a one-shot sequel to king
Stranger had said she'd go catch her and Luna a hare to share. Luna wasn't going to argue with her - she herself was hungry, not to mention she wasn't feeling well at all.
She settled down and noticed rather suddenly that she wasn't sitting comfortably - this hadn't been entirely uncommon in recent days, she noted. Is something wrong with me?
Stranger will know. She's treated me for my anxiety, and for the scratches on my ears that one time. She moved one of her back paws to her ruined ear, and nervously, she felt her ears burn. I hope it's nothing too concerning.
She lifted herself up and stretched for a moment. To think that I was supposed to be where Angelus was. Or that he was never supposed to come. Or that I was never supposed to be a flightless. She spent a few minutes cleaning herself up before settling back down. Whatever, I guess... I have no idea how to feel about Angelus. What we had. What he thought of me. What I thought of him.
But it wasn't a crush, was it? He wasn't. He wasn't anything. He was just... a distraction from everything else. Stellarus and Selene. Pax dying. Stranger arriving. Moonstone not caring. The lack of a mate assigned to me. What was I? She blinked as the thought occurred to her. His eyes.
Probably a distraction as well. From Fratz, his home, his assigned mate, everything bothering him. Pax dying. Stranger coming. Probably some other things that I didn't know about.
I'm a mess. I can't believe I'm such a mess. Her thoughts were going elsewhere now. What does Stranger see in me? What did Angelus see in me that made me so special? I told Stranger before... I'm not a special cat. I'm nothing without...
They're gone from my life. I wonder why Stranger is taking forever to come back. I can't lose her too. Without anything to hold on to... The thought chilled her bones. ...I just fall into a meaningless hole. Where I'm unable to see, feel, live, like any logical cat. Where I can't breathe. Where nobody is there to find me. The cold bit her so hard... it wasn't like anything she'd felt before.
Shivering. The bushes moved in front of her. I'm alone, I'm alone, I'm alone, but I'm not okay with being alone. I'm not okay with being meaningless. I'm not okay with thinking I'm meaningless! Calico fur approached.
"Luna!" The hare was dropped at her side and she felt warmth... Stranger's warmth. "Oh gosh, are you okay?! You looked really sad and upset and nervous and I saw so much fear in your eyes, so many emotions that I know you couldn't explain." The green eyes she had were locked to hers in fear. "I'msosorryItooksolong."
"It's..." She struggled to answer. "It's okay. I just get really hopeless when I don't have anyone with me." She bit into the hare as she felt Stranger's warmth near her. "And I'm not really feeling great in general."
Stranger's tail flicked. "Settle in a place where it hurts or doesn't feel or look right. I need to see whatever you're talking about." Luna complied quietly and quickly, still focused on the hare.
I hope nothing's wrong with me. "Oh, Luna..." She glanced back at Stranger, catching the nervous look in her eyes. "Luna... I recognize the symptoms of this. And I thought I noticed this a few days ago, but I didn't want to tell you because I thought you were aware of it and didn't want to tell me." The calico pulled the best smile she could. "I can't wait to see who's there."
What? "What do you mean?"
She settled next to Luna with a sigh. "You goof. You're pregnant, idiot. Got some time, but yeah."
Oh. She didn't know what to really think of it. They have to be... "Angelus."
"Why bring him up?" Stranger blinked open an eye. "He's just bad memories for me, and probably for you as well." The silence hung in the air for a moment before the calico let out a startled gasp. "Oh. You think he's the father, don't you?"
"Y-Yeah." Luna shook her head. "He probably is. I wasn't close to any toms in the flightless."
"Don't concern yourself with the flightless." Stranger blinked. "They're falling apart, just like the fliers are. Without their prince and princess, the kingdoms are falling. Both leaders are dead. Someone in the fliers mentioned that they're probably going to kill each other." She placed her tail on Luna's shoulder. "It's not worth concerning yourself about actions that are out of your control. And besides, you have more important things to worry about."
Those kittens. "Yeah, you have a point, Stranger."
Stranger's eyes darkened. "Can I just be known by my birth name instead? Reina?"
"Sure." With a gentle sigh, Luna rested her head on her friend's shoulder. "We're more than friends, aren't we?"
"We are. I was waiting for you to acknowledge it." Reina's warmth was comforting. "This'll work better than some of the other things I've been involved in, okay? I won't leave you alone."
"Thanks, Reina. Stranger. Arcturus."
Reina woke her early the next morning. "I'm going out again. I'm visiting the flightless." She blinked, and her ears flattened nervously. "Y'know. Where we were."
Where she was. Where I was. "Are you going now?"
"No," she sighed. "I'll wait. It can wait for me." She placed her tail on Luna's flank. "What's your biggest goal, Luna?"
My - what? "Biggest goal?"
"Yeah. Like what do you want to do most in life?" She kept her tail on Luna's flank, the tip twitching. "I know what mine is: to clean my unclean paws. My reputation is always a mess wherever I go; I just want to clean my board of black strikes."
That's deep. And I feel bad now because she has a record. "I guess mine is to finally be happy and live up to what everyone says I am." Luna let out a sigh. "And I want to be a better parent than both of mine were. Tipo just straight up died because of me; Fratz would've probably disowned me for killing her." Reina's eyes stared for a moment. "If he felt like I do with you, he'd do so."
The calico shrugged. "Don't assume what you don't know. You never got to speak to Fraz. You don't know how he feels." Her orange-and-black tail shifted. "And your goals as a parent... they're valid." The she-cat settled next to her for a moment, her head near Luna's stomach. "It's swelling. That's normal, for a queen." Luna heard her voice drop to a whisper. "I hope I can be the best parent for you, little babes. You all will be great."
She stood and smiled. "See you, Luna. I love you." The words obviously blasted out of her mouth before she could stop them. "I'm sorry about my word choice there. It's not appropr-"
"No, it's okay." She blinked. "I don't mind it. We do feel the same way, of course." Reina nodded her thanks.
"Okay. See you later, Luna." With that, the calico turned and stepped out.
Well. Luna shifted onto her side to help her feel more comfortable. Angelus. Look at you, our star-crossed selves had children.
A pair of star-crossed lovers take their life. We ruined the flightless and the fliers. Not to mention Reina - she was great. The blue-gray queen rested her head on her paws. The two kingdoms fell because we took our lives into our own paws. Look at what that did for me. For Angelus. For Reina. Was it a good choice?
Without that, I wouldn't have gotten so close to Reina. I wouldn't have heard of her killing Pax. I wouldn't have seen Angelus.
I think it's pretty great to have gotten away.
"Luna! You're almost there, I promise!" With a last push - and a shot of pain - her last kit was born. A chocolate brown tom.
The three kits were settled around her belly within a moment. Luna honestly wasn't sure how she did it. Reina's here, though, so I guess I shouldn't wonder that.
"What should we name them?" she asked Reina, who still had a look of utter pride in her eyes.
"Oh... I'm not sure, Luna." Her tail tapped a little orange she-kit. "I like this one. I want to name her Sunchaser."
What kind of name is that? "Why?"
Reina chuckled and plopped down next to her. "She reminds me of the sun. And we're free now, so let her follow it." She scanned over the other two - the chocolate tom and the gray tabby she-kit. "Oh, these two look like their parents. I'll name them Luna and Angelus."
"No!" Luna's eyes darted towards her, and she reached out her claws on her left paw. "They can't be named after their parents."
"Fine, fine." The calico rolled her eyes and prodded the gray tabby. "Maybe we should put off naming this one for a moment and focus on the tom."
What should be his name? "What about him?"
Reina's eyes were lost in thought for a moment. Luna liked her thinking face a lot - she noticed the way her ears perked up as she reached a conclusion, how her eyes would just stare at the sky for a moment, how her fluffy tail sat unmoving until she had an idea. "I've got it. Deimos."
"It's a moon from some distant society. Some have told me that it's even in a different reality to ours!" Her green eyes lit up with joy. "Deimos is his name. What about the last one?"
"We're in the badlands, running away from some broken society," she muttered. "She should be named after those badlands."
Sunchaser. Badlander. Deimos.
I will teach you how to love. Love like me. Love like... Luna's eyes glanced at Reina. Love like you.