private A MOTHER'S SORROW | lightning

Jul 8, 2022
tw: talks about child death, although not in heavy detail

there's something beautiful about motherhood. even as she stares down upon this fawn-painted girl, sickly and weak, the woman cannot help but to sob at the sight of her. there is something bittersweet in all of this. there is too much of the girl's father in her pelt, and yet she loves them so dearly. her mother is peering in, clearly distraught at the sex of the newborn. a meek woman brings forth a curse of a daughter, who in turn, brings a curse of a daughter. but buck cannot see this child as a curse. this is the closest thing to holiness to exist, and now she must wonder why her own mother could not feel the same towards her. why she wept as buck had first nursed, and why she had given him such a horrid man.

the child dances and sways, the dying light behind her and buck is joyous. she loves her. she loves her. she loves her. her daughter is not a curse, this must be a blessing despite the circumstances. her eyes are bright and clear, she has white spotting on her. buck had named her fawn, because she should not have to hide her femininity the same way buck had been forced to. she should rejoice in her beauty and be at peace with herself. the child begs for buck to join her. the woman does.

the rise and fall of the young slows and buck knows that her time as a mother had come to an end. the child's father stands before them, glaring down at buck and this perceived failure of a girl. buck does not return his gaze, so locked onto her daughter that she's sure that it'll bring her back. what sort of loving world takes away her joy like this? what sort of world separates a mother from her child? and what sort of man blames the mother, even if buck agrees that the blame is all her's.

she is too obsessed with overpowering her family that she did not stop when her stomach grew. she forced herself to exhaustion, she would not be a meek woman like her mother. she would be something her family could not deny. the stress of her body affected her child. she brought forth someone sickly, with no hope of seeing her first winter. is buck not cruel for this? is she not her own child's murderer?

her eyes are wet when she awakes, body shuddering and breath ragged and rough. there is no child by her side, even if there should be. there's nothing left of a family, and something about that weakens buckgait. it's all she wanted. something happy, a partner and a family of their own. she could have been a good mother.

it burns, the tears staining her cheeks. they feel big and fat as they wet the earth below, and buck can not stay with the slumbering warriors of riverclan. she is quiet in her departure, the last thing the woman needs is some stranger watching her cry. the nursery haunts her. there is a queen in there with children of her own and the envy strangles buck. it should be her. it should've been her.

buck can't fight the tears. she hasn't cried in moons that it has turned into such a strange and uncomfortable feeling. grief is common in riverclan now, but she is mourning something far different than the rest of the cats here. she can't stop crying. it feels overwhelming and not enough at the same time, like she needs to drown in it. taking a breath hurts, her lungs are straining and no amount of deep breaths can make her feel anything short of lightheaded. how much must she mourn? how long will this haunt her? there has not been a second where buck does not think of her dear fawn. she hopes the child never forgives her.

It's difficult to spend so much time with a cat and not grow to care about them in some capacity. She's still annoying, and smug, and incredibly frustrating. But he's also learned other things about her, like how passionate she can be, or how courageous of a heart she actually has. Perhaps in some world, he'd consider her an acquaintance. Still annoying, though.

But he cares. And when his diligent eyes flicker open in the darkness of night to see her shuddering form leave the warrior's den, it's that care that drags him out after her. No, it's just duty. He's assigned to watch her. It's nothing more than that, would never be anything more than that. The sooner he's finished babysitting her the better.

Lightningstone draws closer, and only then does he hear the weeping. He hesitates mid-step, caught off-guard. He hadn't expected to witness such raw emotion from the proud she-cat. Truthfully, it shakes him, and he needs to compose himself before continuing to pad closer. He arrives at her side, dark paws halting at the river's edge as he gazes sidelong at her. His jaws part, as if to say something, but close once more. He doesn't know what to say. After several moments, all he can murmur is, "Buckgait." There's concern in his voice. What's caused the wild and free river cat to be so...broken?
he enters the scene; she stiffens. trying to hush down her own sorrow does little to no good, and she wishes she held the power to send him away. to peer only at the ground until she is far from view and impossible to hear. her paws twitch with discomfort, head hung low as he utters that godforsaken name. buckgait. buckgait the captive. buckgait, under watchful eyes. buckgait, simply different from the rest. she hates every single connotation of the name. buck was so simple. buck had fought and fought for a singular ounce of freedom. now here she is. in a camp with no privacy and nowhere to mourn in peace.

lightningstone is nothing more than a stranger in her daily life. forced to be apart of every single routine she may ever create until she somehow proves herself worthy. worthy of an ounce of solitude. it drives her mad, and she is sure that he feels the same. he has not come to her out of care for her well-being. he does not hold any tender emotion when it comes to buck, she does not hold him at all.

the woman knows that if she were to speak, it would not be anything of normality. her voice would bend and break with raw emotion, and she would only talk of her loss. but perhaps it's the only way of surpassing this. she doesn't look at him, but the sight of his moon-drenched paws bring something close to comfort. there's too much shame to look him in the eye like she normally can. her eyes are on the water, and her reflection is eyeing her back.

"i was a mother once. did you know that?" buck feels as if she sounds deranged, lightheaded after the tears and sobs.
"i sacrificed everything. and it wasn't enough. my child, my family, my own name." she had done everything to hold the world and she still resides in the shadows of it all. what did buck hold if not the waters of the river? something that flows through and around her paws, nudging the webbing out of the way and carrying on. "she was perfect. i tried so hard to be perfect for her."

there's a break in the fluidity of the water. a singular tear rippling through and destroying the reflections. how something so small could do so much damage. she weeps again.

Dark gray ears flick forward, emotionless hazel eyes remaining fixed upon her. No, he hadn't known. But he can see it. She may be irritating, but there's something maternal about her in the way she cares for some of the young cats, like Raccoonpaw. It hasn't gone unnoticed by the watchful warrior. By the way she speaks, it becomes obvious that something happened to her kit. And the weeping continues - he won't dare ask what happened.

Many might call the stoic tom a fox-heart - he's aware he's not warm and friendly like many of his clanmates. He's a cynic, a realist. He sees the world for what it is: a cruel, harsh place. But dammit, he has a heart. He has never claimed to be a friend of the woman beside him. Quite the opposite, really. He is her guard, her chaperone, the warrior to ensure she causes no havoc around RiverClan. But he can grieve for a mother who lost her child. He is not heartless.

His gaze drifts to the sky as he draws in a deep breath through his nose. The stars twinkle above, easy to spot without a single cloud in the sky. "Do you believe in StarClan?" He asks, still watching the sky. He doesn't. Not quite, anyway. How could he? He's seen no proof - how in hell is he supposed to believe there's a clan of dead cats in the sky? But maybe if Buckgait does, it can at least provide her with some comfort. Her kit would be up there, if it existed.