“what the--?” valiente says, flinching and stepping back as ferdinand leans in close. “what are you doing?”
“i was leaning in for a kiss,” ferdinand explains, completely nonchalant. “nina gives me them all the time. at mealtime, after i help in the gardens, before bed--”
“yeah, but… what is it?” valiente asks. ferdinand face lights up and his ears start to flap.
“oh, kisses are great!” he says. “it’s, like, you press your lips together,” he demonstrates and continues to speak with his lips still pursed. “and you just press them against someone's cheek, and make a sound, like, ‘mwah’! it's a way to show you love someone!”
“love?” valiente repeats, the word sounding foreign in his mouth. “you… love me?” instinctively, he steps back again, almost fearful of the word. he doesn't know what ‘love’ feels like. thinking about ferdinand loving him… he suddenly feels nervous. all he knows is discipline, doing his best to be seen as a fighter bull in the eyes of his father. he doesn't know lighter things like joy, happiness, love. he doesn't think he likes the feeling, his face feeling hot, heart hammering in his chest.
“of course!” ferdinand says, unaware of valiente’s internal struggle. “we’re family now! though i, uh,” he ducks his head, turning shy. “i might feel a different kind of love for you.
valiente tilts his head, confused. “huh?”
ferdinand says nothing as he takes a few steps to the side, leaning down and pulling a few flowers from the ground with his teeth. he walks back towards valiente and smiles. he places the flowers down on the ground and pushes them forward with his hoof. he sits down, grinning.
valiente sighs, glancing between the flowers, to ferdinand, and back. he sits down too.
“teach me how to do that kissing thing,” he says. ferdinand leaps to his feet, his ears flapping excitedly. he all but runs over to valiente, placing several wet kisses against his cheeks and all over his face. valiente just laughs.