His kittens looked strange next to the dark fur of Vilthuril. Out of place like a wren in a nest of crows. He reached a paw out to the small bundles of wet fur and gently ran it down their backs. They squealed in protest, shivering under his touch and wiggling their way from his paws. He pulled back and winced.

Vilthuril's dancing eyes made her way to Fiver. "Don't worry dear, they're only little."

Fiver's wide eyes stare back into hers. "I can't, Vilthuril. They've got my blood, they'll see it too."

There was a miserable tone to his soft, bitter voice. Vilthuril knew, but she couldn't say she understood. So, with nothing but patience for her fragile mate, she simply nodded her head. "It's nothing you have control over."

"I've made a terrible mistake. Why did I put their lives in danger?"

The doe shook her head. She leaned down and pressed her nose to a straying kitten. Fiver noted the tiny buck as one of the few who resembled their mother. How could he have done something to such a poor, innocent creature? He shook at the thought.

"Hey, hey," Vilthuril's voice dragged him from the darkness of his mind. "Fiver, I promise you that nothing will hurt them."

You can't promise that, the words were caught in his throat. The words were suffocating him, and suddenly the stench of death filled his nose, darkness clinging to his fur, dragging him down, down, down. The Black Rabbit flashed before him, teeth bared and fangs snapping at the paws of his children. The kittens shifted, and the Black Rabbit turned back, a sort of hostile promise filling the air. The words slipped by Fiver, but he knew the meaning was indifferent.

And as quick as he came, the Black Rabbit was suddenly gone.

Fiver's vision swam, heart rate rapid and breathing refusing to calm. Vilthuril's paw brushed his.

"I'll make sure nothing bad happens to them."

He bit back an aggressive response. There's nothing either of us can do to help them.

Fiver paused and looked to his kittens. He hesitated to reach out again, but his touch was welcome. His jaw clenched warmth and the urge to protect filling his chest.

The Black Rabbit is welcome to try, he thought. But I'll fight for them.

...

Fiver determined to make sure his kids are safe with their visions and Vilthuril being a wonderful and adoring mother? Sign me the heck up.