Well, cubling, here you are. It's funny, that I've known you so long, and I'm only meeting you now. You're a surprise of sorts, really -- red hair, again? Who'd have thought it? Where did you get it from? Not my side, surely. Your father's, perhaps.
Hsst. The sun hasn't set on your first night, and already you're tugging my hair. Your sister wasn't nearly this active- I suppose you've had a nice long rest, the past few seasons, and now you'd like to make up for it? Very well, grab all you like. My hair'll survive it. We're going to have an interesting time with you, I can see that already. To have two cubs in such a short time…as if something's trying to catch us up, after such a long wait. Longer for Suddendusk than it was for me, but…
He's so happy, your father. Blacksnake took him away to get some dreamberry juice and give us some time alone. It's really quite nice of him. Tonight, we'll present you to the tribe. A triumph, a girl-cub with hair as red as the heart of the flame we'll name you after. Ow, let go my hair, kindly, and feed as you're meant to. That's better, thank you. If you do that to Sweetvine, you'll hurt her feelings, and she's so happy as well. Everybody's happy you're here, little one. That's quite an achievement for someone who hasn't been around for more than a day, isn't it? You've made a tribe happy.
What, not interested in eating anymore? As you wish. You'll be fussing soon, we both know that- or at least, I do. You will, in time. Does it feel strange, little one, to be lying above my heart after lying under it for so long? The beat isn't different, just the location. You'll grow used to that as well, in time.
"Is she asleep?" Sweetvine appeared, head peeking carefully into the den. Windsong motioned for her to come in. The new cub was curled up against her breast, clutching on blond braid stubbornly.
"She is. Come say hello." Windsong drew her older cub closer. Sweetvine smiled, eyes lighting up.
"Blood red hair." She said, her voice full of wonder. "Where-?"
"High Ones know." Windsong chuckled. "It might lighten up like yours did, when she grows."
"I like it this way." That decided, Sweetvine moved on. "What will you name her, mother?"
"Crackle." That had been decided as soon as they saw the thatch of hair, glistening like dying embers. "Your sister, Crackle."
"Crackle." Sweetvine tried it out, drawing the word out. She carefully smoothed a finger across the baby's plump cheek. "Welcome to the world, little sister."