Author's Note: Vixey/Tod belong to Walt Disney Studios. Their children/the story belongs to me! Enjoy and review ^^

It was startlingly quiet in the forest that spring morning. Vixey raised her head and looked around, wondering where her mischievous kits had gotten off to. They tended to favour the pond to practice fishing or play games around the den site, but this morning they seemed to be missing. Vixey wasn't too concerned though. Tod was usually quite good at watching over them when Vixey was catching up on some rest.

Yet as the minutes ticked by, the vixen grew agitated. Where were they? By now she would have been interrupted by Susie or Copper or any number of her seven kits who wanted something from her. Vixey gave up on the idea of resting and set off in search of her babies. Although they were nearly full grown, she still thought of them as the tiny kits she had been tending to since a year before.

Vixey's nose made this tracking business much easier. She wasn't one to brag, but Tod's was null compared to hers. Soon enough she began hearing Tod's voice and realized he had all seven with him. He was on the cliff that looked over Widow Tweed's farm but his back was turned away from the scene below. Instead, his gaze was fixed on his children as he spoke. Vixey was about to head back to the den when she caught a fragment of her mate's words.

". . . got into so much trouble from Widow Tweed. Copper was tied up to his barrel the next day and . . ." He was telling the story of his friendship with Copper. Vixey smiled, remembering when he had told her all about his life as a pet. Sometimes it was still hard to believe that her mate had once slept on a cushion and whose best friend was a hound dog, but she supposed a life was a life, no matter how one looked at it. At least he had been found and cared for. He could have died that day his mother hid him, but fate intervened and now they had kits together. She owed both Copper and Widow Tweed ten-fold for what they had done for her mate.

Tod's eyes were brimming, with tears or what, Vixey wasn't sure, but he still seemed his usual cheerful self. Susie, Vivien, and Arnold were much like their father in that sense. Those kits were always thinking of the positive aspects of life. This wasn't to say the other four were downers, but they seemed to have inherited a realistic approach to life that neither parent truly had.

"And so that's how I ended up meeting you mom and came to live in the forest. But you must remember that not every human is kind and not every dog is good. You have to be careful, alright?"

A chorus of "yes dad" erupted from the kits. "Can we go play now?" Copper asked. Tod nodded and the seven rushed off, greeting their mother in passing before they vanished for home.

Vixey giggled, shaking her head at her kids before walking over to her mate. Tod turned to face his old home and made room for her to sit beside him. It reminded her briefly of the time when Copper and Amos went home and Tod stayed with her. The two sat in this same spot, doing essentially the same thing then that they were doing now. Vixey could hardly believe so much time had passed.

"Do you miss them?" She had always been curious if he missed the only mother figure he ever had, or if he missed Copper, his best friend.

Tod surprised her when he smiled and shook his head. "No, not anymore. I have to let them go and not dwell on the past." He turned his head towards her. "I have you and the kids. You're my present and future, and you're all I could want."

If foxes could blush, Vixey would have been a mess right then. "Honest?"

Tod nodded. "Honest."

The foxes stayed silent for some time, content to watch as Widow Tweed and Copper carried on with their lives below.