private MY FELLOW PASSERINE [ buck ]

( ) of all the felines caraway has met over their life, they can confidently say that buck is their closest companion. the forest hued molly, while hesitant at first, welcomed them to the river with fierce loyalty. they don’t know if they’d be alive had it not been for her. moons ago, they’d stumbled down to the river, paws bleeding, breath ragged and torn, and they’d sunk into the water. when the rusty accented voice invaded their ears, something inside of them had felt at home. moons have passed, cementing cara’s homeland as the winding stream, buck more of a companion than their family ever had been. when raccoon had squirmed his way into their little group, their heart had felt whole for the first time since the sinking of the ship.

much has changed since those quiet days. rumors of war in the pines and marsh had spread throughout the whole forest area. the three had vowed to stay out of it, confident that the battling groups wouldn’t stray so far. obviously they’d been wrong. still, nothing has been able to drive a barrier between the loyalty of the little trio. sometimes they go days without seeing each other, but every time, they each eventually make their way back to the nest in the roots of the willow. this is where caraway rests now, verdant eyes shut, tail curled around their nose in a tight blanket. their paws are twitching, soft whines echoing around the enclosed space. it’s a fairly normal sight -the smoke dreams often- but as they snap awake with a growl, it’s clear something is wrong.

chest heaving with breath, they glance around wildly, eyes scanning for an earthen pelt. “buck?” they call, voice aching. they try not to close their eyes, try not to imagine the cold dark water sucking their fur down, filling their mouth and lungs with salty choking liquid. they’re safe in the willow nest. the ocean is miles away. the river will not harm them.



buck had never experienced a stillness. the world around her was in a constant spin, the river in its constant movement. even now, reed hidden and quiet, the world continues on without her. the birds will still sing their optimistic tunes, the rabbits will still burrow. at the very least, she had a family of two. cats far different than she, a feather-light smile adorns her features. raccoon is a bright individual, excited and so worried. caraway...caraway feels like a long-lost sibling. their minds connect in a way that buck is unable to describe.

the day caraway had came to her, buck was afraid. she's sure that the smoke-colored feline is unaware of that. but it was a time of uncertainty and loneliness for her, and she was sure that caraway was an embodiment of some horrible curse that buck had somehow encured. they were a mess, bloodied and ragged. and buck took them in. watching diligently to see if they'd make the daybreak. to learn of such a strange cat that had come from worlds beyond.

buck is just glad to have met her.

as the earthen molly's name is called, she comes stalking with a head low. a streamlined body cutting through the thick brush to reach the one place that held shelter to three outspoken cats. it is not often that buck gets to display a softer girl, her nose reaching to touch caraway's. a gentle and calm force to showcase the safety of the willow. of the river. of buck. "m'here, cara." the self-given role of a protector, of a watcher, defender. she is everything anyone could want. she could not imagine a world where the woman did not have to play all the roles in the play. but as she settles across the dark-toned shadow, the fisher can not find a reason to complain.

"y'know...i found some pretty river rocks by the bank. don't think you have these in your collection." she tries to draw caraway's attention from whatever haunts them, although the molly has a small inkling. she is no healer, she can not drive away the ghosts of one's past. but she can help move forward, at the very least.
( ) the soft rustling of reeds alerts caraway to their companion's presence, and her fur begins to flatten almost immediately. as the woman slips through the roots of the willow, a soft purr will rumble from the shadow's throat, head pressing forward at buck's touch. their sage hued eyes still slightly wild, they'll rake their gaze over the other, drinking in her presence as if she might one day loose it. the older's wild fur gives tell of the adventures that cara has torn her from, and shame begins to creep in for a moment. "sorry," they mumble, tail tip twitching as they begin to haul themself to their paws. "bad dream." she's sure buck has already guessed and truthfully doesn't care about the reasons for her summons. still, their heart beginning to return to normal, caraway will offer the other a slow blink.

at the molly's next words, interest sparkles in her eyes, head tipping in the way it often does when their interests are mentioned. "really?" they breathe, shaking the dream's clutches from their fur as they stand. "what do they look like?" it's a fairly perfect distraction, for the forest hued feline does know them quite well. caraway's collected river rocks for almost every moon they've lived beside the water. most are stored in a little nook in the bank of the river, covered with reeds and guarded with the utmost care. buck and raccoon are the only two who cara has trusted with the location of the collection, and she's sure that sometimes she sees one or the other sneak into the little area and add a stone. it fills their heart every time their companions treat their interests with genuine enjoyment.

any prior sour thoughts have drifted to the very corners of her mind. although the taste of salt water is almost clear on her tongue, although for a moment upon waking, the sight of the water outside had sent a panic through them, caraway looks well and truly distracted. sleepiness is gone from their movements, eyes alight with intrigue. about to slip from the nest, the smoke femme pauses, tail coming to swoop over the other's shoulders. with a gentle nudge, they lean into buck, flicking a quick lick of their tongue over the molly's ear. a laugh echoes from their chest as they then bound away, glancing back a moment later to catch her reaction.