Jun 8, 2022

Night had fallen long ago, grasping moonlight filtering faded through gaps in pine-needles. Haku still found himself awake, however- some nights sleep did not claim him easily, especially when it was this hot. Black fur, even when diluted with splashes of white, did not do well in humidity- and instead of curling up even more, one breath away from turning into a puddle, Haku pulled himself to his feet. Quiet, a sigh heaved through his form as he carefully picked his way past his groupmates, away from where sleepy breaths distracted him. It was not far away that he intended to walk- just a little lap around the outskirts to try and cool himself down.

He had not been expecting what he actually encountered.

Flittering through the air were what seemed to be tiny stars- and for a moment Haku thought that maybe he had managed to fall asleep, and this was a dream where the stars had stumbled from the sky. But from them came quiet buzzing- that was when his frayed mind realised that these were fireflies. Some white, some yellow- there may even have been green there. Still and fascinated, tranquility flattened his fur in a way he had not experienced for a long while.

/ @BLAISE hope this one's ok!!!
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╰☆☆ Sleeping outside is different, but not entirely without merit. Blaise has been the only cat in his housefolk's nest since he'd been brought to their home as an eight-week-old kit. Despite his friends in the area, Val and the others could not come cuddle his side while he slept. Could not share tongues with him and gossip but for minutes a day.

So although the heat is stifling, and there are bugs in places he's never imagined there could be, and he's constantly hungry and imagining a bowl of dry food--he's content. To his left and right, there is the comfort of bodies, the rise and fall of sleeping flanks. Soft exhales of feline breath, twitching in their dreams. Blaise is comfortable in a way he's never been before, and he counts himself thankful for the chance to be in Rain's group.

The bad thing, he supposes, is that Little Wolf is not among the cats in the pine forest. He's searched for her small, black-furred frame since he first limped into the clearing, and he's felt baffled and lost since. How could he have wound up with a different group of cats? He doesn't even see how it's feasible.

He sighs and attempts to roll over slightly, finding empty air where there was once a cat. One of the cats who'd found him, the black-and-white Haku, had risen and ambled aimlessly outside. Blaise blinks the sleep from his blue eyes and rises, walking gingerly on the sprained paw. It's a bit better than it had been before, though he's careful nonetheless. Injuries out here are not so easily taken care of, after all. There are no doctors here.

Haku's form is illuminated by the moon, his eyes wondrous as they follow the brilliant behinds of the fireflies. They wink in and out of existence like dying stars. Blaise settles his bulk beside Haku, yawning to announce his presence. "They're one of my favorite parts about the hot season," he says. "Even my housefolk liked to sit outside with me and watch them. I think they're looking for mates. Isn't that silly?" He smiles, wondering who'd told him that. Valentine? The smile wanes a bit. He wonders how his friend is doing, what he'd think of Blaise now.

Haku had not been expecting someone to join him. The night was growing old as the moon made its way across the sky, hours moving from late to technically early, and he was transfixed with no intention of moving. Silence was not comfortable but would do, at least to occupy a mind that refused to sleep. When paw steps pattered over through pine-strewn earth and a yawn announced the present of another blue-eyed tom, Haku turned his head, recognising Blaise from days before when he and a handful of others had stumbled across him. He had asked not about what carried him here- he knew recounting tales of lost housefolk was often too difficult.

A hum of interest, quiet, buzzed through his lips. The fireflies weaved around each other in the air, locked in a waltzing spectacle. "Hah. Imagine if we glowed like that when we looked for mates?" It was an amusing image, one that brought a half-hearted smile to Haku's lips. Eyes brightened more, following a white light that flickered ephemerally. "I've only ever seen them once... I think I was with my housefolk too."
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╰☆☆ Blaise laughs softly at Haku's comment. Imagine, indeed. "I know some cats who'd love a glowing tail," he says. He tilts his head into the thick ruff of cream fur at his neck, eyes following the wink and glimmer of the insects clouding before them.

Haku mentions his housefolk, and the flame point's ears twitch. He looks at the other tom, curiosity plain on his face. He's heard Rain, the leader of this colony, had been a kittypet once, and Tugger, of course, had been one at some point as well. He knows not all of the cats he lives among now stem from housefolk nests, but he can't help but feel drawn to those who are like him. Who don't villainize the lifestyle he'd grown up in, who sometimes even regret leaving it behind.

"What were they like, your housefolk?" He twitches his tail before curling it around his paws. "Were they kind? Like Haku, Blaise does not want to tread on sensitive territory if it exists. His tone is light, cautious.

Blaise's remark blandished a small laugh from Haku's maw, a slip of a sound withdrawn from moons of disuse. It was not often that a joke caught him, but this now did- and, in tandem with a seldom-heard snicker came humoured words. "Oh, I'm sure." Their lot was an eccentric one, and Haku could not doubt for a moment that there was at least one cat who would desire a glowing tail as an accessory, if given the opportunity. That peculiar, riddle-speaking tom who had been so transfixed by something as inconsequential as a yellow, jingling collar came to mind.

There was a certain prickle that buzzed beneath Haku's fur whenever he felt like someone was looking at him. He felt that sensation for a few moments until Blaise spoke, a question that would usually send his stomach plummeting. But it was not the usual what happened or why did you leave, questions he had to be eased into. It was simply an opportunity to reminisce, and one he would not refuse.

A sigh preceded his words. "Very." A domino face tilted down to gaze at the ground, where the firefly-light still flickered, grass tinted yellow-green. "They taught me how kind twolegs could be. I think cats who look down on us don't understand how much you can tell they love you." His voice petered out a little at the end, bravado lost to a wave of sadness.

He cleared his throat, swallowing. "What about yours? If you're... comfortable," he added hurriedly, looking away with a twinge of embarrassment. There was always a tenderness to emotion that struck after opening up.

╰☆☆ Blaise relaxes somewhat as Haku begins to speak. The sigh, the give of his voice at the end--they speak of a deep sorrow, and the flame point wishes for a moment that he could offer some comfort to the black and white tom. He settles for a slow, appreciative blink--one that says thank you for opening up to me. It's not much, but it's non-invasive, and it's genuine.

"I agree," Blaise murmurs, voice husky, thoughtful. "They are my family, even if I'm still out here. I'll never forget them. Kind, gentle. Warm. They cared for me as much as any feline parent or sibling could have."

He looks pointedly at Haku, thinking about his words relating kittypets to other cats. "I don't think it's a different sort of love, even. Love is love. There should be more of it in the world, whether it's friendship, or family, or... or from housefolk." He laughs, a bit embarrassed. He had gotten a bit sentimental along with Haku, he supposes.

"I regret leaving them, sometimes. I'm sure they wonder where I am." He tilts his face toward the real stars, the ones who do not flit from blade of grass to leaf to stem, the ones who do not fade from existence. There's some small comfort in that--that wherever his loved ones are, they could be looking at the same stars, the same sky.


Between them, there seemed to spark an understanding beneath the star-veiled sky. For a few long moments Haku stayed silent, unwilling to be hasty with his response. Within him was a seldom-felt urge to withhold, noting Blaise's thankful body language. It was strange- gratitude was not often extended toward him, especially for something as inconsequential as voicing his feelings. Quiet, a hum flitted through his lips, in lockstep with the soft buzzing of the fireflies above them.

"You're right." he murmured eventually, words accompanying a nod. "Some in this world love too little. And the connection you can have with the right housefolk is as good as any family." The pine group, for many, was a family. Haku was unsure whether he could earnestly say such a thing without knowing in his gut that he was lying- but there was nowhere else for him to go, not now. It had been his own clumsiness that had ripped his comfortable life away from him and thrust him into the wild, where he could not breathe without hearing of a territory dispute.

"I'm glad they were kind to you. Some aren't." he said simply, eyes flickering to glance at Blaise's face. He was a kind tom, truly- Haku found himself glad that he and the others had stumbled upon him that day with a tender paw. Though he often doubted his true worth in this world, all it took was a simple conversation to remind him that connection was not forever lost to his grasp.

He was a hypocrite, really, for he was afraid to love in any way. But there was a warmth within him then, for the pine group and for Rain and for Blaise, for what had been given to him in the wake of a terrible tragedy.

╰☆☆ Blaise can sense a bitterness beneath Haku's words, but his senses are muddled by the night air, the fireflies winking in and out of existence around them. He won't presume, but the sorrow Haku had expressed previously... does it speak of loss?

"I've heard that, too," he responds to the black and white tom's comment. Kindness. It's a trait like any other, he supposes. "Just like cats, some housefolk can be cruel." The cats he'd known or even just met briefly in the neighborhood--his friend Valentine, young adventurous Luna--they'd been well-cared for, thankfully. "Every species has that capability, I'd guess," he murmurs thoughtfully. "Even the fireflies. Perhaps this one is cruel," he says, extending a ginger paw toward a flitting insect.

Blue eyes flick towards another, green-yellow fading in the dark. "And this one... this one might be kind." He smiles to himself at the idea. But surely, even if he cannot communicate with the silent, tiny creatures, they must have depths of their own, worlds he could not imagine. Housefolk must be the same. "Cats who have never lived with housefolk could never understand," he says. It's not a judgmental statement, but one he inherently believes to be fact. He glances at Haku for confirmation, wondering if the other finds him odd for his ramblings. Though Haku is not openly welcoming towards others, there's something inviting about his company, a quiet that lends itself to companionship. Blaise can appreciate that in another.