(This story is a sequel to "Enough", and is a part of the ”Wrapstuffed Tribemates are Healed and Rejoin the Tribe” storyline – see listing for related stories.)
Despondently, Honey made her way up to the fourth level of the Dentrees, trying without success to stop the tears that flowed from her eyes. She sniffed, wiping them away, feeling the rawness of her cheeks and nose. She hadn’t paid attention to whether she’d passed anyone, and guessed that if she had, they wouldn’t have cared about why she was crying. It seemed almost no one cared about her anymore; Thornbow did, she knew, but she didn’t want to bother him right now.
When she reached the den she had briefly shared with her daughter, she hesitated, sniffing to see if Dreamflight was still there. She didn’t want another encounter with her daughter; she knew it wouldn’t go well. How could it? Dreamflight had made it perfectly clear that she didn’t want anything to do with her. Honey sighed — why did everything have to be so different, and difficult, now? Nothing was the same, and Honey, who used to feel so confident, felt so vulnerable.
Stepping into the den, she looked around. She had so few belongings, it almost made her laugh. Instead, she slid to the floor and cried, no longer trying to hold back. It just wasn’t fair, she thought. So much had changed. Her lifemate had left her, her daughter had become someone Honey felt she didn’t know, even new cubs had been born and grown since her wrapping. It was overwhelming, and she was having a hard time finding her footing.
She didn’t know how long she’d been there when she heard someone — Nightstorm, she could scent — step into the den, and felt her kneel beside her, putting an arm around her, not saying anything. The gesture surprised Honey, and it helped her to collect her thoughts for a moment.
“Dreamflight wants me out. I need a new den,” she said, her voice breaking as she said the last words.
Nightstorm’s response was matter-of-fact, “You’ll have to talk to Evervale then, since I know you’re not going to ask Cloudfern.” Honey snorted, “You’re right about that!” There was no way she would ask Cloudfern, the mate-stealer and dreamkiller. She would rather sleep in the wolf dens than ask him for a favor. But Evervale… she hadn’t even been born when Honey went into wrapstuff. That Suddendusk had Recognized and settled down was amazing. The plantshaping daughter of the inventor and Windsong was a stranger to her. Out loud she asked, “Why would Evervale help me? She’s friends with Willow, and Beetle, and…”
The seamstress cut her off, “And nothing. She will help you because she is kind. And because you’re going to ask her. Nicely.”
“I’m nice!” Honey protested, upset that she could be perceived any other way. “Really, I am. You know that!”
“Dear one, you used to be as sweet as your name, but you have been anything but nice since you came out of wrapstuff. And don’t even try to argue with me. I know you feel that you have reason to be the victim, and I won’t argue that all of this has been hard on you, but you are going to have to figure out how to get along with everyone again.”
Honey felt a retort trying to build, but she bit it back. Though her world had collapsed in what seemed like only a short nap, and so far no one seemed to really appreciate what she was going through, she knew Nightstorm was trying to help. And Honey knew she needed help — unless she wanted to sleep in a stinky old den, or a cave, or exposed in a tree. Nightstorm was right. She would have to ask. Nicely.
When she found Evervale, the younger, strange-to-her elf was whittling outside the craft dens. Not knowing the other, or what to expect from her, Honey almost didn’t approach the young plantshaper, as she was afraid of being rejected, or told to go away. Still, the alternative, asking Cloudfern, was unthinkable, and Nightstorm had seemed confident that Evervale would help, so she blurted out, “I need a new den.”
Evervale paused what she was doing, clearly having heard Honey, but then she went back to her work, not responding. Honey wondered why the redhead didn’t say anything to her, and felt irritated at being ignored.
Nightstorm, who had returned to the craft dens, must have overheard Honey’s request, because she sent, **You’re going to have to ask more nicely than that! You didn’t even say hello!**
**Why should I say hello? She knows I’m here, and she’s ignoring me! not wanted, rejected, uncertain**
The seamstress responded, **TRY! And if I’m wrong, I’ll do whatever you ask me to for the next moon.**
Honey smiled at that. She knew Nightstorm wouldn’t offer that if she wasn’t convinced. So, checking her attitude out of necessity, she said, “Hello, Evervale.”
Evervale put her whittling aside, and stood up, “Hello, Honey.”
Not rejected, Honey didn’t have anything to say for a moment. The plantshaper added, “Is there something I can help you with?”
She’s offering me help? Before being wrapped, Honey would have known exactly how to ask a tribemate for help. Now, she was at a loss. Honey quietly said, “I… need a new den. Dreamflight doesn’t want me in hers anymore.” The tears pricked her eyes again, but she willed them not to fall. “Would you shape one for me?” Remembering Nightstorm’s advice, she added, “Please?”
Evervale nodded slowly. “Where would you like it?”
Honey didn’t want to be anywhere near Greenweave and Cloudfern, so she needed to go higher in the Dentrees. She was thinking, when Nightstorm stepped out of the den and said, “I was thinking… I should have mentioned it earlier, Honey.” Looking at Evervale, she said, “You could just open the den that Kestrel used to have.”
Looking back at Honey, Nightstorm explained, “It’s on the other side of my den. Honey, if you are willing to use that one, it would make it easier for Evervale, easier for you moving in, and you’d be closer to Dreamflight — she won’t be mad at you forever. You’ll see.”
Honey was almost amazed at the kindness Nightstorm was showing. She wasn’t offering to share a den, but she’d suggested one that was close. The seamstress seemed to have a way that didn’t raise Honey’s temper so quickly. That could be helpful.
“That would… be nice,” Honey responded.
Evervale nodded, saying, “I could do that.”
“Could you do it tonight?” Honey asked.
When Evervale nodded and started toward the Dentrees, Honey breathed a sigh of relief. Then the tension started to return — she would have her own den for the first time in… she couldn’t remember. She would be alone. The crushing weight of that thought threatened to undo her.
Nightstorm touched Honey’s shoulder, interrupting her thoughts and saying, “You forgot to say thank you.”
Honey’s mouth opened and shut like a fish. Then, quelling the thoughts and feelings of loneliness, she sent to both Evervale and Nightstorm, **Thank you.**
They responded, **You’re welcome.**