**I… am… Kua.**
Doeskin sat at the stony foot of the hot-spring with hands wrapped around her knees, her soul laid bare before One-Leg. She turned her gaze up to the stars that were her first love, giving him the time he’d need to process all that had been given over to him.
When he’d given his soul-name to her, it was an act of desperation. This was an act of tranquility. She’d made her choice and was at peace with it. She was staying with Ringtail. Head, heart and soul were united in their desire for him. When Doeskin and One-Leg promised they’d return to each other once their cubs were grown, she had meant it utterly. But somewhere along the way she had found something that she’d never known before — something that One-Leg never found with Tallow — something wondrous that she wanted to enjoy and explore and expand upon. And in this moment of mutual transcendence both of them knew that whatever it was that made a three-mating work wasn’t in either of them. One-Leg-Doeskin-Ringtail would never survive any better than Tallow-One-Leg-Doeskin might have. The knowing didn't hurt One-Leg as much as it might, seeing as he did know that she hadn't meant for this to happen. If that was where her feelings led, she should follow. But while he could release her from the promise to mate again, he could never let go of the feelings he had for her. Never would. From time to time he would seek to lure her into his den, or out to the springs, sing out a love song to her in the middle of the day. He would always offer a warm bed, an open heart, and ready ears to her. That was simply who he was, and would go on being.
There was really only one way to avow that which had passed from him to her in the previous instant. One-Leg pulled himself up from of the water and took her shoulder, kissed the back of her head. A kiss of parting and practicality.
**I am still Khash.**