Firsts are still something new to the rest of human society. They’re something slightly off the norm even at home and it makes them uncomfortable to be around.
At home, they’re uncomfortable, at work they’re aliens in human skins.
The First rarely talks, even after she has someone to talk to, but Rafiq’s default communication is still sound. The silence is worse then the pain in his throat, so he talks to her, and the pod, and the trees, and the fish and himself. For the most part they all ignore him.
But Simple Grass was the one who taught the First to talk and she’s intrigued by Rafiq’s chatter. Whenever he starts talking she always moves closer. He isn’t sure how much she actually hears, since what little vocalizations the pod makes are deep booming rumbles that he feels instead of hears.
He talks at her anyways, just for conversation, abet one sided.
The First finally intercedes to play translator of a sort. There’s no direct translation; the pod never says ‘tree’ when it can say ‘old tree that was struck by lightning long ago that overhangs the quiet pool where the smaller fish that taste like mint swim’. But the pod knows rabbits are simple things, so they accept that Rafiq and the First think ‘tree’ means ‘anything tree-shaped’.
The First is named ‘child rabbit that leaned to swim’ –where swim has values of ‘talk’ and ‘join society’– and Rafiq is ‘the rabbit who ate the moon’, for values of moon that include falling ships and brightly lit night skies.