[P] [M] For every mother, and every child, every brother who is caught in the crossfire

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Ooc: Wordtober Day 27: abandoned | backdated some

He was an adult now. First Cadet Caspian. No longer a Candid, but a fully fledged member. He should be happier, right? He should be happy, at all. Caspian's mouth remained in a grim, sad line, pulled down at the corners as he stared down at the bones.

It had been a moon, maybe two, he wasn't quite sure. Already she was nothing but bone with a few scraps of sinew left.

"I passed, I said I would, for you, Mama. Are you proud?" He asked the corpse with a tremulous waver to his voice, though his eyes were dry and reddened.

His mother did not respond but then he hadn't expected her to.

Nor was she the only dead he had here, as his head turned and looked, at the graves he could name by heart. There, his Daddy who he'd never gotten to meet, and there, Pushok's parents, and there, was his Mama's first husband, Rurik; And there, was his Uncle Lorenzo's grave, and besides it, his great-grandpa, Jazper.

Moving, drawn, as if in something of a dream, he ended up by the bones of the old King.

Surrounded by death, Caspian wondered if the dead could feel his guilt. If they could feed on his sorrow and grief. Was his pain and hurt a gift for them?

One day he'd lay besides them and would a future, far away Knight come and sit and look at him the way he was doing now to these ancestors. Or would he die somewhere else, and be abandoned with no home to come back to.

A lesson he'd had before came back to him, a voice that had always been there in his ear, "Ye main dae whit is reit, nae whit is easy." Cas turned and left the Silent Meadow.


Though overcast, there were signs that a sun might burst through at any time, a piercing light behind the dull clouds as they whizzed by overhead.

Far below, he could hear the wash of the waves, shoved by the ever ceaseless winds to crash against the cliff's base. Her silhouette against the dim sky was diminished, almost non-existent. Step by step, he approached the edge, and a gust of the heavy breeze buffeted his face, throwing back his long, unkempt hair.

He'd brought nothing, except his regret; besides she wasn't the kind of person who could be bought with shiny things or tainted promises.

It wasn't so long that they'd stood here. Still, it was a lifetime ago. Thrown backwards into his memories, Caspian winced as he remembered the cruelty of his words.


Caspian's voice was quiet, hushed, almost lost to the winds, as if he dared not speak louder than that. He didn't know if she would accept the words he had to give, but he must give them regardless. Lucian and himself had almost died out there, lost in the wilderness. He couldn't do that again, not without telling Zasha how sorry he was for the things he had said to her.

Mournful gold, unhappy, hurting, they swam with misery, but they did not wane from her form, not even when she would turn to face him.

His father had gone to his death for their people, Caspian could not be any less brave than his noble sire.

News had spread like wildfire that the Knight sons had returned safely home, which brought a wave of relief over the young mahogany Hushhowl, but it also brought anger and sadness. The things that Caspian had done and said to her were very much still in the front of her mind as much as she tried to move past it.  It was like her mind was trapped in a crypt and she was unable to escape the vivid replays of that day, like she was living it over and over again.  Zasha had hidden herself away since their return, trying to distract herself with training Hell's Bells far away from the Fort and the dens, she left before the sun came up and came home in the dark.  Unable to face him yet, she avoided him like the plague. 

But then leadership made the announcement of Caspian and Lucian's First Blood Ceremony and her stomach did a flip, Zasha couldn't let her best friend go through something so important alone, not when he had been through so much already.  Putting her feelings aside, she had snuck out under the cover of night, not an easy feat when she slept in a fur pile with the rest of her large family. Normally, now that she had a horse, she would have taken the mare to make the trip shorter and easier, but it would be impossible to get where she needed to go, much less hide a flashy horse, so on two feet she made the trip up the mountain.  The reticent arrived just as the sky was starting to have a glow and the clouds grew with light.  Zasha found a hiding spot up the mountain, in the shadows of the trees, but still where she could look down on the battle once it started.


It was over, it was done, and if she never wanted to see him again or talk to him, she didn't have to.  Zasha had been the bigger person and supported him in one of the hardest times of his young life, even if he didn't know it, she had done her part. They young Hushhowl had waited until everyone had left before she came out of hiding and took a seat at the edge of the cliff.  The gusts of wind whipped her fur and clothes, the wind was frigid and she was thankful for her hoodie and long pants.  Fidgeting with her sleeves, her thumbs had finally worked a hole into each inside of the fabric and now the sleeves also acted like half gloves and part of her wondered if momma would be mad at her.  But that was really the last thing on her mind as she sat on that cliff with one leg dangling over the edge while the other was pulled into her chest and her muzzle rested on her knee and light blue orbs looked out over the Loch Fundy.  Aimlessly thoughts rolled over in her mind on whether she could forgive the new First Cadet or if deep down she had already forgiven him the moment he stepped foot back on Casa di Cavalieri soil. 

Lost in her thoughts she didn't pay attention as Caspian approached, in fact with the gusts of wind and not paying attention to her surrounds, someone could have easily pushed her off and she wouldn't be the wiser. A large ear twitched and rotated when sound on the wind spoke her name.  Closing her eyes for a moment, she tried not to cry.  The Knight son had finally found her and his soft voice was so broken, she hardly recognized it.  No matter how much he hurt her, the things he said or did, she had indeed forgiven him as soon as he returned home, and quite frankly, it pissed her off. Opening her eyes, blue hues glistened with the threat of tears, slowly she stood up still unable to look back at him for a moment, she balled her hands into a fist and took a deep breath before turning to face her worst nightmare over the last moon.

Glaring she charged up to him, and started pounding him in the chest,

You left me! How could you fucking just leave me without me knowing where you were going or if you were safe!

The tears started to flow now, and she couldn't get them to stop.

Do you hate me that fucking much, that after saving your life, you just disappear without a trace?!?!  What the fuck is wrong with you?!?

Sobbing she fell to her knees and her hands covered her face as she cried and screamed, so many emotions raged through her veins she felt like she was being torn in ten different directions.  Zasha hated that feeling, but she hated being without her best friend more.

Word Count 825

She didn't answer him, not at first. An angry wind buffeted at him, whipping long strands of his unkempt hair about his head. Caspian tossed his head, dislodging the few that took it upon themselves to try to settle into his eyes. Zasha turned slowly, her body tensed up, strained.

He was sorrowful of the damage he had caused, there to see plain on her face before she flew at him with her fists slamming themselves into his chest. Caspian swayed back against her assault but didn't make a move to step backwards or away, he deserved this, he deserved her anger and anguish.

"Zasha..." He said again, lost below her wailing words.

His heart knocked violently against the cage of his ribs, he longed to tell her every terrible thing that had happened to him since he had left. The strained, savage silence, the miles passing beneath their feet without rest or food. The bear, the fight he'd dragged Lucian from. The man in the bar, even now he shied from that knowledge himself, but he wanted to tell her all of it.

Zasha fell at his feet, and Caspian dropped with her. His knees collided with the dirt. He wanted to touch her, to take hold of her hands but... did he even have that right anymore, he thought. His chest ached from the force of her blows, and from his own heartache.

"I don't hate you, Zasha..."

Uncertainly, he hesitated, swallowing the lump in his throat that threatened to choke him entirely.

"I'm sorry," Caspian voiced mournfully, "I never should have said the things I did, I wish I could take them all back and never have said them at all."

There was a gap there, just as wide as the one that had torn him from Lucian, and stood at its edge, looking down into the desolate darkness, Caspian could just as easily fall into it and be swallowed as he could take a step back. Or he could take the chance to leap over it.

All or nothing.

His frozen fingers slipped about her warm hand, holding firmly, securely, but still without enough slack that she could pull away if she wanted.

"Z-Zas-sha." His voice broke, stumbling and falling over her name, the syllables dripping from his tight throat in a thick voice. The world grew blurry, misting over as tears of his own over-burst and rolled down his cheeks.

Zasha wished that the two of them could magically go back in time before the divide between them, before they knew what broken hearts and grief were, but they couldn't, it was impossible.  She had to decide whether she wanted to forgive and leave Caspian in the past, or have him be a part of her life now and into the future, whatever that may hold.  For a moment, just one slight moment, she thought about walking away, the thought of life without having to fight so damn hard seemed easier, but what kind of life would it be?  Caspian had always been her ride or die, the two of them went through everything together and as soon as the man fell to his knees with her and took her hands in his, the decision was made.  The Knight son would always be her other half, someone that would be by her side through thick and thin.

With tears streaming down her cheeks, she slowly looked up from staring at their intertwined fingers, brilliant blue hues misty with tears looked up at her best friend, only slipping one hand away to hold his face in it so he would look at her, she needed to see those soft gold hues.  Wiping away the tears that rolled down his cheek with her thumb, the Hushhowl tried to speak but the sobs wouldn't let her, instead she rose to her knees and threw her long arms around him and just cried hysterically into his messy hair.  Between the sharp inhales and blubbering she managed to get some words out,

"Pl…please d-don't ever l-leave me…me a-a-gain…"

It was then that Zasha held on as tight as she could, scared that if she relaxed her grip even just a little, that it would all be part of her imagination and Caspian would disintegrate before her and get blown away in the wind. There was no way in hell she would risk losing him again.

Word Count 340
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Zasha touched his face, and it was a lightning in his chest. The young boy groaned, a despairing, broken sound. They weren't completely okay, but it was a step forwards. It was a start. He had leaped across the bottomless chasm and made it, just barely. Grasping gracelessly at the cliff of the other side, his claws digging against the concept of forever.

She wiped away the tears and yet there were more to follow. Caspian had not cried since that day, the day when everything had folded in on itself, and broken apart. The yellow did not smudge this time, there was no dye to wash away in the overflowing of his grief, it was a real, permanent scripture set into his skin.

Her fingers brushed over the trailing ends of shame.

Clear blue, an autumn sky he had been so used to seeing, was set with stormy clouds, and it was his fault. He had put them there, covered up her bright sky with sorrow and sadness. Just another debt he had to repay. Caspian's shoulders bowed beneath the weight of them.

Despite everything he had done, the terrible things he'd said, they folded together as they'd always done, and he found his nose buried in her hair, breathing in the scent of something that had always been home, even when it hadn't.

"I won't. I p-promise." If he were to leave again, he would ask her to come with him.

Clutching her close, fingers disappearing into her fur, his breaths were raindrops against the earth, hard and harsh and hollow, heartbroken. Hallowed.

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