oneshot THE PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE HOLD HANDS | Daisy Flight + Raven Ramble oneshot


Strides a loping rhythm atop sun-dried grass, Daisy Flight left the forest. It had been moons since she last visited Raven Ramble, the tom she had spent almost half her life with. His carefree attitude and compliments had entangled her into his troubles, day and night. The molly had sworn off him and his company but after the battle she hadn't the stomach to stay away. The cloistered pines of the forest seemed to stab at the sky, the sky from which the dead had descended. It wove an uneasiness through her aching limbs, barbed doubts sheathed deep into her subconscious.

The hours after the conflict had been a blur. She had fled, unable to take much more. After the day grated by in a pain-flushed daze, filled with the cleaning of wounds and fitful sleep, Daisy had propped herself up and wobbled from the hollow she lay in. Her ear still throbbed in the cool breeze, though had thankfully scabbed over. 'Thankfully'- hardly. It was a miserable mess atop her head. The laceration to her front inner thigh burnt with every step, a reminder of the moment the marshcat's teeth had latched onto her flesh.

The clouds bore ribbons of twisted shadow, a dusky orange against the light of the rising moon. Like the lantern of a twoleg's nest entrance, it steered her home. Her old home. Great structured silhouettes stood bold in their regiments, straight lines and smooth rocky bluffs. Daisy Flight had always pondered the methods in which they built their nests, able to weather any storm. They made for excellent sunning spots as well- the textured roofs void of the squabbling creatures.

It wasn't long before familiar sounds rattled down the streets, the cough of a monster, the wailing creak of a doorway. Even the insufferable whistling of a twoleg kit as they thundered down the hot stone track struck a chord in the nostalgic ensemble. One such thoroughfare held the path she sought: a narrow, shadowy alley that slipped between two long twoleg nests. A crumpled, dull black scrap reeked of rot at the entrance. Nothing has changed. Daisy Flight mused as she shot past its hot, unpleasant shape.

The grey-masked warrior's destination was a wooded thunderpath that was frequently visited by a peculiar travelling monster. It had wider sides and opened up into a unique temporary nest. The gangly, mismatched animals would line up alongside it in some perturbing act of ritualistic feeding. A temporary prey pile almost. Why they required a monster to fetch it for them she would never understand. Nonetheless, it was a spot of significance to Raven. He loved slipping between the lines and watching the hunters douse pallid fish into golden water so hot it spat. They were never welcome but there were only so many times she could dissuade him before she'd give in to his heaving cackles as they bobbed between the rows of leather-bound paws.

The bright monster-fish-nest was nowhere to be seen in the dim evening. Regardless, beneath rustling oaks, her hunt came to an end. Tall, svelte and dark as midnight Raven Ramble sat aloft a low wall. Dipping his tapered ear below a hooked paw, he groomed himself; completely unaware of her wide, conflicted gaze as she slowed her pace. There was no doubt that he was a mousebrained fool. But Daisy Flight loved him. At the very least, she had loved him.

"Raven-!" The calico's call was weak, breath lost in the heat. His angular face paused. For a moment insecurities welled up within her. They were rare, after spending so many nights crushing them into an unbreakable block of confidence and so their unexpected appearance panicked her. She had a torn ear, had been living in the woods for moons- what would he think of her? Moreover, during her last visit she hadn't told him she had no intention to return. She wondered if he had missed her. You shouldn't, the molly chided to herself.

"Daisy Flight? Hah- is that you? I knew you'd be back!" His voice sang across the thunderpath, intonation pulled up in warm surprise. Amber shone beneath unnatural lamplight, bold in the gathering darkness.

A comforted smile worked its way onto the warrior's tight expression. Each limping step elicited a wince, but Daisy Flight hurried towards the tom regardless. "Yes, yes it's me. I'm back- oughmf" Her reassurance was interrupted by an enthusiastic bump as Raven ran his cheek against hers.

"Careful, I've got some inj-" The molly was cut off once again.

"Oh, darling it's been dreadfully boring without you." Animated in his speech, the alley cat immediately began pontificate grandly. "Y'know, that little kit of Catmint's has decided to go and name himself Monster. Can you believe it?"She opened her mouth to comment to no avail."The others were disapproving but I couldn't help but encourage the little scrap. Feathers, it was so funny! His mother was not best pleased with me."

Weary now, from the travel and her wounds, she simply sat impatiently on her haunches. Oblivious- by design? She could never tell- Raven Ramble continued, living up to his name. "But I'll tell you what I told her, that without my Daisy by my side I can't be held accountable. Darling I've been running wild without you, I need you to come back and in keep me in check" A spark of frustration flared at his words.

"Heh, well then, tell me what's been going on in that cute little forest of yours. What could be more interesting than me?" Dismissive in tone and gesture, with a lazy paw flick, the tom finally stopped speaking. Daisy Flight was furious. Her wounds still stang from the slaughter she had experienced not but a day prior. Could he not see them? The crust of dried blood on her ear, the tufts of fur missing from her shoulders? Cute little forest. She sucked in a hot breath.

"I'll tell you what's been 'interesting'. Look at me, you haven't noticed the blood in my fur? The chunk of ear I'm missing?" Each word was blunt, lacking in the usual decorum she plied to her voice. "The marshcats brought about a war that killed our leader. There were so many deaths... And- and then their spirits came down from the sky!"

The hysteria she had kept at bay gathered at the edges of her mind, a tide that crept closer in eager waves, every gasp letting it in. Incredulous concern morphed into a bemused confusion on Raven's face, head tilted at an angle. His quirked mouth went to dismiss, to question but she lashed her honey tail and snarled out a warning.

"No! I am not delusional! Damned twinkling pelts and all."

Swift hushed murmurs, soft reassurances, wove around her in a gentle snare. A warm, black blanket swaddled her, his tail curling around her side. Before she could object Daisy Flight found herself tucked flush against Raven, his chin firmly atop her head. I know what you're doing, you snake-tongued foxheart... She had been privy to such tactics before, and in the past, it had worked as smooth as can be.

"Shh Darling, no no I believe you." Each utterance sent a hum between her flattened ears. Lies."Listen to me, I know just what you need. I know of a lovely spot on a nearby upwalkers' nest. We can talk this through after you've gotten some rest." After they sat silent for a beat, he let out a satisfied hum. Pleased to have solved the problem she supposed.

A shuddering loathing fermented in her mind. The knowing, almost lazy shimmer in the loner's eyes quelled the violent intentions however. Daisy slid her pale eyes shut, awareness sweeping back the anger. She had come here for familiarity. To regroup and come to terms with what she had seen. And- she craved the side of him she had lost. After recognising his tricks and egotism her trust in his intentions was gone. Tonight though, the warrior wanted to give in. Pretend that he didn't spend every shade of the setting sun talking about himself.

Besides, was it really fair to shriek at a tom who didn't believe in spirits? She hadn't until they had appeared before her.

And so when the calico's lids fluttered open her brows were smooth with contentment. Sweet encouragement slid out easily, calling for him to lead the way. She followed on stiff paws, letting his vivacious tales lift her spirits. Bittersweet nostalgia tightened her throat with each open laugh and playful jeer.

The early morning mist cloaked the rooftops, its milky haze obscuring all but the closest of twoleg nests. It made the world feel small. Perspiration made the outside of their brown box wet, edges warped and cold. Beneath their slice of solace, the narrow thunderpaths lay in a state of quiet turmoil. Despite her time away, Daisy Flight could still recognise the tell-tale signs of territory spats. Just visible amongst the smog were aggressively flared tails and flashes of motion.

Certainly an aspect of her past life she didn't miss. It was more vicious, erupting from the smallest perceived slights, than the forest. A yowl reverberated from below and the vivid memory of her ripping off the tip of an older tom's tail over a rat carcass bubbled up. Daisy Flight didn't like the cat she had been. After carving out enough notoriety to be taken seriously, and given a wide berth as a result, she had sought out like-minded cats. That's when she met Raven Ramble.

He was charming and she had fallen for it. A molly fresh off of animosity and ceaseless tensions, given attention and compliments? She had loved it. A part of a smaller, tight-knit group of cats that laid claim to a grassy respite amongst the twolegplace, he welcomed her. Raven always liked to boast of his 'feisty little Daisy'. Able to finally thrive comfortably, her pelt grew healthier and she stopped fearing for her life so readily. A good thing.

She had desperately wanted to emulate the tom, after all his ability to live the life to fullest- to indulge in what made him happiest- was enviable. It took her too long to uncover the darker, dualistic consequences of such a mindset. Selfishness. His focus on himself occupied him so much the cats around him blended into the paving he walked on.

Morose reflection was quashed by the echoing roar of the first waking monster. Its piercing, light-filled gaze burnt through the smog and cut a path. Daisy Flight let out a short sigh, the billowing white colouring her vision. As it dissipated, so did her doubt. She had always known, for it was why she left for the pines so many moons ago, that her time spent living for him was over.

Raven was splayed across her curled up haunches, long whiskers muddled into her ginger flanks. In a gentle manoeuvre, she stood. Slate tufted chin now on the cardboard floor, he let out a tired growl. When he caught sight of her remorseful expression the tom's sleepiness blanched.

"Where are you going? I thought you had come to your senses! Darling-" Inky limbs twisted him upright. Disbelief and demand entwined his pleading."Come back. You are supposed to be here, with me." A part of her cried out, calling for her to listen. It would be so easy- she didn't have to cut ties completely. But it would only lead to more frustration, more upset. She had to leave.

"I am never coming back Raven. Never." Her words were clear as ice; lost sentiments and wistful melancholy a quiet frost behind them. Taking one decisive step after the next, Daisy Flight turned her back on the love of her life. A life she had left behind.