Abbi would never compare mothers. Noredimir was of her own league, far from the others as she both died and came back with intent to kill, but Mercy and Charlotte transcended what motherhood usually required. Neither were perfect, he knew he couldn't claim so much, but their efforts were as clear as day. Especially as Mercy soothed him through his tears and apologies, he could only see her as the mother he truthfully wished birthed him instead of Nore. Whatever the case, the woman before him, shadows and all, would be one of his true mothers. And he would've told her that, too, if not for the sobs that still remained and only just began to subside. Did Mercy even know of his birth mother? The wonder was fleeting, escaping him as soon as it arrived.
I just want you to be safe and happy.
His chest hurt in a different way. He pulled from their hug partially, just enough room to press a paw to his cheeks in an effort to discard his tears and stall for time. He was safe now. Happiness was a butterfly he could only truly marvel at, but any attempts at catching it seemed to damage it. He was content in watching the chance at happiness grow and get little joys out of seeing it, but he was afraid of capturing it for himself and mangling it beyond repair. Especially after everything. Especially - after him.
Mercy's words registered late and Abbi tensed his shoulders some. He really left his notes vague, hadn't he? Another apology sat on his tongue, comfortably, waiting to be released, but he held it back. Repetition was a monster he didn't wish to try and conquer. In truth, he didn't wish to tell her about his troubles in the north. It was a story he couldn't get through verbally, and he had left his book back home, so he couldn't sit here and make her read it either. But that wasn't what she asked, now was it?
"The - um, the tundra," he hummed, "I started a little chicken farm up there. It can be surprisingly warm during the day. I - ah, I even got a bird egg. A bird like... yours, almost," the breed of avian was lost on him, but the lack of her's wasn't quite. He looked around the dawn skies for sights of her bird before slowly continuing, figuring he at least owed her one clear answer, "I... Hmm, the shade hour wasn't... it wasn't kind to me, Mom," he whispered the name softly, leaning his forehead into her shoulder, "I saw them - my... my kids. I... I honestly can't remember much aside from that, but... It was a lot, and I'm guessing troubling enough to send me running," he recalled enough but the boy didn't want to make this so heavy. It was a reunion, not a therapy session.
"What about you?" he tried to swiftly turn the tables on her, ears pinned back as he tried to hide in trauma, "You don't smell a bit like the Veil anymore. Ver didn't chase you out, did she?" he doubted it, but he also knew if she did, Nadine wouldn't say a thing if being silent kept him on her side.