Deep and grumbly snores populate the cave-dark. They come from the snout of a grizzly bear sow with a big belly indicative of pregnancy. She hibernates; deep in dreams and a thick winter-sleep as her body consumes its fat-stores.
The babe inside takes shape and grows along with the deepening hibernation. She’s not sure what shape it will hold: horse, bear, wildcat, or something else altogether. Her dreams don’t tell her this.
Like any good grizzly sow worth her salt, she births her cub in the dark during her long sleep. She trusts the babe to know what to do as she moves from dream to dream, still snoring until Spring reaches a warm welcoming hand inside her den.
Keeper wakes instinctually.
It is Spring and she has shifted back to her mare’s shape sometime in the last few hours unbeknownst to her. She takes a moment to blink the sleep from her eyes and the fog of dreams from her brain.
Something doesn’t feel right… she feels lighter, as if her hibernation has voided her of something that she shouldn’t have been. Panic strikes her then as she realizes she doesn’t feel pregnant anymore. Where is the baby?
A quick fruitful search turns it up tucked into her side. Keeper, in her panic, just hadn’t felt the little one there. She sighs in relief and is glad to see it is a foal after all. Her brain can’t fathom how a bear could carry a foal or birth it but she trusted her body to do what was necessary.
Looks like the little one was a survivor at any rate, with a nice round milk-belly. She smiles, before touching her lips to the soft baby-brow and decides it is time to emerge from the protective dark. “Wake little one,” she encourages softly before sniffing her den for any signs of intrusion, welcomed or otherwise.
Keeper is scenting for Ryan. Would he have checked on them or stuck around in his cat form? The foal stirs sleepily before finally climbing to its tiny hooves. She had missed its first wobbly steps and futile searches for nourishment before landing on its mother’s teat. But then, Keeper has missed lots of things while in grizzly shape or sleep.
She doesn’t think about that now as the foal reveals itself to be a filly and cavals around the small cave. Her mouth is a proud mother’s grin as she fondly on her small bright daughter dancing about in the absence of sunlight and fresh air. “Come,” she beckons and together, they emerge from the dank and the dark to look for the father.
Keeper calls out softly into the spring sunshine, trusting that he’ll somehow be there. “Ryan?”
Keeper isn’t certain how or why this happened exactly but she knows she’s happy. Except for a tiny part of her that looks up and into the nomadic wind every time it blows, like she expects it to blow her away too. Or perhaps for a particular scent that gets all tangled up in memories of moonlight and mushrooms.
This is also the longest she has kept this shape.
Usually, the grizzly nature has taken over by now.
Keeper joins them in turns of grazing and dozing; sometimes, her eyes flicker to catch the whereabouts of her daughter but she is never overly concerned. The growing quiet merely makes her look up from the grass she is munching on to watch the foal’s’ antics. Amusement paints her face in a grin and a brightening of her eyes until she realizes Fiadh is not quite amongst them.
She chokes back a chuckle once she sights their daughter but throws a look at Ryan. Fiadh is bound and determined to intercept and she looks on with thinly veiled interest at how the rest of the game will unfold between the children. It reminds her of the days beside her brother and sister, beneath the stern glare of their father’s unhappy eyes.
Keeper is glad the children are so happy and untouched here, for the time being. She leans back into Ryan’s touch, chortling just a bit now as the moment approaches when they will discover who will get the best of who! Her body shifts to align better with her companions so that she can drape herself along and across Ryan and nibble at Tick’s side while still keeping an eye on what’s going on.
ooc: perfect opportunity to combine birth post and a reply to this! except it got crappy at the end lol ❤️