(This story is a part of the "Wrapstuffed Tribemembers are Healed and Rejoin the Tribe" and the "Honey emerges from wrapstuff, and Aftermath" storylines -- see listings for related stories.)
Since it was set that Newt would be released the next day Greenweave was fussing over the den he had chosen to share with him. It had been set that they would take the cub in and no one even had asked her about it. Hadn't she as much right to take care of her father's little brother as Greenweave had? She had! But no one seemed to think of her.
Honey was not happy about it. Seeing Greenweave so excited and anxious sent a sting to her heart. She wondered what Dreamflight thought about it and decided she would ask her. A fine father Greenweave was, starting a new life and leaving them behind all for Cloudfern. But it fit. Of course they had started to build up things without her. She wouldn't be surprised if Dreamflight was involved, but she wasn't.
Honey decided to go and talk to her when something else caught her attention -- the pale blond mane draped up to a complicated and delicate building out of braids and streaks. For sure, that was the nifty work of her soulmate's skilled hands. Disparagingly watching Cloudfern handling some herbs, she unconsciously wrapped a finger around one of her own short locks. It had been her hair not that long ago. But apparently it had meant nothing at all, and Honey snorted.
When she noticed her hand in her hair she pulled it back with determination and shook her hair out before she walked over to Cloudfern's side, settling down near him. A playful, sly smile touched her lips, and after a while just watching him she asked in a sweet, innocent voice: "What are you doing?"
Cloudfern had noticed her before, she could tell it by the way his position had shifted and he had chosen to ignore her till now. He turned his head to her and gave a short nod of greeting.
"I am preparing some herbs to mend a sunburn," he said in an even voice.
Honey wrinkled her nose. She wasn't that happy about his cool reaction. Since the situation with Willow had resulted in that awful prank and the sympathy had shifted a bit, many tribemates chose to treat her like this and rather pay no attention to her. Honey was not about to let herself get shrugged off like this. She tilted her head and narrowed her eyes.
"Sunburns, of course," she said and frowned. "I remember. Father told me Newt tended to get them very easily."
Cloudfern nodded. "Yes, he does."
Honey leaned on her arm and watched him. "Oh that's so ... responsible and foresighted of you. To be prepared for everything, isn't it?" she chirped in her sweet voice, but the little undertone wasn't hard to miss.
This time he didn't answer. He didn't even show the slightest reaction, but Honey knew it was there. There had to be some reaction, so Honey went on.
"Isn't that just perfect? Soon you'll have all you want. I bet you are very excited. Newt was such a special cub and isn't that just fitting? Such a special cub for such a special relationship to make it such a special family," she said, her lips curled into a canny smile. This time she saw him flinching and the smile grew wider. Honey crossed her legs and tilted her head to the other side. She’d gotten him and she would not stop now. "Of course you know that Thornbow and I would have the same right to take him in. He's our relative as much as Greenweave's, but..."
"We know that, Honey." Cloudfern cut her words off and she was sure she heard a hint of tension in his voice, but it was not enough yet. "And you and Thornbow are welcome to be a part of this as much as you want. Newt will need as much love and care as he can get after what he went through."
"I know that!" Honey almost spit out. Of course NOW he talked of love and care. Who had loved and cared about her after she had met a world that had changed? "I know better than any of you. I went through the same and that's why I have more right to take him in than you and Greenweave have. I know how he will feel!"
Cloudfern rubbed his temples and sat up. "Honey..." he said in a calm voice.
"Oh you know that very well, don't you? But why would you want me to be there for him? First you take my soulmate and now you go and build up a new special family for him to forget his old one." This time she really spit the word ‘special’ out at him. Tears gathered in her eyes.
"Honey," he tried again, and turned to her.
"Oh, I can see right through you! You planned it to hurt me. You and Greenweave. You'd do anything to make me feel that I am not a part of this anymore."
"What? Just say that I am right! Just confess so everyone knows how you really are!"
"Honey!" Cloudfern was on his feet now and faced her directly. There was anger in his pale eyes and Honey knew he would lash out but she didn't mind. He should so everyone could see it. She lifted her chin a bit to show she was all but ready to take the blow but he didn't. He just stood there and looked at her with narrowed eyes.
"Honey, you know as well as I do that Greenweave never would do such a thing. He never would use a cub to hurt anyone and least of all you or his own daughter. Newt needs stability after his whole world will have changed. He'll need a lot of love and care, and yes, you are right. You and Fadestar probably will understand the best what he will feel like. Therefore, Honey, for the sake of Newt, put your own hurt aside for him and don't toss all this at the cub. Like I said: You are welcome to help us to care for him. No one will turn you down if you are willing to keep your own grudge and hurt in check."
Honey stared at him for a moment and opened her mouth to say something but Cloudfern leaned down to her and went on: "But if you say such horrible things to him or around him I will make sure you won't get near him anymore. Believe me, Honey, no one would feel for you if you hurt the feelings of a lost, little cub. No one."
For several heartbeats the two of them stared at each other in a silent challenge. Honey tried to guess how far she could carry this without the risk it would backfire at her like the thing with Willow had. Then her eyes filled with tears again and she pushed Cloudfern away.
"I'm not the monster you want to make out of me!" she cried in a shrill voice when the tears rolled over her cheeks. She was about to turn and run off, but Cloudfern was faster. He took his herbs and tools and turned his back to her.
"Just remember this, Honey. You are welcome as long as you are able to place his needs over yours," he said without looking back at her. Then he went off and left her standing there with tears in her eyes and poised to run away.
Something else started to sink in. What had he meant with You know as well as I do? Something was terribly wrong with that sentence. Honey bit her lip and run a hand through her short hair.
**Dreamflight!** she sent to her daughter. **We need to talk.**