Sun Mote Copse bldastqufzphyxe
Duskfire Glacier

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#1
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Something bumped into her and Meerkat roused, her gummy little mouth splitting open in a wide yawn as she stretched both fore- and hind legs. With a sigh, she curled back into a ball and snuggled against her mother's soft, warm fur, though she did not fall back asleep. She simply lay there a moment, smacking her little lips, before she loosed a small whimper and began simultaneously rooting and squirming.

Another touch, this time firmer and more purposeful, guided her wiggling snout toward a teat. Meerkat latched fervently and began to suck, her forelegs stretching forward again to knead at Towhee's underside, coaxing the flow of milk into her hungry little mouth. She twitched her tail as she fed, letting out little noises of contentment, and eventually let go not because she was finished but because one of the soft furs on her mother's belly had tickled her nostril. Her nose wriggled as a peculiar sensation began to build in her tiny noggin.

She sneezed her first sneeze, then blinked. She hadn't even noticed her eyelids were parted until now, as she slowly peeled them further apart. Meerkat saw blurry white spots on a duskier backdrop, though she couldn't possibly make sense of what she was seeing: droplets of milk splattered on Towhee's belly. Her head wobbled as a shadow cast over the view, shapes slowly coming into better focus as color entered the scene in the form of her mother's pink tongue, first cleaning up the mess before swiping over the pup's face and rendering Meerkat blind again.
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#2
Phox had spent the majority of his time hunting to keep both Niamh and Towhee fed while they were doing mother things. He was now certain that he and Niamh would have kids (not like he had assumed otherwise), and the addition of Meerkat was a welcome one. It was one extra little one to look after, but that didn't phase Phox one bit. With three parents around, it was unlikely that she would be hankering for attention, despite only having one biological parent present. Figment and Fenton thrived with him and Towhee as co-parents, and he could only assume that Meerkat would do the same.

With a fresh plump rabbit dangling from his jaws, Phox approached the log slowly but steadily, eventually tossing the rabbit to Towhee and letting his eyes rest on the tiny body of his daughter. Yes, his daughter. She was as much his as Fig and Fenn were Towhee's, and that was well-established. He was surprised to find two little beady eyes open and peering out at the world.

-Well, look at that,- he both spoke and signed before settling down onto his elbows. -You got yourself some eyes.-
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Duskfire Glacier

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#3
Sight came and went in a series of flickers as Towhee's tongue ran over her face several more times. When the motion finally ceased, Meerkat found herself peering into a very large set of orange eyes. She stared back, although she lacked any sort of focus and thus, to her mother, it seemed as though they couldn't quite make eye contact despite looking right at one another.

Then her mother's eyes (and the rest of her face) vanished from the pup's view as she lifted her head to greet the approaching Phox. Meerkat didn't know this, though she suddenly found herself bumbling toward where Towhee's face had been, wanting to see more of it. The seeking pup let out a loud whimper, then the world became a strange blur as she was suddenly lifted. It was an utterly familiar experience, save for the carousel of colors that prompted an, "ooOoo."

Before she could possibly become dizzy, Meerkat found herself back on her belly again, the world still once more. Her mother's face was back too. It looked slightly different, particularly in the color of the eyes, but her own eyes were far too fresh to pick up on these details. Her nose, however, told her that this was Phox. Naturally, she didn't know him by that name, though his scent was just as familiar as Towhee's.

His face moved, so did something else in her peripheral vision. Meerkat stared, fascinated, and let out a cherubic peep as if to ask for more.
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#4
There was no hint of Phox feeling anything less like a father in this moment. Meerkat was his just as much as she was Towhee's, just as much as Fig and Fennec were Towhee's. He felt another little swell in his heart, just happy that their family was growing and coming together. Time would only tell what his and Niamh's kids would be like, but he knew deep down that he would feel exactly the same way about them. There was just something so enrapturing about all children, but especially ones that were his.

Phox was content to just... stare at her, watching her every movement and being amazed by the whole thing. This would never, ever get old, even if he, Towhee, and Meerkat would in time.
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Duskfire Glacier

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#5
Phox's face loomed, dark and still, as he simply gazed at her in wonder. Meerkat stared right back, loosing a tiny squeak every now and again as if to give expression to the the indescribable feelings swirling in the beat of her young heart as she beheld her father for the very first time. With muzzy eyes, she looked and looked, memorizing features she would never forget.

When she finally broke the stillness (and staring match), it was to shuffle forward and touch noses with him. The soft press of damp, leathery flesh was utterly familiar, as was the velveteen grizzle of his snout. She lost her new sense altogether as she pressed her head closer to his, though she didn't even notice as she made a happy purring noise and buried her face in the plush give of his lip.
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Meerkat crept closer to him, eventually touching her nose to his, which tickled and made him chuckle. He gave Towhee a sort of "isn't this great?" glance before going right back to see what their little nugget would do next. He also wondered if Towhee would try for kids again next year, now that she had Meerkat. Or would just the one be enough for her? Then again, she would of course also have all of the kids that Phox and Niamh were sure to bring into this world.
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#7
For a minute, the pup kept her face pressed to that soft, squishy, velvety part of her father's face. Meerkat only withdrew when she felt a strange tickling sensation near the base of her spine. Blinking as her vision returned, she squinted and curled in on herself, trying to sniff out the source of the feeling. It had now traveled to the hump of her back, inching toward her shoulder blades. Her blurry eyes couldn't make out anything, so she halfheartedly nipped at her own fur.

A wash of warm air distracted her momentarily: Towhee's breath washing over her as her mother laughed and pointed out to Phox, -Look, our kid's infested. Guess that's what we get for living inside a moldy log.- Her orange eyes danced as she watched the undeterred (and unharmed) inchworm continue making its way along the child's tiny backbone.

Soon, it was between her ears, where it stopped. Meerkat felt another gust of laughter even as she looked to Phox for some help here, pale head wobbling.
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The little green worm inched along, and Phox snickered as Meerkat attempted to get it off of her. -It's either a moldy log or a gloomy hole in the ground,- he said to Towhee, sticking his tongue out at her. Phox wasn't sure he preferred one over the other. They were both equally oppressive. He was looking forward to the day when all four of this year's kiddos would be out in the open.

Gently, Phox lowered his nose, tempting the inchworm to crawl onto it. It was ticklish as all get-out, but he pulled back and put the worm-elevator near Meerkat's nose to see what she would think of it. Now, with her eyes open, she might find it amusing, even if it was probably blurry.
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#9
Her dad's face loomed closer again and Meerkat felt the cool, leathery touch of his nose against her forehead. It was instantly calming and the pup's eyelids drooped. But then he withdrew and hovered directly in front of her, causing the pup's eyes to widen again. She could barely make out any details, though she saw a strange flicker of green against the swarthy backdrop of Phox's muzzle. She went cross-eyed in her wonder, another quiet, "ooOoo," escaping her.

She might've stared forever, had her mother's tongue not suddenly stared to sweep up and down her back. It made the child curl instinctively toward Towhee, eyelids drooping again. But she fought the undertow, head wobbling as she slowly peered between Phox and Towhee, indescribably comforted by their soft, blurry silhouettes. Although they weren't exactly conscious desires, Meerkat didn't want to fall asleep, didn't want to miss anything...

Feeling the drag of sleep about to take her anyway, she did the only thing in her power at this point: let out a little yell and began to kick her legs as if actually fighting an invisible Mr Sandman.
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#10
He could see Meerkat start to doze, and he laughed softly at this even as Towhee began to lick their daughter's back. When she began to protest, apparently trying to fight off sleep itself, Phox couldn't help but wonder if he'd done any of these same things as a child. More than likely. He couldn't imagine he had been a particularly easy pup to rear, even among three parents. Actually, come to think of it, maybe three was the magic number of parents to have, considering Meerkat would get plenty of parental time from Niamh, too.

As for Phox, he didn't try and fight sleep when he felt the drowsiness begin to creep into his body. He let his chin rest on his front paws and watched Meerkat with half-lidded wonder.
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She punched and kicked at her invisible foe, to no avail. Meerkat couldn't keep her eyelids from sagging, then shutting, her tiny chin sinking toward her chest as she succumbed to sleep. She fidgeted a moment longer, then went boneless, her warm breath tickling Towhee's nose when the Regent gently nuzzled the slumbering infant.

Not that she would recall it, though this was the first time Meerkat's dreams took on a visual aspect: mostly just blurs of color, light and shadow. There were eyes looking back at her, a warm bronze hue, brimming with love. She smiled in her sleep.