Like Milk and Honey - FoominBlue - 塊魂 (2024)

Daisy takes after her mother, or so she keeps being told. Over and over and over again. Sometimes it seems like every trait she has is automatically attributed to her mother, just as a matter of course. Like going down a checklist without taking your eyes off the paper for more than a cursory glance – oh yes, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? How they’ve got the same smile, the same eyes, the same everything. Like she’s a perfect carbon copy, practically a snapshot of the past that the Great Cosmos breathed fresh life into.

Her mother disagrees. She’s the only one who’s ever told Daisy that her eyes come from her father, for starters; where else could such a deep and soulful brown come from? (From her, to hear everyone else tell it.)

She can’t help but wonder if some of them just… don’t like her father. Even if she doesn’t quite understand why. He’s one of the gentlest giants she’s ever known, always so careful, so mindful of his movements. Slow to anger, unless somebody’s especially rude to him and his, and swift to end any arguments without much fuss or fury. She loves her mother, make no mistake, but she can’t help hoping that others just tend to overlook all the things she’s inherited from him because she’s still so small right now, and it’s harder for them to pick up on all the little details.

Even if sometimes, she’s a little scared of what might happen when they do.

~~~❀✿❀~~~

Standing on her own two feet is harder than it sounds. A lot harder, though her special booties help. They’re really, really soft, well-padded and well made. Basically like the best slippers ever, ‘cept they’re not meant to slip off as easily as they slip on. And they’re SUPER absorbent, too, helping keep her feet dry even when there’s, um. Leakage.

It’d be nice if she could wear full-fledged tights or leggings like most of her cousins, but so far Daisy hasn’t found any that worked. They never feel right – too scratchy or too smooth, too tight or too baggy, just too much. Too much contact for her to handle. It’s distracting, irritating.

And it’s easier for her to stay upright when she’s got her hooves braced. Whether against a katamari or just on the ground. That’s so much more balanced, not to mention how it feels better, too. Feels natural, feels right.

…Maybe she’s meant to have four legs. Her mom does, after all. Four legs, all slender and sensitive and pink like hers, always dangling beneath her as she floats and bobs about. Four legs, and one set of arms, too, which she uses in all the ways Daisy supposes arms are meant to be used. Like gesturing and hugging and so on. She doesn’t have to brace them against anything for balance, because she just… drifts everywhere. Hovers, just like Velvet does.

Velvet keeps offering to teach her how to hover, too. Suggests it might be easier, since they’re ‘round the same size and all. Means they’re on the same level too, more or less. If anything goes wrong, like if Daisy can’t keep herself up and starts slipping, Velvet could be right there with a steadying hand on her shoulder or whatever else she might need. That’s what she keeps saying, anyway. Insisting, really.

……Maybe she should just say yes. That’d probably make her parents happier, too, if she was taking flying lessons with one of her cousins. Hovering lessons? Do those count as the same thing, or not…?

…She probably should just go along with it, but… but her guts get all squirmy and icky when she thinks too much about it. Because Daisy likes having her feet firmly on the ground, even if she’s only got two of them. Two feet, and her hooves, too. There’s something soothing about that; something comforting, familiar.

And it’s not like she doesn’t want to be more like her mama, except… except her tummy still gets twisty whenever she thinks about it too much. When she tries to imagine what it’d be like, floating everywhere just like her mommy, or like Velvet. Velvet walks more than her mommy does, but still. Still.

She’s never been good with words, and doesn’t even know where to start unraveling all of this. Maybe she doesn’t… have to, though? All those offers aren’t demands, after all; she’s not forcing her into anything. So long as those lessons remain optional, simply a suggestion, then maybe, maybe she can keep putting them off long enough to figure out some other solution. Something everyone can be happy with.

~~~✿❀✿~~~

Her mother wears gloves a lot. Not always the formal kind, either; the ones that are all long and sleek, going up way past her elbows. Sort of like how she doesn’t always wear fancy dresses, saving all the ornate ones for special occasions. So long as the skirts are long enough to conceal all four of her legs, even if they don’t hang low enough to hide how she hovers, how there’s space between her and the floor.

Daisy wears gloves too, sometimes. Just simple black ones, to hide how her claws are more… clawlike, she supposes. More like her dad’s than her mom’s, thicker and sharper and—

(And she’d only meant to shove Ace back that time, to make him go away, leave her alone, not stumble back so hard and stare at her while clutching his chest and—)

…and it’s safer. That’s all there is to it. Her hooves don’t cover everything; there’s padding where protective walls should be, underneath. Gloves keep that covered, help things look more uniform. And they aren’t as sensitive as her stupid legs, either.

~~~❀✿❀~~~

Most of the milk she makes doesn’t come from her feet. It’s magical, more a manifestation of her connection to the Great Cosmos. Kind of like how Marcy can create shimmering droplets of water, pretty and prismatic thanks to the light that’s always inside, or how June makes it rain wherever she goes. Still liquid, just a different kind, really. A sign that she’s inheriting her mother’s domain, or that they overlap, anyway.

They all have their own niches, their own specialties to help make the Great Cosmos that much grander. The King of All Cosmos couldn’t possibly handle everything all on his own, after all. So her mother looks after All Cows, and her dad’s connected to All Bears, and she—

She wonders if someone like Njamo will end up with the latter. It’s hardly unheard of, after all. Just a matter of how things develop. And he really, really likes animals. So does Beyond. So do lots of her cousins. Any one of them could wind up in charge of All Bears, someday. Maybe.

Daisy’s pretty sure she’s got the Cow thing on lock, though. Her mommy’s magic comes out milky too, after all. Though she insists Daisy’s is sweeter, that it’s got notes of honey that hers lacks.

~~~✿❀✿~~~

…Ace was being stupid, that time. Nothing new there, so she doesn’t know why… she doesn’t even remember exactly he said, and doesn’t that tell you everything, right there? About how important it was, or wasn’t, when she can’t repeat it from memory or anything.

All she could really tell you was that it was something about the teddy bear she was toting around at the time. Something snarky and snippy and mean-spirited, delivered with a smarmy smirk – oh, she definitely remembers that part, clear as day. The distinctive curl of his lips, the way he sneered, smug in his own self-righteous sense of superiority…

(And the way his eyes blew open wide after her hooves slammed into his chest, as he staggered and touched the place where they’d dug in deepest. Not too deep, honestly, and she hadn’t been aiming to hurt, just to make him shut up and go away, that was all. But that tiny bead of blood was far more than she’d ever meant to draw, and the look on his face—)

(The way he looked at her—)

(It was worse than the sneer. So much worse. Like she’d morphed from a silly, childish cousin who was hardly worth the time he was taking to tease and taunt to a total stranger, something he didn’t know at all and didn’t—)

(He—)

(She hadn’t meant to hurt him—)

(And when she’d started forward, hoof waving to try and summon a quick little healing draught, he’d shied back even further, like he thought—)

(He—)

(She hadn’t meant to…)

………

……It’s silly, really. She knows that. Not like it even left a scar or anything. And Ace went back to being his usual smarmy self before too long; didn’t start avoiding her, or giving her a wide berth, or acting like he was scared, y’know? So she shouldn’t… it shouldn’t bother her, either. That’s how it works, right…?

~~~❀✿❀~~~

“Just roll with it,” Foomin declares, like it’s just that easy. Maybe it would be, for her. She’s not even looking at Daisy at this moment, studying her freshly painted fingernails while adding “I mean, why not rock what you’ve got? Nobody else s’gonna do it for ya. Plus, I’ll betcha anything that Ace’s just SUPER jealous of your extra-pointy bits. You’ve seen what he did to his butt before, right?”

Her cousin raises her hand up higher, tilting back to get a better view of her handiwork. She’s gone with sunset shades today, blending vivid oranges with softer pinks, striated and highlighted with a hint or two of golden hues here and there. It’s a lot of work for something few will get to see, once they’re hidden back beneath her gloves. Yet Foomin smiles anyway, pleased with how it’s turning out so far.

“Seriously, don’t let ol’ Football Head get to ya. That’s just what he wants. How’s that one thing go – ‘I can’t stand when things ain’t about me’, right?”

Well, it sounds right, anyway. If nothing else, her voice rings with confidence, and she turns the full force of that beaming grin towards Daisy soon enough, as her nails glisten under their finishing coats. She’s not quite ready to let Foomin turn her hooves into another canvas, but she doesn’t turn down the offer for a little trim, letting her smooth out the surface and apply a bit of gloss, just to see them shimmer when the light strikes them just right.

~~~✿❀✿~~~

…She should’ve put her gloves back on.

Earth… Earth really is full of things. Wonderful things, mostly. Wonderful and wonderous, and ever so curious. There’s simply so much to see on Earth, making it all the more ironic that she hadn’t… hadn’t noticed…

Glass breaks, after all. Maybe not all of it; it’s not all made the exact same way, she doesn’t think. There’s, like, variants. Safety glass, and such. Glass that is thicker, or even thinner, or cast in all kinds of shades, like greens and browns and blues… it’s not always see-through. And it doesn’t always look like ice. Like somebody spilled their drink and left it to soak into the soil, let the ice melt away where it landed, hidden by the grass.

And, see, it wouldn’t have been if she wasn’t shifted to such a size right now! Even if two feet tall isn’t really that big, compared to how large humans can get. Or her King-Uncle. Or her parents. And she was still walking on all fours, meaning her line of sight was still lower, low enough that she should have seen—

But she’d been too tickled by the blades brushing her arms and legs, too pleased with the sensation of grass beneath her feet rather than rising all around her, and the glitter of not-really-ice hadn’t really registered as not-really-ice, much less as potential danger before the CRUNCH and the PAIN and—

And the thing about healing magic, about any kind of magic, Cosmic or otherwise, is that it generally works better when you can concentrate. On the magic itself, and not the glass cutting into your palms. Pads. Palm-pads. Any better, more descriptive words are a bit beyond her reach right now, much like how she can’t—

She can’t—

Hooves aren’t especially flexible; not in the way she needs right now. Not enough to pinch and catch and clutch stupidly tiny shards of stupid glass. Her claws aren’t nimble enough, can’t close up tight – should she try using her teeth? Doesn’t sound smart, not at all, but what else can she do, how else can she—

“…Daisy?”

Her whole body jolts, reflexively seizing up at the sound of another’s voice. How did – no, right, she’s probably sending all kinds of distress signals right now, huh? And it’s not like she was paying any attention to anything but the glass under her hooves right now and—

Velvet brushes her elbow, feather-light, and Daisy jerks both her arms inward, tucking them towards her chest – but not touching, not quite. Hunching over them protectively while she keens, because she can’t—

She can’t—

She needs to let her see, but she can’t

Dimly, distantly, she’s aware of Velvet kneeling before her, catching her wrists and tugging them forward. Not yanking, exactly, but not letting her pull them back out of sight, either. Keeping them turned up to reveal the dark skin of her palm-pads, black enough to almost match her hoof-claws, covered in glitter that isn’t. Actually glitter. Or. Very dangerous glitter, maybe.

Velvet… huffs. Her shoulders do this little up-down movement where they don’t sag so much as settle, and she… doesn’t let go, so much as shift her grip. Turning one of her hands underneath Daisy’s hooves to keep them supported, keep them together, thumb pressing lightly against one of her wrists while her fingers curl ever so slightly around the other side, beneath her other wrist. And she turns ever so slightly, dark violet gaze flicking down to follow her other hand as it slips into a hidden pocket on the side of her skirt.

She could probably yank her hooves back now, while her cousin’s distracted. She could. But instead, Daisy just sits there, making a noise in the back of her throat that she can’t quite describe. A sound stuck somewhere between whining and keening; not much of a moo at all.

Silver glints in Velvet’s hand when it comes back into her view. There’s something small tucked between her fingers, almost the same length of the longer one, but even more slender. Tweezers, she realizes, after the first tiny pinch of metal against glass. Flat-tipped and a bit dull – or at least, she doesn’t feel them cutting into anything at all. Not like the glass, anyway. They just… pinch. Not much, and Vel’s obviously being careful, but.

…It’s… slow. Careful. Methodical. She’s not entirely sure she could move even if she wanted to, though her wrists still rest awkwardly upon Velvet’s steadying palm. Her hand’s not quite big enough to easily support them both; again, she could pull back, but…

But.

Velvet’s healing magic runs much colder than hers. The longer she works, as more bits of glass come out and get laid upon the handkerchief resting by her cousin’s side, Daisy can feel her hoof-hands growing number. By the time the last piece glistens between the tweezer’s tips, she half expects to see frost creeping round their edges, for Velvet’s next sigh to be accompanied by a faintly visible cloud.

“…right.” Setting her tool aside, Velvet’s other hand slips away – but doesn’t totally retreat. Doesn’t pull away. Instead, she brings it up and around to join its partner, hovering just over Daisy’s own hooves. Palms not quite touching, not quite pressing down, but close enough they might as well be… and ah, there’s the violet-tinged aurora, the whispery tickle of frost spreading across her palm-pads. Soft and soothing, if nothing like the milky wash she’s used to.

It’s… nice. And she’s not… pulling away. There’s no flicker of fear in her eyes over how her fingers don’t quite line up with Daisy’s hooves, how her claws aren’t quite… completely bovine in nature. She doesn’t press down, doesn’t push, doesn’t pry. Concentrating on keeping the icy mists centered, directing them down where they’re needed most.

All she cares about right now is healing her hands. No matter what they look like.

And as Daisy hesitantly closes the gap herself, gently pressing upwards so that their palms touch, Velvet meets her gaze and smiles. Not saying a word, just… quietly encouraging.

…Maybe she should take her up on those hovering lessons. Even if she still prefers keeping her feet on the ground, there’s no harm in having options, right? And… and besides, doesn’t Velvet still walk around, too? So maybe… maybe she doesn’t expect her to change that much. Maybe she likes the way grass feels, too.

Like Milk and Honey - FoominBlue - 塊魂 (2024)
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