[P] On a Day with Gentle Falling Snow
For Cedric/Jazzy. Backdated mid to end of December. Whisper Beach.

The sable woman had found herself walking down the cleared pathways of Wolfville, humming to herself, and very curious on why the mountain lion that had recently joined the ranks had requested she meet him along the shoreline of Whisper Beach. Not that she minded spending time with him, or his adoptive father, but she did find it an odd request.  Why not just meet at her house if he wanted to talk?  Parzival was a strange cat indeed, but she had no reason to deny his request and it would be good for both her and Telly to stretch their legs.  The champagne mare was still her go to since Willow was now about eight months pregnant and spent her days frolicking in a pasture when she had the energy and resting in the stall eating as much as she wanted.  Carefully so not to rip her green lined dress or deer fur trimmed blue hooded cloak, she mounted the mare and headed out of Wolfville towards the snow covered beaches.

The snow fluttered down around her, clinging to the equines mane and her own whiskers as well as ears that flicked as the snowflakes melted from the warmth of her body.  It was a frigid day, and her breath left a puff cloud as she breathed out as the heat met the coldness.  But she was grateful that she was alive and healthy and she would never take that for granted again, plus the snow made the lands of Casa di Cavalieri picturesque as always. 

It wasn't long before the two arrived at Whisper beach and Kai slid down from the mare's back, her feet punching through the blanket of snow with a slight crunch.  As she hitched Telly to a nearby tree she stroked her thick neck and gave a few treats she had brought along as a reward for behaving.  Soon mismatched orbs looked out over the white beach and listened to the waves lap at the shore, melting any snow that had gathered instantly.  Securing the hood of the cloak over her head, long braids fell down her front as she tugged the cloak tighter around her shoulders before she walked towards the beach.  Mismatched orbs  looked out over the Loch as she waited for her friend to arrive, humming to herself and still wondering what that giant house cat was  up to on this beautiful winter day.

  [405] // Ooc Here//
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Word Count: 559

It had taken a while for Cedric to realise this wasn't normal. Everything leading up to this was odd, but for Parzival to ask to go on a walk? The lazy cat? It felt a bit too staged. Really though, the Lune should've seen this coming a lot sooner, probably when the feline returned home with a basket in his mouth and claimed that he'd found it. Said basket, finely woven and covered with a thin and patterned cloth, had inside of it various items. Small pots containing lavender and beeswax, some kind of woollen scarf and a bracelet with wooden beads with both a soft blue and gold colour to them. Cedric had been smart enough to question the oddly specific basket immediately, but Parzival had brushed it off by claiming that some unfortunate soul in Wolfville must've abandoned it. The cat then quickly went into the topic of going for a walk, forcing Cedric to move on and ignore it. 

Until they got to the beach, currently covered in snow and with a gently chilling breeze... and Cedric noticed Parzival was still carrying the basket in his mouth. "Parzival... why did you want to come to the beach?" He tried to ask, though the cat turned to give him a look, mouth currently full of basket handle and unable to reply. But there was mischief to those eyes, Cedric had grown to recognise it. 

When he saw her, a speck in the distance, the Lune came to a stop, his lion soon shortly afterwards. Kai was here, at the beach, walking slowly towards them. Parzival dropped the basket and chuckled, long whiskers dancing around his face. "You know... you fell for that for way too long." The cat began, looking across to Kai. She was too far off to hear them yet, but probably knew both were there. Cedric watched her and felt something tight in his chest... a warm feeling, an old feeling. "You like her." Parz purred, still smirking though in a more sincere way. "Don't get me wrong, I know nothing of this love stuff and I don't want to know... but I've known how you feel for a long while. All the ups and downs and well... you're always brighter whenever she's around, dad." Cedric couldn't deny that, he'd stopped denying it a while ago. "So give her the basket, Celia and Soledad helped me make it, and tell her how you feel. And if you try to come back tonight without saying anything... I'll piss all over the house."

Cedric chuckled lightly at that, stepping closer to pat Parzival on the head, something the lion pretended to dislike. "Fine, your sneaky feline ways have forced my hand... thank you, Parzival." With that, the cat turned around, letting his side rub against Cedric's leg before launching into a run, disappearing into the snow before anyone could catch him. Cedric sighed, looking down to the basket of gifts and smiling a little as he would need to remember to thank the girls later, for now however the Lune picked it up before jogging towards Kai. "Kai..." Cedric began once close enough, then chuckled lightly, "It seems we've both been... out-played by a cat too clever for his own good."

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Slowly she walked along the beach, her arms wrapped tightly around her as mismatched orbs watched the waves crash against the shore, a hum vibrated in her throat as the time passed and Kai waited for the giant cat.  The request Parzival had made was odd and she was still trying to wrap her head around it, when a brisk arctic breeze threatened to steal her hood from atop her crown.  Quickly small, delicate inky hands reached up to hold onto it and an even bigger smile grew across her muzzle.  On that gust of wind brought with it the scent of not only the mountain lion, but also his silvery dad.  Even in the cold, her ears warmed and cheeks became flush under her dark fur, her fluffy tail began to wag and even her heart may have skipped a beat as it began to race, while butterflies fluttered in her stomach. 

Soon hues of sun and moon fell on the duo further down the beach, and she gave a small wave before she walked towards them, this time at a quicker pace.  It appeared the two were having a conversation about something, but their words were lost in the wind and sounds of the waves.  Before she could reach them, she saw Parzival bound away leaving the Lune's side causing her to tilt her head in curiosity, but completely forgot about it once Cedric jogged up to her.  Her smile never leaving her muzzle, in fact it might have even grown wider now that the man was close to her and hearing his voice was like music to her ears, which remained warm and she was glad that any flushness was hidden by her dense fur.  Kai laughed along with him, grateful for any time spent with the Lune,

"Remind me to thank him later."

Her gaze fell to the basket before returning to the deep golden hues of the Stryder before her,

"And what is it we have here?"

She motioned with her hand towards the basket before linking arms with Cedric and continuing to walk along the beach, their feet leaving pawprints in the snow and sand.  Over the last several moons, the two had been through an emotional rollercoaster, there were highs and lows and through it all they were at each other's side.  Something that felt so natural and right to her, quickly he was becoming her dearest friend, but was there something more?

  [412] // Ooc Here//
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Word Count: 364

Cedric had matured a lot through the years. Things that confused him so long ago felt a little different now. He knew more about his emotions thanks to experience, witnessing others around him, supporting them through changes. Yet, as in tune as he might be, thoughts of love still puzzled him. Cedric was incredibly caring and kind, he valued the lives of others more than anything, cherishing their words and their lives. But where did the line fall? When did that love for family turn into love for more? Cedric had felt safe when he was with Cidro, he felt normal, as close to himself as he could. Around Kai... the Stryder knew it felt the same. He knew something was there, yet it was like looking up a mountain, unsure on how to climb it safely. How to act, how to show things without overthinking it. Cedric had barely been able to hug Cidro without worrying it was wrong, so how could he show Kai how much she meant?

His hands curled around the basket... gifts would work for only so long. Perhaps the answer Cedric was looking for would never be there, perhaps he didn't need to think about it so much. 

Once in her company, any minute creases of stress on the Lune's face melted away, easily moving his arm to let Kai hook hers through, before leading them along the shore. "This?" Cedric lifted the basket, then chuckled... he wasn't the kind of man to lie, unfortunately. "I will be honest... Parzival gave it to me. To give to you. My daughters made all the things inside as well, so they must be in on this prank... or whatever it is." They could look through it in a bit, once Cedric had a moment to enjoy the view and the quiet. 

A time to gather his thoughts, knowing he couldn't back down from this tonight. Parzival wouldn't allow it and, if Cedric was honest, he didn't want to linger on it anymore. "Kai... I um," Cedric began, the usually confident Lune lost for words. "What do you... think of when you think of me?"

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Snowflakes fell around the ying and yang wolf hybrids as they walked with linked arms, enjoying each other's company, or at least Kai hoped.  Occasionally a gust of arctic air would blow, causing her grip to be a little tighter on the man's arm and her to move a little closer.  Mismatched orbs fell to the basket in question, a smile still on her face and a simple nod as she looked back up into the deep golden hues,

"Well then I shall thank them as well, when I see them again."

Of course the Wolfe-Denahlii woman was curious of what was in the basket, but really all she wanted to do was enjoy her time with the silvery man.  So that is what she did, the two walked for a bit lost in their own thoughts it seemed.  Every once in a while a little hum would escape her muzzle or she would rest her head against the man's upper arm.  Being next to Cedric felt so natural, when she was with him she was home. But still she was nervous, her cheeks and ears were flush and warm, and her heart beat fluttered with every breath.  There was some unspoken bond between them? Or was it just her imagination, wishing for something to be there, when it wasn't. 

The Lune's voice brought her out of her thoughts and her attention back to him.  Looking up at him once more she paused, the question he asked was out of character for him and it took the sable woman by surprise.  Was she honest with him and herself?  Did she say what was in her heart, did Kai even know what that was? Silently she stepped in front of him, taking his free hand, gently her delicate inky fingers caressed the leather cuff on his wrist, the on she had given him moons ago, looking at it for a moment she smiled before looking up at the man before her,

"When I think of you, I think of the most beautiful sunrise or sunset, I think of a fresh spring rain or the first stunning snowfall of the season."

Kai paused a cupped the man's head with her other small hand, still a sincere smile across her muzzle,

"I think of all the times we have spent together, and how I never want them to end. I think how every time a door opens, my heart skips a beat hoping that it's you coming through, with every breeze I think how wonderful it would be if it carried your scent…"

The woman paused a moment, looking deep into his golden gaze, not wanting to look away, but wanting to remember this moment forever, no matter what happened after. Closing her eyes for just a moment, she took a deep breath before opening them once more, as a way to get up the nerve to do something she had been wanting to do for a long time.  It was now or never.  Opening her eyes once more, a single tear started to form at the corner of her eye, not because of sadness but because of joy. And in that moment she reached up on her tip toes, and gently pressed her lips to his closing her eyes, letting it linger there for just a moment before pulling away,

"And I think that I'm falling in love with you…"

  [577] // Ooc Here//
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Word Count: 493

Cedric's heart hammered in his chest the moment he asked Kai. He wanted her to go first; prompting her into something to see if she had the same mindset as him. Would she answer with words of respect for Cedric as Lune? Fondness as friend? Or something more. Truly, it was the coward's choice to make Kai go first, but Cedric had never been an expert in this kind of thing. He always went second, reacting rather than beginning because he feared he would mess it up. Kai brought them to a stop, folding her hand into one of his own as she began to list the things she thought about around Cedric. It was building to something; her words like a story-book forming before Cedric, reaching a conclusion he felt like he could predict but that made his stomach flip all the same. 

She had concluded her points, Cedric let go of his breath he'd held throughout, and would go to speak if Kai did not rise up to kiss him. A territory Cedric was not familiar with, something he'd hardly experienced before. He returned it, moving a hand to hover over Kai's shoulder, then her neck, before finally resting gently against the back of her head. Cedric didn't know what he was doing, right or wrong, it felt new and good but not in the way most would view a kiss. Cedric felt no spark from the contact like most probably would, but instead a growing warmth in his chest from knowing who he was sharing the moment with, the one he wanted to share it with. 

When it was done, Kai admitted her thoughts and Cedric huffed out a quiet laugh. "Well... I am the same." He replied simply, before dropping his gaze and his hand. He couldn't keep Kai in the dark however, about how Cedric functioned in a relationship. "I just... you know me better than most, perhaps anyone. So believe me when I say that I share such feelings for you." The Lune began. "But I struggle to show it, as I struggle to show a lot of things. I want to love you, if you would have me of course, but I also want to make sure you are... happy with the way I am. The way I show feelings... it isn't exactly normal."

Cedric doubted Kai would care, she never doubted him before, perhaps now she would help him feel comfortable with himself just as he'd become comfortable around her. "You bring me a joy unlike I feel around others. The weight on my shoulders feels lighter around you and I don't want to dance around having something special between us. But how I show it, how I tell you that I love you... it isn't like others. I don't... always know what to do, but I promise the feelings are there."

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The two had taken a gamble on each other, no longer dancing around what was apparently evident to the resident mountain lion and Cedric's daughters, but putting it out in the open to see what would happen.  The entire time, Kai's heart raced and it felt like butterflies in her stomach with an occasional flip, the Lune had asked her feelings and they had always been honest with each other and so she told him, told him everything that came to her mind and then she kissed him.  She didn't know why she did, or how she had the bravery to do it, but she was so thankful that she did.  In that moment, when the silvery man kissed her back and cradled her head gently in his hand, her heart skipped a beat and then tried to jump out of her chest.  Excitement jolted through her vein and it was like he set her world aflame.

Once the kiss was over, her eyes fluttered open and she once again got lost in those deep golden hues that captivated her every time, nuzzling softly into his hand that caressed her face before he dropped it once more.  To see him smile and to hear his next words made Kai beyond happy.  So happy that it took everything in her to control herself and not jump for joy, but to stand there, still with him, holding his hand intertwined with hers.  The sable woman was in love, and the love was returned, she really would have to thank Parzival and the girls later for helping make this happen today.

Cedric and Kai had previously had many conversations about how the Lune put walls up around his emotions, so it was no surprise of what he said next.  The Wolfe-Denahlii woman stood there and listened to every word, nodding and unable to stop smiling.  Taking one hand, she placed it on his chest over his heart, she could feel it beating,

"I am happiest when I'm with you. I…" she paused for a moment almost giddy with what she was about to say, "I love you, for you, on the good days, and especially on the bad.  I know that you will always be there for me, and just because you may not express your love like someone else may, I still feel it there.  No one is perfect, and when you love someone, you love them because of who they are and how they make you feel." she chuckled for a moment, "I guess an easier way to say it would be, yes.  Yes I want to be with you and yes I'm okay with you exactly the way you are."

Finally Kai was silent again, and after a moment, still smiling, she wrapped her arms around the man before her and rested her head on his chest. In that moment she was home and felt whole. After what seemed like too short of a time she pulled back and looked up at Cedric again.

"Guess we owe a certain feline a huge thank you, as well as Celia and Soledad?  We should do something nice for them."

Kai began to laugh again, moving to the man's side and linking arms with him once more, wherever the Lune wanted to lead her, she would follow, for now and for always.

  [566] // Ooc Here//
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Word Count: 320

Despite Cedric's open nature and his need help, he could be a fairly closed off man. Not from intention, but just from how he tended to keep many of his complex emotions hidden away, sometimes even from himself. Throughout the years Cedric had tapped into understanding himself more, to better himself as a leader and bring some confidence to those who trusted him. So he did at least understand more than he used to, however Cedric wasn't always sure others would be able to follow if he explained. Yet with Kai... such worries didn't exist. She seemed to know Cedric perhaps more than he knew himself. 

So naturally she would be fine with how he acted, how he showed things... yet the relief was still just as freeing when Kai hugged him, well aware of his flaws and loving him all the same for them. Cedric did not have to change, he didn't have to act differently in order for Kai to love him, and that was liberating. It took a moment, but eventually Cedric's shoulders dropped and his arms curled around the back of Kai, holding her close. 

"Not much has to change... we already spend a lot of time together. I know my duties keep my time short but I will try my best to make arrangements, perhaps share some nights together." It would bring some warmth to Cedric's home given he only had Parzival with him there, but likewise for Kai's own home over in Wolfville. 

They began to slowly walk once more across the beach, Cedric's smile not leaving his face and his eyes lighting up with a chuckle at the mention of his children. "We shall, they had a way of forcing me to do things that they know will benefit me. I'm lucky to have them... perhaps a nice meal for the three of them?"

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In that moment, with her arms wrapped around the silvery man, feeling him relax and hold her, all was right in the world and she was truly happy. Kai sighed contently, never wanting the moment to end, but sadly all good things must come to an end.  She looked up at Cedric and smiled, or rather continued to smile, nothing could remove the smile she had, not today and she nodded in agreement,

"I will gladly take any time you can spare, but I don't want to take away time from your duties as Lune, you are too important to the pack and to me. Nothing would make me happier than to spend some nights with you."

Everything that was happening, every small step that the man made to show affection like him embracing her in a hug, or offering to spend some nights together, were huge steps for him and she was forever thankful and grateful that Cedric felt comfortable enough to be willing to share those things with her.  It's those little things that showed how much he cared for and loved her.

Reluctantly, she moved to his side so they could walk once more. With butterflies still doing loop de loops in  her stomach, her heart racing and flushed ears and cheeks, she was so happy. Looking up once more she gave a nod,

"I think a nice dinner for them would be lovely, we can pull out all the stops to show them how much we appreciate them and thank them for how much they believed in us. Maybe I can carve them some charms as well, just a little something to say thank you."

The two walked for a little while in silence, Kai enjoyed being beside him and the warmth it brought to her heart and body. Mismatched orbs watched the snowflakes swirl around them and the waves lap at the sands, melting any snow that lingered for too long. Then she caught glimpse of the basket once more, completely have forgotten it with their confessions to each other.

"Hmmm, maybe we should discover what's in this lovely basket? Would hate for their hard work to go to waste?"

The sable woman laughed softly, giving a loving squeeze to the Lune's arm.  Today was a day that she would treasure forever and always and looked forward to what the future may hold for the two of them. 

  [407] // Ooc Here//
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Word Count: 415

"You could always accompany me when I tend to the pack. You are one of our best Counselors after all." Cedric suggested, the words forming just as he thought of them. It did sound like an ideal arrangement; a means for the couple to be together more but also a chance for Kai to act as a voice for those who needed it in the pack. The Lune could also learn a thing or two from listening to Kai's attempts to soothe others. Whilst the man had grown leaps and bounds in his confidence at talking to others, Cedric knew that learning was never done, and something like learning to better speak to his Cavaliers felt like vital information. No doubt now, just from being with Kai, Cedric would pick up a lot on how to be empathetic and say the right words. Maybe even for himself as well. 

"I can get some fish, I know at least Parzival likes that the most. The girls would love a charm for a gift I'm sure." Because unlike their feline brother, the girls had made it clear many times in the past that fish was not in fact their favourite meal. Despite being given it by Cedric for months of their young lives without complaining. "They'll be so happy to see you more as well. No doubt a bit fed up with having just me around all the time." They could all do things together as well, provided Celia and Soledad weren't busy with other things. Perhaps Kai could join Cedric when he fixed up Soledad's hair, a thought that made Cedric glance to Kai's own onyx locks. 

With Kai's interest in the basket growing, Cedric brought them to a stop just before the dark lines of sand that indicated the rise of the shore, setting the gift hamper down in the sand and sitting next to it. The contents were covered by some furs, so Cedric pulled them back to let Kai see. Looking at the diplay of the beeswax and lavender jars, the knitted scarf and bracelet, Cedric was ashamed to not piece together things when Parzival turned up with it. Everything seemed tailored towards Kai, far too convenient for something mere left 'abandoned' as Parz tried to lie. Still, the truth was surprising, as it seemed Cedric's daughters had some talents to them that the father was yet to discover: either in crafts or in bartering. 

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Snowflakes began to collect in her hair and slowly melted as they landed on her dark muzzle. The wind sent the freshly fallen snow in small cyclones around them, but Kai didn't notice any of it, the only thing that she saw was the man before her, and getting lost in the deep golden orange orbs.  Forever smiling, the woman nodded,

"It would be an honor to spend some time at work with you and see the pack through your eyes.  Maybe I could reach more people that way and make sure everyone is holding up okay and if they need help, maybe I could offer my assistance.  But I'll have no special treatment from the Lune, at least not in public."

She began to laugh, in all there time together she didn't think she had mentioned about eventually wanted to move to the Brotherhood and then the council.  But that was a conversation for another time, these moments were just about them, how they felt about each other, and their brand new relationship that was starting.  How exciting it all was!

A blast of arctic air wrapped around them and a chill ran up Kai's spine, causing her to cling to the man a little tighter as they walked, enjoying the warmth of his body next to hers.  Maybe after their walk on the beach they could enjoy a nice hot tea or warm cider, whatever they did, she knew that she didn't want this day to end.

Soon the conversation turned to what they could do they could do for the ones that set this event in motion as a thank you and she listened to the silvery man's ideas nodding along,

"That sounds wonderful, a nice big meal and a few gifts.  Maybe I can make Parzival something as well, and nice warm kitty bed or toy."

She couldn't help but chuckle, she could just see this giant mountain lion playing with a toy filled with cat nip.

"Though I doubt the girls would ever tire of you, there is something special about the connection between father and daughter.  I am sure they would prefer more time, than less with you, but I would definitely enjoy spending time with all of them, part of the family if they would have me be so."

Curiosity had gotten the better of her and she had asked about the basket once more and soon Cedric brought them to a stop, setting the basket down and taking a seat next to it. Kai joined him, her cloak billowing around her as she sat close enough to him to still feel his warmth.  Mismatched orbs grew wide and filled with joy as his light furred paws drew back the furs that were covering the items in the basket, so many wonderful things.  Inky hands reached out to explore it's contents, a lovely scarf so soft to the touch, candles smelled of lavender and a beautiful bracelet, items she would cherish always.

Looking up to the man sitting beside her smile grew and she leaned up to give him a kiss on the cheek before nuzzling into his scruff and neck,

"This is so wonderful…"

Kai could feel the tears of joy and love welling in her eyes again, so she reluctantly pulled away and reached into the basket taking out the scarf and wrapping it around her neck and then took the bracelet gently in her hand, offering it to Cedric,

"Will you help me put this on?  I never want to take it off…"

This had turned into the most amazing day, it was something that she would never forget and would think of often, the day her new life with the man of her dreams started.

  [634] // Ooc Here//
Through This Magnifying Glass - I See A Thousand Fingerprints - On The Surface Of Who I Am 

OOC: Word Count: 324

Cedric chuckled lightly to Kai's response, squeezing her arm a little tighter. "I shall try. You know I value everyone in Casa and share the same amount of love, but if Parzival is an example of anything it is how... soft I tend to become around those I love." He remarked. Celia and Soledad weren't all too spoilt though, perhaps because they'd been raised partly by Minerva and Aldora and didn't have as much of a demand from Cedric. Their independence had grown far quicker than Parzival's as well, so the father didn't have a chance to spoil his daughters even when he wanted to.

Parzival on the other hand relished in being spoilt, not caring about any kind of judgement that labelled him as 'lazy' or a 'house cat', which made Kai's idea of a gift for him sound quite perfect. Cedric smiled and nodded, "We could put the bed in your home as well, provided you consent to having a large cat roam your home more often now, I warn you that he makes every door a trip harzard." Parzival did have a love for Kai after all, Cedric couldn't imagine the cat going so far to make such an arrangement between his father and another canine if it was anyone else. She'd seen him grow up after all, from a stubborn kitten to a... less stubborn young adult.

"Celia and Soledad will love you. They can both be a bit like me, but also incredibly kind. Talented as well, if these gifts prove anything." Cedric replied, moving then to help Kai get her assortment of gifts on, admiring the bracelet for a moment on the clever use of coloured beads. "Hmm," Cedric began, looking to the lovely gifts and then chuckling, "Funny but they've never made such things for me before. Perhaps they've already chosen a favourite." The Lune jested.

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