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    version 22: awakening


    SOCHI -- Year 207


    "He will inevitably decide that it all fell apart because he had orchestrated it and he will carry the blame like a stone in his chest, too. He will add it to the pile and perhaps, someday when there are enough stones to weigh him down, he will walk into the sea and let them drown him" -- Kensley, written by Savage

    [private]  growing black irises in the sunshine

    H A L C Y O N
    no better version of me
    i could pretend to be tonight

    Ischia. Home.

    Halcyon's verdant feline eyes slowly and with purpose slip over the shoreline of the island kingdom and the tropical greenery that sits beyond it. He had spent many months craving the sand and sun of Ischia while roaming the foothills of Loess, but that feeling had faded over time. The boy, on the cusp of his second birthday now, feels as if he has returned to a good book a year later, after forgetting most of the finer details.

    He stands knee-deep in the crystalline ocean waters in the very same cove he'd been found by Aquaria and inspects the shore.

    His tiger-striped tail sweeps back and forth behind him, inspiring small minnows to give chase as it pendulums to and fro. Halcyon flicks a feline ear, turns his predatory head at the sound of the wind sweeping gently through Ischia's trees, and decides that it's time to find Mama again. He'd left her on the beach that first day, he and Cormorant, to explore and make their home feel like home again ─ and now he aches for her companionship again.

    It doesn't take the boy long to find his finned mother; his nose is made for seeking, and he follows the strong path of her scent.

    "Hey, ma," he says quietly as he comes to rest at her side, almost awkward but still full of so much love for the woman.

    "Are you happy to be home?"

    n | f

    She hears him, the soft-padding rustle of a heavy beast moving through the wet sand. The smooth curve of her neck bent to greet him, her lips bowed in a gentle smile. Her son was growing, the long and low form of him filling out with power she could only guess at. The pale end of her muzzle dipped to sink into the lush fur at his ruff. 

    "Hello, kitten," she murmured, nibbling between the boy's shoulder blades affectionately. He was her sweet one, where Cormorant had grown into mischief and a gregarious nature, she could always count on Halcyon to have a more tempered approach to life. Her smile dimmed somewhat at his question, even as she nodded. 

    Always the observer, her son. Perhaps it was the predator's nature, to watch. Perhaps it was simply his personality. Either way, there was little that passed him unnoticed. "Its a hard one, my love. Yes, I'm happy to be home. I have duty and love in this place. But we seem to have left a little bit of ourselves behind, haven't we?" She could see it in both of her boys, in the way they had moved with caution the first few days, unsure of their surroundings. They'd both been so young when they'd left on what was meant to the journey of a few days. And like that, a year had gone by. 

    Sitting back on her heels, the sea mare blinked at the burly tiger by her side. "And you? How are you doing, now that we've returned?" She asked, unsure what kind of answer she'd receive. She wanted to know though, to get an idea for what their experiences had left him with.



    H A L C Y O N
    no better version of me
    i could pretend to be tonight

    Halcyon's natural awkwardness slowly ebbs away as he breaks into a gentle smile at his dam's greeting. Despite his second birthday passing and the way his body thickens with muscle, she is still capable of making him feel like a young cub in the very best way. The tiger leans into her warm touch, allowing a comfortable silence to pass between mother and son as she nibbles endearingly at his shoulder blades.

    He asks if she is happy to be home not just to hear her say yes and garner his own comfort from hers, but because he knows she will answer him truthfully. If there is one thing the young boy will never take for granted, it's the truthfulness that he and his dam can share between one another.

    His rounded feline ears flick periodically as she answers, and he smiles sheepishly, turning his face up towards her, as she so skillfully puts a finger on how he is feeling. "I'm happy to be... home, I think ─" he stumbles over the word home, finding that it feels awkward to consider Ischia as such, "─ but I'm sad, too. For Al and for Oceane. And for Cormorant," he falters, his own heart affected by how his younger brother had handled the departure from Loess and his new close friend. "But I understand why we left, mom," he blurts quickly, so as not to hurt her feelings. He knows, even in his youth, that her decision to return to Ischia had been a difficult one, "And I think it'll be nice to get to know the island again."

    He fills his last statement with so much warmth that something clicks in him and, for the first time, waves of Happiness exude from the tiger involuntarily ─ and if she is open to them, Aquaria will feel them too.

    n | f

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