It's All Over Us
Episode Nine, Season Four, of Cold.
It's All Over Us
When Storm’s eyes meet mine, delight sparks through them. I couldn’t feel my paws. We had retreated from the main camp with Storm, and I knew I should feel happier than I was now.
Tigerstripe was dead.
A familiar brown pelt was pressed against mine, with Tessa on my other side. Snowbreeze was flouncing with Storm, and I was surprised that Tessa didn’t join them.
I ignored her call. I was staring down at the dark tabby body that I wanted to see so badly.
“Shade, stop standing there.”
Still, I ignored it. Finally, Storm padded to my side, nudging me gently, “Shade, we have to talk.”
This time, I looked at her.
“Why, Storm?” My voice cracked, “Why did he have to die?”
I felt Brownhare stiffen slightly at my sorrow of Tigerstripe’s death. I remembered the feeling I felt while being with him before the raid, but after the raid...I felt too empty to care.
Storm’s eyes were full of sympathy, and she pressed forward, “Why did Reedtail and Minnowfur have to die?” she pointed out, “Why did Stonekit have to die? Life isn’t fair, Shade, and we have to move on with it.”
I glanced at her, examining and memorizing every part of her, “When did you become so strong, Storm?”
She smiled sadly, “It kind of became a thing after your ‘death’, Shade.”
I winced slightly, remembering our argument before she disappeared, “You promised not to leave me.” I mewed sharply.
Storm blinked, “I didn’t want to leave you.”
“But you did!”
Storm’s eyes flashed, “Did you think I wanted to be kidnapped by those rogues? I nearly died for your sake, for the Clans. Remember how I became the group leader? It was because of you. They wanted me because you introduced me to the Clans. It isn’t my fault, Shade!”
I flinched back, unable to resist Storm’s harsh words, “I’m sorry.” I whispered.
Her eyes softened, and I was reminded once again of how much she’s grown, “Shade, it’s okay. I’m here now, it’s going to be alright.”
Oh, I hope so.
Duskshadow and Tessa were sitting next to one another, and Snowbreeze was once again speaking with Storm. My sister seemed to be enjoying Snowbreeze’s company, and I was glad to see that the white she-cat didn’t looked so distressed now.
But they looked different together.
It was as if Snowbreeze had come to accept that Storm wasn’t hers to take, and that they weren’t for one another.
Graystorm was standing awkwardly on the side, his fur ruffled at the joyous reunion that Snowbreeze was having.
Someone special was standing by me.
“You look lost, Shade.” His soft voice breathed by my ear. I didn’t move, but I knew he was there.
“Maybe I am.”
I could feel his fur brush against mine, “How far do I have to reach to reach the place you are now?”
Glancing over at him, I mewed softly, “All the way to StarClan.”
But as my blue eyes meet his yellow ones, I feel everything melt around me, “I’d reach as far as I need to, to reach you.”
My heart was beating too fast, I know it was.
“Shade, I need to talk to you.” A brisk voice interrupted my somewhat perfect next line. Storm was standing in front of me, pushing Brownhare back.
Nodding slightly, I let my younger sister lead me away. “You seem like a leader of the group already.” She observed lightly.
I blinked rapidly, “I’d never take your actual position, Storm. You deserve it, every piece of it.”
Her light blue eyes were wide and bright as she stared at me, “I think you deserve it too, Shade.”
“Do I?” I let my gaze drift from Tessa, to the rest of the group. Then my gaze rested on Brownhare.
“You do.” She confirmed.
Breathing in sharply, I felt the world close around me. I stared at my younger sister, “You’ve changed so much, Storm.”
She let her gaze drift to the horizon, “Have I? I feel as though nothing’s changed. Leaf is still waiting for us back at our grove, you were still the mother-like figure in my life, Comet and Gorse were still around...and we weren’t involved with the Clans.”
I winced at the mention of Leaf, Comet, and Gorse. “Sometimes, I wish things never changed either.”
“All the pain and loss...” Storm murmured, “Was it all worth it Shade?”
I couldn’t answer for a few moments, my memories taking me back to the moment Comet died, when Gorse was killed by the badger, when Leaf died of greencough, when Minnowfur died from Tessa’s wound, when Stonekit was killed by Kitkat, when Tigerstripe...
“I don’t know.”
Storm could only say, “I don’t either.”
Soon, after we had all eaten, everyone gathered around to share stories. I quickly told Storm about Willowfur, how Mistystar had decided that we needed RiverClan cats to contribute to the group once more.
“I believe Bramblestar may send another cat in place of Tigerstripe...”
Storm smiled sympathetically, “Even if he does, we won’t forget Tigerstripe.” She purred.
I let out a rusty purr, and Duskshadow stood up. “We have news to tell you.”
“We?” Willowfur snorted, “And when did you side yourself with us? More like you decided to use the rogue group as an alibi, which did you no good.” Storm leaned over and whispered.
“She sounds like Dawnfur.”
I let out a soft snort, “Except she admires you too much to be your enemy.” Storm merely gives me a surprised look.
Kitkat stopped grooming her fur for once, “What do you mean? He did say he would join us afterwards.” She gave Duskshadow a baleful look.
The dark tom looked as though he had no interest in keeping his promise. His tail was wrapped around Tessa, who looked comfortable and at peace for once. “Storm and I acquired useful information from the other rogue group.”
He gestured to Storm to stand up, and my sister looked slightly flustered to be called to the stage once more.
Dawnfur had a smirk on her face, but there was affection in her gaze too. Willowfur was merely staring at her in awe, as if she couldn’t believe that the leader she heard about was standing in front of her.
Brownhare’s expression remained unreadable, even as his gaze sweeps past mine. Graystorm looks out of place, and Snowbreeze is staring at Storm like she’s not real.
“As I was imprisoned,” Duskshadow started, “I overheard the rogues talking about conquering the lands. Apparently, before the Clan cats came to the lake, they had lived here. After seasons of living in peace with no one else around near the lake, they had been outraged to see that the Clans had moved to the lake.
“They weren’t too bothered at first, since they lived out here, but they wanted the peace they felt back then.”
He glanced at my sister, and Storm took up the story.
“They’re fed up with the Clans being around, so they decided to attack. They’ve been planning for ages, getting Frosty and Kitkat to be involved with attacking the Clans, letting other cats weaken the Clans before they made their move.”
Frosty flicked her tail, looking slightly annoyed at the prospect of being “used” by another group.
“Their anger kept going as the Clans set out to find Sol, disturbing their peace once more as the dirty loner slipped past them, causing the Clans to chase them out of their home for awhile.
“After awhile, they realized that they couldn’t just attack the Clans. But when they saw that the Clans were weakened by the Great Battle, they knew it was time to attack. I heard murmurs about their attacks from my prison, but it was too late to warn anyone.”
Duskshadow nodded, “They wanted to use Storm as a bait, but they didn’t know about this group she traveled with.” He pointed to everyone of us.
“We’re lucky that we stopped the attack just in time, or else something worse could have happened them just Tigerstripe dying.” I winced, knowing that Storm would have died if we had been any later.
“I believe, we need to attack first in order to prevent a war with these rogues.” Duskshadow concluded.
Storm nodded, then walked back to my side, looking relieved that it was over. She whispered, “I really don’t think speeches are my thing.” She sighed.
I joked, “You should have heard Tessa’s speech.”
When Storm looked at me questioningly, I told her about the ginger she-cat’s encouraging speech to all four Clans last Gathering, before we attacked the rogues. She purred, and then mewed, “Tessa...is she loyal?”
“Yes.” I mewed without hesitating.
Storm sank back in the snow, her paw digging into the frozen ground, “Leaf-bare’s never going to end, is it?”
I sighed and looked at the sky, covered in clouds, “I don’t know myself, Storm, I really don’t.”
She sighed and mewed, “I miss the life we had, I really do.”
Frosty had decided she would be in charge of organizing the attack, like she did last time. I realized, that the only thing I wanted to do, was talk with my sister, or talk with Brownhare.
Since the brown tom was busy gathering herbs for injuries, Storm and I were stuck together for the remainder of the day. Not that I minded of course.
“So, Shade,” my sister mewed softly, “What did you do after Moon was killed?” I tensed, knowing that we were back to the argument we had before she left.
“I...I roamed around watching you guys from the distance, too embarrassed to come back, and too worried to leave you guys alone.”
Storm’s blue eyes were unreadable, “I’m just glad you came back, Shade. I just...don’t know what I would have done if you were gone forever.”
I looked away, “Sometimes, parts of me still thinks that I should fade away, and never come back.”
My sister was quiet for a moment, “Would you do that?”
“I don’t think so.”
Storm gazed at the setting sun, “Sometimes, I wish I never accepted your offer to help the Clans.”
Turning to look at her, I realized how worn out she looked. She looked so much older, even though it had only been a few moons since she started helping the Clans.
Storm smirked sourly, “So have you, maybe this experience is going to help us more than we think it will.”
It wasn’t long before Frosty was calling us back, and we were gazing down at a plan drawn out in the snow. Kitkat was sitting nearby, her glossy pelt gleaming in the fading sunlight.
“Hurry,” she mewed pushily, “We have to set out soon if we want to surprise the rogues.”
Everyone just rolled their eyes at the obsessive she-cat, then they gathered close around the plan.
“So we’re going to...”
Brownhare met my gaze, and I purred as his lips twitched into a smile. Maybe Storm was right, maybe this life was better for the two of us after all.