Tinsel comforts Viola after a difficult moment.
"Okay, let's spread out. I think there's a stream near here, and someone can look for a spot where we can set up camp, make a bonfire and all."
Joisse straps the bag of waterskins onto her back, and grabs Valtris's hand. "Val and I will look for water."
Alaya begins digging through the barrels. "If you all are going to search, I will try to prepare tonight's meal from the provisions we have brought along."
"I'll help," Daki says, popping open another barrel to peer inside.
Luna grunts. "Still hurts."
"I can help take care of Luna while we wait," Cally says, moving forward. "That arrow really did a number on you. The rest of you, take care not to wander into any scouts. They are... slightly cruel at times."
"Sorry." Valtris mutters. Even though Cally wasn't looking at her... She can still feel the centaur's eyes on her.
"Meiyin and Ivory, you two stay with me," Aenwyn says. "I'll remain with the truck so that in the event of an attack, we can go. You too, Viola."
"I guess that leaves me to find a place for us to camp," Tinsel volunteers, standing up.
"I want to go with Aunt Tinsel," Viola says suddenly, scurrying over to Tinsel's side and grabbing hold of her hand.
"If that is alright with you, Tinsel," Aenwyn says questioningly.
"Course, Scrappie! Come on, Viola, get your searching eyes ready. We gotta look for a spot where we can set up our tents." Tinsel squeezes Viola's hand.
Viola looks over her shoulder at Aenwyn for a long moment before hopping down off the truck with Tinsel and heading out into the forest.
The two of them walk in silence, Viola hopping into the puddles of sunlight here and there where they pierce through the trees' canopy, until Tinsel finally breaks the silence.
"Is something up, Viola?" Tinsel asks, slowing her walking. "You've been staying really close to me for a while now." She doesn't say since the night you cried thinking that I would be left behind- but she thinks it.
Viola shakes her head. "Nuh." But she doesn't make eye contact - a sure sign that something is indeed up.
"You know," Tinsel begins, "that night was really scary for everyone, right? When Ivory came."
"Yeah." Viola is definitely avoiding Tinsel's gaze now, staring down at the grass and finally slowing her walking.
Tinsel squeezes her hand. "I got scared, too. I thought I might lose you. It's okay to be scared."
Viola's voice is a little thicker when she speaks next. "I wanted you to be with me... I didn't want you to be away..."
"Oh, Viola..." Tinsel pauses and kneels, drawing the girl into a hug. "I want that too. And you know your mom and me are going to do everything we can to make sure the three of us stay together."
Viola doesn't answer, just squeezing her arms around Tinsel tightly. "You're supposed to be the one who's always here..."
Tinsel lowers her head slightly. Of course. Scrappie had always been busy - making trips to Arbane with Valtris and Joisse, fighting in whatever little missions were necessary, being under repairs when critically damaged in Durmiu Su. And through all that, Tinsel has been the one who stayed close to Viola. Now, though... With the Resistance needing all the help it can get, Tinsel is doing her part. But of course that's going to mean taking new risks, spending time away from Viola, who probably has some difficulties with abandonment after what happened with her parents...
"I'm sorry," Viola says. "That was a selfish thing to say."
Tinsel shakes her head, squeezing Viola tightly. "No, Viola. I understand. It's okay. I can't promise you that I'll let you come everywhere with me. I'll be away sometimes, or doing work outside that might be dangerous. But I promise you that as much as I can, I will stay with you and bring you with me when it's safe. And if we do get separated, I'll come find you, no matter how long it takes." Her hand pats Viola's back delicately. "And while I'm gone, I'm going to need you to be the girl who fixes everything for everybody, okay? They need you there, cause they're helpless without you and me!"
Viola sniffles and swallows hard. "Okay..."
"So no more following me and stowing away, okay?" Tinsel says. "But I'm glad you're here with me. This is a long trip, I don't know if I could handle not seeing you for this long!"
Viola shakes her head vigorously and buries her face in Tinsel's shoulder.
"It's okay, Viola..." Tinsel murmurs. "I'm here, and I'm not going to send you anywhere."
Tinsel vaguely remembers Viola being avoidant and anxious when Scrappie was being repaired. So that's why she's not like this with her own mother. She's already made her peace with that, and still thinks of Tinsel as invincible, always in her workshop. She'll get over this... probably.
But for the moment, Tinsel gets to her feet. "Come on, then, let's keep searching. You can tell me all about what the boat was like when we get to a good place to camp, since I missed out on all the excitement! And I'll tell you all about what it was like seeing Ivory." Heavily adapted, of course. "Deal?"
Viola wipes her nose with her sleeve and nods. "Deal." Already, some of the nearly unlimited energy is starting to come back, and she starts skipping again, bouncing along the forest path.
Tinsel smiles, walking quickly to keep up. "I'm almost finish with your new pan flute, too, so you'll have to play a song for all of us when we get there!"
"Okay, but I only know a few songs," Viola says.
"Why don't you make one up? I always love the songs you make up," Tinsel says.
Viola beams. "Okay. You'll hear my brand new song, ... Magic Best Friend. It's about Ivory, but don't tell her because it's a secret."
"Okay. I'll keep your secret." Tinsel winks. "But keep your eyes peeled for any clearings or anything!"
Viola responds by bouncing a few steps ahead and spreading her eyelids with her fingers, looking around. "I don't see anything, Captain Aunt Tinsel! The mermaids have gone below the waves!"
"Aye aye, swabbie," Tinsel laughs. Maybe I can talk to Reed about being there for her when I'm away...