A/N: Sorry this is late :/ I've been pretty busy...

CHAPTER FOUR

Conan was already up when Luna awoke, just as she had expected; with the paranoia the pair – and the entire group for that matter – came the need to assign a watch every night. The younger pair didn't think it necessary, but Luna knew that they too were afraid that someone would arrive to slit their throats in the night. She sat up, running a hand through her hair and looking around the room. Empty, unlit oil lamps hung on the walls in each corner, ready to be lit in the mornings, and a wide fire sat beneath a hearth against the far wall, across from the door. The remains of a few burning embers still flickered in the fireplace, showing that Conan had been here recently; looking down by her side, a small smile spread across her face when she saw a small wooden, rounded cup by the bed filled with a steaming brown liquid. She reaches down, picking up the cup and pressing her lips to the rim; she quickly drinks the warm rabbit soup, licking her lips and placing the cup under the bed. It was created with a make-shift wooden frame Conan had banged together after they had built the farm house, with a thick cow skin rug pulled over the top as a mattress – this was from the village, which she had traded for good milk at the fashioners – and then topped off by many thick fur blankets. Pushing the fur aside, she slips out of the bed, yawning and smoothing out her clothing as she slips on her boots and walking over to the fire-place. In the room, the two younger teens still sleep; Kyra lies in her own bed, where, beside her, the spare hammock hands on the wall and a small post next to it. Luna looks across at the hammock, huffing; she usually slept there, but she had woke up in night in a sweat, growing paranoid despite the fact that Conan was on watch. She assumed it was because of the accidents that had happened recently; the foal, and the little man on the big dun horse out in the forest. She had another reason to sleep on the bed, though – Conan had made it for her, and he was beginning to get slightly deterred by the fact that she never used it, which she found hilarious. Of course, she pitied him; a guy, stuck in a house full of girls. Oh, and Lucian.

From her bed, Dusk stirs, yawning and showing his huge white fangs, his tail thumping against the covers as he crawls towards her.

"Hush," she whispers, smiling as the dog falls onto the ground and pulls himself along, crawling across the ground as he did every morning. She holds back her laughter, coming to sit beside the dog and scratch his broad head. He wags furiously, his jaws hanging open as he looks up at her.

"Hey, baby," she coos, stroking his head as he stretches, sitting up and standing beside her. With a quiet woof, the old female dog comes running in from outside, her paws slightly muddy from the rain the previous day.

"Hey girl," Luna says, pulling at the old she-dogs tail. She stands her by the hearth, running her hand across her stomach; against her rib case, further down her stomach had begun to grow, feeling heavy and warm under Luna's palm. She presses onto the dog's womb a little, feeling the small separate bumps; at least six puppies can be seen from this angle, completely still and unmoving. Luna nods, patting the dogs rump and turning back to the fire. She lights it dully with a small match in her back pocket, prodding gently at the wood but adding no more logs; she wants to keep it small, so that it won't wake the younger teens. Shutting the farm house door, she watches the bitch as she sleeps by the fire, flicking her tail and licking her lips. Comet is still asleep at Kyra's toes, flicking his stubby tail as he runs in his sleep.

Once the fire had warmed, she places a small black pot over the flames, heating it and reaching into her back-pack. With a smile, she brings out some herbs and tea-leaves she had hidden from the two, placing them in the pot and stirring the mixture with a spoon. After the liquid had warmed, she heads outside, tailed by the two dogs. A fine rain drips from the grid metal roof, running off the

sides in a miniature waterfall. She turns, heading back inside; digging around in one of the shelves pinned on the wall, Luna finds a pot of biscuits she had hidden from the sugar-hungry children. Pulling five out, she sticks one in her own mouth; moving to the pot, she pours the liquid into three separate wooden cups, Placing them on small wooden platters along with one of the plain wheat biscuits. Smiling lightly, she places one by Kyra, another by Lucian; she eyes the dogs, pointing outside; the two wander out, and she pushes Comet so that he's on the opposite side of Kyra – that way, he'll wake her if he tries to eat the biscuit. Smiling, she scruffs up Lucian's hair before taking the other and heading outside with the two border collies.

The boy leans back on the roof, looking up at the sky. A large black raven circles above him, calling out and shifting it's jet black wings, soaring above the valley. It caws once more before flying off into the distance, leaving behind it a trail of shadows. It's small figure dwindles, disappearing behind the clouds. Beside him, there was a shuffling; a tall girl clambers up onto the roof beside him. He turns his head, fringe shifting to cover one eye as he looks at her, his lips parted slightly. There was silence for a second; she has her elbows on the roof, halfway between lifting herself up. She moves, eventually breaking the silence; beside her, she lifts up a small wooden tray. On it, a cup filled with light golden liquid, and a small wheat biscuit. He stays frozen for a second, looking down at the wooden platter, before a tiny smile spreads onto her face. She looks up at him, holding out her hand and shoving the tray towards her. He takes it, putting it on the other side of him and lifting her up. She smiles gratefully, sitting silently beside him in the same position; her legs hang off the roof, despite the rain-covered metal below her. She sighs, a cloud of air emitting from her mouth and dancing into the sky before her. He turns and sips the cup; she reaches into her pocket, pulling out a biscuit and pushing the entire thing into her mouth, chewing once and swallowing it whole. The boy does the same; pushing the entire biscuit in and throwing back his head, his throat constricting as he swallows the biscuit. After another second the thing they were waiting for arrives; the sun breaks through the top of one of the distant mountains, casting brilliant rays of light down on the meadow. The two are blinded for a second, before the girl clambers down the roof, jumping off and falling in a cat-like stance. Standing, she steps out of the way so that the boy can jump down, before the two walk back into the house. Above the home, a small black figure high in the sky begins to grow larger, it's jet black entirety glinting in the new born light of the sun and circling for one last time before souring off into the mountains far, far away.

The soft music carries gently across the valley, bouncing off the mountains and travelling sweetly in the wind, along with petals of deep, rich gold. The small boy stands on the porch of the farm house, a look of concentration on his face as he plays. The sleek, honey gold wooden instrument in his hand is silent for a second, before he positions the bow once again, swiping it across the strings and pressing the wood into the crook of his neck. His bluish-black hair flops around as he plays, and the small girl in front of him laughs; he opens his bright blue eyes and grins at her, closing them once more and playing harder. She taps her foot, humming and laughing gently. The taller, dark haired boy leans against the wall, smiling softly and looking across the field where another stands.

Lucian grins, continuing to play the song fondly; smiling at the violin, he turns to the girl in the field and shouts over to her. "Luna, thanks again for the violin! I'm so glad to be playing again," he falters slightly, almost dropping the violin and struggling to get his grip back on the wood. He grins sheepishly, Pushing on the different chords with the wood. "It's fine!" Luna shouts back, waving her shepherding hook. The older dog, Daya, lies in the sun, flipping her tail and exposing her large stomach to the warm sun glinting down on them after such a long rain storm. She then proceeds to chase Dusk, calling for him to retreat from the cattle he was currently attempting to herd into the grazing paddock. Conan laughs lightly, leaning back onto the wall as Lucian plays; Kyra begins to dance to the music,laughing loudly and spinning around freely in the wind. The music slows slightly, and across the field, Luna slows to look at them. She smiles sadly, looking at the ground. I'll give them some time; we can train later, I guess. We have all day.

The music speeds again, and Conan pushes off the wall, taking Lucian's battered top hat off his head and placing it on his own. The young teen was too busy to notice, playing harder as he reaches the hight of the song. He walks towards Kyra, bowing and lifting the hat off his head for a second before taking her hand. She laughs hysterically, taking his hand like a daughter might her father. He spins her around, and she twirls to the music, giggling softly. Comet jumps around them, barking loudly. Lucian opens his eyes and pauses as he plays, confused. He then smiles and plays harder as Conan taps his feet, allowing Kyra to dance around him. He smiles, releasing her hand and throwing the hat at Lucian. It lands perfectly on his head, covering his eyes. Kyra giggles once more, and Conan walks over to the younger boy. He looks up at the tall, dark haired teen, frowning and adjusting the hat on his head. He was about to speak, when Conan pushes the younger boy forward, taking the violin from his hands. He cracks his knuckles, stretching his fingers and clearing his throat quickly. He raises and eyebrow at Lucian as he stumbles forwards to stand by Kyra.

"Ah, not this again Co-co," Luna sighs as she comes closer, a happy smirk on her face as Dusk manages to drive the cattle in a full circle around a small section of the valley without attempting to eat any of them. He smirks, winking at her and pulling the violin into the crook of his neck. The music starts, and Kyra quickly grabs Lucian's hand, and the two begin to dance as Comet spins on his hand paws beside them, barking happily and jumping around. The old bitch looks up, watching them for a second before dropping her head. She lazily flicks her tail, about to sleep when the cattle whirl out of control, spinning into her. She yelps, jumping out of the way and scowling at Dusk. He stops, flattening his ears; the she-dog jumps towards him. He breaks into a run, ears flat and tail tucked in as he runs around the valley to escape the angry she-dog. Comet runs to join in, yapping as he tries to keep up with the pair of faster, more reliable dogs. The three small lambs bleat in unison, grazing with the sheep in another area of the the meadow. The horses tear at the grass beside the house; the two foals rear and play, butting heads and dancing on their hind legs, bucking and cantering together. Pine tears at the grass, chewing the fresh green stems. She lifts her head, whinnying loudly at the mountains. Beside her, Axel lifts his head, looking around, his eyes big and black as he waits. All of a sudden, the music runs silent and Conan's face drops as he looks out across the valley. Everything became dead silence; the cattle became still, grazing instead of running, and the stick Luna had held falls to the ground at her feet. Pine wickers quietly at the foals, turning her head away briefly with her eyes flickering. The foals become silent, stopping their playing and looking towards the mountain opening, just as the other animals were. The she-dog stops running, and Dusk becomes still as Comet trips, coming to lie on his back next to the bigger dogs. He rolls onto his stomach, mouth hanging open and tongue lolling out as he looks on. The lambs stop playing and begin to shiver as a coldness runs over them.

They had missed their opening.

They weren't coming.

Luna moves out of the way, her golden eyes wide in shock. They hadn't seen them, they hadn't known they were going to come; it was just that that was what was meant to be. A huge black raven circles above them, crying out before disappearing once more. They say that was the first omen, as the rain slowly hit and the cows lay in the grass nuzzling their young. As the four realised, they weren't coming back.

And the violin's song was sung, because the herd never came, and all of a sudden, everything became very, very real.

Thanks for reading, please review to help us improve and tell us what you think.

Thanks,

Shesh.