Redhawk Caldera Accidents don't just happen accidentally.
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All Welcome 
They were still stuck, plunged into perpetual twilight. Towhee's eyesight had adjusted by now and she could make out the various silhouettes in the cave with her. She really didn't notice the confinement, having always been restricted to one small, dark or space another (the womb, the whelping den or this very grotto). It was warm inside here and, aside from the pinching hunger pains, Towhee couldn't complain much.

She did notice the tension and fear in the stale air but only on a very vague level. She accepted it when the adults fussed over her, forcefully feeding her regurgitated meat and often herding Towhee and her litter mates together for a nap. She missed her wet nurse and, more importantly, the rich colostrum Raven offered, but she wasn't among those inside the cave and there was nothing for it.

Presently, Towhee felt a little fatigued but she tried to get @Phox to play. When he didn't seem particularly interested at the moment, she turned to look for @Titmouse, her second favorite playmate. She found Oriole instead. He was sprawled on the floor by @Finley's feet, looking much the worse for wear. Unbeknownst to Towhee, he hadn't been able to keep down any of the pre-chewed meat. Oblivious to her sibling's plight, Towhee attacked.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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;)

Lagan hated the cave even more now that he was stuck inside it.

Aside from having tons of puppies to keep him company, he was constantly missing his sister and his papa. He loved them so much, and hated not being able to play with them like every hour. Being an optimistic little boy, he fully believed that they'd both be totally fine out there in the cold blizzard, but he still missed them a ton. And until he could at last he reunited with them, he had bigger fish to freeze. Such as the puppies. Without Raven to feed them, Lagan and the others were having to chew their food for them. While he knew it was necessary, he also hated having delicious food in his mouth and then having to spit it back out again.

He was napping at his mom's side, snuggling up into her fluff when he heard some shuffling. When he looked up, he saw... well not much. It was extremely dark in the cave, sometimes he'd wake up and think he'd gone blind before he remembered they were stuck in a cave. But after a moment of blinking, he could make out a small puppy bouncing around in front of his mom. He stood slowly and hopped over his mom, landing clumsily on the other side and plopping himself down to look at the pup.

It kind of looked like Teehee, but he couldn't make her out exactly, but she did know what she was attacking. Teehee come here. Don't 'tack your brother! He said with an amused purr, and smile upon his face.
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She couldn't hear the playful rebuke, though Towhee could see Lagan's shadow moving about in her peripheral vision. It surprised her into stopping just short of striking Oriole right in the face. She squinted up at her cousin, one little paw suspended in midair and tail beginning to wave slowly. She stumbled over Oriole's outstretched legs in her sudden haste to bound in Lagan's direction instead.

Towhee pounced at his left forepaw, sinking her teeth into his lumpy toes, unaware that her needle-like teeth were fully capable of breaking the skin hidden just beneath his pale fur.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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As Lagan had asked, Towhee stopped attacking Oriole, and instead stumbled towards him. At first he thought it was cute, cute until her fangs had him by the toes! AH! He yipped, and almost leapt away, but he didn't want to fling the small baby off so he stood his ground instead. He was too considerate for his own good. He'd take anything for his family, even if his little sister was a toe sucking vampire. 

Hey. Hey stop that Tee! That really hurts, ow ow! He lisped through clenched teeth.
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His screams fell on deaf ears (no joke). They didn't so much as twitch as Towhee sank her brand new fangs into the stringy tendons connecting Lagan's toes. She did feel the tension when he considered leaping aside, as well as a faint vibration down his forelimb as he shouted at her. But neither of these things had any effect on her.

She let go a moment later, entirely of her own volition, then blinked up at him with her tail stirringly gently. Towhee blew a raspberry without even realizing, waiting for him to engage and play with her.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Lagan who had no idea that his little sis couldn't hear him just kept on talking, urging her to stop with gentle shakes of his paw. It hurt so bad, but he really didn't want to get angry at her or push her off. He just wanted to be a really good big brother, the kind that all the kids love. Like Eljay! Or Uncle Pee! Uncle Pee wasn't his big brother, but it was the same concept. Finally Towhee stopped, and sat there as if she'd done nothing wrong. Lagan raised his paw immediately, trying to look at it to see if she'd broken the skin. 

He couldn't see if she had anyway, so he put it down gingerly and looked at Teehee with a sigh. When she made a raspberry sound, a smile cracked at his face and his tail began to wag. He physically couldn't be upset with her, she was just too cute. Aww that's ok. Just like no more teeth ok? He said, biting the air then shaking his head, wondering if maybe she'd understand that better. Then with a smile the grey furred pup rolled over onto his side and flailed his paws into the air, inviting her play.
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Her head cocked as she watched Lagan study his paw. There was a strange expression on his face. Towhee didn't know what it meant. A moment later, he broke into a smile. She was very familiar with these. She also knew what his wagging tail meant. He was happy and pleased with her!

His mouth moved and Towhee stared up at him in fascination. Then Lagan suddenly flopped to the floor, flailing his paws at her. The little girl loosed a squeal she couldn't hear, dodging his moving limbs. She then dove toward his soft underbelly, nippy as ever as she came precariously close to his tenderer bits.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Well Lagan hadn't gotten the exact message across that he'd wanted. He most definitely had not been pleased with Teehee at first, but he was too soft to scold her. He really needed to learn how to say no, but then again she wouldn't understand no anyway. He giggled when he heard her squeal, she sounded so happy! He loved it when the babies were happy, it made him happy too. It didn't surprise him when she leapt onto his stomach, but it did knock the breath out of him. She was way heavier than expected.

He didn't mind her jumping around on his stomach, but he flinched when she got close to his private parts. He looked down at her, his eyes wide as she quickly got closer and closer. What used to look like cute little baby teeth now looked like jagged stones sharper than knives, and they were headed right where it would hurt the most. Teehee was about to down right rip his penis off!

Teehee stop! The boy yipped, rolling over as fast as he could and grabbing the girl by the scruff. It was time to put his foot down. He plopped the girl down on the floor in front of her and gave her a frown. It wasn't a very menacing look, but it was the best he could muster when looking into her cute little eyes. Teehee, that's very bad. We don't chow down on other people's penises that's really bad. He said, then bent down to gesture at his wiener. When he looked up again he shook his head, in a firm no. Get it? Nooooo penis!
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OK, that post made me LOL so hard. Also, thank you for this brill opportunity to explore Tow's language development. :D

She couldn't hear his verbal warning, though soon Lagan spoke to her in a way she could understand very well. As soon as he righted himself and snatched her by the scruff, the pup went limp. The suddenness of his movements did confuse Towhee, especially when he plopped her right back on the floor, and she looked up at him questioningly. He scowled at her and her over-sized ears wilted. She had done something to displease him. Although she was very young, she could put the pieces together to deduce he hadn't liked her biting at his belly.

She fought the instinct to drop her eyes, instead focusing on the movements of Lagan's mouth. She noticed the distinct repetition of bad. Between that word and the look on his face, Towhee understood that she was being scolded. When he gestured at the lump of flesh between his legs, it clicked that he didn't want her near it. Her blue eyes drifted back up to catch the shake of his head. She already had a pretty firm grasp on that one. It meant no, that's bad, stop what you're doing.

If Towhee had realized the opposite gesture—that a nod meant yes, I understand—she would have done so. She wasn't there yet, so all the puppy could do was look up at him apologetically, eyes a little shiny, then scoot toward Lagan and bump her head gently against his chest. The little girl hoped he wouldn't stay angry and that he could forgive her, not that Towhee knew of these ambiguous concepts. She just wanted her older cousin to smile at her again.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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No problem!

Lagan could tell from the look on the pup's face that she'd finally gotten the message. From the way her ears wilted and she kept diverting her gaze. He felt really really awful now. What kind of awesome Uncle makes his niece/little sister sad? Raven had said that all the pup's looked up to him, and yet here he was; screwing up his relationship with one of them. Some uncle he was.

Suddenly Teehee started to inch forwards. Lagan braced himself, he half expected another penis attack. But this time the small girl just head butted him affectionately, and Lagan's face broke into a huge grin. He bent down and gave Towhee a couple licks, to comfort her and hopefully make her feel good again. S'ok Teehee, Uncle Lagan doesn't want you to worry about it. I love you! He said cheerfully, hoping that his joyful mood might rub back off onto the girl.
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His grin and licks made her feel much better. Towhee returned his kisses, her little tongue darting out to swipe at his chin. It was not only a sign of affection but submission as well. Behind her, her tail wiggled and she kept alternating between standing and sitting, seemingly unable to hold still in the spotlight of Lagan's smile.

His lips moved and she saw a familiar pattern. Towhee didn't quite grasp its meaning yet but she knew that it was often accompanied by kind eyes, broad smiles and soft, affectionate gestures. Without realizing she was doing it, she tried mouthing the phrase herself, her lips moving clumsily as they tried to make the shapes of words she would never hear. It likely looked strange and nonsensical to Lagan.

Unaware that she was conveying the very same message, she reared up and braced her short forelegs against his chest. This time, Towhee bypassed his chin and licked at the corner of his mouth, then arched upward to plant another kiss right beneath his left eye, on the apple of his cheek. The message was probably pretty unmistakable: I love you too!
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Lagan was thrilled to see he pup happy again, the way she was smiling just made him smile even more. He watched as she started opening her mouth and closing it again, and he started to get excited. Maybe this was his lucky day! Maybe she'd talk and he'd be the first one to know! It was just what he'd been waiting for. His apple green eyes wide with excitement, he bent down some more urging her to try. But she didn't say anything. She didn't even make noise. All she did was make shapes. He thought that was kind of strange, but he wasn't disappointed, at least she was trying!

He studied her mouth movements for a moment, but couldn't really figure it what she was trying to say. But soon she stopped with the mouthing, and she tried something else. The bouncy baby hopped her legs up onto his chest, and planted a few kisses on his face. Suddenly it came it him, Maybe she was trying to say I love you! Being a boy to look on the bright side, he decided that that was exactly what she was trying to say. He hummed cheerfully and laid a affectionate kiss on the babies own head.

Then he sat back and said. That's love. I - love - He paused to bop her on the nose with his own nose, you!
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His lips pressed to her forehead in a smooch and Towhee giggled, then pushed off a moment later to stand in front of him. She gazed up at Lagan adoringly, black tail whipping back and forth. Her blue eyes widened ever so slightly when she saw him say those words again. Her face split into an even bigger grin. She would never hear the words but she would never grow tired of seeing them.

Once again, she tried mimicking the shape of them with her own mouth. She probably looked like a fish, the way her lips formed into an o whenever she mouthed you. Towhee couldn't be sure she was doing any of it right but it was fun to practice.

With that said, she had a very short attention span and quickly moved on from her rudimentary attempts at language. It was still gloomy and boring in the closed-off cave and Towhee was restless with it. She pounced toward Lagan, batting at his closest paw, then tried to spin and run away in an impromptu game of tag.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Lagan watched as the world's most precious child continued to attempt the words 'I love you' without any sound. He just couldn't stop smiling and wagging his tail, she was just too cute. He watched as her lips got all smoochy, and he mimicked her duck face with a chuckle. Not long after, Towhee was finished with their little speech game, and she moved on to something else. She batted at his snowy white paw then spun away, prompting a game of chase. He stood, loomed over her for a moment, then decided he was too big, and he crouched down instead.

Stalking towards her low to the ground, so he could be on her level the boy said, I'm gonna catch you! though she probably didn't notice.
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She darted away perhaps two meters before stopping to see if Lagan was going to play along. A squeal burst unbidden (and unheard) from her lips when she saw him crouch and creep slowly after her. Although he was moving slowly, Towhee's tiny paws scrabbled against the cold stone floor as she attempted to make another dash for it. Little squeaks and giggles burst from her with every breath as she zoomed toward the back of the cave—and the many deep, dark tunnels that branched off back there...
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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At first the little game was fun, Lagan enjoyed playful chase with his little buddy. But when she started to go further down into the dark caves, of which who knew how deep they went, Lagan started to worry. What if she went in a cave that was too small for him to fit in, and he lost her. Teehee wait! He called, it was still unknown to him that she wouldn't hear a word he said. So when she didn't respond he stopped crawling after her and sped up, running up to her side and jumping in front of her so she could go no further.

No tunnels, let's stay out there and play here please. He said, his tail was still wagging to show that he wasn't angry, but he was firm in tone. He really didn't want to lose another puppy.
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A huge gasp of surprise tore out of her when Lagan landed in front of her like some kind of drop bear. Startled, Towhee backpedaled and fell onto her hindquarters, eyes wide as she blinked up at her cousin. His expression and demeanor quickly relaxed the pup. Forgetting that they were in the middle of a game, she gave a little sigh of relief and clambered back onto her feet before reaching up and nudging his chin.

Towhee suddenly became aware of a damp warmth on her inner leg. She thrust her head around to nose at her middle, falling a little haphazardly onto her right hip, her left leg hiking into the air as she began to lick the unpleasant moisture away. She couldn't remember peeing, much less on herself, but Towhee just took care of it and didn't dwell on the fact that she must have wet herself a little during Lagan's sneak attack.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Fade soon?

Lagan felt a little bad when he saw that he'd startled her, but he had to teach her what she could and couldn't do somehow. He couldn't have her running into the dark tunnels of the cave and getting lost. He would never forgive himself if Towhee went missing and it was his fault. But luckily she didn't dwell on the surprise, and quickly nudged his chin. Everything was great now, excited for the fact that when she reached up to nudge him, she smelled a lot like pee.

She started to groom herself, and lick the piss out of her fur, and Lagan couldn't help but laugh. She'd gotten so surprised that she'd actually peed herself. For some reason that made him think of Uncle Peregrine, probably because he'd always thought his uncle's name was Uncle Pee. He smiled at the memory, and bent down to give Towhee's head a little lick. He had to be as good an uncle to her as her dad had been to him, he just had to. Ok Tee, maybe it's time for a little nap huh? He said, nudging her back in the direction of her siblings.
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Sure, that's a wrap! :D

Lagan gently licked her head, which caused the pup to drop her leg and give him a bit of a dopey smile. Perhaps seeing the weariness on her face, he suggested a nap. Although she wasn't really familiar with that word yet, there was something familiar about the way his lips popped on the p. When he gave her a nudge, Towhee turned her face to lick at his paw, then allowed herself to be ushered back into the main part of the cavern for a lie-down.

She flopped down beside the inert Oriole, snuggling up to his limp warmth and idly chewing on his nearer ear. She was unaware that this would be their very last cuddle session; her brother would not survive the next twenty-four hours. When a great big yawn stole over her, his sodden ear dropped from her mouth. Towhee didn't bother recapturing it. She sought out Lagan in the dimness, thumping her tail and smiling fondly at him before flopping onto her back and resting her eyes.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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