( ) Flickering bulbs of light; Little suns attached at the hip to great horror; the little wonders dance ahead of him. You can hear the soft humming if you strain your ears just right. If you clear your head of empty fog and focus on the dark world ahead. It's far too pleasant a sound for such little monstrosities. Valentine trails after one, entranced. Their flickering light reflects in wide pupils, reminiscent of his neighborhood lights. It isn't so dull, not so bleak and artificial. A special monster, bread by the heavens itself it seems. Such cruel irony.

It's an oxymoron— a paradox. Little joy and little terror coexisting together. It infuriates him, leaves hot anger and confusion in its wake. Was it a leech— a parasite? Taking in and infecting this light in the darkness? It was foul, a crime against nature. His movements are fluid in the darkness. There's a hum. yellow-green flame sets his features alight.

He springs, claws unsheathed towards the beast. Soft pink pads are tinted green with its cool light. It's ever so close. His weight crashes back down to the soil with a thump, his prey aptly trapped beneath his paw. HIs lips curl in a satisfied grin. The world is cleansed of one less mistake.

Only then, he lift his paw, only to find a distinct absence of scum. No severed limbs, no spatter of bright-yellow blood. His expression falls into a frown, and the rest of his body sags along with it. Tufted ears are pulled back in frustration.

Dancing lights. His eyes turn upward.

And there it is, little devil. Humming and buzzing, taunting him despite its puny form. A growl rumbles in his throat. "Insolent," he hisses, eyes narrowed with the anger of a rancorous beast. Again he lunges, and again he fails. A true product of misguided prayer; it refuses to properly live, but still refuses to die.

[ TL;DR Fireflies dont make sense so he must destroy them <3 ; sorry if this sucks i wrote this with brain off]
*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ It's still the season of the fireflies. Something about that is grounding for Blaise after the bloodshed he's witnessed at the place of the great oaks. Despite the cats that have died, have shown their silvery, starry souls to the living, despite the group he has joined is now leaderless, despite everything--the fireflies are still here, flitting in and out of existence with their golden-yellow tail ends glowing.

The last time Blaise had watched the fireflies, it had been with a new friend. Haku had opened up to him, and they had talked about their housefolk in a way Blaise had not been able to with any of the cats he's come to know in the pine group so far. Two pairs of blue eyes had watched the insects with rapture. Now one of those pairs of eyes are blank and sightless, left behind by a spirit walking among the night sky.

It's an old friend he finds today, though, at that same spot. He is shocked to see Valentine in a place where he does not belong--it's like seeing a flower growing inside of a piece of prey. He does not call out to his former neighbor, though. Instead, he joins him quietly, sits beside him and watches with something like amusement as he attempts to squish the bugs with his paw.

"Did you follow those all the way out here?" He blinks warmly at Valentine. There's something healing about seeing him here, where he's felt lost. Something like salvation. It's so welcome that he almost gives out in relief to the feeling. "You don't think they're pretty? I've got a soft spot for them."

He thinks about Haku, wonders if he watches the fireflies now from where he sits among the stars. His heart hurts, but it's from nostalgia, from a love that stings, and it's a pain he can endure.

Cow hadn’t participated in the great battle. Despite his physical prowess, the powerhouse had never particularly enjoyed fighting. If it was up to him, the dispute would’ve been settled by a day of friendly competition; relay races, hunting competitions, swimming contests. Instead, it seemed to have been solved with spilled blood and shattered spirits.

Cow didn’t even know who was dead and who wasn’t. Of course, emerald eyes had taken note of who hadn’t returned, but a refusal to confirm those fears had left the oaf with welcome wiggle room. Perhaps Haku had just wandered off? Maybe Once ended up with some twolegs? The result was the same, but it felt better thinking they were out there somewhere instead of lifeless and cold.

However, all those intrusive thoughts were thrust out of the bovine’s skull as soon as the tiny stars showed themselves in the evening sky. Cow padded towards the duo of cats, eyeing each of them with a mix of concern and excitement. “Maybe it’s better not to try and hit ‘em?” He called to Valentine, thinking out loud. “They gotta be made of fire or something - right? Probably gonna burn if you land a blow.”

Then again, it did look really fun (threat of injury notwithstanding). A goofy grin covered his milk-drenched maw before the boy shouted, “I bet I can get burned more than you!” With that, the idiot would run forwards to join Valentine on his crusade, although with much less malice.​
He sees it.

Blood pouring from open wounds. Flesh torn by his own claws and teeth. It haunts him each night, a vile reminder of what he'd done each time he closes his eyes. He hadn't meant to kill that cat. He never wanted to kill anyone. It had been an accident, a mistake — he'd been so scared for his own life, that he'd lashed out carelessly.

He's a monster.

Honeybee's stomach churns. Sleep is impossible, he knows. He doesn't try to fight it, rising to his paws and trotting briskly from the camp. No, he wouldn't accomplish anything by trying to fight it.

The shadows blur together, their gaze unfocused as they wander. Each time they would attempt to push the memories from their mind, it would only come back stronger. Honeybee shudders as the cries echo in their ears, screwing their eyes shut. Their pace quickens, stubby tail flicking.

It's the voices nearby that ground them. Honeybee's steps falter, their ears twitching towards the noise. Without hesitation, they push themselves through the undergrowth until they find Blaise and Cow watching the funny guy chase after fireflies. They forgets the Funny Guy's name in that moment, but they don't care. It's just a relief to be near someone.

He's nearly close enough for his fur to brush Blaise's as he steps forward, the proximity calming his racing heart. Honeybee's whiskers give a halfhearted twitch, a practiced smile pulling at his lips. It's hard to be happy when the blood spilled is still fresh, but revealing bitter emotions is a weakness that he couldn't afford. Never again.

Cow suggests that the fireflies must be made of fire. Just the word causes the fur along his neck to rise, the cinnamon tom stiffening. Fire. Such a horrendous, dreadful thing. It does not deserve to be compared to fireflies; he likes fireflies far too much. He'd always found himself amused at the idea that their asses glowed. It made him think, what if mine could do that too? He'd be the center of attention, that's for sure.

But the Funny Guy doesn't seem to enjoy their luminous backsides in the same way he does; the taller cinnamon tom continues to swat at them, with Cow swiftly joining in despite his previous misgivings about getting burnt; now he's declaring that he was going to get burnt more than the Funny Guy, to which Honeybee retorts, "You really think you can beat the champion?" He angles the scarred side of his face towards Cow, a humorless laugh falling from his lips.

They crouch, muscles bunching beneath them. Dull eyes focus on the flitting of the fireflies in the sky, their bobbed tail twitching in determination. Then, they spring, forepaws outstretched. The bugs scatter, and Honeybee falls back to the earth empty-pawed. They teeter on their paws upon impact, but quickly regain their balance. "Fast bastards," they comment with a twitch of their tail.

A glance up at the branches above gives them an idea. "Think if one of you climbed up a tree and dove off of it with your mouth wide open, that you'd catch one of them?" It's a stupid idea, but hell, they could use a chuckle right now.
( ) His eyes snap upward at the sound. Dulcet tone, gentle and light. It's sweet in his ears. Patronizing. He glowers upon the perpetrator, only to realize it's someone he knows dearly. Valentine blinks. Once, twice.

"You are here," he observes, and his tone is flat, matter-of-fact. There had been a certain suspicion, a strange dream of him running off into the unsavory unknown. Strange. And his question offends him. Had he allowed something so insignificant as an insect to distract him from his morals? Valentine sniffs. He glances at his paws, pale alabaster shining stark against the mother's grounds. Course dirt between his pads. He does not answer this question.

But doesn't he find them pretty? At this, Valentine scoffs. "You would think so." So Blaise-like, wasn't it? So easily entranced. This one wouldn't stoop quite so low. "Their shine is traitorous, you know. Stolen from the stars," he huffs. He'd think it obvious.

Suddenly, something enters his vision. Dull and drab. The foolishness it carries hits him with a weight as great as the sun. Valentine narrows his eyes. "The stars," he corrects. Since when did stars burn? The bet he makes is unimportant. Valentine's eyes fall half-lidded with the promise. He does not care.

He busies himself with topics he does in fact care about (Blaise. Why is Blaze here?? He should repent for going against his advice) until he comes to, now noticing that there isn't just one, but two idiots are now leaping into the fray. He supposes he likes one more than the other, though. He regards Honeybee with a curious stare.

It takes him several moments to process what was said. The tom's lips press into a thin line. Keen on poison, wasn't he?

Ooh, or perhaps they were smarter than they seemed. Valentine sways on his paws in an unsteady melody. And eventually, his gaze lands on that other one. The one strange and grey. The one excited at the prospect of being burnt, yes, they would do. "You should do it," Valentine says. His eyes flicker to both Honeybee and Blaise, willing them to agree. It wasn't up for debate, really. "They would be... most pleased," he purrs.
Their luminescent rear-ends are traitorous; stolen from the stars, the Funny Guy says. Honeybee leans forward on his paws. The fireflies are forgotten, his attention now pulled onto the cinnamon sepia. "How awful," he breathes. Does he believe it? Maybe so. He's seen the dead return as star-speckled ghosts. What once was farfetched no longer seems so impossible to him.

The Funny Guy is quick to correct Cow, his expression blasé. Honeybee bobs his head, glancing at his groupmate. "Try not to anger the stars, pal!" He's always so eager to follow along, isn't he? There's a twitch of his whiskers, and he winks at Cow.

Peer pressure is then pushed onto Cow, the Funny Guy declaring that he should try Honeybee's outlandish proposal. They smile, then, the hint of a glimmer visible in their aqua gaze. The Funny Guy glances towards them and Blaise, a silent demand for the two to agree. Honeybee doesn't need convincing. "Yeah, go on! You've got a big enough mouth for the job," they purr. The scarred feline takes a seat as if preparing for a show, their expression expectant as they look at Cow. Could Cow get hurt? Maybe. But Honeybee has fallen out of plenty of trees before; they're certain that the dimwitted tom would be alright.
*:・゚✧*:・゚✧ He isn't fazed by the flat, unimpressed tone Valentine takes when he recognizes him, nor the patronizing words. He only shrugs and smiles as Valentine glowers at Cow, who suggests the bugs might burn their paws.

Honeybee, in a sly manner, suggests Cow jump from a tree and catch a bug in his mouth. Blaise starts to protest, but Valentine looks at him as if to say he should let Cow do something so dangerous.

The flame point swings his head around to look at the gray and white tom. He shrugs again, this time helplessly. "Surely you wouldn't try that," he murmurs under his breath. He doesn't necessarily want to watch someone break their neck today.

Ignorant green eyes swiveled to and fro, unaware of the plot being brewed against him. Cow was a few sticks short of a nest, and so was none the wiser when it came to intricate plans such as this (however, whether or not “intricate” could be used to describe trying to get the bovine to break his face was up for debate).

Either way, Cow wouldn’t be cowed. In all honesty, Valentine’s conniving wasn’t necessary. As soon as Honeybee posed the query, he was eager to try. Without hesitation, the bi-chromatic boy began trotting towards the nearest tree, empty head briefly swinging towards Valentine. “Just so you know, I’m not doing this to impress them. I’m doing it to impress any chicks that might be around. Also, because it’d be cool. Mostly the chicks, though.”

With those memorable (and possibly final) words in the air, the holstein hoisted himself onto the trunk, quickly scrabbling up and onto the lowest branch. Cow might’ve been stupid, but even the idiot knew what heights were dangerous. Giving a reassuring smile to Blaise, and a naive “Thank you!” to Honeybee, the bovine boy began to focus. Emerald eyes peered through the quickly darkening sky, trying to spot any standouts in the earth below. It was like hunting, only vertical. Was this how birds felt?

Before the boy could come up with an answer to that profound question, a flash of gold briefly illuminated the area below. Instantly muscles tensed and released like coiled springs, and just as instantly the idiot had a mouthful of dirt. Unfortunately it was only a few tail-lengths to ground level, so there wasn’t a lot of time to appreciate his graceful form soaring through the air.

After a few moments of eerie stillness, Cow’s face popped right back up, a wide smile plastered across it. There was a small trickle of blood coming from his nose, but besides that the boy seemed fine. However, Cow wasn’t concerned at all with his minor injuries. The bovine spat out what had entered his big mouth and began to sort through it like a dragon with it’s hoard.

There, amongst the dirt, leaves, grass, and more dirt, was a small black smudge. “Is this it?” he called to his friends, unfortunately unfamiliar with the anatomy of flattened insects. “If it is, you guys will vouch for me, right? Be like my wingmen? ‘Cause this had gotta be a good story for the ladies!”