Oh hey, I had this fic from 2009 that was supposed to be multi-chaptered, didn't I? How 'bout that? I'm so sorry about the delay, and for such a short chapter. I...really don't have an excuse?
Tiger ran. Really, it was all he could do. He'd tried relaxing in the cave in the company of his team-his friends-but that hadn't worked. It wasn't as though he'd meant to lash out at Suezo, or at Holly, or at Genki. None of them. It was just their voices...They hadn't made it easy to sleep, or relax, or forget.
He'd apologize, of course. After he came back with the firewood. For now, though, it was far easier to focus on that, on not freezing to death and not getting lost in the vengeful winds or wall of white, than on what had just happened.
By the Ancients, it was just easier to forget.
It was entirely too short a time before he came to a modest cropping of trees. They were scrawny, spindly, and, knowing their luck, would probably not burn well. Still, who knew where else there was vegetation in these mountains.
With a slash of his claws, the scrawny, spindly tree was now a pile of twigs. A memory flashed across his eyes. The blinding white, the dead brown-grey, the smell of the piercing winds...Tigers. This was just like the last time he'd seen Grey Wolf as his brother, back when they were two of many, when they'd all felt reckless, rebellious, and invincible. Back when the worst they had to worry about was being caught by a human. Back when humans had been the enemy of all monsters, and nothing could bring them down.
Back before Muu had shattered their world, given Tiger his scar, and taken his brother away from him.
He didn't remember why the pack was up in the mountains, though he did remember that Grey Wolf had been against it. Those were the last words he'd heard from him for a long time...
Then there was Muu, flanked by only a few guards, though later on it had felt like thousands. They fought, of course, because that was how they always got by before.
They fought their hardest, and it wasn't enough. When Tiger woke up later, he had a fresh scar across his face and only half of his pack. Grey Wolf wasn't among them.
Tiger growled, suddenly angry. With new vigor, he gathered as much of the lumber as he could in his mouth. He cursed his lack of opposable thumbs, his lack of strength, and everything else at that moment. He'd have to come back later for the rest, he decided.
And then he ran, feeling stronger, faster, than before. He wanted to curse that, too-he'd be alone for only a short time, then-but didn't. If he ran fast enough, he hoped, perhaps he'd leave the past behind.
He might have succeeded, had he not run into an obstacle, and allowed said past to catch up to him; if he wasn't careful, he'd be flooded with what he wanted to forget.
He'd almost succeeded when he ran into the monster he wanted to see the least. Already, he could feel that snarl involuntarily lifting his lips.
"What took you so long?" asked Hare with his usual smirk. Tiger growled, and inwardly cursed his so-called friend, too.