Author's Note: The sequel to 'You Can See The Whole World' ( s/12578750/1/You-Can-See-the-Whole-World). Finally. This takes place during Tales From Watership Down, and is inspired by a subplot, in which Strawberry goes to live at Vleflain (the warren between Efrafa and Watership Down), and becomes a member of its Owsla. I just find it hard to believe that Strawberry would want to leave his warren. The title is taken from a quote by Strawberry in the first book. Also, he and Blackavar have kittens! The kittens mentioned at the end of You Can See The Whole World are back! And they now have names. Nangeerthyhl, means 'spring begin', meaning the beginning of spring. The other kittens are named after plants. The italicized section in the middle is meant to be a flashback. I hope you enjoy! WARNING: This fic contains references to violence, references to death, talk of dead characters, references to/metions of animal death, trauma, and mental health issues.
When Groundsel-rah takes over at what is now Vleflain, there was a talk of what will happen between Blackavar and Strawberry. Hazel-rah had suggested that the red buck move to the new warren in order to help organize their Owlsa, but that it would of course be his decision, especially since he has a new family. He had decided to talk it over with his new mate, the ragged-eared buck, Blackavar.
Blackavar, in the few months since the Efrafan attack on Watership, was looking as sleek as ever. He and Strawberry had welcomed a litter of fat and healthy kittens a few weeks previously. The litter consisted of three bucks, and a single doe. The doe, who had been named Nangeerthyhl, had Strawberry's eyes, and was the only one who had inherited Blackavar's black fur color, her brothers were all the brown-red of their other parli. They did share some of his other features of course, though. Two of the bucks, Oxeye and Ramsons, had the same peculiarly light eyes as the other Efrafans. The youngest buck was named Daffodil, and was the smallest of the litter. He had the same tilt and shape to his ears that Blackavar did, before his own were ripped.
The black buck was currently up at silflay, while also keeping a careful eye on his first and (currently only) litter. He raised his head from his patch of cowslip upon hearing a rabbit meandering through the grass. It was his mate, Strawberry. He instinctively tried to lift his ears, but only succeeded in making them twitch.
The red buck nuzzled him gently, not saying anything at first. The smaller rabbit could sense his nerves, and did not pressure him, choosing to let him talk at his own pace. In his experience, that was the best way when it came to Strawberry.
The two rabbits had been curious of each other from the sunny day, months ago, when they had first met. Strawberry, though at first glance not seemingly like a very perceptive buck, could already tell that Blackavar had quite the story to tell. That was possible what had drawn them to each other. In their own ways, they both had dark pasts.
It wasn't until the first evening silflay after the siege on Watership Down, that they had a real conversation. Strawberry had seen the other buck looking lonely as he perused the grasses on the down. Most of the clover, dandelions, and cowslips had already been claimed by other rabbits. He decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to reach out to the strange new rabbit.
"How are you settling in?"
Blackavar started at being approached from behind, but quickly regained control over himself, and turned back to see the fat, red buck he had met once before.
"Very well, thank you," He replied promptly.
"You know, I'm not originally from this warren either."
Blackavar looked at him in confusion. "I thought none of these rabbits were."
Strawberry glanced at his paws. "Yes, you're right. What i mean to say is that...Well I wasn't originally with Hazel-rah. I'm not from Sandleford."
Blackavar was quiet for a moment, as he chewed at the sweet, green grass. "Then where are you from?"
Strawberry hesitated for a moment, before continuing. "My original warren didn't have an official name. But that was only one of the strange things about it. Now, in this warren, it has come to be known as the Warren of the Shining Wires. It was at that place, that my first mate, Nildro-hain, died in a snare, many months ago...I'm...ashamed that I came from that horrible weasel-hole."
Blackavar paused again. "Strawberry, I think that if anyone understands what you mean when you say that you're ashamed of your past, it's me. In Efrafa, I was nothing. No, worse than nothing. After all, if you did nothing in Efrafa, you were usually safe. But it was because of my desperation that I nearly lost my life. I realize that it's a rabbit's nature to be confident in their own abilities to avoid danger, but I was not. I still am not confident."
Strawberry was taken aback. Never had the other rabbits on the down understood him in such a way. They felt for him, of course. None of them could imagine what it was like to lose a beloved mate, let alone to have lived in a warren of snares for their entire lives. However, no other had ever understood. Not until now.
"...I know where there's a patch of clover that the others haven't gotten to yet. Would you like to share with me?"
Blackavar's nose twitched, and his posture grew more relaxed. "I'd enjoy that."
"Hazel-rah has invited me to join Groundsel-rah at the new warren, between here and Efrafa," Strawberry said, at length.
His mate looked at him. "Well, it's no wonder. Hazel-rah thinks highly of you. If it weren't for you, then this warren wouldn't have been dug, or at least not in the way it is now. However, that isn't why you've told me this."
"No, it isn't. Blackavar, I'm happy here. And I know you and our kittens are too. I don't want to leave the down."
"I'm sure Hazel-rah will understand. He won't make you leave if you don't want to, let alone drive out or separate you from your family."
Strawberry sighed, feeling reassured by the black buck's logical way of thinking. "You're right, of course. I suppose I'll just have to bring it up to Hazel-rah tomorrow."
In the end, Hazel realized that he should have expected this. How could he believe that after all he had been through, before coming to the sanctuary of the high hills, that the red Owsla buck would ever want to leave the hills, and maybe even his family? That would be like asking Bigwig to leave Hyzenthlay behind. The chief would merely have to figure out who he would be sending to Vleflain in his friend's place. Although that shouldn't be too hard; there would always be rabbits who were eager for adventure. Perhaps Speedwell?