A Feeling You Get
By Talking Hawk

Author's Note: I've been out of the fanfic loop for quite awhile, so this story probably isn't that good. Also, just so you know, Rocky will probably seem really out-of-character in this, and he kind of rambles. . . Regardless of these factors, I hope that you enjoy what I at least attempted to show about Rocky's inner-persona and innermost thoughts.

There's something in me that I've never felt before. I'm not quite sure what it is though. . .

I remember back during my circus days. They feel so far away now. . . I would go from town to town, shooting myself out of a canon to entertain the masses. I used to feed off of their excitement, their amazement, but now. . .now, I find myself wondering if that was me or altogether another rooster.

I remember the hens that I once used to hook up with. Thinking of how I used to take enjoyment in finding the hen with the spindliest legs, the most mischievous smile, and - now looking back on it - the lowest I.Q.. . .I feel dead where I once felt alive. But I feel life breathing into me where there used to be nothing, save for selfish ambition and self- exultation (I found those words the other day when I was looking through Mac's dictionary. . .turns out, she *does* speak English).

I don't understand this feeling inside of me; I tried looking it up in the dictionary, but I couldn't find it there. It's like, an aching thing that makes me feel almost sick, but at the same time it makes me feel - I don't know. . .

. . .*Happy*. . .

That sick-weird-happy feeling came tonight, on the rooftop of one of the huts. I was sitting there, thinking about what I had to do when *she* came. . .

The sick part was much stronger when she first came. We both offered to leave the other alone, and then we both finally decided that both of us wanted to say something. Ever since before she was taken by the farmer and his wife, I had wanted to tell her the truth - to just let it out, because it hurt so much now to keep it inside. She deserved to know the truth, I thought. It was either now or later.

After she had thanked me - which I still don't think I deserve - she asked me what I wanted to say. Stammering my throat nervously, I tried to choose the best way to break to her the news. "It's just that, you know," I said, hopelessly trying to find a way to tell her this without hurting her, "*life* - as I've experienced it, you know, out there, Lone Free Ranger- type stuff. . .it's full of disappointments." In my wings I had hoped to find the solution to my problem, but as I discovered that there was no answer to be found there, I gazed up at her who caused me more worry than I had ever perhaps felt in my entire life.

She took this much more good-humoredly than I had previously expected. "You mean grass isn't all that it's cracked up to be," she half-laughed.

"Grass!" I repeated, as though I had just received a revelation. "Exactly, grass - it's always greener on the other side. And then, you get there to the other side, and it's brown and prickly. . ."

I had double-checked my wings and feathers to see if the answer had arrived to them while I wasn't looking. It hadn't.

Nervously expectant, I asked, "See what I'm trying to say?" Her smile - her beautiful smile, which captivated me since the moment I got here - faded slowly as she shook her head. My beak paralyzed by my own fear, as well as the disappearance of that smile. "Uh, what I'm trying to say is." I had sighed, now feeling that there was no way I'd ever be able to work up the courage to tell the truth; "you're welcome."

Then, the worst part came - "I think tonight that hill seems closer than it's ever been." Giving me another one of those painful I-would-trust-you- into-a-fox's-den smiles, she had risen from her seat and prepared to walk off the roof.

It was then that I began to loath myself.

"Good night, Rocky," she said softly, and made her way down.

That was also when the sick-happy-feeling came.

"Good night. . ." I said, and my heart filled with guilt, as well as admiration for the girl, I ended, "Ginger."

At least I had done one thing tonight to redeem myself. Ginger - yes, I know her real name - had always hated it when I called her nicknames - "Baby Doll," "Angel Face," and, my personal favorite, "Doll Face." She probably thought that they were degrading, which, I guess, was actually sort of close to the truth.

Back during my circus names, I always called my lady-interests nicknames; Ginger was actually the first to ever mind. The hens I used to know liked being called "Chick," "Blue Eyes," and stuff like that. They liked the attention, and I liked complimenting their good looks. Then, when I met Ginger, I began doing the same thing, but I also surprised in myself in coming up with completely brand-new names. I would like to think that - for her, at least - they were more terms of *endearment,* but she got offended nevertheless.

And she deserved more than that, I decided earlier tonight. She wasn't an empty, pretty hen; oh, she was pretty all right, but she was just as good- looking on the inside as the out.

As I sat on Pop's bunk that he had given to me for the night for my act of "heroism," I sunk deeper into despair. Glancing briefly over my shoulder, I got up and looked into the underside of the metal bucket. I saw a handsome face, but what else was really there? . . .

'A liar,' I thought bitterly to myself. 'All I see is a no-good liar.' She deserved more than that too.

Turning away from my awful reflection, I looked around the room with a feeling of panic, as though I had in about three seconds become claustrophobic. "I've got to get out of here." Taking one of my spare bandanas, I began filling it with food, and looking around to see if I forgot anything, I ran my fingers unconsciously over something cool and smooth on my bandana. Surprised, I looked down.

Pop's medal. . .

I remembered how he wore it with pride, how - in a sense - all of his worship of honor, truth, and dignity went into the small piece of silver.

'Truth. . .'

Lowering my eyes in shame, I slowly unpinned it, and rolled it around so that the starlight from the window would make it shine. It was clean and polished from many years of careful attendance and dedication to it. . . For some reason, it reminded me of Ginger.

'Oh,' I accused myself in frustration, 'a rock would probably make you think of Ginger!'

My features softening, I rolled the trinket around once more. It was like her spirit. . .clean, pure. . .well-taken care of. . . It was as though she didn't even realize that she had good looks.

'That's the difference between you and her - and everybody here,' I thought. 'Their qualities are actually redeemable.' Sighing quietly, I reverently placed the medal on the old bird's pillow.

I moved to pick up the pack that I had made when I felt something rub the wrong way beneath my wing. . .

Paper. . .

Slowly, I took out the folded piece of paper, and my countenance darkened again. If only I could burn it, or tear it up to pieces. . .

"No," I told myself quietly, yet sternly. "They deserve to know. . . Ginger. . ." I couldn't bear to finish the thought.

My wing shaking, I placed the paper beneath the medal. As I walked out, I silently prayed that Pops would find it first.

* * *

Having "borrowed" a tricycle and a radio, I quickly set out for the open road. I half-expected to find peace there, as I always did when I traveled through the countryside, but today. . .had I been pedaling my way into a burning hut, I would have felt just as bad.

Trying to get my mind off it all, I turned on the radio and found one of my favorite stations. I recognized the song on it, and as the panging in my heart persisted, I sang all the louder.

"Oh, I'm the type of guy who likes to roll around. I'm never in a place. I roll from town to town.

"And when I find myself falling for some girl, I hop right in that car. . ."

Suddenly, I stopped and backtracked. There, high above me came a manifestation of my fears that I had tried to forget in my leaving. There, all of them were summed up in four words:

" 'Mrs. Tweedy's Chicken Pies.' "

I felt nauseated. Sensing the decision I was about to make - the one that the Lone Free Ranger in me protested - I gazed back at the farm.

"Ooh boy. . ."

* * *

When she was "dead," I felt dead too.

When she came back to life, I felt alive again.

And when she forgave me. . .I felt, perhaps, that I was redeemable.

Everyday, I still feel that sick-happy-feeling for Ginger; except, now, I finally know what the word is for it.