A Dream Made Real

[p] - Milos

POSTED: Mon Feb 11, 2019 6:03 pm

It’d been a long day for Bramble. He’d risen so early it might have been the middle of the night before and been out on a hunt, tracking down something a little larger than just a couple of rabbits. The deer rested over one shoulder, its blood dripping down his back and drying into his fur. It’d been a hell of a battle of wills and his prey had given Bramble a few bruises and scratches to remember it by, eventually though the Parhelion’s tactics and patience had won out. Of course, after finally having won that battle, Bramble had then had to carry the carcass back home. The extra weight had slowed him, but there was no way he was going to give up his prize, not when he thought of how amazing it was going to smell when he cooked it over the fire.

Arriving back at their quiet camp, Bramble could see the fires flickering through the trees, and he wasn’t sure he could remember a more welcome sight. Sure he was hungry, but Bramble was tired too, and he could really do with a lie down before he jointed the carcass and perhaps his stomach would be kind enough to wait for breakfast before it made him cook it something, though it was doubtful. Slowly he picked his way through the trees whistling a soft tune, just letting the others known that he was coming and wasn’t an intruder. The last thing he really wanted was to carry dinner all the way home, only to be jumped by his family. It’s one of the reasons he’d approached the camp so that his scent blew towards them. As he emerged from the trees his eyes fell on a familiar sight and they paused.

Before the fire, looking tired, well exhausted, thin and wearing raggedy clothes was Milos, his dad. His stomach clenched, this time for a completely different reason other than hunger. Every time Bramble managed to push the disappearance of his da, his mind played cruel tricks on him. It wasn’t the first time either. The Parhelion had lost count of the number of times he’d seen his da wandering through the camp, or sitting beside the fire. Sometimes he was smiling, other times he was unconscious or raggedy. This hallucination seemed not to be as good as Milos in Bramble’s more optimistic moods, but wasn’t as bad as Milos in Bramble’s more pessimistic moments. The Parhelion squeezed his mis-matched eyes shut and counted to three, opening them again to see the figure there still. His breath hitched in his lungs, but Bramble shook his head and began to walk to his rude shelter, planning on dumping the carcass nearby so he could start preparing it. Wishful thinking and exhaustion had both got the better of his common sense and had taken control of his faculties. Despite himself, Bramble felt a tear leak from his blue eye and lose itself in his cheek.
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POSTED: Fri Feb 15, 2019 7:22 pm

Motionless and grim, he stared into the flames with his mind miles away and lost within the maze of time. A different fire warmed him as he sat, reliving that terrible last night he had spent with Talbot and Degaré. He believed that he could still smell the tang of Otilie's blood and the hot anger from the beast of the wolf who had cut her life short. Sucking air into his lungs in quick, shallow inspirations, Milos felt himself slip away from reality and back into his living nightmare.

Since reuniting with his family, the fallen Captain had kept his distance. He was scared and he was tired, but he was also overwhelmed. Despite his promises to Daisy that he would make sure they got back home safely, there was a soft and silky voice within that whispered to him day and night throughout their entire ordeal; it told him that, whatever good he did to keep his promise to his daughter, he was not getting out of this alive.

So insidious was this suggestion, so quiet and unassuming, that Milos hadn't even realized the impact it had made on him until that evening of his reunion with Eliza. He had kept his promise; he had made it.

But it was not what he had believed would happen, not deep down in the center of his soul.

That wasn't the only reason for Milos' belated return to his family – there was also the whiplash of being surrounded again by love and tenderness and the terror of just how much of a liability he was to them all – but it was perhaps the most honest one.

In a way, he felt as though he was on borrowed time.

Gentle as a caress, a familiar scent slipped into his nose and managed, with some time and difficulty, to draw him back to the present day – next to a fire made by deft hands belonging to kind hearts. Slowly, Milos returned to reality, blinking his eyes to clear his thoughts and turning his head hesitantly toward the origin of that smell.

"Bramble?" he managed, staring as though uncertain if what he was seeing was real or a fabrication of his mind. Bony and half-naked, with only a ragged loincloth to his name, Milos sat against the firelight and held his breath.

[WC —393]


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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
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POSTED: Sun Feb 17, 2019 1:00 pm

When he heard the voice, the Parhelion with the mismatched eyes, halted but did not turn. No matter how many times he’d hallucinated the sight of his beloved da, never before had he heard it speak. Bramble couldn’t turn around though, he couldn’t look, just to find out that his imagination was playing the cruellest kind of trick. Bramble had been strong, and he’d retained most of his relaxed and outgoing attitude, but inside he hurt, and if he turned and Milos wasn’t there, well he didn’t think he would survive something like that. The younger Parhelion managed a few more steps without looking back, but his mind halted him again, that most pernicious of emotions reared its ugly head, hope. What if he was wrong? What if his da was there? How could Bramble forgive himself for just walking away?

Screwing up his courage, Bramble turned his head, but realised his eyes were shut. Opening one blue eye he peered at the gaunt image of his dad, who had stood, that was something his visions hadn’t done in the past. Slowly a yellow eye opened, before both eyes squeezed shut and opened again. Milos still stood there.

”Da?”

Bramble wished his tone didn’t sound so uncertain and wasn’t tinged with such desperation, it made him sound like an idiot. Swallowing he tried again.

”That really you?”

It might have sounded like such a stupid question, but Bramble needed to hear it, needed to be sure. Too often his mind had played tricks on him. Despite growing older and wiser, Milos was still Bramble’s hero. Whenever he came across the older Parhelion, Bramble was reduced to that quivering pup who was once held in his dad’s arms and brought in from the snow. To see him there, no matter what his condition, brought a tear to Bramble’s eye.
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POSTED: Wed Mar 13, 2019 5:11 pm

He watched as the wolfdog – a grown and fine-looking young man who resembled his son so well – stepped away from him without turning to the sound of the spoken name. Milos hung his head. Not his son, then. But who? A distant relative who had come away with the rest of the Cormier-Parhelion family? Perhaps a family friend.

The smell was not wrong; it did not ignite danger within him. Unwillingly, Milos found his mind being coaxed back into the darkness of old thoughts.

"Da?"

His breath catching in his throat, Milos lifted his head and turned it quickly. The young man whose back had been turned so resolutely before was looking at him now with those mismatched eyes that the elder Parhelion knew so very well. In the seconds that spanned between Bramble's words, Milos failed to produce words and found he could only offer a gentle nod.

Rising stiffly, using a hand against his knee to muster the strength to stand, the greying wolfdog crossed the distance that separated them and held his arms out to pull his son into a hug. "Yes," he breathed, his voice little more than a whisper. Bending his head, Milos wept freely. "Bram... It really is." His arms trembled softly as he clutched his son against him, wishing to never let him go. "Missed ya so much, Bram. So much."

OOC: <333 Lmk if the embrace is no bueno!

[WC — 231]


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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
the sun still rises
even through the rain

POSTED: Mon Mar 18, 2019 4:18 pm

Bramble’s mismatched eyes watched his father, hope clear in his gaze. Could he truly allow himself to be sucked into another hallucination? As the younger Parhelion felt his da’s fingers touch him, Bramble dropped the carcass he’d been carrying with a thud, and wrapped his father in a gentle, but desperate embrace. He felt, rather than saw, the tears of his father. The warm wetness was just another confirmation that his da was there, in his arms and that Bramble wasn’t dreaming.

”Oh da.” was all Bramble could manage, his throat to too tight for anything else.

Milos was thinner and there was no doubt that his traumas had aged him, but Bramble didn’t care. Before him was one of the two people he loved more than anything in the whole world. The younger Parhelion wanted nothing more than to weep with joy and relief, but his eyes remained dry, knowing that now his dad needed him to be strong, needed him to be there for him. Despite his dry eyes, Bramble’s voice still quivered as he took a ragged breath.

”Missed y’ too dad.”

Gently he rubbed his dad’s back, enjoying the feel of Milos, of being embraced by him. Bramble luxuriated in the simple presence of his da. The older male, no matter his state, always managed to make Bramble feel small again and surrounded by safety, it was the most intoxicating of feelings, but this time round, Milos needed him and there was no way that Bramble wouldn’t step up to the mark.

”Y’ back now and that’s all that matters. Can’t tell y’ how many times I’ve seen y’ sitting there and then disappear as I get closer. I thought y’ were a phantom. I’m so sorry I failed y’ da. I promise though, I promise if anyone tries to come for you again, they’ll have t’ kill me first. Ain’t gonna let y’ go again.”

Bramble, genuine, kind and laid back Bramble, never meant something with such sincerity in his life, there was no way that he would allow someone, anyone, to take his da away again, not ever.
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POSTED: Sun Apr 07, 2019 6:25 pm

Bramble's arms held him with gentleness but there was strength and warmth and passion in the embrace that reminded Milos how terribly long it had been since the day their lives were irreparably altered. Winter was only just on its way, with autumn on the cusp of surrendering its power to the season of cold and frost, of snow and wind. But here, now, winter was in full control with spring quickly closing in.

Oh, he had missed so very much.

His tears spilled onto Bram's head and dampened his mane. But he wept silently, his jagged breathing and gentle tremors the only other evidence of his overwhelming emotion. Feeling his son's palm rubbing his back – a gesture he was sure to have done to his son more than once – the elder Parhelion listened as Bramble spoke and marveled at how mature and brave his boy – who, once upon a time, had been so afraid to even leave the house – had grown.

Milos felt his heart drop into his stomach when his son spoke again. Gently, the fallen Captain shifted – enough that he could look at him without removing his arms from his son's embrace – and found Bramble's face. "Ah, Bram." he breathed, looking for his son's eyes. "You en't failed me. Ya got out – you're safe." After a pause, he asked: "What's it that makes ya think that?"

Taking a hand away from his son's body, Milos lifted it to brush Bramble's mane away from his face while he waited for the younger Parhelion to respond.

[WC — 268]


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Luperci Mate to Eliza but you'd become my candle in the dark
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POSTED: Wed Apr 17, 2019 10:31 am

Bramble said nothing, he didn’t want to say anything. The moment the father and son shared needn’t be sullied by words. Quietly Milos wept and Bramble could feel the salty wetness fall onto his mane, but the younger Parhelion didn’t mind, he relished it. Every touch and change meant that he wasn’t dreaming this, that his pa was really back, and really here. Yes Milos looked changed, and it would take time for him to recover, but he was here, among family, and safe once again. Bramble licked his dad, gently and tenderly, needing to taste him, needing to build that connection, that for so many months had gone unaffirmed.

Finally though his dad stepped back, looking at him and speaking in the oh so familiar voice. The moment had changed, and Bramble already wished it hadn’t. The Luperci with the mismatched eyes had hoped that the return of his parent would mean that he would stop being afraid, stop having to be brave, but things were different now, and the younger Pahrelion was quickly learning that there was no way, no matter what he did, that they would ever be the same again.

As he felt the rough hand, gently brush said his mane, Bramble realised he couldn’t look at his pa any more, he turned away, ashamed that now he had to admit his failings.

”If I’d been faster, or worked harder with Betsy then, I could have saved you and Krokar. If I’d not been so worried about disappearing off and exploring the world I could have patrolled more and let folks know earlier. If I’d not been selfish, we’d still have a home, and they’d never have taken you away.”

Bramble had always been generous with his emotions, and his anguish was written all over his face. The easy smile, so assiduously kept in place to make sure Percy and his other family were protected and taken care of, dissolved as Bramble withdrew upon himself. He wanted to tell Milos that the flames that reached into the sky still marred his dreams, and even now he could smell the smoke of the fires that destroyed the only place he’d ever grown up in.

”Let me help you da, what can I do?”

He said finally, knowing that his dad now needed him, needed his help and needed his strength. Bramble would make sure Milos had it.
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