(This story is related to the events in "Family" and is part of the "Three-Mating of Kestrel, Snowfall, and True Edge" storyline -- see listing for related stories - see listing for more related stories.)
Snowfall lifted an edge of the hide covering the den entrance and peered inside. It was still light outside as the night just was falling, so the den was only slightly dimmer and she blinked her eyes until they had adjusted. “Hey, little sister,” she called softly.
Nightstorm turned around at the sound of her voice and greeted her with a smile. “Come on in, Snowfall,” she invited her.
Snowfall let the hide fall closed behind her as she stepped into the den, returning the smile. The young crafter put away the fabric she had been working with and turned her attention to her older sister. “Well?” Nightstorm asked as she sat down and crossed her arms on her knees, putting her chin on them in a show of laziness Snowfall did not believe for a single moment.
“Well what?” she asked back with amusement, meeting her glance with a calm expression. For a moment she wondered if she only imagined that and actually her face was showing a goofy grin. It would match what she was feeling inside – but she would not be Snowfall if her exterior wasn’t as calm and composed as ever.
“Have you thought about what you want to do?” Nightstorm continued and Snowfall was almost disappointed.
“I thought of a blanket,” she said hesitantly, putting her chin in her hands. When it came to crafts, she was out of her depth – that was her sisters’ area, and she always felt a bit uncomfortable in it. But most of all she wanted the present she would make for her daughter and her first grandchild to turn out well. That was why she had asked Nightstorm to help her with it.
Nightstorm made a face. “Blankets are boring,” she complained.
“Maybe,” Snowfall admitted. “But you know I’m not a crafter so it shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“I thought that was why you came to me for help,” the younger elf protested. “You won’t need me for a blanket.”
“It’s supposed to be a beautiful blanket.” Snowfall’s eyes twinkled. “Oh, I can piece together some scraps, sure. But I’d like to make it beautiful.”
Nightstorm sighed. “Alright, a blanket it is, then.”
She was more satisfied once Snowfall had explained to her what she had in mind, and so soon enough they were immersed up to their elbows in all the coloured leather Nightstorm had available to choose the right pieces for their project, chatting. Laying out the pieces on the floor, Snowfall was impressed to see the picture she had in mind take shape under Nightstorm’s dexterous hands – a big wolf curled around a cub, the mother wolf’s fur white and her cub in stark contrast against it in black.
That finished, Nightstorm took a moment to lean back against the wall and observe her big sister shrewdly. “So …” she finally said, “do you plan to ever tell me or do I have to ask?”
Torn from her concentration while she was searching for a good background colour, Snowfall looked up. “Huh?”
“Don’t play the innocent.” Nightstorm grinned. “There’s something on your mind. You’re happy about something.”
Snowfall shrugged, the smile in her voice betraying her calm exterior. “There is reason enough to be happy. Our tribe has a healer again and soon enough the sleepers will be joined with us again. My daughter is with cub.” For a moment her mind touched the troubles the tribe was awaiting as well – the human encroachment casting a shadow on everything. But Snowfall was wolf enough to enjoy the happiness of the moment, no matter what the future might bring.
Nightstorm shook her head. “That was the case even before you went on the hunt,” she pointed out. “No, it’s something new.” Try as she might, she could not hide her curiosity any longer.
Snowfall gave up and let her smile show on her face. Sometimes it still surprised her how keen her little sister’s observations were. “Something both new and old,” she remarked. “True Edge and I have taken a lovemate. Kestrel is joining us.”
Nightstorm looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “Old?” she asked, slightly lost, and Snowfall remembered that she was younger than Whitestag had been – by the time she was born Snowfall’s son had already left behind his cubhood. She had never known Snowfall to have anyone but True Edge, apart from occasional sharing. Then the crafter chuckled. “Well, Kestrel is old, that’s for sure.”
Snowfall joined the chuckling. “That’s not what I meant, though.”
Nightstorm threw her an inquiring look but for the moment she just put away the leather scraps in her hands and leaned forward to embrace her sister. “You’ll have to explain what else you mean, then,” she remarked drily. “But I’m happy for you three.”
“Thank you.” Snowfall returned the embrace. “And once Fadestar is free of the wrapstuff, we will be four,” she shared the rest of the new developments.
“Oh?” Nightstorm shook her head as she leant back again, releasing her. “I guess that shouldn’t surprise me. You never get enough of mothering cubs, and just about everyone else who lets you, do you?”
“Never,” Snowfall answered with conviction.