Moonspear For you will still be here tomorrow, but your dreams may not
1,305 Posts
Ooc — Jess
Master Guardian
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Written collaboratively with Starr (Colt @Maia ) <3

Feathers or flames? 

He felt himslf running through a familiar forest, but could not escape the writhing wreath of gold that framed his vision, herding him through the trees. Like seaweed, the brilliant flares reached up from below, and dangled from the tree branches, clawing at him from all sides as he struggled through the shaded wilderness. He felt harnessed, though, weighed down as though his legs had been tangled up in vines and no matter how much he rallied his strength and fought, he felt himself sinking down, down down and into a darkness where the golden daggers surged toward him like spear tips, and made him squint and cry out.

But were they feathers or flames?

He struggled to identify what it was that clouded his vision- and it was only when he realized that these ribbons of light weren't in fact hot to the touch that they exploded into a puff of silvery mist, obscuring everything from his vision, and slowly fading into darkness. He felt profoundly alone, but something within the darkness emitted an energy that he could sense and feel, the way he could feel his heartbeat throbbing in his chest. In soft blinks, something began to take shape in the darkness, silhouetted by tiny fragments of light. He couldn't make out its shape, but felt dread creep into his skin. Did it have teeth? Did it have claws? It drew closer and closer in the pulse of mist that became amplified until- The silence had a feeling. The silhouette had a familiarity to it- and while its features and frame were obscured, Bronco lifted his gaze, speculating in disbelief until he summoned the courage to speak.


"Hey, kid." While Bronco's voice had been full of surprise, Colt's response came through as though it were just another day. "Well, not so much anymore." Could a ghost laugh, even in a dream?

While normally a father would need to cajole the thoughts from his son's head, Colt was in the unique position of being a part of them. He already knew. "You should cut your mom some slack, you know, but that doesn't mean you need to put up with all of her bullshit."

The jolt of surprise that had hit Bronco upon recognizing the figure caused a ripple in his memory to form, and for a moment, he forgot that his father was dead. He sank with total acceptance into the dream's theatrics, and with an overwhelming wave of relief he felt himself grasp this new truth.

The scenery became clearer; and he realized he stood in a meadow surrounded by autumn larch, their nettles turned fiery gold with the change of the season. The hue reminded him of his mother- but his eyes drifted back to his father when he spoke of her.

"I know." Bronco said, softly. As it was his father's wish, he would do so. But at least now, since his father was here, things wouldn't be so hard anymore. He turned his sunny, sweetly oblivious gaze to his father, matching the mirth in his warm, bourbon eyes. "I'm glad you're back. I missed you," He said. But...Something troubled him. Why would he miss his father? Why did he think for some reason that his father had been away?

"Back? I never left." The laughter in his words died down, and Colt appraised his son with an appreciative stare. "You should cut yourself some too. You and your sister are both doing great out here."

If he'd been alive, it perhaps would have fallen to Colt to weave together the fractions taking place in their lives. He'd wanted to be a father in a fierce way, but fate had left Niamh to shoulder the role. They'd had their share of disagreements, but they'd always moved for one another. In the end, one could only hope the same was true with both Bronco and @Nellie. He could do no more now.

"Your aunt and I both agree, now that you've assumed the Blackthorn birthright of reckless stupidity, you've earned a pass or two." Colt took a step towards Bronco, and with a marked sincerity - "Seriously, though, that fight? I'm proud of you, kid." There was so much to be said... but of all of it, this was the most important.

Bronco was reassured for a moment; whatever that feeling was, that had been trying to seep into his subconscious was forgotten for a few moments longer. Of course his Dad had always been there- and that he'd never left. He was here now, right?

And it all seemed to make sense- until his father mentioned his aunt. Perhaps it was because Finley's death had been more recent, or perhaps it was because he'd mourned her death as a teenager rather than as a child- but he'd not forgotten, not even in slumber, that @Finley and @Elwood had passed away. He felt himself frowning, and his father's praise floated over his head. He puzzled for a moment, and realization began to dawn on him with that same, familiar ache that he'd felt burning at the back of his throat.

"But...Finley's dead, Dad. She's been dead for..." The silence shimmered for a moment. Of course he'd been able to know that Nellie was alright. Of course he knew about the fight he'd had with the bear. "You're..." He whined softly. "This..." And he began to shatter the edges of his dreams, which shook and pulsed with the emotion of his realization. Having drawn attention to reality, he began to sink back into it. Unwilling to let it go, he did his best to keep himself calm, to keep everything from disappearing too soon. He hiccoughed. "Dad?"

His dad smiled, but there was a sorrow to it that had never been there in life. "I'm sorry, Bronc." The dreamscape was shifting, sliding into fog. Soon it would be gone and he would fade to what he now was; memory, nothing more. Barely that even to the children who would never really know him.

"Dad, no! Wait!" Bronco cried, but the heaviness in his chest kept him weighted, and no matter how furiously he fought and struggled, he was anchored. As the vision of his father drifted away, he was left with a profound feeling of longing. "What do I do?" He shouted, into the vaporizing figure. "Am I doing good enough? Please, don't go again! Dad!" But with every shout, he felt himself shrink beyond the golden tamaracks, and the vivid shine of his father was wisped away on the wind. Darkness consumed him and it was in darkness that he awakened.

But he wasn't alone. Beside him, oblivious to his peril, was his slumbering sister, @Meerkat- real, alive and warm. Though the particulars of his dream faded, he was left with a feeling that was bittersweet but sanguine. He drew his sister closer to him, promising himself- and those who had gone before him- that he would do everything he could to be everything they'd hoped he'd become.