It would never get old for Mei, neither the beauty of the valley they lived in, nor the full moon they were lying under, nor the warmth of Gabu's fur against him. It was amazing how calm it all was, how safe he felt.
Mei sighed happily and turned his head to looked at Gabu, who'd surely be trying his best not to howl at the moon and disrupt the peace that surrounded them. But the goat stopped the movement about half-way through, suddenly startled by an unexpected sight.
Right below Gabu's jaw there was a scar Mei hadn't seen before. It was fresh, pink and seemed tender.
"Gabu?" Mei asked.
Gabu stopped holding his snout with his paws and looked at Mei. "Yes?"
"What happened to you?"
"What do you mean?"
The goat sat up. "Your jaw," he said, raising a hoof to point at the scar. "You got hurt."
"Oh. That little thing. It's nothing, really," Gabu said rubbing his nose with a paw as he looked away, which made more than clear that it was something.
Mei frowned. "What happened?"
"Well, I had this little accident, you see, when I was walking down a hill and..." He paused. Then, he lowered his ears and sighed. "I met a couple of wolves who wanted to start a pack nearby. I told them the territory was taken."
Mei's frown became deeper. "You got into a fight?"
Gabu scratched the back of his head. "It's the kind of situations you just can't talk over... It's a wolf thing. A-and it wasn't all that bad. I mean, I won and they left, didn't they? I just didn't want you to worry, that's why I didn't tell you."
Mei shook his head and looked down at the grass. He didn't like the idea of Gabu fighting and getting hurt, but he understood why. He wondered if this had the chance of becoming more frequent, and if he'd have to do what he always did whenever Gabu went out to... eat: pretend it wasn't happening. Or that it was happening in a very different way.
There were things you just couldn't change even if you wished for it with all your heart, because they were ingrained in the very nature of life. After all, the alternative was for Gabu to starve, and Mei didn't want that. Never. Losing him would hurt even more than it did knowing what he did. The mere idea of Gabu not being there was more and more painful every day, and it was the incentive Mei needed to keep turning a blind eye.
"I'm sorry," Gabu said.
Mei turned his head to find a pile of his favorite clover right in front of his front hoofs. Gabu had gathered them while Mei was thinking, and was now pushing them towards him.
"Gabu..." Mei muttered.
"I'm really sorry, Mei," Gabu said, his ears pressed down against his head. "I truly didn't want to worry you, and I got it all wrong."
Mei shook his head again, smiling softly this time. "It's fine," he said. "Just be more careful next time."
Gabu smiled and wagged his tail happily. "I will be. If there is ever a next time."
Mei hoped there would never be a next time, for that and for the other predator-like things Gabu had to do to survive, but he didn't say it. Instead, he took a bite from the clover pile.
It was the best.
His whole life was, even with its downsides. Or maybe just because of them.