Cross The Line [Ash]

Jun 14, 2022

✵ ღ ☾ I'LL LET YOU DOWN - As a kit, Cloudy never much liked strangers, though those were usually two-legged giants, poking and prodding at her through her metal bars.
That all had to change when she was found by a patrol on that fateful night, and brought back to a camp full of strange faces. She had to get over that fear very quickly after that.
Now, she is walking alongside another, not quite a stranger, but certainly not one she knows well. Ash, a peer with a kind heart but dull claws. She isn’t certain she has ever spoken to the tom.
It didn’t surprise her that she had been assigned a partner to hunt with, what had surprised her was the fact that he was her age, she always almost got paired with an adult.
She couldn’t help but be grateful though, adults often liked to chat, and order her around, but she strode in quiet confidence next to Ash, her maw slightly parted as she waited for the scent of prey to catch anything.
❝ This way. ❞ she instructed softly to her companion, gesturing her head to the right before the duo would make a sharp turn, the smell of a nearby rat growing stronger.
Eventually the lead would take them to the Carrionplace, and Cloudy’s mental settings began to churn in thought.
❝ You think we’d be able to scare one out? ❞ She mused to Ash, determined to bring back something to the group, as the prey pile was looking as pitiful as ever.

❝ Speech. ❞

Ash sometimes feels as though he's another species entirely from his peers. Quiet where they're brash, shy where they're confident, meek where they're brave--he falls short in every category that matters. Even in looks, he thinks sadly, following the lovely, pristine Cloudy with heavy paws. There's not a mark on the purity of her pelt, while Ash, as always, looks as though he's dust-bathed in his namesake. The dappled coat looks pitiful on him, rather than unique and pretty as it does on his mother. It's such a shame.

Cloudy strides through the marsh with quiet confidence. She orders him with ease, though her tone is not cruel or bossy. Ash does not mind following her; he figures she must be a more accomplished hunter than he is. He would normally rather be around the adults, but Cloudy isn't so bad. Not so far, anyway.

The stench of the Carrionplace causes his face to wrinkle before they get there. He despises the rotting scents of Twoleg garbage and death, but as of late, it's been their best bet for prey. Only the true idiots or the absolute desperate would eat crowfood; Ash thinks to himself that he'd rather starve.

"Y-you mean a rat?" He asks, yellow eyes glazed with surprise and a tinge of fear. He knows some of his Clanmates had fought off rats not more than a moon ago, and although they'd gotten lucky, rat bites are known for bringing disease and infection. He shudders. "I guess if it's our only option, we should give it a try," he mutters.

He doesn't want to look like a coward in front of Cloudy, even if that's what he is.

He steps close to a pile of indeterminate trash. There's a sweet smell buried within its fleshy black skin. A meaty smell. His stomach turns. "Think we should dig?" He gives her a look. If she says yes, he will take the fall. It'd be a shame to dirty that beautiful fur.

tl;dr he smells a rotisserie chicken carcass or smth in a trash bag

✵ ღ ☾ I'LL LET YOU DOWN - Cloudy lets her gaze slide from the mesh lining to Ash, his yellow eyes luminescent against the setting sun, meeting her own dual hued gaze. Though, where her gaze was curious, his were dancing with something anxious.
❝ Yes, I think rats are nocturnal, so they’ll be awake. If we can make enough noise, I think we’ll be able to scare a few out❞ she strategized, watching with a careful gaze as the tom edges towards a pile of trash, not ignoring the own tantalizing smell that danced under the less savory ones.
❝ That’s a good idea, if you do that, I think I can figure out something to scare them… ❞ she trailed off, head turning back towards the fence, and craning to the structures of discarded and rotting wood that seemed to be littered about.
The hidden adrenaline junkie in her surged as she drummed up a possible idea, though the true question was if Ash would be up for a moment of risk. She looks to him then, keeping her gaze curious as she tilts her head ever so slightly, ❝ only if you’d be up for it? It might be… ❞ she finds herself trailing off once more as she searches for the right word. ❝ It’s a risk, but I think it’s our best bet in bringing something back for the others. If you can stay out here, I’ll lead them out from the inside. ❞ she explained, nodding her head to the wood she could use for sanctuary, though they were now giant black planks against the dimming light.
Cloudy didn’t take risks in front of the others, the careful supervision of the adults, but she couldn’t help the restlessness that cursed her paws after sitting still for so many moons. With Ash’s approval, she’d find that she would have to rely on her quick wits to get out of this rather bold plan unscathed.

❝ Speech. ❞

Ash tenses as Cloudy begins to outline her plot. What does she want me to do?! He frowns, the tip of his tail twitching back and forth with furious speed. "Um... isn't that dangerous?"

He closes his eyes against the glare of the sunset, against the things Cloudy is trying to convince him to do. Terror pierces his heart like a badger claw. If I die today, at least it'll be with a pretty and smart girl.

His mother would be furious if she knew what he was doing, but... he and Cloudy were almost adults. They were skilled enough to hunt for Briar's colony, to come up with plans that will feed others and keep themselves safe. Ash swallows his fear, though it lodges like a bone in his throat.

"O-okay. Let's do it."

He unsheathes his claws and tears a strip from the soft, sunken black belly of the Twoleg thing. Trash spills, and among it is the coveted item: some sort of bird carcass, and though it's not one he recognizes, its scent is tantalizing.

"They'll smell this for sure, if you draw them out," he says. His tone is curiously flat. He's basically accepted his death already. "I'll try and get 'em when you scare them out."

✵ ღ ☾ I'LL LET YOU DOWN - Her moment of anticipation is over once Ash gives his hesitant nod. She can’t help the part of her that felt guilty for pushing him, but the bigger part of her felt her paws begin already begin to tingle with adrenaline.
❝ I won’t let anything happen to you. ❞ She promised, blinking gratefully at him, because of him the kits and the colony would surely be able to eat tonight.
she would begin to dig, the rain storms making the damp soil easy to pry away, and if Ash were to have aided her, she would have a big enough hole in no time.
❝ Alright, just stay out here, I’ll try to guide some of them to the hole and you catch whatever comes out- I’ll be right back ❞ she gave her parting words before slipping under the fencing, not letting the flecks of dirt that gravitated towards her ivory pelt bother her.
On silent paws, she began to glide towards the void the carrion place had become under the moonlight.
A sharp ear swiveled backwards, alert for any sign of a rodents chitter, before continuing on.
She felt her heart begin to beat a bit faster as she gazed up, taking in her rather disgusting surroundings.
She turns to look back for Ash, only to discover he is now completely hidden from view. With one last deep breath, she rears and her paws crash against something metallic, sending a large crashing noise to disturb the nights stillness.
Now she hears it, the curious squeaks of the hidden pests, the soft scuttle of their talons as they begin to emerge. She doesn’t hesitate, she bolts to the highest structure she can find, a plank of rotting wood leaned against something unrecognizable.
She climbs the soft wood with ease, her hues alight with excitement as she watches the small pelted bodies begin to emerge, the breeze carrying the scent of Ash’s bait.
Something creaks under her paws-
Shit! Her surprised cry echoes as the wood gives away under her weight, sending her bouncing off something hard before she eventually rolls onto the dusty ground. Her hind leg burns as if she’s twisted it, but the beady eyes that swivel towards her are much more concerning.
It takes less than a heartbeat for her to be back on her paws and sprinting.
They did not come in hoards like Cloudy would have expected, but rather a scattered line, though she hardly turns around to get a good look.
She veers to the right, and the fence line is in sight, as well as undoubtedly frightened Ash.
❝ Be ready! ❞ She calls, though as she twists her head over her shoulder, it is clear they won’t be able to take them all at once.
She spins on her good heel, pouncing on the first rat she see’s.
Now, she serves as a barrier between Ash and the fence line protecting him, and can only hope he is able to handle the few that have managed to slip from her attacks and stream towards him and the bait.
Sending the first rat flying to the side, she moves to another as it advances towards her, slamming her forepaw into its rib cage, stunning it long enough to kill it, she grabs the body of the first and second and turns back towards the hole, too focused on escaping to worry about any Ash may have caught.
She dives through, spitting the two carcasses from her mouth with disgust and panic as she feels tiny talons sinking into her hind legs. Pulling herself through she quickly begins to close the hole, stuffing dirt into the faces of the rats that attempted to escape with her. ❝ Help me! Quick! ❞ She says to Ash, praying to the stars that his limbs have not turned to ice as she hastily begins to fill the hole.

[this is a whole ass essay but ;-; tldr: Cloudy went under the fence, created some noise to bring the rats out and climbed up a wooden plank for safety. Wooden plank broke, so she ran and was able to kill a couple of rats before escaping through the hole, and is now trying to bury it before anymore rats can follow her through]

❝ Speech. ❞