Crackling and clattering could be heard among the whistling nettles of the pines, scrabble of claws against soil and woodland debris until his nails struck pebble - he had been digging, furiously until the sweat of his brow trickled down his nose and his collar felt sticky around his neck.

The hole was so deep now, it was right above his chest and a mound of dark soil was stacked beside the carved belly. His muscles rippled under his thorny coat and finally he stopped, when even stroke made the thump of stones as they slipped from their burial tombs. A select few even took to the light with a lovely glitter, they probably hadn't seen the sun in countless moons. ' this'll do- surely the witchy weirdo will find use of these'

He had instructed Deersong to meet him- where and when, but not why. When he finally heard her pawsteps, he ducked in the hole, only the mohawk of his spine and beady devious eyes peek from it. As soon as he caught sight of a blonde paw he rips from the hole with exposed talons, showering a wave of dirt and unnecessary energy.

" TIME TO BURY YOU DEAR! " he growls murderously before aiming to wrap his jaws around her limb but without biting down nor actually trying to hurt her, he would merely tug her toward him into the ripped ground.

It was strange to feel fur on the tongue and not crush his teeth together, to be delicate with fangs and pull something toward him from such a strange angle. Weightless, she was- thick fur deceiving as she toppled onto her back while he loomed over her. " am I now? " he speaks, the bowl in the earth he dug still resonating with giggles from the strange airy molly.

Terror, it’s what he expected- what his predatorial thirst wanted, what he received? A fluffy fit of musical laughter, a rhythm that sounded angelic from the molly. The thorny tom’s face was rigged with a toothy snarl and curled grin but falters into a dimpled confusion. Grey optics glisten from calculative evil to wonder, his lips set in a parted line but shield his teeth as he simply watches in awe. He had never heard a sound so happy and pure- unlike his cackle that crackled like brittle bones she wielded a feathery soft laughter like the beat of an angel’s wing. " a prank " he mouthed slowly with a cock of his skull, " you, are either… fearless… or foolish- " her tail makes contact with the touch-starved beast and his coat ripples like a horse’s skin to a fly.

He follows her eyes with his own, narrowed as he looks on his works. She makes a sound, and questions him- " dead cats can’t interrogate" he jests and swipes a paw down the fragile wall- dirt-caked stones shower in tow and clatter against the others he had disturbed. " I couldn’t help but notice your fancy of these things- … " he speaks with flattening ears. " but-… the real stones don’t live in the light, do they? " he asks in a jagged whisper.

" I don’t know why I do these things, but- here you have it… " he fans out a limb in suggestion.

The surprise was written across her face just as the mountains were written into the earth. Purely selcouth, lost in a world that either doesn’t or shouldn’t exist. Thistleback is fascinated with it, because it was all for what? Rocks.

Eyes purely metallic simply stare. She voices his name, breathlessly- playing into the change of her demeanor. A poem he couldn’t understand, glittered in her eyes that had grown impossibly wide. ’ you did this for me?, " that’s presumptuous " he hums and shakes out his fur that thorns out like a rose stem. His hackles twitch as she thanks him, his brain not quite stable enough to accept and process gratitude.

She’s running her foot through the stones, obsidian she says- a proficiency behind her tone he doesn’t deny. and as she cleans it off the shiny black surface catches the shapes of it’s finder. Thistleback’s scarred chin dips as he observes it, pupils slitted like a snake. " keeps you safe? …. and if you choke on it while carrying it?- bit ironic that would be " he chuckles darkly.

Her mother, a rock expert- no wonder the witch loved these things. Sentiment was beyond him but maybe they remind her of her mother- she was already turning back to the pile, she’d probably spend the rest of the day sifting the pile. silly woman.

" slammin’ " he copies her weird accent, and balances the obsidian on his pad. It nearly blends with the darkness of his own fur and skin.

" you still say mama… haha … like an infant " he teases, wedging the rock between his collar and neck.

you are one far out tom, you know that?, his countenance illustrates a slight pensive pause but otherwise goes back to a devious smirk.

Her giggles were easy to listen to, like a songbird on a clickity frozen branch. Whereas his was a harsh cackle, a sound so nefarious next to hers. Oh how wildly different they were- yet similar in respects to their oddities. While she was whimsical and airy, he was unfeeling and unpredictable.

She translates for him finally, and he rocks his head backward with a thunderous laugh. " sounds like you're a mixture of your parents’ weirdest traits " he comments. He couldn’t remember his parents- the ones he shared with a certain shadowclan leader and medicine cat. Their gruesome death, he had been too young to recall. His kithood had been spent on the streets. He’s taken from his thoughts when the cream and mocha molly shifts toward him. Her fragrant floral scent infiltrating his senses.

The piebald’s thinly scarred lips peel backward the closer she got, eyes a strange mix of green and blue looking at him all too intently. Only she got closer and cocked her head. " see something you like, bird? " he angles his head like hers.

freaky-deaky, he settles on the word freak. A word he was used to hearing. She looked sort of mad in the head- in a way, grinning at him and staring through his soul, covered in dirt. Perhaps a bit loose in the marbles just as he.

" happy?… that’s beyond me , doll " he huffs a chuckle, " chewing doesn’t make me- anything… " he hates thinking about himself, reflecting- any sort of look within. He hadn’t done it in several moons, had callused his mind and heart like his paws.

She climbs out of the hole- and he follows suit. " whatever the lady wants " he rolls his shoulders and his back pops audibly.

" I can’t say I’m like either of my parents… I suppose I’m just- a mix of everything I did or whoever I met while living the streets and rubbish …" he speaks retrospectively. " what you feel for rocks- or for others. I don’t feel. I don’t care about anyone or anything … not anymore " he feels his paw idly touch his collar but he whips his tail and starts off toward camp.

" auras… hm" he wonders, " what is my aura, bird " he pauses for her to gather her rocks but otherwise takes the lead.

Thistleback had never let himself be studied- no, he preferred his lurking in the shadows both literally and figuratively. Nobody was capable of comprehension beyond their own faults- therefor, he took judgment with a dismissive laugh. Deersong though, she wasn’t simple nor shallow- a mystery between her ears and where Thistleback could normally categorize another, he could not figure a mental file for her. It’s why he stares at her- even now, side eyeing the couk with narrowing lids.

Awkwardness wasn’t something he felt- just like most emotions, it was tedious, so he didn’t suppress his staring as he crawled across the camp in her company. " codswallop " he finally teeths out with a devilish grin, but as he feels contact with his flank his skin ripples over his muscle. He wants to lean into it, craving the warmth- a natural pull toward affection he never knew capable. Another part of him though- overpowers it, a darkness, the itchy feeling in your throat that makes you cough and your eyes water.

She needs quiet, no distractions. So when the pines shadow around them and the soft strum of the grasses is all that can be heard- he plops down on his ribs and smacks a paw with unsheathed claws down on the soft pattern of green in front of him. " the quiet makes my ears ring- much prefer the sounds of the city " he comments with a bare of his teeth toward the woodland scenery.

" tell me, Bird. Before you read me-" the cartilage in his paws click around the bone as he balls up his paw. " who’s to read your aura? " he twists his skull a bit- " you know what I think?- I think you seek the color of others because you yourself live in the darkness" he whispers, leaning forth and smile creeping thinly over his skeleton white face.

" I may not be able to see auras, nor know the names of my stones- but I’ve got a talent of my own. " he carries on with a thump of his tail against the ground. " I couldn’t care less about anything, and you’ll drown in the way you care for others" he tests her waters. " I see you- your kindness… it’ll clip your wings, bird. " he could taste it now, his own words. He was afraid of her kindness- in a sense. He didn’t understand it and he craved it for himself yet- didn’t know why she offered it to him. He wondered if she could be corrupted- what it would take to see her angry. What her anger would sound like.

Obsession, a habit just as potent as his chewing as it bloomed in his eyes dangerously. Did anyone deserve her quirky kindness? Certainly not he. " so- with that… what do you see " he lifts his paws and gestures to himself grandly. What could possibly ooze from his spirit? all he could feel was static, his mind a noisy pit disorder.
TEXT HERE [This- it’d been the closest anyone had ever dared. The aroma of ambrosia and catmint twists and invades his nostrils all but suddenly. He didn’t have time to shift nor pull his chin away- her nose was on his and he feels himself freeze and his pupils narrow. Thistleback’s heart though hollow and cold- would beat against his chest impossibly hard. He could swear it was beating against his chest so loud she could hear it.

Everyone’s carrying darkness, she brushes it off as she would dirt. Thistleback chuckles with his teeth tight together. How interesting- this woman was, so easily did she push away the darkness. Thistleback travels his bladed tongue over his black-lined lips.

" seven hells " he breathes softly, " you’re one brave woman " he speaks in that same whisper. What’s to keep him from burying his teeth into her muzzle? well, the smell of lavender for one- and the fact that her eyes were so beautiful this close you couldn’t possibly fathom it. Grey eyes meet hers- accepting that darkness helps her grow she says, Thistleback’s jaws flex with the clench of his teeth. " hm" he hums softly, but accepting that darkness is swallowing it down- for it hid perfectly behind her lovely smile.

" we will see " he answers her challenge. Who’s fault would it be? if she was taken advantage of? normally Thistleback would have an answer but as it stands- he was making it his problem. He was making it his problem because something was happening- since the moment their noses connected, his brain had rewired dangerously.

freak, there that word was again- and his lids twitch above the focus of his pupils but here it was- his reading, from the lips of one Deersong.

Her tail caresses the spiny razor of his back and his eyes narrow- she was touchy- comfortably despite the sharpness he offered, was she not afraid to get cut?

Lots of dark reds she says, and blacks- colors that makes his jaws align with approval but the oranges? more potent than others? " orange… what does orange mean" he states like a statement rather than a question. His tail is slender and pointed with his fur like a thorn bush so he curls it around hers as it finishes stroking his spine.

" tell me, Deersong " his voice is still as rasped but growled with the force of his rough accented tone. " is your darkness… like my orange…" he is toying with her now- at least trying, but it’s impossible- for her to be this close and not be toying with him too. right?

Are you toying with me? Deersong, you who smells like flowers- taunting this beast? you couldn’t possibly. " how dare you… even " he smiles , testing her waters once more.