Tuktu Hinterlands Better hold on tight, before you know it's gone
Private  September 13, 2018, 12:56 PM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
To Colt's great delight, @Niamh agreed to his idea of an escape.  It was a trip he'd wanted to make regardless, but he knew it would be way more fun with her along.  He was right; talking, chasing, and playing along the way made travel a hell of a lot better, and it only cemented that this trip was definitely one he needed to make.  One that she needed him to make, too, though she probably didn't know it yet.

He didn't disclose where they were going, not wanting to explain until they got there.  But when he saw a familiar hillside, he knew they were close, and he moved in to bump Niamh's side and nip at her shoulder.  "This is it."  The hill offered a pretty beautiful view of the lands even further south, but that was only a bonus to this trip.
September 14, 2018, 05:48 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
Despite the fact that ahe was well aware this was more of a pleasure trip than anything responsible or work-related, Niamh didn’t feel guilty whatsoever for taking the time off. She’d earned it, and had given necessary notification that she and Colt would be gone for a little trip- with Towhee being the first to find out. Naturally, she was psyched- as she already had a small bit of expectation for the trip, though she did try to keep her hopes in check as she and Colt headed out...It was difficult, though, and she was left with an abundance of energy that spilled out in the form of girlish excitement.

”The hills?” She asked, when he indicated that they had reached their destination. It was pretty, of course; but she suspected that this place likely had some significance to him.
September 18, 2018, 08:49 AM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
"Those are it," he said, looking at her and suddenly wondering if this was a mistake.  Why had he felt the need to dredge up the past, and come back here? How would she take that?  Shit.  Maybe he shoulda found some sweet waterfall, or taken her to a mountain, or something.  

But deep down he knew that he needed her to know, if only so everything was on the table and he could close the door for good.  These last few months he figured he'd made it pretty plain he was all in, but there was still that initial reluctance.  She deserved to know why.

He led the way up the hill, then sat down under the tree, quiet for a bit.  How the fuck did he want to start this?

"Pretty, isn't it?"  Yeah no that wasn't how.  It was though.  The sun glinted off the forest that stretched beneath the hill, edging a flatland.  It wasn't majestic, but he tended to prefer simple places anyway.  "I lived here, for quite a while, up until around a year back."  He started, then stopped again.  Trying to sort out how he was gonna continue and to give her a chance to respond, which by some miracle might make this whole thing easier to put words to.
September 18, 2018, 01:58 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
Niamh found it slightly amusing that Colt had brought her somewhere this pretty; she could see for miles, the gently rolling hillsides where some were dappled by shade from passing clouds, but from where they were she could see them move, rippling and slipping across the landscape. It wasn’t exactly a unique place, per say- hills were far less rare than a waterfall or a mountain- but it was calming and serene, and when he confessed he used to live there, she understood why he’d chosen this place. Part of her wondered, of course, if he was going to ask her to live here with him- but that seemed unlikely.

”Before you joined the Redhawks?” She asked, somewhat redundantly, but she wanted to prompt him to say more. ”They must’ve still been over at the Caldera by then,” She mused slightly, before she returned her gaze to him, hoping he’d elaborate more.
September 19, 2018, 11:19 PM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
"They were, that's where I joined them."  It was hard to believe now there'd been a time he'd been a Redhawk and she hadn't.  She'd made herself far more a feature even than he had, and far quicker too.  But now she was looking at him again, and he knew it was about time he told her what he'd brought her to tell her.  

He took a breath, then looked at the tree.  "I was never much of one for settlin down till I came here.  Then I met Nell.  We were mates only a few months before she took sick, but I'd never felt anything like it before.  And after she died, I figured that was it.  I'd never have it again."  He finally looked back at Niamh.  "I joined the Redhawks because I figured that was about the only family I'd ever have.  Then I met you."  Fuck.  He'd always been pretty ace at sweet-talking, but when it came from someplace real, it was so much damn harder to put words to it.  "These past months you've brought back a part of me I figured I left here forever.  And I just.." He paused.  What?  The reason he'd brought her here anyway.  "Just wanted you to know why it took me a while."  That was it.  

Like with Quixote, he stook slightly awkardly after, taking in her expression.  He wasn't used to saying what was on his mind like this, but he couldn't move forward until she knew, and he couldn't leave this place behind without saying one last farewell.
September 20, 2018, 02:52 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
After Colt finished, Niamh would later look back and realize exactly how surprised she was- not about Colt having had a mate before, but because she’d expected something completely different from their trip. When they’d left, she’d assumed that the trip would end up being about her- but instead, he’d brought her out to tell her about him. In the long run, and even immediately after he told her the truth, she wpuld appreciate him even more for it despite the fact that she’d expected to return to the pack as his mate. This was something that was extremely important to him, and getting that kind of honest, heartfelt information out of Colt was rare and difficult.


Nell was her name, and it surprised Niamh, of course, to hear he’d had a mate before. She didn’t need to ask about him having other children, though, as she hadn’t lived terribly long. Though he spoke straight, Niamh picked up on the hurt he’d felt immediately and had to bite her lip. She could feel her cheeks sagging, and had to suck in more of her lower lip in order to keep it still. When he finished speaking and stood up, Niamh wasn’t ready to move.


But nor was she ready to speak. She opened her mouth to speak, but in doing so, she could no longer clamp her trembling lips togetherso all she could do was exhale raggedly and turn her gaze away from him sternly, fighting back tears. She took a moment to breathe, and tried to sneak a tentative glance at him. ”I’m so...So sorry, Colt.” She said. She realized a moment later she should probably clarify, lest he get the wrong idea.  ”That must’ve really hurt,” She said, finally able to turn her doleful gaze upon him. She understood, then, why he’d been so standoffish when she’d first met him, and why he looked so disappointed whenever she came home after getting into a fight. He was afraid he’d lose another person he loved. She moved to his side and buried her muzzle into the dark fur at his shoulder, exhaling softly. There was more to him than she’d bargained- but mot more than she could handle.
September 21, 2018, 05:41 PM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
i ended up giving her paralytic rabies in case anyone is curious!
He wasn't sure what he was expecting.  Anger?  Betrayal and jealousy that she wasn't the first? A lot of the girls he'd known in the past would have been, but there was a reason she was here and they weren't.  Niamh didn't even think to compare herself, and he suddenly loved her all the more for it.  Because the two couldn't be compared; he couldn't say he loved her more, or less, than Nell.  They both were different enough, separate enough, to own their own complete spaces in him, and now that he'd finally sorted that out, he was ready to let this place go.

"Worse than anything," he agreed, remembering.  They'd been a fledgeling pack, just the two of them.  So when she took sick, he hadn't been able to leave her, but also had no clue how to help her.  He'd called until his voice went, but no one was around to hear. And in the end, he just watched her disappear.

"Didn't think I'd ever love anyone else like that.  But I do."  He looked at Niamh and a grin replaced the former expression.  "Don't think I've said that yet."  

Then he lifted a paw and put it against the rough bark of the tree.  "That's why I wanted to come back one more time.  Say goodbye proper." It was a trip he'd been planning since even before he met her, but once they were together, it hadn't felt right coming alone.  He could have probably let her know ahead of time but hadn't wanted to spoil the trip there.
September 21, 2018, 08:00 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
Niamh’s ears trembled at the hurt in Colt’s voice, but they perked when he did speak out, grinning, and said something that made her melt. Her eyes shimmered, and she wasn’t sure if she felt like crying because he’d basically just told her he loved her or because he’d lost someone he loved so much already. Regardless, she tried to offer him a brave smile, though the corners of her lips still trembled slightly. She couldn’t quite bring herself to say it back just then- it just didn’t seem right, though she felt it very much. She kissed his cheek so he knew how she felt, but this being the place that had previously belonged to Nell AND the wolf who’d previously belonged to her as well, she wanted to keep some respectil boundaries. No one wanted to be haunted by their new man’s ex-wife.

She watched him for a moment, and wasn’t sure whether she should give him some time alone to say goodbye or to stay with him. So, at least in an attempt to show some deference to the previous love in his life, she tilted her head and asked ”What was she like?” She’d obviously had a profound impact on Colt’s life, so she would therefore be important in his memories as well. Anything that was important for Colt was important for her now, too.
September 24, 2018, 08:48 AM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
He'd definitely thought about it - asking her to be his mate, here and now.  The segue was there if he wanted to use it, but he didn't.  It didn't feel right, with how upset she seemed by his story, and it suddenly felt more right to just... talk.  Talk about things he hadn't with others.  Niamh was giving him the opportunity, and he felt a weight he hadn't even known was there lift as he told her about her.

"You woulda liked her.  She called me on my shit." He looked at her with amusement - they had that in common. "She wasn't a fighter; a healer.  First time we met I'd done something stupid and she patched me up."  He looked down.  "That's why by my estimate, Redhawks are so lucky to have Raven and Ceara.  And why I help em all I can, even if I can't do much.  If they'd been there, or it had been me takin sick, things mighta gone different."  He reached out and touched her cheek, getting his sardonic grin back.  "So when we do stupid things, like taking on bears, there's someone to make sure we don't pay for it."  It was a Colt move to slip into teasing right after a heartfelt reveal, but he couldn't let this place bring her down too much; that hadn't been why he'd brought her.  She understood him now, better than anyone, even Finley or Fire.  He hadn't shared any of this with either of them, much as he'd been tempted to.  Easygoing brother was his calling card there, and it was an image he'd never had a reason to shatter.  Now, suddenly, he did, and wow it felt nice to lay it all out and have someone understand it.  He hadn't dwelt on Quixote's dismissal, chalking it up to his friend's stress level, but it had cut a little deeper than even he'd realized.
September 24, 2018, 02:25 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
Niamh smiled gently when Colt described Nell. From what she could tell, he definitely had a type. Either that, or he liked being with someone who was tough and that liked to pick on him a bit. Nell, however, was a healer- something that Niamh was not, but when she thought about it for a moment, she too was a mix of two contrasting roles; rather than fighter and healer, Niamh was a fighter and a puppysitter. He chided her a bit about her brash nature, and she felt slightly bad, knowing now that he was just scared of losing someone else he cared about. So she nuzzled her nose into the fur of his shoulder. "Well, I'll be more careful from now on." She said. "Promise." It would take effort to rein in her temper, but for him, she'd give it a try. 

"Did you have a name for this place?" She asked, casting her gaze out over the hillside. Niamh didn't know what the area was called, if it had a name. But if it had been a place that'd been important to Colt, she felt that it was owed one.
September 25, 2018, 08:31 AM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
He'd been jesting, but she seemed to take it to heart.  That wasn't exactly his intention, since part of what he loved about her was her eagerness to defend them.  But whatever she felt she wanted to do was okay by him, just so long as she didn't feel he was forcing her to take it easy.  

She moved on and he jumped on the change of subject readily enough.  "Nah.  We never did get around to it.  And now..." he didn't know if he wanted to.  It had significance already, and giving it more wouldn't make much sense since he didn't plan on coming back.  "Well.  Betting whoever finds it and is actually able to make a home here could name it better."
September 25, 2018, 07:34 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
It seemed to Niamh that Colt was somewhat reluctant to give the place a name, and she got the impression that his goodbye would be for real, and that he would end up avoiding the area from then on. It would be a new beginning for him, and she was glad that he was able to begin with a clean slate. Not that she would have ever held it against him, though, if she'd found out later on- what Colt had been keeping a secret wasn't anything that would ever sully his reputation, not in her mind. 

"Well, she sounds like she was pretty awesome," Niamh said quietly. She didn't feel much in the way of jealousy- likely because there was no one left to be jealous of. Had Colt split up with someone who was still living and still in his life, she would have still felt like she had competition. Had Nell never died, she wouldn't have ever gotten this close to him, and she might not have even met him. Things had simply lined up this way, and she was fine with accepting things as they came.
October 11, 2018, 08:18 AM
Colt
Redhawks
Epsilon
wanna wrap this one up so they can have a new one mebbe? <3

This was what he needed in coming back here.  Not only to tell Niamh about everything, but to just pause for a minute and let the memories, and the sorrow, all crash over him for a moment.  Just a moment.  He'd left in such a hurry last time, he hadn't gotten the proper chance.  Now he had it.

He turned to Niamh and smiled.  "You're amazing, you know that? I'm guessing you must.  It's true."  He gave her a kiss, then took a step away from the tree.  He was ready.  "What do you say to finding something to eat?"
October 11, 2018, 03:47 PM
Niamh
Redhawks
Beta
ALL THE NEW THREADS ALL THE TIME <3 I'll get one started *plots deviously*

Niamh made a happy sound when Colt praised her, and shimmied her shoulders a little bit, as though she was proud of being herself- which she was. She didn't verbalize it, though, or make a snarky remark about how cool she felt she really was. This wasn't her moment, it was Colt's, and for once she had the sense to keep her trap shut and let him have the time he needed. 

When he suggested they find something to eat, though, she leapt at the occasion, as he stomach suddenly realized that it needed food. "I'm starrrrving, good idea," She said. While their day-trip hadn't been exactly what she'd planned on it being, it'd been what they'd probably both needed in the end.