Newt pulled his hood lower in front of his head and then clutched his cloak together in front of him. His other hand, cold and numb, held his fishing spear. The miserable, near-freezing rain continued to pour from the skies, but Newt wasn’t going to give up. He was determined to catch at least one fish, but the murky waters and the rain were making that task even more difficult than his weak eyes made it to begin with.
He had told his fa – Greenweave and Cloudfern – that he was going fishing, and they had raised their eyebrows at him, but said nothing. He was a determined boy, and he had come to an understanding with them. If it wasn’t life-threatening or something similar, he was able to do pretty much what he wanted. So… when he had thought of complaining because he was tired of eating wrapstuffed meats and dried berries, he had changed his complaint into action and left the den.
It wasn't really the food choices he was tired of, but the rain. Many times, he enjoyed it, but after more than a hand’s days of nothing but steady, cold, pouring rain, he needed a change. He wanted to enjoy the spring, the scents of fresh flowers and melting snow. Now, all he could smell was mud and mold and wet leather. He wanted the warmth of a dry den and furs and warm bodies, but he wasn’t going to give up. He would catch a fish, or he would stand there until he could stand no longer.
He heard Browncoat whine from the trees where he lay curled in a ball, trying to make himself as small as possible. Newt had told the wolf to go back to the wolf dens several times, but the wolf wasn't going to leave him there by himself. Newt smiled. Browncoat was the best wolf-friend any elf could ask for... Newt decided he would have to catch two fish before leaving that night. One for himself, and the bigger of the two for his wolf-friend.
“Father said you were out here… that you had been out here all night,” a voice commented, startling Newt from his thoughts. He turned his head to see Beetle's approach. Her smile was soft, her eyes concerned.
"I'm tired of the cold and the rain," Newt commented irritably. His teeth chattered as he spoke, "And I want some fresh meat. I thought fishing would be easier than hunting right now... maybe I was wrong. But I'm not going to give up. I won't leave until I've caught two fish."
"Oh?" Beetle asked, looking around.
"One for me. And one for Browncoat. Do you want one, too?" he asked, half wondering if he would end up frozen to death before he managed to reach his goal.
"If I said 'yes,' I have a feeling you’re stubborn enough that wouldn’t give up until you caught one... am I right?" she asked with a smile.
He nodded sheepishly. The movement caused some water that had collected in a divot in his hood to pour forward, splashing his face. He let go of his cloak and wiped the water from his face... truly a pointless move as the rain was still falling, but it made him feel better. He motioned to himself, laughing in spite of what he assumed must be his appearance, "I can't give up now," he confessed, "If I did, it would make me look foolish for having stood out here for so long."
Beetle looked puzzled. "I wonder, Newt, if you might look more foolish if you ended up sick and with frozen fingers and toes." She shrugged.
Newt knew what Beetle was doing - and the point she was making was sharp as the tip of an arrow. If he stood out here much longer, he would end up sick, or worse. And although Willow would likely be willing to heal him, he knew it was foolish to make himself sick.
But he hated giving up. "You're right, but..."
"You don't want to give up," Beetle said gently. "I know what it's like. It took me countless turns to get the dust off a butterfly's wing, but that wasn't just one long try. I tried and tried and tried. I didn't give up each time I decided to do something else. I simply decided that it wasn't the right night to gather it, and went on. Newt, you've been out here all night. You're cold and wet. Maybe this isn't the night for catching fish. There will be many more rainy nights where you can stand out here and try to fish. And one day... you will catch them, even in the rain!"
"So... it's not giving up if I quit tonight?" Newt asked hesitantly.
"No, Newt, it isn't," Beetle said with a smile. "In fact, I think it's showing maturity to know your limits and to listen to them." She reached out a hand to him, and he took it, then stepped from his perch on a river rock back to the riverbank.
Browncoat whined, stood and shook the water from his fur, despite the fact that it still rained, and came toward Newt. The wolf sniffed at Newt's empty hands, then let out a huff. Newt scratched at the nape of his friend's neck, and then watched as Browncoat ran off toward the wolf-dens.
Beetle threw an arm around Newt and smiled at him. He felt his face flush and his stomach flip some. He didn't know why he felt that way all of a sudden, but he decided it was just the cold getting to him. Beetle walked with him most of the way back to his den and then stepped back. He looked at her and asked, "Aren't you coming?"
She grinned, "No. I'm going to help Mother with some brewing, and then I'm going to cuddle with my lovemate."
A quickly fleeting thought of asking to join them passed through his mind, but he shrugged it off. 'Why would that even cross my mind?' he wondered silently.
"Newt?" Beetle asked, looking at him strangely.
"Oh! Right. Brewing and Willow. That makes sense." Suddenly nervous and anxious to get back to the safety of his own den, Newt waved to Beetle and quickly said "Thank you!" as he ran the rest of the way up the Dentree and to his den.