Focus.. Focus! snapped a ginger blur's inner voice. Tzurai had been out and about all morning, partially staying away from Stark because his newfound giddiness scared her, and partly to just relax and think. Instead of dozing by the lake, though, as most other cats most likely would have, the Fire-warrior had decided to practice her hunting skills on the prey that she had the most trouble bringing down-- birds. Probably because she couldn't jump quite as high as taller warriors, and partially because she always managed to scare them away. Now, with a narrowed violet/blue eye on the sparrow pecking away at the ground in front of her, Tzurai tried to push all other thoughts from her mind
And quickly failed. Stark's words from last night bounced around in her head but she shook them away, not realizing that she had literally shook her body, causing the bush beside her to rattle and the bird to fly away, followed by her angry exclamation.
"Dung..." hissed a masculan voice among the overgrown grass. The wind was blowing strongly on the land, thought not strong enough to blow a cat off their feet. Nobuo was praying for the wind to masked his paw-steps. Whenever he moved, the grass would rustle, giving away his presence to any creature near him. How am I supposed to hunt something in these condition?! It's impossible... He gritted his teeth with annoyance. But as impossible as the task seemed, he was determined to succeed. He HAD TO!
"Or else..." he gulped, the healer's words echoing through his mind. "I don't wanna be ordered around... I'm a wild cat. I'm a Jungle cat!" He huffed proudly, lifting his chin up with pride and triumph, but sadly, he had drifted off in his thoughts, forgetting that he was in the middle of a hunt. The phesants ticked their head and lightly dashed away into the underbrush. Nobuo jerked in surprise as he heard the explosion of rustles. Blinking in confusion, he spun around to stare at his surroundings, thinking that it was another predator. A badger or fox perhaps, but he quickly understood his mistake.
"Craaaaaaaap...." he let out a growl, his icy blue eyes narrowed. "I'm such an idiot! My doe just got passed me and I just stood there... thinking it was some damn fox..." he sighed, irritation pricking at his nape. "Fine! Be that way.. I'll just have to--" His voice was cut off as the breeze carried a familiar smell to his nostrils. Flaring, he detected it clearly.
"Tzurai.. oh my lovely Tzu. Always here in time. I'm sure she could get me something... I'll just do her the eyes. Hehe," he chuckled as he lightly trotted her way, keeping a steady pace until he finally caught sight of her. She was in the forest, looking quite angry. Bleh, he shrugged and made his presence known.
.and another thing, Tzurai's inner voice was scolding, If you kept your haunches down and shifted your weight a little bit, kept your focus and thought out your steps, maybe it wouldn't be so hard to hunt a damn bird. How do you expect to be a successful mentor with hunting skills that only limits you to rodents? Huffing, the ginger-and-white warrior pushed the voice away, the she-cat's eyes closing as she took a deep breath. A scent hit her as she did so, and wrapped familiarly around her until an image formed in her mind. She heard he was back but certainly it couldn't be--
"Nobuo?" Her question was an echo of her mind, and she turned her head a bit, eyes snapping open in his direction. Standing, dumbfounded, for a few moments, Tzurai's head tilted at him, before a smile broke out on her face and she bounded at him, nearly tackling him and toppling him over, her tail curled in surprise and whiskers twitching.
"Nobuo!" All previous events forgotten, and the anger from her failed bird-hunt brushed away, the little ginger-and-white warrior purred loudly, nudging the large cat in front of her.
Nobuo smiled triumphantly as though he had killed an entire herd of deers all by himself. He held his head high with dignity and welcomed the she-cat to greet him. He seemed as though he was being snobby, but he wasn't, all the joy exploded inside him. He felt the urge to wrap his fore-legs around her and pull her in the dust with him, cuddle and kiss her for he had missed her soo dearly. During his three days of 'rest' the tom often crossed path with the burn grass that led to his Tribe, but he couldn't afford to visit them, he had to clear his mind first. He grinned, allowing her to nudge him before he nudged back.
"Hey sweetie, long time no see." He purred, closing his eyes with pleasure. "Missed me?"
[ Lost Tzurai's post.. wth?! ]
Nobuo watched her with fond eyes; they had softened warmly. It was only then that he realized how important she was to him. She was his best friend, the only best friend he ever had. He purred, the sound rumbling lowly from his vibrating throat.
"Depends?" he echoed, cocking his head to the side, the purr ever so present in his voice. "Well, for your information, I did. I missed you a lot. But," he added bodly, "I was a great company to myself---" A sudden gurgle interrupted his words. He jolted in surprise and stared down at his stomach. A silly lopsided smille slowly crossed his maw.
"Heh, I did miss you a lot. Without you, there was no one else to bring me dinner." He rumbled in laughter.
Perking her ears at the gurgle, Tzurai scoffed, rolling her eyes while her tail ran along his flank.
"Dinner," echoed the little warrior, her voice dripping with sarcastic laughter while she looked around. "I missed you too, so so much," she finally meowed, sitting down. Her voice was genuine now, though she seemed to be avoiding his gaze. Her eyes swiveled and directed themselves everywhere but in his direction as she continued, "because, you know, you're really special to me
I mean, like, you
You mean a lot. To me." A lot more than you probably know.
" Forget it. Sighing in frustration, Tzurai glanced down at her paws and shrugged, trying to pull laughter into her voice once more. "
Without you here, the fresh-kill pile was more full than usual. No one to hunt for as much." It took her a moment, but she pulled on a clumsy smile, tail tip twitching.
Nobuo chuckled with embarassement, swinging his head from side to side as she scoffed. But the smile never left his face, he was too overjoyed to let it slip out. Even if he tried, he couldn't. It was as though his smile was plastered on his face, not even quivering away. Again, he felt another urge to knock her off her feet and plunge in her embrace, but forced himself not to budge. Maybe he was too proud or just too careful to show her how much he had missed her. I'll just scare her off if I get suddenly too touchy, he grinned and watched her quietly. But, as she turned hesitant, Nobuo's eyes narrowed with curiosity. Was she hiding something? His brows furrowed. Maybe Stark told her something... maybe he tried to intimidate her. Nobuo could hardly believe what he was guessing. Stark had indeed told him that Tzurai might like him more than a simple friend... but he also told the dull warrior about his own feelings for him. Maybe Stark was jealous and trying to make Tzurai keep her distance from him, which was forcing her to be hesitant on telling him she missed him. Instead of feeling touched by her words, Nobuo just felt a rush of disappointment seize him. He frowned and snorted.
"Don't be scared to tell me anything, you know," he said briskly, tossing his head to the side before glancing down on her. "You shouldn't feel limited with me. We're friend, great friends. No one is gonna change my mind on that."
Tzurai's ears slowly turned back, flattening towards her head half-way. Friends
An image of Stark flashed into her mind and Tzurai shared Nobuo's anger for a brief moment. How frustrating this was. But Stark's friendly threat echoed in her mind once more, and Tzurai pushed the anger away, tilting her head slightly. If you don't tell him, I will, came the voice of the healer, clear in her mind. Stifling a sigh, the ginger warrior turned her gaze on Nobuo slowly, her gaze soft yet guarded slightly. Where would she begin? Why should she even do so? What about Stark? Shaking her head, Tzurai's gaze returned to her white paws, the warrior flexing her claws in and out slowly, as if helping that to focus. Her whiskers twitched, as did her tail tip simultaneously, something that she did when she was nervous.
"There are some things that might change that, though," she murmured quietly, her gaze flicking up towards him and raising an eyebrow at him. Suck it up. "I missed you, a lot," she began, with a sigh. "It was
weird. I couldn't hunt right. The days were longer. I.. I haven't been that sad for a long, long time." She shrugged, slightly, ear twitching as she provided him with another clumsy smile, the look on her usually serious face almost silly.
"You mean a lot to me, Nobuo." Despite her clumsy smile, her eyes and voice were serious, and she gazed steadily at him, as if waiting for him to say something.
Nobuo locked his eyes on her, not even flickering nor blinking them once. He was serious... unlike him. He stared at her long enough for his paws to ache. Finally, he settled down and rolled his long thin tail around his paws but his muscles were still stiff. As the silence went undisturbed for a long heartbeat, Nobuo was almost sure that he was right on thinking that Satrk, his healer, had maybe threatened her to remain distant. He uncomfortably shifted his weight, gritting his teeth with impatience. His whiskers were twitching with curiousity. He wanted to know the truth, but he couldn't bring himself to demand it. She had to tell him, otherwise, he would remain ignorant. Come on... talk to me! The silence was killing him. He was slowly leaning towards her, his eyes widening as though he was pleading her silently. Finally, she spoke. She comfirmed her early words more clearly now with less hesitation in her body language. This brought the tom to relax a little, pulling himself back on his haunches. But then, she went on, her words more deep. Nobuo felt suddenly nervous, his heart was beating fast and he could hardly mentain a straight posture. She was rambling about... about his departure and how she felt because of it. She was also telling him.. well, trying to tell him something of much greater importance. Something that his ears were tingling to hear. Something that made his heart miss a beat. Something... that HE should say.
"NO!" he hissed, bumping his head into hers in a swift movement. "I'm not going to let you say more! You just shut up for now," he added firmly.
Tzurai was about to continue, her heart thudding heavily in her white chest and her eyes slowly breaking away from Nobuo's intense gaze, but as she opened her mouth to speak again she felt a bump against her head that made her eyes close slightly, her ears flattening against her head. What in the name of the Spirits? As Nobuo exclaimed, Tzurai shifted on her paws, uncertainty in her gaze. Maybe she shouldn't have said anything, after all. Tail tip continuing to twitch she remained silent, though, because of his firm request to do so-- though her mind was buzzing. Maybe she'd gone about it wrong. Maybe she was just wrong all together. Her violet gaze flickered off to the side. Maybe she could walk away and they pretend this never happened. Sighing, the little warrior opened her mouth to speak but closed it again, her gaze on Nobuo once more, studying him. Examining his movements. Trying to see if there was any indication of what his next words were going to be. Her heart was beating so hard now that she was sure he could hear it
Comically, she thought they might be able to see it. It was halfway in her chest and halfway in her stomach, battling for a spot amongst the butterflies that flitted about, their wings making her feel funny. Finally, she just settled back to rocking on her haunches, her head tilting at him and her ear flicking to show she was listening, eyes locked on his with a guarded expression.
The silence went undisturbed.. again. Only his subtle panting was being heard. He wasn't tired, but at the rate his heart was beating, it felt as though he had been running for miles without stopping to rest. His icy-blue eyes were fixed in hers, her violet eyes glistening. He felt suddenly silly for telling her to 'shut up'. A clumsy smile stretched on his face while his mind whirled. What should he say? What should he do? Should he simply.. change the subject like he always did when he felt awkward? Should he just leave it this way and leave? No, he couldn't. What would she think? What if she doesn't really like him this way? Idiot! She's crazy about you, who wouldn't. You even made a healer fall for you. What are you waiting for?! Just touch your nose to hers and everything will follow. Finally, he breathed. Losing the stupid grin, his expression changed into a serious look, but he was truely very content at the time. Even though he was about to lose consiousness for overthinking his words. His mind settled and he gave her a steady gaze; soft and warm, like earlier. It's now or never...
"Okay... we... there's... uhm," he inhaled deeply, cursing for being such a sissy. Get your balls back and go! "This is going to be a wee bit difficult," he chuckled awkwardly before giving himself a good shake. "Ok. I'll just be out with it." He closed his eyes and leaned closer to her. Not to reach her nose but to brush the side of his face to hers. He whispered in her ear.
"I never thought I'd be saying this to anyone... for I never thought of deserting my old Tribe. I never thought someone would be as dear as you are to me. I never thought someone would actually like me.. for who I was and who I am. But.. I will. Tzurai. I have always had what many would say a 'crush' on you.. and possibly a bit more than that. Way bit more." He pulled himself back to gaze into her eyes again. "In fact, throughout our time together, all the stuff we have been through together... random Vulture attacks, trying to keep the other sane, made me grow very... very... fond of you." Staring deep into her violet orbs, for once having a very good feeling about what he was saying, but also hoping she felt the same way. He went on after a brief silence.
"So uhm...what do you think?" Losing the ability to keep a straight face, almost feeling a bit of shame, he just went back to smiling widely.
As Nobuo drew his face closer to her's, Tzurai stiffened for a split moment, only to relax once more as he began talking. She found a bit of comfort that he, too, seemed to be stumbling over his words and nervous prior to that very moment, and her eyes closed also as she listened. Her heart's thudding continued a steady rhythm in her chest, seeming to beat with each word that the dull cinnamon murmured, and she felt warmth spread from her ear tips to tail tip, making her shiver a bit. Once Nobuo pulled back, the ginger warrior's eyes opened once more, meeting his warmly with a smile slowly growing on her face, a thing of genuine and undisguised happiness. As he stopped speaking, his last question still ringing in her ears, Tzurai let the silence drag on for a little bit, her whole body seeming to tingle and feeling as though she wasn't sitting but floating instead. Floating above their heads and watching them, peacefully viewing a scene that continued to make her heart throb with each moment that went on, silence undisturbed by talk. As she felt herself float back down into her body, Tzurai's head suddenly pulled forward. Not to head butt the other warrior, as he had done to her, and not even to touch noses, but to nuzzle her head under his chin, a slow purr starting to vibrate in her body and echo around them.
"I think," she began, her voice quiet and warm, "what took you so long?" Regardless of the situation, the little ginger's wit and playfulness hadn't left her, though it was clear she was simply being affectionate about her play.
Nobuo held her gaze steadily, but the silence was once more killing him. Then, he calmed down as he caught warmth in her eyes. His softened and he felt drawn to her, like a magnet. His heart soared as she leaned close to him, rubbing her muzzle under his chin with affection. His eyes spread open and the smile remained ever so wide on his face. Disbelief was displayed in his eyes, but not in a bad way. He was still in shock, not believing that a she-cat, as beautiful as her could really feel the same for a dull warrior like himself. He was filled with joy and excitement, though he remained calm. He felt reborn, all the unease he felt before, washed away by her words.
"Wow... That's... great," he purred, chuckling at her last words. "So, what you say we make it legit then? Would you have the honor of being my mate?" If she said yes, she'd see the begining of drastic changes in him.. for the biggest void in his life would finally be filled.
Tzurai felt breath catch in her throat at his final words, and her eyes also widened before she closed them again, content with nuzzling Nobuo until she managed to catch her breath once more. She was tired of silence, but this time found herself literally unable to speak, whether it be from the sheer joy of his question or just the pure weight of today that was gradually lifting off her shoulders. Everything felt right, like it had fallen into place, and her gaze opened halfway to cast a glance to the sky, eyes full of pure appreciation. It was almost like casting a quiet 'thank you' into the air. Slowly, she drew herself away from the dull cinnamon, heart beat finally slowing down but the large thing in her chest feeling as swollen as ever. Of course. Of course!
"An honor indeed," she teased slightly, a smile in her eyes and on her face. "Of course. Yes, a million times over."