Author: levy120
Title: It killed me first
Rating: K+
Date: 28 October 2010

"When you're older, you'll understand."

A mountain of dark fur scrabbled back in utter panic and exhaustion. He knew that the lifeless body in front of him would soon be picked up by the great spirits. Just because the thing was dead, didn't mean it was all over. There were far too many things he had learned in his life to assume that.

Instincts kept rushing through his head.
Run. Hide.
The bear knew they were hunting in herds. Where there was one of them, the others usually followed. And yet there was something about the whole situation that froze him to his place, awaiting judgement.

What would he say?
It had been so long since he last saw him.

The herd never came.

It felt like an eternity that he sat and waited. And the longer he waited, the more grew his doubt. Was killing this creature the wrong way? Did he even kill it at all? Sure it was dead, but it had attacked him first – it was what he had always believed in.
It was what had taken too many from him already.

And eventually dusk fell.

The large bear sat close beside the corpse, trying to keep it warm as a last deed of… sickening respect. He had no clue on the creature's motivations to attack him, nor on the fact he was doing it alone, but the whole circumstance awoke the fuzzy creature's pity.
And then, like a lightning bolt, it struck the bear down. The only times someone ever hunted alone was if no one else was supposed to be involved, if no one else was supposed to be hurt.

When the Night Rainbow then shone over the sky the bear glanced up with a deep knot in his throat that he gulped down.

Finally, they came. Both of them.
One, an elderly bear, huge and female, the other, a young male, too young to be a spirit.
By his current age, the living bear had survived him.

It must have been strange that when you were dead it was so easy to forgive one another. It was so strange to see them together, side by side as if nothing ever happened. And yet it was a great relief.
He had forgiven too – a lot of things. But it had never been as easy as they made it seem.

One of the spirit's seemed utterly distraught. The male mouthed a soundless "What have you done?" and the living bear hung his head in shame.

"He attacked me first…" it was a breathless whisper, "I didn't know what to do, it just happened."
The female spirit, his mother, eventually nudged the body and it dissolved in a shining light. The spirit emerging from the corpse was an entirely different and out of his cage, that was a human body, a bear emerged into the night.

Well, this was sickening.

"I did not want this," the dark bear mourned, and his huge posture seemed to shrink into a heap of misery.
He had long ago stopped to believe in love. It was what had taken him his mother. It was what had taken him his brother. And if his former pursuer hadn't had the same believe as the spirits opposed to him – the human might still be alive now. The fool.
It felt so abnormally fake to him, like a bad dream that he couldn't wake up from.
And yet – seeing them again, was the most awaited moment of his 'dream'. The reason, he didn't quite wantto wake up, even if he could.

"I miss you," he wheezed.

The big bear was strong enough to live and protect himself at ease; and yet he only ever felt the yearned security when they were here.
Was killing others the only way of ever seeing them again? He didn't want to believe this and quickly banished the thought from his head. He knew they'd be eternally ashamed of him.

"I did not want this," the bear repeated humbly.
He lacked outside protection.
He refused outside protection.
Because outside protection always claimed victims and sacrifices.
He had sworn he would not need it anymore. And he did not.
He had also sworn, to not hurt anyone. But he did not know his own strength.
"You believe me, don't you?"
The more he repeated these words, the less he trusted them himself. Now if they did… then maybe he could begin to live again. With the strength, the confidence of something they had and that he seemed to lack.

While the female's expression was warm and welcoming, he couldn't help but notice how hard it was for the male to pretend. There was no way to deny it - the spirit was utterly shattered. He lowered his head with a calm nod, the movements ever so slow they might freeze any moment. The living bear recognized a dull chill, the smell of something familiar and a slight breeze that carried the scent away.

Within the blink of an eye the Night Rainbow had faded and left the dark bear alone. He stiffened at the sudden change and huddled himself together.
"I miss you."

It was worse than any Judgement he could have received.