Aegean squeezed his eyes shut just a moment longer as the last of many sorrows drip into the frosted grass. He stiffened as a thick claw wiped away a few tears clinging to his soaked cheek. He looked at the lanky girl beside him, happy he hasn't lost her too.
She looks at the massive grandfather clock embedded in the raged cherry tree. She sat beside him, listening to the soft ticking. They sat there for hours in the near silence. Long after the sun gave way to the glittering moon. She flopped back, stretching her stiff limbs. She pulled a faded pocket watch from the small satchel around her waist. She grazed a thorny claw over warn platinum, scraping away the gathering ice.
"It's a quarter past midnight." She breathed, flipping it open. "We still must catch up with the humans. They have vet to pay for their injustice."
"Well, I aught not to doddle. Spent enough time mourning." He sniffled, surveying the clearing for a final time. "I'm going to avenge you, all of you. Family. Friends. Strangers. Makes no difference to me who you once were! Your restless souls may rest easy after tonight."
"Times like this? I'd simply be stupid to turn a blind eye." She stood up beside him, brushing grass and dirt from her leafy skirt, "Creatures of myth and legend like us may never be safe, but we won't allow ourselves to be hunted down and displayed as trophies by foolhardy humans. Not when they leave so much death, destruction and misery in their wake."
The nippy late-autumn winds kicked up. Whipping the browning leaves and withered petals around them harshly for a few moments before abruptly dying down. As if the spirits of all those lost were saying their final goodbyes. She supposed they were, as the dozens of whisps that huddled around him began to drift away.
"Thank you for loving and neutering me all these years. And never giving up on the weakest member. I'll never be able to than you enough for taking in this orphaned pup!" He choked back a fresh sob, smiling. "I love you, to the moon and beyond. My true pack."
He rested paw on the smooth stone at the foot of the clock, reading the neat handwriting for the hundredth time that day. He turned, weaving between the fresh grave markers.
The tall floral creature watched the ever ticking clock a moment more. Her gaze drifting down the pendulum to the spectral pair, heads bowed in thanks to her. She smiled, placing a clawed hand over her chest. She bowed back, watching the towering spirits of the former alphas fade away.
She jogged across the clearing, catching up to her new traveling companion at the start of the wooded path. He turned to her as he heard her approach. His bloodshot eyes holding such relief and hope.
"Ready to embark once again?" She asked.
"Yes!" His throat burned with each word he spoke. "Thank you for staying by my side throughout this chaos. You are a true and wonderful friend, Clover."
Clover laughed sweetly with a sigh. Gently sliding a hand into his neck fur, she wapped her arm around his shoulders. She leaned against him as they walked, softly scratching the large lunar wolf.
"I will continue to be with you til the day I wilt. I will walk with you the day you form your own pack. The day you choose your heir. The day you pass to the astral planes." She smiles warmly as he nuzzles her honey tipped petals. "I will fight by you side to the bitter end, my canid brother."
They continued through the dark forest, only one thought remaining in his mind.
Never have I dreamed of receiving such warmth from such a stone cold creature. Was this really fortune alone. Or was our meeting always to be?ns188.8.131.52da2