This is my random fanfic I made up about a love triangle. It is more twisted and complicated than Squirrel-Bramble-Ash, and I am not sure, but I may add in more than one triangle. I am sorry that it is taking a while to get to the part with the Love Triangle, I will start to speed it up a bit. Remember that I am trying to make this not novel length, but longer than Forestpaw's 'Warriors of the Lake, The Four Powers' which is quite long. I want it to feel like a novel. Also, it is not all 'problems for the ethics and feelings', but will have some life threating situations other than kit-birth. Do not edit this page, unless I give you my permission. If you find a spelling or gramatical error please tell me on this talk page. Enjoy! --talk!
(P.S., the chapter names usually have more than one meaning)
Leader - Otterstar - A dark brown tabby she cat with blue eyes.
Deputy - Swifttalon - Silver tabby tom with amber eyes. Brilliant fighter and very fast.
Medicine Cat - Hollywhisker - Pale gray tabby she-cat with soft pale green eyes. Cares a lot about her patients but is very fierce.
Reedthorn - Gray tom with bright green eyes. Honeyfrost's mate
- Apprentice - Nestpaw
Elmdapple - Speckled brown tabby she cat with amber eyes.
- Apprentice - Russetpaw
Toadfrost - Black and white tom.
Leopardheart - Golden spotted she-cat.
Squirrelfur - Dark ginger tabby tom. Roseheart's mate.
- Apprentice - Littlepaw
Ravenclaw - Black tom with pale green eyes.
Oakcloud - Pale gray she-cat
Pebblefrost - Black she-cat with white belly, and amber eyes
Darkstone - Dark gray tom.
Poppyfall- Tortiseshell she cat with dark blue eyes
Dustfoot - Sleek brown tom. Nightfeather's mate.
- Apprentice - Brookpaw
Redberry - Red-ginger she cat with amber eyes
- Apprentice - Shrewpaw
Dewpatch - Pale gray tom with green eyes. Pounceflight's mate.
Tigerwhisker - Dark brown tabby tom with green eyes.
Fawnheart - White she-cat with light brown tabby patches and pale amber eyes.
Huskfoot- Pale golden tom with pale blue eyes.
Mistypaw - Blue gray she cat with blue eyes.
Littlepaw - Smoky black and gray she cat with stunning blue eyes
Nestpaw - Gray tom, amber eyes
Russetpaw - Mid-brown tom with green eyes.
Brookpaw - silver tabby and white she-cat, with green eyes.
Shrewpaw - Pale brown tom with amber eyes.
Roseheart - Cream she-cat, Squirrelfur's mate. Kits; Briarkit, Larkkit, Falconkit, Rainkit.
Nightfeather - Black she-cat, Dustfoot's mate. Kits; Skykit, Mousekit.
Honeyfrost - Pale brown tabby she-cat, ice blue eyes. Reedthorn's mate. Kits; Dapplekit, Molekit, Cloverkit.
Pounceflight - Ginger and white she cat. Dewpatch's mate. Expecting kits.
Briarkit - Brown tabby she-cat with green eyes.
Larkkit - A tortiseshell and white she-cat with green eyes.
Falconkit - A pale gray tom with blue eyes.
Rainkit - A white tom with gray flecks, and amber eyes.
Skykit - A dark brown tabby she-cat with sky blue eyes.
Mousekit - A dusky brown she-cat with green eyes.
Dapplekit - A brown and black tom, with blue eyes.
Molekit - A gray tom with amber eyes.
Cloverkit - A silver tabby she-cat.
Yewfur - Red-ginger tom.
Mallowtail- Dark brown tabby she-cat
Leader - Jaystar
Deputy - Flightheart
Medicine Cat - Whiteberry
- apprentice - Sootdapple
Leader - Foxstar
Deputy - Birchleaf
Medicine Cat - Tawnyheart
Leader - Hawkstar
Deputy - Darkpetal
Medicine Cat - Seedpelt
- apprentice - Beepaw
Chapter 1 - The First Thing
Huskpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code, even at the cost of your life?' 'I will' 'Then from this day forward, may you be known as Huskfoot. RiverClan honours your loyalty, determination, and hunting skills.' 'Huskfoot, Huskfoot, Huskfoot!'
The cats surrounding the young tom chanted loudly, yet he rushed to his brother's and sister's sides instead of staying in the middle of the crowd. Tigerwhisker and Fawnheart had become warriors a moon before, even though the three were from the same litter. Huskfoot would have become a warrior with him, but gained greencough, and then blackcough, only days before the ceremony was due. He was lucky to survive, and he had to freshen up his warrior skills before he finally became a warrior. However, Huskfoot didn't mind. Waiting only made the victory sweeter.
Out of the corner of his eye, Huskfoot spotted Littlepaw, an smoky black and gray she cat. She was only a moon or so younger than him, and was due to become a warrior soon. Her blue eyes gazed at him with admiration, and he looked away out of embarrassment.
Littlepaw had been getting much attached to him these past moons. While her emotions seemed very clear, he could not figure out whether or not he liked her the same way back. Although he had to admit she was pretty, he couldn't help but wonder if how he felt about her was love. Not just the brotherly-sisterly love which he felt they shared, although not closely related, but something more deep and intense. Eager to find something else to think about, he turned back to Tigerwhisker and Fawnheart. He hadn't realized it, but Tigerwhisker had been talking the entire time he was distracted by the pretty apprentice. Huskfoot quickly tried to catch up with the conversation.
‘Lucky Huskfoot!’ It’s Newleaf, and today’s warm. Unlike us you’re not going to freeze tonight.’ Tigerwhisker was saying, only half jokingly.
Fawnheart was twisting around to look at her tail. ‘I’m sure about half my tail fell off from the cold!
‘It looks intact from where I’m sitting.’
Fawnheart playfully swatted Huskfoot’s ears.
‘I wish I had you two to sit with me. At least you didn’t have to sit your vigil alone. You had each other.’
‘Don’t worry! You’ll be fine! Tigerwhisker’s snores were enough to keep anyone uncomfortable, so you’ll be better off without him.’ Fawnheart mewed mischievously.
‘Hey! I did not snore!’ shot back Tigerwhisker.
‘But you still fell asleep!’
‘I did not!’
‘Did so! You did and you know it! Unless you confess it to me I’ll go and tell Otterstar, and tell her to make you an apprentice again!’
‘Fine! I fell asleep, but only for a few moments!’
Huskfoot listened to the two bicker with amusement in his eyes. But before he knew it, the conversation turned back to him.
‘I bet Huskfoot will fall asleep. He‘s practically unconscious on his paws as we speak.’
‘I will not. I, at least, was smart enough to go see Hollywhisker a short while ago. She gave me some strengthening herbs.’
‘That was smart!’ said Fawnheart, impressed.
‘That was cheating!’ said Tigerwhisker, who was not.
‘Deal with it. No one has ever said it was against the rules,’ retorted Huskfoot.
Tigerwhisker opened his mouth to reply, but before he could, a voice from above called out. ‘Congratulations, Huskfoot. Tonight you will sit in silence while guarding the camp. It is your warriors vigil. Now, everyone go back to your duties!’ It was Otterstar from the Starbranch.
The sun was falling, and the cats of Riverclan started to gather food from the fresh kill pile, go to their dens, and for some, gather patrols. Huskfoot looked around at his clan mates with pride swelling in his chest. He didn’t notice when his siblings left his side, but he saw them leave the camp on patrol.
As the sun got nearer to the horizon he got himself settled for the night, feeling as if the world were at his paws.
Chapter 2 - Silence
Despite all the Tigerwhisker had said, the night was as chilling as ice. The rising sun's warmth was well welcome in the Riverclan camp, especially for the new warrior. Huskfoot's cramped muscles needed stretching, so as he did so, pale blue eyes of his studied the camp, looking for signs that any other cat may be awake.
A spot of moment alerted him, and he turned around to see Hollywhisker, the medicine cat, and Fawnheart, emerging from the nursery. He had not seen either cat enter the kit den, and he quickly began to panic about what else he had missed during the long, cold night.
Neither she-cat paid any attention to the pale ginger warrior, so Huskfoot, who had been lacking in companions for a whole night, opened his mouth to talk to them. Nearly too late he remembered his vow of silence, and snapped his mouth shut. While he was watching, the two cats had disappeared into the medicine cat den, where he could see a glimpse of Mistypaw, the medicine cat apprentice, and Littlepaw's sister, quietly sleeping. Her dark blue-gray flank rose and fell at a steady pace, and Huskfoot envied her for all the sleep she had gained that night.
Huskfoot continued to watch for signs of life within his camp. Birds were singing in an oak tree on the other side of the stream, but he was looking for cats. Slowly, yet surely, the camp started to come alive. Pebblefrost and Dewpatch emerged from the warriors den with Elmdapple streaking out behind them, heading towards the apprentices den. The other two warriors waited patiently while Elmdapple came back with Russetpaw, who was quietly whining to his mentor about dawn patrols and how pointless they were. The patrol raced out of the camp on Elmdapple’s signal, and soon disappeared behind the reeds.
Before the sun got any higher, Swifttalon emerged from his den and after stretching and yawning, padded up to Huskfoot.
‘How was your night?’ the silver warrior asked.
Huskfoot opened his mouth to reply, but closed it before he said anything, again remembering his vow of silence. A question hung in his eyes, as clear as the stream only fox lengths away.
Swifttalon purred in amusement. ‘You can speak now, young one. The vigil lasts only until dawn,’ he gestured towards the steadily rising sun with his tail.
‘Cold, I guess,’ Huskfoot replied.
‘Too cold is better than too warm. A few new warriors I had to wake up at dawn after their warrior ceremony in Greenleaf. Ravenclaw was the only one who wasn’t extremely apologetic, so Otterstar put him back on apprentice duties and rights for another week. Imagine that! Becoming a warrior, only to have it all taken away from you so soon!’ he shook his head. ‘Pebblefrost and Oakcloud were so overly apologetic I couldn’t bear to punish them, and Otterstar agreed with me.’ Huskfoot wasn’t sure how to respond. While the deputy of Riverclan was much kinder and friendly towards younger cats than some of the other senior warriors, he did not want to risk offending him by making a mistake or a rude comment in front of him. So he remained silent.
To Swifttalon’s eyes he must have looked confused.
‘Oh, I’m sorry. You must want to go find a new nest and sleep. An old warrior such as me can forget what it feels like to be young and all of the experiences you have while you are.’
Huskfoot, glad for an excuse to leave, dipped his head respectfully, and made his way past him, towards the warriors den. As he entered the slightly warmer air inside, he gazed around, looking for any familiar shapes or pelts he might make his nest next to. Fawnheart was nowhere to be seen, so he presumed that she had not yet returned from the medicine cat den.
Tigerwhisker’s shape caught his eye, near the walls the den. The mass of sleeping cats was not stretched al the way to the sides of the den as cats had been killed in the sickness that had stopped Huskfoot from becoming a warrior at the same time :as his littermates. Riverclan’s numbers were still to replenish.
Two patches of moss had been gathered next to the sleeping dark tabby tom of Tigerwhisker. One had a strong scent of Fawnheart on it, but the other was fresh. Thankful for his considerate littermates, Huskfoot curled up, and fell into a deep sleep before he even had a chance to wish for a undisturbed sleep or good dreams.
Chapter 3 - The Leaves Start to Change
The sun was dipping at the horizon when Huskfoot re-entered the camp. The stream was warm, and barely even touching his paws as he passed over it. The Greenleaf sun had warmed the water and made the height of it lower. It was very pleasant to go for a swim when the water was so beautiful. The last time it had been so, Fawnheart, Tigerwhisker, and Huskfoot had only been newborn kits, and were unable to enjoy it. This time, he had had the time of his life as a new warrior enjoying swimming at sunningrocks.
He was just returning from a hunting patrol, half a moon after his ceremony. Cats were scattered throughout the camp, sharing tongues, and eating fresh kill. Huskfoot added his contribution to the pile, a mouse, a vole, and two fish, and took the vole for himself. Looking for someone to share it with, he noticed Fawnheart, Pounceflight, Tigerwhisker, Littlepaw, Mistypaw, and Redberry sitting together by the nursery.
Pounceflight’s belly was swollen with kits, and Fawnheart, her loyal friend, had helped her with ordinary things like making nests, getting fresh-kill, and just walking around the camp in general, for the past quarter moon. The (description) she-cat was so close to having kits that she wasn’t even allowed too far from the nursery.
As he settled down next to Littlepaw he tried to avoid too much direct contact. He wasn’t sure how he felt about the dark-furred young she-cat, and he didn’t want to give her any false ideas while he was sorting it out for himself. She pressed her muzzle against him, and he purposely didn’t react.
Tigerwhisker was boasting about a border skirmish with Windclan, near the edge of the gorge.
‘Mudwhisker is such a kittypet, I wonder why he doesn’t leave the clans now. All I gave him was one little scratch to the ear, and he fled like a kit being chased by a hawk!
‘He’s probably just scared of you, and that huge bite you gave him last time you fought, he was never going to forget that in a hurry,’ replied Redberry. Most of the cats there were used to the tom’s incessant boasting and arrogance that they just tolerated it. Huskfoot found it entertaining because it got more and more far fetched every time he listened.
‘Yeah, I for one would not like to fight you,’ purred Mistypaw. She and Hollywhisker had cared for Huskfoot when he was ill, and he owed his life to them and their skills. Littlepaw’s sister, as he remembered, had become a good friend of his in that time.
‘So then we came back, and I decided to hunt, being the fantastic warrior I am. It was really hard to find anything out there at all…’
Huskfoot rolled his eyes. Hard to find fresh kill in the middle of Greenleaf? He’d believe that one in a few years.
‘…, but by my tracking I found this massive vole, and caught it so fast and well you would have to have been there to believe it.’
He wasn’t exaggerating this time. The vole he caught was huge. Tigerwhisker couldn’t bare to give it up, so he had taken it with him to show off. Huskfoot tried hard to not be impressed. His brother’s ego was big enough already.
They continued to chat amongst themselves for another few minutes. Huskfoot thought back to the days when he had been an apprentice for two moons and all of the cats around him had ‘paw’ on the end of their names. Their den had been so cramped that they had spent an entire quarter moon off of apprentice duties as to make the den bigger. Juniperstripe, Pounceflight’s brother, had not survived the sickness which nearly claimed Huskfoot’s life, but the rest of them were still alive, and most of them had their full names.
Pounceflight gasped with pain, and everyone’s ears pricked towards her. ‘The kits are coming!’ the whispered. Dewpatch immediately went into hysterics.
‘Quick! Get inside the den! Someone fetch Hollywhisker!’
Pounceflight was getting worked up to at the sound of her mates panicked voice. Fear was plain in her eyes, and was gasping for air.
Huskfoot was crouched down, in shock. What if something went wrong with the delivery? Pounceflight would be devastated if she lost any of her kits, and she herself was not yet ready to join her brother in Starclan. Around him, voices were shouting, cats were running, and everything was in chaos.
‘Quiet!’ a familiar voice raised above all others, silencing them. Mistypaw looked slightly embarrassed, yet very determined. This was her element. She had never raised her voice before; she was the quiet type. ‘Pounceflight, your kits will be perfect, but you need to stay calm.’
‘Let me help you inside. We’ll get you all nice and comfortable--’
‘Quickly! We haven’t got enough time! Just get--’
‘Dewpatch! Be! Quiet! Either shut up, or leave!’ the young gray she-cat spoke with such force, Dewpatch came to his senses and obeyed, deciding to stay with his mate.
The gentle Fawnheart had stepped forward to help her friend during the whole commotion. Mistypaw on one side, Fawnheart on her other, Pounceflight made the short journey into the nursery, where Dewpatch had raced ahead to make her a nest. She settled down on her side, and let out another gasp of pain. Fear shot through Dewpatch’s eyes, but this time he stayed quiet.
Tigerwhisker was standing stunned outside. He hadn’t moved since Mistypaw had first called out. Everyone else, however, had made their way into he nursery behind Pounceflight.
‘Do you all need to watch? Go on, get out!’ said Mistypaw when she realised just how cramped the nursery was. Huskfoot couldn’t help but be glad that Roseheart and Nightfeather had taken their kits out into the camp to eat fresh-kill and share tongues with the other clan members. Even so, Honeyfrost and her three kits, who were only a moon old, took up a lot of room. Honeyfrost looked like she would like to help, but she was laying down letting her kits suckle from her belly.
Huskfoot couldn’t even turn around, so he backed out of the den, and Littlepaw soon followed. ‘I’ll go get Hollywhisker.’ she said. And raced off towards the medicine cat den. Huskfoot followed close on her tail.
‘Hollywhisker!’ he cried out, as he entered the den, trying to take the lead instead of letting the apprentice. ‘Hollywhisker, Pounceflight is kitting!’ he cried out again. This time the silvery she-cat heard him.
‘Oh no, I can’t let Mistypaw do this by herself yet. She must be so nervous.’ she mewed as she scrambled to pick up the right herbs. Before anyone could say anything else, she raced out of the den.
As he padded out the sweet-scented den, the ginger warriors thoughts went in circles. There was nothing he could do to help Pounceflight, except maybe stay away. But after such excitement, he couldn’t just sit down and comfortably enjoy his fresh kill. He had to do something.
Turning back to Littlepaw, he asked ‘What now?’
She shook her head, as if trying to clear it. ‘I don’t know.’ she whispered, looking down at her paws. ‘Something, I suppose.’
Again trying to take the lead, Huskfoot mewed, ‘Still hungry? We don’t want to waste our food.’ He hated himself. This was exactly what he had been trying to avoid.
Even from their spot near the nursery, they couldn’t see what was happening inside. The vole that Huskfoot was eating didn’t seem to be getting smaller, although in the awkward silence between himself, Redberry, Littlepaw, and Tigerwhisker, he had been eating as fast as he could in an effort to distract him from everything that was happening.
He had just swallowed the last bite when Mistypaw and Dewpatch left the nursery. All of the waiting cats opened their mouths to speak at the same time, but Redberry got there first.
‘Is she okay?’
‘Yes, of course she is. Didn’t you trust me?’ answered Mistypaw with a small smile. She didn’t realise how tense the mood was outside.
‘What happened?’ asked Littlepaw after everyone had breathed a sigh of relief.
‘It was just belly cramps. She hasn’t yet given birth.’ said Dewpatch, who obviously cared for nothing more than the safety of his mate, and to a lesser extent, his kits.
‘She will anytime in the next few days though.’ piped in the always very knowledgeable Mistypaw.
Chapter 4 - Expectations
‘Mistypaw, Dewpatch, come quickly! This time they are really coming!’
Mistypaw scrambled back inside, and Dewpatch scurried in after her. With one glance around at his other three companions, Huskfoot followed.
Pounceflight was laying on her side, with Mistypaw, Fawnheart, and Dewpatch within her view, gently helping her to keep calm. Mistypaw reassured her that she was a medicine cat, she knew what she was doing, and everything would be fine.
Hollywhisker was calling over the quiet murmurs her instructions to the pregnant queen.
‘Well done, Pounceflight! You already have given birth to one kit.’ it was picked up by the tiny scruff of it’s neck, and given to Fawnheart, who immediately started to lick it. It would have to wait a few more moments before it could suckle from it’s mother.
A few moments later, Hollywhisker picked up another kit, and motioned for Huskfoot to take it. He wasn’t sure what to do, but thought it would be a safe move to copy Fawnheart. The little black kit squirmed as he licked it.
The scene repeated itself another three times until four healthy kits lay at their mother’s side. She was laying, exhausted, yet she was purring louder than anyone else. All four kits had survived, and according to Hollywhisker’s assessment, were beautiful and healthy. Dewpatch’s purr was like a harmony with his ginger and white mate’s, and he was a very proud father.
Fawnheart let her friend spend this special moment with her mate without interrupting. After a few moments, she asked ‘What are their names? Have you decided yet?’
‘Well, I don’t want to make it final without talking to Dewpatch,’ she said, motioning towards her pale gray mate. After a nervous pause she added, ‘But I do have some ideas.’
‘You name the kits, Pounceflight. I’m sure you would a better job than me.’ said Dewpatch softly.
‘Well, the snow she-cat could be named Snowkit.’ she said, as if unsure of herself, and it sounded like a question.
‘Yes, that’s beautiful.’ a small voice in the corner said after a pause. Littlepaw was always very helpful. Huskfoot hadn’t seen her enter, but he presumed that she had followed him inside.
Everyone turned to stare at Dewpatch. He hadn’t said anything since she had suggested the name, and Pounceflight was looking at him with pain building in her eyes.
‘It’s perfect!’ he breathed.
‘Perfect? Are you mouse brained? A bit more than perfect in my opinion!’ Hollywhisker was always good as expressing her opinion. ‘Go on, Pounceflight. Tell us some more of your ideas.’
Having gained a small amount of confidence, Pounceflight did as she was told.
‘For the dark gray tabby tom, possibly Tumblekit, and the black she-cat, maybe Spiderkit?’
‘Yes, Spiderkit’s long legs make her look just like a spider, and Tumblekit is so cute I doubt he can stand up properly! What about the ginger tom?’
‘I haven’t thought of anything for him yet. How about you?
‘Nothing I could think of would match the names you’ve come up with so far.’
‘Oh come on! It’s not fair I would get to name them all. Have a go.’ When Dewpatch didn’t reply immediately she continued. ‘I will tell you if I don’t like it.’
‘Well, how about… Bouncekit? He’s an active little one, that’s for sure. He looks like he’s going to be a bit of trouble…’ Dewpatch broke off into a purr.
‘Yes, I love it. It suits him perfectly.’ Pounceflight approved.
A movement caught Huskfoot’s eye, and he saw Mistypaw motioning to him, and as he realised a second later, Littlepaw too. She padded past them out of the den, and he, Littlepaw, and Fawnheart followed.
‘Wow, what do you think? They’re so cute!’ Littlepaw was excited, and couldn’t keep her voice down.
The sun was now past the horizon, and Huskfoot had had a long day. ‘Yeah, cute I suppose.’ he mumbled in response. ‘I’m going to sleep. See you tomorrow.’
Littlepaw’s spirit was hardly damped by Huskfoot’s response. ‘Okay then! I’ll see you then.’
Huskfoot settled down in his nest, his head mulling over some thoughts. Pounceflight and Dewpatch loved each other so much, and they were so young. They were only about four moons older than him. They had already had kits together, and they looked set for life.
But what did that mean for him and Littlepaw? What did she expect from him? Did he even want to be her mate? What if she wanted to have kits with him? What would he do then? She was a close friend, that was for sure, but he didn’t want her to get the wrong idea about him. Maybe he should back off the friendship a bit, to make sure she didn’t get the wrong idea. But then he didn’t want to lose her friendship.
Eventually he fell asleep, although even then his twisted pathways of thoughts did not calm down. When he woke up the next morning, he had come to a few conclusions. He wasn’t sure about how much he loved her, and so he would back off from their friendship for the time being. Today, he would avoid her as much as possible, just to make sure she didn’t get even more intense with their strange and complicated relationship.
Chapter 5 - Good Things Only Last a Short Time
The night was a normal Greenleaf night for the cats of RiverClan; the stream flowed merrily, and the forest was alive with the creatures stirred from their sleep by the cosy warmth. Every cat sleep soundly, from the tiniest kit, to the clan leader and elders, to the newest warrior in his nest.
The dawn awoke Huskfoot and as he stretched and yawned, he desperately re-thought his decision. If he had made the wrong one, her reflected, he had just made the biggest mistake of his life.
But still, he thought to himself, there was no point in letting the situation continue as it was. He had to find out some way or another his true feelings for Littlepaw. As if even thinking of her alerted the young she-cat to Huskfoot’s presence by the fresh-kill pile, she came bounding out of the apprentice den. The young ginger warrior had conflicted feelings. His heart rose to see the young she-cat, yet he knew that there was little chance now that he would be able to avoid her.
Pretending he hadn’t seen Littlepaw, Huskfoot started walking casually towards the exit of the camp, between the reeds and over the river which separated the camp from the rest of the territory. Trying to pretend that he had decided to help stock up the fresh kill pile first thing in the morning, which wasn’t exactly un-true, he was nearly out of the camp when he heard an only too familiar voice.
‘Huskfoot! Where are you going? It’s only dawn.’
‘I’m going hunting. The fresh-kill pile needs restocking.’
‘Can I come?’ she asked, eager to continue her training.
‘I’ll go get Squirrelfur, he is your mentor after all.’
Huskfoot turned around and headed back for the warriors den. Within a few short moments, he, Squirrelfur, and Littlepaw were discussing were they should go. Huskfoot wasn’t entirely paying attention. Squirrelfur was mainly talking to his apprentice, drilling her in her knowledge of the woods. Huskfoot’s attention was on the camp around him, and how different it had become in the few days after his warrior ceremony and vigil, even now, at dawn.
The weather was warm enough to allow the kits to play outside, so Nightfeather’s and Roseheart’s kits were playing only a short way from where Huskfoot and his friends had settled down to eat the night before. Honeyfrost had taken her kits outside to enjoy the sunshine too, but they were laying lazily near their mother instead of joining in with the other kits. They were still a bit too young to play.
Two of the scuffling kits caught his eye. One was a gray tom whose fur was so pale it was almost white, with darker patches on his back. The other was a tortoiseshell she cat. The tortoiseshell was on her back, furiously defending herself against her bigger brother. Suddenly, a small brown tabby shape came out of nowhere and barrelled full speed into her siblings, making all three of them roll over in one heap. Huskfoot purred in amusement as Roseheart starting scolding them.
‘Rainkit, Larkkit, Briarkit! You too, Falconkit!’ she said, turning to look at the last of her kits who was enjoying the sunshine and doing something which seemed to be fighting imaginary foes. ‘Go inside, now! How many times do I have to tell you not to play so rough? You’re too young, you might get hurt!’
‘But we’re nearly apprentices!’ cries of outrage went up all around.
‘Nearly isn’t now.’ the ginger queen used the retort only too common in the nursery.
The kits walked back to the nursery, grumbling to themselves the entire way. As Huskfoot watched, they suddenly changed course and ran past Huskfoot and his patrol, out of the camp. Roseheart noticed, and slowly followed them out of the camp, muttering to herself the whole way.
Huskfoot had to contain a purr of amusement as she passed. He knew that the ginger she-cat was not in the mood to take anything of the sort lightly. Enjoying himself thoroughly at the thought of exactly what she would do to him if she heard him, he wasn’t paying full attention to the two other members of his patrol. Upon realising this, he turned around again, pretending to look indifferent, as if he had been listening to the entire conversation and didn’t really care. However, he was startled to realise that his patrol, too had left the camp without him.
‘Foxdung!’ he muttered as he ran after them. Luckily for him, the ginger and black cats had only just crossed the stream. He could still catch up to them without them even noting his absence.
‘Huskfoot! Hurry up, you lazy fur-ball!’ came Squirrelfur’s cry from across the stream. As he and his apprentice waited for the young warrior, they watched the kits, still running away from their mother. With a jolt, Huskfoot remembered that Squirrelfur was their father. Together the three cats padded off into the under-growth.
‘So what kept you?’ asked Littlepaw, cheek flying in her mew.
‘Oh, uh… Tigerwhisker wanted my opinion on.. Uh… the best place for swimming.’ he replied, trying to sound confident.
Squirrelfur snorted. ‘Well isn’t it obvious? Sunningrocks is about as good as it gets.’
Caught out, Huskfoot quickly tried to patch up his mistake.
‘Tigerwhisker is the one who asked, not me! I, at least, have a brain.’
‘Even if it is a mouse sized one.’ shot back Squirrelfur.
‘Oh, give him a break! Huskfoot’s a good hunter; even better than you some days.’ hissed Littlepaw defensively back at her mentor.
The senior warrior growled. ‘Let’s see who’s better today then.’
Overall, Huskfoot thought that the morning of hunting went well. He had caught almost as much as Squirrelfur, and Littlepaw and caught more than either of them. She was nearly as large as Huskfoot himself now, and he doubted she was going to grow anymore, keeping her name in mind. Her skills were definitely up t scratch, and he began to wonder why she wasn’t a warrior yet.
‘You two go and get some fresh kill,’ the older warrior mewed at them roughly. ‘There’s something I want to report to Otterstar.’
As soon as he was out of hearing range Littlepaw turned to Huskfoot.
‘What do you think he wanted to report?’
‘I’ve got no idea.’
‘Me neither. Did you notice anything funny on patrol that he might have wanted to report?’
‘No. How about you?’
‘No. Maybe he just wanted to speak to her about something un-related, like punishment for those kits.’
They got no further into their conversation, because at that instance the black and ginger shapes of Roseheart and Nightfeather rushed into the camp. Roseheart seemed on the point of collapse, and Nightfeather was letting her friend lean. The black she-cat mumbled something in her friend’s ear, but she seemed in-capable of response. Nightfeather guided her to the base of Startree, and then ducked down under the cave made by a rock propped up against it - Otterstar’s den. Soon she, Otterstar, and finally Squirrelfur emerged, and before Otterstar even had a chance to call the clan together, Squirrelfur yowled;
‘Rainkit is dead!’
Chapter 6 - Subconscious Mistakes
Roseheart’s wailing was the only distinguishable sound for a few moments. All of the cats were in shock. Otterstar was murmuring urgently in Squirrelfur’s ear, but no one but he could hear what she was saying. Squirrelfur nodded, and swayed slightly on the spot, in his position in the tree. Out of no-where, Hollywhisker had jumped up next to him, and was speaking loudly to him.
‘Get down from here!’ she yowled, trying to break him out of his shock. The idea seemed to work, as he half fell, half jumped down from the tree. Hollywhisker immediately turned and nudged Roseheart with her muzzle. Together, the three of them padded in the direction of the medicine cat den. ‘Mistypaw! Hurry up, I need you!’ she gray medicine cat yowled back at her apprentice.
Mistypaw shook her head, and sprang to life, bounding across to her den before the party of cats could reach it.
Otterstar started to speak again; ‘Nightfeather, can you go and gather the kits? Redberry and Shrewpaw, help her.’
Nightfeather nodded, and he three cats ran out of the camp.
‘Now, can anybody tell me what happened?’ her voice was crisp, commanding, and calm. It was not entirely void of emotion; as much as she tried to hide it, her grief crept into her voice.
‘Nightfeather and Roseheart had their kits out in the mossy clearing.’ Dustfoot began. ‘They were all playing, and then a massive bird swooped down and grabbed Rainkit in it’s claws. Roseheart followed it, and when she found them, the bird had dropped Rainkit, and he just flew off again. I think he left him because he was too small, but we were too late, as we watched, he… he…’ Dustfoot seemed unable to go on.
‘Died?’ mewed Tigerwhisker, suggestively, and with a little sympathy.
Dustfoot dipped his head, as in an answer, not seeming to mind Tigerwhisker’s blunt in-sensitivity.
‘What of the other kits?’ asked Otterstar, inquiringly.
‘They just continued to play. Only Mousekit and Falconkit even noticed he had gone initially. I followed Roseheart when she ran after that bird, and Nightfeather looked after the kits, and got them out of the open.
Otterstar dipped her head in respect to Dustfoot. ‘Thankyou, Dustfoot. I know this must be hard for you too. Tonight we will mourn for Rainkit. This meeting is over.’
The clan slowly began to split up. Littlepaw raced to the medicine cat den, no doubt to comfort her sister and seek comfort in return. Roseheart would be distressed, no doubt. Rainkit was so close to becoming an apprentice, it would be so hard to loose him now. The other kits, especially the remaining of Roseheart’s, would be upset too. They were old enough now that they would remember their brother, and would miss him terribly.
Huskfoot started to follow Littlepaw, but hesitated. While the small black she-cat always seemed to know exactly what to say to make someone feel better, he did not share in this talent that his sister, his mate, and her sister all seemed to share.
Suddenly realising what word he had subconsciously applied to a certain cat, he was confused. ‘Mate’ just seemed to final, too certain, for the way he was feeling about Littlepaw now. ‘Friend’ was a better word, he thought. He blinked, shocked by the way his mind was racing ahead of him and jumping to conclusions without him.
Yawning so wide that it hurt, his mind became distracted by something else. Of course he was tired, he had been up since before dawn, and sun-high had come and gone a long time ago.
As he settled down to sleep, the moss underneath felt soft and inviting. Tigerwhisker and Fawnheart had left their patches empty, and the only other shape in the den was the dark figure of Darkstone. He laid thinking about the day’s many events for some time, before eventually drifting off to sleep.
A sudden movement awoke the pale ginger tom, and loud noises stirred him enough to pay attention. A paw poked into his side as he struggled to gain consciousness.
‘Wake up, furball! Get your lazy but out of here!’ the golden shape of his ex-mentor, Leopardheart, stood before him.
‘What’s happening?’ he asked drowsily.
‘Otterstar had called another meeting. Nightfeather has been back for a while now.’
As Huskfoot padded outside into the warm air, he was startled to see that the sun had just vanished behind the horizon. How long had he slept?
Nearly the entire clan was gathered on the island, and as Huskfoot shook the last weariness from his system he realised where this was were all of the noise had been coming from, other than Leopardheart talking to him, of course.
A few cats were still to emerge from their dens when an undersize fluffy black cat appeared next to Huskfoot.
‘I wonder what this meeting will be about.’ mewed Littlepaw.
‘Isn’t it obvious?’
‘What do you think it will be about then?’
‘Won’t Otterstar say something else about Rainkit, or something?’
‘Yes, I suppose she will. It makes sense.’
There was an awkward silence between them that was not continued among the other cats surrounding them.
‘How are Roseheart and Squirrelfur?’
‘Roseheart refused to take any poppy seeds. She wanted to be awake for the vigil. Squirrelfur is also in shock. I won’t be receiving any training from him for a while.’
While There was no resentment in her quiet voice, Littlepaw wasn’t one to feel that way about anything, Huskfoot couldn’t help but think that it was unfair that her warrior ceremony should be delayed because of Rainkit’s death. He knew that she would be a warrior already if it weren’t for his past illness. Otterstar had wanted him to keep seniority over the other apprentices, and therefore had not joined their warrior ceremonies although Littlepaw had been ready for her’s at the time.
Otterstar’s proud gaze swept over the clearing, keeping watch over her clan as the last cat appeared in the clearing. She straightened up and let out a loud commanding yowl, ‘Quiet!’
The cats below stopped murmuring to each other at once.
‘Today a member of our clan was taken from us, and tonight he is with StarClan. Although he had no chance to serve our clan, that does not mean we honour him any less. His clan and family will miss him, and we grief for all that he could have been and has been lost except for in the stars.
‘Roseheart, do not despair, for you still have many other kits, and you have your Clan. Rainkit watches over you now, and one day you will join him again.
‘Tonight we will sit vigil for this young cat, but first, I have a happier subject to bring forward to RiverClan. Littlepaw, please step forward.’
Huskfoot glanced at Littlepaw, his confusion was mirrored in her eyes. He gave her a small encouraging nod; he thought he might have an idea of what was going on. Suddenly, everything clicked into place.
Slowly, as if lacking the confidence, Littlepaw padded forward to the base of the Star Tree where Otterstar had leapt down to join her.
‘Tonight, it is time that you were made a warrior.’
Chapter 7 - New Discoveries
Littlepaw let out a tiny squeak, and her eyes were round with excitement.
Otterstar continued, ‘By making warriors, we show that RiverClan will remain strong. Squirrelfur, do you agree that Littlepaw deserves to be a warrior?’
For the first time since Roseheart had come back to the camp with grave news, the dark ginger warrior’s eyes shone with happiness and amusement at his apprentice’s surprise. He dipped his head.
‘Littlepaw, do you promise to defend the warrior code, even at the cost of your life?’
She replied in her soft little voice, shaking with excitement, ‘I will.’
‘Then I commend you as a full warrior in your turn. From this day forth, may you be known as Littlebird. RiverClan honour your swiftness and loyalty.’
‘Littlebird, Littlebird, Littlebird!’ the clan surrounding the newest warrior chanted out her new name, and Mistypaw dashed through the crowd to her sister’s side.
‘Tonight you will sit vigil in silence, and reflect upon your achievements.’
The crowd slowly began to drift away from the clearing, and only a few remained. Huskfoot padded up to her and gently nudged her flank with his muzzle. Even in the darkness now surrounding them, he could see her bright eyes shining with emotion and happiness. She muzzled him back, gentle and lovingly. For a moment, something hung between them: more powerful than StarClan itself but gentler than the softest moss. Huskfoot gasped aloud at the intensity of the moment. As if a spell had been broken, the feeling left like a strong breeze had carried it away. Yet the air was still in the RiverClan camp. He dipped his head and the two gently touched noses.
Slowly the ginger warrior turned and began to pad away to his den. He could feel eyes boring into the back of his head. He glanced around, and exchanged one last look with the small black warrior. She gazed back at him intently, and Huskfoot could tell that she wanted nothing more than to follow and curl up beside him. As he disappeared inside the den he knew that Littlebird was still watching.
The rising sun only added to the steadily increasing heat which had lasted throughout the night. The forest was filled with warmth and joy at every creatures’ gladness for New Leaf. Two young cats were running through the forest, alone in their own kind. A moon had passed since Littlebird had become a warrior, and they were on their way to meet Mistypaw and Hollywhisker on their journey back to the camp. Last night had been the half moon, and the two medicine cats had been at Moonstone, sharing tongues with StarClan in the way that only they do.
Sunlight was dappling through the leaves above, and Huskfoot paused to let the sun shine upon his face. Drinking in the warm air, he gazed up through the leaves lost in the moment of happiness. Littlebird settled down beside him, purring in his ear.
‘You look like a leopard with that sunlight dappling over you. A leopard with no ears.’
Without turning his head, Huskfoot moved his eyes to look at her, a loud purr rising in his throat.
‘What do you mean?
‘Your ears are in shadow, and I can hardly see them.’
‘Well, Littlebird, let me assure you,’ Huskfoot had laughter in his voice now. ‘I am not a leopard, and I have both my ears!’ As he said this he whipped around at the dark she-cat and pounced on her. She shrieked in surprise, but any cat could tell that it was full of delight.
The two continued to scuffle for a few moments before two distinctly different shades of gray blurs appeared out of no-where. These blurs seemed to have some sort of density as they separated the young warriors and pinned them down.
‘In-fighting! Otterstar won’t be pleased to hear about this!’ Hollywhisker’s ears were flattened against her head.
‘We weren’t! We were just play fighting!’ Huskfoot’s excuse seemed pretty weak to all four cats.
Mistypaw looked cold as she looked at her sister and friend. But even she couldn’t keep up this sort of act for long, and her blue eyes filled with glee. Huskfoot was released from his prison, and he quickly stumbled up to his paws to shake the dirt and moss from his pelt.
‘Let her go, Hollywhisker. If these two were really fighting, then I’m a fish.’ When Hollywhisker looked doubtful, she continued. ‘And trust me – I’m not a big fan of swimming.’
Hollywhisker gingerly took her weight off of Littlebird, and as she did so, the young warrior rolled back up onto her paws and shook the moss and bracken from her long fur.
‘Let me help you!’ Mistypaw mewed innocently as she playfully leaped upon her sister, knocking her over again. Huskfoot yowled and joined the writhling mass as it threatened to knock him over.
‘Hey! No fair! Don’t gang up on me!’, came the cry from Mistypaw as she found her two friends looming over her, working together to hold her down.
‘Ganging up on you? Littlebird spends much more time chasing my tail than trying to pin you down!’ Huskfoot stepped back from Mistypaw and her sister, feigning innocence.
‘Honestly Huskfoot! Are you blind? That was me! Littlebird –don’t trust this warrior in a battle! He’s so clueless he’s more likely to attack you than Volestripe or Darkpetal!’
‘Mistypaw! Please remember that last time you joined a border skirmish, Lilypaw sent you screaming away within seconds of the battle beginning. You have no right to accuse Huskfoot of disloyalty!’ there was a warm glow in her eyes as she said all of this, and even Hollywhisker seemed to understand that she wasn’t serious.
‘Mistypaw? Who’s she? I’m Mistystream now.’
Littlebird loosened her grip in surprise. ‘Congratu-’
She was suddenly cut off by Mistystream taking advantage of her momentary lull in concentration, reversing their roles and pinning Littlebird to the ground. ‘Lilystream had nearly finished her training! She’s been a warrior for nearly as long as we’ve been apprentices!’ she mewed, lightly jumping off of her sister. She started licking her paw. ‘And anyway, that battle was within my first moon of training, and I’d hardly done any battle stuff yet.’ Her voice was very matter-of-fact, delicate, and a tone or two higher than normal.
Littlebird shook her pelt and purred. ‘I’m just playing! I’m really happy for you, really. How was it?’
Hollywhisker jumped to her paws. ‘Medicine cat secrets are for medicine cats only.’
‘I know that, I was just wondering if it was scary or fun or anything!’
Mistystream purred and starting walking back to the camp, rubbing against her sister’s pelt as she went. ‘And I’m afraid that even that is too much information.’ Huskfoot stood up and followed her, rubbing against Littlebird’s other flank, and as soon has he had passed, she spun around on her hind legs to join them.
‘I’ll go catch a few fish before I return to camp. I’ll meet you there later.’ Hollywhisker mewed over her shoulder, padding in a completely different direction.