Redhawk Caldera Beautiful designs
So then find Dodge, then get out of it
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Ooc — Jess
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#1
All Welcome 
In the time following the fight, Niamh had largely kept to the den she shared with Phox, as the early stages of her recovery depended on her not aggravating her wound. The swelling eventually began to subside, but there was still a deep ache in her forelimb. Slowly, she began to regain the ability to ever so slightly flex her paw and wriggle her toes- which meant her bone wasn't broken- but she could not move her forelimb without a great deal of pain, and certainly could not put weight on it. It would be weeks yet, she thought, before she could range from the den. She knew she had to allow her wound to heal well, so that it might prove less of a hurdle in the long run. But patience was a virtue that she only had in short supply. 

So she found a spot just outside the den where she stayed so she might get a bit of daylight and even that amount of outdoor air was enough to keep her from going stir-crazy. She obediently treated her limb with utmost care, and had made a soft bed outside in the spot where she liked to rest so that she could prop her leg on a soft pelt. She stayed there for hours, watching the shadows move as daylight spread, and as the sun shifted from one horizon to the other. Occasionally, she felt movements stirring within her, and took some solace in knowing that her puppies were still active and safe. 

She gnawed on a deer leg, content to busy herself with something that kept her mind just engaged enough that she wasn't bored out of her mind. It was also stress relief- as she still wished she could hunt Reyes down and bite through one of his legs, so he might know what it was like to be so badly injured. But she couldn't go after him, and even if she could, she wouldn't have been able to face him in battle without likely losing her life. That was frustrating for her. So she gnawed away on the deer leg, cracking through the bone with her jaws, staring out into space on yet another day where she could do nothing but rest.
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Eljay didn't know all of the intricate details. He didn't know that Reyes was the father of Towhee's children or that they'd been mates. He didn't know why Reyes and Niamh had fought. Honestly, he was afraid to figure out the latter; he knew that Niamh had been so defensive when he had asked her about it when she'd first gotten hurt. He wasn't so sure he needed a repeat of that. The thought of having to tiptoe around his own packmates wasn't a thought that he liked, though. It was easy enough to turn a blind eye to Niamh's outbursts before, because they didn't involve him — not really — but now he had been on the scene early and he had seen how she could be. It was as if his eyes were opened, and a part of him wished he could bury that ugly side he had seen of Niamh that day back where it had come from, and believe that she wasn't that way at all, like he always had.

Something had changed, and he hated that it manifested itself largely in an anxiety that settled next to the frustration he had already felt at not being told about the pregnancy in the first place. It fueled the feeling that he was no more than a convenient caretaker here to some of the wolves that were dearest to his heart. He hated feeling that way, because surely he was totally wrong about it, but it could not help but be present, and fester.

Next to all of his worries about Maia and the frustration of wanting to visit her to make up but being too afraid to leave the territory, it was a lot to handle, and it was racing rapidly towards being too much.

Despite his reservations, Eljay had made sure to care for Niamh's wound and he had brought her what herbs he had left — the last of them — from what Fennec had brought from Moonspear for Maia, and had brought her food once or twice as well. The situation around her paw seemed to improve, thankfully.

That day he was on his way for another check-up. Eljay carried between his teeth a mouse — it wasn't much, but a snack was better than nothing — and as he approached he chuffed in greeting. He put down the mouse in front of Niamh and said with an awkward chuckle, Hey Niamh. Looks like my snack is put to shame next to what you're having. How are you feeling..? The words came out uneasy, gently mirroring how double-edged he felt about Niamh and the whole situation presently.
So then find Dodge, then get out of it
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Ooc — Jess
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She continued to crunch through the deer leg absent-mindedly as she saw Eljay approaching, his mouth open only slightly, wondering if he perhaps had more medicines for her. He'd given her some, of course, but her leg still pained her. While the bite wasn't infected, the fracture in the bone ached, and she found herself incredibly immobile during the time it would take her heal, which made her incapable of doing much to distract herself while she healed. The bone she chewed was probably the most exciting part of her day, but perhaps Eljay might give her something to look forward to. 

He'd brought her a mouse- which wasn't much, but it was something at least. He seemed a bit nervous, but she thumped the ground with her tail. She didn't want him to feel nervous; he'd been taking good care of her, and she appreciated it. "Thanks, Eljay," She said, and she let the bone fall sideways over her good limb, so it could rest at her shoulder. It wouldn't have been polite for her to keep gnawing at it while he visited, and she knew she wouldn't have been able to keep herself from growling at him if he came anywhere near her while she was busy chewing. 

"It's....Still sore," She said, with a deep frown. Reyes had really done her in, with this one. She was lucky, though, that Phox had chased him out, and that he hadn't doubled back to make sure her mouth stayed shut about what he'd done. "But the babies..." She said, softening. "They're pretty active most days now," She said.
Brecheliant
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a hundred mini dreams and a healing scar ♥
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#4
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Eljay smiled at Niamh's warm response. She stopped chewing the deer leg and Eljay sat down not far from Niamh. He could imagine she was very frustrated being confined to home this way. Hopefully the leg would heal soon so that she could have some of her freedom back. Hopefully the leg would heal at all, though.

When you can use it again, you should take it easy in the beginning, Eljay said with a kind smile. Don't try to go too fast, or you might injure it again. He imagined Niamh knew these things, but just in case wanted to have said it.

When she mentioned the babies, Eljay smiled softly. He still felt a little pang thinking back to not having been told about the pregnancy, but Wraen was right; he should've totally seen it coming. After all, Niamh and Phox were a couple and they'd had pups last year too. Made sense they'd go for it again. That's wonderful to hear, Niamh! So everything's going well on the pregnancy front?
So then find Dodge, then get out of it
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His advice made her nod. While she had very little patience, she was concerned enough about her own self-preservation that she would do whatever it took to make this injury heal as well as it could. "Oh, I have zero intentions of being an idiot with this," She admitted. "I want this to heal up as good as it possibly can." She said in a low voice, and there was something determined about the way she gazed down at her leg. Screw that brat Reyes; she was going to heal just just fine so he didn't get off thinking that he'd maimed her permanently. If she could will herself to heal perfectly, she would- just so that she could show off how tough she really was. That wasn't the way of things, of course, but thinking such thoughts helped her kill time, and helped keep her from going against Eljay's advice and messing with her leg's healing process. 

She softened a bit when he asked about the puppies. They weren't kicking presently, but every now and again she'd feel a gentle movement, reassuring her that they were still there. They were just beginning to put pressure on her bladder more often, which certainly didn't help with her need to keep in one place. She had a spot not far away that she went to relieve herself, but it was a pain in the butt having to do so. "I think everything's fine," She said. This was her third litter, after all. "I remember how scared I was, the first time. I went crying to...Well, both Finley and Wildfire," She said, and something in her voice caught. It was hard to think of either of them, and grief crept in so easily once it was invited. "We didn't announce them, this year..." She said, and swallowed hard. "...It was just...So hard to think, after Prim...That we should celebrate, so soon," She confessed. She still felt incredibly guilty that she was even pregnant at all. Her heat had come within weeks of her son's death- and had been incredibly conflicting, to say the least.
Brecheliant
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Ooc — Iris
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Eljay smiled as Niamh said she didn't intend to be an idiot about the healing process. Good. That had been a concern of his; not because he thought Niamh was an idiot, but because she could be very brash and impatient.

When Niamh choked up a little, Eljay did too; it was hard to think of the two most important women in his life historically and not choke up a little, especially when Niamh did too. Oh, how he missed them. He didn't say anything, just stifled a sob, as Niamh continued. Oh, Primrose... Eljay missed the boy so much; he'd been a kindred spirit, that much was clear.

Eljay said, even though he felt so differently, Oh, Niamh... I understand that. I mean, being more afraid, and feeling like, well... He grimaced. Sometimes I feel guilty for being with Maia instead of still grieving, or for wanting more pups despite Elfie... He realised as he said it just how much they had in common, the two of them. For all their completely different personalities, Niamh and he each had a deceased child and mate.
So then find Dodge, then get out of it
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Ooc — Jess
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Niamh wasn't one to get terribly personal with a lot of other wolves, but there was something about a shared experience of grief that made her feel as though there were things she could, and probably should say. They weren't things she felt comfortable talking about with Towhee or Phox, for obvious reasons. But Eljay? He knew what it was like. She knew he felt it too- he knew what it was like to lose a mate, and to have children wander off. He had loved Wildfire, and he loved their children- and she suspected that after Wildfire passed away, he'd wanted to cling to his children and never let them go...But leaving was just what children did. She knew the feeling. She'd done everything she could to keep Bronco and Nellie from running off, after Colt died, but it had only served to estrange them even further. 

And now here Eljay was, in the same stage that Niamh felt her in whenever she thought about Colt. And she thought about Colt every time she saw Bronco or Nellie. He had feelings for Maia, and this would be his first time falling in love after becoming a widower...A sentiment she knew all too well. "I do too, sometimes." She said. "I miss Colt, and I still love him. I think...I'll always wonder how things might've been," She said. "But I wouldn't trade Phox, or our children...Because it's....It's worth it. Having a life after losing your mate." She said. It was easier for her to say to Eljay, because she wanted him to be happy, and to find a new life despite all he'd lost. But she couldn't quite convince herself that she should be having more kids so soon after Primrose had died. She thought about it for a moment, and the pain wounded her. "I just don't want to lose any more of my children," She whined.
Brecheliant
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a hundred mini dreams and a healing scar ♥
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Ooc — Iris
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Eljay nodded at Niamh's words. He felt the same about Wildfire. Eljay was glad to have Maia, of course, but it wasn't the same as it was with Wiffle. He still missed her a lot, even though he also loved Maia and was very glad to have her in his life. It was strange how he could still love both of them at once, but it was how it was. Yeah, I feel the same, he said with a sigh; one of melancholy for missing Wiffle, but also one for being happy that he had Maia and his hopefully future children in the here and now.

Niamh admitted that she didn't want to lose any more of her children, and it cut into Eljay something fierce. He had lost Elfie in the avalanche that tore apart Towhee and Phox' pack — presumably, anyway; he'd never seen the body but he knew and had searched enough to draw his conclusions — so he could relate to that so well. A parent shouldn't outlive their children, but unfortunately in wolf life it was often the case. Me too, he said softly. We'll just have to try our hardest to make it that way. He knew that he had no such powers, but it was really all they could do; try, raise their children well, and protect them where they could. He saw now that restricting them around every corner didn't help, and that there was only so much you could do as a parent. But he'd never stop trying.
So then find Dodge, then get out of it
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Ooc — Jess
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In the wake of a very unsettling pack event, it was nice to have someone who seemed to be able to sympathize with her. She had yet to see any signs of Towhee, though she suspected that her friend might be ashamed of having let such a monster into her life, and wasn't willing to face the one who'd rooted him out. Presently, Eljay was of more use to Niamh anyway, as he wasn't asking her questions about the incident, which made her comfortable. She didn't want to talk about it- she wanted to put the whole thing behind her and move on, now that Reyes had been effectively kicked out of the pack. By choosing to come and tend to her, she believed that Eljay was showing that he, in the very least, didn't hate her for chasing Towhee's man-toy away. 

The fact that he was now considering having a family with Maia was good news, in light of all that had happened lately. It was good news, even though it'd come at a particularly rough time, and it deserved acknowledgement. "I'm happy for you and Maia, y'know," She admitted with a very tiny smile. "I think you two'll be good for one another."
Brecheliant
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Ooc — Iris
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Eljay had decided to let the thing with Reyes rest for now. He hadn't known Reyes too well — but well enough to know that he and Niamh didn't get along, and had gotten off on the wrong foot initially too — and he didn't know what was going on between him and Niamh. Now that he was kicked out, it seemed like water under the bridge though. There was a mildly unsettling feeling about it all, he felt, especially since they could've used the able bodies to hunt for Niamh and Towhee. But he shelfed that feeling for now. It seemed easier to sweep it under the carpet for now.

Instead, they could talk about other things. Things that connected them rather than the thing that drove them apart. Eljay liked that thought. Some of the broken bridges between himself and Niamh were mended that day.

Niamh said that she was happy for him and Maia, and Eljay smiled appreciatively. Thanks, Niamh, he said softly. I appreciate that. She makes me happy. And everyone knew that it'd taken Eljay a long time to find even glimpses of 'happy' anywhere except in Weejay after Wiffle and his parents passed away. That he found it with Maia meant a lot.
So then find Dodge, then get out of it
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Ooc — Jess
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Happy. Something that she could see in his face, even though it pained him to think of the ones he'd loved and lost. Even though he was moving on, and setting to rest an old flame, and taking a chance on someone new who would be trusted to safeguard his heart. The challenge of starting a family, and the joys that it brought- but also, the chance that it might bring about a sorrow that was unmatched by any other. Worth it? It had to be. Why else would they exist if it wasn't worth taking chances and loving others, despite the fact that they would one day, inevitably, be lost? 

So she sighed and nodded, and shuffled a bit closer to him so that she could rest her head against his shoulder, leg still propped out to the side where it was supported and steady, and closed her eyes so that she could take a bit of peace and quiet for herself in the company of someone else who understood what it was to move forward in life, in spite of all life's hardships.
Brecheliant
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a hundred mini dreams and a healing scar ♥
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Ooc — Iris
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#12
It had been long, if ever, that Eljay had felt this close to Niamh. Amidst all the stress and pressure that he felt taking care of Niamh and Towhee both, he needed a moment like that. Eljay felt tense to the touch, a hint towards his high stress levels, but relaxed when Niamh's head rested on his shoulder. He placed his head on top of hers and closed his eyes, trying to relax, even if for just a little while.