Of Cats and Wolves II: Summer's End by Sol 1056
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Author's Chapter Notes:
Warnings: Minor OOC due to AU situations; shonen-ai; fantastical animal/people mixes; gratuitous use of improper Gaelic; crazy adaptations of Siberian and Native American traditions.

Disclaimer: We don't own, but we're having fun anyway. No harm meant. The lyrics quoted this chapter are adapted from Robbie Robertson's song, Golden Feather.

So. Yes. I am continuing this story. Quake in fear, everyone, and light little sticks of incense on your fanfic altars to Gail and Infini T, in thanks for their donation of $165 to MSF and UNICEF for the tsunami/earthquake relief funds. I'm actually rewriting early parts of this, and only doing word count on added sections, so hopefully within four chapters I'll have a multi-part epilogue that will wrap up and close things out nicely, so I'm reposting from the start.

Oh, and...no. No citrus. Still rated G.

The slim figure was perched on the rock, its thick tail-fur waving gently in the breeze as the figure shifted, sighed, and leaned back to stare up at the starry sky. Solo watched from his place under the trees, and shook his head. Padding on coyote-stealth feet, he wasn't surprised when his adopted brother still heard him coming. Duo turned with a smile, but the cheerful look slipped for a second before the half-Fox was able to force it back in place.

"You should be sleeping," Solo said, climbing up to sit next to Duo. He wrapped his sandy-brown tail around Duo and hugged the younger man close. "Save up your energy to fill all those requests."

"Yeah," Duo said, and shrugged. "Thing is, I could probably make those combs in my sleep, now... " He frowned. "I'm running out of the beads Quatre gave me, though. I'm not sure what to use instead."

"Kio was suggesting we head a little south before we strike out for the Plains," Solo replied nonchalantly. "The Mountain Cougars often have a share of beads from trade."

"True." Duo turned his face back up to the sky.

"Shooting star," Solo observed. "Make a wish."

"A wish?" The half-Fox's ears went back on his head. "That's for kids."

"You're still part-kid." Solo laughed and amended his tease. "Part-kit."

Duo rolled his eyes and pulled his knees up, resting his chin between them as he dropped his eyes to watch the dark forest around them. "I guess he didn't really like me," he whispered.

The Coyote sighed. He'd been wondering when Duo would finally broach the topic. Two weeks of the Fox-boy moping when he thought no one was looking, and the group as a whole was on the verge of throwing Duo into the nearest nettle patch if they thought it'd help. Solo hugged Duo again, and leaned his cheek against the top of the Fox's head.

"In the summer night, when there's no wind blowing," Solo sang, low and deep. "I could hear the stars falling in the dark... "

"Solo... " Duo started to say, then fell quiet. He began humming under his breath, a sweet low tenor to Solo's melody. He turned, wrapping his arms around his brother's neck. Solo smiled, one hand coming up to run down Duo's braid.

"When you find what's worth keeping, with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away... "

Duo snuggled closer. The Fox fell quiet, his head on Solo's shoulders as the Coyote continued to hum gently, the sound rumbling against Duo's ear.

" ...And when you find a golden feather, it means you'll never lose your way back home... "

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