Entry Writchal #1

Theme: Droplets of Time


Rahven shambled away from the park. It had once been a place of comfort in the only city he had ever known, away from the anxieties of his childhood house just a few blocks away. But it hadn’t been. Not in these past few years. Not since- … that day. Or perhaps even long before that. Why was he here anyway? In this accursed town he had spent too long and too short of his life in, when he now knew of other towns? One of which even has a house with his name in its deeds, unlike this one.

Why, indeed? Rahven looked up to the sky, even if sunlight was sparse in this part of the year, it’d feel good on his face all the same. Perhaps it’d help his mood and mind even now.

Rahven turned his head back down and stretched, a big smile on his not-so-big-head. The rays of sunlight warmed his face and body nicely while the winds of spring filled his lungs with fresh air. He didn’t know why his father had decided to move to this part of town from their previous one. Something about money and time? gas? and… work? In any case, it was something he was too young and stupid to make any sense of. At least, that’s what his dad had told him.

Anyway, it didn’t matter why they had moved! There’s a huge park just a few blocks away from his new house! This park had fountains and ponds and swings and food stands and seesaws and kids! Kids! Like him! The nearest park to his old home barely had any kids. Sure, sure, it wasn’t deserted… but it had teens! Meanie teens! Which was definitely worse than if the park had been deserted! … and creepy.

Rahven had been so stoked when he had seen the park on the way to his new house that he had immediately begged his mom to go to the park with him. But she had refused. Too busy. New house needed decorating. Why wasn’t he useful? Stop being annoying. But it didn’t matter, his dad had come to the rescue and he was in the park! … alone. But, eh, what’s the worse that could happen? He’s had a blast so far meeting the other kids and playing in the park, committing all its gorgeus wonderful details to his memories.

He hadn’t really wanted to leave yet. But the other kids had told him there were cool shops this way! Shops with snacks and sweets from floor to ceiling, shops with ice creams all over the floor, shops with awesome trinkets at every corner! He just had to see them!

Still, he wanted to commit as much of the park to memory so turned his head back to the park.


Rahven blinked and– blinked. He turned his head to his girlfriend of… three years? He definitely needed to check the notes on his phone again, wouldn’t want to accidentally write the wrong number on their anniversary gift.

… was their anniversary coming soon? It’s almost fall now …right? … when did they start their relationship again?

“… are you okay?” Sarene asked, brows furrowed and head tilted.

“Yeah, I- I’m… fine?” Rahven… answered? Questioned? Said. Rahven said, trying to regain some focus. “Sorry, what were we talking about again?”

“Well, just some plans for the homecoming at our high school,” she answered slowly. “I asked if you wanted me to help plan your outfit and then you… froze,” the girl looked over her shoulder. “Did you see something?”

“Yes! … no?” Rahven answered, making Sarene even more concerned. “Sorry, I- yeah, I thought I saw…” Sarene was definitely getting more concerned… and alarmed. “It’s nothing! I’m sure what I saw was nothing! Let’s just get to the snacks store and then the ice cream parlor!” Rahven tried to grin with enthusiasm when mentioning the two places that had been the staple for a lot of their dates.

“Are you sure? We could just go home if you-” Sarene reached for the boy’s shoulders.

“No! No! Nonono-” Rahven flinched, taking a step away. “I-” he raised his hands up, palms facing his concerned girlfriend. “I’m sorry, I’m ruining our date like this. Pleaseletsjustgototheshop?” the boy pleaded, wishing to be somewhere less open, wishing to just blend into the busy store full of sweets and snacks not far from here.

Sarene reached out towards her boyfriend and gripped his hand.

Rahven looked at the hand held inside the girl’s own. She was looking away, but he could see the corners of her lips curling upwards. The boy, however, couldn’t look away from the amazing scene in front of him. Sarene was holding his hand.


He couldn’t belive his luck. First, his crush since the start of middle school had asked to hang out with him—sure, they would talk in class sometimes and get group projects together, but this was different! She’d asked to hang out with him, just him! And he could pick the place! So of course he’d picked this park just a few blocks away from his house with all these amazing stores for their, hopefully, first date. Especialy since he’s currently not allowed to go far from his house—and now she’s actually holding hands with him.

Rahven could practically feel his heart trying to burst out of his chest while his chest itself gets more deflated because he kept failing to take any proper breaths. Rahven tried to slow his breathing, making sure they were deeper and got enough oxygen. Rahven could feel that-

Oh no, when was it? Spring? Early spring? Valentine’s week of spring?! Had this been a date this whole time?! Was he just-

“Rahven?” the voice that called him was soft and sweet, just like how it always was in their school.

Rahven couldn’t trust his voice but tried anyway, “y-yeah?”.

“Are you okay? You’re kind of breathing really shallow,” the girl tilted her head.

“Of course, I just-” the boy raised his free hand to rub at the back of his head but just ended up flailing its attached arm. That, and he coughed. “Spring’s really started huh? I hope I won’t get pollen allergy.”

“Oh, I never realized you were allergic to pollen,” Sarene furrowed her brows.

“Well, I’m not,” he answered with a smile. “But, in case I am, we should get out of this pollen invested air and into that snacks and sweets shop over there,” Rahven raised a finger to point at a shop not too far from the park they’d just gotten out of.

“Wha- Rahven!” Sarene yelled, sounding as if he’d just offended her great grand ancestors or something. However, Rahven could see her lips twitching into a badly hidden smile. Sarene decided to show her frustration with him by squeezing the hand trapped in her own.

Rahven flinced and snapped his head towards his son his boy Dihev. The younger man scowled.

“I can’t believe that worked,” Dihev scoffed and turned his eyes away.

“What?” Rahven asked, not comprehending.

“Dad told me to squeeze your hand if you ever zoned out,” the young adult answered brusquely. “Never thought I’d ever need or want to use it, though,” Dihev muttered under his breath.

“‘Dad’?” Rahven felt even more lost, he’s never written something like that to his son. That felt like such a weird thing to write about yourself.

… not that he’s ever written much to his son anyway. Moreover Dihev hasn’t called him dad for quite some time so it couldn’t have been him. Then suddenly Rahven felt understanding fill him, as well as more confusion.

“But he’s-“

“What? Surprised a dead man is trying to forge more of a relationship with me than you have been, ‘father’?” Dihev cut off the older man’s words and crossed his arms. “I don’t know how he did it but I’ve been getting these letters twice a year since his death,” he eyed his father’s expression. “And from your expression, I take it he hasn’t done the same for you?” Dihev sneered.

What? Dihev has been getting- but- is there even a service to do something like that?

Why… why hasn’t he been getting any?

“Maybe he knew you’d be a loser and decided to not waste his time with you?”

No, no, no. Stop.

“Maybe he’s not even really dead and just decided to run away from you!”

No, he’s dead. He’s- he’s- dead. Rahven had seen his body, all those falls ago. A fall just like this one. Cold and almost dead. Just like his body. But his body was not almost dead. It was dead dead. Besides he would never-

“And he’s sending me letters because he feels bad for leaving me with you as a father!”

No! NO! He’s been trying! He has! It’s just- He didn’t want to be- and he was afraid that-

“And he hasn’t been sending any to you because he hates you!”

Nononono, he would never- he’d never hate him! Right, he’d never hate him. Right? Right. He’d never hate him. Never! Nevernevernevernever-

Rahven felt two big hands slapped on top of his shoulders and jumped. Or… he would have if the hands hadn’t prevented him from actually jumping.

“Whoa, there, tiger!”

Rahven looked up to see Ver’id’s furry face. The bigger man’s beard seemed to glitter in the light of the almost-summer sun. However, that same sun seemed to cast the eyes in shadow.

“You seemed like you were about to panic so I-” Ver’id slipped his hands away to scratch at one of his sideburns. “Yeah, that might’ve been a bad thing to do to someone about to have a panic attack now that I think about it. Sorry,” the man gave a sheepish grin, one that was almost hidden behind his prosperous beard and moustache.

Rahven could still feel his heart beating hard, but felt calmed down enough to humor his friend. “Maybe, but it worked on me,” he smiled. “Well, this time, at least.”

Ver’id barked out a laugh. Barked? That’s a weird thing to say, Ver’id wasn’t a dog. Although… he’d probably have made a good malamute. If malamutes were lazy. Were malamutes lazy?

“Well, I guess I should research on how to actually help someone about to have a panic attack once I get back to the dorms,” he huffed with a small smile on his face.

“If you do that, send me the links, too, will you?” Rahven asked the bigger man.

“What for? I don’t get panic attacks,” Ver’id grumbled and folded his arms before looking away.

Rahven just glared at him for a good long while before Ver’id huffed and rubbed at the top of his own head.

“Actually,” Rahven withered his glare in favor of looking away. “Now I feel guilty for not researching that the first time you had one.”

“Well, it’s not like I’ve had any more in front of you, anyway,” Ver’id tried to reassure the smaller man, but Rahven just seemed to furrow his brows further. “o- or, much more in general, really! So what you did back then must have definitely helped!”

“What if I’d actually made it worse though?”

“Well you hadn’t!” Ver’id placed his hands on Rahven’s shoulders again. “And if you had, then so did I just now! So now we’re worse-panice-attack buddies!” he said firmly, looking at Rahven’s eyes with a goofy grin on his face.

“Alright, alright, my worse-panic-attack buddy,” Rahven finally smiled back at Ver’id. “Let’s make sure we’re recovering-from-panic-attack buddies from now on, though.”

“Of course!” Ver’id jumped back and held his chest high and out. Which probably would’ve looked more impressive if he had more of a superhero built instead of a strongman one. “Isn’t it kind of why we’re here though, after all?”

“Well… would that even actually help?”

Ver’id deflated and scrached his cheek again. “Well, again, I haven’t researched that but,” he dropped his hand, stood straighter, and looked down to Rahven’s face. “This place holds bad memories for you, right? I’m sure we could help reduce your panic and anxieties if we…” he prompted.

“… make some good memories,” Rahven said to himself. There was nobody around, after all. Why would they? Most folks weren’t stupid like him. They’d huddled in their homes for winter. Especially this weirdly hot day in winter. Everything’s drab and drippy and most likely possibly slippery from all the water on the ice and snow.

Still, he couldn’t be thinking that way. He was there to make some good memories, after all. Well, his therapist had called it something else, but it had basically meant the same thing, he was sure.

Rahven took his hand off the bear-shaped trinket of his necklace with a smile. He had bought it for Ver’id years ago, long before they’d settled in another town, before Dihev. However, it wasn’t that first time they went there to “make some good memories” either. That had been… both a good and terrible day. Rahven sometimes wondered what happened to that kid they’d saved that day, hopefully the police had actually done something for the boy. He wouldn’t want to think what that kid would have had to endure otherwise.

Rahven looked at the watch on his wrist, its band adorned with a tiger-shaped trinket he had bought when he had been a very young child. He felt the shape of the trinket for a bit before actually looking at the time. It was late morning. Or was early noon more appropriate? In any case, the shops should be more than ready to have customers.

It was rather nostalgic to see that most of the shops around hadn’t changed that much. They had all gotten redecorated one way or another but they still looked and felt the same for the most part. Except for that trinket store across the road, it had apparently been closed a few years ago. However, seeing as he had no one to buy any trinkets for, it didn’t matter much.

Before going to the snacks and sweets shop, however, he took out his phone. The crocodile, or maybe alligator, shaped trinket that he had bought for Dihev when his son had been a child dangling from it. He tried to ignore the scraped trinket with its broken tail-end. Sometimes he wondered if Sarene still owned the lioness-shaped trinket he had given her. Rahven got himself out of his reverie and turned on his phone’s screen.

There were no new texts visible on his lock screen. Rahven felt like he needed to be sure, however, and quickly unlocked it to open the messaging app. Opening Dihev’s conversation revealed… nothing new. The conversation was bare. There was nothing prior to this day. Moreover, all of the messages had been sent from him. A bunch of apologies and excuses attempts at explanations, all of which he had discussed with his therapist first, and then the final message. A question from him, one that he was fully sure would never be answered, and even if it were answered would never be answered possitively. However, he still hoped Dihev would agree to it.

I understand that you can’t just forgive me. But, could we still talk? I’m in town for a few days so you could think it over first. How does that old park sound? I know we have bad memories there but maybe we could make some good memories from now on?

Rahven tore his eyes away from that message and stuffed his phone back into his pocket. With a brisk walk he stepped up on to the door of the snacks and sweets store and, ignoring the fact that it was actually rather crowded inside, walked in.

Rahven walked around the store, hand still, STILL!, amazingly held in Sarene’s own. The store was basically his home away from his house, other than his old school maybe, and he knew every nook and crany of it. He expertly weaved through the other customers to bring her to the best snacks and sweets he knew.

Rahven didn’t know Sarene’s palette but he’d brought snacks and sweets from here to a few of their group project meetings. He knew that she’d enjoy an sour apple candy and some hot ‘savanna’ styled chips.

“Oh, aren’t these-?” Sarene sighed at the view of the snacks before her and looked at Rahven.

“Yep, the snacks you liked most when we get group projects!” he exclaimed proudly. “I even have some extra pocket money so I can buy you some of these if you wanted,” he grinned, heart fluttering at being able to buy his not-yet-girlfriend on their not-really-first-date some of her favorite foods.

“I also have pocket money, Rahven,” Sarene protested, somewhat offended at the implication that she couldn’t buy herself some snacks. She was no longer an elementary school kid, thank you very much!

“Well, then maybe you want to try buying something else? There are lots of kinds of snacks and sweets here, maybe you’ll find something you love more than these two?” Rahven suggested. “I’ll still buy these, anyway, I also like them,” he didn’t like them, he just wanted to buy them just in case Sarene couldn’t find anything else.

Sarene looked around, there were lots of snacks and sweets around. “How do I know which one I’ll like?” the girl questioned.

“Oh, the small plates next to them are samples. You can take a piece from there to try the snacks and sweets,” Rahven answered while he grabbed some of the candies and chips into his shopping basket.

Sarene, meanwhile, started to try the snacks near them. When she was done, and Rahven was no longer filling his basket with the sour apple candies and savanna style chips, she walked away to sample the other snacks while Rahven trailed behind.

Sarene grabbed a bunch of smoked meats and some sea salt candies into their shopping basket. Satisfied with having her favorites ready to be paid, she turned to Rahven.

“You look really uncomfortable, Rahven,” she said softly, a somewhat unnecessary attempt at keeping people from listening in. “Are you sure you don’t want to just go home?”

“No, Sarene, it’s fine,” Rahven tried to smile genuinely, but his eyes kept darting around the store as if he was a prey waiting for a predator to leap out.

“Well, if there’s anything bothering you… you know that you can tell me, right? I mostly planned this to cheer you up anyway, you seemed really down lately,” Sarene grabbed Rahven’s wrists and pulled him into another part of the store.

“You noticed?” Rahven winced, uncomfortable that he couldn’t hide his fallen mood from his girlfriend.

“Of course I did,” Sarene sighed before gesturing towards the stack of sweets in front of them. “If you don’t want to tell me what’s been bothering you then at least tell me how many of these you want?”

Rahven looked up at the stack of sweets in front of him. He tried to read its name but he wasn’t that good at reading yet. It said… something-something rolls? Yeah, that must be it! It was pretty pretty name for a pretty pretty sweet! It looks like a bunch of colorful thick tapes with glitter on them!

The young boy slowly walked towards a small plate near the stack with smaller pieces of the sweet. He’d seen the other customers walk up to similar plates and just eat from them. He knew you weren’t supposed to just eat stuffs in store and needed to pay for them. But… everyone else was doing it so it must be fine, right? He grabbed a piece and slowly began nibling on it.

When the sweet touched his mouth he felt its chewy texture mixed with sour and sweet tastes fill his mouth. It was the best thing he’d ever tasted! It’s a not-only-sweet sweet! It was great!

Rahven grabbed a handful, thankful that he has some pocket money. He just hoped it was actually enough to buy these.

Rahven placed the twelfth big handful of his favorite sweet into his shopping basket. He was glad there were still lots of it even if the store was rather crowded that day. However, crowded places didn’t always mean bad things. For a recent example, he’d just saw a young boy light up after trying his favorite sweet. It reminded him of his own first time trying the thing.

“Ah, it’s that chewy thing you really like, huh?” Ver’id’s rough voice suddenly came from behind him. The big man had spent the last few minutes walking around the store trying to see if anything would catch his eyes. However, he seemed to have came up empty handed.

“‘Berry Sour Rolls'”, Rahven automatically explained. “You didn’t find anything you like?”

“Nah, I’m not sure what to get? There’s, like, so many things here!” Ver’id seemed to have started making a wide gesture but stopped midway, thankfully not hitting anyone.

“Then why not try these?” Rahven picked up a piece of berry sour roll from the sample plate and offered it to his college friend.

“Nah, I don’t wanna become an addict like you and the other five folks I’d just seen grab a bunch of ’em,” Ver’id grinned at his own teasing. Rahven shrugged and ate the sample piece himself.

“No, but seriously, how much did you get?!” Ver’id said almost too loudly when he took a peek at Rahven’s basket.

“Well, definitely less than how much you’ll be getting,” Rahven teased back, patting Ver’id’s big belly.

Ver’id grumbled and brushed Rahven’s hand away. “I don’t even know what to buy.”

Rahven looked around the store. There were a lot of snacks and sweets around, but he wasn’t really sure if he’d seen Ver’id eat anything similar to any of them. So he wasn’t sure what the man would like, either. As he scanned his eyes over to one side of the store, however…

“I think I know what you’ll like,” Rahven grinned and grabbed Ver’id’s hand, dragging his friend around while the bigger man just let him.

They walked through several crowds of folks gathering around the more popular snacks and sweets. Well, it was more that they made way for the tall muscular man that was Ver’id but it worked out the same way. After a few seconds they ended up to an area filled with piles of golden and red-purple sweets as well as dark pink snacks.

“‘Honey Cake Candy’, ‘Berry Ball’, and ‘Dried Salmon Jerky’,” Ver’id read the names of the foods directly in front of them. “Really? Stereotypical, much?”

Dihev sighed at the corner of the store they’d found themselves in. “Really? Aren’t these just Dad’s favorites?”

Rahven froze, his arm outstretched towards the snacks and sweets. The younger man beside him had just given him a panic attack outside the store and was now being a jerk inside it. Rahven almost wished he’d just ran away before. If the boy felt himself old enough to want to move away, why even try to have a good relationship with him?

“I remember you eating a lot of them when you were young,” Rahven argued as he grabbed some of each food and put them into their basket.

“Yeah! Because they’re what Dad had always kept around the house!”

“So you don’t want them?”

“No! I’m not Dad, Rahven!”

Rahven bristled at just being called his name by his own son. He wasn’t sure being mockingly called ‘father’ earlier was any better but at leat Dihev was still calling him something familial. However, it seems Dihev wanted to not even call him family anymore.

Rahven sighed and began to walk towards the cashier. He knew he wasn’t being a good father, not for the last few years at least. Not since Ver’id died. But he was sure he was doing the right thing. He didn’t want to turn out like his own father or Ver’id’s so he’d kept his distance. Piled work upon himself to no think about his grief or any other negative emotions that might come up, making sure he was never home long enough to do anything other than sleep, and gave Dihev more than enough pocket money to buy pretty much whatever he wanted at school.

Rahven was sure he had been doing remarkably better than his own father. His adopted son did not reach adulthood with a body full of scars. However, the father he’d ended up becoming had apparently not been good either. And, unfortunately, he’d only realized that recently, when his own son had just graduated and ready to move away.

Rahven winced a bit when he heard a relatively young man’s voice yell in the store. Worse still, it sounded like there was an older man with that young man. It brought back bad memories of his last day with his own son. He hoped that whoever they were, their day would end up better than his own that accursed day.

The old man paid for his sweets and snacks and left the store. He didn’t really buy much, less than what he used to and definitely way less than Ver’id’s hoard whenever they’d come here. Still, he’d bought enough. His favorite snacks and sweets, Ver’id’s favorites, Dihev’s favorites, and, heck, he’d even bought Sarene’s favorites for old times’ sake.

Rahven began to nibble on some of his purchase as he made his way to the ice cream parlor. The parlor had always allowed the customers to bring snacks and sweets from the store he’d just left for as long as he could remember. A good idea, too, as some of the sweets mix really well with the ice creams. It was such a popular thing to do, in fact, that it’s weird to see anyone not doing that.

The abandoned building of the old trinket shop were some distance away from Rehvan. It didn’t look too bad, definitely only somewhat recently abandoned. He was sure the shop had closed years ago, though. Maybe there were a few other stores that tried to take hold there but couldn’t? He felt it was a bit sad to see that place look so dead.

Looking down from the building Rahven saw the instersection. The snacks and sweets store and the ice cream parlor were on his side, while the trinkets store and a few residentials were on other. It was a normal intersection for a normal city, all things considered. However, Rahven didn’t really like it, too many bad memories. With a swallow of his snacks a hasty rhythm in his steps, Rahven faced the ice cream parlor’s door and opened it.

Rahven walked out of the door and froze. His eyes, which had been going all over the place that day, finally locked on something for a good long while. There, in front of him, was a tiger tigress. Not just any tigress, either, it was-

“Mom?!” Rahven exclaimed just as he felt Sarene walk out of the snacks and sweets store into his back. Studying his mother’s features, he was in a big trouble. Not just any normal big troube, either, but one that would-

“Rahven?” Sarene asked, almost in a whisper to his right. Shoot, this was the thing that he had been dreading all week. It was bad enough that he’d let slip to his father that he’s had a girlfriend for some time during one accursed dinner. In his defence, he was trying to convince his father that he was not one of those guys. It was only later that night that he realized how stupid it was to say that he’s had a girlfriend to prove that. Especially since his girlfriend was not a tiger like his family.

“Rahven, who is that?” his mother oh so lovely said oh so slowly, dripping venom with every syllabel just like the mad drool threatening to fall from her jaws.

Rahven slowly, mechanically, turned his head around to look at Sarene. He was going to say something, he had to say something. However, all he could do was look pleadingly at Sarene to not say anything yet so he could talk their way out. He wished she got the mes-

“I’m… Rahven’s girlfriend.”

Rahven snapped his head back to look at his mother who was fuming at the sentence that had just left the lioness’s mouth. The boy began to walk forwards, arms raised with his palms open in front of him. He had to deescalate somehow, he had to. Rahven began to open his mouth to say that-

However, before he could get any words out there was a loud noise right beside him. With a quick reflex he hadn’t really realized he owned, Rahven caught Sarene in his arms. The girl was limp. Breathing, sure, but limp. It seemed that his mother’s slap on the young lion was enough to make her freeze just like him these last few moments.

Rahven tried to squeeze her a bit, because hugging her for reassurance was definitely not on the table right now, and began to frantically whisper. “Sarene, run. You have to run. Let me handle this, please.”

Out of the corner of his eyes he saw his mother rearing up for another terrible slap. Thinking quickly, he shoved his girlfriend away and received the slap himself. It was fine, though, he’s always had a thicker skin. The slap didn’t sting that bad. What did sting however was the view of Sarene getting further away from him, the lioness-shaped-trinket of her necklace blowing in the air.

The boy slowly raised a shaky hand to feel his cheeks. He was wide-eyed, unbelieving of what had just happened. After a few seconds, he felt the fur of his own cheeks on his fingers. There weren’t really anything different from the outside but-

“So, want to make this a date?” the young girl asked with a grin. God damn her! First, she kissed him and then asked to turn this random hang out in the week of valentine’s day into a date?! He was sure it was against the rules or something!

They had been walking to the ice cream parlor when she had suddenly surprised him with that accursedly amazing kiss. It was not the fully romantic two lips locking kind of kiss—he wasn’t sure he’d even want something like that, it looks disgusting!—but it was definitely amazing and a very nice surprise. Although, perhaps getting it in the middle of a busy pedestrian path was not… ideal.

“Of course,” answered Rahven wholeheartedly with a big grin on his small face.

Slowly the boy inched his hand closer to Sarene’s in an attempt at reestablishing their hold that had been broken when they were trying sweets and snacks back in the store. Sarene noticed it and gripped the boy’s hand tight in her own. The two young feline’s hands intertwined once more, they began to walk again towards the ice cream parlor as a resounding smack sounded behind them.

Rahven felt has hand squeezed by a bigger one. Ver’id’s brows were furrowed as he watched the tiger man pay for their snacks. The sound had sounded almost exactly like a smack and brought back terrible memories for both of them. Rahven was rather sure he was more affected, however, as he had been part of a very similar experience in front of this very shop only a few years prior.

With their snacks paid for, Rahven and Ver’id began to walk outside. They crossed through the shop’s doors with bated breath, readying themselves to see whatever horrible scene was outside. However, they’d found nothing out of the ordinary under that almost summer sun. There were a few to-be-rain clouds and people mingling about under them. A few of them seemed to be looking around as if trying to find some source of some sound, but none of them seemed concerned enough.

“I guess it wasn’t what I thought it was?” Ver’id sighed a breath of relief and squeezed the tiger’s hand again.

Rahven slowly nodded, still looking around to find where anything that might’ve made the previous sound could’ve gone off to. “Yeah… I guess it’s a good thing it wasn’t. I’m not sure if I can handle something like that.”

Ver’id turned around to put his hands on Rahven’s shoulders. “If she did come for you, I’ll protect you,” the bigger man said seriously, almost threateningly. “I’ll even take your father if it came down to it!”

Rahven just looked at the beary bear’s face and furrowed his brows. “That’s not fair, I don’t think I can do the same for you if your parents came here to seek you out.”

Ver’id held his gaze for a few seconds longer before sighing heavily. “Let’s just hope it never comes to that. But if it did-“

“Call the police,” Rahven nodded. It had been their plan should something terrible happen to them, especially to Ver’id. However, Rahven wasn’t so sure about that plan. “I’m still saying I’ve had bad experiences of involving the police in this sort of thing.”

The bigger man let go of Rahven’s shoulders and frowned before walking again. “Well, it’s the best choice we have. And at least I’m not actually living with them anymore,” the bear said in a faux cheery tone while doing jazzhands. “Speaking of that-“

“No, Ver’id,” the tiger cut off the bear before the sentence could have any hope of getting finished. “I still don’t have any money to do that.”

“Failing getting your own…” Ver’id sighed and rubbed the top of his head. “My dorm room is always open for you, remember that,” the bear patted Rahven’s shoulder a few times. “And my room’s big enough to house you, too, so if you ever want to move in-“

“Thanks, but then they’ll just target you, too, Ver’id.”

“Yeah, I guess that’s true,” Ver’id stopped walking again before turning around to face the smaller man. “But once we graduate…”

“I haven’t changed my mind about that, don’t worry.”

Ver’id grinned and grabbed their shopping bag to take a great handful of his sweets and snacks—the stereotypical honey cakes, berry balls, and salmon jerkys. “Man, it’d be great to have a roommate,” the bear said while chewing through his hoard.

“That’s what people who don’t have roommates say before realizing what having a roommate feels like,” Rahven walked away while grabbing one of his own berry roll to chew.

Ver’id quickly caught up—not a hard thing to do since he’s taller than Rahven—and draped himself over the smaller man’s shoulders. His chin rested neatly between the tiger’s ears and his arms falling from the smaller man’s torso like some kind of old regal clothing. “Nah, that’s just ’cause they don’t get a roommate that knows good food,” the bear rumbled while his hands dipped back into their shopping bag and fed more of his newly acquired snacks into his mouth.

Rahven ignored the bear eating on top of him and kept walking towards the trinkets shop across the road. He stopped before he reached it, however, and tapped on the bear nose on top of his head. Ver’id replied the gesture with a grunt.

“You know,” Rahven began slowly as he waited for the bigger man to swallow. “I never told anyone this but on that day a bear helped me out.”

Ver’id gulped the glob of food in his mouth loudly before answering. “Rahven, just because I kept telling you about my parents doesn’t mean bears are bad folks,” the friendly bear huffed at his friend’s statement.

“That’s not what I meant, Ver’id,” the probably friendly tiger elaborated, causing Ver’id to stop midway through gobbling another handful of snacks. “That bear could’ve honestly been you.”

Ver’id barked out a laugh. Again, perhaps barked was not a good word to describe that, Ver’id was not a dog. Were bears close to dogs? Rahven was just glad the bigger man didn’t have anything in his mouth at that moment.

“Rahven, I’ve never even left my town until I started going to our university,” the bear rumbled with some sort of amusement in his throat. “We bears tend to look pretty alike, honestly. I’m sure there was just some good samaritan bear walking by back then. And since I’m the friendliest bear you know, your brain just figured we’d be the same ultimate kind bear of very beary kindness,” Ver’id grinned.

Rahven simply booped the bear nose on top of his head again, receiving another grunt from the threat encompassing the back of his head and neck.

“Fine, Mr. Very Beary Kindness Bear, let’s go buy you some beary bear trinkets,” the tiger began walking again to cross the road. However, before he could take even a single step, he was swung around to face the ice cream parlor.

“Ice cream?” the warm fat bear behind him asked innocently.

“I promised you that I’ll buy some trinkets for you today,” the not fat but warmed from the back tiger grumbled. “Besides, you’ve been eating snacks since we’ve left the store, damnit. Aren’t you full already?” Rahven tried to walk to the trinkets shop again but was stopped by the strong muscular bear arms around him.

“Well, today doesn’t have to mean ‘right now’, does it?” the bear grinned. “Besides, those are snacks so of course I still have room, ice cream goes to its own stomach! And it’s almost summer so we just have to get ice cream when passing through an ice cream parlor.”

“You’re a glutton, Ver’id,” Rahven grumbled and tried to cross his arms but was stopped by the thick arms in front of his own arms.

“Maybe,” Ver’id conceded. “But I’m your glutton,” the bear then began to rub his prodigiously bearded chin on top of the tiger’s head. “Also, if you buy me ice cream, I’ll pay for any trinkets you buy in there afterwards.”

Rahven sighed, knowing that he wouldn’t win without a significant amount of efforts on his part. “Fine, fine,” the tiger grumbled as he began walking towards the ice cream parlor’s doors with the bear trailing behind him.

The tiger stopped in his tracks and frowned. His hearing might not be that sharp anymore, but he was sure he couldn’t hear the footsteps of the man that was supposed to follow behind him. Rahven sighed tiredly and turned back to face his son.

Dihev was just standing there with a scowl on his face and crossed arms on his chest. The crocodile seemed to have planted his feet on the stonework, crinkling the fallen amber leaves underfoot and refusing to move. An immovable object in the middle of the path. So much so that other people seemed to be actively avoiding him.

“Why are we here?” the reptile asked with a clipped tone, glaring daggers towards his father.

Rahven didn’t answer and tilted his head.

Why are we here?” Dihev tried again, stressing his words more than he had.

Rahven took a deep breath and looked away towards the amber-leafed trees. “To make some good memories.”

Dihev scoffed at the tiger’s response. “That’s just what Dad used to say to get you to be fun.”

The older man looked back at the younger with a tilted head, “but that is why we’re here, son.”

“Don’t ‘son’ me, old man,” the crocodile uncrossed his arms and made fists instead. “You want something out this. So just spit it out and end this whole charade, won’t you?” Dihev bared his fangs and knitted his eyebrows.

The old man turned his body to fully face his son. “I’d just told you what I want out of this,” he answered simply.

“That’s just crap and you know it!”

The tiger frowned. “No, I don’t. I’d just told you that all I wanted was to make some good memories with you and you don’t believe me?”

“Heck no I don’t!” the crocodile stomped his feet and his thick long tail onto the stonepath. “You hadn’t wanted to make any memories with me since his death and now you suddenly want to make some? When I’d just graduated? When I’m planning to move away? When I’m being offered a prestigious job position?! Heck yeah you want something!”

Rahven took a deep, deep, deep breath before he even began to answer. “I know this has been hard for you but-“

“No, you don’t know! You haven’t even talked to me in years! And ‘but’ what? But you were afraid to be a lousy father?!” Dihev jeered. “Well, news flash! You’re a lousy father!” crocodile did jazzhands before glaring at the tiger again.

“I was afraid of hurting you, god damn it!” Rahven panted, unable to really hold himself anymore. “Do you know what Ver’id’s parents and my parents were like?! Do you know how much I don’t want that to happen to you?! I don’t want to be near you and hurt if I lose it because he’s gone!”

“Oh, wow! Look at you! So volatile and unstable that he’s about to maim his child when he has a bad day because his partner’s been dead for years!” taunted Dihev, causing Rahven to tighten his fists and growl. “He was as much my Dad as he was your partner! And when he’s gone you decided to just be gone, too?!”

“I was still around! I came to your schools and university to fill the paperworks! I came to watch your plays or games or whatever! I gave you more than enough money to buy whatever you wanted!”

Anyone could claim to be my ‘legal guardian’ and sign those paperworks! And those ‘plays or games or whatever’? You’d always come at the last minute and you don’t even remember any of them do you?! And while I appreciated all the money left in the house, you’re never around to even give that to me! It could’ve been replaced by some charity government program and I never would’ve noticed!”

“I told you I don’t want to hurt you if I ever-“

“Then go to therapy or something, damn it! If the answer to not being the same terrible parent one’s parents were to keep distance, then what am I suppose to do if I become a father? Keep even more distance?! How? Move to another city? Another country?” the crocodile raised his arms and panted.

When Dihev lowered his arms again, it was to grab at the crocodile-shaped trinket on his necklace. The crocodile grinned before speaking again. “Or maybe just do something simpler, like send my kids to the orphanage? Or maybe even send them back?!”

Dihev yanked his necklace free, breaking it. He then slowly raised his hand as high as he could with a manic grin still on his face. Then suddenly he shot the crocodile-shaped trinket and its attached necklace as hard as he could towards Rahven’s feet.

“I wish you had by the way,” Dihev began to turn around. “At least then I might find somebody who would love me like a father should!” the crocodile shouted as he ran as fast as he could.

Rahven had been frozen since he saw Dihev grab hold of the necklace and his eyes tracked it as it flew towards the ground in front of him, laying in a broken and battered heap. However, as he heard his son’s quickly receding footsteps, he broke out of his trance. Quickly grabbing the crocodile-shaped trinket off the ground, he began to run.

The tiger ran. The tiger ran and ran and ran, not caring much if he’d run into anyone. Nor did he care that it had begun to rain that terrible late summer rain. He had to run and then- and then… what? The sounds around him were rather frantic, probably because he’d been running into people. There were shouts, lots and lots of shouts, but thankfully none of them sounded like him mother.

He was panting, taking many shallow breaths in short burst. He didn’t know what he was going to do, but he knew he was going to be sore later. There were definitely brushes and red spots around his body, but they were mostly hidden by his fur and clothes. He didn’t know whether to be thankful that they were not so visible, or hoping that they were and that someone would be kind enough to help him.

He looked around and saw that he was near the ice cream parlor. The tiger frowned at remembering that he was supposed to be in there right then, completing their usual date ‘rituals’ ever since that day. He was supposed to be eating ice cream with his girlfriend while devouring the snacks they’d just bought. He didn’t even know where the snacks he’d bough were.

Rahven’s ears twitched as he heard a horrifyingly familiar footsteps and began to run. He felt his shoulder ache as he had apparently run into something—most likely an edge of a wall or a door—but he ignored it and kept on running.

The boy kept on running. Which was… probably not a good idea since he was crossing traffic. But! He made sure to look left and right! And none of he cars seemed to be even moving! Like they were approving him to cross the road!

Rahven hadn’t really wanted to cross the road yet. He’d wanted to go into the ice cream shop and buy some ice cream! But his parents would be mad mad if he ate sweets and ate ice cream! And he wasn’t sure he even had enough money to buy anything there! And couldn’t really read what any of the ice creams were and they didn’t look like the ones he’d usually get! And there were some big men that he didn’t want to interact with! And! And! It was beginning to rain even with the sun still out!

So, the boy kept on running until he got across the road. He may have not gotten any ice cream but he was definitely going to get some trinkets from the trinkets store! Finally reaching the other side of the road, the young tiger excitedly passed through the doors to the shop and out of the sun shower.

It was… not at all like he’d imagined it to be. But it was still awesome! There were lots of things in there, and some of those things were big! He was sure some of the things in there were at least three meters tall! Weren’t trinkets supposed to be small? Bah! Whatever!

The tiger walked around the store, looking at all the baubles and knick-knacks abound. It was a rather cozy store, smaller and much less crowded than the snacks store but felt much more decorated. As decorated as it was… there weren’t really anything for a tiger boy like him. Still, he looked at every nook and cranny there for quite some time, trying to find something that’d actually catch his eyes.

Rahven was about to just go out of the shop and dejectedly go home when he saw it. Well, them, it was a bunch of identical trinkets. They were… small. But, they were pretty. Orange-ish with some black lines around, almost like stripes! They were shaped like a tiger too! Rahven walked closer, and took one of them. The tiger began to feel the shape and texture of the tiger-shaped trinket in his hands.

“You seem to really like that thing.”

Rahven looked at his, newly-appointed, girlfriend and smiled. He’d always worn that tiger-shaped trinket on his wrist—be it as part of some bracelet or a watch band or whatever—ever since he’d bought it. So, naturally, he does really like that thing.

“The shopkeeper said the same thing when I went to buy it,” the young tiger grinned. “I wandered around the store for some time before I saw it and probably spent a good few minutes just feeling it in my hands before the owner walked over. He said that and asked how much money I have. I only had like three dollars with me at the time? Anyway, he just took one dollar and gave me a small bracelet before telling me to keep it safe.”

“Really? That’s really cheap,” the young lion girl exclaimed, eating more of her sundae.

“No! It actually costs like five dollars! The guy was just taking pity on me, I guess,” Rahven laughed and quickly shoveled the last of his ice cream into his mouth. “I went back a few years later to pay my debt, of course! And I also kinda got addicted to buying these small things.”

“That’s very kind of him. And very good of you to pay back your debt,” the girl approved with a nod as she finished her ice cream.

“Want me to buy you one? It’d be a great reminder of today!” Rahven offered excitedly, almost bouncing on his seat.

“Sure,” Sarene replied with just as much excitement and standing up.

The tiger grinning and began to stand up, too. But then he heard it. Rain. Their perfect valentine week spring day had seemingly taken a downer. The boy frowned.

The girl noticed her boyfriend’s expression. “I brought a big umbrella, it’s okay. Besides, the store’s just right across the street, right?”

Rahven, meanwhile just stared at her for a bit, not replying. Finally, he took a deep breath and sighed. “It’s not that, I just- I almost got hit by a car when it rained during spring on this intersection, so…”

“That doesn’t mean that something bad’s gonna happen, tho!”

“It also doesn’t mean nothing bad’s gonna happen!” he argued. “I think I just have bad luck whenever I want buy someone gifts.”

“Come on, it’s just rain, damn it. I brought that big ole raincoat! You could hide in it while I wear it,” Ver’id grinned, imagining how ridiculous their walk back would be. “And I got some umbrellas in my room, you could use one of ’em to go home.”

“What if you got into a car crash because I’m hiding in your rain coat, though?” Rahven began to worry himself. “I mean, rain and me and this road and spring don’t mix well!”

“First of all, it’s almost not spring anymore,” the bear tried to reassure his buddy while finishing off his third helping of ice creams. “Second of all, the car’ll just stop against my brick hard muscles!” he grinned while flexing his now free arms.

Rahven simply looked at the impressive pair of arms unimpressed. Ver’id kept up the act before finally deflating. “And bounce off of my fat,” the bear added.

“I think you need to take another Physics 101 class,” the smaller man grumbled. “But, fine, let’s just go now before the rain gets worse,” he said, standing up before looking at the bigger man’s direction and stopping. “If you’re done with the ice cream?” he asked with a raised brow.

“Well, I wouldn’t say no to another helping!” the bear grinned excitedly, making the tiger sigh. “But, it is raining so ice creams aren’t that enticing right now. Let’s go.”

Rahven nodded and began to walk out of the store.

However, before he could take even a single step, the door was slammed on his face. He screamed and fall backwards onto the floor. His jaws and nose were smarming hard, almost to the point of being numb. Makes sense, he supposed, the ice cream store’s door had always been one of those big heavy kind which he’d always assumed was meant to keep the store cool for the ice cream.

“Are you okay?” Sarene asked as she helped him stand back up.

“Myeh,” Rahven tried to answer but found his face too sore to make proper words. The tiger’s ear flicked as he heard footsteps coming their way.

“You okay, kiddo?” Rahven looked up to see a big fat but strong bear frowning at him, a smaller man trailing behind.

“Yresz, shirv,” the tiger replied with clipped words. The bear didn’t look dangerous but bigger older men noticing him because of any injuries had never led to anything good. He wished he had made proper word sounds that time to hide the fact it his face felt terrible. But looking at Sarene’s expression, he supposed to definitely hadn’t.

“How about I buy you some ice cream?” the bear offered with a friendly smile. “I’m sure it’ll feel great for that sore face.”

The boy slowly nodded and let the bear walk him back into store and towards a table.

Rahven watched as the bear went up towards the counter to order a rather big helping of ice cream. He smiled fondly as the bear paid for it and brought back the two-person sized bowl—are those ice cubes surrounding the ice cream? He supposed it’d help with the soreness—back to the young couple. The lion girl just watched Ver’id with a friendly smile, even as the boy seemingly felt uncomfortable with the bear’s kindness.

He supposed he could’ve gone there to help cheer the boy up. But Ver’id had always been better with people, even children, and seeing how the boy wasn’t comfortable with even the cuddly bear…

Ver’id patted the boy’s shoulder, hoping it’d get the point across that it’d be okay after a while, and walked away.

“Well, aren’t you a kind bear?” teased the college student as his classmate left the recovering couple.

“What can I say?” the bear grinned as he gestured his arms widely. “I’m the kindest bear you know!”

“And the most gluttonous,” the tiger replied with a smirk. “Moreover, I’m pretty sure actually kind people don’t brag about being kind.”

“You wound me,” Ver’id played along, clutching his chest with one of his big hands. “Never thought a small-time such as yourself could hurt me so.”

The smaller man huffed in amusement and shook the great-bear-sized raincoat in his hands, looking expectantly at Ver’id. The bear complied and put on the bottom piece of the raincoat over his legs, stumbling a bit as his center of mass swayed about. Finally, he put on the big long top piece over himself and waited.

The tiger walked over to his partner and opened the front flap of the raincoat before walking under it. He then felt the bear drape thick furry arms over his shoulders and tried to fit his head under the bear’s chin. After some more fumbling he finally got his head through the hole that’s meant to be buttoned over. Feeling that they were ready, they walked outside.

The rain wasn’t actually that bad. But it was still kind of a terrible mix between the spring and summer rain, so it was not fun in any way. There were even thunders and lightning from time to time. People seem to agree, too, as a few could be seen running around in the rain, presumable towards their preferred shelters.

Rahven’s ears flicked—or, tried to, anyway. They were trapped under Ver’id’s jaw—when he heard something that was definitely neither rain nor thunder nor people running away from the earlier two things. It was coming from an alleyway some ways away, across the street from where they were.

The tiger shuddered, having bad memories of alleys and rains. The bear noticed—though he wasn’t sure about the cause of the tiger’s distress—and pressed the tiger tighter into his belly and chest in an attempt to comfort the smaller man. The tiger appreciated the gesture.

However, he needed to know if it was what he had feared it was. He could not just ignore it if it was so. He had been helped by strangers back then, so he felt it was time to be the helpful stranger. If it was, indeed what he thought it was. Surely, he and Ver’id could do something, right?

“Rahven?” the heavy bear rumbled from behind and on top of him.

“I-,” the tiger tried to reply but stopped. He took a deep breath and gave it a long exhale before continuing. “There’s something over there,” the tiger tried to gesture towards one of the alleys with his raincoat covered arms.

Ver’id was silent for a few moments before he nodded.

With a readying sigh, Rahven began to walk further into the rain.

The tiger felt the rain on his face. At least, he hoped it was just rain and not blood. Futilely wiping away at the liquid on his head, he tried to stand back again. However, he was definitely not thinking straight and was tired and so almost fell back down. Thankfully he had managed to grab onto one of the exposed bricks next to him.

“You’ve been with her for how long?” the venomous words reached his ears again, seemingly more threatening than the last.

He wasn’t sure how any threats could be worse than what he was experiencing, however. Was his mother going to actually try to kill him? That’d be nice, he supposed. He turned his head to look at the road blocked by the bigger tiger. His eyes watered. Perhaps it’d have been better if that old man hadn’t saved him that day all those years ago, because it seemed he was going to die in these very same streets anyway.

Rahven turned his face away, not answering the question.

“Answer me!” his mother shouted as she slashed at him. Causing him to crumple to the ground again. “Your father was so happy to hear that you had a girlfriend! What will he say he finds out that she’s a lion?!”

The younger tiger decided to not think about what his father would say—or do—when he finds out, let alone answer her question.

“It’s not like there aren’t any tiger girls in your class, is it?!” his mother continued.

Rahven heard his mother say more things but decided to tune it out instead. He looked around the alley he’d somehow found himself in after being caught by his mother again. The alley was pretty normal with some trash and rusted junks about. It wasn’t even that far the the ice cream parlor either, so it had been a pitiful run. Still, he had to run again. He needed to run again. And then- and then- he’d figure something out, he had to. He saw an opening just as his mom was about to grab him again and booked it.

The tiger ran as quick as he could. But he was not fast enough. He had never been a quick runner. Heck, he was sure he was even worse than the average tiger at running. But he tried to will his aching legs to move faster in the rain of the fall. He could not afford to slow down.

There was a yelp, then a grunt, then a scream, then a lot of other loud noises in front of him. He took a cursory glance at where he thought the sounds where coming from and could make out what seemed to be two figures sprawled out on the ground. He quickly realized that his son had run into someone, again. Worse still, the folks he’d run into seemed to be more hurt than all the other ones.

Rahven felt some more energy pumped into his legs and began to kick at the ground faster. “Dihev!” he yelled as he reached out one of his hands to grab his son and keep him still.

He lowered his hand dejectedly. The text he had received had been from a coworker, and he was not in the mood to reply right then. Swiping back out of he conversation, he lingered his gaze at the conversations list. Specifically, he was staring at Dihev’s name, as if doing so would magically make a reply appear out of nowhere. Alas, the world didn’t work like that.

Stuffing his phone back in his pocket, Rahven decided to end his ice cream eating escapade. He deposited his ice cream container to the trash bin and made his way through the store.

The tiger gave a quick glance at the lion girl and her boyfriend a few tables over. He had been surprised when the young boy had screamed and was about to help. But a very beary kind bear had beaten him to it. Perhaps he could’ve helped out, too, but the boy already looked embarassed enough with a single adult fussing over him like that.

Well, he figured, it was nice to know that there are kind people in the world, still. He wished he had made that thought a few years ago, however. He shook his head, it was not the right thing to think. He was there to make some good memories.

Rahven watched from the door frame as the rain poured even in winter. It was not really a usual sight, but he figured the air was just warm up there in the air. He was thankful he had the foresight to wear thick and covering winter clothes and packed an umbrella.

The tiger huffed and took a step into the cold rain. He was not sure where he’d go, seeing as the trinkets shop had closed down years ago. However, he was determined to help someone just like the bear did a few minutes ago, even if it was just some reassurances and an bowl of ice cream. Failing that, he supposed, he could just make some good memories in this rain.

Rahven just stood there in the rain. He had been expecting a number of things when he’d made his way there. But they didn’t really include the scene in front of him. So he was still unbelieving at what he was seeing.

In front of him was a tiger woman and a teenage boy, crumpled to the ground and the wall of a building. They were both bleeding, but seemingly from different causes. The woman’s seemed easy enough to guess, there was a rather sharp rusty junk not far from here that was looking rather off colored. The boy’s was… harder to guess, and he really wished whatever scenarios he had come up to explain the bleeding were false.

For some time the tiger man wondered if was actually watching the aftermath of a murder and if he should start dialing for the police. However, he could discern the two people in front of him breathing under the sounds of the rain if he focused enough. Moreover, the teen seemed to be regaining consciousness.

The younger man seemed to be dazed and didn’t notice the tiger and bear standing not far from him. When he did, it was with a jolt, a yelp, and a smack onto the back from a wall. Rahven winced at seeing the reaction, it seemed they were scaring him.

The tiger then realized he had a big bear draped over him and sighed. Quickly walking out of the rain coat, he took out his—thankfully waterproof—phone. “I’ll call for medical services,” he explained to Ver’id who was looking at him questioningly.

Truthfully, he was not sure if that was necessary. However, the two people were unconscious and bleeding so he figured it was better to have them checked for concussions and blood loss or infection, at least. With a sigh, he opened his phone to use the dialer and gestured for Ver’id, who was still looking at him, to do his magic and at least calm the now conscious boy down.

Rahven stared as bear began to walk forwards, his arms outstretched. The addition of the dark raincoat really didn’t help make the bear look less like he was trying to kidnap someone. The tiger simply scrambled as far away as he could, wrapping his limbs around himself. He was tired. He was not sure he could fight a bear anyway, especially one that big. The act seemed to have made the bear stop moving.

“Hey, are you okay, kid?” the bear asked. Rahven could hear some worry in the deep voice, but he was not sure if it was fake or genuine. “Sorry, we found you two like this and figured you might need some help.”

The tiger decided to not reply, it was not a question anyway. Well, the first one was, but he didn’t know how to reply to that one.

“What happened to you?” the bear tried again. The tiger decided to not answer again. The teen was even more unsure how to answer that question than the previous one. Was he supposed to answer from the beginning? Or what had happened that day? Or just why he was unconscious?

He tried to remember what had happened before he passed out. He had been so so close to getting out of the alleyway when his mother caught him and threw him back. He couldn’t remember what happened afterwards, however. He was sure there were a lot of voices and sounds of people running though. He had kind of assumed it was his mother running away, or his father coming to join in. But it seemed he had been wrong.

The bear sighed when no reply was given. Rahven stiffened, would the bear have had enough of him and take out some frustrations on him? He really, really wished the answer was no.

The big man then moved towards his mother and poked her. “Is this your mother?”

Rahven looked at the unmoving figure for a while, scowling. The tiger answered with a short nod of his head.

“Want me to try to wake her up?”

Rahven answered that one with a very long and fast shake of his head.

“I see,” said the bear with a frown. The big adult male then called his smaller friend—the one that had been under his raincoat with him—and made some gesture he could not even begin to decipher the meaning of. It must’ve had some meaning however, because the other adult frowned very deeply and went back to talking on his phone.

The tiger was watching the smaller of the two adult men when he heard a ripping sound, startling him. The bear had his claws out in his direction and he really wished he was strong enough to stand up and run. Instead, he decided to just try scrambling further away.

The bear stopped what he was doing and looked at him sheepishly. “Sorry, kid,” the bear said with a sigh. Oh no, isn’t that what people say before they kill other people?!

“I don’t really have anything useful with me tight now so I’m cutting some of my t-shirt,” the bear explained as he revealed a few long ribbons from under his raincoat. “We need to stop your bleeding, after all. And your mom, too, but you seem to have it worse, so.”

Rahven was pretty sure it was a lie. But he didn’t feel like the bear was trying to deceive him. It was as if the bear was making little white lies to help make him feel better. He didn’t know if it was a good thing, but he figured he’d let the older man try to patch him up.

The bear walked towards him slowly, as if he was trying to run away—he had been, but not really anymore. “Sorry, if it smells beary, but it’s cleaner than any other clothing I have with me,” the adult man said as he began inspecting the teen’s wounds. “My buddy there’s getting some medics so this should be a very short temporary fix anyway.”

The tiger nodded, not really sure what to say other thank a weak “thanks”. It had seemed like the right thing, however, as the bear’s face lit up with a soft grin that made his beard look even bigger.

Rahven let the bear work on him as he stared at the street in front of him. Cars and bikes going to and fro in the late summer rain. It was very peaceful compared to what had happened to him that day, even if the traffic was rather loud. However, that relative peace would not last long as suddenly car horns started blaring up.

The man watched the traffic in horror. He had been dodging them since his son had decided oh so stupidly to start crossing the road. Not just once or twice, but over and over and over. He was definitely going to have to talk even more things with his son once this was over.

The crocodile was still running away from him, and crossing the road yet again no less. However, the young adult had decided to look back at him for some reason.

… and failing to notice the car coming up from his other side. The boy must’ve noticed, however, because his face suddenly contorted in horror. Unfortunately, the boy also decided to twist his body around for some reason—to face the car, perhaps—which caused him to lose speed and make himself more likely to get hit.

With as much strength as he could muster Rahven leapt from his place as hard and as fast as he could, as if he was some non sapient tiger about to pounce on his prey. With a lot of tumbling and rolling later, he’d successfully brought the two of them to the other side. With some stroke of luck, he’d managed to get on top of his own son from that stupid act. He almost wished he’d tried to pounce on the boy sooner that day.

“Let go!” Dihev protested over the sounds of blaring car horns and rolling wheels. “You’re not satisfied with just being a terrible neglectful father that you’ve decided to assault me?!”

Rahven growled in anger and began to grab tight holds of the younger man’s shoulders.

“Listen here, you-” the tiger began to shout but was quickly cut off by loud sounds coming from further down the road.

The old tiger didn’t really find anything interesting or fun to do under the winter rain. Much less anyone to help. Therefore he’d decided to just stand on the side of the road, with his no-new-message-received phone in his hand, watching as the world go by.

Well, that and he was waiting for the bus.

The park and its stores had been an important part of his life when he was younger. He had been enjoying his nostalgic trip there today, but perhaps it was time to move on for now. There were other parts of town that he knew of, in any case. Perhaps they’d help him make some good memories.

He was just checking his unreplied messages to Dihev again for the twelfth dozen time that day when he heard the street suddenly exploding in sound. Cars were blaring their horns everywhere and there were even sounds of wheels going the wrong way.

Rahven quickly realized the cars were moving erratically, trying to make sure they don’t crash into each other or anything else. The tiger was just going to simply step back so that he would not get caught up in the chaos. However, he then saw a horrifying view of a very very young boy crossing the road. Straight into the path of a car that was swerving this way and that in an attempt to not hit the other cars on the road.

Without much though, Rahven quickly began to run faster than he had in the last decade or so. With only a few centimeters between the car and them, he hurriedly push the young tiger boy onto the sidewalk. Unfortunately, he was not as lucky.

The older tiger felt the car hit him and even carried him some distance before it stopped, flinging him even further. He tried to get up but every part of him was sore. He tried to take a deep breath but felt that his chest was in pain. So coughed instead and began to laugh.

Was this how he was going to go? He supposed he had wanted to help someone and with this act, he did.

… but, did he? What if he’d accidentally harmed the one he’d tried to save, instead? He felt that he had pushed too hard, after all, and the boy was so young it was probably even more painful to be shoved like that.

With as much strength as he could muster, he lifted his head to try to find the boy he had tried to save. He quickly saw that the kid was crying on the sidewalk a few meters away, clutching what appeared to be some orange-ish toy with black lines all over it and a strap on its sides. There were people hovering around and checking on the boy who seemed to not have any visible injuries.

Rahven sighed in relative relief. He supposed, he’d at least done something good after being terrible for the last few decades of his life. He supposed it was fine if this was how he went. He had felt like he was about to die on this street a few times, after all. And through all of that a stranger had helped him again and again. He supposed it was only fair that it was his time to be the helping hand.

He’d often wondered if the old man that had saved him the first time he’d come to this park even survived. He’d always hoped to find him again and thank him or something, but he supposed he won’t get the chance now. Not that the guy was probably still alive when he’d grown so old already, nor that he even knew what the guy looked like.

The tiger was trying to be content with waiting for his death when he heard it. His phone’s notification sound blaring clearly over the sounds of the rain and what he supposed were emergency vehicles—good, the kid could get properly checked for injuries soon—in the background.

He looked around and found his phone barely even a meter away from him. The man had just began crawling, more like sliding, towards it when it sounded a couple more times. He knew it was hopeless, but he couldn’t stop hoping that it was Dihev replying him, and so he had to move and reach the phone. Unfortunately, his vision was going darker and darker the more he moved. The sounds of the street around him were getting further away the closer he got to the phone.

Rahven finally closed his eyes when his fingers were barely close enough to touch the phone. A soft smile was on the old tiger’s face.

Less than ten centimeters from the tiger, his phone’s screen was lit up. On it was a conversation screen with Dihev, four new messages had just come in.

Sure, I guess. I also have a few things to say. Maybe. And probably a few apologies.

The old park is fine. I could be there about eleven in the morning tomorrow. Unless you want to do it sometime else.

See you then.


Writer: anonymous

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *