flight takes him across a busy road full of honks and brakes slamming on warm asphalt and through the bottom of a chain-link fence. His diamond-studded collar gets briefly caught, but he's able to pull free and tumble away. Still running, he trips over his own padded feet and somersaults into the middle of the sidewalk. There he sits, staring back at the far end of the alley where those gleaming eyes wink at him, and then cringes against the nearest wall. Everything's so…big?!

Sure is, when you're all of two pounds wet and your ears are the size of radar dishes.

Of COURSE it has to be Jewish deli pastrami, and of course it has to come from that ONE specific place that refuses to accept orders online OR over the phone. Having hurried to said deli and now heading back with sack of food in hand, she stops abruptly when the puppy races, tumbles and sprawls just a few yards ahead of her. At first she's simply concerned at seeing a puppy around here at this hour, but then the glint of diamonds on leather catches her eye and recognition.


She hurries closer to the puppy, then calls out before getting close enough to be too intimidating. "Rosebud?" She kneels and holds a hand palm-up a few inches above the sidewalk toward the little quadruped.

Lamplight twinkles off the diamonds, yes, and off the tag on the small jackal-kit's leather slip-collar. It reads, on one side: MY NAME IS NOT ROSEBUD (a thing of pique by the tag's creator and current wearer) and on the other: I AM NOT LOST.

The latter is a bit of a lie this time, unfortunately. Hearing a familiar voice, the small creature looks at Pepper with round blue-green eyes. Those gigantic ears perk up. He stumbles to his paws and darts over as quickly as he can manage, bypassing her hand to scoot up beneath the shadow of her kneeling person. A shivery whimper escapes him as he leans heavily against the inside of her calf, trembling.

In the kythe, broken English surfaces and silences, like a bad radio signal: Kent — something wrong — small — too small!

The little — littler than usual, by a LOT — jackal's reaction has Pepper blinking in surprise and concern. She puts her hand on the tiny quadruped's back, and in that second her mind is made up. With the gentleness and ease of much practice, she scoops up the kit with her hand under his ribcage and tucks her in close to her side as she straightens to standing again. Her forearm supports his hips against her ribs, making the one-handed carry a bit ungainly but likely not too uncomfortable.

And then she's heading back to Stark Tower using that ground-covering walk that normally has SI employees skittering out of her way and currently has other pedestrians giving her a bit more room to pass than usual.

The moment she sets food inside the tower she calls out to the resident AI while proceeding to the elevators without so much as slowing down.

"JARVIS, where is Tony?"

"Miss Potts, Mr. Stark is currently-"


Is what Tony says some small distance behind Pepper when she conveniently asks JARVIS, basically Tony's VI servant and keeper, about his whereabouts. But at least he wasn't in the Iron Man suit. That would make this a hassle and would attract too much attention. "Why, you need me for smoething? I always heard this place's Pastrami was really good. Can't help but feel like something's gonna be off about it."

He looks down at the little beasty she toyed with for a bit.

"Make a friend?"

Tiny toebeans still splay out as the Jackal remains fairly still in the tucked position against Pepper's ribs. His eyes are wide and his large ears pinned back to his skull. The wee brown nose wriggles back and forth after they enter the unfamiliar building. Tony's appearance makes the thinly-furred tail tuck tighter between his legs, but only because the man with the spiffy goatee is unfamiliar to the master-thief in shifted guise.

With a rusty grunting whimper, he begins to wiggle and try to turn so he can hug Pepper's arm rather than be left to paddle at empty air. He pauses briefly, but only because that pastrami smells…heavenly!

"Yes, but a while back, actually. He's the pet of a couple that I've seen in Central Park from time to time." Pepper looks down at the kit when he starts to squirm, and promptly holds out the deli bag for Tony to take so she can devote both hands to the little creature.

"Something's not right though. Last time I saw him he was full grown. Now he looks…." She can't check his teeth until she has both hands available to do so. "Like a puppy."

If the bag is taken, she promptly shifts how she's carrying Rosebud so his legs and backend are better supported. "I have one of his daddies' phone numbers, and I want to give them a call."

Accepting the Deli Bag, Tony looks in it. "Ooo! for me? You shouldn't have Potts." Tony seems to crack down immediately on whats inside, with or without Pepper's consent or permission. Not that he ever really needed it before. a no just meant he was gonna be mischievous. But anyway…

Even as Pepper talks about the dog. "Thats weird. I doubt time travel is a thing, so maybe.." he takes a bite, talking with his mouth have full. "you were either really drunk or you took too much of your anti-stress meds." Tony smirks.

"Okay, go for it though…This Pastrami feels…undercooked. and not enough seasoning either." he frowns at it.

The squirmimg immediately ceases when he feels the warmth of palms beneath all four of his feet. Leaning hard against Pepper's chest, the Jackal is sure to leave pale fur all over the fine clothing. Still, he's soothed by the sound of her heartbeat and only considers the pastrami at first.

Interest begins to increase along with the nearly-audible sniffing towards it. A stretch of his nose out towards it is accompanied by the perk of those radar-like ears towards Tony in particular. Blue-green eyes try to work their best and most charming effect on the genius-inventory for a piece of that pastrami. He's interrupted by the fishing for a sight of his teeth and squirms his head back and away, but not before it's made clear that he's got only a few baby teeth remaining in his skull: it puts the Jackal at about four or five months of age as the animal. What no one's seen yet is his age as a human.

It's sure as hell not one-hundred and thirty-nine, immortal as he is in his cursed state.

"Well, at least now we know not to get the pastrami from there again. Do you want me to order some from Katz's like usual?" Though, knowing it seems underseasoned, maybe it'll be okay to feed to Rosebud… but only a little. She'll have to see about getting him some more appropriate food if it takes her more than an hour or two to get a hold of his owners.

Teeth checked and age approximated, she looks if anything more concerned than before. "Let's take him upstairs where I feel better about setting him down while I make that phone call. Hand me a piece of the pastrami if you would, please, Tony?" she asks while leading/herding the inventor into the elevator. The lobby is not secure enough in her mind to keep mini-Rose safe. One spook and he could bolt out the doors right into traffic. And he's already clearly very rattled by whatever has happened.

She seems completely unperturbed by the growing amount of nearly white fur getting rubbed into the front of her emerald green blouse. That's what laundering is for, after all.

"Oh Potts, you know me so well." Tony says with almost sarcasm, but also a bit of genuine appreciation in there somewhere too. Either way, Tony is just kinda clearly being a plus one at the moment. He hands Pepper a piece of the Pastrama. "You might as well have the rest of it. Can't even bother to finish it, tastes like horrible pulled pork." he admits then.

But he does follow along nonetheless, straightening out his sunglasses for a moment as he looks over at the doggo. How strange.

"….that still bothers me." how can something be an adult one moment and a baby pup the next?!


Ooh, pastrami. It's more than enough to keep the small canine in Pepper's arms occupied as the elevator rises to its chosen level in the tall and technologically-advanced tower.

Large ears flick up at Tony again even as the pink tongue licks at lips. Is he agreeing with the genius-inventor about it being bothersome or is it more begging for pastrami? The world may never know. Regardless, a good call on Pepper's part to confine the jackal-kit with her plan to make a phone call. He's getting squirmy again as all youthful creatures do when confined.

Pepper takes a bite of the pastrami Tony passed to her, mentally gauging for SOMETHING. She apparently deems it acceptable, and offers the rest of the slice to the kit as the elevator doors open again. "I'll figure out something to do with the rest of it," she promises Tony. It would be completely wasteful to just toss it out when so little has been eaten. Maybe she can use it for sandwiches in place of capicola.

As soon as she's stepping out of the elevator, she calls out again to seemingly no one. "JARVIS, could you please place a delivery order with Katz's for a," she hesitates and glances at Tony before continuing, "pastrami reuben on rye, a side of matzoh ball soup, and about a half pound of their house-roasted turkey, please?"

"Order placed, Miss Potts. Estimated time of delivery, forty-five minutes," the AI replies in his Oxford British accent.

"Thank you." She looks at Tony again. "Are you planning to go back to the lab, Tony?"

Tony gets an alert on his phone. JARVIS sent him an alert subtly, especially when he's with people, whenever there's something going on like a Robbery. the Suit is already on its way.

"To the lab…to the lab…OH! right, totally to the lab. If you consider the bank robbery going on five blocks down to be the lab, then totally. In which I'm going to be establishing some chemical bonds..with my repulsortech."

The suit arrives, and Tony widens his arms, the suit forming around him with just the helmet faceplate open. "So, don't worry, have fun, and I promise I'll be back in time for the better pastrami." the faceplate closes and Tony blasts off!

Iron Man work.

"aaaAAAND ORDER ME SOME EXTRA SEASONING!" calls Tony post-flight.

The sudden appearance of the Iron Man suit has the small jackal wriggling like a fish on a stringer now. He manages to turn himself around where he can stuff his pointed nose into Pepper's elbow; the huge ears press flat to his skull against the noise of the suit's departure.

After a second or three of silence, the Jackal brings his face out to peer at the empty space once occupied by Tony. Pepper gets a wide-eyed look: WHAT THE RUDDY HELL.

Pepper isn't surprised by the appearance of the armored suit, but Rosie's sudden reaction is definitely unexpected. She lets him hide his face, holding him a little more tightly in reassurance until Tony is gone again. "You get used to it," she says with a sigh in her voice.

Taking the kit to her office, she uses one foot to push the door closed, then sets him gently on his feet on the floor before moving to her desk. She takes a quick moment to separate about an inch's worth of slices from the rest of the pastrami, then wraps the bag closed and quickly tucks it into her mini-fridge for later.

"JARVIS, link to my phone, please, and call the contact listed as Ambrose Rosebud's Dad."


And this office is so full of smells. The jackal-kit sniffs at the carpeting at first, ears flickering forwards and back, tail still somewhat tucked. However, youthful bravery gets the better of caution even as Pepper's asking the building's AI to contact somebody —

Oh, wait, that's him.

The Jackal pauses in his effort to put teeth on the wooden leg of a nearby chair to look up at Pepper and then at the ceiling as it speaks up in affirmation of the connected phone as well as specific number. Flipping his tongue out a few times at the taste of furniture polish, the wee jackal then sits and continues staring at the ceiling, boggled by the sound of ringing.

And ringing.

And ringing.

And then his adult voice on the answering machine, directing, "If you have this ruddy number, you have a good reason. Be brisk with your message, please."

BEEP. Leave a note, apparently.

And brisk Pepper manages effortlessly. "Ambrose, this is Pepper. I've found Not-Rosebud, and something odd has happened. Please call me back." She waves a hand in the air, and there's a click from the speakers indicating that the call was ended.

"Thank you, JARVIS." She then looks around for… oh, there he is. Stepping back around her desk, she moves to sit on the floor and offers the kit a slice of the underwhelming pastrami. "I wish you could tell me what happened, Rosie. Then maybe your daddies would have a better chance of figuring it out."

Whoa. The ceiling can conduct phone calls around here — and apparently obeys the really nice red-headed lady feeding him. Potts, yes, Miss Potts, with the lure of pastrami and nice perfume. Rather than continue munching on the pristine glossy leg of the chair, the wee Jackal rambles over to the young woman seated on the floor in her nice clothing. He immediately plops down in a proper sit and takes the slice of pastrami a little bit like a caiman: SNAP.

Chewing with haste, he swallows it down and then shuffles closer. His pink tongue blips up over his nose and then he gives Pepper a tilt of his head. Oh, he wishes too that he could explain, but his stomach wants more of that pastrami first.

Pepper doesn't hesitate to feed the slices to Rosie even if he does snap at the food like a little crocodile. "You know, if you keep snapping like that, I might worry that you're going to catch my fingers. And that will hurt." The only thing she doesn't allow the kit to do is pull all of the slices from her hands, instead making him finish one slice before she offers him the next. It's only about six slices.

Once those are all gone she dusts her hands off and stands again to open another door that leads into a small but well-appointed washroom. It takes her a moment of searching, but she finds something that she thinks will make an acceptable water dish and fills it from the tap. She sets it on the tile floor there in the washroom and sits on the floor again, her way of inviting the kit closer. She suspects that even as underseasoned as it was, the pastrami was likely rather on the salty side for the little jackal.

Pepper's fingers do survive the enthused attempt to eat the pastrami as fast as possible. If anything, brushes of soft whiskers touch her skin as the Jackal snaps up the meat. With such relish does he finish the six slices and watches the empty hands even as she rises. Huge ears flick back — aw. Still, the offering of a water bowl is wise. He trundles over and into the bathroom in order to lap up water. A small mess is made, but it's certainly not the impact made by anything with jowls.

Then, in a display of trust, he pads over and tries clambering into the space in her lap, intending to curl up into a small ball. Safety is apparent and some silent time behind the darkness of his own eyelids seems much needed. He won't sleep, but meditation can seem close enough to it.

Pepper can't help but smile when the kit chooses to clamber into her lap to snooze. But he can't, not just yet. "Soon, Rosie. Let's just relocate somewhere a little more comfortable." Picking up the little jackal carefully, she stands again and returns to her office proper where there's a small but comfortable-looking loveseat and side chair framing a small coffee table.

Pausing only to scoop up her tablet from her desk, she leaves her shoes under her desk and settles into the loveseat with her back against one arm and Not-Rosebud returned to her lap. Like this, she should be able to work until either Ambrose calls back or the kit wakes up, whichever happens first.

After being relocated and resettled into Pepper's lap, the Jackal-kit stretches out his front paws enough to flash every single toebean and hard enough to make the tips of ears tremble. Then, curling into a small ball and burying his nose under the thin fluff of his tail, he slips into a meditative state.

To Kent, who's probably having something just shy of an aneurysm, the kythe reports: Warm — full belly — safe — check phone.

And, because she just can't help it, while she's got her tablet in hand, she mutes it then takes a couple of photos of the kit stretching, then curling up in her lap. Because really, no matter what happens, right now Rosie is being rather painfully cute. Though, quickly following that thought is that bit of worry returning.

What happened to him that he's back to almost baby-hood? And how in the world can he be returned to full adult?

And when is Ambrose going to call back?

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