A soft breeze played with the flap that kept the sunlight out of the den. The scent of the early nightfall filled Snowfall's nostrils and woke her. Slightly disoriented at first, she blinked at the last sunrays as they touched her face. With a soft, pleasant sigh she turned around till her body met that of her lifemate, who was still fast asleep. With eyes still heavy with sleep, she moved her fingers to touch and then draw little figures on his chest.
True Edge moaned, but stayed asleep. Her lips curved in a smile as she continued. Her fingers walked over his chest reaching his neck, before making their way back. And forth. And back again. It was amazing how deep he could sleep and what she could do without waking him up.
**I know what you're thinking.**
Surprised, Snowfall stopped. **You're awake!**
**Yes, but that doesn't mean you have to stop.**
She giggled. “What was I thinking, then?” she whispered, tickling him with her fingers.
He opened his eyes and let her go on for a moment, before he answered. **You thought I was asleep and that you could go on without being noticed.**
Placing one hand on an elbow, Snowfall sighed. “You know me too well,” she muttered.
“We need to get up. Sun is setting.” His voice sounded rough and still sleepy, but he slowly pushed the furs away and reached for his clothes.
Snowfall pouted. “No, no. Not yet. Stay. I…” she hesitated, but when he raised his eyebrows, she continued. “I like waking up with you. Can't we postpone getting up for just a bit?”
Before he could answer, sound from outside alerted them that the rest of the tribe was waking up, too. “Guess not,” he said.
“Only a moment?”
“Oh, come on. No one will despise you if you get up a bit later than usual. They'll understand. The last moon, you have been away from dawn till dusk. I barely see you all day and at dawn, you're already fast asleep. ...What have you been up to lately?”
True Edge muttered something she couldn't understand. “What was that?” she spoke fiercely, tilting her head.
“High Ones, Snowfall. Do I need to tell you everything? You have your own things to do. You're busy chasing Otter and Crackle the whole day --“
”I am not!”
“That's not the point. You're impatient. You're just mad at me right now for not giving you what you want. Maybe you spend too much time with cubs, and you're becoming one.” He grasped his clothes, pulled them on and without saying everything else, he climbed out of the den, walking away with measured steps. Snowfall stayed behind, partly furious and partly shocked. Was he right?
She didn't see him the entire night. But wasn't that what she had asked of him? Not directly, of course, because she did appreciate what he did for them. High Ones, she loved him! But his words had stirred something. Not only anger because he implied she wanted to raise all the cubs in the tribe – she just jumped in when needed and never without asking – but his notion about being impatient… he was right.
“Snowfall! Hey, Snowfall!”
She looked up and saw her youngest sister running towards her. “Have you seen True Edge?”
Immediately annoyed, she shook her head. “No. He ran off, like he tends to do these days.”
Nightstorm wrinkled her nose. “Why would he do that?”
Her older sister shrugged. “Don't know. He didn't want to tell me.” She wasn't sure, but it seemed her sister's eyes widened for a moment.
“Oh, I'm sorry. Wish I had time to stay but I'm going to try and find him, then.” And she ran off.
“What is it with people running away from me?” she grumbled softly. “Do I smell or something?”
She wasn't used to this ... this stepping in True Edge's footprints. And in this matter, she was as stubborn as True Edge. She knew he was right, but she would never admit it. On the other hand, True Edge was always so blunt in his speech as well as sending; he had never hid something from her before. She knew him well enough: he was hiding something now.
The rest of the day she spent helping her tribes mates where needed but couldn't stay focused, in between pondering about what caused this behaviour of hers, and that of his. In the end, she was so tired of herself, that she slipped away to go to their furs early. It was no use making herself crazy thinking about matters she couldn't solve on her own. Her irritation bubbled inside of her and needed a way out, but the only person who was able to instigate that, wasn't there yet.
Crawling deep between her furs, she sighed. The day had begun so well.
Grumbling, she stubbornly moved till her back was turned to the den's entrance. She heard the flap moving.
**Still not over it? I don't want to fight with you.**
It was the tone of his send that made her tilt her head. He hadn't been annoyed; his mental voice was soft and gentle. She pushed herself up, hesitated for just a second, before she started: “You never hid anything from me before. I can tell when you do that, True Edge, I know you too well.”
“I know you do. And I'm not really sorry, because it was for a reason. Come here, I have something for you.”
“A gift?” Perplexed, Snowfall gaped at her lifemate.
True Edge smiled. “Yes, a gift. The reason I have been away for so long. I made it, with Nightstorm and Whispersilk's help. I'm not a tanner. Here.”
He handed her a package wrapped in thin leather. She carefully removed it, and squealed. “You made me a cloak for the cold?” She saw a thick, fur lined light blue coat with a wide cap.
He shrugged, slightly embarrassed. “Well… I helped. Whispersilk made it and Nightstorm provided the dye.” He smiled sheepishly.
”High Ones! You must have made them crazy having you around for so long.” Realizing that wasn't the nicest way to thank him. “I'm sorry, True Edge. It's wonderful. Thank you so much!” She hugged him fiercely, and he answered the hug, grinning.
Her irritation ebbed away instantly, but she realized she had more to say. “I'm sorry for being so impatient. You were right.”
**I hate it when you're right.**