Phoenix Maplewood well, now what
Private  February 21, 2018, 02:28 AM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel

he had slept restlessly beside easy that night, tossing and turning and fervently hoping he didn't wake the girl. when he awoke, he was groggy and irritable, and his chest felt heavy from what had transpired between him and his mate. he hoped that perhaps they could make amends in the light of day for the things they had said in the dark, and rose to find her--but she had vanished.

aditya swallowed down the panic that churned in his belly, threatened to rise in his throat like vomit. he knew dawn was a scout, that she drew her pleasure from wandering. hell, she had said so herself to him last night. perhaps it was a small mission, to clear her head.

damn him, despite the things she had said, despite her self-centeredness, he still worried about her. he still loved her.

as it was, he couldn't go on a wild duck goose chase anyway. he had easy to look after, had made a promise to grayday to do so. it would be foolish to venture beyond the maplewood with one member of their party missing; he didn't know how far dawn had gone, and he certainly didn't want to waste their energy by tracking her when she would likely be back soon.

so they waited in the maplewood, aditya desperately trying to find ways to while away the time with his sister-in-law. another hunting lesson, perhaps? should he tell a story, or sing a song? damn it, he was terrible with kids.
February 22, 2018, 01:32 AM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy was getting really sick of her brother-in-law. She'd been sort of excited to find Dawn absent that morning - it meant she and Aditya were stuck with each other, and it would be nice to get some time in the spotlight. But Aditya was being his usual boring self, and while there was a part of her that adored him just for that, another part of her - a newer part - was irritated that he insisted on running herd rather than hanging out.

"Why don't you just talk about it if it's bothering you so much," Easy finally snapped, thoroughly disgusted with herself, the situation, and mostly with Aditya. She couldn't help but add, somewhat sulkily, "Or maybe you want to go find Dawn and talk to her instead."

Why didn't he want to hang out with her? Why was it that the thought of a few moments alone with the older man made her stomach feel like it was made of butterflies, but when Aditya was forced to babysit her, all he could do was seem nervous and preoccupied. He didn't want to be her friend. It almost seemed as though he didn't even want to be her brother.

Easy wanted to go home.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
February 22, 2018, 07:20 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
the girl's voice startled him out of his indecision, and he turned to her, meeting her angry amber gaze with a semblance of shock in his own. "no, i don't," he answered simply, shaking his head. it was mostly a lie, but there was some shred of truth--he didn't want to hear the words again that had wounded him so last night.

aditya's mouth twisted as he looked at her. "i'm sorry, easy," he murmured, flattening his ears in shame. "i know i haven't been very good company, lately." or ever. he'd always been fond of the girl, but he had the faintest inkling she didn't like him much at all. which hurt. . .but there wasn't anything he could do about it, if he continued to just be himself.

he shrugged. "i don't want to talk about it," aditya said firmly. "let's do something fun, instead." he chuckled, the sound sharp and rueful. "i've not been at my best, but let me think of something fun we can do."
March 01, 2018, 02:21 AM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy looked away, feeling a little guilty for adding to Aditya's burden when he was so clearly messed up over whatever had gone on between him and Dawn. And as much as Easy hated being second-best to Dawn, she didn't want the pair to break up over whatever dumb thing Adi had done, or something lame that Dawn had said. She certainly didn't want them breaking up because Easy had said or done something to push one of them past their breaking point.

"You haven't been that bad," Easy muttered. And it was true. It was just different without her whole family around. Aditya's priority was Dawn, and Easy was no one's priority. It was a hard pill to swallow, and a big change compared to life at the plateau. She missed Daddy and Burr and Dauntless and Lavender and Pema and Catori - and none of this was helping. Aditya's babying least of all.

"How about we don't," she said to her brother-in-law, eyeing him dubiously. Was he going to play peek-a-boo with her? "You're obviously feeling shitty. We don't have to talk about it, but you don't have to pretend."

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 01, 2018, 09:57 AM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
"i do have to pretend," aditya responded, a note of irritation creeping into his normally even tone. "that's what i do when i'm feeling shitty. pretend, to take my mind off of it." he shrugged his shoulders once more, looking at the ground. "call it a coping mechanism, i suppose."

with a sound half-chuckle, half-gasp, he brought his gaze to easy's once more, shaking his head. "you know? i've been bloody well trying to have everything come together. trying to be the best person i can be for your--our--family." he stopped for a beat, and blinked. "and you know what? i didn't have any sort of examples to do that. my father fucked off somewhere before i was born. my mother went and died on me. her brother. . .i don't even know where he went!

"i didn't have any siblings to play with, or a home to call my own," aditya continued, his voice growing angrier with each word. "i had to do it all myself. figure it out all by myself. and now that i'm here, and now that i think i have it all together for the first time. . .it turns out i can't do a single thing right."

his claws dug hard into the ground, tail thrashing slightly behind him. he let out a snort of exasperation. "and i'm sorry to dump this on you," he added, looking a little remorsefully at her, "but that's why. why i've been so. . .so bloody stupid and irritating and. . .not enough."

he trailed off, ripping his gaze away. the fur along his spine prickled still, and he wanted to roll on his back, crushing the sensation once and for all.
March 01, 2018, 08:31 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy's ears fell back as Aditya began to speak words in retaliation. She'd never really had anyone be angry at her before, and although she always rankled when people treated her like a child, she wished her brother-in-law would go easy on her, now. The anger in his voice made her shrink back in shame. Perhaps she wasn't the only one feeling really bad about this trip.

"That's not my fault!" she finally snapped, regretting the words as soon as they left her mouth. Her eyes went wide, and she shot the man a panicked look, backtracking as quickly as she could. "I mean - I mean it's not, but... I'm sorry I've been so mean to you, okay? And I'm sorry you're sad or whatever." She didn't really get what was going on there. What had changed? Everything seemed pretty together to Easy.

She looked down at her overgrown paws, shooting the man furtive looks from under her dark lashes. "Daddy says you have to really feel all your emotions before you can let them go. When I'm sad, he does this thing for me... I can try to do it for you," she suggested, cheeks heating under her fur. "Maybe it will help you feel better."

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 04, 2018, 11:03 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
he had thought that maybe an apology would make him feel better, but damned if he didn't feel worse. his gaze dropped to his paws as easy spoke, only to lift back to hers when she gave her suggestion.

"easy, you don't have to be sorry," adi murmured, trying for a smile and not quite getting there. "i'm not angry with you. i just. . .well, i thought you should know where i'm coming from. that's all." he gave her a gentle nudge, his forehead pressed briefly against her shoulder. "why don't you try what your papa taught you, on me."

aditya was intrigued. grayday was a relatively even-keeled individual--aditya had only seen him truly angry or sad a couple of times--so whatever he did must work. adi was also even-keeled, but these past few weeks had tested his patience beyond their natural limits.

might as well give something new a try.
March 07, 2018, 11:21 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy opened her mouth to begin, only to pause when she thought about what Aditya had just told her, and how she had been acting toward him. She shut her mouth for a moment and shot the older wolf a sheepish glance. "Okay, so bear with me. It's kind of silly, and it feels sort of weird at first. But you just gotta take that weird feeling and roll with it, okay?" she said sternly, giving him a firm look.

Without waiting for an answer, she dug down deep and then, with a deep breath, released a ragged cry of, "It's just not fair!" she raised her eyes skyward and went on, ranting. "Why does the world do this! Everything is dumb! Aditya deserves to be happy." She channeled all her bad feelings into this, letting it weigh almost too heavily to bear before starting again. "Why does the world persecute him? What has he done to you, world? Leave him alone!"

Easy flopped down on the ground and gave a mournful howl.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 12, 2018, 12:06 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
"ehm," aditya muttered, looking at easy as if she had two heads. a bemused smile started to creep over his muzzle, watching the girl's histrionics with a gleam in his eye. "i mean, i can appreciate the thought, but. . ."

hmmm. perhaps he should give it a try. "it's not fair--why does everything suck?" aditya mock whined, ears flattened to his head. "why can't easy just--wait, am i complaining for you, or me?" he broke off in confusion, looking over at his sister-in-law before modulating his tone back to one of weighty suffering. "ugh, why can't the world just be nice and good and pure?"

strangely enough, it seemed to be working, if only that the scene was so ridiculous that he was fighting back the urge to giggle with each and every word. he couldn't imagine grayday doing this, and that made it even funnier.

"yeah, leave me alone!" aditya howled hoarsely, then burst into laughter, flopping down on the ground next to easy, his stomach rising and falling with hysterical, heaving breaths. his golden eyes flashed to hers, teeth gleaming in a grin. "you were right--i do feel better."
March 12, 2018, 07:53 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy ignored her brother-in-law's question in favor of bemoaning a few more of the things he had mentioned, doing her best not to break character even though he was making it really difficult. The mood was usually a bit more somber with her and Daddy - but it seemed to be helping, anyway.

Soon, Aditya was falling down beside her, laughing to himself. He was so handsome sometimes, when he wasn't mooning at Dawn or treating her like a baby. "Daddy calls it a pity party," she said quietly, immediately hating herself for saying such a dumb thing when his face was right there.

Misreading the moment entirely, Easy shuffled toward her brother-in-law, pushing her muzzle hesitantly against his. There was a spark of electricity in the pit of her stomach, zinging all the way to the tips of her toes. Was this what love felt like?

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 12, 2018, 09:40 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
he chuckled. "ah, a pity party?" he said, tilting his head in wry acknowledgement. "i've not heard that one before. i like it." he closed his eyes, breathing slowing as the hysterics died down. the heavy weight on his chest had lifted, replaced with fizzy, intoxicating humor.

then he felt easy's muzzle press againt his, and his eyes popped open in surprise.

"oh, hey, erm," aditya stammered, pulling back slightly to peer at her. one ear flicked backwards in inquiry, and his body flushed with nervous heat, every hair on his pelt prickling. what the bloody hell had just happened?

he was lost for words, and settled for peering at easy with a puzzled gaze, rolling onto his stomach and pushing himself up to sit on his haunches. he would leave the next move to her; he was the older man here, subject to more severe scrutiny than a girl not even a year old. anything he said or did now could be held against him, and not just in a court of law.
March 12, 2018, 10:28 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

And just like that, he was gone. Easy pulled back as well, a startled expression flickering across her face before it was replaced with something akin to desperation and fear. "Adi," she whined, edging closer once more to pepper his chin with placating licks, spine curving inward in shame. What did she do, now? Play it off? Go for broke? Cry?

"Adi, I..." she tried again, but the words wouldn't fill themselves in the way they usually did. Easy gulped in an uneasy breath, seriously considering option number three once more. But she was her father's daughter, at the end of the day. Dawn's sister. And that left only one true option for the Morningside girl.

She moved closer still, until she was plastered against her brother-in-law's chest, breathing in his musky, man-family-strength scent. "Adi," she repeated, his name a soft sigh. A plea. And it was a nice feeling - almost - to be in such a position, but in that moment, she missed her father more than anything, and a part of her she didn't like was absolutely furious at Aditya for making her feel this way, and at Dawn for wasting what she had right in front of her.

Growing up sucked.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 12, 2018, 10:45 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck

a steady stream of expletives trickled through aditya's mind as the girl pressed herself into him, head tucked under his chin. he blinked, utterly poleaxed. what the hell? what the hell? what in anything he had said or done merited this reaction from easy?

"easy, hey," he murmured, gently untwining himself from her embrace and taking a small step back. he gave her a serious look, golden gaze holding hers unflinchingly. "i love you, chhoti behen. you're part of my family, the only one i've ever had."

he swallowed, unsure of how to continue. for it was surely an amorous embrace she had given him, and though aditya had once thought the girl too young to make such advances, he realized, with a small shock, that she'd grown up before his eyes.

"i'm sorry if i've given you the wrong idea today," aditya said, voice suffused with gentle apology--and not a bit of hurt, either. "and i'm sorry for lashing out, too. just know that i'm here for you, always. . .as a brother and a friend."

he wondered whether she'd yell or cry. he sincerely hoped for the former.
March 12, 2018, 10:54 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Well, too bad! Easy was going to cry. And then maybe she'd think about yelling. But for the moment, she was just too upset to muster up the defiance to yell. She just felt gross and guilty and awful, and when Aditya talked to her like that, she remembered that she was a child. He'd made it clear that, to him, she would always be a child.

So she turned away and tried to take deep breaths, but they were wracked with shudders and sobs. Everything sucked and she hated this place. Why had she ever thought she was old enough to go with? She wanted the plateau, she wanted her dad, and she wanted her littermates to play with instead of big, dumb Adi and oh-so-serious Dawn.

"I wanna go home!" she wailed, unable to hold back any longer.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 12, 2018, 11:07 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
fuck. she had gone for the latter.

"oh, god, please don't cry, easy," he pleaded, feeling utterly helpless as she dissolved into sobs. he didn't know what to do. move closer? what if she thought he was trying to hit on her, too? say something to cheer her up? god, it was clear he didn't know what to say to her; not now, not ever. he was trapped, and there was nothing he could do.

"easy, it's--i'm sorr--it's okay, i'm sorry, don't cry, plea--"

i want to go home!

her words cut through him like claws and fangs, outstretched in battle, and a sob rose in his own throat. hastily swallowing it back, he nodded, responding thickly, "so do i."

he did. he missed the plateau, his familiar stomping ground, and his packmates. the streiter siblings, heads bent in quiet conversation, and lavender learning about medicine from pema. grayday's wise words; shale's quiet strength.

and dawn. the dawn he'd met all those moons ago. maybe they'd left her behind, forever, when they'd began this voyage. maybe he'd never get her back.

"so do i," aditya repeated, drawing a shuddering breath and unable to summon anything more.
March 12, 2018, 11:30 PM
Blackbear
Lone Wolves

Easy's sobs did not stop when Aditya echoed her, but they did begin to slow. Eventually, when she had settled down enough to stand without shaking, the dark girl cleared her throat.

"I'm going to find Dawn. And then we're going back," she said stonily, not looking at the older wolf. Her stance was rigid and her face closed - none of what had just transpired would be up for discussion anytime soon. Nothing was up for discussion, and although Easy half-wanted to say something else, something comforting, something reassuring... But she didn't, because in that moment, she had very little left to give.

Instead, she stalked off, anger clear in every step.

rain before it falls,
lightning before it strikes
March 18, 2018, 08:43 PM
Aditya
Morningside
Sentinel
finally, the anger he had wanted surfaced, though not in the form of a geyser, like aditya had surmised it would. no, instead easy was cold and hard, much older than her years as she spoke, her tone businesslike. aditya nodded slowly, though he doubted she saw it; she was walking away almost immediately.

with a ragged sigh, he sat heavily on his haunches, watching her go. when she had disappeared into the foliage, he shook his head, completely at a loss.

"well, now what?" he asked himself aloud. above came the screech of a bird of prey, the only witness to his solitude.