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Author Topic: Retirement  (Read 485 times)

Offline Chibiscuit

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Retirement
« on: August 25, 2016, 08:40:56 AM »
Cover art
A one-shot featuring  :fiver  :vervain  :silverweed3  :buttercup2
Set in the TV series universe and taking place after the final battle.

I figured I might as well post this here too. This is a WSD forum after all! :p

I fixed some more mistakes so this version should be the "most correct" though there most likely are still mistakes in it.^^

I decided to divide it into three parts and put it under spoiler tags because else this post would've become too long. New spoiler tag starts where I originally put line breaks.

Just a heads-up, there are two POV switches in this story. The first happens at a line-break (or new spoiler tag in this case) but the second one is less obvious and might appear a bit strange at first. However, putting a line-break there would've been weird too.

Last but not least, many thanks to Myrkin for the initial idea this is based on:
Spoiler: ShowHide
Vervain relaxing at Buttercup's warren. Such a nice image^^


Anyway, I hope you enjoy!  :dandelion

Retirement

Spoiler: ShowHide

"Silverweed!"

Fiver called out into the forest but all that answered him was the wind whispering in the trees. If Bigwig could hear him he'd scold him for drawing unwanted attention to himself. But Fiver didn't care at the moment. He needed to find Silverweed and bring him back to Watership Down. The young buck had sacrificed himself for all their sakes, the least he deserved was to spend the remaining part of his life in peace and tranquillity. He was in no condition to be wandering out here, all alone. It wasn't fair, it just wasn't fair, but Fiver knew it had been inevitable. A sacrifice was necessary for the spell to bring the Black Rabbit into this world and he was well aware that if Hannah had cast it she wouldn't have survived. It was a small miracle that Silverweed had. But if only he'd known sooner...

Fiver had no idea what had possessed Silverweed to leave them but the moment he'd noticed Fiver had snuck out of the warren to search for the silver buck. He knew Hazel would be worried about him, he knew he should've said something to him, but Hazel was already busy enough as it was. And so was Bigwig. They'd have helped though, Fiver was sure, and part of him wanted nothing more than to have his trusted friends beside him right now. Yet, another part of him felt this was something he needed to do alone. A form of atonement for not being able to save Silverweed from this curse.

Carefully scanning the ground for any tracks Fiver hopped on. His ears were perked for any noise but the forest was eerily quiet. A broken branch lay a couple of hops in front of him. Fiver hesitated for a moment. He'd followed several similar tracks before but they'd all been dead ends. Either the trail ended abruptly or it simply turned out to be another creature that had passed through there. Still, it was the only lead he had for now. His mind made up, Fiver investigated the branch a little closer. He noticed trampled leaves leading on further into the woods. A faint smell came to Fiver. Rabbit. Whoever had been here, it was undoubtedly a rabbit. It smelled faintly familiar but it was gone so fast he couldn't determine why. As he hopped along, following the trail, another scent came to him. Strong and bitter, it caused the hairs on his back to rise up. Fear. Fiver stopped. Fear? Had Silverweed been afraid? He'd appeared nothing but brave to him. Yet, deep down, he must've been scared, right? Who wouldn't be, knowing what he'd known? Fiver's heart ached for his friend. He should have been there for him, should have helped lighten the burden, find a way to deal with it without- Fiver shook his head. This wasn't helping Silverweed. He just needed to find him and be there for him now.

He carried on along the trail again, noting it was rather obvious and chaotic. Whoever had come this way had been in a hurry. Doubt gnawed at Fiver. Would Silverweed even be able to move that fast anymore? Still, he didn't stop again. There was only one way to find out whose trail this was and that was by following it to the end. So he continued on and on until finally he reached a ditch. The tracks led straight to it. Fiver swallowed, suddenly nervous, but whether or not because the rabbit in there might be Silverweed or not, he wasn't sure. He checked his surroundings. The coast was clear. There was no trace of any elil around, not even a stale one, but Fiver knew it wasn't safe here. Taking a deep breath, he hopped closer to the edge of the ditch and peered down into it. Small rays of light were cast into the ditch -Frith must have been high up in the sky by now- and dappled the forest floor with sunlight. Fiver could easily make out the shape of a rabbit. They appeared to be asleep. At least, Fiver hoped they were. Looking some more he could see their flank moving slowly up and down. His hope fell though when he noticed the black fur. Not silver. Still, it was a rabbit in need of help and Fiver couldn't just ignore them. Careful not to land on the rabbit, he jumped down into the ditch. Fiver moved closer to the rabbit, his paws squishing in the mud. "Hello...?" He called softly, reaching out a paw to gently shake the rabbit awake but before he did so he recognized him. With a gasp, Fiver pulled back, almost landing on his behind.

Vervain? He's still alive? Fiver had thought all of Woundwort's followers to have been taken by the Black Rabbit. Evidently, he'd been wrong. He must have run away on time. Fiver concluded. That did seem like Vervain. Hadn't he abandoned Efrafa during the attack as well? Fiver hesitated. What should he do now? Vervain was Watership Down's enemy... wasn't he? Or wasn't he anymore now that Woundwort was gone? Fiver wasn't entirely sure. He thought about just leaving Vervain here, in the ditch, and knew he couldn't. No matter who it was or what they'd done in the past, Fiver couldn't just ignore a rabbit in need. And he knew for certain that if Vervain remained here, like this, that he'd perish. Nausea overcame him at the thought of not acting when he was able to prevent such a horrible thing from happening. With a shock he realised that Silverweed must've felt the same way.

I can't just leave. Determined, he reached out again and softly shook Vervain in hopes of waking him up. He didn't want to startle him too much. Who knew how he might react then? "Vervain...?" He whispered, "Can you hear me?"

Vervain stirred but didn't wake. A low murmur escaped the older rabbit and Fiver gulped nervously as he recognized Woundwort's name. That didn't bode well. He tentatively shook Vervain again, a little harder this time, and called his name again. Vervain groaned. Fiver back off a little as he noticed the other was waking now. He didn't sound too happy about it though. Vervain's mumblings reminded Fiver of Hawkbit when he was awoken for an early patrol by Bigwig.

"Vervain." Fiver said once more. Vervain's complaints stopped, his ears switched and his eyes flew open. Fiver's voice must have finally registered with him because Vervain bolted upright and turned to him. His eyes were wide and Fiver could see fear in them. It didn't last long though. The next moment, Vervain had lowered himself in a hostile position, eyes narrowing at Fiver. "You! W-What are you doing here?"

"I'm looking for a friend." Fiver answered. He remained where he was, trying to take up the least threatening position he could. Bigwig wouldn't agree with his methods but then Bigwig would've just left Vervain. Or worse even. Fiver was determined to do this his own way.

"You won't find one here." Vervain replied harshly. Fiver could see how wary he was though.

Fiver shook his head. "Not just any friend." He wasn't entirely sure why he felt the need to explain but he did so nonetheless. "I'm looking for Silverweed."

"Silverweed?" Vervain's posture relaxed. He opened his mouth as if to say something but then thought better of it. "I haven't seen him." Vervain said at length, "Not since you Outsiders kidnapped him." Fiver wondered why Vervain still referred to them as Outsiders. If anything, he was the Outsider now. He was also curious what Vervain had been meaning to say before he went back on the defensive but didn't ask. He doubted he'd get a straight answer anyway.

"What are-" Fiver interrupted himself when he noticed Vervain glance around him suspiciously whilst keeping an eye on him at the same time. He sighed, "Vervain, I'm not going to attack you."

"Why not?" Vervain narrowed his eyes at him again.

"Why would I?" Fiver countered. Vervain gave him a look that clearly said how stupid he thought the question to be. "The war is over. There is no reason for us to fight." That seemed to have struck a cord for Vervain's glare turned to mild interest. His attention was fully focused on Fiver now.

"What are you doing here?" Fiver asked. Vervain blinked once and then rolled his eyes. A rather odd response to Fiver.

"Any place's as good as the next." Vervain snorted, "A ditch seemed appropriate." Fiver was taken aback by the bitterness in that statement.

"But if you stay here, you'll surely die!" Fiver exclaimed in surprise.

"You don't say." Vervain dead-panned. "I don't need strange visions to know that."

"Is that what you want then?" Fiver asked incredulously. "Did you run from battle just to die here?"

Vervain's eyes flashed dangerously. "Of course not!" He snapped with such ferocity that for a second Fiver was afraid Vervain would actually assault him. Just as fast as it had come, the fury was gone again. Vervain sighed. He sounded more tired than any other rabbit Fiver had ever seen before. "But where would I go? What do I have left?"

"You're still alive." Fiver answered, "There is that." Vervain's eyes widened slightly at the statement. He stared at Fiver, his expression only that slightly hopeful. And something else that Fiver couldn't identify. He knew he was getting through to him though so he carried on, "Didn't you say last time that you would build a new life for yourself?"

"Yes." Vervain replied. His voice lingered on, giving Fiver the impression there was more he'd wanted to say but that was all that came.

"Why didn't you?" Fiver asked when Vervain remained silent. Fiver had a feeling he already knew the answer though.

"I did." Vervain replied. Fiver's eyes widened. Okay, he hadn't been expecting that answer. "It simply wasn't..." He trailed off.

"Meant to be?" Fiver guessed. Vervain let out a dry laugh at that. "...even now..." He mumbled, much to Fiver's confusion. Even now? What did that mean?

"You can try again." Fiver decided to go off his assumption and carried on, "Woundwort is gone for good this time."

Vervain flinched. "...yes... I know." His eyes clouded over and he stared off in the distance. His expression was unreadable, yet Fiver swore he noted some sadness in it. He concluded he'd best not mention Silverweed's paw in the General's demise. "But I'm not." Vervain added finally. His eyes focused again and Fiver noted that he looked livelier than he'd had their entire conversation. It seemed he'd regained some of his will to live. Good. Now there was only one thing left for Fiver to do and then he could go on searching for his friend.

"You can't stay here." He repeated and quickly continued on before Vervain could give him another sarcastic retort, "But I know a place you could go to." Vervain looked sceptical but motioned for him to carry on. "There's a warren not too far away where no rabbit knows who you are, where there's flayrah aplenty, thanks to man, and protection from elil."

Vervain narrowed his eyes again. Just like that his entire posture became hostile again. "Oh I know the warren."

"You do?" Fiver asked, confused about Vervain's reaction.

"Yes, we got Silverweed from them." Vervain bit out, "And you'd sent me to that place of death? Hah! Nice try, Fiver!"

"No! Nono, not that place!" Fiver quickly replied before Vervain could do something. He wasn't sure what that something would be but he wasn't going to let it come to that. "I would never send any rabbit to the Warren of the Shining Wires! No rabbit, not even-" He clamped his mouth shut, swallowing Woundwort's name. Best not to mention him. "No-one, ever, I swear." Vervain settled down again and Fiver let out a breath of relief, glad he'd been able to diffuse the situation so fast. "It is located near a human house, inside this complex maze. It's safe and warm and its Chief is very generous and kind. I'm sure she'd accept you in her warren."

"Sounds wonderful." Vervain replied. "Too wonderful."

"I'm not lying."

"I know." Vervain's smile at the statement was making Fiver slightly uncomfortable. "But tell me, if this place is so great then why haven't you moved there yourself?"

"It's not Watership Down." Fiver replied simply.

Vervain nodded and Fiver got the strange impression that, on some level, he actually understood. Fiver realized he couldn't really read Vervain well. But then again, he'd only known him as the rabbit who was determined to catch Hazel, Bigwig and himself and locate their warren. Those had been Woundwort's wishes though. What was it that Vervain wanted? The question had never come up before and Fiver supposed it was too late to wonder about it now. Something told him it wouldn't have mattered if he knew- had known- or not. The look in the buck's eyes when Fiver'd mentioned Woundwort told him enough.

"Are you also going to tell me how to get to this wondrous warren or do you expect me to just stumble upon it?" Vervain's question broke Fiver from his thoughts. He smiled, "Well, that is how we found it."

"Yes, wonderful story, I'm sure."

"It is." fiver answered, ignoring the sarcasm and Vervain's subsequent eye-roll. Instead he started to explain the way to Buttercup's warren as best as he could. After all, they'd been lost when they'd first found it and Fiver hadn't decided to specifically remember the way. He knew enough though. Buttercup's warren were friends of Watership Down after all so it would be useful to know the way. It occurred to Fiver that he would have to tell Hazel about sending Vervain there when he got back. He was sure his brother would understand but some other rabbits on the hand... He knew full well how much Primrose has suffered thanks to Vervain, and Captain Broom hadn't been too eager to let Vervain go last time either. Hopefully he could make them understand his decision.

As Fiver explained the way, Vervain nodded now and then to show he was still listening, his brow furrowed in concentration. Fiver figured he was taking it all in. "Did you get all that?" He asked when he'd finished.

"Yes." Vervain answered. There was a short pause before he posed another question, "Why are you doing all this? I was your enemy. Why do you suddenly care whether I die in a ditch or live out my life in another warren?"

Fiver had been expecting the question. Personally, he didn't think his actions were all that strange. "I haven't forgotten what you've done, Vervain." He started, expecting a reaction from the other buck but Vervain's face remained neutral. "Nor will I plead for your forgiveness with every rabbit you've hurt or worse." Still no reaction. "I simply can't ignore another rabbit in need." He concluded.

"You do realise that if our roles had been reversed, I'd have left you to rot in this ditch?" Vervain's face was still completely unreadable and Fiver wondered why he'd brought the subject up in the first place.

"I know." Fiver replied. "It doesn't matter either way." On the contrary, it was all the more reason why he wouldn't.

"I see." Vervain regarded him a little. His next question took Fiver off guard though. "Why are you looking for Silverweed?"

"Because he's my friend." Fiver didn't skip a beat. "And I want him to come home with me."

Vervain nodded slightly but didn't answer. Instead, he crawled out of the ditch without so much as a warning. Fiver thought he was just leaving like that but the black buck turned around and looked down at him from the edge. "Goodbye, then, Fiver. Forever, I hope." He turned his back to him and made to hop off but stopped short. "Oh," He added without looking back, "And thank you, I suppose." And then he was really off.
He said it so quietly that Fiver had to strain his ears to hear but it had undoubtedly been a thank you. It sounded a lot more heartfelt than last time too.

Well then that was that then. Fiver thought as he got out of the ditch as well. I need to hurry up and find Silverweed. He took one more glance in the direction Vervain had left before hopping off to continue his search.

I hope I made the right choice.


Spoiler: ShowHide

A large, long fence stretched out before him. Vervain had never seen anything quite like it before. It was clearly human-made though and it fit Fiver's description perfectly. Just as everything up until now had done. Even though Vervain knew fiver had been speaking the truth, part of him had still been sceptical about the directions. After all, there was always a chance that Fiver had simply thought he was telling the truth. But so far it would appear that this warren really did exist. And according to the directions, he was very close now. Good. His nerves had been on edge all the way here, constantly afraid some elil would jump out or Darkhaven remnants or even other Outsiders who weren't as ridiculously forgiving as Fiver. Vervain shivered at the thought. He quickly hurried along the structure until he reached the huge gap in it. A shiny wall with big holes filled it up but Vervain could easily slip through it. Trees stood on either side of him, neatly in a row, leading the way to a large house in the distance. Vervain stared at it. That must be where the humans who leave the flayrah live. He didn't really fancy going anywhere near humans but he'd come so far. No use turning back now. Besides, his paws ached from the long trip. He could use a nice, long nap in some soft grass, away from any potential danger. And if this warren was all Fiver had made it out to be then he could soon have just that.

He'd only gotten halfway to the house when he spotted movement up ahead. He dashed behind the nearest tree and carefully peeked from behind it to see what it was. He relaxed when he saw it were rabbits. Two, from as far as he could tell. They must belong to the warren. Vervain hopped from behind the tree, back into full view, and hurried in their direction. He'd thought about what to say and how to act on the trip here. Since Fiver had known about them, they were evidently friends of Watership Down. But they knew nothing of the war that had transpired so at the very least he wouldn't need to use a stupid fake name this time. Chaff, hah! He still couldn't believe Woundwort had actually called him that! After everything he'd done for him... Vervain shook his head to clear his mind. The memory was making him upset and he didn't need that right now. It might repulse these rabbits.

The rabbits had finally spotted him as well. One of them motioned something to the other, who promptly ran off along the house. Vervain guessed he'd gone to warn the other warren members of his arrival. The remaining rabbit, a doe Vervain could see now, approached him.

"Hello! I don't believe I've seen you here before." She greeted cheerfully when she'd reached his side. Well, she sure was welcoming, that was a good start.

"No, I'm not from around here." Vervain answered.

"Oh, have you lost your way?" Vervain had to suppress another dry laugh, "No." At least not literally. "I was told there's a warren around here."

The doe blinked in surprise. "Yes, there is! How did you know?" She simply sounded curious, not a trace of suspicion to be found in her voice. It was a good thing their warren was so well hidden and secure or they'd have serious problems with a naive attitude like that.

"An acquaintance of mine told me. His name's Fiver. You've met him, I believe?" Vervain probed, unsure who exactly this rabbit was and if she'd been around to meet Fiver or not. But she should've heard his name then at least. Vervain doubted they got many visitors to their warren as it were.

Her face lit up at the name. "Oh, Fiver! How is he? And the rest- Hazel, Bigwig, and so on- how are they getting on?"

"Fine." Vervain replied curtly but quickly elaborated when he saw her confused look. "They're all doing fine. Great even." He paused then added, "They send their best regards to your warren."

"That's nice of them. I'm happy to hear they're doing okay." She smiled broadly. "Did you come all the way here to tell us that?"

"Frith no- I mean, not just that." He corrected quickly. "I was hoping to join this warren."

"Oh, you want to join us? That's wonderful! Welcome then!"

Vervain stared at her in confusion. "Uh, shouldn't you report this to your Chief first?"

"You're looking at her." The doe laughed. "Nice to meet you. The name's Buttercup. You are?"

"Vervain." He tried to give her a smile but judging from the odd look she gave him it hadn't entirely the effect he was hoping for. Still, she seemed more amused rather than put off so that'll do.

"That's a nice name." She replied politely. "Follow me. I'll show you our warren." She hopped off in the direction the other rabbit had vanished in. Vervain realized the other hadn't returned yet nor did it seem like he'd gone to get any help. They must really be safe if they would just leave their Chief alone with a stranger who could very well be plotting to overthrow them. Not that Vervain had any such plans. He could see why Fiver liked them though. They were just as trusting for no reason. Once more Vervain wondered why Fiver had helped him. Wasn't he afraid he would bring harm to Buttercup's warren? That he'd try and turn them against Watership Down and get revenge and all that? He wasn't, of course. It was just as Fiver had said: what would be the point? He never wanted a war to begin with. He despised fighting with every bone in his body. And if this warren was really as secure and safe as it appeared then there was absolutely no reason for him to want to change it. Vervain didn't think Fiver knew him well enough to base his decision on all that though. I guess his reasons matter little. Vervain concluded.

After a short trip, Buttercup stopped in front of a massive strange green structure that reminded him of a story he'd heard as a kitten. "This is the maze?" He asked as he observed it. He could imagine it was easy to get lost in there. Buttercup nodded and led him into it. He made sure to stay close and memorise the way. They took several twists and turns until they finally reached the centre. Several rabbits sat outside the entrance.

Buttercup turned to him. "I know the maze might seem confusing at first but you'll soon get used to it." Vervain simply nodded. In truth, he'd found the maze strangely comforting. The many different paths reminded him of the tunnels back at Efrafa. Lots of corners to hide behind, lots of neighbouring walls and such. It made for easy spying. Vervain smiled, satisfied, but quickly dropped the smile when he realized Buttercup was giving him that look again. I probably shouldn't think about spying anymore. Which would be weird for him but he'd manage.


Spoiler: ShowHide

Several days later Vervain slipped out of the burrows and into the open. He stretched his paws and glanced up at the sky. Frith was nearly at his highest point. Excellent timing. That meant the flayrah would be delivered any moment now. Nodding at a fellow warren rabbit who was lazing outside, Vervain hopped into the maze. He could easily navigate it now. It hadn't taken him long to learn that at all (Buttercup had said she'd been impressed by how fast he'd memorized it). He took his time though for there was no rush. Noises drifted to him from the direction of the house which told him he'd be just in time. Though there was more than enough flayrah to go around, Vervain enjoyed having first pickings. At the edge of maze he halted and peered around to see if the humans were still there or not. He might take their flayrah but he didn't want them near or- Frith forbid- touching him. He'd heard from one rabbit that they sometimes even try to pick you up! Mostly the human kittens try this and if you struggle you can easily make them drop you but it seemed to Vervain to be in their best interests not to do something that might upset the humans. So he rather avoided them altogether.

The coast was clear. Vervain hopped over to the pile of flayrah. He rummaged around in it a little until he settled for a nice big carrot. He took it and headed to a more secluded spot behind the large tree, but not too close so he could still enjoy the warmth of Frith on his fur. He got comfortable in a soft patch of grass and idly nibbled at the carrot. His mind went over the titbits of information he'd already gathered on the other warren members. As he'd expected the maze was just as good a place to spy in as the tunnels in Efrafa had been. Though he had to get closer and find all the right spots first. Back in Efrafa, voices echoed through the tunnels, bouncing off the walls in very specific ways that had enabled him to listen in on conversations from tunnels away. You simply needed to know where to listen. And he'd known, about all of them. The maze was similar yet different since the walls of green didn't have the same effect on sounds.
...he was doing it again. And he'd told himself he wouldn't spy anymore. Old habits die hard, as they say, and really it was a good way to stay entertained as well. Buttercup's warren -they really should consider giving it a proper name- was just as peaceful as he'd hoped. Living like this, with no worries, no duties, no stupid fighting, no danger, was all he'd ever wanted but still... it could get a tad boring. Boring is good. He told himself. At the very least, it was better than the alternatives. Overall, he liked this place. He even kind of liked the rabbits living here. Sure, their attempts to welcome and get to know him had been rather annoying but in the end they weren't so bad. They mostly let him mind his own business now.

It wasn't Efrafa but Efrafa was no more. This warren would most certainly do to live out the rest of his life in peace. I wish you could've seen this, General. He looked in the direction of the house and smiled softly. As if Woundwort would ever live so close to humans. Vervain had never known exactly what had happened to him in the past but he knew that the General had been terrified of them ever finding Efrafa. He never showed it of course -Frith forbid- but in a way, it was obvious to him. Until he went insane with all his destiny this and destiny that nonsense of course. Now that was one thing Vervain was glad to be rid of! Woundwort had been so volatile and irrational, constantly leading them into more, ever bigger, danger on some mad quest for Frith-knows-what.

He missed him. Not the 'Dark One' but the old Woundwort, the way he had been before Efrafa's destruction. Vervain hadn't expected that. Sure, he knew it would impact him. That was to be expected when the rabbit you spent a large part of your life serving, pleasing in every possible way, observing so you'd know what to say and how to act, if that rabbit were to suddenly disappear from your life, it was only natural to feel lost, wasn't it? But he actually missed him. A lot. So much that he wished the General were here with him now, enjoying this calm and peace, this tranquillity and excellent flayrah, with him. He stared dully at the remains of the carrot now as his mind got lost in memories.

"What, not hungry?" Buttercup's voice snapped Vervain out of his reverie. He hadn't noticed her approach at all.

"Not anymore." He replied without looking at her. He poked the carrot. There was a pause and something told Vervain he should say something else, that he had to act as if everything was fine. He didn't want her to find out anything about him through his behaviour after all. That was what he'd done up until now. What he'd done all his life. In that moment however Vervain found he didn't really care whether she knew what was bothering him or not.

"I see." She said, a lot more subdued than usual, "I just want to say that there's a friend here for you."

Vervain looked up at her, unsure how to respond to such a statement. Thanking her was probably the expected response so he did so, albeit a bit hesitant. Buttercup laughed, amusement dancing in her eyes, "Well, of course, we're all more than willing to be your friend, if you let us, that is." Vervain wondered what was so amusing about that. "However, what I meant was that you have a visitor."

"Oh." Vervain felt stupid now. "A visitor? Who is it?" He asked, doing his best to keep the suspicion out of his voice. He couldn't think of any rabbit that would visit him. Not with friendly intentions at least. Besides, Fiver was the only one who knew he was here. Had he told anyone? Anyone that was out for revenge on him? That doesn't really narrow it down, I suppose.

"An old rabbit. That's why I came to look for you instead. He seemed tired from the journey." Buttercup explained. "Said his name was Silverweed."

"Silverweed?" Old? Silverweed wasn't old at all. What was he then? Ancient?

"Yeah, you know him?" She asked. A bit late to ask for confirmation if she'd already told the visitor he was here. Vervain didn't mention this however.

"Yes, I know a rabbit by that name." He answered instead, "Where is he now?" He might as well go and meet this old rabbit claiming to be Silverweed since they knew he was here anyway. And maybe it was Silverweed after all and Buttercup simply had an odd definition of old.

"I told him to wait near the entrance to the property." Vervain nodded, "I'll go see him then." And hopped off to meet his visitor.

It really was Silverweed. Vervain stared from behind a tree at the white rabbit. He looked much older but it was without a doubt Silverweed. How was this possible? How could he have aged so quickly? And why was he here, looking for him of all rabbits? Then it came to him. Of course, what other reason could there be? It would seem Fiver didn't quite trust him after all. Well then...

"Silverweed." He got out from behind the tree and crossed the last few hops to the other buck. "I hadn't realized it's been that long since we last met."

The comment went straight over Silverweed's head. "It hasn't." Well, he might've looked older but he certainly hadn't grown any wiser.

"What are you doing here, Silverweed?" Vervain decided to just cut to the chase.

"I've been looking for you." Silverweed answered.

"So I've been told." Vervain rolled his eyes. "The question is why? What do you want with me?"

Silverweed remained silent for a few moments, a pensive look on his grey muzzle, before he carefully spoke again, "There is... something I felt I had to tell you." Vervain motioned for him to carry on. "Remember when I asked you why you followed Woundwort?" Oh yes, he remembered. How could he forget? For Silverweed they had stopped, but for him? Nope, of course not! He hadn't been useful like Silverweed any more after all. Just... useless leftovers. Bitterness welled up inside Vervain at the memory. "What of it?" He bit out in response. Silverweed seemed unfazed as he carried on, "I know the answer."

That made Vervain uncomfortable. He knew? Had Silverweed read his heart sometime on the road or in Darkhaven? Or was he doing it now? No, that made no sense. He had to touch him to do that, didn't he? Vervain nervously backed away from the white buck. Not too subtly it seemed, for even Silverweed noticed. "No, I didn't read your heart and I never will." He assuaged. "I lost my powers."

"You came all this way just to tell me you know the answer?" Vervain asked. Silverweed was telling the truth so that meant Fiver hadn't sent him after all.

"No, I came to tell you what happened at the battle." There was sympathy in Silverweed's eyes. Sympathy! Vervain was so taken aback that he didn't reply. "Ma- uhm Woundwort got taken by the Black Rabbit of Inlé who had manifested himself in the world of the living."

Vervain huffed, "So, you're saying even the Black Rabbit was on Watership Down's side?"

"No. I don't think the Black Rabbit is on anyone's side." Silverweed elaborated. "He was just... he wanted to stop Woundwort. Because Woundwort was using his name for his own destruction. He was disrupting the balance in this world. If he'd remained peaceful..."

"None of it would have ever happened." Vervain finished. He sighed, suddenly feeling exhausted. He didn't want to talk about this. He just wanted to go back to that nice patch of grass and finish his carrot. "Why are you telling me this, Silverweed?"

"As I said, you deserve to know." Did he? Vervain wasn't sure. Did he even want to know all this? It wasn't going to change what had happened. "You see, for the Black Rabbit to manifest himself, someone has to cast a spell." He paused. "I was the one that cast it. I unleashed the magic." He looked away from Vervain and stared at the ground. "I killed him. I'm sorry."

Sorry? He was sorry? Is that why he came here, to apologize to him? Vervain had no idea what to make of that. "I know the answer." The answer. Is it because... he knew Vervain missed him? How...?

"You didn't kill him." Vervain broke the silence that had settled between them. "The Black Rabbit took him, personally even. Don't give yourself so much credit."

"But I summoned him." Silverweed reasoned. Vervain didn't understand why he was so determined to take the blame.

"Are you really sorry you did? Would you not do it if you got the chance to decide all over again?"

"I- No, I would still do it. I did it to save my friends and I'd do it all over again." Silverweed answered.

"Then why bother apologizing?" Vervain asked incredulous. "Why come all the way here just to tell me all this?"

"Because, Woundwort got me out of the Warren of Shining Wires which allowed me to see how marvellous this world is and it allowed me to meet my friends." So, because of some convoluted sense of loyalty then. Vervain suppressed a laugh. Woundwort seemed to be good at inspiring those.

"And you, Vervain," Silverweed continued, "You're the one who told him about me."

Vervain narrowed his eyes at Silverweed. "How do you know that?"

"I saw it. In Woundwort's heart. You were there." Wonderful. The one thing that Woundwort remembered, that was apparently important enough to him, just had to be that. That one fatal miscalculation that had only served to spur Woundwort on along his dumb 'destiny'.

"You regret it, don't you?"

Vervain sighed, "Biggest mistake of my life."

"Not your decision to serve Woundwort in the first place?" It wasn't really a question. More an observation. Vervain laughed a little as Silverweed gave him a small smile. What a strange situation this was. The silence that fell over them felt oddly companionable. There was something Vervain wanted to know though he knew he might not like the answer.

"...When you peered into Woundwort's heart... what else did you see?"

The white buck's face fell, the small smile instantly gone. He looked up sadly at Vervain, "Nothing but death and destruction. Anything related to his destiny but beyond that there was nothing. Nothing at all."

"I see." Vervain mumbled. He wasn't sure whether this was the good or the bad answer. He remembered how Woundwort had ignored his advice, made him fall into a trap, foolishly rushed into dangers for no reason, how he'd let the rabbits at Redstone die without even warning them. How he'd been willing to leave Vervain behind. Nothing at all like the Woundwort who had come back for him when the cavern was collapsing. It was actually a relief, knowing this. "You didn't kill Woundwort." He added firmly. Silverweed regarded him for a heartbeat before giving him a small nod.

"Was that all?" Vervain asked after a while. Silverweed nodded again. He looked as if a burden had been lifted from him. Peculiar rabbit, just like Fiver. That reminded him... "I guess you can retire now as well then."

"For what little while I can." Sadness flashed in his green eyes and Vervain realized he was more bothered by his lost youth then he let on. "How is it here?"

"Not perfect." Vervain replied. "But it'll do. It's a good place to spend the rest of my days."

"Perhaps I should stay as well. Buttercup said I was welcome for as long as I wanted."

Vervain frowned. "This place isn't for you." Silverweed seemed surprised by this. "You still have somewhere you can go to."

"Fiver..." The name was barely a whisper.

"Go home, Silverweed."

Silverweed watched as Vervain turned around. Then, barely audible, he heard Vervain whisper what sounded suspiciously much like a thank you before hopping off. Silverweed watched him until he disappeared out of sight. Not once did he look back. He smiled softly, glad he had been able to lighten the buck's heart, even if only a little. Goodbye, Vervain.

Taking a deep breath, he turned around as well and hopped away from the well-hidden warren. Vervain was right. This wasn't where he belonged. Though his bones were old and his muscles aged, Silverweed hopped off with renewed vigour. He had paid his due. It was indeed time to retire and maybe that wasn't all that bad. He might've lost a lot of his seasons but he was still running. Instead of mourning that which he no longer had, Silverweed was determined to cherish the days left to him. After all, they had not been lost in vain. His friends were safe.

It took a few days of travel, evading elil, resting often, but eventually he was standing at the foot of Watership Down. Halfway into the ascent, he spotted Fiver running down to meet him. His eyes sparkled, relief and happiness radiating off him.

"Silverweed!" Fiver skidded to halt in front of him, regarded him for a heartbeat, as if to make sure it was really him, before leaning in to nuzzle him. "I looked everywhere for you!"

"I'm sorry, Fiver. There was just something I had to do."

"It's okay. I'm just glad you're back." Fiver pulled back and looked him in the eye, worried, "You are staying, right?"

"Of course I am." This time Silverweed nuzzled Fiver. "This is my home."
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 02:49:15 AM by Chipster-roo »
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« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2016, 03:33:35 PM »
It is a fanfic 3 episodes?
If you have to Silverweed I'll have to read.   :silverweed2
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« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2016, 05:54:37 PM »
:silverweed2 Hello, Chibiscuit. I had just finished reading your fanfic 'Retirement' and I would like to make my review and interpretation of your fanfic.
First of all, this fanfic was very interesting and had kept me reading to the first words, to the last page so I loved how it hooked me in. I loved the new concept you implied in your story of how Silverweed had to apologize to Vervain for his actions (Or rather the black rabbit of Inle) as he tried to find acceptance in his action and the price he paid in his current self in which he had lost his youth.
 :vervain I had also loved the concept of which Vervain ad survived and how in truth, he had missed the General and that he had survived the Battle. What I loved the most was how you've revealed what Vervain really wanted in his life, Peace among other things surprisingly. His transition  :buttercup2 Warren is believable for he is having a mild time adjusting himself, but it is still believable.
I did not find many grammatical mistakes or any mistakes that you claimed were in the story; but if they were still there, it is hidden well.
Overall I loved the fanfic for it had made my evening and I am looking forward to future stories you write.
This fanfic is realistically believable as it could have happened in the universe of the show if the producers wanted to go in that directions.
My favorite quote from your fanfic was when Fiver answered Vervain question on why he did not live at  :buttercup warren?
 :fiver "It is not Watership down"
Thanks for the fanfic and I am looking forward to future stories, If you need any assistance, I'm always here to help :silverweed Chao;)
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2016, 05:57:21 AM »
Acacia: :glowingsw Silverweed commands you to read it! :p

Vesper: Thank you for reading and for your review! I'm pleased to hear I'm so good at hiding grammar/vocab mistakes :p It's also a wonderful thing to hear that it had you reading from start to finish and that it made your evening :) And that it is believable (it is easy to get carried away with fanfiction after all). I like to think that this was Vervain's fate in the series. but i am very biased so it's nice to hear it isn't a long shot after all^^
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2016, 02:51:00 PM »
Quote from: Chibiscuit on Aug 30 2016, 01:57:21 AM
Acacia: :glowingsw Silverweed commands you to read it! :p

It is my next fanfic on the list, I'll read it soon.    :silverweed3
=3
« Last Edit: October 09, 2016, 02:52:13 PM by Acacia Heartstrings »
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2016, 03:17:30 PM »
For now I read the first chapter, finish the rest soon.

I did not expect you to take into account the sacrifice of Silverweed ... He gave his life energy and his youth to save Watership Down and is now a poor old rabbit .... MY favorite bunny.  :silverweed2  
I'm intrigued her disappearance, I hope not happen something I'm imagining.

Vervain was a cruel rabbit inside Efrafa, the meanest of all rabbits, but Fiver gave him a chance despite everything. It has a big heart and helped him in his difficult situation.    :fiver            :vervain
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« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2016, 10:30:42 PM »


Beautiful ... It's the right word for this fanfic.  im not expected to be so attached to the series literally taking very important details of the episodes. Specifically of : "The Dark deal", "Dark Heaven" and "magic".



Very good argument, this could be the best happy ending for Vervain. Despite oportunidaddes that waste in the past.   :vervain

And I'm happy enough that Silverweed still alive, after helping....

 :fiver  I'm very happy you came back. But Where you were?
 :silverweed     Helping a friend ...

Finished.
Thanks Chibiscuit.
« Last Edit: May 22, 2018, 03:14:07 AM by Chipster-roo »
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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2016, 08:27:43 PM »
Thank you for reading, Acacia! And for your kind words! I'm glad you liked it. :) And I'm especially glad to hear you appreciated those details!^^
Aah nice song choice, I love that one a lot. So calming. :silverweed

Yes, I like to think Vervain and Silverweed felt some form of companionship with each other in the brief time they spent together. Idk why I just like the thought. And of course, for me, I like to think Vervain got a happy ending of sorts as well. :vervain

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On a side note, I just realized how weird it was to see this thread under updates... I ... actually thought someone was retiring at first ^^;; and then I realized "oh right! My fic!"  :vervain-facepalm
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