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Silver Fox(es) (TW)
Luna danced, splashing the shallow water. She shined into it as she played in it. She played where light never fell, where she was the light. She splashed her skye water again, the navy puddle spraying her. She laughed and looked up at the earth.
Her spirit doused staring at all the lights. The humans had long since forgotten her… and all of nature. She was supposed to watch over all of them, but who could see her when the humans had up so many lights? She didn't look at her kinfox anymore either, she couldn't bear seeing them scavengers, skittering like weasels around humans, or raised in cruel mills to be killed for their fur.
The moon turned her face from earth, and life below shifted.
Sterling stared up at the moon from the outskirts of the city. It was her only solace. The moon comforted her after long days struggling for every bite of food. And suddenly, the moon went dark. Even the moon had forsaken her. She turned back to the inside of her lifeless den and let the loneliness sink in.
The next day she got up, dead-eyed again, to roam the streets. The grey dawn hid her silver coat as she darted between alleys. Feral cats hissed at her and she hissed right back(growled). You had to be tough to be wild here.
She watched a vixen, molted brown fur dull and limp, consumed by flies. The last hints of feral hunger drained from the lifeless eyes moments before flies covered them. But sterling couldn't hate the flies, they could hardly survive either. A whimper caught her attention and she turned. A litter of lonely kits watched from the edge of a sewage pipe, a pair of bright eyes glowing back at her.
Only one pair of eyes stared out at her. The others were on death’s door, one already dead. She deviated and went to the den, where a red kit sat with live amber eyes. She needed the food, but she couldn't leave it here. She sighed at picked the kit up, ignoring its mewling, and carried it home as the sun began to beat down in full force and light exposed her.
“Who are you? Wheres my mother?”
“My name is Sterling, i saw your mother and siblings die. I took you so you wouldn't starve.” she watched the kits eyes widen in shock. She didn't care, the kit would get used to it soon enough. “What's your name?”
“Paprika! Are- are you going to hurt me?”
“No. I’ll give you some food tonight.”
She sat at the front of her den all day, watching outside when she wasn't asleep. Something was wrong, and she was cold, despite it being the dead of summer, it felt like the first chills of autumn. Paprika was none the wiser. He stayed inside, intermittently playing and looking worried and sad. He didn't understand death.
She watched dusk fall and rose.
“Stay here. Ill be back with any food i can find.”
“Will you come back?”
“Yes. I’ll be quick. Stay in the corner, try to blend in and conserve heat, it's cold.”
“I'm not cold.”
“Of course not. I’ll be back soon.”
“Ok…” the reply was soft and small. Afraid. Distrustful. He didn't belive Sterling would come back. Half of him didn't want her to.
She bounded out into the grey. The suns last rays looked weaker. She looked up for the support of the moon but found nothing. The humans had been generous that day. The dumpsters were brimming. She dug through them and found enough, even for Paprika. What had she been thinking? She couldn't feed a growing pup that wasn't hers! But she couldn't let it die. And there was something in his eyes. A light. Life that wouldn't be extingushed. He was a fighter. She couldn't give up that life when every fox in the city was dead eyed and feral.
Within the next month she was freezing. Paprika was bigger, and had a bigger stomach. But he was the light in her life and she loved him like her cub. He returned the feeling. She didn't know i he even remembered his family, though she hoped not. When he understood death and hunger he didn't need the memory of his mother dieing. The moon didn't return.
She curled him into her, shivering. She was in the best position to receive the limited sunlight, but the weather was crazy, and much colder. Her winter coat had some in early, and snow fell occasionally. His body was warm against hers, as always.
“Mom, i'm hot!”
“Are you crazy? It's freezing out here!” she closed in tighter, his heat soaking into her. He grunted. She sat back and he jumped out and started playing. He was a speacil fox. Something about him was different.
“Will you please keep me warm then? It's so cold.”
“Ok mom.” he came back to her and settled over her. Her shivering lessened as she soaked in his heat. She looked up at the sky again, with uncertain clouds, some throwing lightning, some hailing, some parts sunny. Something was wrong.
Luna ran about her pool among the starfish, splashing and playing and forgetting earth and the humans. She lay next to a star called Nova for no reason in particular. Her pale silver tail waved above her and her silver eyes followed it happily.
“You forgot earth.”
“Yeah, earth forgot me.”
“They need you. Have you watched them at all? Their everything is freaking out.”
She looked up at earth. It really was out of control. “They never cared much about nature. Nature doesn't care about them anyore.”
“You're making their nature sffer for the humans.”
“It doesn't matter. I can't fix it anymore. The balance is gone. I can't keep the oceans in check by myself, or the weather or climate.”
“Go fix it.”
“You aren't the boss of me.”
“Fine, I’ll just call Blaze.”
“No! No! Can't stand the sun telling me what to do. Fine, I’ll go.”
Sterling was getting worried. Humans were going to food places less, leaving their houses less. The dumpsters were losing their stock. The rats were getting smaller and tended to stay hidden more. And somehow, no matter how much she and Pap needed food, she keept giving it to starving vixens, mangy foxes, sick kits. But there got to be increasingly more starving fox on the streets, she and paprika among them.
The sun was 3 quarters of the way down she didn't only hunt at dawn and dusk anymore. She had lucked out, she found a thrown out pizza and a large rat. She ate the pizza and carried the rat back with her. Then she spotted a small vixen with pale silver fur that almost glowed and light grey eyes. The vixen was staring around in horror, and seemed to have a limp. Sterling bounded to her.
“Are you ok? Don't be afraid, i won't hurt you.”
“How did it get so bad?”
“I don't know. Do you need anything? I swear i won't hrt you. Have you heard some of the stories? Pups kitnapped and eaten, tin scraps of food fought to the death over. It's bad.”
“Why? It's not your fault, vix…?”
“Luna. do you have a place to stay?”
“Sterling.” would paprika be safe? Yes, he was big enough he could fight her off if she tried anything. She had something in her eyes, not feral depravity, a calm, playful wisdom. “Sure, follow me. You and my kit can share this rat.”
“Uh… no, thanks. It looks… er…”
“Turning down food? Where are you from?”
“Thank you. You could have left me.” Luna stopped limping.
“Uh… is your paw better?”
“I wanted to see if there were any good foxes left who would hel me. You're kind. And you have an aura… maybe you can fizx my mess.”
“What?i never agreed to-”
“Just thinking out loud. I’ll explain later. How many kits do you have?”
“One. he’s 1 and a half months(foxes are kits for 4 months).”
“Did something happen to the others?”
“Yeah, i don't know how many siblings he had, but they and their mother starved to death.”
“You're taking care of a kit that isn't yours?”
“Yes. he has something special. Hes alive, unlike this city and every fox in it.”
“He sound speacil… maybe you didn't find him by accident.”
Sterling glanced at her. “What do you mean?”
“It could have been fate.”
“Here we are. It's a human thing, i don't know what it was for but they don't use it anymore. Paprika, i met a vixen who needs a place to stay! Shes safe.” they walked in and paprika bounded over from his game and licked her.
“You were right. Hes different.”
“Who are you?” he stared at luna with round eyes.
“Luna. i need one more fox and then we can fix this.”
“Fix what? Look luna, i don't want to fix some catastrophe when i have my own messes to clean up.”
“Wait, you can get things to go back to normal?”
“Yes. when the moon left, the tides and climate and weather got out of check. But now it takes more to fix my mess.”
“How could you possibly fix the world? Or have broke it? Luna, you're crazy.”
Paprika, who haadnt spoken until then, jumped up. “Yeah! Mom knows what she talking about!”
“But you don't know what i'm talking about, silly. Go play.” Sterling licked his cheek affectionatly and her ocean eyes filled with love.
“Just let me stay here. When i meet the right one I’ll explain everything.”
“Yeah, sure. Ok crazy fox, as long as we don't have to worry about it, you drag whoever you want into this.”
“I'm going to pretend you didn't say that.”
Two weeks later, luna came home with a black fox. He zipped aroun the den curiosly. Sterling watched him like a hawk, esspecailly around Paprika.
“Alright, got him. This is Zipper. Zipper, would you please sit still for a moment? It's time i tell you a story. I used to be a normal vixen. My name was Sheyara. And then… never mind, skip the story i don't think zipper or paprika can sit still that long. Basiclly, i became the moon. I was supposed to watch over earth, esspecailly nature. But humans were jerks. It broke my heart to see what they did, so 2 months ago i left. After i decided to come back of my own free will and not because anyone threatened to force me, i reaized i couldn't fix this myself.
Tides, i need you. Shed this city an become the ocean. If you agree you will leave behind the name and life of Sterling for something better.
Pepper, i need you. Shed this shack and become fyre. If you agree you will leave behind the name and life of Paprika for something better.
Lightning, i need you. Shed these streets and become weather. If you agree you will leave behind the name and life of Zipper for something better.”
“Wait- what?! Firstly, you think you're the moon, and secondly, you expect us to change our names? This is to far.”
“Please mom? It will be fun!”
“Fine, you can play for a little. You won't keep your name changed.”
“Great, thanks Pepper. Just say ‘i accept’ and you'll be transformed.”
“I, the right honrable fox foxyton pepper the third, accept- whoa!” his bright coat seemed to explode with color. When she finally opened her eyes, he waslitrally made of fyre. His black socks looked to be cinder. He bounded about the room and smiled at her. Wherever his tail trailed heat and fyre radiated. Fortunately the den didn't catch. “Look mom! I'm fyre!”
“You… you were serious!”
“Awesome! I want to be weather! I accept!” zipper transformed and chased Paprika- or rather, Pepper.
“Don't worry, Sterling. You'll still be with Pepper forever. You'll just take care of the ocean, try to keep it clean of human pollution and thriving, keep the tides moving. I've always loved riding tides, but it will be better as Tides. Thats all i need you to do. Thats why i choose you. You're responsible, and you're ready to help.”
“I- i don't know… i can't leave Pepper… ok, i accept.” a bubbly tingly feeling spead across her and she was riding on water, as water! She laughed with joy.
“Alright, lightning, get the weather under control-”
“Got it!” before luna finished the word control he was out fixing the weather.
“-and Pepper, go heat up everywhere thats freezing, take heat from the places that got to hot. And Tides, go move the water again. Make sure to get the warm and cold water going to different places, it regulates temperature. The moon will be out tonight.”
Amazingly, as they did their roles… it worked. The world wasn't quite fixed, because nobody drove humans to extinction(like only she and Luna wanted Lightning and Pepper didn’t care.), but it went back to normal. And she took a week on land to get all the foxes to forests, where they were happy. She and Pepper were together every second they could be for fox eternity. And they actually lived happily ever after.