(This story is part of the "Wrapstuffed Tribemembers - Background" series of stories -- see listing for related stories.)
One-Leg’s approach to the Cocoon Den was announced as always by the tap, tap… tap, tap… tap, tap…of his pegleg and staff striking the hallway floor.
“A’right you lot, it’s just me. Don’t all get up at once. I’ve got some words for Fletcher. The rest of you can go back about your business.”
He sat down near the cocoon that housed his daughter’s remaining lovemate.
“Let’s see. What have we barked about lately? Willow. Humans. Evervale. Yip, yip, yip. Still haven’t found a place for ‘blue blistering barnacles’, but I’m keeping the words at the ready in case they're needed.”
The small talk over, One-Leg got to the day’s business. “The matter of what’s to be done with Fadestar has been sorted out. Snowfall and Kestrel have decided to share her, and True Edge to boot. Told you about Newt already. I expect Dreamflight will be more than happy to share space with her mother if asked.”
One-Leg wringed his hand around the top of his staff. “Looks like everybody’s found a place for everybody. Except you.” One-Leg’s wandering gaze stopped at a fading handmark left behind by Flash. It was ringed by bright lines drawn by Whitestag after her final howl. Did Fletcher know already? Had the spirits of his lost mates brush against his on their way to meet the High Ones? Somehow, in his inert state, did he know? The speaker cleared his throat. “So I thought I’d come to you and say you’re more than welcome to den with me. If you want. If you’re not ready to be alone. Considering what you’ll be waking up to… You’d have to be moon-mad to try to sort it all out by your lonesome.”
One-Leg hauled himself up. “It’s done then. I’ve said my piece. That’s all for now.” He slowly ascended the short stairway to the hall. “Until I come down here and say it again.”