The fox is running, metallic tang of blood in his mouth, the dogs so near, and in a quiet elsewhere, the prince falls like a tree. It feels like an adder's fang through his paw, but there's no such thing. He can hear the ragged breathing of the dogs, and he runs, as though he were but a wild fox, carrying a light, quick animal heart in his chest. He is not; he is a tamed creature, his chest made heavy by the boy who no other boy on this planet can replace -- or on any other, for that matter.
With a slobbery nip at his tail and noticing the narrow mouth of a cave farther on, he escapes the savage dog jaws, the merciless metal birds of man. In the sudden darkness, he listens to the dogs at the opening, but their bones are too big, they cannot fit. And so the chase is over, once more. It is peculiar how one can get used to the nearness of death ever so often.
Even when his breathing is steady again and his licked the stray drops of blood off his tail, something continues to hurt him. He fails to locate this pain.
It's quiet now and he dares to make his way out on hesitant paws. The dogs are gone; the ground has been upturned by their scrambling paws, by the horses' hooves.
And the fox knows, then. He aches because the prince has returned home. Because never again will he walk up the hill, eyes so bright, thinking of his Rose, and illuminate the fox's heart. Not that the fox believed he ever would, even when he was still on this planet. But the sweetest thing was the idea, the possibility that he might.
And so he weeps. He is a tamed fox and he weeps. And through his tears, the colour of the wheat is an even richer gold, and he is happy and aches at the same time, because the prince gave him so much, because there is nothing greater than to be tamed.
When night falls, the stars appear one by one until the sky is dizzying and deep. The fox looks up at thousands of stars, and he knows that his prince is there. Which star, he does not know. It doesn't matter, either, because now all the stars are made new.
"À cause de la lumière des étoiles."
He is a tamed fox, and he is happy. He never thought the world could be like this. (The prince will never come back to see him, and yet he is so very near.)
Perhaps one day someone will come up the hill, marvelling at this world as though they had come from a distant planet. Perhaps instead of chasing him, they will talk to him, and perhaps they'll tame him. There won't be anything as bittersweet, but afterwards, when he is alone once more, the world will light up before his eyes in a way it never has before.
"À cause du nouveau monde," he says softly, to himself, and maybe the prince hears.