Nobody seemed to have gotten any sleep last night with everything that has happened. Who could easily forget the extraordinary night? It surely made the Ceremony more memorable than anyone could imagine. Real, pure power. Or simply the tip of the iceberg.
Even if one would have laid in their bed they would only think about what had transpired.
They would think about the body that everyone has to pull out of the small crater and the remarkable energy Caji had shown. All because of the shadow who had possessed him.
It was so much to process and more to the celebration everyone thought there would be. So everyone just stayed up to fix the aftermath of the situation. Shinto remained by Caji’s side in the hut and Kai dealing with Mia’s sheer anger towards him. Kito and Clara were with Zeta and Ruro had kept Kane out of the madness. He didn’t need to be near a situation like this.
Vaz and Shade vanished afterward. None had seen neither of them after the event. Nobody knew where they went or what happened to them.
Kito and Clara sat together with their legs dangling as they watched the village and the beautiful sunrise. Na’Kito’s lower right torso was wrapped with a white bandage with medicine. Luckily he had more bruising than broken bones, even if it was too close a call.
He felt a lot better with her head on his shoulder with her body leaned against him. She didn’t want to do it in the first place but he insisted. He wanted to feel her against him, hurt or not. It was worth it to know that she was safe. Watching the creature chase after her was the most terrifying sight in his life, and now he knew how Kai must have felt when Fang chased Mia. He couldn’t think of how he could ever pay his brother back for saving her. Or Caji.
He purrs and places his head on hers, the perfect view of a new day made the scenery finally one to appreciate. He had seen this a million times and never enjoyed it once before now. “This world has changed a lot since before, hmm?” His fingers moved through her hair lovingly. His eyes shut to enjoy the now calm aftermath after the storm. “Even that thing didn’t know the world now. She didn’t know that we are not as we once were, but then again... So did we.”
She put a hand over his torso unconsciously and once he winced she quickly moved it away. “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot for a moment there.”
“It’s fine,” he smiles past the hints of pain. “I am alright, only bruised. It should be gone in a sunrise or two with the medicine.”
“I think I did a pretty good job wrapping that. Try not to get it dirty or anything. Maybe you should go inside and relax. Lay down,” she looked at his wrapped torso in concern. “Are you sure that this is the only place that she hurt you?”
He presses his forehead against hers and shuts his eyes a second time. He knew his closeness would silence her worries. It would make her heart race and her breathing quicken slightly. “I need to put a new door on the hut before I can lay inside. I also need to repair the whole front of it.”
He didn’t want to look in that direction knowing his poor hut was destroyed with splinters and a widened doorway with claw marks as the finishing touch to the wreckage. It was even too ruined to live in. Luckily Zeta and Ruro offered for the three of them to stay with them until his home could be repaired, but Kito preferred their private hut for a time until it is fixed. “But I will worry about that another time. Right now I just want to have you beside me,” his sad noise made her heart sink. He was terrified of her when she was in danger. “I am glad that thing is gone,” he admits. “I cannot imagine having it wander around here any longer and having you hurt. Or Shi. Kane.”
She places her hand on the side of his neck with her thumb touching his cheek. They shared a passionate kiss afterward. They tried to keep it short and sweet but they could easily forget the time they started it. They only separated what felt like an eternity later with another smaller touch of lips. Each smiled.
“We should visit Caji,” she moved her head away and from further temptation. “I want to hug him for what he did. I have never seen anything as cool as that before in my life. Like a cool show. I never thought he could do that. I... I didn’t think anything like that is possible.”
He didn’t know what this show was. “I thought Vaz was overconfident about what that his own shadow could do,” he looks back at the village to see the crater that was being filled back in by everyone. It was nice to see all the tribes coming together to help fix everything. The world had changed. “We will visit him later with Shi. Caji never minds company,” he chuckles. “Kai and I have agreed to go somewhere else in a moment. You can go with Mia. She has been visiting him since he was in there, and for the first time she doesn’t want to look at Kai right now.”
“Where are you going?” She wipes her hand over his chest to wipe away a speck of dry mud still there. “I will tell you when I come back,” he promised with a soft gaze. “We will try to be quick but I am sure Caji will understand.”
“You better tell me when you get back,” she lifted herself from the side to stand. She helped him stand as well to keep as much weight off his side. He gave her a small peck as his thanks. His eyes were still on her when he walked to her other side. “I should find my brother now. Tell Caji I will visit him later.”
“Wait,” she grabs his arm. “With us staying with Zeta and Ruro how are going to find time for... Um...” He adored it when her cheeks changed color. He knew what was troubling her. He couldn’t keep back the humored chuckle that managed to escape him. His hand covered hers and his thumb lightly massaged her hand. “My brother has this secret hideout he never uses anymore. I think he only took her once there when they first met but I don’t think he would mind if I took you there. It was an old hideaway for a little cub,” his smile was mischievous. “I will get everything ready there before tonight.”
He wouldn’t miss a chance to have her alone again. Something to take his mind off things. He also always felt himself reacting to her sweet aroma. She can tell when his eyes gaze there.
Her cheeks reddened further. It was a reaction he always strived to get from her, covering his eyes. “Jeez, Kito. Have some more restraint. Are you sure your brother wouldn’t mind?”
He shook his head, “He has Mia pretty mad at him right now to be able to use it himself so he wouldn’t mind, ” he even raises her hand to his mouth to give it a tender kiss. He enjoyed the smallest touches that continued to feed his addiction. It did make withdrawal harder when he had to let go.
“I need to find Kane then,” she walked by him but not before she gave him one last touch on his arm as a farewell. “Good luck with whatever you’re doing. Don't mess up my work too much, I'm proud of it.”
She jumps when his hand reached to her bottom and gropes her. It was an action she didn’t expect and she turned to look at him with wide eyes only to see his eyes were still glued to that part of her body he touched, his eyes shameless. She rolls her eyes and walks up the stairs to the Chief’s hut. He could feel her laughter, however. Her emotions were something she could never hide from him.
He felt the eerie feeling wash over him of being watched, and he turns his head to the village view. He didn’t know how he spots Pippie, standing amongst the mixed-species staring back at Na’Kito from afar. His arms were by his side. His face was unreadable.
He did know that Pippie was like a different person to him now, as heartbreaking as that was. His best friend had now become a stranger. The very same friend that he had as a cub and grew up with. He didn’t think he could speak to him again after the things he said, he should have known better. Especially about his kind and mate. It was a trail he should have never traveled. Pippie should have known not to put him in a place to choose between him or Clara. It could never be him, as sad as it was. But he shouldn’t have to choose...
Now he understood more than he did before. How impatient he had been, how stubborn and foolish. Every jealous emotion and all the havoc he made. He knew that couldn’t be his friend anymore, who to him now was not a true friend. Pippie was expecting to find a Na’Kito that wasn’t there. He didn’t want to be that anymore.
He had never made it a secret what he wanted, that he wanted his mate, to start his own family, to simply settle. He always wanted cubs. He didn’t want that past he left, he didn’t want to roam the plains worried about if the next day could be his last. Nor did he want to meet his old friends he once knew, the true tainted souls. The kind Pippie still called friends.
He should have known. From the very start, he should have known. Even when Kai did.
He turned his head away from Pippie and walked towards Kai’s hut to meet with him for their little search. He found turning his back harder to do than he thought, in his heart, he had wished Pippie to be able to experience what he had. The joy, emotion, and endless trust that came with Ser’avi’s gift of a Lifemate.
Maurea’s cannot find that. Pippie would never find that. That was something he couldn’t change even though he wished for it to. He knew Pippie had the potential to be a better being. If he cared.
It wasn’t going to be today or tomorrow. One day though, he hoped. If that day came then he would learn to forgive him and become friends again. He didn't want to turn away, it hurt him so much to do so, but he would not let him stand in the way of the life he wanted with Clara, the only one who could give it to him. A family. And he was content with that.
He wasn't sure what Pippie wanted or why he was as cruel as he was. He never said... But he hopes that he finds what he is looking for.
There was little he could do about their friendship until then.