He had been prowling the streets of the twolegplace during the dramatics, word of prophecy and blah-blah-blah. The camp was bloodied and the smell of dog like plaster on walls. He had heard the barks but their tune was small and incoherent from the bustle of the junkyard he dwelled.

He returned late in the night, bird was the word and hearing her whereabouts turned a daring leaf in his cold stony heart. Thistleback channeled this emotion by gathering a few things for her, readying himself for the strange feelings she made him feel, and the newest ones.

He hadn’t interrogated her further on the assault beforehand, nor his threats and watchful stare that clung to her like lights on a christmas tree. A need to protect but he hadn’t placed why yet. It was that instinctual draw of claws he had, for Rhinnon.

" what’s this then?… bird’s broke her wing" Thistleclaw’s jaws are emptied onto the soft floor, A bundle wrapped in large leaflet, A ripped bundle of cloth from the junkyard- perhaps softer than moss and more bunched. A shard of deer antler topples out next. A grey moss or mold growing out of the aged marrow.

" I found this- and I asked a few lads what it was… a bit fitting innit’? Deer for a deer " he pushes the two-pronged shard, his grimy smirk glittering in his fascination with the bone. Wondering what shere force could’ve severed it or what brutal beast could’ve devoured it- that’s when his dark train of thought halts abruptly and he feels himself accidentally touch her paw. He reels it back like it burns.

" I hear you saved a child " he begins quite flatly, eyes like bullets tracing the patched wounds on her flank- teeth marks wedged along her body like she were used as a squeak toy. Infuriation as blindly hot as Thunderclan’s forest had been, it rippled in his gut all but suddenly and his thinly scarred lip twitches like a reflex. " worse crimes have been committed I suppose. " he jokes, but when it came from him one could only wonder how much truth lied in his nonchalant words.

He settles down on his crackling limbs like a gangling moose, lowering himself like he were rolling timber. Cartilage sore from travels and less than legal activities, he finds himself near the medicinal and floral mixed scent of one Deersong.
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A soulmate who wasn't meant to be

A familiar voice would fall upon her ears and her head would lift to see her dear friend, turquoise gaze glimmering with happiness that seemed to be reserved just for him these days. "Chompers." She spoke her nickname for him in her usual coo, warm and affectionate and filled with relief that he was here.

The bundle that fell from his jaws caused her ear to twitch in pleasant surprise, and she would stretch her neck out to sniff at the presents before a whimsical smile melted onto her maw and she slowly blinked her approval. A giggle would flow from her as he explained that one of the gifts was a piece of a deers' antler and she nodded in thoughtful gratitude, "I love them all, thank you Chompers." She would feel his paw touch her own and while the contact sent a thrill through her, his recoil would only pull her gaze to his in patient amusement.

A simple shrug would cause her slender shoulders to lift and drop at his statement about her saving a kit, "He sure was a brave little thing. Taking on a dog all on his own, it was outta sight." As he lies down and stays close she would purr on instinct at having him near. She would reach out to grab the gifts and pull them into her nest, nuzzling the piece of cloth and smiling dreamily as she moved to stand and, though limping, would make it so that she could lay on her new blanket. Once she was comfortable once more, Deersong would grab the deer antler and move so that there was space in her nest, "Come lay with me, Chomper. Warm up this weird rock chick and chew on this with me." She would pat the spot next to her and wait for his reaction.

The entrance to the den would rustle then, an NPC warrior arriving to check in on the cream and mocha molly and with a piece of prey hanging from their mouth. They wouldn't see Thistleback at first and would begin to enter the den as a result.

Chompers, it was a tune in her musical and mystical voice he was growing strangely accustomed to. It was the flowers tucked into her whispy fur, that carried down her limbs like a Clydesdale. She’s breathtaking, even hurt- her turquoise eyes, you couldn’t trust yourself not to drown in them.

Her laugh, could bring upon them an early spring- like a serenade it was. He watches her face so intently, soaking in the happiness she poured from the lovely shape of her face. Angelic. He felt like grime and sticky tar near her, like to be too close would stain her angel feathers. He drinks like a thirsty man this scene, and he presses his paw to his chest as his heart beats harder. Feeling it drum against the crusted calluses of his toes.

She speaks of the child and mentions bravery, a foolish construct for a kid. She doesn’t mind his loathsome speak of children, she treats Thistleback’s cold words and ways at it were a breeze. " you’re brave to " he murmurs, tone a natural growl but feels himself warm with the sound of her purr. When she lifts herself though, he shifts subtly- an instinct to reach out and grasp her, he stifles it down violently. Deer’s uneven pace, it must hurt her- he think’s and feels his teeth grind hard. A pain he couldn’t steal from her, an enemy he couldn’t fight with tooth and nail.

She arranges the antler in the nest and settles herself cozily, of course he watches her movements like a hawk. He doesn’t ponder why, but it was beginning to be hard to look away.

His eyes widen with her words- come lay with me, he feels his tail stop in its snakish trail and with a long pause he stares silently. When he finally moves, he feels his muscles tense and tendons creak silently as he makes his way toward her. Once again, he feels like grime. Acid and rot leaking too close.

His limb he lifts hovers over her nest- a paw unaccustomed to soft, meets it with an unconscious tremble. He could feel the skin of his shoulders twitching violently but he forces through it. It was as if her words could command this demon blindly. Come close, the angel asks, to which the eldritch muck obliges. His fur is jagged and sharp compared to her soft curls, and it tangles- mocha and white greet ebony. This woman of her stones and sorcery, her airy words and strange dialogue.

His ribs finally find the fabric of her nest, and with the quickness of a slug, his razor-edged tail drapes and curls carefully around the wounds. At first he is like a log, coiled up and unmoving- his breathing shallow, for he was a cat who laid a new definition to the word touch-starved. Lavender and mint, plague the pits of his nostrils- and he closes his eyes. Something possessing him to press his forehead to the side of hers. His hackles bristle, every part of the toxic in his soul urging him to move away but something deeper made him absolutely melt into it.

The patter of an approaching set of paws, a maw carrying prey- it doesn’t register to him, nothing did in that moment. Something feral and protective made his chest rumble with deep gutteral. A growl with the force to rattle stones. It came from his throat with a harsh gravel, wicked and pitted by his horrid chords, a sort of horror and eerie thunder from his wrinkled maw.

" careful, pillock " he warns, his softer tone gone. He hadn’t realized he hooked his forearm across hers- rising up around her like an adder around a rock. Ferocious in display- toward this poor unsuspecting NPC. ‘ something, is changing in me ’ his snarl evaporates with this realization. " is that fresh? " he interrogates, because he was realizing, she deserved the best.


A soulmate who wasn't meant to be

you're brave to

His words would make her feel as if her new battle wounds were entirely worth it. A soft blush would touch her cheeks and she would look away as it did. At her invitation to join her, she would watch as his eyes widened, and he hesitated. She would not rush him. No, she would never rush him when it came to them, whatever they were anyway. Her crystal ocean green gaze would half close in a look of patience and acceptance as he slowly made his way over and stepped into her nest.

Her eyes would roam over his form slowly, taking mental note of the tense muscles and the way his skin twitched with the contact he made. Her own heart was also thundering within her delicate chest, and she was sure he could hear it and would tease her for it. When their pelts meet, she feels as if the world was no longer as heavy and she resists the urge to lean fully into his side, not wanting to ruin the moment by moving too quickly.

Deersong by now knew what she wanted. Had truthfully known since the day he dug the hole for her when he had let him read his aura and see him in a way others had not. She wanted him, but only when he wanted her in return. For now, this was enough, and the purr that came from her chest would speak it more clearly than words ever could. As his tail curled around her, the whimsical molly would move her own half-tail to intertwine with his.

As the NPC entered and Thistleback reacted on pure instinct, Deer would simply smile and lightly touch her nose to the corner of his maw, a gesture that she hoped would calm him and bring him back to her and their moment despite the intrusion. The warrior would drop the prey in shock at the aggressive display, stammering in a feebly attempt to react to the situation and Deersong would chuckle softly,
"I'm sure it's just fab, Chompers. Thank you for bringing it brotha', I appreciate it."

The NPC would return the smile, though his eyes never truly left Thistleback as if he felt any sudden moves of his would result in the tom lashing out. With a curt nod of his head he would quickly back out and they were left alone again. Deersong would turn her attention back to her Chompers and she would extend her neck to place a very swift and delicate lick on his cheek,
"Easy, Chompers. I'm alright, you're here now so nothing can hurt me again." Should he turn to look at her, those dazzling aqua eyes would be glowing at him with an emotion she dare not speak out loud, but the soft pleading for him to settle back down into the nest with her was clear.

Once he was settled once more, she would nudge the prey so it sat perfectly between them and she took a bite before looking at him expectantly.
"So tell me what you've been up to in the city? You didn't miss me while you were gone, did you?" Her question was gentle, teasing, like a feather tickling his nose; as was the soft laugh that spilled from her afterward. Her tail reclaimed its place entwined with his and she carefully moved so that their pelts blended together once more.

His scent was a comfort, despite what he thought of it. It was simply Chompers' and that was enough for her.
A nose pecks his maw- this cage of teeth built in his skull to crush through bone and skin easily. A daring touch- one that sizzles out his furious display like water over a blooming flame. Taming a beast in mere moments, muzzling an adder. He feels nothing for the fear he instilled in his clanmate- not even the thrill he would normally feel when scaring rogues and strays in the city. He was far too taken by these newer emotion, and Deer. She’s kind to the NPC, they were simply Yin and Yang. He can only relax when the intruder of their moment was gone. " imbecile " he mutters, but it’s simply to recover himself back into his gargoyle like place next to her.

The most affectionate of symbolic feline behavior- well, it was the twine of tails. You only do this with whom you care about, Thistleback had observed this of Coddling mothers, of close friends, and of- of course, closer friends. A concept beyond him- but worthy of speculation. So as Deer’s shorter tail wraps his, his spine ripples and disturbs his hackles.

He could hear the thrum of her heart like a hummingbird’s wing. It’s fascinating, and at risk of overusing a word that fit her so perfectly- angelic. She assures him with words, they weave in a way that promises she feels safe with him. Though his talons never truly retract, he relaxes back into place.

Suddenly, the brass buckle of his collar rattles and between his toes caged in the crooks of his claws nestles a shiny obsidian stone. The one Deersong gave to him specifically. He eyes it now-

" Bird. I don’t know what you did to me " he murmurs distantly, pupils not sharing the same dilation, but it was all thanks to the strange cascade of light the medicine den seemed to have. His soul intoxicated by the way it glistened, his blood ran cold in this sudden realization.

" I will never, let anyone or anything hurt you again " he whispers now, nose near her ear. " know that, bird. " his growl-like gravelly voice tapers off with finality. " I know you don’t want to tell me who… won’t… " he’s clearly referencing the recent past.

" I’m not a good cat- Bird. While we are both far from the standards of normal. " he pauses, lifting his paw nicked and knuckled and anything but soft. He aims to lay it over hers. " You’re like the river- clear and crystalline, a certain birdsong to you . While i’m a swamp, my waters are murky and to drink from me is to chance poison " he furrows his brows at his own analogy. A sudden smirk dressing his teeth, " that’s why you’re ‘bird’ " he realizes to himself aloud nonetheless.

Another feeling pours into the empty cavity he thought his chest. While he had given up on society and laid himself to the wicked ways of the paved palace of grime- he had become a feral entity of selfish proportions. Yet, he had joined Skyclan, yet he has allowed himself the company of one- Deersong. Was this subconscious restitution? Rehabilitating filth.

Thistleback feels himself staring into the nothingness. His own purr rattles, but it’s as though he’s growling. Rocks in a rusty can was the rhythm- compared to her angelic rumble, it was a strange ensemble.

She asks him of the city, and her teasing tone tinged with that lovely shade of warmth she shared with her eyes. " trouble as always " he smiles again, peering down at the prey before taking a bite for himself. Teeth severing with ease like the sharpest pair of scissors. What was it to miss someone? Was that what he felt for Rhinnon? Those memories and nausea, a hunger to see their eyes again. Yes, he supposed he missed her. Yet, saying it is too easy. " did you want me to miss you? " his tone is suddenly serious, but his bloodied maw turns toward hers suddenly.

A soulmate who wasn't meant to be

She watches in quiet content as he inspects his stone, feeling a rush of happiness that he had in fact kept it, and kept it close no less. Deersong's mind began to wander, as if often did, wondering if the stone was doing what it was meant to; protecting, grounding, purifying.

" Bird. I don't know what you did to me "

His words give her pause and her half-lidded eyes slowly rise to look at his face. What did he mean? Had she done something wrong? But his next words, a mere whisper in their already serene space, would cause her entire form to suddenly begin trembling, a jolt rushing through her as he swore a vow of protection over her and something within the femme's mind and soul clicked.

Ah, so he was the one she was meant for.

Tears would prick her ears and the smile that touched her maw was one of pure happiness. She would listen to Thistleback as he brought up her past incident and she would seem to hesitate for a moment as if wondering if she should tell him what had happened between herself and...Him...after all. But no, not now.

"I'm not a good cat- Bird."

Deer wants to protest, to say how so very wrong he is, but she remains quiet. If he believed it so deeply, no words right now would change his mind. Deersong would make a silent vow as Thistleback laid his paw on top of her own. She would protect him too, but from whatever inner demons plagued him from his past. She would do what she could to chase away the darker, murkier colors that she had seen within his aura that day.

She watches as his eyes stare off into the distance, her gaze seeming to move over every feature of his face as if committing every detail to memory. The sharpness of his muzzle, the silver pools of his eyes, they were like the most beautiful things she had ever seen in this life, or in any life thereafter. She would press into him further, a silent way to let him know that she heard him, his words, and their meanings, but when his muzzle suddenly turned, red with the blood of their shared prey she would find herself paralyzed.

Not by fear, however. No, Deersong could never fear him. But by the sudden rush of exhilaration at his closeness. Her usually half-lidded eyes would widen to their fullness, becoming large pools of dazzling turquoise. She did not think, she didn't need to, because the words left her as if they were simply a natural exhale of breath.

"Yes." The normally calm and airy she-cat would suddenly speak with a voice so clear and strong that it even surprised her, "I want you to miss me as much as I miss you when you leave." A blush would rush to her cheeks as she continued, "I care for you, Thistleback. Will you stay with me?"

Did he feel protected by a stone? no, but he believed her. He’d allow himself to believe anything she said- because if it wasn’t real he’d make it real for her. He realized before tucking the stone back into the collar folds. Her speechless moments spoke volumes you know, Deer had a loud silence. Eyes like twin sun-kissed oceans, while she admired his silvers of coldness and wintery fire-charred forests and hopelessness- he simply drowns in her bewitching promise of spring-time flowers.

She quivers next to him, he can feel it just as easy as he could feel the panicked thrum of a caught squirrel’s heart. She processes his words, his vow to protect her- he can feel her eyes, heavy but not oppressively so. Pressing further into the thorns of his coat, she does- and he feels his own breathing fall irregular.

Their muzzles are close, he didn’t realize it until her eyes widen but he doesn’t move. A man of shadow-slinking solitude, faced with an ethereal light. ’ yes , her response is that of a songbird’s chirp but it’s riddled in a sort of strong emotion. A conviction, and it makes his own eyes widen marginally but his brows crinkle in his natural scowl and his face is washed over with a sort of conflicted light. " as you wish " he whispers, and suddenly his scowl dissipates again. ‘ I care for you, Thistleback’ her words set his jaw stiff, his claws in his free paw unsheathe and sink through the nest into the dirt beneath. It’s the first time she’s used his name, she spoke it quite heavenly.

" until you fly again, Bird " his response, it’s cryptic and tinged with a finality of his own design. This feeling in his chest, spoke a language he didn’t comprehend. he aims to bring the paw he had of hers to the hard plate of his chest right under his ratty purple collar..

Several long moments pass, before his heavy skull is laid across their paws and his face slacks with the slow creep of sleep. The usual hard lines of his pale face soften considerably. The aroma of flowers embraces him, and the cushion and warmth bind themselves to his cold bones. Never had he felt this- never such a peaceful and gentle rest had he lay his head. Let alone, the simple fact that he hadn’t shared a nest with anyone since he was a kit. He would slip away in the early morning, destined to a torturous day of wondering what tonight was. What- this meant.