A beach day....or not......
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Callisto is a party pooper and an anxious mom
Pwuhhhhh, Pwuhhhhhh, Pwuhhhhhh
The sounds of the pod’s breathing filled the air as they surfaced, diving down and rejoining the others. Callisto’s black, white, green, and blue body gliding through the waters at the head of the pod. At her side, her adopted son Cappuccino swam, his large body dwarfing hers. On her other side, her daughter Nebula followed her, with the rest of the pod spread out behind them. The summer waters were warm around them and Callisto was able to guide them to their summer hunting grounds with years of knowledge. The old aqrion had led the pod with many years of knowledge for many turns of the seasons. She’d seen calves born, watched calves and adults alike die, and had seen the pod grow and shrink. As of now, they’d mostly split themselves into smaller groups that traveled together, but Callisto could tell that, as time wore on, the entire pod dynamic would change dramatically. Shaking the thought from her mind, she quietly led the pod, listening to the gentle rises and falls of the conversations going on amongst the pod. She smiled as she listened, quickly distraccted by the playful bump of her daughter, Nebula’s, nudge with her rostrum.
“What’s on your mind, mom?” She asked, her voice playful and gentle at the same time. “You’re awefully quiet today.” She added, turning her head to look at her mother.
Callisto gave a shrug. “A lot is on my mind, most of it regarding the pod and how I can best keep them safe and guide them to the best areas.” She said. “It’s the same general thought process I have every time we travel.” She admitted.
“Well, you know what! I think we need a beach day, or, rather, a relaxing day for you!” Nebula said, grinning as she darted under Callisto and tapped Cappuccino, miming to him what her little plan was. Cappuccino gave a grin and swam under Callisto, running his dorsal fin against her manta-like fins in a playful manner before he gently pushed her out of the water with his head, mindful of his horns against her slick skin. Callisto let out a laugh, tapping his shoulder with her flukes as he lowered her back under the water.
“Very well, I guess I can accept your offer.” She said to Nebula, miming out what she’d said to Cappuccino, mindful of his deafness.
Nebula grinned. “Great! Be prepared for the best time of your life!” She said, darting away with Cappuccino to plan.
Callisto just chuckled and continued to lead the pod to their summer territory.
“CLOSE YOUR EYES MOM!” Nebula said, moving her body infront of her mother to try to block her view of the shallows. She and Cappuccino had spend the better part of two days preparing a good day for Callisto and it wasn’t about to be spoiled by Callisto’s peaking.
“Alright, alright.” Callisto said, closing all four of her eyes with a smile. “How much longer?” She asked, curious.
“Not much longer! Just be patient!” Nebula said, continuing to lead Callisto by the touch of her fins.
Callisto gave an exaggerated sigh, following after her daughter and adopted son. There wasn’t much she could do, lest she face the wrath of her daughter. Her interest was piqued though, when she heard the noises of Cappuccino leaving the water and the feeling of the smooth, ocean worn, stones under her body. She automatically tensed, the primal fear of beaching rushing through her. Granted, she could survive much much longer out of water than her normal dolphin ancestors, but the fear was still there, no matter how much she’d rather it not.
“Don’t worry! It’s fine mom!” Nebula said, seeming to have sensed Callisto’s apprehension. “I promise that you won’t be beached. It’s less than one body length over the beach.” She said. “And, we’re at low tide, so there’s no worries about the stretch getting larger.” She added, gently brushing her rostrum over her mother’s.
Callisto took a deep breath and backed up before darting forwards, her body sliding over the smooth stones before she landed in a deep, currently land locked, lagoon, the waters crystal clear and warm.
“Surprise! We found you, well Cap’cino found you, a deep lagoon! As the tide comes in, it will again be connected to the rest of the sea, but for now, it’s all yours! And don’t worry! The pod is aware that we will be gone for a while. They are in the summer grounds, don’t stress! This is where you can relax!” Nebula said, smiling.
Callisto wasn’t relaxed though and would never be. She was landlocked, away from her pod, her family, and she wasn’t able to watch over them. What if poachers came?! What if a calf got lost! What if someone was hurt! Her body shook in anxiety, her eyes dartign around. She felt trapped by the walls of the lagoon. Trapped in a tank. Trapped in a place where the humans could watch. Trapped. Trapped. Trapped. Shaking her head, she beached herself, pushing her body over the still damp stones and back into the main body of water.
“Momma?” Nebula called, her voice hurt, confused, and concerned. “Mom, are you alright?” She asked, worried.
“Yes. No. I- I need to check on the pod. What if they’re hurt! Lost! Stolen?!” She said, darting away, her voice tight with panic. This didn’t used to bother her. She used to be able to leave the pod knowing that they could manage themselves. Yet, lately, perhapse due to her age, she seemed to be having troubles leaving them behind. Yes, they were perfectly capable of dealing with themselves, she knew that deep down, but still the fear of them being hurt propelled her forwards in a flurry of motion. She was vaguely aware of Cappuccino and Nebula following her, hurt and confused, but she couldn’t stop thinking of the health of the rest of the pod.
Her breath came back in a quick sigh of relief as she came to the safe, protected waters where the pod lived in the summer. Safe, they were all safe.
Callisto turned at the voice of her daughter, her heart breaking. They’d worked so hard to give her a relaxing beach day and she’d just thrown it away, just like that. “I’m so sorry.” She said, sighing. “I just can’t be away from the pod anymore. I don’t know if it’s just because I’m getting older or if it’s because I’m paranoid, maybe both, but I just can’t do it. I really really really appreciate the effort you two put into it and I’m so sorry that there’s nothing I can do to repay the gesture, but I can not relax or rest without knowing where the pod is and being able to see them with my four eyes or having absolute awareness of their safety. I’m sorry Nebula, Cappuccino.” Callisto said. “But I thank you nonetheless.” She added, swimming to them and running her wide, velvety soft fins over theirs.
Cappuccino only turned away, scowling, while Nebula nodded in slight understanding. Callisto’s explanation did nothing to soften the hurt, but they were words grounded in fear and protection, not selfishness. She could manage, she could learn and listen. She could remember, but she also could be salty about the failed beach day. Salty she was and she joined Cappuccino in his sulking as Callisto rejoined the rest of the pod, speaking in a hushed tone.
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