Star blinked open her clear blue eyes, taking in the misty morning. It was cold, and she curled up further into the seemingly endless expanse of fluffy, warm fur. Her eyes traveled to her mother's face, and then to her still-bloodstained paw; it had a sharp, metallic scent, and the little Zorua wondered why she hadn't washed it off yet.
"Mama?" She yipped, poking Moonlight with a paw. One eye, blue just like hers, slid open, just long enough to reveal the pained, glassy quality of it; then it closed again. Star heard a slight whimper come from her mother. It sounded almost like that of a much younger and restless Zorua, and it was hard to believe that Moonlight had ever been such.
After what seemed like hours, Moonlight stirred, and her eyes immediately snapped to her own paw, bloodstained. A disturbed look flashed across her features, but she recovered quickly and muttered, more to herself than anyone else, "I'm sorry." Before Star could ask her what she had to be sorry for, the older Zorua had gotten up and left their den.
Perplexed, Moonlight's daughter sat there, thinking over the events of the night before. Moonlight had said Smoke was... what word had she used? Dead? Star thought for a while and came to the conclusion that he was simply gone; Smoke would never bother them again, and the Zorua was glad for that. She had always been told that he was evil, dangerous; so why was Moonlight so sad now?
She knew she would probably never find an answer to that question. Sighing, Star's ears drooped, but perked back up as a familiar male voice rang outside the small cave.
"Daddy!" Star yipped, running outside and jumping playfully onto the back of her Zoroark father, Solaris. His claws gingerly hooked around her and set her back onto the ground; she tilted her head up at him, confused and slightly disappointed. He stared back at her with a calm look that told her this was not a good time, then gestured silently to Moonlight. She was crying into his soft fur collar, her entire body trembling.
"I wish you would have been there..." She choked out through her tears, holding on tighter. "So I wouldn't have had to..." More childlike whimpers came from her, but gradually quieted as Solaris stroked her hair with a claw.
"Moonlight, you did nothing wrong. You did what you had to do to protect Star. Maybe Smoke wasn't always the way he is... Er, was... Um, now, but that doesn't matter. He could have killed you and Star had you not acted first. "
The Zorua pulled away, her eyes seemingly alight with blue flame. "If you had been there, this wouldn't have happened!" Her lips curled up in a snarl, and for a fearful second Star thought she was going to bite him. But Moonlight leapt out of his arms and started to walk away, her tail lashing.
"Daddy... Where's Momma going? What's wrong with her?" Star's voice trembled slightly on the last sentence; this was not like her mother at all. She watched her father's face tense in apparent frustration, then his eyes soften into sadness. He patted her head with a claw softly.
"She's just upset right now, sweetie."
What were her parents not telling her?