[P] And can you?
Things always seemed to be dramatic, though now everything was just odd. In the pack was this thick off feeling and Pallas couldn’t put his finger on what it was. He had spoken with Raghnall and he honestly couldn’t see why the blacksmith was so angry. Though much like the dark male trying to set things right he too was an outsider in their world. So many here seemed too close to the situation for anything to get done.

Today though he wanted to take time and relax. He was going to meet Sian at the stables and go out for a ride. He wanted to spend more time with her. It seemed every time he got a chance to spend time with her she was in tears, though he couldn’t blame her. Now though he wanted to give her a chance to enjoy a moment among all this chaos and just relax.

Pallas finished getting Apollo ready as he chuckled. “We’re gonna show her a good time.” He spoke to the stallion giving him a pat on the neck. Leading him out of the barn he hopped on and took in a deep breath. “Come on to the main gate.” He spoke as they began their trot through town.
It was a strange sort of return to ‘normal’ – more like a shift to a different sort of abnormal, really. Sian had been both aching for and somewhat dreading leaving the Fort, much to her surprise since being cooped up had brought on all manner of strange behaviours.

The Recruit didn’t want to overthink this ride with Pallas; she’d asked him where he’d go when they were let out the day they’d met in the archery tower and this was a natural continuation of that conversation. Unfortunately, overthinking was an innate part of Sian’s being most of the time. Questions had rattled around her head since the idea had been raised, mostly revolving around the subject of what it meant.

Finally, Sian had thrown caution to the wind and decided to go with the flow. Sometimes a hack was just a hack.

Suncatcher hadn’t been neglected as such – he remained in good condition, his coat glossy and a decent amount of weight on his bones – but the impatient toss of his head told Sian that he’d missed regular travels with her.

“Yeah yeah, I’m sorry, boy,” she murmured as she gave the young stallion a quick brushing down. She reached for his soft muzzle and at first he threw his head up, like a petulant child. He was the closest thing to that that Sian had. That thought alone might’ve send her spiralling into a dark mood but today something was holding that darkness back. Maybe it was the simplicity of the plans.

The champagne stallion did relent after a few minutes, allowing Sian to brush her fingers through his mane and press a quick kiss onto his brow.

“See? You can’t stay mad at me,” she chuckled before hopping onto her mount and directing him toward the Fort’s main gate where Pallas and Apollo waited. She offered the former a warm smile.

“We all ready? Good luck keeping up with this one, by the way.”

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Pallas shifted in the saddle as he waited. Riding horses there was something he couldn’t remember the last time he actually did. He ran the leather through his hands. The stallion under him danced lightly as he waited wanting to get going. Pallas rubbed his hand along his neck whispering to the stallion calming him. They just had to wait soon enough; she would show and they would be on their way.

The sound of hooves on dirt caused Pallas to turn his head. In all the time they had spent together he really hadn’t taken the time to drink her in. Golden eyes watched her as she approached. Long white hair bounced with each movement of her steed and that one streak that matched her patches framed the side of her face. He couldn’t help but smile when he saw her.

“Ready and waiting m’lady” he spoke as he tightened on the reins. He lifted an eyebrow, was she challenging him? He couldn’t help but let out a deep chuckle as he adjusted one last time. “Is that a challenge?” He asked, giving her one more glance. “I do so enjoy challenges.” He finished before souring both heels into Apollo’s sides. “Let’s go.” He commanded taking off. Today the rest of the pack didn’t exist there were no problems, only two horses and two wolves enjoying the day.
Suncatcher’s head was held high as he approached the other stallion. Sian laid a hand on her horse’s neck, hoping the touch might calm him: Suncatcher was a lively boy and while he was stabled with other stallions his rider wasn’t entirely sure how he’d react out in the open. Sian had ridden solo for the better part of her life, having few ties to those outside Casa and thus few accompanied excursions.

Pallas asked if her remark was a challenge and for a moment Sian was about to say no – she’d meant it as a way of communicating her stallion’s spirited nature to her new friend – but Sian, while meek and prone to anxiety, couldn’t resist a challenge, particularly one which might hone her skills as a rider. Instead of shaking her head or clarifying the fire-kissed woman simply smirked at Pallas, lifting an eyebrow of her own.

“If you think you can handle it,” she teased, before nudging Suncatcher with her heels. Sian’s released a lilting chuckle as the pair took off in Pallas and Apollo’s wake.

Suncatcher had always been lithe, usually a smooth ride for Sian despite having given Galilee more trouble. Early on it had been a little like riding a bucking bronco but with patience and firmness the Damaichu woman had won Suncatcher over. The stallion knew he’d be rewarded for a good ride – Sian had brought along a couple of apples to offer him later – but his spirit hadn’t been dampened. This ride was for fun; even with a race at stake, Sian knew there would be more to gain today than there was to lose.

For a few minutes Sian held Suncatcher back a little, worried she might be rusty. Her golden eyes were trained on Pallas’s back as he rode, the sun gleaming against his coppery mane. A sudden drive to catch up to him made Sian lean low over Suncatcher’s neck, pressing him into a swifter gait.

“C’mon boy!” she encouraged the champagne stallion through gentle laughter.

They were catching up to Pallas and Apollo. It was the moment they were almost neck and neck when Sian realised she had no idea where they were going.

“Hey,” she called to her friend, grinning sidelong at him. “You got anywhere in mind for the finish line?”

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Dirt flew under eight hooves as the two stallions raced. He couldn’t help it but looking back and seeing the way she got into the race brought him so much joy. She was free from the world here in their momentary bliss. Pallas couldn’t help but feel relief, weeks of obeying the rules of a man who was losing his mind. No longer did they have to worry about getting back in time for the sun to set. So even though they raced through the land it was for pleasure not fear.

“I hear the lake is a perfect place to cool off.” He shouted as he leaned into the buckskin male. She was catching on them even with him playfully cheating. He could hear them getting closer and he tried to spur Apollo on faster but the stallion was already starting to huff from being pushed.

Pallas huffed as he tried to at least keep their pace. “I come on boy gotta give it our all.” He spoke. She seemed to really be into the ride and he wasn’t sure he wanted it to end as they entered the glade. The wild horses scattered as they didn’t like being intruded on and he couldn’t say he didn’t feel the same way. The glade was blissful in and of itself as he turned to look at Sian. “This place is nice as well, cool from the heat.” He commented. Spurring Apollo on trying to pull ahead of her.
As the Fort fell far behind and the pair drove their horses in an eastward bend, Sian realised that she hadn’t felt this light and this free in months. It would never be enough to make up for all the loss her family had suffered but flying along on Suncatcher empowered her. It was as if, for a day, she could outrun everything that had ever troubled her.

Sian gave a firm nod as the two stallions drew neck and neck and Pallas called out that the lake might be a good place to head for.

“Sounds good!”

Sometimes it was a dangerous game allowing two entire male animals to move so closely together – at some points the horses’ flanks almost touched -  but Sian trusted in Suncatcher’s focus and drive to please his rider. She glanced over to Pallas and Apollo every now and then but the scarred male seemed to have things in hand.

Thundering through the tranquility of Mirage Glade, Sian whispered words of encouragement to her equine companion. Suncatcher wasn’t a horse who was easily spooked but the sudden dispersion of wild horses who’d been moseying in the glade made his nostrils flare, his ears tipping forward with interest.

“Woah boy, we’re not there yet,” the woman soothed. They could’ve taken a shorter route through the Sea of Grass but Sian didn’t think she could’ve turned down the opportunity to race through the Glade. Everything was green and fresh, tinted by the swathes of trees which dotted the place.

Sian and the champagne stallion pulled a length ahead as the woman’s sunny eyes caught the first shimmer of the lake in the distance. The route from here was straight and simple; it would be down to speed and power rather than agility. Still bent low in the saddle, Sian glanced over her shoulder and lifted a hand from her mount’s neck to wave playfully at Pallas.

Both horses’ flanks were heaving by the time they reached the finish line. Sian knew she’d been ahead at one point but she was still too elated by the buzz of the race to really care or note who’d won.

That didn’t mean she couldn’t act like she had, though.

After swinging down from Suncatcher she smoothed her horse’s mane and moved to tether him to a nearby tree. It was only when this was done that she turned to smirk at Pallas.

“Well played, sir. You and Apollo looked good together.”

Sian marched forward to shake her competitor’s hand.

[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
Her hair the way she gripped the reigns, he was captivated. It had started slow over the past few moons that they’d been talking and he’d been there to pick her up. But now racing through Casa she didn’t need him to hold her high, she held herself and she amazed him. She seemed to be timid on her own feet but neck and neck with him she was so driven and passionate. He chuckled as he felt the stallion beneath him grunt harder. “Alright boy.” He spoke as he watched her pull ahead.

The lake crested into view and their race was over. Pallas eased Apollo as he dismounted, his legs shaky for a moment as he chuckled tying the stallion to a tree. The sun's gleam danced on the water as he patted Apollo’s flank and walked towards Sian. “You truly are one with that horse of yours.” He spoke as he took her hand bending down to plant a kiss on the top of it. “You bested me, I guess that’s what I get for trying to cheat.” He smirked looking into her sun gold eyes.

He released her hand and took a step towards the water. “Since you won, what kind of prize should I bestow you with?” He questioned. This was a bit of a tease but he also kinda wanted to get her something. He pulled at his belt, and straps of his tunic as he derobed before entering the shimmering water. “Would you honor me with a swim?” He asked.
Having felt lost and directionless so often in her life, Sian had always been reassured by Suncatcher’s presence. Riding was one area where she felt competent; it was written all over her face as she beamed at her stallion before turning to congratulate her canine friend.

“What can I say? He’s my oldest friend – I like his spirit,” she chuckled, the sound for once coming breezily without any hint of awkwardness. It was true: others had moved on in one way or another; Sian was grateful that Callum and Aldora never had, grateful that her family endured even when her presence faltered – but beyond the family she’d had few friends and they’d drifted away one by one over the years.

The woman’s sunny eyes flicked down and away in shy uncertainty when Pallas bent to plant a kiss on her hand. Sian had known for weeks that the man felt protective of her but this – this was something else, something she didn’t quite understand the meaning behind.

Or rather, Sian thought she knew the meaning behind it but couldn’t quite grasp the fact that such a gesture was being bestowed upon her. 

“Oh, well if I’d known there was a prize I might’ve cheated too,” she joked. Truly, Sian didn’t care if Pallas had tried to gain the upper hand in the race – she guessed it was all in fun and nothing could diminish the rush of the journey.

“Right behind you,” the Recruit agreed.

Sian had barely acknowledged the lake thus far, too focused on Pallas and their playful banter. She watched with interest as he moved to the water’s edge. The sun above pushing through the trees cast an ethereal light over him, turning his mane to molten copper and his fur to burnished gold. Sian tried not to gawk, covering her interest with a smirk as she followed in his wake.

The water was pleasingly cool. Sian was tempted to dive in headfirst; instead she paddled in the shallows for a moment, still watching Pallas as she curled her toes against a small rocky shelf hidden near the lake’s edge.

She gave no warning before launching herself from the ledge in a shower of glimmering water. When Sian emerged she shot Pallas an entirely innocent look.

“That’s what you get for cheating.”

[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
This day was perfect there was nothing that could bring that down. Her horse was her oldest friend, he smirked at that. “I can tell, you both are both so in sync.” He spoke as he pulled his copper hair. Tightening the tie that held it together so that he wouldn’t have to deal with a copper disaster. He was completely oblivious to Sian looking him over as he slowly made his way into the water.

The cool water of the lake seeped slowly into the fiber of his being as he just allowed himself to sink. For a brief few moments he was submerged allowing him to clear his head. He was trying to take this slow, he didn’t want to get too attached if she wasn’t looking. He still wasn’t sure what he was looking for or if he should be looking.

Rising out of the water he turned toward her as a spray of water hit him. Shock etched on his face as he shook off hard. “Well then if it’s a splash battle you want, then that is what you shall get.” He smirked. His golden eyes held joy for the first time in months as he swiped his hand over the top of the water sending a spray her way. He let out a deep chuckle, for just today the troubles of the world melted away. Turning tail he took off deeper into the lake,
Sian’s wasn’t quite sure what the repercussions of her dive would be. Perhaps that spoke to her trust in Pallas, or just her buoyant mood. She might’ve been a wallflower in many situations but there was enough spirit in her to not let his admission of trying to cheat her in a horse race go unanswered.

Her timing was either very poor or very good; Pallas got a face full of spray just as he broke the surface of the water. Sian did her best to look innocent, wide-eyed with splayed ears, her gaze cast slightly upward, but she couldn’t hold the doe-eyed expression for long before a smirk flashed over her muzzle and her jaws parted in a laugh –

– just as the copper-maned man swept an arms’ length of water directly at her. Sian’s laugh turned into a snort as she tried to rid her nose of lake water. She blinked droplets out of her eyes and scraped her long hair away from her face to try and follow her competitor’s movements. Her bright gaze zeroed in on Pallas swimming away from her towards the deeper waters and she marvelled at the power in his movements.

Maybe it would be Sian’s turn to have trouble keeping up.

“You’re on!” she called, hoping for some reason that he might pause to look at her. Sian shook that idea from her head; it wasn’t a safe thought to have. Not now; not yet. It was enough to make her hesitate for a breath – but only for that one breath. It was too good a day to overthink every little detail.

The fire – and now water – splashed wolf struck out with long hindlegs to give chase. Sian had no intention of holding back; she was determined to catch up to Pallas and show him that she could give as good as she got.

[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
The summer sun gave life to their world though Pallas had never lived through a winter, and the current weather reminded him of home. Though splashing through the water like this was rare for the male, he was normally too busy teaching Atreo or getting tasks done for his job as advisor. Here he was free, no real responsibility to hold him down the ability to really build a family to fall in love again.

His attention turned back to Sian as she swam after him. She had been on his mind a lot as of late. She didn’t know it but she was helping him rebuild himself and grow. Back home he missed his life because he was used to it, but he had never been truly happy like he was now. Though a part of him felt sad to think that as well so many died to allow a great weight off his shoulders that included his very own children. Though his mate and he had never truly loved he cared for her, she after all was the mother of his children. Now though he could find someone to care for someone to truly love. He just wasn’t certain if Sian was that one or not, since he didn’t know how true love felt. She definitely caught his attention nonetheless.

Kicking his feet out to splash at her he chuckled. The water now to deep to reach the bottom he stopped to tread water as he splashed at her lightly. His sandy hands cupping the water as he tossed it at her. This was truly bliss, water sun and not a thing else to do. Though he forgot how taxing swimming really was as he kept himself above water.
Through a veil of splashing water raised by the man’s back paws, Sian saw Pallas pause to tread water. She was tempted to take advantage of that pause – apparently the Damaichu woman was more competitive than even she had known – and sure enough, as Pallas launched some more water at her, Sian seized the moment. She tucked into a dive, the tip of her tail disappearing below the surface before Pallas’s latest watery attack had even settled properly onto the lake.

The sights and sounds of the world retreated as Sian kicked herself deeper into the lake, glancing upward to check how far away the light from above was before levelling out her underwater path. She spied Pallas’s legs, treading gently to keep him afloat, and headed towards him, skimming past his shins before angling back toward the surface, the light and the crisp air of late Summer.

Sian resurfaced behind Pallas with her features glowing in a grin, shaking her head to whisk water out of her mane before woofing to get his attention.

The sun passed behind a cloud and Sian looked up, narrowing her eyes as if threatening the fine day with her displeasure if it had plans to turn overcast. This game was the biggest lift Sian had felt in quite some time – she hadn’t felt this giddy since her early days in Portland. Knowing that, though, and knowing where that soaring feeling had ended up, she knew she had to be careful. More often than not, too good to be true was the reality of things and Sian hated letting her expectations get away from her. It only led to disappointment and pain – for Sian, for her family...

She trod water for a moment, watching Pallas for a reaction with caution in her gaze. “You worn out yet?” the wolf teased. Her casual tone was more strained than it had been and she glanced towards the shore of the lake, wondering if she should cut this moment of enjoyment short before something else cut it short for her.

[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
Pallas hadn’t wanted to push her too hard. He wanted her to enjoy the time they had together. When she vanished from sight he got worried until she appeared behind him, treading water he huffed as he gave her a grin. “Ya I think riding for the first time in a long while and swimming has worn me out a bit.” He spoke as he turned to the shore. “We could sit and talk if you like, or head back, whatever you prefer.” He spoke as he headed for shore.

Swimming back to the shore didn’t take too long. Walking up onto land Pallas shook a bit allowing the water to spray from his fur. Running his hand through his copper mane flicking the water from it he looked at her.

“I can tell ya about my past if you want? Get to know each other better.” The words held so much meaning to him that maybe he desperately wanted to just spend more time with her. Yet at the same time he wasn’t sure she felt the same, or if he was pushing too hard. Maybe back home they had been right placing two together based on what the leader thought was best may be best. There was less worry if the other liked you or if you were being too hard, there was only duty. Though overtime he had been lucky to slowly fall for his mate enough to miss her and his children. He loved her enough to wonder what it’d be like to be back home. Though he wanted to move on he still had so much life to live, and here there were chances here he wanted to take. Sitting down in the grass he looked at Sian again and waited for her to join him.
To Sian, talking seemed like both a good idea and a terrifying one. It would be necessary, at some point, to identify the root of the exhilaration that had been whirling in her chest today. It was a feeling she recognised but not one which she was used to. It was a feeling, in fact, that Sian had taken great pains to protect herself from for nearly a year. Talking might reveal things Sian would rather keep unknown: how broken she was at times, how sensitive she really was. The problem was that talking was the only way to truly get to know someone. Pallas had piqued Sian’s interest but she was afraid of both the intensity of her curiosity – and, ultimately, the sting of disappointment.

Even as she headed for the shore of the lake Sian couldn’t feel the buoyancy in her chest settling. She wished her heart and emotions would both listen to her head, the most rational part of her.

Sian was a few lengths behind Pallas as he stepped onto dry land, shaking out his mane. Once again the Damaichu wolf wondered at how those coppery strands of hair caught the light. The gleam of water in the man’s coat made him look as if he’d been shaped from bronze. Sian nearly swallowed a mouthful of lake water as she gazed at him from the shallows.

Once her feet were back on dry land Sian squeezed the excess water from her own fire-streaked mane. Her ears pricked – what Pallas offered could be an illuminating conversation. Sian smiled and bobbed her head, padding across to the grass and lowering herself to sit, legs folded beneath her. 

“Go on,” she prompted gently, propping her elbow on her knee and her chin on her hand. Sian was ready to listen.

[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
The grass was soft and brought him a sense of comfort as he sat there. Watching her walk to his spot he tried to look away. He didn’t want her to feel as awkward as he was feeling now. Laying back into the grass hands behind his head. The summer sky filled with clouds, better to look there then right at her.

“I was born across the sea in a place called Chersytos. There is a lot like here warriors, traders, but also so different. There’s so much freedom here, I’ve never had freedom like this. You see our jobs, mates and lives are chosen by the king.” He spoke as he rolled on to his side golden eyes looking at her as he propped his head on his hand. “I was six months old when I was chosen to train to become the next Kings advisor. Weapons, politics and how to help arrange trade outside our home. There were six of us together; our king had not been born yet and so we waited training and working hard. Atreo was born when I was two.” He spoke as he took in a breath. “They has a massive arena used for entertainment, those who broke laws, or slaves, and even those who trained their whole lives ended up in the ring. They stuck us four in the ring and told us to fight to the death. Only one could be Atreos protector, trainer and advisor. We had to be the strongest. I won…” he looked away from her as he took in a breath. “At six months Atreo became my shadow, along with a few elders we raised him up, the boy would be king by his fourth year. That never happened though moons ago our home was covered in hot red liquid. We had been returning home when we hit thick black clouds. I kept our small group back in the northern mountains a few days though when things seemed to have settled our view from the cliff wasn’t what we were expecting.” His ears pinned back. “Atreos father, our king was gone, our home red and black, my mate and pups gone. I don’t know what that stuff was but it was so hot in spots we couldn’t go near. So I took Atreo and fled, there was nothing left for us. Though here seems to have done the boy some good. I think it’s done good for me too.” He spoke plucking a wild flower from the grass holding it out to Sian, a smile creeping on his face. “What about you?” He asked.
Sian watched as Pallas reclined against the grass, wondering what kind of tale could be behind a man who spoke with such a rumbling voice but who had also comforted Sian when she’d nearly succumbed to panic after the recent trials. Her interest had definitely been piqued; Pallas seemed a man of contradictions from what Sian had learned of him.

But she was about to learn so much more.

She’d known it for some time, really, but Pallas’s story confirmed that they’d led very different lives so far. In spite of everything Sian had been weighed down with – worry, loss, her shyness as a youth – she’d always been free. She’d wandered from Casa more than once in her own time and had never received any punishment for doing it. The only punishment involved was carried out by Sian herself, projected inwardly; she’d never made strong bonds with her fellow Cavaliers, save for a few close family members. Her ears slid back against her head as she considered the idea of everything in her life being predestined.

Sitting facing her friend as he propped his cheek up on his hand, Sian listened intently.

Sian’s mind only continued to wind itself further into a knot as the man’s story went on and soon the knot was tight in her stomach. Pallas had been put in positions Sian could barely imagine and he still stood, scarred but somehow able to carry on with kindness. Somehow, in spite of his own pain, he’d helped her – and in his position Sian didn’t know what she might’ve done. Would she have fought her way out or simply given up? Pallas averted his gaze from the woman’s face and Sian thought she saw shame there. She didn’t push to regain eye contact; she let her gaze wander to the nearby horses, counting the flies they flicked away with their long ears.

But Sian never stopped listening.

When Pallas revealed the loss of his mate and pups Sian gulped, blinking hard all of a sudden. Whether it was through some desire to repay the comfort Pallas had shown her, or to show that she understood the void such losses left, she reached out a hand and rested it on his arm. It was nigh impossible for Sian to not show compassion – even when it hit so close to the bones of events she hadn’t yet shared with her family.

Sian sucked in a deep breath to try and gain some composure before accepting the flower Pallas held out to her.

“I couldn’t have lived through all that,” she mumbled, unsure if her remark was helpful or insensitive. She tucked the flower behind her ear and sank into thought for a moment before catching Pallas’s eye. “I’m.. I’m sorry, Pallas. For everything you’ve been through. You must miss them terribly – your mate – and your – your children --” Sian swallowed back a lump in her throat. “-- even if that path was chosen for you.”

It was Sian’s turn to delve into her history. She stretched out on her front, cupping her chin with her hands for a few moments before weaving her fingers and resting them against her brow.

“I was born somewhere in the neutral territories – to parents who didn’t want me. Grandpa – Callum – he raised me in here in Casa. I never really got to grips with fighting – I can hold my own now, but as a kid I failed my First Blood. Didn’t know what I wanted or where I fit in – well, I guess that’s still kinda true…” Sian blinked hard again, staring at the grass in shadow beneath her bent arms. “I always knew who my Father was – Grandpa and Grandma never kept it a secret. I never understood why – why he hadn’t wanted me – and why he’d given me the chance to survive by bringing me here.”

“I ended up tracking him down in Krokar – a pack that used to exist in the North – I wanted to ask so many questions but when it came to it…” She chuckled sadly. “I guess all any little girl wants is to be cherished – and Grandpa gave me that but it was still never enough for me. I regret being so ungrateful now.”

“Grandma died some time after… Grandpa was a mess and I – I ran. I travelled North, tracked down my Mother.”
Sian smiled at the memory but the curve of her lips was heavy with sadness. “But she had a new family. I could’ve stayed but I didn’t. I came back… and then I went to Portland to work at the Outpost.” Sian deliberately avoided looking at Pallas she she murmured those words. She wasn’t ready to detail what had happened in Portland. “And then I came back – again – and whaddyaknow, my Father is a Cavalier now.” Her laugh was hollow and she wiped her eyes with a fingertip before turning onto her side to eye Pallas.

“I’m glad Atreo is doing well here. And you.”

[Image: Sian-Chibi-Aug-2020-2.png]
Pallas didn’t want to talk her ear off so he’d tried to condense his life into the most valuable information. If he wanted to try to move on it was best that he was open about who he was. He was still rough on the inside even though being with her tamed his soul. Her hand brought ease to the ache he felt as he spoke of his past. There was nothing left though so there was nothing he could do. “The comfort she brought is missed. My pups, at least I can be glad they too did not have to go through life the way I did. I didn’t have to stand and watch them suffer.” He spoke, it was the only thing he was glad for. He wasn’t sure he could live with watching them fall. Though he supposed he could always make more like the older males had said.

She took the flower and Pallas couldn’t help but smile, though it faded as she changed position and got read to tell her tale. She looked so serious as she began and Pallas said nothing as he laid there watching her. She spoke and he listened though he wanted to stop her because he could hear the heartache in her voice.

She had been abandoned and her suffering from that was real. He could see why every time he got close she seemed to recoil. Was that the type of pain that he had been lucky to not suffer with? He didn’t have to worry about that back home but here heartbreak was real. Her story came to an end and she looked at him. Sun gold eyes met her same sparkling eyes, he didn’t even think just reacted. Sand fur met fire and snow as he gently grazed his thumb over her cheek. “You are wanted.” The words just fell from his mouth as he couldn’t stop himself. I want you, nearly followed as he looked at her. “It’s thanks to you that I’m doing so well.” He spoke his deep rumbling voice low as it could go and still be heard. Though he almost couldn’t hear his own thoughts any longer over the sound of his heart beating in his chest.

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