(This story is related to "Suddendusk & Quick Fang's Recognition" - see listing for more related stories.)
When this is all over, he'll be able to touch me again. There are other reasons for wanting it to end, of course: it'll stop hurting him, eating at him, burning him up. She'll feel better… eventually. Everyone will stop waiting with bated breath and go back to normal. And of course, a new cub will be a blessing to us all. But for me, I think, the best thing will be when he returns to the family den and I know he's here with me, body and soul, and here to stay.
He's hidden himself away from me, and I can't say I blame him. How hard must it be for anybody to be so committed to so many? Suddendusk does nothing by halves, after all -- I know that even if he chooses to lifemate with her, he'll stay devoted to our girls. And I know, almost as certainly, that he won't lifemate with her. For starters, I doubt she'll let him.
She has no idea what she's denying herself. The rock-headed fool. Like saying that today she doesn't like the color purple, and not enjoying the best berries when she's starving and burning with the need, out of spite. Out of spite or fear, also, deciding that nobody else can have the purple berries, either, so she harms him as much as herself. Stupid, stupid Quick Fang. Young and frightened, the mighty huntress finally becoming the hunted. Poor girl. She's a tribemate, alone and afraid and confused, I imagine, but alone by choice. Confused because she denies it still. And leaving him as confused and hurting as she is, lying here in the den we've shared for seasons upon seasons, and not touching me. Even when our fingers brush, or he nudges me in his sleep (when he sleeps at all), he's not truly there.
I'm not sure how I feel about it all, to be entirely honest. It hurts, that he feels for someone else what he felt for me. Having been there twice, I still remember the sweet, agonizing longing of Recognition. I suppose I've been lucky in him. As Quick Fang now is, not that she acknowledges it. And I'm happy for him, knowing how much he loves children, how happy this made him and will make him. Must there be so much pain for him, though? If I thought I could do it without hurting her, I'd go out there and drag Quick Fang back by the scruff of the neck, but it's not my place. In this, I'm on the outside looking in… And it feels like everybody's looking at me.
I can't show how much this bothers me. I don't want to frighten the cubs, or ruin this for them. The new cub will be their brother or sister, after all, they should love him or her without reservation. And et… How much is too much? Where does being strong and accepting it with good grace turn into looking like I don't care? In Suddendusk's long life his time with me, with us, is nothing. As much as I'd like to think that it was and is everything, I have to face the possibility that I'm wrong. And until that ungrateful creature comes back and relieves them both of this insanity, I won't know.
It's like the time between trying some new brew and finding out just what it does to you, this anticipation, the vague feeling that this should hurt more than it does, and will probably start burning very soon. Having it delayed… she has a lot to answer for, and I can't even hate her. It's not her fault any more than it's his or mine. Nobody asked for this to happen.
Except we did, didn't we? In two turns of the seasons there'll be a new cub, and we'll all rejoice. If all goes well, the cub will never need to know what confusion and bitterness accompanied their creation. If we're very lucky, when we do tell this tale, it'll be with laughter at our own foolishness, and relief that it all worked out in the end. I know it'll work out. I just wish it was soon.
Things are slowly changing already. Crackle alternates between excitement and worry, and I'm not sure how to help her. Evervale is… My precious cub. Old beyond her seasons sometimes, I'm not sure where she learned it. And Suddendusk and me? I can only hope that I'll sing for him, when this is all over, and he'll play with my hair, and our family will be larger. The den is certainly large enough, if she ever wants to move in. I doubt she will, but a den doesn't make a family. Acceptance does.
When she accepts him, I'll accept her. Whatever happens.
Please, let her come to her senses soon.