A ThunderClan patrol strode past the WindClan border, all eyes and ears of the cats on it alert for WindClan intruders.
The two Clans had a strong alliance since the time of Firestar the Great. But in the recent moons, the peace had diminished, sparking battles on the borders. Tension grew, and now at Gatherings, the leaders of the two Clans, Treestar and Silverstar, almost had to push themselves between fighting cats while trying to keep their own claws away from one another.
More patrols from each side had sparked tension, and these cats had the flame of battle in their eyes. Suddenly, a bush rustled, and the cats sprang on it. A cat yowled as it was ambushed, causing the WindClan patrol on the other side spring into action. A fierce battle ensued, the battle-crazed cats tearing at any fur in their way. A loud caterwaul silenced the fighting cats. “WindClan, ThunderClan, stop!”
The yowl came from the ThunderClan leader, Treestar. “All cats listen to me! Are we so savage that we tear at each other just because one paw stepped on the other Clan’s territory? Why did our ancestors make the warrior code? To stop us from having peace? No. They made it to promote peace between the Clans. So let us leave to our respective Clans. But before you go, WindClan, listen carefully. I suggest you leave ThunderClan alone. To mess with us is like destroying a badger’s den. Now leave.”
The cats spat and growled, but obeyed the command of the ThunderClan leader. Silverstar growled to Treestar, “Just you wait, Treestar. WindClan is watching you. And when you’re weak, we will attack.”
Chapter One: Love at first sight
“Lightningtail, I’m sure that Cloudfur will notice you someday. Don’t give up just yet,” Snowclaw meowed. “You’re just saying that to make me feel better, Snowclaw,” Lightningtail sighed. He looked at the she-cat that constantly eluded his grasp. Her fluffy light gray fur bounced as she padded past, making Lightningtail’s heart sear with grief.
He curled up in the warriors' den, watching Cloudfur curl up with another tom. He lashed his tail in jealousy, and he wished that was him, curled up with his true love. But it was not to be. He curled up by himself, cold and alone.
“All cats old enough to catch their own prey gather under the highrock for a Clan meeting!” Treestar meowed. Cats crawled out of their dens, Lightningtail trailing behind everyone else. “I will announce the cats going to the Gathering. Let’s see… Icefur, Sparrowleaf, Forestshine, Braveheart, Mistyclaw, Lightningtail, Snowclaw, and Bramblenose.”
Lightningtail sighed. He wanted to stay at camp. But, the leader wanted him to go for some reason. It’ll keep my mind off Cloudfur, at the very least, He thought.
The moon was high in the sky that night, and the cats gathered on the Island for the Gathering. Lightningtail looked around, surprised that his gaze drew him to a pretty she-cat a few fox-lengths away. His paws carried him over unconsciously to her side. He shook his head in confusion. But his mouth was already talking as if another force had taken control. “Hello, I’m Lightningtail.” He clamped his mouth shut. He smelled her scent, and as sweet as it was, he recognized WindClan scent. This is an enemy cat! What am I doing? He thought. I am not supposed to talk to them. The she-cat looked at him, confused. “I-I’m Flowersong.”
“Flowersong. That’s a pretty name.” Lightningtail looked at his paws. “N-Not like I would care.” For a moment, He thought Flowersong was annoyed, then her face lightened. “Well, it was nice meeting you, Lightningtail.” She padded off, and sat down close to the tree branch that held the WindClan leader, Silverstar. Why do I feel like I want to know her? What am I feeling, down in my heart? Lightningtail thought. Then it struck him.
It was love.
The Gathering had just ended, and the cats were leaving, one by one off the tree trunk. Lightningtail waited in the bushes, waiting for the right scent. As he caught a whiff of her scent, he poked his head through the bushes. He saw her, astonished by her beauty.
“Psst. Over here. Flowersong.”
She stopped and she looked around. As she saw him, her face drooped. “Hello, Lightningtail.”
“Get in here, before any cat sees you.”
She squeezed in, and took a deep breath. “What do you want, Lightningtail? My Clan is leaving.”
As she spoke, he meowed, “I love you.”
“What?! Don’t you know I’m the Clan leader’s daughter?”
“I don’t care. I want to be with you!”
Her fur stood up and she scratched his muzzle, and he let out a cry of pain.
“You idiot cat! Don’t even know this little exchange words between us is wrong? Our Clans hate each other. Are you so mad as to think this would work between us?”
“I-I don’t know, I-I…”
Her fur flattened. She let out a long sigh.
“I’m sorry. I just don’t know what could happen.”
“What could happen to us that would be so bad?”
“I don’t know.”
“Then let’s see what happens.”
She smiled. “I have to go now.” She started to leave.
“Wait! Will you meet me at the border?”
Her tail flicked his cheek. “I’d like that.”
She padded out of the bushes, and it wasn’t long before Lightningtail did too.
Chapter Two: Trusting is hard
Lightningtail’s paws worked the soil under his paws. She’s late, he thought. When will she be here? She promised to be here at moonhigh.
The bushes rustled on the WindClan border, and Lightningtail detected the sweet scent of the WindClan she-cat.
“I’m here, Lightningtail. I had to wait for the sentry to go to sleep.”
“All that matters is that you are with me.”
She wound around Lightningtail. She lay down and motioned for Lightningtail to lie next to her. He settled down and they started to share tongues.
“How are you, Flowersong?”
“I’m fine, Lightningtail.”
He noticed something about her movement that told him she was nervous.
“I know you aren’t fine. Tell me what has ruffled your fur.”
“Before I tell you, I don’t want you to get angry with me.”
He took a deep breath.
“Okay. I won’t get angry. I promise.”
“I told my brother, Thunderfoot, about us.”
He held his breath and made a silent growl. He was straining not to yell at her. He stood up and padded off into the forest.
He let out a screech and ran his claws down a tree.
Why did she tell him? Why, why, why, why, why?!?
He thought. His head was buzzing with anger.
Calm down, I promised her. Oh, Starclan, why?
He fell down and put his paws over his ears. He let out frustrated breaths, trying to calm down. He realized he was hyperventilating.
Ugh, I must go back.
He let out his anger in quick lashes of his tail.
Flowersong had her head drooped and her tail brushed the ground. Lightningtail padded up to her and stroked his tail over her flank.
“We have been doing this for moons. I had to have someone who knew.”
“I understand. I just don’t trust anyone to keep our secret.”
Flowersong was clearly offended.
“He’s my brother!”
Lightningtail bit his tongue.
“I’m sorry. I just, I…I don’t know.”
“It’s okay. Could you tell someone you trust?”
“Well, if I could tell someone, it would be Snowclaw.”
“Then tell him.”
He couldn’t argue with her any longer.
“Okay, I’ll tell him tomorrow, then.”
“I love you, Lightningtail.”
“I love you too, Flowersong.”
She leaned on his shoulder as they watched the reflection of the moon in the lake.
Chapter Three: A brother's hatred
The moon shone above the lake territories, slowly waning as the days went on. The forest was calm as Lightningtail followed his Clanmates through ThunderClan territory, the brushes and underbrush slowly rustling, pushed by the bristling cats.
Lightningtail wasn’t of those tense cats. His mind was on Flowersong, the pretty she-cat from WindClan. His paws pricked as they headed towards the WindClan border, and didn’t even noticed he started to get too close as they passed the border.
As Lightningtail took one step past the boundary, a large, unforgiving weight landed upon him ThunderClan’s midnight patrol attacked, starving for the mere border skirmish to dish out their hatred on the enemy Clan. Lightningtail saw stars as an unknown tom struck his head with a heavy, blunt paw. He shook himself out of the field of stars, only to find Flowersong’s brother, Thunderfoot, arching above him.
“What do you want, Thunderfoot? Wouldn’t your sister be horrified if she saw what you were doing to her mate?” Lightningtail whispered as he got up, though he wasn’t worried about his Clanmates hearing, with all the yowling and screeching being made.
“Who cares about what she wants? This is for her protection!” Thunderfoot yowled, and reached to bite down on Lightningtail’s neck. Lightningtail dodged, swiping his claws across Thunderfoot’s muzzle.
“Face me, you piece of crowfood! Or I’ll flay you!”Thunderfoo headbutted Lightningtail, bowling him over, and started scratching Lightningtail’s soft belly.
Lightningtail let out a screech, then kicked the burly tom off, straighting himself. “Stop! Stop what you’re doing to me! Do you want to hurt her?” His voice had started to raise. He dodged yet another attack from Thunderfoot, his hackles rising in shock.
This cat is going to kill me! I’ve got to go! Lightningtail thought. He darted off, leaving his Clanmates. “Retreat!” they soon yelled, realizing they were outnumbered, and dashed off into the dark night.
“You all should be ashamed of yourselves! Getting into a border skirmish when I ordered you not to!” Treestar yowled at the border patrol that had come back from the retreat.
“And you,” Treestar focused his attention on Lightningtail. “From what they tell me, you fled from a hostile cat that had just started to fight you. Is this true? One of them even heard him say, ‘This is for her protection.’ Just what is going on between you and that cat?” Treestar queried. “Nothing.” Lightningtail replied, not catching his leader's gaze.
Treestar continued to stare at Lightningtail. “Even though I was against this border skirmish in the first place, you abandoned your Clanmates, and according to Snowclaw, you started the skirmish. I do not need arrogant weaklings in my Clan right now.
"We are on the verge of war and we need to be prepared. Border skirmishes are not the things we need right now. You will go without fresh-kill tomorrow, and you will hunt the rest of the day. I am not without mercy, so you may have a mouse now, do you understand?”
Lightningtail still avoided his stare. “Yes, Treestar.”
“Good, and with the exception of hunting,” Treestar continued, “You will not go near the edge of ThunderClan’s territory for one moon.”