Disclaimer: Watership Down and the characters of Fiver and Hazel and any others who appear here or are mentioned are the original creations of Richard Adams etc or whomever owns his estate now; they are not mine.
Written for: gretazreta in the New Year Resolutions 2009 Challenge
"You, Me, and the Moon" by karrenia
Nestled in the turf that served as the planting are for the field of sweet-smelling but unfamiliar bean plants with the thick green stems tickling the bridge of his sensitive black nose; Fiver dreamed.
With both his fore and back paws tucked tightly underneath his small furry body, eyes squeezed tightly closed Fiver was sunk deep in reverie.
High above where he crouched wisps of chalky white clouds scudded across the darkening evening sky. In his dream, which judging from the occasional tremors which shook his small body, was not an entirely pleasant one for Fiver could see a landscape that was not at all similar to the comfortable, snug and warmth of the home warren that they had left behind.
If Fiver took any comfort in the knowledge that his own talent for foresight had saved his own life he had given no sign of it.
Convincing them to leave the doomed warren in order to save their lives had been difficult enough. The very first obstacle they had come across: forcing rabbits to swim the river whose banks had been swollen and rushing with the a hard rain compounded by spring snow melt had been an outright challenge.
But that was not what preoccupied his thoughts, nor the bleak aspect of the terrain they had just crossed, no his dreaming ranged far field.
Instead, in his mind's eye he could see high lonely hills, windswept skies and what perhaps was the best aspect to recommend it to the paw-sore and becoming increasingly heart-swore band of rag-tag rabbits.
There were hardly any trace of the signs of habitation and cultivation of the two-legged animal, called Man. There, there is where they would all be save, where they could all start over. He could it see it! He could see it as if they were they were already there!
At that particular moment the peaceful contented feeling gradually slipped away from much as if a cloud has passed before the sun, so did a shadow cross across his dream-vision. Fiver's black nose twitched and without being particularly aware of what he did he forced the vision to return to the sharp vivid clarity it had had only moments earlier. The vision stubbornly refused to cooperate.
Another moment of this and one one slipped open as his awareness returned to his surroundings. A high, piercing shriek rent the silence that had surrounded all of them since entering the bean field,. ''The shriek of a hawk' on the hunt.' thought Fiver and then forcing the thought into a back corner of his mind he rolled over until he was lying on his back staring up at the sky.
The shadow of the hawk's wings arced over and past the spot where he lay.
An instant later another high-pitched shriek rent the air. This was one was unmistakably that of a rabbit in terror. Another member of their ragged band came padding over, "Fiver" the other said, probing at him with one forepaw. "You must get up now. It's time to move on."
"Hazel," Fiver said uncertainly as if he were still waking up and needed to confirm his identification.
"Yes, it's me. Whatever is the matter with you?" Hazel asked in a tone of voice of one long accustomed to his brothers fits and starts, as if they were simply a part of Fiver's nature and he had learned to become accustomed to them.
Although, in his heart of hearts Hazel was aware that he could never fully understand them. And long in the wide dilated eyes and Fiver's under sized body, Hazel, without fully understanding how or why, realized that if were it possible to understand or even share in all of what Fiver experienced in these trances or whatever they were; would he even wish to experience them. The answer, Hazel thought with a twitch of his black nose, was a resounding: "No."
"OH, Hazel," Fiver softly replied. "I've had such a wonderful dream, and I've seen where we're going once more."
"You have, have you?" Hazel shook his head. "You don't know how glad I am to hear you say that, because I trust that you won't thank any the less of me, but I was beginning to think we were wandering around in circles. getting hopelessly lost."
"No. But it is understandable why you might feel like that out," Fiver trailed off and ambled out down the neat orderly rows of the bean plants until they were once more out on open ground once more before adding. "Out here."
"This moment of rest is what we needed. It will take a while for the others to regroup so I've sent Blackberry and Bigwig to gather them up," replied Hazel.
"That Blackberry is a clever fellow," said Fiver sudden
"Yes, he is," replied Hazel with a bob of his head.
"Say, Hazel," Fiver said suddenly an entirely livelier and tone of voice than Hazel had ever heard his brother use before. "I must admit this to you, if to none of the others. Do you remember, when we had to cross the river?"
"I remember, " replied Hazel.
"If Blackberry had not hit upon the idea of using driftwood as a raft for Hawkbit and I; I truly believe I would have died there."
Hazel snorted. "Nonsense!"
"But I did not, and we lost none of of the others," Fiver replied.
"Oh, look here come the others," Hazel replied shuffling his back paws into the hard packed ground. He would never admit this but talking with Fiver was becoming both easier and more difficult as the journey wore on.
Fiver believed in him and the others looked to him to lead them to a place of safety, and Hazel who had never been in any kind of leadership role in his life; was plagued with uncertainties of his own.
`Somehow, Hazel thought, I need Fiver almost as much as he needs me. It's both a wretched and a wonderful thought at the same time. Can I afford to let him down. No. I can't afford to let any of them down.'
"Which way now," a voice interrupted his meandering thoughts. "Bigwig," said Hazel turning to acknowledge the much bigger rabbit.
"Good work, to both you and Blackberry for gathering up the others," Hazel said and then turned around to face the available options open to them. "Towards the rising sun, directly overland. It's more open and yes I'm aware that the route I've chosen will leave us dreadfully exposed."
Blackberry suddenly spoke up. "I agree, Hazel. It's the best plan we've got."
Bigwig thought it over and while he had thought after the events at the river and sent to gather up the other rabbits who had straggled far and wide in the huge expanse of unfamiliar plants; they others should have looked to him as leader rather than Hazel, gulped down the hasty, and perhaps damaging words he had been about to say and replied.
"I agree. That way we'll as exposed as we are, anything coming at us will be exposed as well. Shall we go?" Bigwig added getting to his feet and shaking out the worst of the brambles and dry leaves from his fur.
"Then let's be off. I would like to start out while it's still dark out," replied Hazel.