Bramblepoint I'll follow you way down to your deepest low.
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All Welcome 
She knew it was stupid to leave the safety of the caldera in her condition, yet Towhee wasn't exactly in her right mind lately. Without a word to anyone—not that there were many around to tell; the place was a ghost town—she walked north toward Bramblepoint. She just barely made it into the trees before she was forced to stop and rest for a moment.

The puppies kicked as enthusiastically as ever as she gazed over the budding treeline to the broken silhouette of Moonspear. According to Meerkat, Moonglow had claimed the land directly north past the mountain. That was Towhee's destination. All she wanted was to see Meerkat. Well, she would've been just as happy to see any of her other children but she happened to be closest.

Taking a deep breath, Towhee picked up her swollen feet and began walking again.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Perhaps it was a long way to go following a rabbit, but Bronco was hungry and the damn thing had only been one or two steps ahead of him the entire way toward the thicket of Bramblepoint so he continued pursuing it, thinking he was catching up. Along the way, another rabbit scent had also joined the first- making him realize quickly that he wasn't the only one in hot pursuit of the first rabbit. It was the right season, after all, for rabbits to begin chasing one another- and with them distracted with all their twitterpating, he figured he had a chance of catching one of them by surprise. 

He stopped, though, when he caught Towhee's scent and while he knew she and Meerkat travelled back and forth to see one another a fair amount, he wasn't expecting to cross her path while out hunting. Still- it would save him the distance of travelling to the Caldera to go and see how they were doing, so he picked up a lope and began to track her until he could see her in the distance. 

She was moving slowly and he remembered then that he knew she was pregnant- but he'd forgotten. It had also been a year since he'd seen anyone carrying pups, and he'd mostly forgotten what it was like living in a pack with pregnant wolves. He hurried his pace to catch up with her a bit, and felt a bit dismayed when he noticed her body language. Pregnant wolves were supposed to glow, weren't they? Nevertheless, his tail waved freely from side to side as he approached her, and he grinned. It'd been too long since he'd seen Towhee, and too much had happened- but it did his soul some good to get to see her again.
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As she approached the far side of the forest, Towhee stopped and leaned against a tree. Her head fell to hang between her shoulders as she wondered if she could even make this trip. She already felt totally out of energy. That made her extremely vulnerable too. She swallowed and let out a breath, looking up again to squint and try to gauge the remaining distance.

Towhee startled when she saw someone walking up to her. "Shit," she hissed, pushing away from the tree. She was just about to curse her own idiocy when recognition hit and she felt her legs go weak with relief. She sank back against the trunk, its rough bark digging into her elbow.

"Bronco," she said, "I'm glad you're here. Maybe you can help drag my fat ass to Moonglow." Although it was a joke, there was no merriment on her face. If anything, it reflected the hideous strain of her life lately. "I was heading there to see Meerkat." Towhee paused, thinking. "I'm guessing she told you I asked her to move back to the caldera?"
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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The closer he came, the more he realized that Twhee didn't look herself at all. She didn't even look the way she usually looked when she saw him- and that was concerning. Not that he expected her to brighten up every time she saw him but still- she looked absolutely wiped. His scarred brows pulled together in crooked lines of worry across his forehead. He tried to give her a compassionate smile when she asked for his help, and he made a weak attempt at humour. -"I'd offer to carry you, but that'd probably be pretty uncomfortable,"- He said. While he wasn't skinny enough to have a prominent backbone, he figured being draped across another wolf while pregnant would be awfully hard on the belly. 

He considered asking her if it might be best that she instead went back to the Caldera- he could always take a message to Meerkat, and he could always send Meerkat to her...But if he'd learned anything from dealing with women, it was that he shouldn't underestimate them or try to smother them with his good intentions. He also wasn't a medic- so he had no idea if it was safe for her to be wandering around at this stage in her pregnancy, whatever stage it was, but he figured Towhee was the authority on that matter. Little did he know that she might not have been in the right mindset to be making those sorts of decisions. 

So he didn't bring it up. He blinked when she said she'd asked Meerkat to move back. -"I uh, I know she wants to go back there, I just thought it was her idea."- He responded. Had Meerkat told him that Towhee'd asked her to move back? Or was he confusing that with Fennec, who had said she'd stay at the Caldera to help with the next batch of kids? Either way- he knew that both sisters wanted to be at the Caldera. He knew it was difficult for them to walk and talk at the same time, so he sat down. Towhee looked like she could use a break- but he didn't want to be the one to verbally suggest it. -"She and Fennec both want me to move back too,"- He admitted.
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He met her point blank question with a blink, which made Towhee wonder if Meerkat hadn't mentioned it. Why wouldn't she? Towhee supposed there was a lot going on in their lives lately too, a thought which drew her lips into a frown. Maybe that was why her daughter hadn't come back yet, even for a visit. It hadn't been long, the Sovereign just felt... needy.

When he sat, Towhee slid down against the tree to sprawl at its roots. She offered Bronco what she hoped was a grateful look, though she couldn't really manage a smile. It wasn't just for showing up and sitting here with her but for making the effort to sign too. Weirdly, she felt like she might cry for a moment, acknowledging this small kindness when everything and everyone was so shitty lately.

"Well, not only would we love to have you, but we could really use you," the Sovereign said frankly. "I know it's selfish and I don't mean to pressure you—either one of you—but things are..." Well, they were bad, but that was an understatement. "Have you seen Fennec and Alyx lately? It's down to the leadership, Rue and some dude named Lenny who'll probably flake. Even Eljay fucked off. And we have two litters on the way. I'm..." She shook her head.

That didn't even touch on the part where Towhee kind of wanted to strangle his mother. It didn't seem prudent to mention that to Bronco, though she found herself trying to recollect the nature of their relationship. But with all the other crap taking up space rent-free in her head right now, she simply couldn't remember specifics at the moment.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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He felt guilt weigh in, knowing that Meerkat and Fennec wouldn't be the only two who would want him to be at the Caldera. If both his mother and Towhee were pregnant, there could be a bunch of kids coming soon- leaving Phox and the few others to care for them all. From how it sounded, the pack's numbers were dwindling, and he probably should have been more concerned about that, but when she asked him about Fennec and Alyx he stiffened. 

-"No, not since before-" He said and cut himself off in shock. He hadn't seen or heard from either of them since before the landslide. -"The landslide- how long have they been gone?"- He asked fervently, his pupils narrowed. He felt a sudden tightness in his chest. What were the chances that they had been swept up in the landslide too?
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He started to answer her, then halted as a look of shock came over his face. Towhee stiffened, wondering what new horror was about to be visited upon her. But then he mentioned the landslide. Though she felt a moment's alarm as she tried to piece together the timeline, she felt her body sag with relief for the second time in as many minutes.

"They were headed to the coast. Surely they were nowhere near there." Maybe because the Sovereign simply did not have the bandwidth for it, she insisted, "There's no reason to think they were anywhere near there, Bronco. Let's not borrow trouble, I know we both have way too much of it already." The girls weren't overdue or anything, she just missed them horribly.

She sniffed, shifting a little as a puppy kicked her square in some organ or another. "Anyway, if Meerkat can't come to me for whatever reason, then I figured I can go to her. It was about time I got out of the house." Towhee grunted wryly as she prepared to climb back onto her feet again. If he would accompany her, she could do this.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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He wanted to hear her say that they'd gone somewhere well after the landslide so he could be absolutely certain they hadn't been involved, but the explanation she gave him was enough to give him some reassurance. It had been more than enough, trying to come to terms with the fact that the majority of his friends on Moonspear had potentially been buried alive without having to add Fennec and Alyx to the list as well. He wasn't sure he could've coped with that. He wondered, vaguely, if that was how Antares felt- and hoe Towhee felt too, knowing how close she'd been with Hydra- and he felt a bit guilty for bringing it up. 

He nodded obediently, though it rattled him to have the possibility dismissed out of hand. He would always have space in his brain to worry about others, and it made him feel a bit uneasy hearing Towhee brush it off. Perhaps she was just so certain they were well out of harm's way that she was able to do so, but Bronco felt that so much unlikely tragedy had happened lately that it couldn't be considered out of the question for something bad to happen again.

She seemed to want to get going but as soon as he stood up he felt a strange, unfamiliar, but bad feeling twist in his gut. Was she really sure she wanted to go all the way to Ouroboros Spine when she was this pregnant? Not that he was keen on undermining her authority on the matter, nor was he willing to upset a pregnant woman, but something was off. He made as though to start walking but found his feet were unwilling to move so he swayed to the side, and then rocked back to his feet again. He balked. Something in his gut told him that this wasn't a good idea. Crippled with doubt, but urged by whatever sort of unwelcome foresight that it was he was experiencing, he was unwilling to move. -"Are you sure?"- He choked.
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As she gathered her wits for the remaining leg of the journey, she saw Bronco physically falter. Her brows knitted as she gazed at him, baffled and curious. He signed a question at her, which she meant to answer with a nod. Instead, she just stared at him for a few beats before turning away to gaze in the direction of Moonspear and, beyond that, the place where Meerkat now lived.

"She makes me happy," Towhee spoke to the distance, then brought her eyes back to Bronco's face, "all you kids do." She paused, taking a breath. "I just need to see someone who's never let me down. Because that's all anyone's doing around here lately." She gestured abortively at the caldera, then realized how unfair she was being and added, "Well, not Phox and Rue. Or that Lenny guy. But..."

Towhee knew she was revealing too much, if she didn't want to drag Bronco into the drama with his mother. But as she thought of Niamh, then Reyes, and last of all, Eljay, she felt so emotionally left for dead that she blurted, "There's part of me that wants to go to Moonglow and just... stay there. I need to get away from this nightmare before I fucking murder someone. And I know! I know that's goddamn moronic and shitty. I know!"
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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She didn't seem the least bit uncertain about what she wanted to do, which helped him convince himself that maybe he was just being paranoid- maybe something horrible wasn't going to swoop in and happen while they were on their way to Moonglow. He begged his feet to start moving, but reluctantly, the heavy feeling in his gut persisted, and he remained rooted as though he'd gotten stuck up to his knees in thick bog muck. He realized that at least some of his hesitation came from the fact that something was bothering Towhee and whether she knew it or not, she'd been projecting that, emotionally, before she declared that she was being let down- and that she needed to get away from it. 

She'd mentioned before that Eljay had split, and that Fennec and Alyx were away. Now she said that Phox and someone named Rue were also exempt from the list of disappointments she had- and she continued, but he was clever enough to have strung the dots together and came to a conclusion based on the fact that there was a name she'd not mentioned. Honestly, it didn't surprise him. This wasn't the first time someone had told him that his mother was a life-ruiner.

Whatever it was that had happened- and he assumed that it was something shitty that his mother had done given A. The fact that Towhee had left her off the 'not guilty' list and B. the fact that he knew she was a monster- it was something big. Big enough to make Towhee consider leaving her pack altogether. He was quiet for a moment. He knew it probably wasn't the best time to try and be funny, and it was a weak attempt at best, but he couldn't help but shrug. -"I could probably make it look like an accident."- He offered. -"You can tell me, y'know, if you want, whatever it is she did this time. Honestly, I don't think anything'll surprise me."- He said with a shrug. -"Or we can go with plan A and you tell me nothin' so I can have deniability, and we can just make it look like an accident."-
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She breathed heavily after her little outburst, immediately feeling like a total shitheel for laying that on Bronco. And for saying any of that out loud. Towhee felt her face and neck burn with something like shame, though before she could commence a proper wallow, he began to say something.

At first, she didn't follow. Then a dark look passed over her face when she realized he was talking about Niamh. She felt another flush that he'd cottoned onto her meaning, then a jolt when she realized what was on offer here. Of course she wouldn't take him up on it, but why the hell was Bronco talking like that? Once more, Towhee scrambled to remember where he and Niamh stood.

She opened her mouth to apologize for putting any of this on him, though what came out instead was, "She got my mate kicked out of the pack. To be fair, he hurt her. And I'm angry with him too. But... I just know she instigated it. She didn't like the two of us together," Towhee shared, her voice turning into a snarl, "and she probably got rid of him just because he made her feel old."
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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-"Wait, your---?"- He asked. He felt his face flush- should he have known that Towhee'd had a mate? Probably. That was pretty big news- though given that fact that she was very pregnant, perhaps he should have assumed that maybe this year, the father had stuck around. Meerkat had found her father, so there was a chance that that's who it was, and he felt bad for allowing so much space to fall between himself and the Redhawks that he cared about that such big news could go right between his ears. He wasn't doing a very good job at keeping up with Towhee or Phox, that was for sure. Even Alyx and Fennec had gone off on a trip without him knowing. Maybe it was a sign that he was drifting away- or a sign that he should go back. 

He felt a bit winded by the news. It didn't surprise him that Niamh would pick a fight with someone. He also wasn't surprised that she would kick someone she didn't like out of the pack. It was also zero percent surprising that Niamh would kick someone out because they made her feel old, though the fact that that was one of her triggers was almost delightful to him. Maybe he could play with that little thorn in her side in the future, though that might get him killed. 

What was obvious, though was how much it enraged Towhee that her mate had been kicked out by Niamh. -"Can't you just like...Over-rule her decision?"- He asked. -"I mean...You're the Sovereign. Whether or not she started the fight- and I mean, she prolly did, knowing her, and it was prolly over something dumb- you're the one who has the final say in things, yeah?"- He asked. -"Phox'd agree with you, wouldn't he?"- He asked. While Phox was Niamh's mate, the guy was solid and reasonable.
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Too busy trying to wrestle her anger into submission, she missed Bronco's half-question. She swallowed and took some deep breaths, centering herself by focusing on the occasional stirring in her midsection. Feeling them certainly grounded her somewhat, though she had to close her eyes, breathe in through her mouth and out through her nose for a second before she felt like she was back in some semblance of control.

Her flaming gaze locked on Bronco just in time to catch the second sentence and beyond. It was definitely more complicated than that. She wanted to explain that to him, how she had to prioritize her pregnant Regent over own mate. She wanted to tell him that she couldn't be sure whose side Phox would take and how much she didn't want to put him in that position. Things were already precarious enough at the caldera, that could create a schism that would implode the pack entirely.

"It's not that simple," Towhee said, "and I shouldn't be unloading this on you." She grimaced, in part because now one of the pups was kicking her bladder. "But Reyes broke her leg. That's indefensible. I know she probably started it but he shouldn't have done what he did. Whatever else your mom is, she's pregnant." She dropped her head and rubbed a paw between her eyes.

When she dropped her foot again, morbid curiosity prompted Towhee to ask, "Remind me why your first reaction to all this was to offer to off her...?"
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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When she tried to apologize, he shook his head. He was more than done with his mother's bullshit, and wasn't going to have anyone else apologize if they needed to vent about her. It was validating, in a way, to find someone else confess that they had issues with Niamh as well. She'd made him feel like he was weak, and as though he was little more than a disappointment but whenever someone else had a complain about her, he began to realize that it was his mother who was wrong. Maybe he wasn't weak, or a disappointment- his mother's way of viewing the world and other wolves, in reference to herself, was what was warped. 

But he did wince when Towhee said that Reyes- a name that was only vaguely familiar, and called to mind a dark, reddish fellow he'd probably seen in passing when he'd been at the Caldera last- had broken his mother's leg...And that he'd actively partaken in a very serious fight against a wolf who was pregnant. No matter how much he resented his mother, he did believe that it was very wrong to harm someone that much, especially if they were pregnant. A broken leg could lead to death. He felt his throat tighten; only moments ago, he'd (albeit jokingly) offered to help Towhee kill his mother to make all of the monstrosity stop. It was wrong of him to even think that, considering the fact that she was now carrying his younger siblings. 

So he sighed heavily. -"That does complicate things."- He admitted. The thought of breaking another wolf's leg intentionally made him feel queasy- he'd never been able to follow through in a serious fight, but obviously Towhee's mate had possessed that quality...And that worried him a bit. Wolves that could harm another wolf to that extent frightened him. And a wolf that would do that to a leader when they were pregnant also concerned him. Who exactly was this Reyes? He didn't think Towhee the sort of wolf to be easily wooed- she was independent, fierce, very likeable of course, but he wasn't sure he'd ever seen her flirt or wax poetics. Part of him wanted to find this guy and see what it was about him that Towhee saw...But part of him also wanted to make sure that a wolf that dangerous went nowhere near her. 

He decided, in the end, that in not knowing the whole story, he was better off not trying to figure it out, but that he might be best off just trying to help Towhee deal with the fallout. He couldn't change what had happened, and given the fact that Towhee herself didn't even seem to have the entire story, there was no point in him asking more questions about the details. She asked about his relationship with Niamh and he sighed and shrugged dejectedly. -"I was never tough enough. And she never let me forget that,"- He said with a fairly flat tone. There was more to it than that, of course, but it wasn't something he wanted to get into. -"I think maybe she blames me for Dad's death. We were away when he was attacked, an' it was because she wanted to straighten me out an' toughen me up as a kid. So I think...We were gone because of me, an' if we'd been here, maybe she could've stopped it from happening. I don't really know."- He said. It was the first time he'd ever voiced that thought out loud- but over time, it seemed to make more and more sense. -"She never said it, I just...Assumed. I used to sorta blame myself for it too."-
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Her face scrunched as Bronco explained. She was never much of one for tact, especially when rubbed raw like this, so she said baldly to him, "That's stupid. All of it. There is exactly one wolf responsible for Colt's death." That made Towhee think of the day when Niamh had gotten her revenge on Kiwi. How cold she had seemed, especially when Towhee hadn't initially remembered. How distant she'd become after losing Primrose.

Catching her thoughts drifting, she blinked and frowned at Bronco, not really sure what else to say about any of this. Her anger ran deep, though she would never consider hurting Niamh, nor did she think her son would truly wish her harm. Especially right now, while little lives were at stake. But it was strangely comforting, in a twisted way, to know others commiserated. Even Wraen hadn't batted an eyelash when Towhee had placed blame on Niamh.

"Sorry to be so blunt," she offered after a moment of reflection. "The whole thing is definitely complicated," Towhee agreed with his earlier conclusion. "And there's no easy answers. Before any of this happened, I never would've considered leaving the caldera. When we moved here, I intended to live here until the day I died. But the past few days, all I can think is..." But she trailed off there and shook her head, sighing heavily toward her feet.

She couldn't do that to her brother, or even Rue. Besides, it was fifty shades of irresponsible. Would Moonglow welcome a heavily pregnant bitch, just like that? Did she really want to go throw her lot in with Kukutux? Wraen would probably want to wring her neck and she was one of Towhee's most steadfast advocates. Of course, she could simply visit, but if she was being honest with herself, the Sovereign was planning on staying long enough that she might give birth there, preventing her from coming back.

Bitter tears sprang to her eyes but Towhee swiped almost angrily at them. In the same heartbeat, one of the pups kicked her so squarely that it knocked the wind out of her. She mouthed like a fish and slowly rolled off her feet to sink back against the tree roots.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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He nodded, though there was still sadness in his eyes. -"I know."- He said. It had taken him his whole life to forgive himself and relieve himself of the blame he thought he deserved for Colt's death, and every now and again he regretted having been such a handful at a kid...But at a certain point, he had to forgive himself, as there was no way anyone could have known that someone would attack Colt. He couldn't have unrealistic expectations for any child to behave perfectly, either. 

She sounded pretty desperate to get away from everything that was bothering her. She'd tried to literally get away, and run to Moonglow with the potential, he thought, to simply stay there. It wasn't like Towhee to simply abandon anything that she cared about, but it sounded as though when Reyes had been kicked out, she'd lost what little she'd had left to keep her rooted there. He assumed, then, that her relationship with what few remaining Caldera wolves was either fairly informal, or had been shaken pretty bad. 

-"Have you talked to Niamh at all, since?"- He asked. He didn't want to give his mother much credit- but if there was anything he'd learned, about how to fix things after a fight, it was that having an open, calm conversation could go a very long way. -"You guys used to be like...A unit, right?"- He said. While it'd been easy for him at first to demonize his mother and assume that she'd been in the wrong throughout the entire dispute, something about this Reyes seemed off too. He knew his mother could be horrible- but at least he knew her. -"I mean...She broke up with my Dad an' kicked him outa the pack once 'cause he was sympathizing with someone you hated,"- He said. -"She said you guys went on a massive hunt trying to track down...A bad guy. An' that she lost one of her teeth pulling you up from a cliff,"- The more he thought about the stories he'd heard of Towhee and Niamh, the more he felt like he was sympathizing with his mother, which felt wrong. He sighed, and shrugged. -"Maybe you guys just need to talk. She's a dick, but...I'm pretty sure she cares almost as much about you as she does about herself, so...That's gotta count for something. And I don't know the guy, an' I don't wanna get the wrong idea about him but like...Breaking a pregnant wolf's leg, Towhee, I just...That just gives me the creeps."-
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She shook her head in response to his first question, then didn't answer his second. Bronco kept thinking aloud and she followed along. Talking about Colt actually reminded her of hers and Niamh's horrible row about him, way back in the day. They had been estranged, for a time. Her lips pursed. They'd found their way back to one another. Would the same happen now?

"Believe me, Bronco, I know," she said a little sharply when he inferred Reyes was a creep. It rankled her because he was right, of course, and that called her own judgment into question pretty starkly. "I know," she repeated a lot less heatedly, looking down at the ground for a moment as her emotions ran the gamut. As much as she agreed, it didn't lessen her anger at Niamh, nor dispel the complicated feelings she had toward the man.

"I'll talk to her when I'm sure I won't do something stupid," the Sovereign said at last, biting back a sigh. "I don't know when that will be. I doubt it'll happen before these aliens burst out of me. Ugh, I'm so happy they're so lively but they are presently throwing a rager and it's hell'a uncomfortable. No way I can make it all the way to Moonglow," Towhee conceded.
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
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Reyes was definitely a sore point, so he made note to potentially let that topic drop for a while. He could only imagine how conflicted she felt about it all, but it wasn't his place to step in and try to fix things, though...Part of him wanted to do just that. He didn't flinch when she spoke sharply to him, but once she seemed to have relaxed a bit, he stepped forward so that he could touch his nose to her cheek, in a gesture that was meant as an apology. She was going through a lot, and it seemed like she really needed someone to lean on. He felt bad that he couldn't do more for her, but there were so many wolves depending on him currently...

He was relieved when she decided not to go to Moonglow- and his features brightened a bit when she mentioned the health of her puppies. The thought of having something living inside of him made him a bit uncomfortable, but he had to admit, there was something sort of magical about the whole idea as well. -"Lemme walk with you, back to the Caldera?"- He volunteered. -"I mean, if any of them rascals come flying out of you on the way there, you're on your own, but if you can keep 'em contained until then...I'd be happy to walk you home."-
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#19
She allowed the gentle touch, though Towhee stiffened a little at Bronco's offhanded joke. He couldn't possibly understand why that mental image was so far from funny to her. She reminded herself of that, and his good intentions. He just wanted to walk her home.

"Okay," she replied, gingerly heaving back onto all fours. A loud breath gusted out of her as she teetered a bit, then shifted to balance better. "Hey, thanks for letting me bitch," she added, saying nothing else as the two of them slowly made their way back through Bramblepoint toward the caldera.

"Do me one more favor?" Towhee asked when they reached the borders, turning slowly like a bloated sloth. "Ask Meerkat to swing by? I know she was just here and tell her she doesn't have to stay. But it would mean a lot to see her."
-Signing.- | "Speaking." | -"Signing & speaking."- | "Mouthing (inaudible)." | Thoughts.
Members of Moonglow are welcome to power-play Towhee (excepting injury or death) for cohesion and continuity, whether or not she's an active participant in a thread. Just tag me!
Loner
1,305 Posts
Ooc — Jess
Trapper
Warrior
Master Guardian
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#20
He gave her a soft smile, and nodded. He didn't mind being a listening ear, or someone to vent to, considering it felt like whenever someone opened up to him, it was a sign of trust. It made him feel valuable when someone felt comfortable enough to lean on him, and while he had his own burdens to bear, it made his heart happy to know that at least for someone, he was being helpful. 

He walked Towhee back to the Caldera, moving at her pace so that she didn't feel rushed. The tiredness showed in her heavy steps, and he felt a bit bad, knowing that the Caldera itself was a bit of a climb at the end of their journey. Still, he saw her get through it, and when she made her request, he nodded. "I will. Take care of yourself, and those kiddos, okay? I'll be by soon, too," He said. Now, he wasn't sure where he belonged- but he knew at least that he owed it to his family to stop by and see that they were able to make it through the next couple of weeks.