Fox's Glade My silent lips
Private  June 10, 2019, 09:10 AM
Xan
Lone Wolves

It was but a dull ache now on the side of his face, the physical pain of his loss paling in comparison to the mental repercussions it had. He wanted to blame someone for it, anyone that he could, but not a single name would enter his mind when he tried to do so. Deep down, he knew it was his own fault; he was out of practise, having not been a member of a pack for some time now and having not partaken in a spar for even longer. Not to mention the distraction that was his own mind, filled to the brim with things he should do and paths he should’ve taken—there was little space left over for the strategic thinking required to win. All that existed was his anger, or maybe it was something more, something deeper than rage alone. What drove him to travel to the coast, and then to leave it again without completing the task that’d taken him there in the first place? It wasn’t anger, it wasn’t joy.

It was the fear of loss, and the realisation that he’d been wrong.

As the thought hit him, Alexander came to an immediate stop. He was wrong? In the wrong, that is. He frowned and his tail twitched, his mind trying to work through everything—past and present—in search of more answers. He’d been in the wrong. He’d pushed others away, time and time again—but, in the same breath, he asked them to stay. To not leave him alone, not again, despite his transgressions. Some had agreed, some had humoured him, and what had they gotten in return? Nothing. Nothing at all, because Xan had never changed, not to reflect their sacrifices or even his own feelings. He’d pushed and pushed and pushed until, finally, there was no one left to push away.

Engulfed in thought, he didn’t realise where he was. He didn’t know how close to home, exactly, he’d wandered. And as he tilted his head back and unconsciously loosed a howl from his lips, he didn’t realise that it might just confirm what he feared the most: that he was alone, and that he was to blame.

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
July 06, 2019, 11:51 AM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
it did no good to dwell, but that was who indra was. she was a fixater, a dweller -- an obsessor. the days following her unspeakable crime passed in a whirlwind, and her secret was guarded close to her gurgling heart, which pumped darkly onwards.

her mind was prone to wandering, as were her feet -- before she knew it she was well away from laurel and the scene of her unforgivable act; a howl crested over the trees and drew her forth, eyes heavy-lidded and angry.

xan.

figures, he would appear and reappear like a timeless and haunted ghost in her life. indra's stub of a tail was flagged, and she fixed him a cold gaze. he had been given too many chances to be redeemed -- but ... he had never done what she had done, had he?

her posture fell, and she swept towards him suddenly -- hot tears streaming down her crumpled face.

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.
July 06, 2019, 07:27 PM
Xan
Lone Wolves

What should he expect? Anger, disgust, sorrow. What did he expect? What did he want to see, standing face-to-face with someone he once trusted—someone that he still trusted, even after everything, even after he’d surely broken whatever trust she may have once placed in him. He didn’t know and he didn’t care to wonder, not when she was there—now—and staring back at him. Her eyes lacked any warmth, a hardened gaze turned upon him and he, well… he knew he deserved it. He was ready for it, even. For the yelling, the screaming—even the attack, should it be taken that far—but there was nothing.

No words. No shouting. No jaws around his throat.

Perhaps that was what made it even worse.

As her posture fell, so did his own—and as tears slicked down her face, his expression fell and he swore he felt his chest tighten beyond what was congruent with life. “Indra?” he croaked, uncertain, able to say nothing more. Something told him to shut up, what sliver of a conscious he had, and that was the end for him. Between the mindset he’d already driven himself into and seeing her as broken as she was, he couldn’t prevent what happened next: when the walls he’d built so long ago finally came crumbling down, each piece of life having chipped away at them until there was hardly anything left to hide behind. Without even realising it—without knowing why—his own face grew wet with tears. Tears that he, if allowed, would try to hide in her scruff.

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
July 06, 2019, 07:36 PM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
she had come for him once before, furious and ready to draw teeth -- but today she came to him broken, brackish tears limned by summer light.

indra did not slow; she collided and for the first time, perhaps, their bodies came together willingly. indra fell against him, melting against the arctic brace of his thick ruff -- and she buried her hot cheeks deep within the velveteen plush of his nape.

she tried to form words - 'i tried to kill them --', 'i -- i'm a monster,'. every word died against the thick press of her throat, hot as an extinguished and smoldering ember. "i --"

but indra did not continue. a sob wracked the thin arch of her spine and then she pulled away, finding herself at once (and ashamed, even, that she had sought him of all men for comfort).. but he was, in the end, family -- hadn't they been through so much?

it was then she noticed with slow alarm xan's own expression, which seemed just as wrought with trouble as her own: what had happened? her eyes wavered as they met xan's misty gaze and recognized that burdened and all too familiar grief. "xan?"

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.
July 06, 2019, 08:08 PM
Xan
Lone Wolves

When she pulled back, it was all too soon. She left him exposed, standing before her with the weight of life itself on his shoulders. Would she listen? Did he want her to know his demons, to know what he wished even he did not? He shrunk back and averted his gaze before pinching his eyes shut, willing it all away—but it would not leave because he could not forget, just as he could no longer shoulder the burden on his own for a moment longer.

“Indra, I—” This is a bad idea. “I…” Don’t do it. Bad things happened, Indra. I…” Stop. Shut up. Don’t say anything. He stopped and tried to compose himself, but there were no more footings to grasp at—he was done. “I don’t want to leave anymore, I—I want you to know.” Know what? Where was he supposed to begin, when the start of it all was so long ago and everything in between was… it just was.

I’m sorry,” he finally said, redirecting. “I’m sorry for everything—everything I did to you, to Laurel, to the kids… I didn’t want… I didn’t—” His ears fell flat against his broken crown and his head hung, defeated. He just wanted to start over.

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
July 06, 2019, 08:19 PM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
she had never seen him before, not like this. indra could not count the number of times she had hated xan for being so stoic, for being so walled off and emotionless.. but here he was, stripped clean and laid bare like the naked teak of birch when its ashen skin was peeled back; she was both horrified and repulsed, and then filled with an alarming want to console him. seeing him like this, distraught and exposed -- it crumbled the last of indra's tenuous grip on her emotions, which now fled wildly in every which direction like loosened, panicked horses.

her ragged breath came through shaky lungs, as she listened. what bad thing? what had he done -- was it as bad as what she had done? could she be forgiven?

could he?

whatever he had done to them in their past life, his neglect and his indifference -- it suddenly meant very little, when faced with what true bad things was. indra suddenly hated herself for being so petty, so small -- and here they were over a year later, worse off than they had ever been with xan.

was it all her fault?

....

was it all his?

"it doesn't matter anymore." indra suddenly spoke, choking back the sob that threatened to strangle her. her voice sounded funny -- off -- her nose was run over and stuffy. "i don't.." how could she say that his apology didn't mean anything anymore? it would hurt him -- but it was true. "i'm sorry too." for all of it; for blaming him, for leaving him, for the awful and unspeakable things that had lead to laurel's she couldn't even think it.. this had all been her fault.. if she had stayed in bearclaw, none of this would have happened, no riley louie or charles..

with a moan, indra slumped back and a desperate, keening wail edged into her voice. "i fucked up."

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.
July 06, 2019, 08:48 PM
Xan
Lone Wolves

It doesn’t matter anymore.

It didn’t? Did none of it matter? He drew in a shaky breath and held it, trying to settle himself, but it was of little use. He couldn’t drag back in what had been set free; the walls that once held it all back were no more, even the barest of foundations worn away into nothingness. But she was sorry, too. And he wanted to ask why and for what but he couldn’t form the words, couldn’t get them out. He never blamed her, nor Laurel, only ever himself; everything that had happened was due to his actions, his indecisiveness, his inability to do what needed to be done.

She had nothing to be sorry for.

It was simple enough to say but even those words wouldn’t leave his mouth—it wasn’t the time for them and this, surprisingly, he seemed to realise. There were other demons to fight and other stories to be told; it wasn’t the time for his to be shared, not when something was weighing her down. He owed it to her, to put someone other than himself first for once.

“What happened...?” he was finally able to ask, now watching her carefully. Would she share with him—did he deserve to sit with her and share woes? He wasn’t so sure but… he was willing to at least try.

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
July 15, 2019, 10:47 AM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
no sooner had the admission slipped from her mouth did indra lose all sense of noble composure. a sob wracked her frame, clawed its way up her ribcage, forced itself up her throat -- and then died there in the air, gasping. she was vulnerable, she was pathetic -- cognizant of this the redleaf woman attempted to repair the flimsy walls of her self-control that had been blown to smithereens by her overwhelming despair.

but could she tell him? would she lose him if she did? somehow, for a man that had been tenuously in their life at best, the idea of him turning away from them (or her) forever seemed unthinkable. it might be the last blow to indra's shaky construct, and she could not risk that. "i just did." indra inferred, feeling herself shut-down. she was certain if she told him of what she had done (and she had not told anyone) that he would be disgusted and horrified. she could not explain it without betraying laurel either -- for no other soul knew the nature of laurel's conception except for her.

she was being selfish, she knew. xan had just shown more emotion and compassion in the last thirty seconds than he ever had before; he was hurting -- she could see it -- but all indra cared for in that moment were her and laurel's own ugly demons.

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.
July 15, 2019, 01:31 PM
Xan
Lone Wolves

Historically, he wasn’t good in these situations. He’d spent so much time keeping everything pent up inside, unable and unwilling to let anyone in; even in a glimpse revealed too much, making him vulnerable and weak. He had always believed that he wasn’t supposed to show anything, he wasn’t supposed to let anyone in, but now he was beginning to realise just how wrong he had been. He wanted to tell her everything just as much as he wanted her to tell him—he wanted to be there for her, support her, the same way that he wanted for himself. He reached out to her in an effort to communicate this, when another sob shook her, gentle in the way he sought to touch his muzzle to her own. It’s okay, he tried to say, but his voice betrayed him and left him soundless. It’ll be okay.

But she would not share and he, bare as he’d made himself to her, was visibly hurt. “What happened?” he tried again. “I want… I want to know—I want to help.” But could he? Could he really help her, when he could not even help himself? And was what troubled her so even something he was capable of helping her with? That small, nagging voice in the back of his mind told him no, you can’t, and he could think of no reason why he shouldn’t believe it—but whether or not he could didn’t matter, because he was at least ready to try. He wanted to help, to be there for her, to make up for all the things he’d done. He didn’t want to repeat history anymore, he just wanted to make things right—

—all he wanted was to be better, to give away the same trust and support that he’d sought for himself for so long. He wanted to be there for someone other than himself.

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
July 19, 2019, 01:31 PM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
indra's sudden change in demeanor from vulnerable to locking-up-shop was done quick as a pin-drop -- and as she shuttered closed the last windows into her true feelings, she could tell she had hurt him. incidentally, it had not been what she wanted -- and seeing the wounded expression steal across xan's face like smoke across a flame -- well, it hurt her too.

where could she start? even if he wanted to help her, was she helpable? was she even fixable? and by him? of all the wolves she expected to someday unravel in front of, god, it was never him..

but she needed something, she needed closure. just like xan needed something, and needed that support. she didn't want to lose it over her own stupid pride! she grasped, trying to mete out enough that xan would feel mollified, but not give so much away that she betrayed laurel in the process (and die she would, by her own words, if she ever betrayed laurel..).

so, indra lied.

she lied in the way she had learned to do; to shift the conversation and tell a half-truth, while omitting all else. it made her a believable liar. it made her practiced. and most of all, it made her hardened -- made her invincible where she might before fall short of her sword.

"i left merrick behind," indra spoke dumbly, knowing he would probably know by now her son was no longer accompanying them. "and i pulled laurel away from the hollow when we should have stayed.. then we went on a wild goose chase for wyatt, and he didn't come.. and we went back to the hollow, and there was no room and nunataq and merrick were gone--" her voice became tight with genuine sorrow, for it was not often she dared allowed herself to think of how dirty she had done merrick; how she had selfishly saena'd him right up after swearing like an idiot she would never become her mother. "and..." her expression was distraught as she imparted the last of her heavy news. "lucas.. he's dead."

and all because, in a round about way, indra had dragged laurel from bearclaw. wouldn't the world be so much different, if she had just stayed put?

bet lucas would still be alive, thought indra bitterly.

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.
July 21, 2019, 01:26 AM
Xan
Lone Wolves

As she reined in her own emotions, closing herself off from his prying eyes, he tried his damnedest to do the same. Only, it wasn’t as easy for him. When there was already something there to hide behind and to continuously shove stuff into the shadows of as if he were a child cramming his toys beneath the bed was easy—but this, rebuilding something to hide himself away in, was difficult. Difficult beyond belief actually, to the point where he questioned the possibility of it; he couldn’t do it, not now nor ever, if he continued down the same tightrope he was currently perched precariously atop. And in how it made him vulnerable, it also made him blind; blind to the lies hidden in her words, sheltered by the incorrect truth.

He was easy to fool, believing her words to be the true reasoning behind her distress, and he felt for her. After all, he’d left his own children behind, too, hadn’t he? But he didn’t want her thinking that way—so he spun his own lies.

“Merrick knows why you had to leave,” he explained, easing into his own story with a softened voice. “I talked to him before I left to find you and Laurel—he understood, he wasn’t mad at you.” Which was not entirely a lie, as he simply hadn’t cared enough to be upset—but that addition did not need to be shared. “We can look for him and bring him home,” he offered, hopeful. He could help her, make her feel better. Whatever she wanted to do, whatever she needed to get done, he could help. But as swiftly as came the sudden burst of hope, there it went again—

Lucas… he’s dead.

Xan had never known his children to Laurel well, she hadn’t allowed him to see them. All he had to remember them by were the names she’d given them and the few glances he’d been able to steal while they were out. And yet, learning of one’s passing was not nearly as easy of news to hear as he would have expected: Lucas had been his son, after all, even if they’d hardly known one another. And to find out that he was gone, that they would never have a chance to get to know one another, hurt more than he ever would have guessed—and perhaps that is what it means to be a parent.

“I’m sorry,” was all he could say at first. Sorry he hadn’t really known the boy, sorry he’d never tried to change that when he had the chance—sorry he hadn’t been there for her or Laurel after he’d passed. “I’m… sorry, Indra. I’m so sorry.” Now more than ever, he wanted his family back together.

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
July 27, 2019, 11:52 AM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
she felt awful for the diversion she had created -- but at least her lie had not been malicious. she told herself it was just an omission, a slight change of truth's narrative -- because it was not her story to tell, but laurel's.

xan intoned merrick understood the reason his mama had left him; but did he truly? indra had never understood why saena and reek had treated her like disposal, and yet, merrick could? doubt flashed across her features, chased then by the ghost of quiet resentment.

then came the apologies. god, what good did an apology ever do? could it change the past, or raise the dead? apologies were just the empty words between actions, bridging the then and now -- a murmur of sound offered by the author to soothe their inner discomfiture.

indra withdrew; the budding moment of vulnerability and intimacy shriveled like a withered plant. "i'm sorry too," yet the sorry left her lips in a sardonic way, a bitter way -- because "sorry" changed nothing, and the world still sucked.

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.
August 03, 2019, 12:49 AM
Xan
Lone Wolves

When the doubt flickered across her face he saw it—he actually saw it, so focused on her that it was hard not to. But just as quickly as it had appeared, it was gone before he could think of anything to say that might ease her mind. Whether or not Merrick truly understood, he had never thought to ask at the time. All he knew was that the boy did not care or, if he did, it was expressed in a backward sort of way. Would telling her that be beneficial to her, though? Would knowing that her son didn’t care make it easier for her to move past it? The only answer he could come up with was no; he would not tell her the full truth, not then, not unless the young male suddenly returned.

But had she seen through his little lie? He suspected that she had as her tone shifted, bringing him to pull his ears back—he was hurt, and by something so simple as a mere tone of voice. “I want to make things better,” he tried, desperately grasping for the way things were just moments ago. “For you, for Laurel and the kids—for Lucas.” Lucas. Truthfully, he was hardly even a stranger, they’d never known anything of one another. But there was still something there, a feeling in the pit of his stomach that reared its head each time he thought of the child as being dead. He was too late to change anything there, too late to make anything better, but there were still others. Lucas’ siblings and half-siblings, Laurel, Indra… they were all still alive, they hadn’t gone anywhere.

Perhaps he had time.

“Can I have another chance—a chance to fix what I did?”

I can give it all to you, will you take it all from me
If love is a joke, then use me ruthlessly
Threads are titled after lyrics from Block B's “Toy”
August 03, 2019, 10:19 AM
Indra
Easthollow
Family
as indra stood before xan in a moment of conflict and reeling injury, she wondered just what she and laurel had ever done to deserve being so hurt. never in her life had she been so broken as in that moment: lucas was dead, laurel's bastard children lived, and what good came of their lives now?

she sniffed, a stiff inhale held by the tip of her tongue. her composure was slipping, the cold veneer struggling to stay upright. xan would see it easily enough, and indra resented her poor control over her emotions then. his words did little to reinforce indra's shaky composure; instead, it seemed to systematically crumble what little control indra had.

now her breath was haggard, a coarse and raw feeling rising in her throat -- the first vestige of a sob that she only just managed to choke back. "lucas is dead," indra repeated dully, knowing it was not kind of her to do so.. but she couldn't help it. it sounded so ridiculous to her. "so don't do it for him. it is too late. you still have one surviving child, xan." indra's gaze flickered to the apaata meaningfully. "marten."

but at this point in marten's life, would having his absentee father present truly do any good? what about for laurel -- what would she do in this situation, if it were her..? indra knew her sister was far stronger than she, and likely would have turned xan away with stony force.

now the wren has gone to roost and the sky is turning gold,
and like the sky, my soul is also turning.