Post by dunderhead on Jan 18, 2009 10:21:14 GMT -5
Nova, adult red fox, female
Inali, adult red fox, female
Takata, adult red fox, female
Preceded by: "I don't think she cares for me too much."
, On the Road Again
Synopsis: After running from the dogs, Inali and Takata decide to meet Nova after all. But something about Nova, perhaps the suspicion that Takata is trying to replace Inali, really irks the young black vixen. Takata is utterly perplexed as to why Inali is acting so rudely to her friend.
--- Field of Flowers ---
True to her promise, Nova has remained in the area for the past few days. She's not sure if Takata will actually return, let alone take her up on that offer, but the field has been enjoyably peaceful - and until the flood recedes, there's no point in going back to the brook to see how much damage her former den has taken. For now she is curled up among the wildflowers, napping beneath the warm afternoon sunlight.
It had been nearly half a day since the dog fright, and so far Takata had only let up for one break of a meal and some drink. She was blazing a trail even she didn't know she could make. She new dogs were bad news and liked to chase foxes so she kept on going till the field of flowers were in sight. "Come... on ... Inali" *pantpantpantpant* "Just a little farther!" at this point she had broken down into a walk her heart feeling as if it was going to jump out of her. That was farther then shes ran in the past and she prayed she never had to do that again.
It's no doubt that Inali is exhausted too, but she is fairing far better than Takata. She looks on at the older fox with some concern. "Who is she, anyway?" For the first few hours she had ran just as tirelessly and frightened as Takata. But she had looked behind her many times and had failed to spot anything. If anything, her head was ringing from the last malaise of the sickness she had suffered for a couple weeks previous, but she was surprised by how well she was really holding out. And anyway, Inali was confident in her ability to sneak away from dangerous situations -- especially stupid dogs. In fact, the situation seemingly behind her, she is even starting to feel proud and a little boastful about it. They had /no idea/ she was even there! Ha ha!
Nova's ears flick gently, and she stirs in her sleep. In a matter of moments, however, the drum of swiftly-approaching paws rouses her awake. Those ears perk up, and she lifts her head, blinking drowsily as she looks around for the source of the sound. Thinking she hears a voice, or maybe more than one, the vixen gets to her paws, prepared to run if she needs to. She may be an older vixen, but she can still be quick enough when it becomes necessary. The field has proved safe enough so far, but with the rivers still flooded, there's no telling what sort of creatures might wander through, displaced from their homes.
Takata blinks and looks back. "Her names Nova, I met her while I was clearing my head. She is nice, and unlike Sanguine i think she is truly nice " She reassures as she pants heavily. She still thinks back to her error with Sanguine and feels quite horrible still. "She should be about here" She says cheerfully weakly waggling her tail. She was tired but she was also happy nuzzling into Inali as she looks about and swears she can see a pair of ears withing ht flowers and starts moving that way.
Inali nuzzles back. She doesn't pay any mind to any ears, trotting along by the vixen's side. She does sweep a passing glance over the flowery fields, though. Mostly into the horizon. These fields go on a long way. She hadn't been here since winter, and it sure has changed a lot. She stares up into the blue sky. Yes, it's nice here. Smells good, too. Inali figured that Takata was leading her to a /den/, but she can't figure any place for a fox to live in the meadows. Just rabbit holes. A nice place to sleep, though. And she was sleepy, their short rest having been interrupted by a pack of mutts.
By now, Nova's /sure/ she can hear voices. While she cannot quite make out what they are saying, she might be amused if she did - she has met Sanguine before. After debating for a moment, she slinks forward a few paces, moving out of the thick growth of flowers, and onto an open patch of grass. "Takata? Is that you?" she calls, guessing, or perhaps just hoping, that the sounds are coming from her, rather than a larger predator... or predators.
Takata nuzzles Inali again not knowing they have slipped into Nova's earshot she starts to speak. "I am really sorry about that whole Sanguine thing.. I didn't know he was scum... if he had done anything I...i would have killed him.." She says this then her ears perked up and she looks about. "Nova?" She asks then looking and seeing the other elder female she smiles and starts to dash over murring. "How are you!?" she asks cheerfully.
Inali chuckles and shakes her head. "I..." she starts, but she has hardly any time to finish her thought before she is interrupted. She looks around briefly before following Takata's gaze to Nova. And she stops dead. This fox... dark furred. Like her? Significantly grayer, but. Oh, woe! Takata found a vixen to replace her in more ways than she thought! Her eyes turn into little beads. A moment later her brain kicks in and she slinks down into the grass, hiding herself. She isn't sure why she does this -- she is not a shy fox. But she had not met any foxes /like her/ before, and she needs a few moments to process it.
Nova perks up visibly when she spots Takata. Even though a lot of it's just relief, she seems glad to see the other vixen, smiling at her when she darts over. "It's good to see you again. I'm doing well, thank you," she answers, before looking past Takata and lifting a brow at the dark vixen following behind. "And this must be your friend?" She offers a friendly smile, which falters and fades when Inali hides herself in the thick grasses. Blinking, she looks questioningly back at Takata, tilting her head as if to ask: What's wrong with /her/?
Takata blinks and shrugs her shoulders a bit as she looks back and sees.. er better doesn't see Inali. "I..inali? are you okay?" she asks with a whimper. Did Inali still think she was getting replaced? She figured she had told and snuggled her enough to show her she wasn't. "Please come out Inali.." She pleads then looks over t her. "It is good to see you too, and yes... the vixen over there is my dear dear friend" She gazes over. "and ... well the one I love" She says directing that more towards Inali then Nova.
What's wrong with her? Inali's brain had some kind of glitch. It had to reset itself. She's rebooting. Meanwhile, blankly she listens to Takata's coaxing, not moving an inch, eyes still staring into the grass. And then suddenly, as if nothing had ever happened at all, she perks back up, standing straighter than she had before, and walks slowly, easily over to Nova, her chin tilted upright slightly. "Oh. Hi. I'm Inali," she says simply. "You must be, er, Nova, right?" She offers Nova a cold glare.
Seeing Takata's shrug, Nova falls quiet, not asking further questions. Instead she sinks down on her stomach, lying down in the sun-warmed grass. In her younger days, Nova was much more mistrustful of strangers than she is now, so she can hardly blame Inali for feeling anxious. Besides, last time they spoke, Takata /did/ mention that her friend was ill, so perhaps the journey has made her feel unwell? She remains sprawled on her belly when Inali finally rises and approaches her, looking up into the darker vixen's glaring eyes. Nova's own expression is uncertain, even slightly confused, but she makes an effort to be polite, hoping to soothe whatever is bothering Inali. "Yes... It's a pleasure to meet you, Inali. Takata has spoken very highly of you."
Takata heart sinks as Inali is still hiding, she gives Nova a nervous smile. Then she feels more relived as Inali comes out and offers a more genuine smile but something seems wrong. As she looks over at Inali she sees a cold glare shot towards Nova. She then slowly moves over to Inali and gently nuzzles over her cheek and then gives a small lick over her ear and gently whispers. "I love you... please.. show her your kinder side shes not going to try and steal me away" She whispers figuring thats what this was all about.
To continue with the analogy, unfortunately, something went wrong during this 'rebooting' process. When was Inali's user data last saved, anyway? For the moment, Inali doesn't /have/ a kinder side. Takata might recognize Inali as the fox she once knew, the fox Inali was before Takata had met her. She doesn't even return Takata's nuzzle, and plops her nice butt down on the grass beside Nova, eying her. "Oh, yes, she's spoking highly of you, too," she responds simply. "I had even assumed you'd be a home-owner. Mm." She looks up at the sky. "Nice sunroof."
Nova pointedly glances away when Takata begins whispering to Inali, taking a moment to glance over the flowers surrounding them. Close as the other vixens are, she could probably hear the whispering if she wanted to, but she swivels her ears in another direction and concentrates, instead, on the lazy buzzing of bees, respectfully tuning out whatever Takata is murmuring in Inali's ear. She does not look back again until the dark vixen addresses her directly - and because of Inali's tone, Nova's gaze is noticeably cooler this time. "My den was near the brook. Unfortunately, the rising waters have flooded it." The ghost of a smirk appears on her peppered gray muzzle. "I heard the same happened to yours."
Takata frowns and then slowly backs away from Inali. This wasn't her Inali... she noticed the change and slowly slinks back away from both of them. The vixen was being cold and her ears press to her skull as she simply watches the two. She wasn't expecting this... she just hopes this doesn't end horribly. Nova seemed to be handling herself well enough but Takata tenses prepared to beak up any fight. She can't apologies yet.. though its obvious she seems a bit frightened about Inali's change.
Inali nearly bares her teeth at this response and half stands up, agitated. But she quickly reforms herself, sitting back down, and with a flick wraps her tail around her legs. Well, perhaps she didn't reform herself entirely as she stares off some distance into a pile of grass. So Nova was competing with her /pity/ as well? How many ways did Takata need to find to /replace/ her? She lays herself down, pointing toward Nova, not bothering to move herself further away. "Oh, hehe, you look a bit waterlogged. Were you /in/ it at the time?" Nevermind that Inali was in /her/ den at the time.
For now, Nova remains calm, although how long she will remain that way is uncertain. If she notices Takata backing away, she gives no sign of it. Her amber eyes remain fixed on the black-furred vixen, and by this point in the exchange, much of the warmth has deserted them. Inali's behavior reminds the two-time mother of a disrespectful kit - which is, in Nova's opinion, quite unfitting for a fully-matured fox. Picking up on Inali's near-snarl, the older vixen tenses slightly, though she does not yet get back to her feet. "Luckily, I wasn't," she answers, biting down hard on the last word. As much as she would like to make a retort, she contains herself for Takata's sake. "So, what brings you here, Inali?" Nova may have offered her hospitality to Takata, but so far she's seen no reason to extend it to Inali as well.
Takata shutters as she hears this exchange, at this moment she feels she must do something and interrupts the exchange moving infront of Inali giving her a bit of a glare. She was starting to get annoyed. "What is wrong with you? I took you here to meet Nova on our way to find a new den and all you show her is your old evil ways" She says this with a growl that surprises even herself. "Nova has no intent on replacing you and /I/ have no intent on replacing you with her" She says still growling a bit. "So either you calm down or.. or take a walk to cool yourself!" She says this tears starting to appear in her eyes as rage suddenly shifts to grief. "Y..your acting like when I first met you... it.. it beaks my heart to see you like this"
Inali was in fact quite a young adult. She had just entered adulthood this spring. And while she was quickly maturing recently, something in her snapped back into this state when she saw Nova. It isn't even /just/ about Takata; Nova simply reminds her of herself in too many ways. This was competition. Inali doesn't answer Nova, but glares at her coldly a few moments. When she is finally about to speak whatever witty retort she has come up with, Takata steps in front of her. And Takata only makes Inali angrier. How can she be on /her/ side? Inali looks away in disgust and gets up, pacing a ways away from either of them, and lays back down just to watch them and let her spite wind up and down for a while.
Nova blinks, looking a bit surprised when Takata moves between them... though not half as surprised as she looks when the reason for Inali's behavior finally comes out. Given the current tension, it may not be the best way to react, but Nova issues a brief bark of startled laughter. "Replace you? Is that what you're worried about?" She shakes her head and adopts a warmer tone, trying to take the sting out of her initial reaction. "My mate waits for me in the spirit-lands," she assures Inali. "I would not dream of taking another in his place. If I've unwittingly given you the wrong impression, I apologize." She /sounds/ sincere, anyway.
Takata sniffles as she is still crying looking over to Inali. "I love you dear... p.. please don't be mad at me..." She whimpers out. She then tenses up as she suddenly hears Nova's words run past her. Shes afraid this is just going cause Inali to get angrier as she sniffles tears falling down her cheeks. She was feeling quite upset at the moment. Did Inali not like her now?
Inali is feeling incredibly stubborn. Her brow furrows as she hears Nova's sharp irritating chuckle. She doesn't want to feel /sorry/. Damn it, she /wants/ a reason to hate this dark fox. Her body tenses as she turns away so that she doesn't have to see Takata's tearful begging, a frown on her face. And she doesn't want them to see, just in case, if in all her conflict Inali finds her eyes slightly watery too. What was she /doing/? Takata was begging her not to /hate/ her? God damn it. Her body slowly relaxes and ears fall back, and soft sniffles can be heard from her.
Post by dunderhead on Jan 18, 2009 10:31:06 GMT -5
Harper, male red fox
Gabriel, female kingfisher
Inali, female red fox
Ossian, male red fox
Takata, female red fox (spoofed final two poses)
After the events of the last RP, Takata rather distressed dragged Inali away to Paddock Pond to stop whatever she had thought was happening, where they stumbled on a den. This RP takes place probably a week later. Inali meets up with Harper again, they make up for past grievances, and Harper absolutely unsuspectingly starts to get romantic interests in her. Meanwhile, Ossian, a fox Inali had met a long time ago and had been searching for her for months, finally, /finally/ finds Inali. This RP was done over the course of a few days, and it is so long that it must be pasted in two parts due to forum character limits.
--- Field of Flowers ---
"Now *sometimes* you have to get into an area with the right acoustics, otherwise things just seem to fall flat," Harper is, of all things, *enthusiastically* telling Gabriel as they march along, not even noting the natural beauty all around them. Apparently, he's too wrapped up in what he considers a grand discovery: hearing his own voice. He's talked to himself on numerous occasions, but singing was never a passion of his, until just recently. It fills all the empty spots in the silence that's around them (when Gabe isn't singing). "Perhaps I could make a song about these flowers... do you think I could do it?"
"Oh sure, fluffy~" Gabriel pipes up. She giggles as she rests in the shallow valley of Harper's shoulders. It was very funny as well as enjoyable to Harper that he decided to pick up the same talent as almost all birds are prone to. She, on the other hand, is enjoying the pretty flowers and trees and the meadows. "This place is soooo pretty in the summer." Gabe bounces off of the concentrating fox. "Acoustics, huh? Hee hee!" She flies ahead, and around, and behind, and high and low, observing the splendor with the rush of speed.
Inali grumbles with a small hare wedged in her muzzle, the blood still dripping gently down her chin. The swaying flowers don't do too much to temper her mood. She -had-, earlier, felt truly sorry for treating Takata's friend the way that she had, but she hates this being forced to apologize thing. This was her meal, she shouldn't have to hand it over to anyone! Where /is/ that blasted fox? If Inali doesn't find Nova in the next couple of moments, she's just gonna sit down and eat this miserable dripping flesh bag herself.
Harper seems to believe Gabriel is truly doing more than just flattering him. He looks around at the field, finally actually noticing where they were. "Pretty? Oh... well, so it is," he says, sounding now less than worked up about a bunch of colored things on stems. Why do some people like flowers so much? He much prefers a solid green field. This... this can hurt the eyes, in his opinion. "I've got a soft place in my heart," he starts to tune up, looking over his shoulder at Gabe, "for you... and the dreams it's caused, no one will ever know..." Well, they aren't flowers. But like Gabe said, the way he uses words can be interesting, whatever the subject. At least that's how he took it.
Gabriel turns around back to Harper as he starts to speak with tone. She smiles, very pleased by the unusual sound of his singing voice. Chirping and whistling as she flies back on to his back, she catches her grip and closes her beak. The colors are very attractive to the little bird, who's mating ritual is very dependent on bright colors. It seems like this is the perfect summer day!
Inali visibly winces when she suddenly hears a voice, a ways off, start to... well. To sing. Her ears perk and she turns her head toward the direction, squinting her eyes. She drops the animal briefly and takes the moment to lick her lips and chin of its blood. Crouching down, she weaves through the flowers slowly. What could /that/ be? It sounds vaguely familiar, but she knows she hasn't heard singing like that before. She goes back to retrieve the hare, lest another wily fox come and snatch it, and stalks towards the melody.
Harper's voice might not be unpleasant to those who can appreciate the singing voice of a "normal" creature. Then again, to his knowledge, nobody's ever actually sang in this forest outside of the normal communicative voices all the animals use. But nonetheless, he starts to get himself lost in the song, closing his eyes and providing an odd soundtrack (very odd) to their little walk. "I guess you know my dear, my love has always been true, now there's nothing left to say or do but go..." For a first timer, his voice carries surprisingly well, easily traceable from Inali's position. He doesn't really aim where he's walking, with nothing ahead but the flowers Gabe enjoys so much.
Gabriel gazes expansive field from Harper's side, listening to him serenade her. The kingfisher hops up closer to his head. "You would have made such a great bird, baby~" She means it as a compliment, but it may not come out like that. Gabe laughs as she flaps her wings and goes up and up and up and up.
There's are /reasons/ why the animals of the first don't sing. Those reasons are wolves and cougars. This is at least what Inali figures. This voice is rather too high pitched to be either she would gather as she creeps up at it, already pinpointed with her scanning ears. She had honestly considered song and voice in the past as a means of some sort of self expression, she admits, when she was younger. But that all seems rather childish and impractical now. And no, the voice was /not/ particularly horrid, and it reminded her in a way of her childhood, where she heard songs whispered quietly in a den by -- by, well, her father, actually. She had never known her father well. Her reminiscing is momentarily broken when she hears some familiar tweet tweets and sees a bird flutter up into the air -- up, and up, and up. A Kingfisher. Inali gapes, the hare sliding from her maw. Walking there, singing, in that voice, was... "Harper?"
Harper doesn't seem to mind Gabe's compliment. He certainly seems to take it that way, putting a little more prance into his step and getting a little smile. He pretends like he can fly too as he bounces along. "These bitter tears I've shed for you are all in vain, and-!" And, suddenly, there's no more singing. No more walking, actually. Harper freezes up when he hears the voice. A voice that smacks right into his eardrums like Gabe does the back of his head on a bad day. He's frozen mid-step, his mouth hanging open. He quickly snaps it shut and turns towards her, eyes wide open. It *can't* be. Completely at random like this? "In... I... you..." he stutters, having truly not been expecting to see her again. That and he was absolutely mortified he was caught singing like that by anyone except the birds.
Inali probably doesn't help the awkwardness by letting out a slight chuckle. She has this stupid little grin on her maw. "I... Harper, you sing? You never sang before!" Ignoring the hare for now, resting gently between the flowers and safe as far as she is concerned, she takes a few steps closer to him. "Did Gabe get you to do that?" She looks up as if trying to spot the bird once more, but she is probably no where in sight now. She looks back down. "Where did she go," she murmurs.
Harper takes a few steps back as Inali takes hers forward, looking a little panicked. "Oh," he says blandly, trying to sound uninterested. She looks much to happy about this discovery for his liking. "You heard? I mean, uh... sing? No. No, that wasn't... just practice!" He chuckles weakly. "For, um... Gabriel needed... another voice to balance her own and I obliged. I do *not*... sing. It's, I, you, uh, how did you get way out here?" he asks quickly, sitting on his haunches. He wants to get off the singing subject. The very same question Inali mutters to himself is on his mind... but not his lips. He's not particularly *happy* to see her, after all.
Inali is still looking about a bit, listening idly to Harper's garbled responses. He does tend to get a little flustered, which she either took as cute or just ignored. She looks back down when he asks her where she has been. "Oh, well, Takata and I found a den," she answers a little listlessly, not pursuing the subject. Her mind wanders to their... slightly awkward goodbyes last time they saw each other. "Oh, um. I wanted to thank you, again," she says.
Harper blinks in confusion, unsure at first why she would bring either Takata or her thank you up again. He doesn't want to be reminded of... that. "Oh," he says again, sounding genuinely disinterested this time. "Well, you're welcome. Again," he adds a little pointedly. So that's it? They run into each other in the middle of this beautiful field and all she can do is say thank you. For what? Oh, just for sheltering her in her time of need. "anything else you needed?" He glances to the side.
Inali sighs. She knows when he is being pointed, at least. She thinks about the hare that she had meant for Nova, sitting nestled in the grass. Well, it wasn't HER fault if Nova was gonna skip out when she came by to apologize to the darn fox. She pads over and picks it up, walking over to Harper, and sets it down. "I wanted to give you something. For all the times you helped feed me." She smiles feebly. She supposes it isn't good enough.
Harper looks down at the rabbit, highly suspicious that Inali got that just for him. And he says it, too. "I really doubt that you were actually looking to give me that," he says simply. Opportunistic as always, he imagines. But still... it's a meal. "Thank you for giving it to me regardless," he adds a little frostily, pawing at it slowly, hesitantly. How long has it been dead. "So... if that's it, I suppose you're going to leave again?" he wonders idly. "Unless there was something you wanted to... talk... about."
Inali winces. "No... but I had wanted to give you something ever since I left and, well. This was a good opportunity," she admits. "She sighs and looks down at the ground awkwardly. It /wasn't/ good enough. How could it be? She looks back up at him brighter when he makes the offer to talk about something. Anything, she supposes. She tries to think of something to start a conversation about. "You should sing more often," she says sheepishly.
Harper sighs as Inali tries to keep on reasoning why she magically happened to appear here and give him a gift. It just didn't feel very special since it was so... flighty. Like Inali. But would he ever have met her if she hadn't been that way? But when she mentions his singing, his ears seem to perk up, though the rest of him doesn't. "Should I?" he asks quietly, and mulls it over. "You... you actually liked it then," he deduces, trying not to sound too eager for a positive answer. He hadn't taken it up as anything he thought anyone else would hear, much less enjoy.
Inali nods her head slowly, empathetically. She sits herself down as well, resting as he is, with a tail curled around her feet. "Yeah, I did," she said, and she actually meant it. "It, well. It reminded me of my father. And he, I don't, not very much reminds me of him these days," she sighs. "I hardly knew him." She paws at the gross, looking at a pretty bright flower sticking up there.
Harper, oddly enough, didn't remember much of *either* of his parents. Mostly because, once he was old enough, the family had parted and ran off to their separate destinies, while mother and father stayed behind to begin the next generation. Neither had been too close to him, expecting him to live and grow up as any fox should. In truth he had been chased away. And that's how he had gotten lost. And ended up in this neck of the woods. He stares down at the flower she sees, and after a moment of hesitation, reaches out to part the grass and make it more plain to the eye. Was it a good thing he reminded her of her father? "Do you wish you knew more?"
Inali looks up at him slowly. Honestly, Inali's family had done the same. Her mother had chased her away when she was rather young, and her father left before that had even happened. So it was rare indeed that he was reminded of either of them. Except for the occasion that she would blame things needlessly on her mother, as a sort of scapegoat. She doesn't really know what he means by this. Wish yo know more? About what? But she nods softly, mind slightly open, which she quickly corrects.
"Well, it's... not like I knew your father, just... asking," Harper mutters, his discomfort suddenly spiking. He didn't want to push her into a subject she didn't feel like speaking of if she didn't wish to. Then he catches himself, wondering why he was being polite at all. She used to be a friend, but she wasn't anymore! But yet here they are, against some very large odds, speaking again. That, and around people whom he actually likes, being polite came naturally. But he doesn't like Inali, not anymore. Right? Now that things were quiet, he just remembers her as the hapless, confusing vixen who came for help. "... How much can you remember?" he asks gently, testing the waters.
Inali closes her eyes, thinking back. It's very vague. She does not even know her father's name, or really what he looked like except that he was a normal red fox -- both her parents were, neither black like her. "Just..." she starts, amazed when he asks her how /little/ she remembers. "Just the singing. He had a soft voice. He wasn't... he wasn't singing high and loud like you, but quiet, but it sounded, it sounded the same." She tries to picture his face. But she just sees a generic, if rather handsome, image of a fox. She isn't sure if she is making it up, but she figures she is. She sighs and opens her eyes. "My mom was around for longer. She chased me away." She lets out a sigh. She has that same look about her -- that vulnerable look, the one she had when she was sick. "Do you remember your parents?" She remembered back when she first got here a fox she met told her that her parents would let her stay however she wanted. She thought the little fox was lying, but she couldn't help but envy that.
Harper's heart is in his throat. He recognizes /that/ look, the same one that had hooked him before. But why would she try and deceive him again now? He had thought before he could see through whatever game she was trying to pull, but this... doesn't feel the same. It feels sincere. And that makes it twist his stomach all the more. He scoots a little closer, suddenly wanting all over again to be that dependable, reassuring presence. He's careful not to step on the flower. Because of all the thousands in this field, that one's special. She looked at it. "Not really," he admits to her question. "Mom was rather lanky. Father quite stern. No songs from him. Except one from mother. But... I was chased away as well, like my brothers. We had lived a normal fox's life up until then. And then came the call of the wild, or whatever it was... I don't begrudge them. But really, they could have handled it better." He falls quiet and stares out over the field. He remembers mother's song quite well, and should cosmic power determine that he have kits, he'll probably sing it to them, too. But the only one to sing to right now is... He glances nervously back at the black vixen. "I could... well. It's a stupid idea. But I could... sing. For you. If you liked it that much I mean, just to get a secondary opinion of course, a... a thank you for the rabbit as well, I suppose."
Inali blushes at his thanks. Even if he timidly added 'I suppose' at the end of it. She looks back down at the flower, as she follows his gaze to it. She hadn't even realized that she had been looking at it before, lost in her thoughts as she was. She looks up at him again and nods softly. "Okay," she nods. "Although, if I could, if you wanted to, could you sing soft this time? I'd like to hear that."
Harper's heart nearly leaps out of his mouth when she actually accepts. He hadn't been expecting that. Just to give a nice gesture, an offer, and leave it at that. Now he'd actually have to sing, and since the deed was so close, he was almost stuck for words. "Right. Soft." Mother's song would work well with that. He clears his throat, listens to the breeze, and closes his eyes. When he starts, his voice is, indeed, soft. And oddly, it's a nice change to even his own ears compared to his usual bombastic tone, or the gruff growls he's always giving anyone who bothers him. His head bobs gently to the melody. "Over in the valley, many seasons ago, my mother sang a song to me in tones so sweet and low. Just a simple ditty, in that old foxy way, and I'd give the world if she could sing, that song to me today... Too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, too-ra-loo-ra-li, too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now don't you cry..."
Inali listens to the silence. Except it isn't quite silence, is it? The sounds of nature echo around them. The breeze, a few, far off cries of birds. Some gentle buzzing and the sway of the grass. She waits, anxiously, for him to start singing. When he does start to sing, she closes her eyes. It's a different melody than what she remembers, but, similar in its own way. She opens her eyes again and smiles. He really /doesn't/ sound bad.
Harper seems wrapped up in his singing now. He's gotten himself worked up, and he's going to finish the entire thing, for his benefit and Inali's. This was a request, after all! He had an obligation. "Too-ra-ra-loo-ral, Too-ra-loo-ra-li, Too-ra-loo-ra-ra-loo-ral, Thats a fox's lul-la-by... Oft in dreams I wander to that valley again, I feel her arms a-huggin' me as when she held me then... and I hear her voice a-hummin' to me as days of yore, when she used to rock me fast asleep outside the den's small door... too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, too-ra-loo-ra-li, too-ra-loo-ra-loo-ral, hush now don't you cry..." He finishes the chorus once more, his eyes opening as the last notes fade into the comfy summer air, lost among the breezes and calls of birds. Harper stares straight forward, blinking once or twice, before he turns quite slowly to Inali. He licks his lips, his eyes unable to really find a single place to land on her. He doesn't say anything. Even though he's stopped singing, the calm summer day, with its buzzing of bees and rustle of flowers, seems to do the talking for him. That, and somehow, singing to her had been a more calming experience than any he's had in some time.
Inali finds herself staring at Harper's feet, or their whereabouts, as he finishes the final stretch of the song. She isn't looking at anything particular. She wonders, for a moment, if there was any way that she could remember her father's song, before she snaps back and listens to the last of Harper's lyrics. It really.. does remind her of her parents, as much as that, in its way, pains her. She lets out a nostalgic sigh. After Harper finishes she enjoys the silence as well, which somehow sounds more beautiful than any 'silence' she has cared to listen to, before she dares to speak. "Don't tell Gabriel this," she says with a grin, looking about to make sure the bird isn't around, "but I think you're better than her."
Harper stares quietly at Inali, head tilted gently to the side, as though he hadn't quite heard her properly the first time. And then he comes out of his reverie, and smiles widely. "That's the nicest thing anyone's ever said to me," he says peacefully. "Well... aside from Gabe, that is," he adds with a grin and a flick of his tail. "Thank you, Inali, for listening. I wasn't really sure it was something anyone would stick around for if they didn't have to. I... suppose I was finally getting tired of having nothing to my name. Now I know there's something."
Inali titters a little. She wasn't really so use to being /nice/, in all honestly. Which reminds her suddenly about Nova, that fox she was supposed to apologize to. She sighs and rolls her eyes and quickly tries to forget about it as she scoots closer to Harper, carefully maneuvering around that flower that rested between them. "So, mmm, Takata and I found a den. It's by a nice pond. I could show it to you, if you'd like. And you can visit is, whenever you would like to!" Inali had started to figure out one of the reasons he might had been so sore was just because she had up and left as soon as she came -- right out of the blue. Maybe the offer would, well, give a little bit of security to their relationship. Now, he'll know where to find her.
Harper's ears perk up at her little laugh. He hasn't heard that before... not in this context at least. He finds it rather pleasing. He doesn't move back as she gets closer, growing more and more comfortable with the ice now broken. "Visit?" he says, sounding a little wary. He doesn't know about seeing the *others*, but... to go see Inali would be quite fine indeed. "I... I'd like to see where it is," he says. "Please, lead the way." He hadn't expected this kind of offer. The thought of dropping in himself is a little odd, seeing as before he was so reclusive... but still, if it was for Inali (or Gabriel, but she's always around him), he supposes he could bear the chance of running into someone else.
Inali smiles and tips a little as she turns around and starts a trot. "And, I hope you wouldn't be too offended if, you know, I drop in on you, time to time. For a visit, you know, not for food," she titters again, well aware of how much at times she may have seemed like she was just taking advantage of him, and how much she actually /did/ just take advantage of him. She weaves through the tall grass, avoiding stepping on pretty flowers. When she came on this field a little earlier she paid them no mind whatsoever, but now, she doesn't care to crush them, if she can help it.
Harper nods eagerly at the thought of actually *being* visited by Inali. Well, as long as she kept that corollary of not just dropping by for food... "No, I'd like that," he says quickly. But he doesn't follow quite so quickly. He turns back to the flower they'd been looking at, and stares hard at it. Should he...? Would she mind? Hopefully... maybe she'd like it. But he's never done it before, suppose he messes it up? She did seem drawn to it though. Perhaps next time. Yes... he pats down and claws up the area around the flower, wondering if he could find it again later with that impromptu landmark. He slinks along behind her, following her tail studiously. Trail.
Swish, swash, swish, swash! Inali's tail swishes gracefully as it brushes against the grass in her wake. She doesn't look back to see him marking the flower -- she honestly hadn't taken nearly as much interest in the flower as Harper had seemed to attach to it -- but does look back momentarily to see if he was following, and finds him catching up after his brief lull. "Um, you could sing on the way, if you'd like. It isn't far," she offers, her original criticism of singing out loud that she thought to herself when she first heard it wiped from her mind.
"Hmm? What?" Harper says abruptly, sounding like he had been distracted. Which he had been, for not entirely appropriate reasons. But he's able to catch up with the gist of her words and is stuck for words. Now he needs to think of something else on the spot... this'll be a challenge. "I... of course," he says, and starts to hum a random tune, trying to put something together. And then come the words, light and lilting. "I'd see my sweet lovely to rest in a den of gold leaf, on a bough of the willow, on west wind's cool sleeve. And the lull-la-loo of the soft sea's billow... come my sweet dear, sleep without fear..." And so the calm melody goes, following Inali all along to the pond.
Inali sighs happily. Harper isn't mad at her any more. That's a load off her mind, to be honest. She was worried she had offended the poor guy. And she probably had. Her kiss with Takata was not meant to annoy him, but, well, to be a show of honesty, really. She figures that it had bothered him for the same reason that everyone else around him had bothered him earlier, and really, she is -still- pretty much clueless that Harper has developed a sort of, well, a fancy for her, as the case may be. Inali had tried to kind of seduce him in the past, and now, she figured that he was utterly resistant to her charms. Which suited her fine. She had settled on thinking of him as a good friend, rather than simply another male she sets out to con. His song stirs her wistful memories again and she lets out another pleasant sigh. It's nice to be around another fox that doesn't want her for anything but her friendship -- something that she has, in the past, been troubled to hand out.
"I'd put my sweet lovely to sleep, on a silver leaf on the beautiful river, where a shoo-heen whisper the white cascades, and a lull-la-loo of the green grass shiver..." Harper continues singing as the pair continue along, letting his eyes drift away from Inali and towards their surroundings. What a peaceful place this is... but so close to inhabitants that he'd rather not be nearby. He's heard that dogs frequent this area. But his singing continues, a little humbler and quieter now as he assumes they're reaching their destination. He's glad to have sung for her though, as pleasing her has become much more... well, pleasant than it used to be. He doesn't seem to think it strange that he's actually looking out for the happiness of another creature aside from Gabriel. He's just sort of... assumed Inali into his tiny circle of friends. And he has no plans to remove her from it any time soon.
Post by dunderhead on Jan 18, 2009 10:31:50 GMT -5
--- Paddock Pond ---
Inali trots along around the edge of the pond where grass still grows there. The mud left over from the flood had receded, though a large ring of dead grass remains surrounding its outskirts. Much is the same for the rivers, but, everywhere else the summer is in blossom, almost as it had been in spring. Inali approaches the hole dug in the ground that they had come to call a den, and waits for Harper to finish his song. Not so much out of politeness, but because she had earnestly wanted to hear it finish. She gives Harper a smile back after he sounds the final note. "Right over there," she points not far away, amongst a few bushes. She walks more cautiously over to it. The hole is situated such that if you didn't look, you could not see it and fall right in. Which is what Takata had done when she discovered it.
Harper smiles appealingly after Inali waits for him to finish. That made him much happier than he thought it would. He follows her paw towards the bushes, unable to actually see it but trusting her judgment nonetheless. After all, the very best dens were ones that were hidden from the public eye. He pokes his head into the foliage, trying to see the entrance. "This is a wonderful location," he says, "but I noticed the scents of other animals not far away... dogs and such. Have you had problems with them?""
Inali locates the den rather easily and pokes her nose in just slightly as Harper talks. A look of strange concern falls over her face. The scents of dogs are old and nearly faded, but something else in Harper's words ring true. There /was/ another animal here since Inali had left this place. She takes another sniff. It wasn't a dog though. It was... yes, she was sure there was a scent of a fox here that was neither Takata's nor Inali's. It seems oddly familiar but it is impossible for her to place it. Certainly not Sanguine's scent, at least. "Takata?" she calls down, a little concerned, and pokes her head in more to scan the den. But she isn't home. She slips out and sits down, somewhat perplexed, and addresses him without bothering to look at him. "Hm? Ah.. er, no, they were around before we found this place, I think --" she suddenly recalls her episode being nearly chased by dogs, but that was a ways away from here. She'd even place the scents before that happened. Only now she looks back at him. "Do you still have that --" she looks at the hare slumped over his back. "Ah, right, wanna come in?"
Harper smiles and enters the den with a few fluid steps. It's not as roomy as his place, perhaps, but it's nice all the same. He pauses for the barest of moments as he notices the scent of another fox inside different from Takata's... curious. Very curious. "Thanks for bringing me here. It's... well. Not many other creatures would." He drops the hare down and wonders what exactly to do with it... besides the obvious. He does feel that as some kind of housewarming gift he should drop it off here... more for Inali's sake than anyone else's. It's her kill after all, and he doesn't know how long it would be to appropriately say here. But he is very hungry. At the very least he can offer her... "First bite?" he says with a small, polite nod towards the kill.
Inali, despite perhaps appearing more welcoming (in a sense) to company than Harper generally is, isn't actually so keen on inviting strangers in her home herself. And she would not figure Takata would be, either. Whoever this stranger was, it must be Takata's friend. She scans the horizon a few times before she slips in following Harper. She almost doesn't hear his offer. "Mm? Oh --" well. It was /his/ hare now. But maybe she'll have a bite, for old times sake. Anyway she couldn't really stand the thought of him eating it right in front of her by himself. So she snacks on a piece of its side. Mm! Gooshy! Nom nom. "Mmrthanks," she swallows.
Harper nods once and starts digging in, waiting for her to finish her piece before devouring the rest of it. He really was hungry! He doesn't like to concentrate on much else while he eats, figuring that the act of talking would rather ruin the enjoyment of eating. That, and the fact that eating something as big as a hare required a lot of work with the jaws and a lot of blood getting on the face. So it would just look a little impolite. But being such a quick, focused eater, he doesn't take that long at all to actually finish. Pretty soon, all that's left are scraps and bones and fur. "You're most welcome," he finally answers, daintily wiping his snout with some stray leaves on the floor of the den. "But really, you caught it." He looks at her over the pile of remains, his stare rather focused as he watches her. "Thank you, Inali. For... letting me in." In more ways than one, his subdued, apprehensive voice clearly adds on without saying.
Inali watches him feast with some amusement. She licks a small tinkle of blood that had dribbles down her muzzle off. It is amazing how, at times, Gabriel could stand to sit through this scene. If she had but a little more taste, it might had offended her, but she was more rather pleased to watch him enjoying himself and get a little messy in the process. It seemed like an interesting lull, a hole of sorts, in his gentlefox demeanor he tries hard to maintain. Inali took the time during their journey here to wonder why Harper was honestly being so /nice/ to her, more than he had bothered to be before. Observing this display, it must be because she gave him food. To Inali, that makes a lot of sense. She pokes a paw against his fluffy chest and laughs lightly. "Uh huh. You've got blood all over you!" She finally lays herself down. She /might/ help clean his muzzle off if she weren't just a /little/ more sure Harper wouldn't get any ideas from that.
"I... what?!" Harper says, suddenly forgetting to be nice and gentlefoxy. One thing he does pride himself on is being clean, and when he's dirty, especially his *tail*, it just... ugh. "I thought I got it all," he whines, rubbing himself with his own paws and scrubbing his face fastidiously. Surely the blood will be hidden by his fur if he can just wipe it off. "It's not on my tail is it?" he wonders, looking back to check it. Obviously it isn't, so he feels a little embarrassed and goes back to rubbing himself down. "Did I get it?" he wonders, looking over himself like a tick is on him. "I'm sorry. It's just... I like to look *good*, you know? Some foxes are fine with just rolling around and getting all messy, but... eh. It's one of the few things I take pleasure in," he explains. Is his life really so dull that just being clean is one of the few things he has left to stay entertained with?
Inali at least doesn't laugh. To be honest, she doesn't find it too strange. At least not for him, anyway. But she has a bemused expression on her face. Lucky this vixen has a silky black fur coat throughout most of her body which hides anything pretty well. "Why would it get on your *tail*?" Well, she can't help but giggle a little. She gets up and sits down closer to him, and paws gently at his tail. "Be clean! Just wipe your paws off on this, before and after each meal!~" she muses. Okay, she can't help but tease *a little*.
Harper looks at Inali with a crooked expression. Use his tail to keep himself clean? Hadn't she even been listening? He looks down at her paw and swishes his tail away. "That is completely against etiquette, Inali. Maybe I should mess up *your* tail and see how you like it!" he says in a somewhat playful voice. With that, he picks up a pawful of dirt and tosses it with a scooping motion straight at her tail!
Inali is utterly surprised by this reaction. Although she didn't *want* Harper to be /upset/, she had predicted he would react utterly humorlessly. So she sits back a bit when he begins to, apparently, scold her, as might have been guessed, and then gapes as he scoops up the dirt and throws it in his tail. There is a few moments delayed response as she looks down at the black fur laced with fine dust. "My tail!" she shrieks suddenly, and jumps up a bit swishing around in a circle. This inadvertently (though somewhat satisfyingly) causes all that dirt to slide off of her tail and create a fine mist of dust throughout the den -- much of it landing back on Harper.
Harper falls back (onto his tail no less) when Inali reacts a little more excitably than he had expected. Like she had thought he'd be mellow and dry, he had thought she'd take it a little easier than *that!* He raises his paws in self defense, but it's too late... his creamy white chest fur is spotted with a coating of grit, and his tail is all mussed up, his whole face is coated from his clumsy fall, and he's just in an absolute *state* of shock as he takes himself in. His moment of clumsiness had cost him severely. "It... I..." he squeaks, and looks up at Inali. "You don't clean yourself by getting it on me!" he says, half serious, and half... amused? Is he actually having fun? Well, given that when he gets back up, he tries to jump the vixen and rub the dirt off his forelegs back into *her* fur, it's a good bet that he is. He hasn't played in seasons... it makes him feel all tingly!
Inali blank stares at him as he reels back. It is /painful/ watching him slowly realize what had just happened. Inali actually shrinks a little. She had just gotten him to /like/ her again. What now? More apologizing! Why has she been forced to apologize so much lately? Guess she is gonna have to find another hare or something. Sigh. "Harper, I.. it was, erm, didn't.." And with that thought, she is tackled. "Arg! Harper! Haha, what, what are you..!" the light film of dirt on his forelegs disappear into her black fuzz while she rolls onto her back and kicks against his stomach lightly, tucking in her haunches. And she grins. "Harper!" she cries bemused and shocked. After a playful growl as she hits another bit of dirt with her paw, 'splashing' it, as it were, against his side.
Looking well-fed and satisfied after a thrilling chase and a filling meal, Ossian lopes quickly through the grass toward the pond. He quickly checks about for any observers. Lowering his muzzle for a quick, neat drink, the young fox yawns and stretches, giving himself a vigorous shake before putting his nose to the ground and sniffing about. He can smell that vixen he talked to - Takata, wasn't it? - and there's Inali's scent again...he still hasn't been able to catch up with her. As he snuffles through the grass, he picks up another trail, a male, and it makes him cock his head to one side in an almost theatrical fashion. Hmm, haven't smelled him before. He begins to follow the twin trail, heading slowly but surely towards the den.
as Takata heads home towards her den, she has no idea the gang is all home. So thinking she is alone, she is singing to herself. Never has she allowed herself to sing around others before, and though her normal voice is rather gruff and growls, her singing voice is oddly very soft and pleasant sounding. " A trickster a trickster is what I use to be... until a dark furred vixen showed my the way, a trickster a trickster is what i swear never to be again.." The words to her song don't really make up a great sound, yet her voice seems to make up for it, as suddenly she snuffs about then den and freezes up, she smells allot of fresh scents around her. Colors drains from her face. Ohcrap oh crap oh crap did anyone hear her? She fears especially since she knows inali would mock her for singing. She doesn't even notice the fact Harper is out and about.
Harper squawks awkwardly as he feels more dirt impact with his side. "Turnabout is fair play!" he says as he rolls off, trying to rub some of the dirt off on her tail as he does so. He gets onto all fours, preparing for another "attack." He hasn't had this much fun in ages... it wasn't as though Gabriel was sturdy enough to do anything except chase around, and even then she and her friends would just chirp at him. He slowly circles Inali, a sly smile on his face. "I don't know, I think a bit of terra firma adds some texture to that solid pelt," he jibes. "How about some around the ears, eh?" And with that, his paws thoroughly scraped along the ground to get some ammunition, he's on the attack again.
Inali rolls onto her belly as Harper gets off, a little grin spread across her muzzle. She circles against him, walking in the same clockwise motion as he on opposite poles, defensive and ready. She takes the few moments to shake whatever is on her off, fluffing out her tail in a fluid motion, and makes her retort. "I'll stuff you full of soil and plant a flower in your head, Harper!" She snickers. Her vulnerable ears are perked upward and alert, making quite decent targets, but as soon as he'd toss the dirt at them, she'd turn about and scrape a layer off the ground with her hind legs in retribution.
As Ossian approaches the area of the den, he hears a soft voice singing and stops to lift his head, cocking his ears curiously. Is that her? He doesn't quite recognize the voice, though somehow it does sound vaguely familiar. He doesn't want to surprise whoever it is, though, in case he earns himself an adverse reaction. With his head held high and making sure his paws and tail ruffle at the grass, Ossian continues along the same path. He isn't quite in sight of the den's entrance yet, but he's certainly within earshot. "Hello?"
Takata is hearing scuffling within the den when she hears Ossian say hello, there seems to have been noone that heard her singing. That was a relief. "Hello" She calls over. She is hearing the two in the den sounding quite playful so for now she will avoid the den moving over towards Ossian. "How was hunting Ossian?" she calls this loud enough that her voice will be heard inside the den. Though unfortunately as she speaks its still in her singing voice and is out before she realizes it then she coughs shaking her head a bit going to her normal voice. "Er um I think Inali is back.. with a friend of hers.. it sounds like.."
Harper laughs as he's showered with another spray of dirt. Wait. Laughs? He's actually having more fun than he is noticing that he's getting pelted with dirty? "Just try it!" he retorts. "I'll make you wish you were born brown!" He charges right at the vixen then, trying to grapple her into a headlock so he can just scrub some terra firma right in with his paw. Voices outside register in the back of his mind, but seeing as they're nice and concealed in the den, what business is it of his?
Inali growls playfully and giggles herself a bit. She had no idea Harper could be fun. Not even remotely. Not that, really, Inali got much playing in herself, but she dearly missed those moments in her life sometimes. Inali was ready to tackle the fox herself after she dodges and prances past some of his bounces -- and she would have probably done a half good job at smothering the fox too, the huntress as she fancies herself to be -- but her ears twitch and she is momentarily distracted some voices. She cocks her head just as Harper slaps into her and pins her down, making her squirm about as he rubs the soil into her black dirty fur. "Heheha -- Harper! Hee! W-wait! Harper! Haha! HARPER!" She /tries/ to maintain a serious tone, but the dirt tickles too much.
Changing direction slightly, Ossian gives Takata a smile as he sees her. "Good! Good, nice to stretch my legs." As she comes to meet him, so he pads forward, and his ears twitch as he picks up the muffled but clearly happy voices coming from inside the den. He looks with interest over Takata's shoulder toward the den's entrance. She's back, eh? That much is clear, and she isn't alone in there. The young fox takes a hesitant step backward, his tail swishing slowly. Even though the voices are muffled, Ossian can tell that Inali's friend is of the male persuasion, and it makes him frown. "Um, yeah, I can hear them. Maybe...maybe I'll come back later."
Takata blinks a bit at this her singing forgotten for now she shakes her head and rolls her eyes. "Oh don't worry its just a fox she met a while back i guess she finally felt sorry for tricking him soo much and invited him to look over the place" She assures with a small nuzzle. Though this was quite enough not to get into the den she then calls out. "Inali dear you got a visitor!" Down the hole.
Harper can quite see the reaction that *this* nets him. His grin widening, he just starts tickling Inali outright. "Promise you won't mess with the tail!" he taunts, laughing along with her until Takata's voice booms into the den. Abruptly, he stops, looking back up at the den entrance. A visitor? That was Takata, but the only visitor he sees around here is himself. "But I'm already here," he says, perplexed, and begins to disentangle himself from Inali to investigate.
Inali takes the distraction as an opportunity to push Harper off of her, a little roughly. Not enough to hurt the guy, but it might be enough to surprise Harper and make him think Inali was annoyed with him. Instead, a moment later, she grins down at him and kicks up a little bit more dirt against him, and turns toward the entrance. She pokes her head out. "Yup. I was gonna apologize to Nova, and --" she stops abruptly. There is another fox behind her. She might not recognize him at all if it were not for his distinctive long, slender legs, which she recognizes instantly. Braxton had told her that Ossian was looking for her, but this does not register immediately. "Holy crap."
Ossian shifts uncomfortably as Takata turns to call down into the den. He didn't really want to disturb...whatever was going on down there, but it would be rude for him to take off now. So Ossian just stays where he is, wondering what he's going to say, what he should say when Inali comes out. I'm sorry for bothering you? I've been looking for you for/eeever/? Who's that male? A few different possibilities form themselves in his mind, but none of them appeal. And none of them are said, when at last he sees Inali, the catalyst for his leaving his home. Along the way, his journey became more one of discovery and self-education than a search for her, but seeing her brings a gentle and genuine smile to his face. "...hi," is all he can think of to say in the moment.
Takata watches as Inali seems struck by the fact Ossian is here and Ossian seems to also have gone rather dumbs. So.. all thats left is to do what she is about to do. She pads over to her den's hole peers in then pops her head into the hole grinning from ear to ear at Harper and saying. "Hiya foxy! decided to come and raid /my/ den huh?" She had been very... upset at the rudeness Harper had displayed to her before, but that had washed away over time. Harper had tried to be nice on the mountain so, she would offer kindness to him now.
Harper follows Inali quickly, eager to see who has disturbed the first play time he's had in seasons, and maybe tell them off because that's what he does. His dirt-stained head pops out next to Inali, ears perked and expression distraught at her coarse language. What could possibly have made- oh. He sees who she's looking at and seems to instinctively deduce him as the source of the 'problem.' But before he can do anything about that, Takata's nearly bonked him right back down into the den, making his eyes go wide and his tail fluff up. "Oh! Er... hello there," he says, rather indignant at being accused of raiding. "I've done no such thing to your home! I was, in fact, invited here," he explains, with a measure of smugness. Mm-hmm. He got a high-falootin' *invitation.*
Inali pushes Harper back into the hole even more as she slinks away from Ossian's sight. Her own eyes wired, it darts needlessly against the gloom den. She had figured that fox was /dead/. Even though she really didn't know Ossian so well, she thought the news of him following her was cute. And she wanted to be nice to him if he ever found her. He probably deserved that enough. So, as her mind churns, she suddenly becomes embarrassed about her dirty state. Sure, her black fur covered it well, but it was still entirely noticeable. So she shakes her fur off and rubs herself down, fluffs her tail. A lot of the dust and dirt settles back on Harper inadvertently. "Do I look nice?" she asks him. She'd trust Harper, out of anyone, to answer her truthfully! "Am I pretty?" Trust a women to keep a man waiting. But it isn't too long before she scurries up the den and pops out, greets Ossian with a more pleasant expression, and gives him a warm, "Hi!"
Ossian blinks as Inali suddenly vanishes again, and looks almost nervously at Takata and Harper. Maybe she really didn't want to see him after all. Well, why would she? After all, it looks like she's got herself a male already, what little he saw of him before Takata obscured him from view. "Um..." Maybe he's just causing trouble here. He almost decides to slink away, until Inali re-emerges again, looking far happier to see him than she did earlier. The young fox's smile reappears again, inclining his head to her. "Heya. I've been, um, looking for you." Well, sort of. It's true enough, he supposes.
Takata honestly meant no harm by the statement and his rudeness makes it so she wants to act a bit more rude back, yet as she is about to comment "zoom" there goes inali in the hole almost knocking her in, its when she zooms on out that Takata losses her balance and with a squeak not herd from her since her kithood she tumbles down into the den with a surprised whimper as she knocking into Harper. "I..inali what the heck!" she whimpers.
Before Harper can get a single word in edgewise he's shoved right back into the den, skidding along the floor. "Ahh...! What? Inali?" he asks, but then her urgent comes. "Do I look nice?" "Uh..." "Am I pretty?" "Uh..." And then she's gone again. "Yes!?" he calls after her in confusion, his answer sure but his mind whirling from her sudden change in behavior. He starts to go to work cleaning himself, but then he's laid out flat by Takata. After the subsequent shouting and noise of something falling, Harper sums it up with one word. "... Ow."
Inali looks back momentarily with a brief appearance of concern. She titters and smiles uneasily, before turning back toward Ossian. She trots up to her, wiping the uneasy look of concern from her mouth, and smiles. She sits down a few yards away. "Oh, yes, your dad came by and told me." She chuckles. "I thought it was --" she chokes down another light chuckle, so as not to appear rude. "-- ah, cute! Jeez, it's been a while though, huh?" She idly comes her fur with her paws, smoothing out her tail especially even more. Inali was rude, brash, and demanding when Ossian had met her. She was honestly a little annoyed by him, until she figured out he was /useful/. This time, she figures she will be at least a little charming. Not entirely out of honesty or good manners.
Ossian nods. Either something happened to him, or he can't have been looking very hard if his father found Inali before he did. She isn't the only one who has changed, either - he looks far less nervous, much more together than he did when they were younger. Traveling alone must have done that, and it seems to be agreeing with him. Her brief disappearance into the den appears to have given him a little time to compose himself, and he smiles comfortably. It might have been a while, but she looks almost as he remembers her. "Yeah, your...Takata mentioned that Father had been by a while back." With a pang of guilt he thinks of his family. He wants to see them again, and soon. "It's been quite a long time. Looks like you're taking good care of yourself, though. Found yourself some friends." He nods over at the den. His tone is mildly curious, masking his great interest in her situation.
Takata squeaks again as she hears the ow below her and scrambles off him, feeling a strange pang of guilt she sniffs over him and gives him a apologetic lick on the ear. Er sorry about that, Inali seems a little.. excited.." She says frowning seeming to generate a bit of genuine concern for harper sniffing over him some more. "Anything hurt?"
Harper shakes his head as he rights himself. "Just my dignity," he snorts. Why is Inali getting so worked up over a total stranger? "Excited is an understatement. She practically forced us down here. Who *is* that?" he asks insistently, patting out and fluffing up his tail fussily. "He's nobody I know. I've certainly never seen him before."
Well. He /did/ seem a /little/ nervous when he first saw her. Guess that'd be normal though. She figured, despite his changes, she saw a little bit of the old flighty fox. But maybe it was just her imagination. "He said you left so long ago, he made me sort of think you, well, heh. Died somewhere." She ahems nervously and looks to the side. But she gets up with a smile and pads around him once. "What happened to you! You weren't looking for /me/ the whole time, were you?" She sits back down. "You worried your parents. They told me to tell you they miss you."
It's true, when Ossian first saw her his old thoughts came rushing back. After all, that's the only way he's thought of her, as his childish first crush, and when he saw her he remembered everything. He tilts his head, watching her as she circles him. "Dead? Far from it, though there were a few close calls." He gives a sigh, another pang of guilt running through him. He'd never meant to be gone so long, but with this, that, and the other...well...it'd just sort of happened. Maybe it's time for another adventure, back home. "It's true, I did leave to find you, but that sort of...became secondary to survival, after a while." He smiles almost apologetically. "No offense, Inali. After all, I found you eventually, right?"
Takata's ears perk as she hears the conversation outside. She shrugs a little. "Someone she knew, I think, from a long time ago. He, er, was looking for her for a while." Harper might remember this from the conversation that fox had with Inali he had chased off from his home. Although who knows how much he was paying attention to the conversation, except when he and that annoying bird make snide remarks behind Inali's back.
Harper can't quite recall anything except that he remembers Braxton saying something about one of his sons running off into the wild. He has decided that in all seriousness he should probably be finding out who this character is himself. He pops back out of the den with a resolute expression, his eyes landing at once on Ossian. "Hello there," he says calmly, his now poof tail swishing around. "I don't believe you and I have been... introduced," he continues slowly, pacing forward a few steps and settling down on his haunches. "Beg pardon the interruption, but Takata seems to have drifted off." He stares a little blandly at the other male, who looks younger and skinnier than he. Then again, he's like that with all strangers.
Inali doesn't take any offense. She understands completely. It's a hard world. She is quite the survivalist and wouldn't hold many means against someone who is faced with life or death. That is exactly why she had figured Ossian could be dead, really. So she nods her head in response, right before Harper walks out of the den to address Ossian. She frowns a little. She knows he's not... really too sociable. But, well. He's been much nicer to *her*. Maybe he'll go on a streak? And anyway, Inali felt a little guilty leaving Harper down in the den after they were having a nice moment together. Ossian really didn't pick the best time to drop in. So she looks at him in a kind of 'play nice' way, and looks back at Ossian with a smile. "Ah, this is, hehe, this is Harper, my friend. He's helped me, more than once, when I've really needed him." She then looks at Harper. "Um, and this is Ossian, he's -- well, been on an adventure to find me for months." She walks over to Harper and paws at him, fluffing some of his fur to get the dirt out so he is more decent."
Ossian looks over, and jumps upright as Harper approaches. He dips his head politely. After all, he did interrupt a moment they were having (or at least Takata did on his behalf) and he'd best be on his best behavior. He isn't quite sure what Harper's position here is - Inali's mate, he guesses, though Takata had mentioned that she and Inali were mates, which completely boggles the young fox's mind. It doesn't /work/...anyway, enough of that. "Um, a pleasure to meet you," he adds politely to Harper after he's been introduced.
( Takata peaks her nose out of the den and watches the three foxes talk. She suddenly feels strangely lonely. She has no place in this conversation, she knows. Even though she /did/ consider Inali her mate... she wants Inali to be happy. And if that means being with a male, well. She will be happy for her. Between Harper and Ossian, the old vixen feels more and more sure that Inali will move on and out of her life. Her ears furrow back slightly and she sadly turns away, retiring back to the den, feeling confident that before long some of the best days of her life with Inali may be over, and crumples up into a corner with a sigh. )
Harper catches the look that Inali sends him, and decides to at least try and talk to the guy, and not point out any obvious flaws he may find in him. And he's found several already. "An adventure, hmm? Well, you don't seem the worse for wear at least," he says with a little bow. He still can't quite get the idea of this gallivanting thing the young fox was occupied with. Foxes were supposed to find a territory and stay there, right? That's what he did, and he met Inali far more times standing still than /he/ did running around. Odd how things work like that. He looks down at Inali's paws in his fur, and shivers, shaking himself to get more dirt out. "Didn't run into any suitable places to stay, I'm guessing?"
Inali paws at his tail to help fluff it out and wipe the dirt off it like a dirty duster, because she knows how much he likes to have a pretty clean tail. She is relieved to find Harper acting quite civil, and smiles to herself, puts his tail down and finds herself a spot near the two to join back into the conversation. Admittedly, in a way, she had wanted to distract Harper maybe a little from Ossian by brushing out his coat, afraid they'd not get along. As she had not been herself addressed, she sits back and watches the two boys talk.
Watching Inali clean Harper gives Ossian further cause to believe that they're together. Harper is being polite enough, though, so he returns in kind. "Thank you. I've been lucky," he adds, talking himself down a little modestly. "Though I guess not lucky enough to find a place for myself..." Not that he particularly wants his own place, not before he's gone back to his family again for a while. The news that one of his sisters might be missing still weighs heavily upon him, and he frowns. Back to the conversation. "I did enjoy the journey, though, so I don't feel I'm missing anything yet."
Harper is glad to see that Inali is actually investing some time to fluff up his impeccable tail. But as for whether or not he'll actually get along with Ossian, well, that remains to be seen, given his general inability to get along with anything he hasn't known for a long while. He doesn't know how anyone could enjoy wandering around on their own, as much as he likes solitude. Being in a nice comfortable den all alone is all well and good, but out in the cold? Nasty. "Well, I do hope you'll find something eventually. There's a lot of places back in forest" he says, a tiny bit of emphasis on 'back in the forest.' He then turns to Inali. "How long ago did you meet him? Sounds like he's a very long way from home." And all for one vixen... Harper is glad he's not *that* young anymore. Harper's speech is rather bored and bland, finding it hard to talk openly around strangers.
Inali knows how much Harper likes being alone -- all except for Gabriel by his side, anyway. She looks over to him and turns slightly in his direction. "Ah, well, actually..." she thinks back on it. "Well, it wasn't very much west of here at all, was it, Ossian?" She turns back to him and chuckles to think of Ossian going in circles and circles. Well, it must have been an interesting journey for sure. Yes, she is pretty sure she first met him in the meadows directly to the west. Maybe he's been following her around, just behind her at each step? Though, she was pretty stationary for a while, between the two times she met Harper. And Inali had not really smelt Ossian...
Thinking back, Ossian smiles. "No, not when we first met. That was pretty close. Heh, it was a while ago..." He shrugs a little. "And then we moved..." 'We' meaning his family. "What with the distance and the flood and...I might've gotten lost and distracted a few of times...well, it took a while." Ossian's little adventure was a trial by fire for the young fox, and somewhere along the way his quest to find Inali became secondary to the sense of adventure he used to have as a kit, that he reawakened. Ossian looks between Inali and Harper as he speaks. While Harper is being polite enough to him, Ossian's getting the feeling that he's not really wanted around here.
Harper has and feels the conversation starting to wind down. Well, having this kid around wasn't as incredibly interesting as he thought it would be, which was just fine with him. It meant he didn't have to invest any more time into him than he absolutely had to. Hopefully the guy's a little more grown up and will go settle down somewhere out of the way now. "Well, I don't like to push my luck too much," he remarks. "The adventuring life is not an easy one to pursue, and you seem to have done it for a while now." Hint hint.
Inali nods as she remembers. It was early to mid winter. Which was forever ago for Inali, barely over a year old now. Around the time she first met Harper, actually. And Takata, even. All of her friends she had met back then. It makes her smile, nostalgic, thinking about the winter. So much has happened since then. And oh -- she tilts her head a little. The family moved? No wonder she had not seen the fox again. She looks up at the sky. It's pale, the sun nearly beginning to set in the sky. "A while," she repeats. Heh. And then she walks up to him, ignoring Harper, and gives him a nuzzle. "Well, glad you're okay! Tell me all about it some time!" And pats him on the back. Honestly, Inali never got the chance to know Ossian so well. Which makes him leaving for her... even more odd, really. But she still thought it was sweet. She looks back up at the sky again, and uneasily asks, "er, you
Ossian perks up a little at the nuzzle she gives him, though with Harper right there the contact makes him a little uncomfortable. "Next time," he says with a smile. He can take a hint, she probably wants to be alone with Harper now. Ah, well. It's been fun to see her again, at least, and technically that was the excuse he gave his parents to leave home. He nods toward the den. "Takata said it'd be alright for me to hang around for a little bit." A little bit is right - it was easy to forget about his family in the day-to-day challenges of surviving on his own, but now, with both Takata and Inali bringing them up, they're on his mind. "Probably not long, but I'll definitely talk to you again. Um. Nice to meet you, Harper," he adds with a bob of his head, before turning away to go while the going's good. So, she's probably with him. It doesn't bother Ossian as much as he thought it would, he thinks idly as he lopes away. He must be getting over his childhood crush.
"Well. That was interesting," is the first thing that Harper says when Ossian leaves. Strangely enough things feel a little less confined. Two's company, three's a crowd, as they say. He has a little more weight of experience to cushion his own memories, so last winter was not as memorable for him, being almost three years old and still going strong. The only reaction he had to Inali nuzzling a total stranger was just a flick of his ear, which might have even just been him getting rid of an itch. He notices the sun finally beginning to set, and debates heading back to his own den. Gabriel must be wondering sore where he is. "It's starting to get late," is all he says aloud.
Inali watches Ossian go sadly. She knows she sounded rude. She practically told him off after he had spend so long wandering around with, at least, if not entirely for her, with her as the purported prize at the end. Poor kid. He was naive and innocent when she met him. And although she would have liked to have him stay, she really doubted that Harper could stand a night with him. Some twisted part of her brain thought that Harper would like to spend the night. And he was already getting a little snippy at Ossian, which could only go down hill. With a sigh, Inali turns about and starts to walk back to the den. Yes, late. She knows. She turns her head to him as she passes him. "Come on, let's go to bed," she says simply, just assuming, expecting, he had meant to stay until the morning.
Harper seems a little surprised that she uses the word 'let's.' He really hadn't expected the offer, and follows her with his head before his body follows suit. "Oh... of course," he says, deciding to take advantage of a place to stay if he's in the neighborhood, and it's being freely offered. "Charming fellow that one... if a little lacking in priority," he says of Ossian, mostly to himself, as they drop back down into the shelter of the den. Hopefully the youngster can find one just as easily as he did. Much as he doesn't like people, he doesn't like wishing bad on them either. "Pleasant dreams, Inali. I'll try not to crowd the place."
Inali yawns softly, raising a paw over her muzzle as he does so. She /does/ have manners, she just primarily displays them for Harper. Mostly because she figures he is one of the few people she knows who appreciates them. She stares at Takata's resting form as he wishes her goodnight, and turns, nodding sleepily at him. "You wouldn't," she says, even though the place was less roomy than Harper's own. "Night." She pads over to Takata and circles around, laying herself beside the vixen, and rests her head against Takata's side. It's been a long, strange, interesting, and eventful day. Inali falls asleep easily.