BEHIND BLUE EYES * littlepaw

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  • Well, that had gone... a way.

    Johnny (with the assistance of an NPC) had carried Littlepaw back to camp not long after she'd passed out, tucked her into the medicine den where she belonged, and then stayed to make sure she didn't spontaneously die on him. That would be especially bad, but it would be especially especially bad since he'd just told off Ver for telling him off, and... everything else that had gone down. His anger had subsided since in small quantities at a time. First he had to calm down from the horrid rush of arguing with the Veiler, then he had to calm down from the fact that Lily had passed out and coughed up blood, and then he'd had to calm down from getting so riled up over his memories from the Ruins, and then some after that. He didn't like that he'd gotten so angry. He had probably said things he should regret, at least; but he didn't. He hated Ver's guts, and she hated his, and as long as they lived he doubted it would change.

    Blue gaze finds the battered girl again and he frowns, brows furrowing above his eyes, creasing his forehead with worry. He's been sitting here for a while now, watching the soft rise and fall of Lily's sides, hoping that wasn't too weird since it was part of his job. Ears flick to pin against his skull, a now-familiar position. Has he overstepped his bounds? He knew he spoke a lot on the girl's behalf, and perhaps he shouldn't have, but he knows why he did. Truthfully, he saw much of himself in Littlepaw, and while he didn't know her history, he has a sneaking feeling that they are far more alike than superficial conversation will allow them to discover. He isn't sure whether he wants to discover it or not.

    He stares a moment longer, then retreats to farther inside the den, deciding he doesn't want to watch Littlepaw sleep anymore (he feels a bit weird about it even if he is making sure she doesn't die for whatever reason), and begins to rustle through the herb store, taking inventory.


    this god of mine relaxes; world dies i still pay taxes



  • And so did the little she-cat's sides rise and fall as her breathing settled. Littlepaw was secure in her words, her brash opinions and quick ousting of Ver from her life. While she passed out due to insurmountable fatigue and pain not long after casting the woman away, she was confident that she meant what she said. She was sure - Ver was not her mother, and never would be. It was awful for the woman to even act as a stand in, it was wrong, it was disrespectful. Littlepaw in her subtle, dark dream state figured that her opinions would never change. She would always dislike Ver, always resent her mothers and littermates, and never feel as if she was home.

    Johnny's rustling was quiet, however it stirred the girl some. She groaned, the pain from her agitated injuries radiating outwards into the rest of her body. Maybe she would finally learn - or, maybe, she would be an idiot in a few days time once again, just for the continued attention. Her golden eyes were filled with a dim light once again as they fluttered open, appearing as innocent as a child's before furrowing at the memories that came upon her. The curt words from all parties, the accusations, the attempts to hold her and love her only for her to stumble away - uncomfortable and frustrated tears pricked her eyes, her thick black claws extending into the nest she was lain in.

    Littlepaw still had energy - vague energy that was balling up into something explosive - and she needed to expel it before she did something stupid again. And so, the girl tilted her head towards Johnny, nose screwed up, "Do you have to make all of that fuckin' noise?" her words were almost slurred as she woke up, picking up her head from her bedding to get a better look-see at the paralyzed medic.

  • Do you have to make all of that fuckin’ noise? The groggy beration pricks his ears, and he turns back, stationary, towards the small room where Littlepaw lay. His face freezes, frustrated. He hadn’t been that loud in the first place, had he? Black lips in a neat, thin line, he emerges from the herb store, blue eyes sweeping over the girl with both weary reproach and determined responsibility.

    D’ you have t’ be so damn mean all the time?” he answers by asking, ears flicking backwards, pouting slightly. He is not as piercing as he might have been before. He seems worn out, just a little. He fixes his gaze on her golden eyes; he lays down but his head sits up, propped up by his left arm. They’re closer to eye level this way.

    What’s yer issue?” he asks her.

    He doesn’t mean it to be so accusatory, but it comes out that way, and he supposes that maybe it’s the frustration of dealing with her for so long and still being so hated. He feels he’s on the verge of understanding; hopes that that understanding can lead to kindness, and yet he’s never tottered quite over that edge. The kindest that Littlepaw has been to him (and, the kindest he’s been to her, if he is completely fair) was the few hours ago when Ver and Junepaw visited, demanding her back, and he didn’t think that the girl even meant it. Her leaning on him for support seemed like a total accident.

    He’s dealt with unkindness before. He’d been antagonistic in the Ruins, and he’d received his fair share back, so why did this bother him so much? Was it because Volary Flights was supposed to be a fresh start for him? Was he supposed to be friends with everyone that lived here just because he lived here, too? That hadn’t been his philosophy when he’d been with Gyro. When the wolf was still around, it was just the two of them against the world, and things had been much… simpler.

    He seems to realize what he’s asked, and his ears flick backwards further, and his face grows a touch more troubled. He isn’t sure that he wants to take it back. She’s been plenty rude throughout her entire stay despite his efforts to heal and mend. But he wasn’t supposed to heal to reap the benefits, was he?

    His lips purse. He decides not to correct himself.

    this god of mine relaxes; world dies i still pay taxes



  • "I'm not mean all of the time," she was quick to counter back, insults at the ready, tongue poised to lash at Johnny with no hold back. She felt she was ready, she was prepared, valid, even, to just whip him over and over again with insults that truly amounted to nothing. She wanted to knock his healing ability, his walking ability, or even his lacking social skills - as perceived by her. However, he spoke faster than her, her tongue locking against her cheek and her teeth clenching shut.

    What was her issue?

    Her tail slapped the ground as she stared at him, unsure what to say, what to disclose to a man she was so determined on hating. Just as she dwelt in her mind, it seemed his burning confidence faded the longer she waited, the gears in his head turning and wondering if he finally said the thing to shut her up. If such was the case, he was wrong. No, she was broiling, bubbling, boiling - deep inside the pits of her heart were flames that wished to roar from her mouth and set waste to this land and everyone in it, and all because she had been asked about her mental state.

    Fragile, fragile girl.

    "What's my issue? My moms all but disappear and it takes the last one weeks to notice I'm gone. My brother looks at me like a stranger, my littermates don't care -" her words fell from her mouth in a hardly cohesive jumble, her claws piercing the ground, "I was stuck in the infirmary for the first five months of my life, I almost died twice to an illness no one could cure - then I do this stupid fucking shit, break my legs, my ribs. Might as well paralyzed myself so that I could have some solidarity with someone."

    She grit her teeth. This was frustrating, that was frustrating. Everything was so frustrating and she couldn't fix it - nobody could. She wasn't fixable, her life was already damaged and broken, and her fiery persona hardly did anything to douse the flames. Her golden gaze was aflame throughout her tirade, and yet directly after, it faded. She simmered down, if any bit at all, and simply glared at the medic-in-training. Disgusted with him, disgusted with herself, "Was that good enough for you?" she eventually snipped, still clutching her bedding in her claws.

    [ sorry this is late! ]

  • / no worries! <3

    I'm not mean all of the time, she counters, and he has to force himself not to roll his eyes. Mean is all that she's known for here, and with that realization he recognizes that he is being a bit... hypocritical. He'd been more than mean in the Ruins, but he'd wished that someone would recognize the good in him, too. Her retort echoes in him.

    Her tail hits the ground abruptly and he wonders if he's really messed up this time. She stares at him and he stares back, expecting Hell to rain down on him, insults and jabs and stabs at his physicality, his inability, his intelligence, something, and yet she's quiet. His wheels are still turning, faster and faster. You should take it back, he tells himself, but she opens her mouth again and he sits at attention, blue eyes wide with fear for what will spill out.

    He isn't expecting what he gets.

    His anxieties calm. He is still staring, but gentler now, ears pinned back out of not frustration but empathy. I know what that's like, he thinks, but can't find a way to word it. She snips at him and he glances away, embarrassed.

    "Sorry," he murmurs, trying to buy himself time while he pieces words together into sentences that not only make sense but also mean something. He wants to say that he understands, that he can be a person to talk to about it, but given their rocky relationship he isn't sure how to put that and make it feel genuine.

    "But... y' can have soli-whatever with me," he attempts, glancing back into her golden eyes, noticing how they've calmed from her anger even if they aren't done being disgusted. He supposes he can understand. He fights the urge to look away again. "I think... what we both been through, I think it ain't too dissimilar. 'S a little different, but not by much. So... 'f ya need to just, talk, er yell about it er whatever, ya can. 'Cause I think th't I can understand it."

    He sits uncomfortably in the silence for a few moments, lips pressing hard together. He's thinking about Nicholas and his own father, about Gyro and how he left, about the accident leading up to his paralysis. He's fighting the urge, the need to cry. Ain't no way in Hell I'm cryin' in fronta Lily, he tells himself, and he bites the insides of his cheeks to make it true.

    "I won't, uh... get inta th' details unless y' want me to, but... Hell, I dunno. I dunno what I'm sayin' anymore. Sorry." He paws at the ground, debating going back into the den and just leaving the girl alone, but he lingers despite the appeal of retreating from the mess he's created.

    this god of mine relaxes; world dies i still pay taxes



  • Littlepaw was known to be loud. She was rude, stupid, combative, cross. She was everything beneath the hot burning sun, everything above hell, beneath heaven, settled in limbo and more. Littlepaw had made it her mission to be known for something and she refused to go down without a fight. If she died a villain, then at least she made it to being infamous. And yet, despite her last words scoring the air like thick claws through a tarp, despite her aggressive blow up only a few moments prior, she said nothing. She stared at Johnny, golden eyes flickering, waiting for him to throw more gas onto the flames so she had more reason to yell and complain. But, he didn't. He looked away.


    The shock settled on Littlepaw's face for just a moment to long. She wanted to believe it clear that he was just apologizing for his abrupt questioning, but something told her deep in her chest that there was more to it. It was far from a complete apology, bits and pieces hidden in his tone as he looked for the right words to explain himself, or the world even, to her. A runty child plagued with misfortune after misfortune. Perhaps he was just the right man to speak with her, being a man of many troubles. In any case, his apology wrapped its long, thin fingers around her chest and, for a moment, it felt like her bones had broken once again.

    Tears pricked her eyes.

    "I don't need your pity."

    She snipped quickly once she gathered her bearings, slyly scratching a dirty claw on her cheek and swiping away a loose tear. Her eyes remained their faint golden yellow, however became glassy, far more childlike, and somehow even more irritated. He began to speak again, though she didn't like what he was saying. After weeks of snarking to one another, being utter assholes and nothing else, this is the angle he decided to play? A metaphorical olive branch, extended towards her, not entirely gently. Malice didn't taint its leaves, lies and deceit didn't settle on the branch itself. It was a chance to get better - not physically, but mentally. To grow alongside someone who could match her wit (and, admittedly, outclass her when needed) and show her that the world wasn't all bad, just as it wasn't all good. She hated it. She hated every aspect of it, every idea that could be born from this subtle union no matter how far it could extent. She grit her teeth in disbelief as he tried to play into her current weakness. It had to be a trick, it had to. She didn't think it could go any other way.

    Then why was the offer so damn tempting?

    She let out a breath of air, hardly calming herself but continuing to stare him down, unsure in what to do or say. It was only a minute of silence, prolonged by frantic thoughts and ideas, before she opened her mouth and swallowed the lump in her throat, "I don't want your friendship," she tried to deny him, but her chest ached and it wasn't her bones that begged for something different, "I don't need friends," she turned her eyes away from him finally, her uncertainty reaching her gaze. She stared at a spot on the ground for a few moments, her spitfire energy melting away with the weight of the conversation. Her claws sheathed themselves and her good paw tucked beneath her form. She hated this weakness she displayed, hated every bit and piece of it. But just as soon as she spat her words out, she regretted them.

    "What -" her voice cracked at her attempt to recapture his attention, "What happened to you that makes you... similar to me?" she was curious, as a child was, but deep down desperate for some form of reassurance. She would never admit it aloud, especially to Johnny. She could only hope that he got some hint from her reaching back out to him, despite her bitter words minutes before.

  • I don't need your pity. He smiles weakly and without happiness. "Right," he acquiesces. His blue eyes escape back to his paws, still scraping the ground like a shy child. Her voice changes; something that was there isn't now, or maybe it's the other way around, but it's different, and he thinks that (maybe) that's a good thing. It's still snippy, but he's almost glad for that. It means that she hasn't been broken by his words; he hasn't completely fucked up. At least, not yet.

    The savannah's face settles deeper and deeper into a weary grimace as she proceeds. I don't want your friendship. I don't need friends. He wonders if maybe this was all futile. Maybe Littlepaw is beyond hope- maybe her hardships are too much to handle, maybe it wasn't worth it to keep trying. And yet, she's speaking softer still, and she's losing her aggression, and he dares to look up at her and she's looking away from him. A claw swipes over her cheek to whisk something away. Is she crying? As she shifts her weight, he can't help but let out a soft "Careful", even though he's sure she couldn't reinjure herself too badly just getting comfortable.

    Her question surprises him and doesn't at the same time. He looks to her face, mouth gaping just slightly as he tries to find the words. There's so much he could say, but he needs to... curate it, somehow, not only to make it a comfortably short story, but also to prove a point: they were similar.

    Johnny blinks and parts his jaws to speak, but pauses. "Well," he prefaces, "lots'a stuff, I guess. I'll start... early."

    "I don't think ya'd believe me, but I used t' race horses where I come from. I was a damn good jockey, too, n' everyone knew it, but my dad didn't give a rat's ass. All he cared 'bout was my brother. Thankfully my brother was good t' me when dad wasn't- he's a real upstandin' guy." He pauses, trying to decide where to go from there. He's never told anyone about Nicholas, not even Gyro, and while he still hadn't mentioned his older sibling by name, he can't help but feel a little nervous. He clears his throat and tries not to talk too fast. Tears spring into his ocean eyes and stain their rims. "Well, he- m' brother... died. Bad racin' accident." He clears his throat again and shuffles his paws uncomfortably. That's not the whole truth, Joestar, he thinks, but he doesn't let on to that fact, and moves on swiftly. "He left me all alone. Not that'e meant t' do that. Dad blames me fer his dyin' n' all, so I can't, uh... I couldn't really live there anymore. So I moved."

    He inhales, shaky, and exhales, then hurries to wipe tears off of his damp cheeks.

    "Sorry," he mutters, "y' didn't ask fer my life story. I'll speed it up." He chuckles through his words, but lacks humor.

    "I, uh, had m' own accident, n' it left me paralyzed, n' in that hospital..." he trails off and shudders. It was awful. His gaze distances itself a moment, but he blinks back into focus, and continues, albeit skipping a beat. "N' then I lived in the Ruins fer a while with Gyro, tryin' t' see if this miracle cure we'd heard about really existed, but... he disappeared. We were mean enough t' get everyone there t' hate us. That's why Ver's so nasty t' me. It ain't like I don't deserve it though, I s'pose."

    He sits in his words for a while, not wanting to break the silence for once. Usually he hated pauses like this one, but now he finds comfort in it. His ears rest flatly against his skull. He stares into his paws as if they held the answers to questions he's asked for so long. Unfortunately, all he sees are cracked black pads.

    Johnny takes a deep breath. "'S different, but not too different, I think."

    this god of mine relaxes; world dies i still pay taxes



  • Littlepaw continued her unnatural silent streak, shifting her weight slightly to look over Johnny as he took up the mantle of telling his story with ease. He was determined to prove something - that they weren't as different as the world would have them seem. Littlepaw could admire blatant determination, though she would never admit it in this case, purely because it was his. But, silently, she noted it. Just as she noted how he carried himself as he spoke, far more vulnerable than she was minutes before during her outburst. He was calm and collected as he spoke, whereas it felt as if the flames of hell licked her throat every time she spoke.

    She rested her head on her paws as he spoke, and while she tried to keep her gaze hardened and her nose wrinkled, she wouldn't differ much from the next injured child, receiving a fanciful story from the local medic or elder. Instead, she reminded herself, this wasn't playtime. She was truly hurt, inside and out, and as was he. A neglectful father, a brother who likely meant the world but passed away, felled by his own hobbies. A tragedy to the greatest degree - even Mercy couldn't match the truth. He ended it with an explanation - the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae of likely PTSD and trauma. He was rude to Ver, so Ver didn't like him, That sounds like her.

    Littlepaw didn't interrupt him as he spoke, but his moments of staggering and pausing didn't go unnoticed. He was broken, evidenced by the tears he hurriedly swiped away, as was she, her moments of fiery rage doing enough to express her position on the matter. And while plenty of their circumstances weren't entirely the same, she guessed she could see where he was coming from. She wouldn't ever give him full credit, but the girl's chest ached for the similarities to be recognized by her. For someone to cope with, even if half of their coping resulted in roasting sessions. Was this a sudden change in gears? Perhaps. Or, perhaps, it was a long time coming by fate, destiny, and whatever else creatures cooked up to feel secure in their shitty decisions.

    "Your luck is shit, Johnny," she muttered, though her tone didn't lighten at all. She, instead, seemed bored, passive still despite her stinging words. She didn't recount his story, figuring someone more than twice her age could guess what she meant, "And - I guess - mine's no better. That's not a title I'm willing to fight for," plenty others she would throw her body in the ring for a chance of. But this... no, she wanted to be far from it. She didn't want the broken life anymore, but she knew it would take time to heal back up.

    "We're different. We're still very different," she insisted, if only to hold her ground and only give him what she felt she could warrant, "I can see where you're coming from, though, as much as I'd hate to admit it," her tone softened to something more pitiful and childlike, the anger dissipating with oncoming fatigue. Perhaps her nap wasn't quite over yet, she supposed. Her tail tapped the ground once again as she tried to fish for words of what to say. After a moment, her mouth opened, empty for a second before words followed through.

    "So, is that it? Does that mean we're friends now?" her tone was just a tad teasing, though annoyance and confusion shown through just as clearly, "That'd be a story to tell. My first friend is a paralyzed jockey," she didn't pull the punches but she did decide to test the waters, ears pulled back as she was readily prepared to snap back into whatever they were before. Good to know that wasn't friendship.

  • / sorry for the wait!

    The silence she offers him is a solace to his stormy conscience. The clouds part, and he feels less and less emotional, until finally he's not on the verge of tears anymore. He was calm through his speech, but he'd still felt the tides crashing against their storm break. Now the ocean is calmer.

    Your luck is shit, Johnny. He chuckles harshly, but not maliciously. She's right. He knows it. But her luck isn't- she completes his thought for him, and he glances over at her again, oceanic gaze much less teary than it was moments ago. Thank the Red God. She still insists that they're very different, and he feels that perhaps she's right, and that this might be the closest he'll get to having his point come across the way he wants it to, but a piece of him is still disappointed at the realization. They are different, and he won't deny it. But... did he succeed? And then she continues, and she's softer, and he smiles. It's not a sad smile, either. It's a bona fide smile.

    She wonders about their friendship, and he lets his blue gaze wander above him in thought. My first friend is a paralyzed jockey. "N' a proud one, at that," he adds, though he hasn't ridden a horse in almost a year now. "I'd say somethin' similar 'bout you, but you ain't my first friend," he then tells her, humor in his tone. Is this what being friends is? He supposes he acted similarly with Gyro, at least until that whole thing had... developed, and he'd considered them friends back in the day. Maybe this was friendship, after all. He decides that he likes that.

    "Sorry, but second friend'll have t' do."

    this god of mine relaxes; world dies i still pay taxes