Swiftcurrent Creek first watering
Loner
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#1
All Welcome 
aw; @Blossom for ref/joining!

lestan had left the bone. he had taken it. he had left it again.
he had returned.
and now he carried it with limping step and fluttering pulse to the densite where he had last left @Reverie, feeling wildly weakened, changed.
tainted.
lestan's teeth clenched the offering of the deer-god until he must set it down; he drew a shaking breath and called her name hesitantly into the misted morning.
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#2
He had left her again. Reverie felt only numb; she didn't regret her display at the border, not really. It would all be worth it if only Lestan would love her again, but she knew now that he would not. Even knowing this, she would still choose him — and she would not regret her selfishness in doing so.
When he called for her, she answered in a numb silence. What more could there be to say? She had provoked the ire of half the pack, both their leaders, all for him... and he had run from her again. Maybe, she thought idly as she regarded him, she would leave Swiftcurrent Creek. Maybe they would all be happier that way.
Loner
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#3
"reverie."
he demanded of himself that he stand higher, taller, a thin man in tattered clothes that now hung too largely around the edges of him. "i'm sorry. i didn't — i did not mean to be gone so long."
rushing, a ragged brook; "i — saw you bleed. i saw that you left and i — i wanted more than to be sad for you. i wanted to be more."
and he had not come back more, but less. 
he touched the bone with a shaking paw.
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#4
It was the apology she'd wanted, the explanation she had been expecting, but Reverie found that it meant nothing to her. He had left. You promised that you wouldn't, Her voice came out whisper-thin, but suddenly the fire of humiliation and hurt left her. Suddenly all she could see was how worn Lestan looked, how tired and sick and thin he looked.
Her eyes flicked down to the bone, which she hadn't even bothered to question yet. She still didn't really have the capacity for it. I - you need to rest. You're not well, Surely he knew that, but Reverie was beginning to truly worry now. She stepped closer, wanting to touch him, but she didn't know anymore if that was what he wanted. Will you come back to my den with me?
Loner
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#5
"no! no, i mean — reverie," trying to settle after the whiplash of her first words followed by her second, "i want to talk first. you — you," and now he looked desperately around for the child. "you —" and he looked to her with the same feverish questioning.
"i dreamed of you, reverie, the entire time i was away," lestan breathed out.
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#6
Dreamed of her! Dreams, when he could have been here, with her —
It was all Reverie could do to contain her frustration. We can talk in my den, She invited gently. Blossom needs me. Their daughter could not be long without warmth, after all. Reverie was a little startled with herself, to think of Blossom as theirs already. But maybe she shouldn't have been surprised. She beckoned to Lestan with soft insistence and turned for the den. Blossom was his daughter, too, and it was past time they knew one another.
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#7
numbly, the father-to-be followed, filled with a particular reluctance.
not for loss of interest! or love! but this thrumming sense that something vital had been snuffed out between he and reverie.
he followed, and looked around, and quaked inside himself, running the offering of the deer god between his paws.
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#8
We do need to talk, Reverie did not settle, not immediately. She turned to Lestan with a somber expression. But first I need to know - if you still want me. If you'll still want me after I -
The tears came then, hot and stinging. After I tell you all of the terrible things I've done since you left, Her voice wavered with the confession, and she did not look away from Lestan. She wanted to see every emotion in his eyes.
Loner
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#9
'well, if i had been here," he started, then quieted, nodded with no judgement and all worry.
how could he not want her?
and yet, the specter of the deer god loomed beyond swiftcurrent, in the raspy screaming of a queenly cat.
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#10
He only nodded his affirmation, but she felt a weight lift from her. I thought you weren't coming back, Reverie admitted, looking away now in her shame as she settled beside Blossom. Her voice was hushed as she began to tell him all that had transpired. No one was near the den, and she would hear it if they approached, but she feared being overheard nonetheless. I - I stopped caring about everything. I didn't want to live. Moss came to me and I - I led her on, I let her think that we could have a future together. But I knew we couldn't, because - because I love you.
What a horrible context for those words, she thought. So I tried to... I tried to end it. Her, She looked down at Blossom now, filled with guilt. How could she have tried to get rid of her? I knew it was too late. I knew that if it worked, I would - die. But it didn't. And I lost everyone's trust, because I left when I did it - and I lied about it. No one knows. And now there's this woman stalking me because - she saw me when I left, I guess. She hurt Akavir.
Reverie sought Lestan's gaze again. I think everyone hates me, after what I did when you came back. But... I still don't care. I just - I just want to be with you, She wasn't sure if that was a good thing or not. Reverie wasn't sure about anything anymore, except — I can't lose you again, Lestan. I can't.
Loner
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#11
lestan could find little fault in what she said, what she shared. of course it stung to hurt that she had moved on so very swiftly, or been ready for it. that she had hurt moss was not inconsquential either. but he listened on in silence.
reverie had been led to try and rid herself of this child. lestan softened in anger at himself and chagrin for her. she went on to reveal that akavir had been caught in it. 
the pack was indeed tense. he would not lie and say it was not. "you didn't lose me," he half-pleaded, and was scared now that she leaned so into him and not the little child at her side, the one he could scarcely believe was his very own.
"i'll — talk to akavir. we'll have all this sorted and handled, reverie, i'm here now." and here he must remain, the golden deer clamped beneath the floorboards of his mind if need be. "i am so sorry i wasn't — that i wasn't here. for you." an inhale, exhale.
"as for her, i'll find her." hadn't he done away with tybault?
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#12
He sought to reassure her, to take some of the responsibility from her — but Reverie knew he was in no state to do so. She shook her head. I want you to stay here and rest. Heal. Please, Reverie reached out to pull him close if he'd let her.
Just - just let me have some time with you and her, before it all comes crashing down, She couldn't stop crying, because she didn't deserve him, didn't deserve Blossom. And she could not shake the feeling of dread that was creeping up on her now. Lestan's reassurance had only reminded her that it would not be okay. He could not fix it. That's all I want. Please. She sought to bury her muzzle in his fur, to take in the scent of him.
His scent was off, though, tainted by sickness perhaps; she didn't understand, but took comfort in him all the same.
Loner
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#13
"of course," he whispered against her cheek, her forehead, folding her close even as it felt that the distance between them yawned with all the things that must now be mended.
fixed!
before!
before she came;
his breath shook only a moment and then he let it out. "nothing is going to crash down. come now, what did — what did you name the child?" he asked softly, trying to turn her mind back to the little family they must now be and build.
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#14
The child. Not their child. Reverie hid her frown in their closeness. Blossom. Rose Blossom Mayfair, She told him softly, though his reassurances still did not quiet her fear. Reverie had seen the anger in Akavir, had felt the way Moss loomed in disapproval over her. She had never felt any friendship from the former, and knew the latter would hate her now that she had chosen Lestan. She feared the consequences of their ire.
But she tried not to linger on it, for Lestan's sake. Instead she traced her nose through his fur, reminding herself that he was here. He had come back to her. He wanted her. Why hadn't it sunk in yet? Why didn't she feel any better at all? She closed her eyes and tried to reach for that familiar warm feeling. I thought of you every day, Reverie murmured. Tell me about - your dreams. It had seemed important to him.
Loner
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#15
rose blossom mayfair.
mayfair.
the lake of fire shimmered behind his eyes. he inclined his head. "a lovely name, reverie." the tone of a man indulgent toward the wife he loved very much, but who had not quite accepted the way of things.
"m-may i see her?" he asked next, timidly.
his dreams! they burned away in his head. "such ugly things, reverie. i — i need to gather them." swallow them. let no more direness touch his desperately beloved family.
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#16
Gentle words passed between them, but Reverie felt underneath it that same distance that had been between them for what seemed like forever now. She wanted desperately to close it. She's yours, as much as she's mine, Reverie said softly in response to his request; it wasn't quite true, not yet, but in time she knew they would make it so.
She stood gingerly and shifted so that Blossom was between them, but tried not to disturb the girl more than she had to. And she tried not to think about the fact that he'd said he had dreamed ugly things about her. They were only dreams, she told herself, and watched Lestan to see what he thought of their daughter.
Loner
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#17
for a very long time, lestan stared down at the child beside blossom.
she was golden as reverie was, still miniscule and downy with childbirth. he stared at her as well as reverie, though not so long upon the latter visage, too overcome to gaze at her for long.
lestan did not reach out for the girl; he tapped his paws with all manner of anxiousness and swallowed very hard.
she was a fawn where reverie was a doe. and both cervine ideas had him quite choked by fear suddenly.
at last he held up the bone. "i d-don't even know where i got this."
the night of the bright french and the glen-tongue
"b-but reverie," he licked his lips, "i've known you a long, long time. because beside loch teine i saw —"
aware of how crazed he sounded but not caring, lestan went on, sweat sliding down his forehead. "one night as we danced and sang, golden deer, thousands of them, came to us. they encircled us. they asked who among us was mayfair."
his paw trembled, the slice of ivory, rounded, rough with his bitemarks as he had held in his mouth during most of that long, terrible fever; it fell before reverie.
"well, i was mayfair."
lestan was shaking.
"ah, i was only a boy. only a child. but they told me, well the leader told me they were draoidhean. druids. and these ones were of the golden hoof, meant to stamp out sin. they said," and his voice cracked,
"they said 'because of the evil that the name mayfair brought to donnelaith, we cannot suffer your kin to live." he spread his paws. "thirty of us, man, woman, child. murdered by the druids for what my family did. for what lasher did."
lasher, a name he did not and would not ever know. he could not bear to look at reverie, having hung his head during a good deal of this retelling. "their irony was to let me live, to let me escape. a member of their very order struck me unconscious in the chaos of that night beside the lake, and i believe it was the same warrior who bore me across the lake. in the morning i woke alone, far from all i knew but alive. her face i do not remember, only what she told me before she knocked me down: "is e reverie an aisling dùisg agad mu chumhachd."
after a second, lestan at last raised his head, translating for her ear and trying now to look into her eyes. "i do not know why i was spared. but i fear i have brought my curse to you. and to her. it was a god of deer who i met slain in the wild. and it was a servant of the dark which drove me from the creek. but the deer remained, always, a great doe who billows in fire. if there is a woman here who watches, be assured it is one of those. until i meet her, i will not know."
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Reverie watched him, watched his expression change, and could do nothing but sit and stew in a slow-growing dread. She was wholly unprepared for it, when he lifted the bone and began his tale.
I've known you for a long, long time —
The Garden flashed in her mind's eye. Reverie swallowed. Did he know? But no, this was a different song, one of earth and fire and sin and death. She listened, ears lowering all the while, her own expression turning grave and thoughtful. Soulmates, she had once thought of him, but she knew now that they were more than that. It was not something she understood fully, not yet, but it was all tied to what had happened in the cave. She knew it.
Lestan, I - Her breath trembled and she had to collect herself. Do you know - what I am? What she is? Truly? She did not wait for an answer. Something happened, something I haven't told you - or anyone - in the cave I went to, when I - where Blossom was born. Again Reverie had to pause to collect herself, looking away from him now, away because a familiar pain had begun to stir in her.
Small gods, She muttered under her breath, unaware that she had spoken it, pupils dilating now; hackles prickling. Reverie took a breath and looked back to him, eyes still unfocused and dark. I don't think it's - just you, Lestan. The curse. It's both of us - the fire - I - She couldn't. She couldn't.
Reverie turned into a wild thing, then, flying to her feet with hackles risen all along her spine. She turned away, pacing only once across the den, and then turned back for Lestan and descended on him like a storm; seeking his touch, pressing herself to him with a desperate sound in her throat. You've suffered so much, She whined softly, feeling defeated in a new way. Too much. We both have.
But we have to protect her. They want her - they tried to take her, Reverie shivered. And I - I can't do that again, Lestan, the fire - I don't want to burn again.
But I will.
And you will burn with me.
Loner
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#19
the curse, the fire; it threatened reverie now. she moved in consternation and upset, dancing already, frenetic with the mother's urge that said blossom must be taken to ground, interred where these flames could not touch them.
"you will not burn, reverie." lestan inhaled, reaching lightly for her, speaking with a resolution he knew must become internal. "nor will i, nor she. but it's time we — shared this."
some unreadable thing touched his eyes. "akavir is a mayfair also. there are more of us here now, than elsewhere. we need to stay. stay and fight, for this place. and for her."
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You will not burn. Reverie settled, feeling as if she had heard these words before somewhere, in his voice. She tucked herself close against him, marveling at how different his warmth felt to the flames which had consumed her in that cave. A sigh slipped from her.
He wanted to stay, to fight this, and she knew what that meant. It meant that the fire would come again, and there was nothing she could do. But maybe — maybe with Lestan at her side, she would not burn. Reverie held to this frail hope, for it was all she had.
She looked down at Blossom, then back to Lestan. I need you to be careful, Lestan. You're - sick, you're weak. You need to heal before - before anything else, She kissed his cheek gently. We both need you. Reverie felt that she would lose him again before all of this was done.
But she tried not to think of that now.
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#21
both.
both, both, both. he had not earned one, let alone been prepared for the honor and horror of being a father. a horror only because there was an empty void in what he knew of fathers, of their relation to children.
"all right," lestan agreed, folding himself gingerly close.
but his slumber would be fitful; he would wake as often as reverie did, in his own dreams or in answer to hers, when she cried out he would comfort, and dawn would find him drawn and trembling, staring down at blossom who sometime in the night he had drawn into his arms.
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