embrace the winds of change (p. azalea)

Jun 8, 2022

╰☆☆ There are no rules saying Foxy can't leave the camp. But as three white paws and a jet-black one traverse mud and darkness, the small calico begins to feel an intense nervous chill. Dewdrop has allowed her kits to stray from the den serving as their nursery, but Foxy isn't sure her mother would condone any of them going so far from home.

But I'm the oldest, Foxy assures herself internally. I'm five moons instead of four. Five moons is plenty old enough to hunt and catch prey and explore.

She's half-convinced herself of this when she catches a brilliant flash of pale tabby fur through the growth. Round amber eyes glow with curiosity. She's familiar with many of the older cats in the camp, but Azalea is one she's not met formally or interacted with. She has a big family, is all Foxy really knows about her.

If she catches something, I wanna see, Foxy thinks, practicing her stealth as she creeps forward. Unfortunately for her, she has little stealth to practice, and her paws crumble the wet leaves and grass beneath her, giving her location away almost as soon as she draws near.

✵ ღ ☾ IT TOOK ME BY SURPRISE - Truthfully, Azalea does not revel in her youth. To those who don’t know her, she prides herself on the fact that she presents as someone older, that her tall appearance and mature behavior can fool someone.
Yet, to her camp-mates, she is still a child, no matter how much she proves to them that she is much greater than her physical age, no matter how she excels at skills her peers cannot.
So, she tries harder. She brings back the most prey, she perfects her combat techniques until her muscles burn. She thinks about this as her eyes settle on what will be her first catch for the day, an unsuspecting lizard. She watches as it’s tiny head swivels, and she matches it’s cautious thinking. Quietly she moved along the dew-speckled grass, closer to the rock their both in a quiet race to get to. The lizard dashes forward, and Azalea follows close behind, waiting until it has reached the top before she-
Something rustles behind her, and the scent of another washes over her senses.
The the blink of an eye, her prey is gone.
Azalea swiveled to face whoever dared to interrupt her, but the flash of something orange makes her bow her chin to gaze upon-
❝ Foxy? ❞ Azalea’s brows furrow together with frustration. She doesn’t know the other well, spare for her being one of Dew’s kittens, though Azalea supposes she’s only a moon or two younger than she is.
❝ What are you doing here? Does Dew know where you are? ❞ in this moment, Azalea is unable to contain her annoyance towards Foxy, thinking back to the lizard she had so foolishly scared off.
❝ Speech. ❞
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╰☆☆ While Azalea is tall for her age, Foxy is as short and fluffy as her younger siblings. When the irate silver tabby turns on her, Foxy feels as though she's being chastised by someone who is much older rather than a peer.

Embarrassment burns beneath her calico pelt. Would Azalea have caught that lizard if Foxy hadn't been so noisy, so close? Her ears fold back against her skull. "Dew doesn't have to know where I am all the time," she protests. "I'm not that much younger than you, and you don't tell your mother every time you leave the camp!"

She pouts a bit. Her ginger tail fluffs up, both from her indignation and the little sting Azalea has unintentionally inflicted on her pride. Five moons is old enough to hunt! Old enough to be independent! Dew has her younger kits to worry about, or she's sure she would have begun to teach Foxy the basics of hunting by now!

But she deflates a bit after considering why Azalea is cross with her. Prey is scarce, and Foxy has cost her a lizard. "Sorry about that," she mutters. "Thought I was being quieter." Shame causes her tail to droop a bit.

✵ ღ ☾ IT TOOK ME BY SURPRISE - Frustration flares in Azaleas chest as Foxy meets her glower with her own rebellious words. Lifting a snow dipped paw, it instinctively found its way to Azalea’s temple. She tried to inwardly reason with her own annoyance, but ultimately failed.
I don’t scare prey away! That lizard could have gone to your siblings, to our hungry clanmates, not to mention you know how worrisome Dew gets! What will she think when she finds that you’re missing? ❞ Her words are sharp, lacking the delicate touch it would need to truly level with Foxy.
The calico apologizes, but Azalea only initially replies with a whip of her feather tail, turning her back on her. ❝ Go home Foxy.❞ She casts her head over her shoulder, her brows still furrowed. ❝ Maybe next time, you should ask, hm? ❞ and with that, the tabby begins to stalk off, unaware to how her words would truly effect the calico she had just left to stumble back home on her own.
❝ Speech. ❞

╰☆☆ Foxy thinks all is well for a moment. Her apology, though quiet, had been sincere, after all. Azalea has no reason to be upset with her, she thinks. Perhaps they can even hunt together. Foxy would still like to see her catch something.

But her relief is interrupted sharply by the silver femme's biting words. "I don't scare prey away!" It's like a blow to the calico's soft belly. She takes a step back, eyes wide with visible hurt. Her brothers and sisters could have eaten it. Her mother. The other hungry cats in the group.

A film of tears begins to burn the surface of her golden eyes, but Foxy refuses to give Azalea the satisfaction of watching them spill. She turns her face away, pain becoming anger as she does. She's so bitter and mean, she thinks. Thinks she's better than me.

Foxy then thinks, Is she?

"Fine," she says. "I won't bother you again, then." She turns her back on Azalea, who has already dismissed Foxy and begun to pad away.

Foxy's heart hardens against the blue-eyed tabby. She won't try to be friends with anyone who doesn't like her. She has Dewdrop, and her littermates, and that's really all she needs.

All I'll ever need. The tears spill, but she doesn't feel them.