A/N: *hangs head* I didn't update in five days. You can glare at me now, Ellen Potter.
The Snowy Owl Ride is Tangled4ever idea, which is an awesome idea by the way.
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…And the second her shoe touched the snow, her breath hitched. I'm in winter, she thought astonished. I crossed the border. Her eyes grew wide as a million contradicting thoughts filled in. I should be mourning, not having fun…
Milori noticed her wide eyes and said, "You don't have to cross if you don't want to, Clarion."
The fairy shook her head vigorously, not wanting to give the opportunity up. "No, I want to. It's just –"
Milori realized something was holding her back, by the way her body was slightly tense and how a million emotions ran across her face all at once. Astonishment, guilt, sadness, happiness, guilt, anger, curiosity, guilt, excitement, love - guilt, guilt, guilt. That emotion, that feeling was what was holding her back, and he knew it. Clarion had always been an open book, she always wore her heart on her sleeve, so you could easily tell whether she was sad, angry, happy, or anything else. And right now she felt guilty, so Milori gently finished, "It's just that you feel guilty over something."
Her eyes snapped from her feet to his face, completely shocked that he knew. "How did you -?"
"Remember, love, you are open and we have been together for a while."
Her face flushed, and for the first time Milori couldn't tell if it was from anger of embarrassment. Either way, he repeated gently, "You don't have to if you don't want to."
Clarion just answered, "I'm fine. Let's keep going."
Raising an eyebrow, he questioned, "Are you sure?"
Milori studied her a second or two longer, searching her face to see if that was what she really wanted. When he saw it was what she wanted very much indeed, he led her off of the log and into the Winter Woods. She followed, her warm hand never leaving his cold one, and soon they were walking side by side for the first time.
In the snow and snowfall.
In Winter Woods.
Milori couldn't believe it; here he was with his love - who was a Warm-season Fairy – walking deeper into the cold – which was dangerous for her and yet it excited and tugged at her curiosity – in hopes to make her happy. Well, he noted, it seems to make her a little bit happy. But she does seem to be holding back...perhaps a little bit of fun would help?
Milori let go of her hand abruptly, making Clarion turn to him with questioning eyes. In answer to her unspoken question he said, "One minute, please."
He then turned and flew away from her into the trees. Flying behind a tree, he kneeled down and made a snowball, grinning wickedly. When he had finished, he watched her for a minute from behind the tree trunk. Clarion had her face up towards the sky, studying the snow as it fell. When a snowflake fell onto her open palm, she smiled and he saw her relax a little more. Now is probably a good time, he thought to himself. So he threw the snowball from where he was hiding at the unsuspecting Clarion.
It hit her on the shoulder and he bit back a laugh as she jumped in shock. She then turned to his general direction and put her hands on her hips, but by that point he was hidden behind the tree again. For a second he thought she would get mad at him for doing such a thing, but then he heard her voice call out, "Milori, I know that was you! Come out wherever you are because you are going to pay!"
A moment passed and nothing happened. Then thwack! A snowball hit the exact tree Milori was hiding behind. His amused expression turned into a stunned one when he realized she could make a snowball. "How the -?" he asked out loud before another thwack! Cut him off. He shook his head to clear the questions of how Clarion knew such things and kneeled down to make another snowball.
He peeked out behind the tree a second later and a snowball hit him directly in the face. He heard laughter and Clarion's voice called out, "I told you –"
She was interrupted when he wiped the snow off of his face and threw another at her. It hit her again on the shoulder and she narrowed her eyes before kneeling down to make another. Pretty soon, they were having an all-out snowball fight with each other, laughing and taunting good naturedly. Clarion had pretty good aim, for that Milori had to admit, but she couldn't fly to doge an oncoming snowball because of her coat covering her wings, something Milori had an advantage of. He used this advantage for a few minutes and observed as Clarion started to show a little agitation because of her inability, before he flew up into the snow-covered trees at the next snowball throw. Making sure Clarion lost sight of him, he then proceeded to quickly fly overhead when she wasn't looking up to a tree that stood behind her. Milori heard her call, "Where are you?" Her voice wasn't playful anymore, she seemed kind of worried.
So Milori flew silently down behind her and hugged her from behind, nuzzling his face in her fresh-smelling hair and replied, "I'm right here, love."
Clarion jumped in surprise before relaxing into his embrace, covering his hands with her own. "I thought you left."
"Why would I leave?"
"I don't know."
Milori rolled his eyes and let go of her asking, "Do you want to see more of Winter Woods?"
"Of course!" Clarion responded immediately, turning around so she could see him. Milori noticed she was starting to enjoy herself more; the guilt in her eyes was dimmer than what it had been earlier.
"Come on then."
"Winter Woods is a big region and –" She stopped, her face red with embarrassment of her unspoken question. Like she didn't want to offend him, but Milori knew what her question was and wasn't the least bit offended.
"Don't worry, I have an idea. It's only a short walk from here before you can fly again – in a way."
Clarion looked at him questionably but walked with him deeper into the heart of winter. A silence passed between them and the fairy broke it asking, "Why aren't you flying?"
"Well, since you can't fly I figured it wouldn't be fair if I flew while you walked."
"But you don't have to walk because of me! That isn't fair, you have wings you can use them!"
Milori shrugged. "But how would you feel after a while? In the beginning, you probably would think nothing of it - Until you start to notice it, and then you'd feel lonely and left out."
"You say that now, but what about later? If I do decide to fly while you walked?"
Clarion contemplated his statement for a while before muttering, "It's still not fair."
Milori chuckled at her stubbornness. "Either way, I'll walk with you as long as you're wingless and can't fly."
"But I'm not wingless!" Clarion argued.
"In a way you are."
She sighed and asked, "So what is your plan?"
"It's an idea," he corrected, "and it'll only work if you don't panic."
"Why would I panic?"
He glanced at her out of the corners of his eyes and smiled. "You'll see."
They walked a bit more until they reached a tree and Milori plainly said, "Here we are. One moment please."
He then flew up into the tree and landed on a branch, looking directly at his favorite snowy-owl. "Hoot," It greeted the sparrow-man.
"Hello to you too," Milori replied back to it.
The snowy-owl was white and had some black feathers dotting it, like most of the snowy owls, but the reason Milori liked it so much was because of its eye color. Instead of being golden like normal, they were a brilliant bright blue, which was unusual. Milori didn't mind at all, he rather liked it, and a few weeks ago he had approached the owl in hopes to make friends with it. At first the owl didn't trust him but curiosity kept it from flying off, and Milori fed it bits of a dead animal that had died somehow (he didn't kill it) to gain its trust. Eventually, Milori gained the owl's trust after a few days of bringing it food, and the rest of the friendship was easy for the most part.
After a while of getting used to each other, the owl let Milori ride on its back. It was tricky getting used to sitting on something that was flying, let alone guiding the creature, and during the first few flights Milori fell off. But that only encouraged him to try again, and he did. The owl, which he named Sky after the sky blue eyes, was patient and didn't mind the training. Pretty soon, Milori and Sky grew efficient enough of flying together that they could do so comfortably.
When Milori took Sky to Dewey's place so his friend could meet the Book Keeper, Dewey's reaction was not one he had expected. He had been surprised, confused, and curious at the same time, and Sky had gotten frightened at the conflicting emotions from the shorter sparrow-man. Milori settled it after a few minutes and apologized to Dewey saying that Sky wasn't very social.
"You named it?" Dewey had asked with wide eyes.
"Yes, I did. Why shouldn't I?" Milori had responded stroking the creature's feathers soothingly, still trying to calm it down.
"It's just that you get attached to something when you name it."
"What if the owl dies?"
"Sky won't die, Dewey."
Dewey had looked suspicious but kept his mouth shut.
"Would you like to ride her?" Milori asked.
Dewey shook his head and said, "Sorry, Milori, but I have to go back to writing…Lots of books, you see?"
Milori had nodded, but in truth he didn't think it was the writing that was keeping his friend from riding Sky.
Now in the present, Milori wondered how Clarion would react. He had no idea, but he was going to find out soon. Of course, he had told Sky about Clarion already, so the bird wouldn't get too frightened. Sky had replied with a "Hoot." and looked at Milori in question if he had any treats.
But now, flying on Sky's back, he asked the bird, "Ready?"
"Hoot," the owl replied.
The owl took off at Milori's command and flew down toward Clarion…