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Null Forest Depths

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unrepentantAuthor

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The blow killed every thought in Brisa's head for the seconds that followed save hitting back.

When she did, it was vicious. Paralysed by the Arrest, Dave's throat was easy to get at, to sink teeth into. Brisa shook him like a goddamn ragdoll, and for a moment, she feared that he'd fucking turn to dust in this desolate place, and she wouldn't fucking see him again and—
 
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Dragonfree

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Brisa flared up with Shadow, her face twisting into a bestial snarl, and an icy shiver went down his spine as she lunged for his throat. The anger drained away instantly as her teeth sank into his neck, his heartbeat thundering in his ears as she picked him up and shook him, pain ripping into him. "Mia, please--" he choked out, unthinking, as his throat filled with blood.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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Mia.

He'd called her Mia. His daughter. A killer.

You called him 'pa'. Looks like y'both have phantoms in yer heads.

They wouldn't trust her anymore. They wouldn't respect her any more. They wouldn't love her (if they ever did) and that made sense because she was a goddamn–

"I'm a goddamn monster," she whispered, letting Dave fall at her feet. "I was right the first time."

It's easier to believe that, ain't it?

She backed away from him, the drumming in her chest losing its pace, her bones all seeming not to fit inside her, the air in her mouth tasting like dust, and blood, and sleepless nights.

Dave stirred with a groan. Relief and panic met in equal measure in Brisa's head. Whatever won out, it demanded she go.

"Don't follow me," she barked.

Brisa Escarpa turned and ran, deeper into the woods, away from Dave, away from what she'd done, away from herself.

No matter where you go, you're always you.
 

Dragonfree

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Dave swallowed, breathing hard on the ground, his lungs tasting of copper. Mia. What a fucking thing to say.

He dragged himself to his feet, made a stumbling attempt to follow where Brisa'd gone, but he could barely walk. How the fuck would he even find her, when she'd already disappeared between the trees? And even if he somehow did, she didn't want him there. Talking with him made everything worse, she'd said. She'd called him pa.

Fuck. Why wasn't there anywhere to get a goddamn drink here.

The blood still soaking down the side of his neck was cold and crusting and unpleasant. He turned, and his eyes fell on... another Poochyena, curled tightly into a ball, eyes squeezed shut.

He'd been there the whole time, hadn't he. Just fucking cowering. "Yeah, thanks for nothing," Dave said.

Shadow looked up at him, ears flat, eyes pleading and miserable. Dave's paws curled on the ground, clenching and unclenching.

"What, aren't you going to start going off again?" Nausea crawled up his throat, his voice shaking. "Let me guess. Some shit about how she hates you now? How nobody likes you? How you can never keep anyone safe? What, just like when the fucking kids went off and got killed, is that it? You just love fucking talking about that one, don't you. Yap-yap-yap about my dead fucking kids."

Shadow flinched, but didn't say anything. Dave took a step closer.

"Why can't you just leave me the fuck alone? I'm dead, what what the fuck do I have to do to make you go away?"

He advanced on Shadow, wobbling. The other Poochyena shook his head frantically, backing away, shaking like a fucking leaf in the wind, and God, Dave just wanted to obliterate him off the face of the Earth. He snarled, pushed all his energy into a Shadow Charge to close the distance between them, tackled him down in a tumble.

He hadn't expected it to work. Normally Shadow couldn't be hurt - he'd tried once and just gone through him, like a cloud of smoke, like he was only tangible when he wanted to be. But this time the other Poochyena was solid, fur and bone and soft, shivering flesh. Shadow yelped at the impact, and Dave felt it too, a sudden phantom shock that made his injuries sting with pain.

He had to catch his breath. "Hah. I'm..." Dave slugged him across the face with a paw, drew blood, felt the sting of claws slicing into his own cheek. "I guess being here has one advantage."

Shadow stared at him, all glowing yellow innocent eyes. Dave gritted his teeth. "Stop that, stop that, fuck you."

With a snarl, he lunged again. Claws, teeth, anything, met with meek, pathetic unresistance, only the automatic echo of each blow on his own skin. Maybe this was the chance he needed, a chance to finally just get rid of him--

He tore into Shadow's side with his teeth, and the pain was blinding, his vision swimming, a raw scream ripping out of his throat. He stumbled back a step, breathing raggedly, blinking hard, fighting to stay on his feet. The battle instinct told him urgently to recover quickly, expect an attack, but he shouldn't, should he. Shadow wasn't doing anything. The only attacks he was getting hit with were his own.

Colorful patches unblurred slowly. The other Poochyena was lying there, battered and bruised and bloody, eyes pleading for him to stop, those fucking puppy eyes, like...

In a curious freefall moment, all he could see was sad Jean looking up at him. Hurt. He'd hurt her. Fuck. That sickening image of slamming her into a wall filled everything again, and his insides twisted. No, no, how dare the fucker somehow look like her--

He drew back to hit him again, and Shadow flinched, shivering. His own body tensed automatically along with him, braced for pain, too he just looked like a scared animal, like scared Jean--

And he stopped, his paw trembling in the air, his gut roiling with nausea.

What the fuck was he even doing? What the fuck was the point of this, just literally fucking hitting himself? What was his endgame here? What, did he actually think he could somehow kill him, without killing himself in the process? Did he?

His vision blurred again, with tears this time. He blinked hard again, gritting his teeth, trying to stop it, but the pain and exhaustion was getting the better of him, and the tears wouldn't stop coming. He turned away from Shadow before collapsing on the ground, shaking with shuddering sobs.

(You fucking idiot, what's the point in turning around.)

He lay there, waiting for it to pass, mind a roiling murky cloud of hollow emptiness, until as it was clearing there was a nudge on his paw. His eyes snapped open, dread shooting through him, but it was only Shadow.

"I know you don't like me," the other Poochyena murmured. "You're in a lot of pain. I'm sorry."

Dave took a deep breath through his nose. Why'd Shadow have to be a better person than him. Send Shadow to help Brisa deal with her shit, maybe he wouldn't fuck it up.

"I am you," Shadow pointed out.

"Yeah. I know."

He started to pull himself to his feet, only for Shadow to suddenly wrap his paws around him in a tight hug.

He felt it both directly and indirectly, warm and soothing and he needed it, and as he felt his eyes water again, before he could think better of it he put his paws around Shadow too, pulled him close and breathed into his fur as he cried.

And somehow, then, everything went white, his surroundings melted, power ran through him and healed and restored him, his body strengthening, growing--

When he blinked down at his paws, everything felt smaller, further away. He was a Mightyena. What the fuck. A fucking hug was what it took?

He looked around. Shadow wasn't there anymore - not physically, anyway. The paralysis had faded, his injuries healed; he was fine, his new body full of energy, he could--

He could go find Brisa.

Code:
Dave used Odor Sleuth!

Picking up her scent was no problem. With newfound energy, he sprinted between the trees to follow her trail.

He better not have wasted too much time.


2021-03-19-dave-shadow.png
 
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R10 – Sombra

unrepentantAuthor

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Don't follow me.

Brisa loped onward, heedless of the things she glimpsed in the the forest depths. It didn't matter. So long as it brought her further away from Dave, from the others, from everything.

I'm a goddamn monster.

She'd finally done it, like she always feared. She'd lost control. Hurt someone she loved, who was only trying to help her. She was dangerous. She could never have people in her life. Maybe it was better she didn't live at all.

I'm sick of feelin' like shit fer doin' my goddamn best.

She'd tried her hardest. That, at least, she could admit. It was just . . . her best was inadequate. She would have fallen short sooner or later.

I can't offer anythin' else; this is all I am.

Everything she had, and it still wasn't enough.

I'm not wrong.

"You're wrong, an' you know it, Brisa Escarpa."

The voice was her own. At first, she thought she'd spoken aloud. But there was another shadow next to hers; another set of pawsteps on the leaf litter below. She was not alone.

Brisa looked round, and saw herself: obsidian-furred, eyes a blank yellow, and her neck and forelegs shackled with light. Her Shadow, here at last, and addressing her by name. A name to use in return supplied itself from a childhood story. The living shadow, 'Sombra'. Brisa bared her teeth at the apparition, at Sombra, but what was the point in savaging her own fucking Shadow?

"I thought you were the one supplyin' all that shit," she hissed. "Now you're tellin' me that weren't shadow feelings?"

Her Shadow blinked at her, slowly, then turned her head away and sighed. She looked so tired. Even that dark fur and those blank eyes couldn't disguise exhaustion like that. Was that . . . how Brisa looked?

"Nah," said Sombra. "That was all you. Ha, y'think you're so in touch with yer deep feelings that what comes outta yer mouth is the real you? Salt and sand, Brisa. No. You've been blockin' me out fer months! You never fuckin' listen to me."

"...What?"

Brisa's stomach lurched. She tried to stamp out the memory as she usually did, but in this dark place, the vision was inescapable. Her shadow, levitating above her, chained and bleeding and weeping like the most wretched creature on earth.

"You goddamn hypocrite," drawled Sombra. "Tellin' Dave he's pretendin' his Shadow ain't how he feels? You do nothin' but discipline yerself so bad you can't even admit you're miserable."

"It ain't about–"

"It ain't about happiness. I know. I fuckin' heard ya th'first time."

Brisa grit her teeth and walked doggedly ahead. Sombra kept pace, in perfect time. Silent.
 
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unrepentantAuthor

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The tread of Sombra's pawpads on the forest floor grew more unbearable with every stride. Still she said nothing. Brisa broke first.

"Fine. I'm not happy. So what? What does admittin' it fuckin' prove?"

Again, that withering look of exhausted exasperation.

"Yer friends want you t'be fuckin' happy, y'know. Even if you don't give a shit how badly you hurt yerself, you shouldn't put them through the pain of seein' you do it. How d'you think Astrid an' Starr will take the news that instead of takin' a moment to rest, you flipped out and stormed off into deepest nothingness to be lost fer ever?"

Brisa's muzzle twitched and flared with anger.

"I'm tryin' to fuckin' protect them! By not bein' around anyone, since I can't fuckin' control myself any more! And you ain't helpin'!"

Sombra didn't growl. She didn't raise her voice. She just sighed like a gentle wind on a hot, dry night. Hardly like a living creature at all.

"I've only ever tried to help you," she breathed. "I'm sick of you ignorin' me. Of stubbornly makin' yer life worse. Of destroyin' every opportunity to be happy 'cause you think there's no end to yer goddamn duty."

Duty. It all came back to that, didn't it?

"Duty must come before comfort," Brisa intoned, hollow-voiced. "Always."

"Enough," snapped Sombra, quietly. "You've given more of yerself than anyone. If earnin' the right to be happy fer a moment before you lose yer mind is somethin' you insist on believin' in, you've surely more than earned that."

Brisa didn't have the energy to think about what she was saying. Words fell out of her mouth like dead things, cold and unmoving.

"I don't get t'be happy. It's too late t'make things right. I gotta—"

"Fuckin' quit it! I already know all this shit. Can't you see it's only hurtin' you? You're just doin' it yerself, over an' over."

Brisa didn't even scowl. Anger had given way to numbness. Yes, yes, yes, of course she was fucking unhappy. So what? So fucking what?

"Everythin' hurts. Bein' alone. Bein' with people. Fallin' short. Even success is painful. I thought Cibus was gonna be incredible, but it's confusin', an' stressful, an' terrifyin' all the goddamn time. It doesn't matter. I'm just tryin' to be good, ain't I? To be a good person. To do the right things. I'm tryin'."

Her eyes prickled, and she tensed her face, refusing to cry.

"Now we're gettin' somewhere," said Sombra. For the first time, her voice sounded . . . gentle, instead of haggard. "I know it's been tough. I know y'feel like you oughta be able to handle it all. But ain't you been sayin' to folks that it's the synergy and cooperation of the team that makes things work?"

"Only 'cause a handful of us are keepin' the team t'gether," bit back Brisa, sullenly.

"Y'ever think to ask fer help with that?" quipped Sombra. Something about the way she inclined her head looked like she was rolling her blank, golden eyes. "From th'folks that care about you?"

Brisa thought of her friends, and bit her lip. She shook her head. No. It wasn't right. She already expected too much.

"Sky an' stars," murmured Sombra. "You really ain't too rational, are ya?"

"Shut the fuck up."

Sombra blinked, slowly, and stopped talking. The chains of light at her forearms and neck floated in the air, gleaming like some menacing Radiant Arrest that Brisa had performed on herself, was constantly performing on herself.

Brisa fixed her eyes ahead, as she walked with her Shadow through more of Null Forest, through swampland, through shadow haze. She barely looked up when she set foot in what looked like a decrepit village, abandoned, rotting. Dark, shapeless figures crept through the darkness. It felt almost . . . inviting.
 
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unrepentantAuthor

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"Don't go any further," warned Sombra.

Brisa stared hard at the Shadow. All she wanted was to keep going, to sink further into darkness, forever, and be done with it. Her final duty. To guarantee she'd never hurt anyone again. Her breath shook with fatigue, with misery, with anger, anger, anger...

"I've been tryin' to think of how to get through t'you," said Sombra, carefully. "Which ain't easy, 'cause you've been stranglin' me fer a long fuckin' time by now. I could tell you a thousand times that you're rationin' out relief like water in a goddamn desert, when you're surrounded by a lake of love an' support. You'd never listen."

Brisa glowered, daring Sombra to say something worth listening to. The Void's world seemed to tilt before her eyes. Impermanent. Unreal.

"Why did you tell Astrid you loved her?" asked Sombra, softly.

What? Brisa furrowed her brow. "'Cause... I promised her I'd tell her what was on my mind after the fight. If I hadn't told her as I died . . . she'd never have known. She'd be wonderin' what it was fer ever."

"You wrung out a tortured love confession fer her as you died 'cause you were scared she'd wonder what you were gonna tell her. That's what it took fer you to admit it. You'd have found a way out of it otherwise, even though Astrid obviously loves you, 'cause there exists no condition under which you'll pursue yer own happiness."

Brisa bared her teeth, and her fur sparked. "She don't. You're talkin' like I coulda just . . . been happy with her, but after the fight I was gonna get it off my chest an' let her turn me down easy, 'cause she's gentle like that. What the fuck are you thinkin'."

"Who cares if she loves you in the way that mated pairs do? She cares about you. She ain't hardly the only one, either. Dave's comin' fer you the moment he gets out of those restraints. He cares about you. That's all he was tryin' to tell you, in that daft way of his. An' he weren't wrong."

"He called me Mia," said Brisa, her heart thumping strangely. Huh. Her heart was still beating...

"He just wanted you to rest. He used the wrong words to persuade you, I guess. Who cares?"

"I put my teeth to his throat..."

"Yeah. You did. An' you stopped, too."

Sombra moved closer to Brisa for the first time, and reached out to her. Her Shadow placed a single paw on her flank. It felt neither hot nor cold, but her breath caught as if it were the same kind of shock.

"Don't you remember what you said to Starr when she confessed her shame to you?" asked Sombra, her blank eyes looking for all the world like tiny suns in a black night sky.

"I had no idea you were carryin' this kind of pain. Starr, I'm sorry."

"Yeah. I do."

"You believed in her, from that moment on, 'cause you loved her fer havin' the courage to keep goin' even after a sin like hers. To be better. To choose to do good. You hurt someone you loved—so did she! An' worse, by the way she tells it! But you think the world of her anyway. Where'd that belief in Starr go? Can't you be like her? Or is it different fer everyone but you?"

"I've always suffered 'cause of who I am," said Brisa, unable to look away. "May as well be by choice."

"You're deflectin'. Do you believe in Starr or not?"

"Yes!" hissed Brisa. "I believe in her! I admire her! Starr makes me feel like... Like I'm not alone, like I can be imperfect an' still be brave and good, like it's worth it t'keep fuckin' goin', is that what you want me to say?"

Sombra smiled at Brisa, and nodded. "Yeah. Like that. That's what I want you t'think about right now. Don't you remember all those times she touched yer shoulder, held yer paw, let you stay besides her when things were tough? She didn't want this fer you."

"Look, I know it's been one disaster after another lately, but you can't keep taking it all like some kind of personal failure or whatever the hell. It's not your job to handle everything."

Brisa shuddered, and finally looked away. "I know," she gasped. "I know."

"You're scared of bein' imperfect. But imperfection don't stop you lovin' any of those folks you care about so goddamn much. It won't stop them lovin' you. Starr makes y'feel like it's worth it t'keep goin'? Then keep fuckin' goin'. Fer her, if not fer yerself."

Brisa's chest shook and she bowed her head lower as the tears finally, finally started to come.

"You deserve to live without hatin' yerself, Brisa Escarpa," whispered the Shadow of Brisa Escarpa.

Sombra took another step closer, and wrapped Brisa in a hug. This close, Sombra's body felt like cool night air on her fur, her pulse sounded like static electricity, and she smelled . . . of petrichor. Rain, after a dry spell.

"Please," begged her Shadow. "Don't hurt yerself any more. Turn back. Please."

Brisa stayed there for an age, chest heaving in silent, voiceless sobs, as Sombra held her, comforting her in the darkest place she'd ever been. A lifetime's worth of grief poured out of her in the form of hot, angry tears. She couldn't even think of words to speak, not that she had voice or breath to speak them. Eventually, the tears she feared were endless, at last, came to an end.

Brisa Escarpa looked up at her Shadow-self, smiled bravely . . . and turned around.
 
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Dragonfree

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Dave sprinted between the trees, following Brisa's scent, heart hammering with both urgency and exhilaration. Running was a hell of a lot quicker on longer legs.

He slowed down, wary, when her scent was joined by another, a curious rainy kind. Did Brisa meet somebody else? Was this the Void Shadows Diyem had talked about? He kept his nose to the ground, padding carefully along, until he heard a rustling ahead and raised his head in alarm, ears perked.

Stepping out of the shadows came Brisa, Brisa and a hazy, dark, glowing-eyed copy of her. Her Shadow. He tensed, battle hormones buzzing, ready to fight off the manifestation of her pathological obsession with duty--

--but the Shadow was just standing there beside her, calm, exhausted, but not hostile. Brisa, too, just looked... sad and tired. Not scared or angry or in danger.

He blinked. "Brisa?" he said, glancing warily between her and the Shadow. "You okay?" Fuck. Why was he even here? She'd told him not to follow. Why would she even need his help?

His breath hitched. "...I'm sorry."
 

unrepentantAuthor

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Brisa's face screwed up in pain, and she cast her face down, afraid to look at Dave and see his blood where she'd rent his throat.

Sombra spoke for her.

"Howdy, Dave. Please, come an' take a seat by us. We got some things we gotta say to each other, I guess."

That shadow-distorted voice was so soft. So tired. But kind.
 

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Brisa was grimacing and looking away, still mad. Fuck. He shifted, looking at her Shadow as she spoke. Take a seat? What? Was the Shadow trying to facilitate some sort of... surrogate family counseling, or whatever the fuck? Why? Couldn't she just tell him to fuck off and be done with it?

His first kneejerk instinct was to just say never mind and go and leave them alone, since they were clearly fine until he got there. It also wouldn't fix a fucking thing.

Slowly, without taking his eyes off the Shadow, he sat down on the forest floor and waited.
 

unrepentantAuthor

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Brisa took a few shuddering breaths, and found the strength to look at Dave's face, scared of what he might see in her own.

"Y'can call me Sombra, if y'like," offered the Shadow. "I'd say 'pleased t'meet ya', but I know you as well as Brisa does, of course."

Sombra smiled, a little awkwardness and a lot of fatigue showing in the creasing of her eyes.

"Thanks fer comin' after us," she added, something about her tone hinted at a dozen more things unsaid.
 

Dragonfree

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Brisa looked up, and his heart took a lurch. (Teeth sinking into his neck, struggling from her mouth--) But no, she just looked... scared. Fear, regret, pleading. Not mad at him.

He suppressed a shudder, took a deep breath. "Brisa, you all right?" I thought you were about to go get consumed by your own darkness, or whatever the fuck. Of course I came after you.

He glanced at Sombra. "Your Shadow seems... friendly."
 

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Sombra nodded, smiled. Still so tired.

"Ah, yeah, she is," managed Brisa, her voice thick and uncomfortable. "I guess I just..."

She trailed off. How could she explain? She hardly understood what was happening in her heart, herself. Again, Sombra answered for her.

"A person can only suffer fer so long before they realise they ain't got no more t'give," she said, in that voice like a hot breeze. "If y'get t'wishin' yerself dead so's you don't gotta carry the weight of the world no more, there comes a point where you gotta admit to yerself . . . you don't wanna carry that weight fer ever."

Brisa nodded, swallowed hard, and sighed. "I'm so tired, Dave. And . . . I'm so sorry."
 

Dragonfree

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Dave's gut stung with discomfort. "Jesus, Brisa, that's... yeah, no shit you're tired. You deserve to sleep for like a solid fucking week. Come on, let's get you back to Null Village." He stood up, but even as he said that, just leaving right now didn't feel quite right either. He hesitated, breathing through the sludge in his lungs. Fleetingly wanted her to just run up and hug him, the way Jean did when she was upset.

He grimaced. "I'm... sorry I called you Mia. And the..." A cold hand clutched at his insides. They were Pokémon, Pokémon beat each other up for fun, but just the same. She'd compared him to her shitty dad and he'd responded by fucking hitting her. Fuck. "For the fight."
 

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Brisa shook her head, wincing, cringing, even.

"Please, Dave, y'got nothin' to apologise t'me fer. I started it. I hurt you far worse. And... You were just tryin' to help me, an' I lashed out."

Sombra seemed to grimace. "It didn't help that ya fuckin' called him 'pa' first."

If Brisa could disappear into the shadows never to be seen again, she would seriously consider it. As it was, she put up a paw to cover her face, and her excruciating embarrassment.

Sombra was undeterred. "You are like a father to her, y'know. She's fuckin' desperate fer you t'think highly of her."

Well, it was too late for that. No chance of Dave being proud of her any more. May as well air it out, now that it couldn't make anything worse.
 

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Dave blinked at Sombra, then at Brisa, a strange tightness in his chest.

"Brisa, it's... it's fine. I'm fine. Look, I'm more than fine, I'm a fucking Mightyena." He lifted a paw and attempted to gesture at himself, though it didn't work as well as he'd have liked. Fucking canine anatomy. "And I'm..." God, this was weird with someone who wasn't Jean. "Look, you're a powerhouse in every fight, you're keeping on top of everything that's happening in this whole clusterfuck of a situation while also being a social butterfly who's somehow everyone's friend, and you still keep thinking you're not doing enough. It's more than enough. You do more than almost anyone. You've earned a rest and if anyone said otherwise I'd kick their ass."
 

unrepentantAuthor

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He'd said it before, with different words, in other ways. Still, Brisa was hearing the meaning for the first time. Not an admonishment at all, but acknowledgment from someone who saw worth in her.

"O–okay," she said, her voice choking on a quiet sob. "Th–thank you—"

Sombra smiled, closed her eyes, and sighed. "It's not easy for her t'believe that. I appreciate you sayin' it."

The Shadow nudged Brisa gently, encouraging her to get back to her feet and take slow, ginger steps towards Dave. Sombra watched as Brisa drew close, and then put her head against Dave's chest and one paw over his shoulder in an apprehensive, but desperately-needed hug. She stayed there, crying silently.

"Y'know," said her Shadow, with a little satisfaction creeping into her shattered voice, "bein' a mightyena suits ya. Congrats on the evolution. You look strong."
 

Dragonfree

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Brisa pressed her head against him, and this, at least, just felt familiar. He wrapped a paw around her and pulled her close, resting his chin on her head, letting her tears stain his fur. For the first time, he realized absently, she was actually a little smaller than him - not by much, and probably not for very long given how long she'd been a Luxio already, but just for this brief window this wasn't horribly awkward. That was nice.

"Y'know," said her Shadow, with a little satisfaction creeping into her shattered voice, "bein' a mightyena suits ya. Congrats on the evolution. You look strong."
Dave looked at her and grinned, without letting go of Brisa. "Yeah, better, isn't it? About time I got to look like a goddamn adult in this place. Guessing I've got about two seconds before you tower over me again, but you know." He exhaled slowly, ruffling the back of her mane. What would she look like as a Luxray? It'd be weird but he actually kind of looked forward to it, his majestic towering lion daughter just kicking every corrupted legendary ass on the planet.

...Fuck. Whatever. Give him the goddamn adoption papers, he'd sign them. And then plaster them on Jesse Stranger's fucking windows.
 

unrepentantAuthor

A cat that writes stories.
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  6. custom/delphox-jesse
Sombra laughed, and it sounded like birdsong. "Two seconds, huh? I'd give it at least ten minutes. You're right, though. I think we're almost ready t'grow that lil' bit stronger, now that we're steppin' past this."

Brisa let her Shadow speak for her. Dave's foreleg at her mane and his head near hers were a comfort she wasn't ready to give up just yet.

"It weren't right t'call ya pa the way we did, back then," mused Brisa's obsidian double. "It were outta anger at a lotta things besides yerself. You know that. But . . . not every feelin' behind that moment was bad..."

Sombra smiled again, and the chains of light that bound her seemed to shorten a little.

"Back in yer home world . . . yer kid calls ya 'Dad', right?"

The Shadow actually managed to look embarrassed.
 
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