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Hidden Cove | Full summer | Morning | Cloudy-ish, patches of both sun and cover dappling the beach

11705
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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Her fur still wet from a cooling swim, Yuna had pulled out some of her older herb stocks and was now going through, sorting out what was still usable. Some of it wasn’t. She carefully dried most of her herbs before storing them, but the leaves and especially some of the flowers suffered in the heat, dried or not, and they didn’t last forever. Yuna settled on her belly just in front of the caverns, in the shade they cast, and sorted herbs into piles. She used a combination of senses - scents mostly, but how the herbs looked and even felt played their part.

She wasn’t close enough to the waterfall pool to see anything resembling her reflection, but her posture with slumped shoulders and backward-facing ears gave away there was more going on with the single mother than merely disappointment over loosing some herbs.


Jan 24, 2018 04:59 AM

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191507
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Dante Wynter
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Dante spotted a light shape near the waterfall and looked up, thinking it might he Chai, but the fur color was wrong- too intense.

Yuna, then. She’d been a constant presence along with her children, and even if Dante hadn’t spoken to her much beyond his occasional delivery of herbs, he’d noticed her- same as any of the other Tribe wolves. He’d been heading into the caves, no real goal in mind, but when he spotted her with a pile of what looked like herbs in front of her, he decided to approach.
When he went toward her, it was with a mind to ask her if there was any herb she needed in particular. He intended to go farther inland to search for some prey that wasn’t fish, and would choose his hunting grounds based on what supplies she might need.

He gave a gruff bark as he approached, though it was difficult to miss his dark shape against the lighter palette of the beach. Dante didn’t notice her somber demeanor until he was a little closer and actually paying attention to her body language. His brow furrowed more than normal, growing a shade more concerned.

Well, shit. Too late for him to go somewhere and mind his own business and leave her be- he’d already barged in and made his presence known.

’ey,” he said, sounding almost as though he’d been taken off guard. “This not a good time, Moonlight?

His voice was somewhat gentler than its usual gruff resonance.


Jan 26, 2018 07:44 AM — Post #1

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[ Edited: Jan 26, 2018 07:57 AM by Dante ]
191585
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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Dante’s voice sparked Yuna from her own inner thoughts, and her chin lifted to search his face at his bark. The contours of it were familiar to her by now, and not only because he shared certain superficial resemblances to Pace. He offered a greeting and she tried to summon a smile.

“Oh Dante, no, it’s fine.” He had clearly responded to despondent posture and she tried to settle more naturally, instead of clinging dully to the sand. She pushed a pile of totally dried-up herbs out of the way. “How are you and Chai doing in the cove?” She wondered if he had done any thinking about if he wanted to stay more full time. She knew her girls all adored him, and it certainly made her feel safer having his solid presence around. 

A home might be good for him, and maybe for Chai too, even though Yuna didn’t know Dante’s quiet mate well yet.


Jan 26, 2018 05:19 PM — Post #2

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192844
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Dante Wynter
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She asked how he was doing, and the corner of his lip pulled back slightly in a sort of subtle, one-sided grimace. He moved a little closer, and sat down a short distance to one side of her. He didn’t get close enough to crowd her or loom over her.

Still breathin’,” he said with a noncommittal shrug, not knowing if she meant his general well-being or how he felt about living on the beach. He was alive and healthy. That had been something to strive for, something to be proud of when he was some scrawny kid struggling to survive, but things were different now. But that was going to have to be enough for him, these days.

Chai seems to be doin’ alright. Havin’ kids around seems to help.” He wouldn’t go into that one. ‘Alright’ was a relative term. Dante paused briefly, then continued: “This one’a the rough days, huh?


Feb 01, 2018 11:58 AM — Post #3

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192898
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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Still breathin’ was not particularly positive, and Yuna’s ears swiveled back in worry, but Dante had a little more to say about Chai and how she was better with pups around. She knew he found it much easier to talk about others than himself. And he soon steered the conversation in a different direction - to her, and if she was having a rough day.

For a moment her paws stilled over the crumpled leaves she was sorting. “Yes.” She acknowledged honestly, a multitude of emotion in a single word. Tears threatened, but she would not allow them to fall. There was probably a telltale brightness in her eyes anyway. She had accepted it would always be like this. That no matter how much she loved her girls, however much joy there was in seeing them grow up, no length of time would ever heal her broken heart.

The company though, that was welcome.


Feb 01, 2018 07:03 PM — Post #4

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193488
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Dante Wynter
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Dante could see that Yuna wasn’t exactly convinced by his rather unenthusiastic response, but he really didn’t have much more to tell her on the matter- he wasn’t intending to withhold the information, but neither did he want to elaborate on that particular situation if he didn’t have to.

Her monosyllabic response was not unexpected, but Dante was nonetheless silent for a brief moment, watching the younger wolf’s face shift to a more somber expression. There was a low rumble in his chest, more an inarticulate sound of acknowledgement than anything. When he spoke, it was almost hesitant at first.

You get good days an’ bad days… I feel better if I got somethin’ to focus on when things ain’t goin’ so well. I was headin’ inland, was gonna ask if you needed anything.” He lowered his muzzle to indicate the herbs that she had been arranging. Dante wasn’t very good at comforting, not when the wolf in question was an adult, and simple assurances wouldn’t do. Problems were much easier to solve when you were young. He was pretty decent with distractions, though.

You wanna come with?


Feb 05, 2018 12:12 AM — Post #5

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193667
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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Dante offered a few words of comfort, which, for Dante was actually quite a few words of comfort. Yuna knew he was making an effort, and that was touching. She wondered if Dante’s children were still alive. If they were with Chai. It was not her way to pressure him into talking about a topic that, last time he had been so private about. He knew her, by now, knew her well enough that he could come to her if he needed it.

But Yuna too, knew Dante well. Well enough that opening up was not something he did often, to many wolves. Maybe he confided more in his mate and sister. She could only hope, otherwise everything he bottled up would only worsen with each passing moon.

“I understand that.” She nodded since when he revealed he liked something to keep him busy when he was feeling down. She had already guessed as much by all the herbs he had brought her.

“I’d better stay close to home to watch the girls, but thank you for asking.” She looked up to meet his gaze, sincere in her thanks. “Only if it’s not too much bother to bring a few things back… do you know the herbs goatweed with the yellow flowers? And chamomile?”


Feb 06, 2018 07:06 AM — Post #6

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194034
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Dante Wynter
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Dante’s offer was declined, though Yuna’s reasons were good ones. She had children to watch over. Even when he had ranged far from his family, he’d always known that Chai was there to watch the children, and he’d known that the friends he’d made in the Brotherhood would keep them safe while he was away. Maybe he should have been less willing to leave them even in the course of his duties. Maybe that would have changed things for him

Yuna didn’t have a mate to watch her pups. Maybe there wasn’t anyone else here she trusted with them- or maybe she just didn’t want to go. Either way, Dante didn’t dwell on it.

She asked if he knew of some specific plants, and he looked momentarily thoughtful.

Chamomile, yeah. Not the other one.

The expression remained.


Feb 08, 2018 08:42 PM — Post #7

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194072
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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The description came her lips readily enough. Clearly Yuna didn’t have to stop to pull the appearance of the herb to the forefront of her mind.

“Goatsweed has long, slender dark green leaves and small yellow flowers. It likes the sun and will grow almost anywhere, and can grow quite high.” She showed the height with her paw, up around her own shoulder height. 

There was something else that he could do, and she asked with obvious hesitation.

“Dante… would you mind taking the girls out to the plains for a hunting lesson, sometime?” She asked softly, recalling her wish for her girls to be less restricted than she was. Her bond to the ocean had left her tied to it, unable to easily travel far from it and still support herself. Mahalo, especially might benefit from the attention from somebody outside her family.

She had asked this of only Dante and Renegade, essentially the only two males Yuna really trusted who were close by. Efeon she was sure would help out once they went to visit the Rangers, but she’d have to see how the girls were going before setting off on that particular trip.

She thought then of Fray, and swallowed hard. She didn’t know if she would ever see him again by this point.


Feb 09, 2018 12:34 AM — Post #8

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194819
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Dante Wynter
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Dante’s expression grew q bit more focused as he listened to the herb’s description, knowing that it was important to know what he was looking for before he started chomping on unknown plants. He didn’t really know if that was enough to go on, though, since there were a few other plants he knew that could match that description, and was about to ask if she would elaborate when he noticed Yuna’s demeanor had shifted a bit. She seemed about to say something, so he waited.

Dante looked at her for a moment as the question hit him, and something like bemusement crossed his face, as though he hadn’t quite understood what she had asked him.

He didn’t know her reasons for asking him, specifically. Maybe she didn’t have anyone else to turn to, and he might have been flattered otherwise. It was nice to have a purpose, some reason that everyone else should put up with him. But it seemed like a cruel joke played on him by some unseen jester, for her to ask him to do something for her children that he’d never really been able to do for his own. One of the many moments he’d missed out on and would never get back. Sometimes that loss stung him in unexpected ways, and here was a place that still hurt when he prodded it.

Dante breathed out a small sigh through his nose, features shifting to something a bit more contemplative. He wanted to help where he could, and he didn’t want to set a limit on that. Especially not when it came to pups. Helping Yuna’s kids learn how to hunt should have been an easy ‘yes’ for him.

I… I dunno if you want me for that,” he said hesitantly, though there wasn’t anything defensive in his voice, and he spoke more quietly than usual. 

He shouldn’t have said that- he felt immediately guilty, maybe a little selfish. It wasn’t even logical, the way he felt. At a certain point he was going to have to get over his sad, shitty life and suck it up and let things go back to the way they had been before. Move on. Get better. Soldier on.

That was what was expected of him, after all. Wasn’t he supposed to be tough? Resilient? Shouldn’t he be able to let things go, the way his sister could? Dante’s gaze shifted away from Yuna, looking down at the sand-dusted herbs at her feet.


Feb 13, 2018 11:06 PM — Post #9

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195103
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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As Yuna studied Dante’s gruff features a cloud passing overhead cast them into even more gloom. She didn’t push him for an answer, and when it came the low, almost defeated sound of his voice surprised Yuna. She composed her expression almost at once, understanding in her eyes as she ran over the possibilities. What she knew of Dante. He was closed-mouthed about his past in that way that some stoic males often were. But she knew enough to assemble some sort of guesses as to what was motivating him in that moment.

“I do actually.” She confirmed quietly as she usually spoke, but more intensely, her ears coming forwards to Dante. “I’m not in the habit of asking just anybody to take my girls on. But I’ve overstepped; I don’t want to bring up any negative memories for you. Please excuse my forwardness.” 

As Dante bowed his head and gazed at the sand, so did Yuna, contrite and submissive as ever. She was never going to change that. No wonder she couldn’t even give her girls a simple hunting lesson.


Feb 16, 2018 07:39 AM — Post #10

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196173
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Dante Wynter
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Although it was subtle, Yuna’s response was more forceful than he was used to from her, and it brought Dante’s gaze back up to her, and he watched her almost warily.

She trusted him to do that for her kids, and he should’ve felt honored- instead, he’d just attempted to dissuade her. She went on to apologize for something that wasn’t even remotely her fault- she shouldn’t have felt self conscious in asking, and he wanted to bite himself for making her feel bad about that. He grimaced, looking uncomfortable.

You didn’t overstep,” he said, shaking his head once. “I was just bein’ an asshole.

Dante waited a beat, wondering if committing himself now, before he was ready, before he knew he might be able to do it, was an error. He didn’t want to fuck things up for these kids, didn’t want to turn a learning experience into a bad one if he ended up feeling some kind of way over the whole thing. But he’d know once he got there, whether he’d do what needed to be done or end up humiliating himself.

I’ll… try. Bring a rabbit for ‘em sometime soon, start ‘em on somethin’ small. Bigger stuff, that’s… a ways off yet.

He’d figure that one out later.


Feb 21, 2018 10:46 PM — Post #11

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196210
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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Dante was quick to assure her that the issue wasn’t her, though the healer winced slightly over the use of the word ‘asshole’. Hopefully Dante wouldn’t use that sort of language around her girls but there was nothing that could have made her ask him to watch his tongue around them.

While he took a moment in between speaking, she studied one of his paws. The size of it, like the rest of him, dwarfed Yuna.

“Thank you, Dante.” She looked up at him again as she spoke the words, but a look of real fear came into her eyes at the notion of hunting anything bigger than rabbits. She knew none of her girls were quite as reckless as her mate had been. But still.

“I… I don’t want them to hunt large prey, Dante…” She was firm in this realization, even if her voice wavered anyway thanks to the attached memories.

She was selfish. She simply couldn’t loose another loved one the way she had Tidus.


Feb 22, 2018 06:48 AM — Post #12

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197223
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Dante Wynter
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Dante couldn’t help but notice the shift in Yuna’s expression when he mentioned potentially teaching the pups to hunt larger prey, and she announced that she didn’t want them to learn that particular skill.

Dante was quiet for a long moment, but he suspected her reasons for not wanting her children to hunt large, dangerous animals. He knew all too well the risk in that, and he thought he knew, now, what might have happened to her mate.

He almost started to protest. Hunting was something Dante enjoyed- something he still enjoyed, even if it had been nearly a year since he’d had anyone to hunt with, and longer still since he’d hunted with wolves who weren’t strangers to him. It was the best thing in the world, to be with a group of wolves he’d respected and cared for, helping to bring down prey with the rest of them. It was the only time he’d felt happy as a pack wolf, the only time he’d felt he truly fit in. He’d imagined doing it one day with his own family, but things hadn’t happened that way. Hunting animals larger than they- even in groups- was dangerous. They’d almost lost Valentina to it. Vesper had had his own close call…

He doubted he’d ever have that feeling of belonging and unmitigated joy again, and the loss of that stung. He very deliberately didn’t think about the state of his son’s body when he’d found him in the glen.

He tried to speak, and failed. When he tried again, the rasp of his voice was quiet, but audible. 

Is that what happened to their father?” he asked, hesitantly. “Hunting accident?


Mar 01, 2018 10:44 PM — Post #13

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197296
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Yuna Nami Chris Staff
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Dante was perceptive, for all that he wasn’t a ready talker. Yuna’s gaze lifted for a moment, meeting Dante’s for a split second before lowering again. The same emotions of fear and loss flickered over her features as she nodded, silent for almost a minute.

She she finally spoke up, her voice was small. “He was mad at me, I think. We argued, he hadn’t been around very much while I was pregnant. I tried to talk to him about it. He was going to run away until I told him I was expecting his puppies. I think he went after something big alone, and… a-and it k-killed him.” She paused to swallow the lump in her throat as best she could. A few tears escaped her eyes anyway. “He was always very reckless.” 

She would never know what went through his head back then. What had changed her heroic, supportive, carefree mate into somebody who barely had time for her anymore.

She told herself it was about the girls now, that she lived for her daughters. But that didn’t mend her broken heart.


Mar 02, 2018 08:10 PM — Post #14

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198404
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Dante Wynter
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Dante couldn’t help the somewhat sour expression that flashed across his features at the mention that Yuna’s mate hadn’t been around for her when she’d needed him, that he’d been about to run away. Then he’d gone and gotten himself killed. For what? Bravado? Had he been trying to work off some anger or stress?

He remembered his younger days, thinking he’d take down a deer himself or go tangle with an elk just to see if he could, ultimately not caring what might happen to him. Before Chai. After that, there had been a reason to keep himself safe, a reason to care about whether he lived another day. He hadn’t pulled any stupid shit since he’d met her. Yuna’s mate obviously hadn’t thought that far ahead.

She continued, telling him what he’d already suspected. It was hard for her to say it, and he could see that whatever misery she’d been fighting back finally took hold of her. Dante lowered his head a bit, looking first into Yuna’s face grimly, then away, as though to give her some semblance of privacy, though he didn’t step forward to comfort her.

Sorry it turned out that way,” he said, knowing that sounded somewhat lame. He wasn’t going to talk shit about her dead mate. She and her kids deserved better than what he’d given them, but that didn’t mean Dante was glad the idiot was dead.

Do… do the girls know?


Mar 10, 2018 03:44 PM — Post #15

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