JAYCE AT WORK
(Before I forget again: Leo design copyright Tezuka and Seibu Lions here. Now onward!)
Jayce was home, asleep in his bed. The once human, now turned plush white lion mascot laid on his back, eyes closed, black tipped ears twitching once in a while. It was hard to tell what he was dreaming about as the first beams of morning light filtered through the curtains. Sadly, that peaceful slumber was sudden broken by the clock on the night table reaching six am and going off like a foghorn! Jayce's big eyes flew open and he let out a yelp as he flailed about to try and shut the cursed thing off with his left hand, finally just giving the clock a swat and sending it crashing against the opposite wall, where it joined a few others in broken silence. With a stretch and a yawn, Jayce sat up on the side of his bed and waited to wake up more before moving. He was currently in a blue night shirt and pants, said pants now modified for his tail and the shirt being the button front type as Jayce had soon found out why the few anthro lions he had seen never wore pull-over type shirts.
"Tastes like a plush slept in my mouth. Oh boy, here it comes!" Jayce muttered and then suddenly shivered as a surge of energy ran through him. Within seconds he was fully awake and alert, getting onto his currently bare foot paws as he turned towards his dresser. "No more need for caffeine with a startup like that!" The bedroom wasn't very large, having been a room converted on the first floor of the rather old stone house Jayce called home. The walls were painted white and the furniture consisted of the bed, nightstand, and dresser. After some fussing around, Jayce gathered up the clothes he needed and headed out to the living room to dress where there was more space, well after washing up a bit first. Luckily, the original Leo had given him pointers on how to clean and maintain himself, that added with the fact that his body seemed to clean easily with a bit of water and brushing really helped. After a good brushing down and brushing of his mane, Jayce picked up a bottle of lavender scented Febreeze and lightly sprayed himself down before turning his attention to getting dressed. "I don't think I will ever get used to that or this" Jayce mentioned as he looked with a sigh towards his currently bared crotch. There was nothing there; he was just an innocent plush it seemed. At least he seemed to have a nice, if somewhat puffy build though, making him seem a bit more built than he was as a human. Finally dressed up in his work uniform consisting of a white, buttoned t-shirt and black pants, Jayce put on the special shoes that came with his new form and looked around the sparsely furnished living room. The one thing that drew his eyes was his Lion King collection set up in the corner, all those toy eyes seeming to look at him like he was a sort of intruder in the house. "Crud."
After grabbing a box of Pocky, the only thing Jayce seemed able to eat, he exited the house and locked the door behind him. "Hmm, car or bike today?" Jayce looked up at the sky, then down at his paws and their shoes. "I think bike, didn't do so well with the car." It was supposed to be a nice day anyways and maybe the fresh air would help him prepare for going back to work after taking a few extra days off. Being that he worked at a research lab concerning beings like he now was, Jayce knew what was coming. After getting on the bike and making sure his tail was positioned safely, he started it up and began down the long driveway to the road. The helmet didn't fit him, so he simply tossed it to the side as he left, pausing long enough to check traffic. "Well, back to work to be poked and prodded. I never thought I'd be the one to be getting researched!" With that final thought, Jayce gunned the bike's engine and sped off towards town and his job.
Doctor Janice Simpson was an older woman in her early fifties and the main driving force behind the creation of the independent research lab, New Worlds. Standing roughly five foot seven, and with graying, black hair, Janice was a lot like the matriarch of the research lab and facility. While she was their boss, Janice also cared a good bit about those who worked under her and currently she had a mixture of worry and frustration over the situation Jayce had gotten himself into. Now she found herself doing something she had never thought of doing, walking down the to the examination room to examine one of her own employees! Currently dressed in a while lab coat, Janice also carried two files in her left hand, one for Jayce himself and the other he had requested about Leo. Surprisingly, Janice had little problem procuring the information about the white lion mascot and living plush that had converted Jayce. As she approached the exam room, Doctor Boyer, who had been running basic tests on Jayce since he arrived at the complex, met her. "So, what's the verdict on our patient?" Janice asked.
Doctor Boyer slowly took off his glasses. He was a bit younger and taller than Janice, with balding, brown hair and wearing the same type of lab coat. Boyer sighed as he look at Janice with blue eyes that always seemed to sparkle no matter what the situation. "Well, he seems fully stable, but I am damned if I know how he can function!" He rubbed his forehead as he continued. "Jayce has no signs of a nervous system, no pulse, he does breath, but I have no idea what that actually does. Yet, he holds a somewhat lower than average body temperature and though lighter than a human his height, he has enough weight to make an impression."
Janice looked back at the green exam room doors, then back over at Boyer. "Has Jayce been able to give any information of his own on how he feels?"
"Well, as you know, Jayce was not faring well emotional-wise when he got here. Then, it's like he began to level out, rapidly." Boyer looked at the doors this time, hearing a bit of rattling from the room. "We both know that accident a few months back led him to a dark place that he was just starting to come out of. He threw a sudden fit that scared the hell out of me, like he was reliving the whole scene over again. Then, it was like he suddenly came to terms with it, and came back."
"Came back?" Janice asked, seeming confused now.
"Yes, he's back! You know, the Jayce we knew when he started working here?" Boyer replied. "It was like watching someone walk back into the light. After the fit, Jayce apologized for scaring me and then stated he would no longer let the fear and pain of that accident rule his life." Boyer then shook his head. "Then, he got a silly grin and he hugged me! He's surprisingly cuddly..." he added with a bit of a blush.
Janice fought hard to stifle a laugh. She knew that Boyer was not the cuddly type and she would have loved to have seen the look on his face when Jayce did that! "Yep, that sounds like Jayce alright! Before we enter, did you do any strength tests as you seem to be surprised that he is so cuddly?" She almost laughed again as that made Boyer's face a deeper red.
"Well, yes of course!" Boyer said, trying to clear his throat in embarrassment. "Jayce might be cuddly, but he can summon up a vise-like grip and he can hit rather hard. He also seems to have enhanced strength. Not super human, but definitely something to be reckoned with when he sets his mind to it." He then groans and rolled his eyes, realizing he used the word 'cuddly' again.
Before the good doctor could embarrass himself again, Janice finally motioned towards the exam room doors. "Why don't we do what final tests we can before Jayce gets bored in there? We both know how he gets when he is bored."
Boyer nodded and added, "One final thing, Jayce's eyes don't move, but he seems to gave an excellent, full range of vision. I thought he was staring straight ahead only to realize he was somehow following me with those eyes."
The exam room was fairly spacious, yet a bit sparse on furniture and implements, allowing the doctors of the complex to bring in and use whatever equipment might be needed. Coloration was pretty plain as well with white walls, and stainless steel furniture. Both doctors entered the room to find Jayce standing there in his examination gown, placing the stethoscope on various places on his chest and looking concerned as he looked up at them with his big eyes.
"I-I don't have a pulse!" Jayce stuttered out. "I must be dead!" After saying that, Jayce suddenly dropped the stethoscope onto the floor, went stiff, and began to fall forward. Suddenly, he turned the fall into a forward roll and sprung back onto his paws right in front of Janice and Boyer. Holding up his right index finger, Jayce went on. "On second thought, maybe I am some sort of zombie white lion plush!" He then began to walk around with his arms stretched out, then stopped. "Wait, what would a zombie plush want? Ah!" Jayce then went back to his zombie act. "Polyfil! I want polyfil!"
Janice looked at Jayce in a bit of disbelief. "Jayce, are you ok?"
Jayce spun back around on his left paw, tapping his chin. "Am I ok? Yes, I think I am. My mind is clearer than ever, my sight and hearing are excellent." He placed his hands on his hips as he continued on, his tail swishing a bit. "I seem hard to hurt and even when something does tear me, the damage regenerates almost instantly. Better yet, there's no real pain, just feels odd and tingly! Maybe I'll just choose to stay this way." With a final look around the exam room, Jayce seemed to come to decision. "Well, I think I am going to take the rest of the day off! I think a little run in the park is just what the lion needs! With a smile, Jayce waved and made his way past the two dumbfounded doctors.
Both Janice and Boyer stood there for a moment, neither one really able to absorb what just happened. Finally, Janice managed to snap out of it and hurried over to the dressing room where Jayce already had his pants back on and was putting on his shirt. "Wait a minute! Why the sudden need to go take a run in the park?"
Jayce finished buttoning up his shirt and then put his shoes on, strapping them down before getting up and answering Janice's question. "Well, I guess I just need more time to come to terms with what I have become." As he said this, Jayce placed his hand upon his chest, closing his eyes and letting out a sigh as he lowered his muzzle a bit. He then walked slowly over towards Janice, still acting a bit dour as his attention was drawn towards the file she was holding. "Oh, is that the file I requested? Thanks!" He suddenly perked up, took the file and walked down the hall. "Don't worry, I'll keep myself out of trouble!"
All Doctor Janice could do was groan. "Yeah, where have I heard that one before?"
Jayce had not even bothered to change clothes, instead he hopped on his bike and headed straight to the park. After reading the file on his 'brother' Jayce locked it away on a side compartment on the bike and entered the park gates. Needing to take a run was only part of the reason why Jayce left the lab so abruptly, the rest was the fact that he did not want to become locked away there as some sort of test object. Plush or not, Jayce was still a living being, not some sort of oddity to be locked away inside a cell at a research laboratory! Also, there were still a lot of things bouncing around in his head, especially after reading that file. Starting off at a jog, Jayce settled into a steady run while trying to stay on the more secluded trails of the sprawling park. He had been drawing enough attention as it was and really needed to get himself out of the public eye so he could try and figure out those questions that were swirling around in that head of his.
Finally, after running for a bit, Jayce found a rarely visited area of the park and stopped. Looking around to make sure it was deserted, Jayce took a seat on a rickety bench overlooking a roughly thirty foot drop-off, complete with rusty safety railing. Even though he had been running a while, Jayce wasn't the least bit out of breath. In fact, he didn't recall any sort of difference in the pace at which he breathed throughout the whole run. "Argh, do I even need to breath?" Jayce muttered to himself as he ran a hand over his eyes. He wasn't sure if that fact was good or disturbing to him. Even though he had become more accepting of his new body, Jayce still often felt like some sort of monster creature. How was he even able to function? Did he still have a soul, or was he just an automaton with just memories of the human that came before? Leaning foreword, Jayce raised his right hand in front of his muzzle and watched as the puffy fingers obeyed every command from his mind, just like they would do if they were flesh and blood. Next, he laid that same hand on the railing of the bench and could feel not only the coolness of the metal from being in the shade, but also the imperfections caused by years of being painted over multiple times. Finally, he raised his hand up to his muzzle and not only could he feel the soft suppleness of his 'fur', he could also feel his hand touching that muzzle in the same way one could feel their normal hand touching their face.
"That shouldn't even be possible. I shouldn't even be possible!" Jayce fumed, then looked around to make sure no-one heard his little outburst. With his enhanced sight and hearing, it was like living in a high-definition world, making it easy for Jayce to spot out anyone lurking around. Satisfied that he was still alone, Jayce leaned back against the bench and let his eyes slide slowly shut, trying to relax and calm himself again. With any luck, anyone walking by would think he was just some sort of ultra-deluxe stuffed animal someone had abandoned on the bench.
Jayce didn't know how long it had been when he was jarred back to reality by a shriek coming from the drop-off ahead of him. His ears had tuned up so much while he was zoned out that the it had been like the sound was right beside him! There were two more voices, both sounding rather gruff and angry coming from the same spot. Not even pausing to think, Jayce crouched down and approached the railing, peering over it to see what all the fuss was about.
Down below, a man in a park ranger's uniform was being pummeled by two thugs. One carried a high-powered rifle and used the butt of it to crack the ranger in the face while the second man seemed busy destroying what must have been the man's phone and camera, growling out, "Maybe this well teach you to interfere with us!" Jayce quickly climbed over the rail and, without a seconds hesitation, jumped off the ledge, sailing down and landing on his paws without so much jolt to his body as he let his legs curl up enough to absorb the shock. The whole thing seemed to happen in slow motion as Jayce straightened up, first ripping the gun out of the one thug's hands and sending it soaring through the air and somewhere into the forest behind. There were twin yelps of surprise from both thugs as Jayce carried through on the first one, grabbing him with both hands and seeming to lift him effortlessly into the air, tossing him and sending him crashing into the bushes where he came to rest in a daze. Thug number two screamed at Jayce, pulling out a nasty looking knife and began to charge, making wild swipes at the lion plush. Jayce dodged the first two swipes, then caught the man's wrist in his own plush hand on the third. The struggling thug let out a yowl of pain as Jayce turned on the power, hand clamping down like a vice until the thug had no choice but to drop the knife into the brush below. After that, Jayce sent that thug flying through the air as well, only to land with a crash on top of the first thug, who had been trying to get up. Finally, both men got up and hobbled off, obviously having their fill of Jayce!
"Ugh, thanks.." Came the shaky voice of the park ranger behind Jayce, "Those poachers were going to kill me I think.."
"Well, luckily I decided to get off the beaten path today." Jayce said as he helped the man get up. He hated poachers with a passion and it was even worse when they turned on other people to further their ill-gotten gains. "Do you think you can walk?"
The man tried to move, but let out a yelp as he tried to put weight on his right leg. "N-no, that one with the rifle smashed the butt into my leg, I think it might have fractured a bone." He began to sweat a bit, blood coming from the gash left on his forehead.
"Don't worry, I'll get you some help." Jayce said as he quickly picked the man up in his arms and began to make his way around the drop-off and towards a trail just visible through the brush.
"Excuse me for asking, but what are you?" The man asked, looking up at Jayce as he was being carried almost effortlessly up the trail.
Jayce looked down at him and smiled a bit. "Just a white lion who happened to be in the right place at the right time." Was all he said, then continued on to where he knew there would be an aid station.
Later that evening, the two thugs Jayce had fought stood in a darkened room, bandages on their faces where the bushes had cut them as they landed and looking rather nervous at the figure sitting in the dark before them. While the figure seemed human, then fist that slammed down on the desk before them looked more like it belonged to a cartoon human rather than regular flesh and blood.
"A white lion!?" Yelled the man, causing the two thugs to flinch back a little. "Are you absolutely sure?"
"Y-yes Mr. Hamm." The one thug finally spoke up. "I got a good look at him and there was no way that was just a man in a suit!"
The darkened figure seemed to ponder a moment, then he spoke again. "If he is indeed the second plush, this could become a real problem for my plans. White lions, you are the bane of my life!" After what seemed like an eternity, he sighed and grumbled. "Leave me. I need to figure out this new wrinkle!"
The two thugs didn't waste any time scurrying from the room as the figure sat there and brooded. "White lion, you might bring a pretty penny once I rip your stuffing out!"
The next part in Jayce's story as he begins to adapt to his new form.