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Leading Up to Now

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                Birdsong sighed. “I don’t think you understand. This HAS to be done!”  She stomped her foot for emphasis, causing her black, curly hair to bounce.

                Greenstone shook his head, “Birdsong, he’s not going to be in the mood, you can’t ask Fisher to go after the silver slippers right now. That would be cruel, especially now.” The green eyed elf awkwardly sat on a root, rubbing his damaged leg absentmindedly.

                Birdsong closed her eyes for a moment, as she opened her violet eyes with a roll.  “Fisher is the best at catching the silver slippers. We need them so that we can start drying them for the winter! It needs to be done NOW!” She crossed her arms over her chest, and flicked her eyebrows up once and then back down, while tilting her chin slightly to one side.  “Just because Tall Wood and White River couldn’t listen to our chief, doesn’t mean the whole tribe must stop functioning. Things still need to be done and if I am the one who needs to get it going, then I’ll just have to do it. No matter what.”

                Greenstone rubbed the bridge of his nose.  He turned to look at Evenhand, who had walked in partway through the conversation.  Evenhand was conveniently looking anywhere but at the two elves.  He never did like a confrontation, especially with his head strong daughter.  He was slowly easing back the way he had come.  *You’re lots of help.* Greenstone sent.

                *Well…..* There was a mental shrug of Evenhand’s shoulders.*I think it is something Edgewalker should really be dealing with.  It’s not really for me to say one way or the other. * He had managed to disappear without his daughter noticing that he had been there. Except she had.

                Greenstone rolled his eyes in response and turned back to Birdsong.  Her eyes had narrowed.  “Well, if the two of you are going to send over my head and not speak to me directly…..” Greenstone winced at her tone. “…Well….I’ll just have to see about this myself!” With that she spun on her heel and made a beeline for Edgewalker’s den.

                “Puckernuts.” Greenstone muttered under his breath. Since the avalanche that had maimed his leg, he had found himself more and more in the center of arguments among tribemates, trying to smooth things over. Sometimes he was successful, and had gotten rather good at smoothing tempers and helping to settle disagreements, but sometimes he missed the mark.

                *What is bothering you Menk?* Dawnfall’s send was like a caress in his mind.  His lifemate was keenly aware of his moods, and often fretted about him.  *What has your mind so tied in knots?*

                *Your daughter.* he replied.  Daughter like mother were both very headstrong when they put their minds to it.  His lifemate’s mental snort brought a smile to his face.  Greenstone sighed and with a groan pulled himself up to a standing position, leaning heavily on his walking stick, and limped towards his den.  He had his own den of worries, he had a lifemate and a recognized, Glittermorn, to care for; along with the soon to be newest member of the tribe.  Maybe Evenhand was right. Let Edgewalker deal with it.

********

Birdsong was furious.  She hated it when tribemates sent over her head. She had never been very good at sending and had to work really hard to send at all.  Nothing infuriated her more than elves sending instead of talking.  She worked hard and pulled her own weight or more in this tribe.  Was it too much to ask for others to do their share too?  She didn’t think so.  Besides Fisher had been moping around for almost two eights of days.  It was time he started working. She didn’t know how many times he and Rainfall had gone to Bluevale and had come back with nothing. NOTHING! Birdsong stopped short at her chief’s den.  She took a deep breath to compose herself and pulled the fur aside.  Edgewalker was lying on his stomach facing away from her.  He turned as she entered.

                “Birdsong…” he started with a puzzled look on his face.

                “Edgewalker, you need to talk to Fisher.” She interrupted.  “He hasn’t been doing anything since Tall Wood and White River died….” She paused when she noticed the dark cloud that quickly came and went over her chief’s face.  “There wasn’t anything you could have done.” She said toning her voice down a notch.  “They were very independent and…”

                “No.  I should have watched them a little more closely.” Edgewalker quietly said as he turned away from her.

                “YOU shouldn’t of had to. THEY should have listened to you. It was THEIR fault. IF they wanted to be stupid enough to get themselves killed well…” Her voice trailed off as Edgewalker turned back to her and regarded her with a puzzled look on his face. “….It’s not your fault then. You are the chief and we do what you ask.” She finished.

                Edgewalker’s head had tilted to one side as she had spoken, pondering her words. “You are very perceptive.” He finally said.

                It was Birdsong’s turn to give her chief a puzzled look.  “I wanted to talk to you about yourself too.” She switched subjects as she pushed on. “You need to pull yourself together, there are things to be done and you are the only one who can make them happen. Elves will die while you are chief Edgewalker, but the rest of us must still hunt and howl without them.  That is the Way.  I know it, and you know it and nothing will change that. So what will you do about Fisher?  We need at least eight eights of silver slippers for the winter, maybe more with Glittermorn most likely to give birth to her cub by then.  So, will you tell him or must I?”  She pulled herself up to her full high and pointed her chin at him.

                Edgewalker gave her a long thoughtful look then stood and faced her.  “I never realized you were so on top of things.” He closed the distance between them until he was almost touching her. He looked intently into her eyes.  “Why don’t you stay and I’ll talk to him later?” He said as he reached out and gently grabbed her hand and gently pulled her to him.

                Birdsong got her hand between then on placed on his chest before he got her any closer.  She knew what he wanted.  Rainfall had been spending more and more time with Fisher these past days.  It was easy to tell that her chief was currently without a lovemate and was fixing to make her his companion for the time being.  Not that she minded.  First things first though.  Birdsong cocked her head at him.  “We can do this after Fisher knows he is to fish and I have finished storing the white roots.”  Edgewalker’s head jerked back in surprise.  “If you are still in the mood later, I’ll be in my den.” She gave his chest a pat as she stepped back and left the den.

                Edgewalker felt a grin creep across his face as he watched the fur fall behind Birdsong’s retreating form.  He had never had a female brush him off so deftly. It was….alluring.  He was defiantly going to be waiting in her den later.

*******

                Birdsong paused as she reached for one of the new baskets Fireflower had been experimenting with.  They were very handy and made her job much easier.  Very efficient. She liked efficient. She looked up in time to see Fisher and Rainfall enter the holt clearing.  She scowled as she noticed their empty hands. It didn’t look like Edgewalker had spoken to him.  Birdsong pursed her lips in disappointment.  Well, she could just do it herself.  With that thought she slung the basket on her hip and walked over to the couple.

                “Fisher, what are you doing?”  She asked evenly

                Fisher sighed as he brushed past her.  “I’m doing nothing, Birdsong.”

                Rainfall moaned under her breath and covered her face with a hand.  That was exactly the wrong thing to say.

                “Nothing?” Birdsong asked with a raised eyebrow as she whirled and grabbed his arm and yanked him around so they were face to face. “Nothing?” Fisher you have responsibilities just like everyone else! We need the silver slippers and we need them NOW.”

                Fisher’s head snapped around as he faced the dark haired elf, he took a threating step towards her, Birdsong was a little surprised to see the furry in his face. “Responsibilities??  I have things on my mind so just let me be.  Birdsong GO AWAY.” He voice was dangerously quiet and his eyes narrowed at her.

                Neither elf noticed Rainfall’s eyes darting from one to the other.

                Birdsong took a deep breath through her nose and pulled her chin up and narrowed her own eyes at Fisher.  The temperature dropped in the clearing as the two elves faced off.  “Do you want me to name the reasons we need them or will you just do it.”  Birdsong didn’t back down.

                “You’re not the chief, Birdsong, so I don’t have to do a thing you say. So close your mouth or I’ll get Lightshade to show me how to sew it shut.” Fisher’s voice never got above a whisper, but his intent was clear enough.

                Birdsong sharply inhaled as Fisher roughly pushed past her again and disappeared into the woods.  She whirled to yell after him, but only caught Rainfall’s disappointed and pitying look and she followed Fisher. Birdsong eyes widened and she took a few quick breaths through her nose and worked her jaw by grinding her teeth.  She carefully placed the basket of tubers on the ground grabbed a rock and threw it with all her might after the two elves.

                “They don’t understand.” She whispered to the empty clearing.  “Things need to be done. Why am I the only one who seems to see this.  The tribe will be glad we have those fish when the snow is so deep hunting is difficult.  Why don’t they understand???”  She ran her long fingers through her black curls.  With another annoyed sigh, she reached down and grabbed the basket of tubers and took them to storage den.

                After settling them, she stormed up to her den. She flung the fur covering her entrance back and was startled to meet the silver eyes of her chief.  “I was waiting.” He said deep in he throat.  He pulled her into his arms and started nuzzling her neck; wanting more. Birdsong took a deep breath.  Her mind whirling so fast that after a moments pause she put her arms around Edgewalker and pulled him into her furs.

 

Later, as she was lying next to Edgewalker, her mind caught up with her.  –I don’t have time for this.  I don’t have time to have a lovemate. I have too many things to do to have one following me around.-  She sighed  feeling the need to be up and getting stuff done, but Edgewalker rolled over and pulled her closer to him. – But if you are lovemates to the chief…maybe…- A little part of her mind that she rarely listened to said. She was usually too busy making sure things got done for the tribe that she didn’t often think about herself.  She was more often than not occupied with better and more efficient ways to get things done.  –It had been a long time.  Grassrunner was the last and that had been long enough that she couldn’t recall much about the time they had spent together. – That same little part of her mind whispered. Birdsong ran her hand down the arm around her waist until she reached Edgewalker’s hand.  She gently pressed her fingers between his. –We’ll give it a try. - She finally decided. –At least for a time. -  Then her practical side screamed –But what would everyone say??-  Birdsong pushed that voice away as she snuggled closer to her chief, -I guess I’ll just have to be the envy of the tribe and they can just deal with it.-