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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by Sparrowsong.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
Responses, comments & other feedback should be made on the Talk Page.

Prologue

It was a cold night. Sorreltail was just going back to camp when she heard the distinctive wails of a kit in distress. She bravely went over and found three kits.

One of them, a she-kit, had golden brown fur. The smallest kit lay beside the golden brown one and was a smoky grey tom. The third was a light grey she-kit with a long tail.

"Poor little things!" she gasped out loud. "I'll take you with me."

Sorreltail took the kits and dragged them back to camp.

The recently appointed Clan leader, Bramblestar, came out of the leader's den. He glanced down at the kits and then at Sorreltail, his expression this time full of confusion and suspicion.

"Oh," he said. "You've found...whose kits are those?"

"I found them behind some bushes," she told him. "It looks like their mother must not have wanted them."

"That's too bad. I suppose I'll get a queen to nurse them."

Bramblestar went into the nursery and came back out with Brook Where Small Fish Swim, who had (along with Stormfur) returned to the Clan four moons ago.

"I've already got Darkkit and Heronkit. It couldn't hurt to have three more."

Sorreltail gave Brook the kits.

"Well?" asked Brook, seeming like she was expecting something. "You found them. I think you should name them."

"Oh no, you're mothering them. Shouldn't their mother name them?"

"If it weren't for you, they would probably have died out there. You should name them."

"Alright, if you insist. Goldenkit, Smokekit, Mistykit."

"Very sensible," nodded Brook.

The queen took the three newborn kits into the nursery and introduced them to the other queens and their kits. Soon all ThunderClan cats knew about Goldenkit, Smokekit, and Mistykit.

But had they been truly abandoned?

Allegiances

I'm just going to put ThunderClan here because I'm too lazy to put in the other Clans. Oh, and I've changed Birchfall's name just because I don't like it and Daisy and Ferncloud are NOT kit machines anymore...LOL.

LEADER: Bramblestar - Dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes

DEPUTY: Brackenfur - Golden brown tom

MEDICINE CAT: Jayfeather - Blind grey tom with blue eyes

Apprentice, Toadpaw

WARRIORS:

Squirrelflight - Dark ginger she-cat with green eyes

Cloudtail - Long-haired white tom with blue eyes

Apprentice, Bumblepaw

Sorreltail - Tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat with amber eyes

Thornclaw - Golden brown tabby tom

Spiderleg - Long-limbed black tom with a brown underbelly and amber eyes

Whitewing - White she-cat with green eyes

Birchpelt - Light brown tabby tom

Berrynose - Cream-colored tom

Apprentice, Briarpaw

Mousewhisker - Grey-and-white tom

Cinderheart - Dark grey she-cat

Poppyfrost - Tortoiseshell she-cat

Lionblaze - Golden tabby tom with amber eyes

Ivypool - Tabby-and-white she-cat

Dovewing - Grey she-cat with green eyes

Ferncloud - Pale grey (with darker flecks) she-cat with green eyes

Stormfur - Dark grey tom, formerly of RiverClan

Apprentice, Blossompaw

Rosepetal - Dark cream she-cat

Millie - Light grey tabby she-cat, formerly a kittypet

Foxclaw - Reddish tabby tom

Icecloud - White she-cat

APPRENTICES:

Toadpaw - Black-and-white tom

Bumblepaw - Pale grey tom with black stripes

Briarpaw - Dark brown she-cat

Blossompaw - Tortoiseshell-and-white she-cat

QUEENS:

Hazeltail - Small grey-and-white she-cat

Kits:

Patchkit - Grey-and-white she-cat with amber eyes

Ravenkit - Dark grey tabby tom

Gingerkit - Pale ginger she-cat with green eyes

Brook Where Small Fish Swim - Brown tabby she-cat with grey eyes, formerly of the Tribe of Rushing Water

Kits:

Darkkit - Grey tom with blue-grey eyes

Heronkit - Silver tabby she-cat

Goldenkit - Golden brown she-cat

Smokekit - Dark grey tom with blue eyes

Mistykit - Light grey she-cat with a long tail

Brightheart - Ginger-and-white she-cat

Daisy - Cream-colored she-cat

ELDERS:

Mousefur - Very old dusky brown she-cat with pale yellow eyes

Longtail - Pale tabby tom with a long tail

Sandstorm - Once-pretty pale ginger she-cat with green eyes

Graystripe - Long-haired grey tom with amber eyes

Dustpelt - Dark brown tabby tom with amber eyes

Chapter One: Boring

Goldenkit sat in her nest, bored and in the mood for playing. She wondered if perhaps the other kits wanted to play.

She nudged her silver tabby sibling, who simply groaned and rolled over.

"Don't bother Heronkit," scolded Brook. "She's tired."

Goldenkit sighed and went outside. She was looking around when she scented something.

"That's...funny." She scented another cat, glanced behind her, and was relieved to see her brother.

"Smokekit, do you smell that?" she asked.

Smokekit nodded.

Just then they saw a beautiful light brown tabby she-cat.

"Who are you?!" demanded Goldenkit.

The she-cat looked up.

"Oh, hello," she smiled. "My name is Leafpool."

"Hey, we've heard about you!" exclaimed Smokekit. "You were the medicine cat before Jayfeather. Then something happened and you ran away and became a rogue."

Leafpool sadly nodded. Goldenkit didn't have the heart to ask her what happened that made her leave.

"Goldenkit!" called Brook. "Smokekit!"

The kits went back to the nursery.

"You're only two moons old," Brook lectured. "You can't leave the nursery like that."

Smokekit exchanged a glance with Goldenkit.

"She's so strict," muttered Smokekit, snickering slightly.

Goldenkit nodded.

"Yes, she is," she whispered.

The kits waited until Brook was busy doing something else. Then they went right back outside and one of their littermates, Mistykit, tagged along.

Mistykit was following her brother and sister around when she saw a pair of mean-looking cats watching them. One of them was a big dark brown tabby tom with creepy amber eyes who looked a lot like Bramblestar.

The other was also a dark brown tabby, but he had a white underbelly and piercing blue eyes that seemed to stare straight into Mistykit's soul.

It was clear that they knew she saw them and they seemed eerily interested in her. She found herself shivering.

Frightened, she let out a soft whimper and turned away from the dark tabbies.

"Goldenkit," she whined. "Smokekit."

"What is it?" asked Smokekit, who was calm and dominant unlike insecure little Mistykit.

"I wanna go back to the nursery."

"Oh, puh-leez, Mistykit," Smokekit scoffed. "If you're going to act like a kittypet, fine. Go crying to Brook and don't bother us."

She didn't want to go back to the nursery, though. The scary tabby toms were too close to the entrance.

"Nevermind."

The kits went exploring.

"Look what I've found," Goldenkit pointed out, jesturing to some red berries.

"Those are pretty," said Mistykit.

"Yes, and they look yummy too," Smokekit agreed. "I dare you guys to eat some of those."

"No thanks," Goldenkit refused, shaking her head. "Jayfeather told me that I should never put anything in my mouth if I don't know what it is. He's the smartest, coolest cat in the world. I wanna be just like him! Anyway, he wouldn't eat those berries, so I won't either."

"'He's the smartest, coolest cat in the world.' Ha! You're so immature. You know what my tail is, but would you put my tail your mouth?"

"Eww, gross. No way."

Poor Mistykit felt so weak, stupid, and vulnerable. She couldn't resist this opportunity to prove herself to them.

She took a hesitant step towards the berry bush.

Smokekit felt blood drain from his face.

"Um, little sister? I...didn't really mean it..."

"No!" screeched a she-cat's voice. Mistykit felt herself get grabbed and yanked away from the bush.

Mistykit looked up and saw the beautiful face of Squirrelflight, a senior warrior that used to be Bramblestar's mate.

"What were you doing?" panted Squirrelflight, her heart racing. "Do you know what those were?"

Mistykit shook her head. Her eyes widened; she was afraid that Squirrelflight was angry with her.

"Those were deathberries," Squirrelflight explained. "If you'd even nosed one of them, you could have died."

"Sorry," the kit whined.

"Oh, it's fine. You didn't know."

"It was my fault," apologized Smokekit. "I was the one who dared her to eat them. But I didn't think she would take it seriously."

"I forgive you both. Now, don't you think you should go back to the nursery?" With that comment, she left.

The three kits were taking her advice when they heard a very loud, high-pitched "HELP ME!!"

WARNING: The next chapter is rather dark and depressing.

Chapter Two: Death

Some warriors came zipping out. The group (which consisted of the deputy Brackenfur, Whitewing, Lionblaze, and Bramblestar) frantically ran to the sound of the screaming.

The screams were coming from Squirrelflight, who had apparently collapsed. She was on the ground breathing heavily.

Lionblaze and Bramblestar were not sure what to do. Should they be worried about her, or should she have just gotten ignored since they hated her so much?

"Squirrelflight? Are you ok?" questioned Whitewing.

"Bramblestar..." Squirrelflight struggled to say. "...When you left me, I had something that I wanted to tell you. I'm...having kits."

Bramblestar cried out in surprise.

"Get Jayfeather!" screeched Brackenfur.

Lionblaze ran to the medicine cat den to alert Jayfeather.

The brothers came out just heartbeats later. Jayfeather didn't really want to help Squirrelflight - after all, she lied to him all that time - but whether he liked it or not he was a medicine cat, she was his aunt, and there were kits in danger.

All Goldenkit, Smokekit, and Mistykit could do was stand there helplessly.

Jayfeather took a deep breath and delivered Squirrelflight's kits. The others helped as much as they could.

"Bramblestar, why aren't you helping?" asked Whitewing.

"Why should I?" he responded coldly. "That betraying cat lied to me for so long. Besides, the kits probably aren't even mine. For all I care, their father could be some rogue cat."

Lionblaze scowled, Jayfeather scoffed, and the others just glared. Squirrelflight was busy kitting.

"Hey, Bramblestar!" snapped Jayfeather. "You know who you sound like?"

"Who?"

"Ashfur."

Bramblestar was quiet. Without another word, he helped the others and Squirrelflight.

Soon, four kits were born - three toms and a she-kit.

The she-kit and two of the toms were dark brown tabbies. The runt was a ginger tabby-and-white tom, the only one that got his mother's pelt.

"Uh-oh. I think something's wrong."

"Nonsense! Nothing is wrong with my beautiful kits!" insisted Squirrelflight.

"I guess I'll name them now," the queen continued. As she named them, she nosed them. "Owlkit, Tinykit, Mudkit, Brownkit."

"Squirrelflight, something is wrong," asserted Jayfeather. "Just a minute."

"Oh my!" cried Squirrelflight. "Tinykit is so cold!"

Jayfeather looked at the runt, Tinykit.

"I'm sorry," he said. "He was stillborn."

"Tinykit!" wailed Squirrelflight.

"I am so terribly sorry."

Squirrelflight looked down at her three remaining progeny.

"No," she sobbed. "My poor Ti...great StarClan, Owlkit's not breathing anymore! Jayfeather, get him breathing right now!"

Jayfeather tried to revive Owlkit. But it was too late for yet another life to be saved.

"He's in StarClan with his brother."

Squirrelflight cried.

I'm the worst medicine cat ever, he thought. It's my fault that Owlkit and Tinykit are gone. They were my kin!

"I'm sorry about Owlkit and Tinykit, Squirrelflight," squeaked Whitewing, even though it was no cat's fault. "But look down. What do you see? I see two perfectly good kits who need their mother."

Bramblestar didn't have anything to say. He didn't know what to say.

"Oh my goodness!" squealed Mistykit to her siblings.

"Poor Squirrelflight," agreed Goldenkit.

"Those kits never even opened their eyes," noted Smokekit.

The ThunderClanners were mourning Owlkit and Tinykit when they heard a screech. When they looked up, they saw an enormous bird of prey. It was heading straight for Squirrelflight and her kits!

Brackenfur, Whitewing, Bramblestar, and Lionblaze tried to fight it off. They scared it and it flew away.

"Wait a minute, where's Brownkit?" demanded Squirrelflight.

Upon hearing a wail, they looked up again and saw the bird of prey with Brownkit in its talons.

Squirrelflight let out a shriek of pure despair.

She ran off, taking Mudkit with her. The others didn't attempt to stop her.

Later, another scream was heard that sounded like Squirrelflight.

Bramblestar and Jayfeather ran over while Goldenkit, Smokekit, and Mistykit hid in some bushes.

Squirrelflight was lying next to the river, her eyes closing and her breathing getting shallower and shallower. She had a wound in her neck.

"Who did this to you?" demanded Bramblestar.

"I did," she choked. "My father was murdered, my kits are dead, and you don't love me anymore. I have nothing to live for anymore."

She nudged her last living kit towards Bramblestar.

"Mudkit," she hoarsely croaked. "The only kit that lived. Look at her, Bramblestar...doesn't she look just like you?"

With that, she shut her eyes and stopped breathing. She had killed herself.

She was dead.

"No!" wailed Bramblestar. "Why, Squirrelflight? Why?"

Chapter Three: Dream

That night, the cats slept next to Squirrelflight's body and shared tongues with her for the last time. The next morning, the elders buried her.

"I can't believe she killed herself," sobbed Sandstorm.

"It's just so tragic," agreed Longtail. "She was so much like Fi...I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned her father."

"We forgive you, Longtail," Mousefur assured him.

After Squirrelflight died, Bramblestar was never the same again.

He tried to act happy, but everyone knew that his heart shattered into pieces after his mate's death.

The queen who fostered Mudkit was Hazeltail, who also had to foster a kit called Gingerkit after Gingerkit's mother Sandstorm got too old. Gingerkit had Firestar's pelt and Sandstorm's eyes.

Hazeltail had four kits - two that were hers and two that actually weren't.

The two that weren't hers were, of course, Mudkit and Gingerkit.

The two that were Hazeltail's were called Patchkit and Ravenkit. Patchkit had grey-and-white fur and took after her mother. Ravenkit, on the other hand, was a black and dark grey tabby.

Hazeltail refused to tell anyone who Patchkit and Ravenkit's father was and she didn't have to, but that didn't mean they weren't suspicious. Since she was friends with Lionblaze, many cats believed he was the father.

But if Lionblaze was their father, where did Ravenkit's dark pelt come from? It was a mystery.

Hazeltail was feeding her kits when Goldenkit, Smokekit, and Mistykit came in.

"Wow," whispered Goldenkit to the others. "I just can't believe...well, you know, about Squirrelflight. Imagine what Brook would do if she found out we were snooping."

"She'd be so mad," agreed Mistykit.

Mistykit suddenly froze and widened her eyes.

"What's the matter?"

Mistykit ran outside. For she saw those tabby toms again.

Only they were actually inside the nursery.

Why didn't Hazeltail or Brook or one of the other queens see them?

"Guys, come on," she beckoned.

Her brother and sister came outside.

"Mistykit?" asked Smokekit. "What are you doing?"

"Remember earlier, when we were outside and I suddenly wanted to go back into the nursery?"

Her littermates nodded.

"There were some big scary cats staring at us," she explained. "They looked a lot like Bramblestar, only something about them made me so afraid of them. Well, they're back and this time they're in the nursery instead of outside it."

"Wait a second..." began Smokekit. "Did one of them have amber eyes, a split ear, and a scar?"

"Yes, he did," replied Mistykit, surprised.

"And did the other one have scary blue eyes?"

"Yeah, actually."

"We've gotta tell the queens and other kits to get out!" exclaimed Goldenkit. "Those are Tigerstar and Hawkfrost!"

"Who?" asked Mistykit, confused.

"You really are clueless. Has Brook ever told you one bedtime story?"

"Yeah," Mistykit answered. "It was the one about Bluestar and Oakheart."

"I don't like that one, it's boring," Smokekit told her. "We all know what happens in the end - the kits go to RiverClan and they all live happily ever after. Back on topic, Tigerstar and Hawkfrost were these two super evil cats. They're supposed to be incredibly dangerous, too."

"O-oh...wow..." Mistykit stuttered.

They went back to the nursery to warn the queens and kits, but Tigerstar and Hawkfrost were gone.

They shrugged it off and took a nap.

Mistykit had a dream...

Chapter Four: Many Cats

In Mistykit's dream, she was in a forest that was almost completely dark. It was lit only by some foul-smelling fungus.

She wrinkled her nose. When she heard close pawsteps, she bolted for the bushes.

She let out a very small gasp. There were the dark tabby toms, Tigerstar and Hawkfrost. They were as frightening as ever to the kit, even if they weren't staring right at her.

Out walked three other cats. They didn't smell like ThunderClan, but they didn't seem so evil.

One of them was a brown tabby tom with golden paws. Another one, also a tom, had dark ginger fur. The third was a creamy-furred she-cat.

Tigerstar and Hawkfrost said something to the three cats.

"Really?" asked the brown tabby with golden paws. "My name is Tigerheart. My mother says she named me after you."

They talked for a while, seeming completely oblivious to Mistykit's presence.

Mistykit noticed two apprentice-aged cats standing behind Tigerheart and the ginger and creamy-furred cats. One of the apprentice-aged cats was a tortoiseshell she-cat with pale yellow eyes and one was a pale ginger she-cat with green eyes.

Mistykit heard them introduce themselves as Poppypaw and Tansypaw.

Two more cats came out. This time, it was Mistykit's brother and sister - Goldenkit and Smokekit.

They were of course afraid of Tigerstar and Hawkfrost, but they weren't about to be chicken.

She waited until they looked in her direction. Then she mouthed 'Wake up' and they disappeared from the dream.

Luckily, Goldenkit was nice enough to shake Mistykit awake.

Meanwhile, in the Dark Forest, Tigerstar and Hawkfrost were wondering what happened to the kits. They figured it didn't matter, because they weren't even apprenticed yet.

Tigerstar looked at Tansypaw. She reminded him of his former mate, Goldenflower - not only in her golden pelt, but also something about her personality.

"Why are you staring at me?" asked Tansypaw quietly, looking up. Tigerstar noted that she had Goldenflower's eyes, too.

"It's...nothing..." he stuttered.

Hawkfrost glanced at him. It was unusual of his father to be stuttering.

Tigerheart's sister, Dawnfur, said something about ThunderClan to her brother.

"What's this about ThunderClan?" asked Hawkfrost.

"We're going to ThunderClan," answered Dawnfur. "It's because Blackstar's lost his mind. There was also a bit of a scandal. Let's just say that our father isn't exactly Poppypaw and Tansypaw's father too."

They were surprised. Tawnypelt had an affair? She wouldn't!

Tigerstar was still staring at Tansypaw.

"Tansypaw," Poppypaw whispered so quiet only her sibling could hear. "He's looking at you all funny."

Tansypaw nodded without saying anything. She appeared to be a very calm, quiet cat.

Poppypaw looked at Tigerstar as if to say 'You are so staring at Tansypaw. What's so special about her?'

He finally admitted the reason he was staring at her.

"You certainly look like your grandmother."

"Oh, Goldenflower?" replied Tansypaw. "Tawnypelt told me about her."

Tansypaw barely spoke at all. While she was shy by nature, she wasn't normally that shy. It was because she was more afraid of the dark, mysterious forest then she was allowing to show.

She was a cat who was good at not showing her emotions.

What is this place? the young apprentice wondered. Where am I? I hope I wake up soon.

Soon it was morning and she got her wish.

Tawnypelt noticed that her smallest daughter Tansypaw was awake. She liked to wake up early; it was actually about time they got going.

She nudged Tigerheart, who didn't budge.

"Oh, Tansypaw, isn't he such a heavy sleeper?" she complained. Her daughter nodded.

She nosed Tigerheart harder. He woke up.

"Ok, I'm awake!" he told her.

Tawnypelt giggled. He was so much like her brother Brambleclaw when he was younger.

Then he went to poke Poppypaw, who was next to Tigerheart. Poppypaw was an even heavier sleeper than both her brother (or rather half-brother) and uncle.

The tortoiseshell was started when Poppypaw muttered something about Hawkfrost in her sleep.

"Poppypaw, if you don't wake up in three heartbeats Brokenstar will get you," she threatened humorously.

She jerked up and snapped her eyes open. Although the Brokenstar trick had stopped working on all her siblings by the time they were about five moons old, it worked on Poppypaw perfectly well.

Tawnypelt went and awoke her two remaining offspring, Dawnfur and Flamestripe.

"We're not far from ThunderClan."

They went on and soon were at the ThunderClan camp.

Chapter Five: Return

It was morning. Mistykit was sitting outside the nursery, worrying about the dream she had a while ago.

Why did Tigerstar and Hawkfrost seem so interested in me? she thought.

Meanwhile, inside the nursery, Goldenkit was asleep and Smokekit was playing BloodClan with Darkkit and Heronkit.

"Rawr!" exclaimed Smokekit. "I am Scourge, the evil leader of BloodClan! I shall rule the forest!"

"I'm the deputy, Bone," said Darkkit. "I'm almost as evil as Scourge."

Smokekit and Darkkit ran around playing and pretending to be Scourge and Bone.

"Look, Bone," Smokekit meowed. "Do you see that?"

"Yes I do, Scourge," answered Darkkit. "It's a pretty little she-cat. Let's kidnap her."

Smokekit and Darkkit played the prisoner game, with Heronkit as their prisoner.

"We wanna play too," whined Patchkit.

"Can we please play?" asked Ravenkit, who was a bit more kind and polite than his sister.

"No way," refused Smokekit. "Darkkit is still annoyed at you for kicking him yesterday."

"It was an accident," Patchkit argued.

"Hey, Mudkit, do you want to play prisoner with us?" offered Darkkit.

"No, no!" scolded Brook. "Mudkit is too young to play with you!"

They rolled their eyes at her.

"Maybe Mistykit wants to play," suggested Darkkit.

"Maybe," repeated Smokekit. "She's a wimp, but we could try."

They went outside.

"Hey, Mistykit, do you want to play the prisoner game?"

Mistykit shook her head.

"I told you so."

Smokekit, Darkkit, and Heronkit ran around playing prisoners.

"Who are those cats?!" cried Heronkit suddenly.

Her brothers whipped around. There were six cats coming - two tortoiseshell she-cats, a golden she-cat, a brown tabby tom, a ginger tom, and a small creamy-furred she-cat.

"I don't know," whispered Smokekit. "But we don't know them and they don't really smell like ThunderClan."

The kits hid.

I've only visited the new ThunderClan camp once, thought Tawnypelt. But it feels like visiting an old friend I haven't seen since I wasn't much more than a kit. I wonder what the ThunderClanners will think? How will my kits adjust?

A brown she-kit stepped out of the nursery, something she barely looked old enough to do.

She shouldn't really be out by herself. Where's her mother?

Tawnypelt couldn't help but think that the tiny kit looked like her brother, Brambleclaw. And when she looked up she had green eyes just like Firestar.

Oh! She must be Squirrelflight and Brambleclaw's daughter!

The kit looked up curiously.

"Huh?" she meowed very softly.

"Mudkit," Smokekit whispered. "Over here."

She glanced over at them, but didn't do what they said.

"Oh, that Mudkit," Hazeltail was saying to herself as she walked over. "She isn't even a moon old and already she has her mother's mischeviousness. She's either sneaking out, picking fights with other kits, bothering the elders, or being a pest to the queens. I had to get Brook, Daisy, and Brightheart to watch Patchkit, Ravenkit, and Gingerkit while I'm looking for her."

Hazeltail saw Mudkit and picked her up by the scruff, then almost dropped her.

The grey-and-white queen quickly shoved the dark tabby kit back into the nursery.

"Sorry," she called. "I know she's...difficult, but could you watch her as well for a few heartbeats?"

"Of course!" yelled Daisy.

"Hey," snarled Hazeltail. "You're not of ThunderClan. Get out, intruders."

Bramblestar came zipping out of his den. He and Hazeltail had become close since she agreed to nurse Mudkit.

"Tawnypelt?!"

His sister nodded and touched noses with him.

"Hi, Brambleclaw," she meowed. "I've come back because Blackstar's lost his mind. You've already met Flamestripe, Tigerheart, and Dawnfur. These are Poppypaw and Tansypaw."

"Actually, I'm Bramblestar now," Bramblestar corrected. "Hello."

"Hi," said Poppypaw.

Tansypaw nodded. Bramblestar was amazed by how much she looked like his mother, Goldenflower.

Soon it was time for Tawnypelt's two youngest offspring to get ThunderClan mentors. The leader gave Poppypaw to Ferncloud and Tansypaw to Thornclaw.

One day, a half-moon later, Bramblestar was thinking about his lost love when Hazeltail ran into the leader den.

"Have you seen Mudkit?" she asked.

"No," replied Bramblestar. "Is she missing again?"

Hazeltail nodded.

"She got out. Daisy fell asleep while she was supposed to be watching her, that little troublemaker."

Bramblestar was worried. Mudkit was all he had left of Squirrelflight, and he saw so much of his mate in her.

"I know," meowed Graystripe, who was outside getting fresh air and happened to overhear. "You see Mudkit's mother in her, don't you? That's how I feel about Stormfur and Brook's little Heronkit. She has so much Silverstream in her...sorry, I got lost in my thoughts. I'll keep an eye out."

Hazeltail ran around calling for her adopted daughter.

Bramblestar's fur stood up when he scented an enemy Clan in their territory. He went outside and saw a black she-cat holding Mudkit by the scruff.

She put the kit down.

"We found her in the warrior den," the black she-cat explained. "She fell asleep on top of Breezepelt. I brought her here since she smelled of your Clan."

With that, the cat left.

"Oh, she's been found," sighed a relieved Daisy, who was also out looking for Mudkit. "I'll tell Hazeltail." She carried the she-kit back to the nursery.

Later, Mistykit was outside playing with her sisters when she heard a yell.

"Jayfeather! Brightheart is kitting!"

Chapter Six: Brightheart's New Kits

Goldenkit glanced at Mistykit and Heronkit.

"Yay!" she squealed. "We'll have more playmates!"

Jayfeather and Toadpaw ran over to Brightheart and soon her two she-kits were born.

Cloudtail came in.

"Oh, Brightheart," he meowed. "Aren't they beautiful?"

Brightheart nodded and they looked at their kits.

One of them was a white she-cat with ginger patches; she looked like Brightheart. The other one was a light brown tabby with a white chest and white-tipped tail, a lot like Cloudtail's own mother, Princess.

"Morningkit," whispered Brightheart, nosing the ginger-and-white kit.

"That's a wonderful name for her," said Cloudtail. "The brown one looks like a little sparrow. Don't you agree?"

"She does," Brightheart replied. "We should call her Sparrowkit."

Later, Mistykit went into the nursery to see the kits.

"You can look at Morningkit and Sparrowkit, but you can't touch them," warned Brook. "And they are definitely too young to play with you."

Of course timid Mistykit and well-behaved Heronkit knew the rules of the nursery - leave the elders alone, don't bother the pregnant queens, and older kits cannot play with newborn kits even if they're only poking them or tickling them. Brook was mainly worried about Goldenkit, Smokekit, and Darkkit.

Now of course Mudkit would pick on Morningkit and Sparrowkit if she were given the opportunity, but her adoptive mother was keeping an eye on her.

"Where's Mudkit?" asked Brook.

Brightheart glanced over at her.

"I thought you were watching her," answered the queen. "I don't see her anywhere in the nursery."

"No," Brook asserted. "She's with Hazeltail, isn't she?"

"Hazeltail went outside for some fresh air."

"Would you mind watching my kits for just a heartbeat?"

"Not at all."

"Thank you, Brightheart."

The former Tribe of Rushing Water member went out and found Hazeltail.

"Mudkit wouldn't happen to be with you, would she?" meowed Brook.

Hazeltail shook her head.

"I asked Daisy to watch her."

"Daisy isn't in the nursery and neither is Mudkit...oh no!"

Daisy came running over.

"I'm sorry," she apologized. "I just rested my eyes for a few heartbeats and she bolted. And she's fast for a kit."

Half the Clan was out looking for Bramblestar's daughter until it was getting dark out. Jayfeather and Toadpaw had gone to the Moonpool and for some reason were back early.

"Jayfeather, Toadpaw?" questioned Bramblestar. "You're back so early."

Jayfeather dropped a wet ball of brown tabby fur onto the grass.

"You found Mudkit!"

"Mothwing found her playing in the Moonpool," Jayfeather sighed. "She's soaked."

Mudkit gasped and choked out a bit of water.

"Where's my mother?" she asked.

Bramblestar, reminded of Squirrelflight, didn't answer the kit.

"She's looking for you," Jayfeather told her. "Toadpaw is going to go and tell her that you're safe. Eat this and go back to the nursery."

He pushed the fresh-kill towards her and she made a face.

"Yuck, I don't like mice."

"If you don't eat it, Sol will get you," Jayfeather threatened, using the 'evil cat trick' that he heard the queens use on their offspring so much.

"Yeah, right."

"If you don't eat it, Mudclaw will get you."

"No, he won't."

Jayfeather was getting angry and impatient with his little cousin.

"If you don't eat it, Brokenstar will get you."

The Brokenstar method worked on most kits. Hopefully it would work on the brown tabby.

"I'm not afraid of Brokenstar."

"If you don't eat it, Tigerst--"

Before he even finished saying 'Tigerstar,' Mudkit ate it and went back to her nest.

Then she fell asleep.

Chapter Seven: Mudkit's Nightmare

Mudkit had had similar dreams before. It wasn't the first time she fell asleep and found herself in the forest lit only by some glowing fungus.

But it was just as scary for her every time.

Sometimes when Mudkit had a dream with the forest in it, she would see other cats there. Often they were scary cats who glared at her and ordered her to get lost.

"Hey, excuse me?" she said when she saw another cat.

The orange-eyed tabby turned around.

"What do you want?" he meowed.

"How do I get out of here?" she asked.

"And you expect me to know that?" sneered the tom. "Go whining to your mother, kit."

She scoffed and walked away.

Mudkit noticed a pale grey tom with blue eyes.

"Who are you?" she asked. "You're looking at me funny."

He stared at the little kit. His heart leaped when he saw she had her mother's eyes, but still he wasn't sure what to think of her. She had too much of her father in her.

"I'm Ashfur," he finally told her.

"Hi, Ashfur. I'm Mudkit and I'm lost."

"Too bad for you."

No way was Ashfur helping his enemy's kit. But on the other hand, she was Squirrelflight's kit as well...

"If you wake up you'll be in the nursery."

Mudkit nodded and vanished from the dream.

"Hey, Mudkit!"

Mudkit opened her eyes and looked up at a ginger she-cat who looked just like Sandstorm.

"What do you want, Gingerkit?" she asked.

"You talked in your sleep. Loudly," meowed Gingerkit.

"You woke up all the queens," added Darkkit. "Morningkit, too. And us."

Brightheart stomped over.

"Her again," she muttered. "That kit's more trouble than her mother was."

Bramblestar walked in.

"A very unhappy Longtail just informed me that there was a sleeptalking kit in the nursery," he said. "Apparently her voice carried and woke up Jayfeather, most of the warriors, two apprentices, and all the elders."

"Must have been an awfully loud kit," joked Smokekit.

He went back to his nest after receiving a stern look from his mother.

"I know who did it!" squeaked a young she-kit.

"Who did it, Darkkit?" asked Bramblestar.

"It was Patchkit," he lied. He and his siblings (excluding Mistykit and Heronkit) were apparently still upset about the time the grey-and-white cat kicked them.

"Patchkit doesn't sleeptalk," argued Hazeltail. "She's my daughter, I'd know if she did."

"Neither do I," Ravenkit asserted boldly. "So it couldn't have been one of us."

Chapter Eight: Goldenkit Solves a Mystery

"Who was it, then?" questioned Bramblestar.

"Let's see..." began Goldenkit. "So, you're sure the voice came from the nursery? And that it was a kit's voice?"

"Longtail certainly was."

"It has to be a kit. That automatically eliminates Hazeltail, Daisy, Brightheart, and Brook. Patchkit and Ravenkit aren't suspects anymore, either. That leaves Smokekit, Darkkit, Heronkit, Mistykit, Gingerkit, Morningkit, Sparrowkit, and Mudk--"

Mudkit let out an incredibly loud snore that made them all chuckle.

"And Mudkit."

"What about you?" asked Brook.

"I'm not a suspect!" cried Goldenkit. "I'm the one solving the mystery! And I do not talk in my sleep."

"You're definitely a suspect, little sister," hissed Smokekit. "You could be lying. Look at you, acting all defensive like that."

"Fine," the golden brown she-cat sighed. "I'm a suspect. Brightheart, Morningkit and Sparrowkit don't know how to talk yet, right?"

"Right."

"That narrows it down to either me, Smokekit, Darkkit, Heronkit, Mistykit, Gingerkit, or Mudkit."

"Mistykit's always been a sleepwalker," Brook pointed out. "But she's never talked in her sleep."

"Now we have six suspects."

"Smokekit, Darkkit, Heronkit, and you don't sleeptalk either," meowed the former Tribe cat. "I've slept beside you since you were newborns. So now there are two suspects."

"It's either Gingerkit or Mudkit," declared Goldenkit. "Hazeltail, has Gingerkit ever been a sleeptalker?"

"To be honest, I'm not sure," confessed Hazeltail. "You might as well go ask Sandstorm while she's still awake. I doubt she's in a pleasant mood, though. As if she ever is."

Goldenkit headed out.

"No!" scolded Brook. "You can't leave the nursery without me, especially at this time of night!"

"But Brook," whined Goldenkit. "I'm almost old enough to be an apprentice. And the elder den isn't that far away from the nursery."

"I don't care," Brook insisted. "I'm going with you."

Goldenkit gave in to her mother's demands.

"Sandstorm?" she softly asked, creeping into the elder den.

"What?" snapped the crabby elder.

"You're Gingerkit's mother," she began.

"I certainly am," Sandstorm interrupted. "And I nearly died giving her life."

"During the short time you were a nursery queen, do you remember Gingerkit talking in her sleep?" asked Goldenkit, choosing her words carefully.

"No, not once."

"Then I know who the talker is!"

She went back to the nursery, closely followed by the former prey-hunter.

"It was...Mudkit!" Goldenkit exclaimed.

Bramblestar, amused, nudged his daughter awake.

"Bramblestar?"

"Mudkit, you talked in your sleep and woke everyone up."

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to."

"It's alright. It just means you'll have to come sleep in the leader den with me."

"But I wanna sleep in the nursery with my friends."

"I'll tell you a story."

"Is it scary like the one about Hawkfrost?"

The leader flinched upon hearing his deceased half-brother's name.

"Or boring like the one about how Onestar became leader of WindClan?"

"No," Bramblestar assured. "It's nothing like that. It's about a brave cat named Redtai..."

"I like that one!" Mudkit exclaimed.

With that she went to sleep in the leader den, the other kits rather jealous of her.

"What a privilege," Heronkit meowed. "Brook, can I sleep in the leader den too?"

The brown she-cat was sound asleep.

"It's not fair," Smokekit mumbled. "She only gets to do that because she's Bramblestar's daughter."

"You woke me up," growled Daisy.

The kits stopped talking and went to sleep.

Chapter Nine: My Immortal

(A/N: This chapter is inspired by the Evanesence song of the same name.)

Bramblestar had just gotten back from patrol. His daughter, Mudkit, was peacefully sleeping.

He was thinking about Mudkit's mother, his dead mate - Squirrelflight.

Her face haunted his once pleasant dreams. Why did she have to die?

Whenever everything was quiet, he would hear her voice. "Bramblestar," he could have sworn he heard her say.

He actually turned around, half-expecting to see her there.

But she was not. Disappointed, he turned away and sat back down.

Whenever he breathed through his nose, Bramblestar would smell Squirrelflight's scent. But it was only his imagination.

Sometimes he would imagine seeing her standing there, or feeling her ginger fur brush against his, or just Squirrelflight being there.

He would never see her again. And it was all because of...

That was an unfinishable sentence. He wanted to blame some cat for her death. But he couldn't blame his kits, StarClan, or even himself.

Squirrelflight was the only cat who could be blamed. After all, she wasn't murdered - she killed herself.

The leader sadly watched his kit sleeping. She was so much like her mother, and all he had left of her. He would do anything for her.

When Squirrelflight was frightened, Bramblestar would calm her fears. Oh, what he wouldn't give to travel back in time to prevent her from commiting suicide.

He couldn't travel back in time, though. His mate was gone and there was nothing he could do.

He wouldn't see her again, ever.

Bramblestar tried so hard to tell himself that Squirrelflight was gone. But it was so hard to believe.

Mudkit began to stir. She muttered something he couldn't understand.

"Good morning, Bramblestar," she greeted cheerfully.

"Hi, Mudkit."

She looked outside.

"Did I sleep in?" she asked.

"Yes, you did," he answered.

"Oh. Am I in trouble?"

"Of course not!"

"Hey, guess what I dreamed about?"

"What did you dream about?"

"I...nevermind. It's nothing. I should go now, I hear Hazeltail calling me."

With that the kit turned around and left.

Bramblestar watched her leave.

She has so much Squirrelflight in her, he thought.

He looked down at his paws and sighed.

Squirrelflight...

(A/N: Aww, that chapter was sad for a filler. Poor, poor Bramblestar.)

Chapter Ten: New Warriors

"May all cats old enough to catch their own prey come to the Highrock for a Clan meeting!" Bramblestar yelled.

The Clan came over.

"Blossompaw, come here," he commanded.

Blossompaw came over.

"I, Bramblestar, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I command her to you as a warrior in her turn. Blossompaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?"

"I do."

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name."

The tortoiseshell's heart raced. She couldn't believe she was finally becoming a warrior!

"Blossompaw, from this moment you will be known as Blossomdapple. StarClan honors your intelligence and peacefulness, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan."

Blossomdapple stepped back down and joined her fellow warriors. They congratulated her.

"Briarpaw, come here," meowed Bramblestar.

Briarpaw obeyed him.

"I, Bramblestar, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. She has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I command her to you as a warrior in her turn. Briarpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?" he asked

"I do," she answered.

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name," he announced. "Briarpaw, from this moment you will be known as Briarstorm. StarClan honors your determination and strength, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan."

She joined her sister.

"Bumblepaw?"

Bumblepaw stepped forward hesitantly. He was clearly nervous.

What if I don't like my new name? he worried.

"I, Bramblestar, call upon my warrior ancestors to look down on this apprentice. He has trained hard to understand the ways of your noble code, and I command him to you as a warrior in his turn. Bumblepaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and protect and defend this Clan, even at the cost of your life?" questioned Bramblestar.

"I do," Bumblepaw whispered.

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Bumblepaw, from this moment you will be known as Bumblestripe. StarClan honors your loyalty and energy, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ThunderClan."

"Blossomdapple! Briarstorm! Bumblestripe!" chanted the Clan.

"I can't believe we're warriors now," whispered Blossomdapple.

"I know," squealed Briarstorm. "I just love our new names, don't you? Briarstorm suits me so well."

"Yes," agreed Blossomdapple. "I'm really happy with my name."

"I'm glad he didn't call me something stupid, like Bumbledirt or Bumbleflower," said their tabby brother.

"I'm so thrilled!" exclaimed the brown she-cat.

(A/N: Yeah, another filler chapter. Sorry. But I want this to be a really long story (like 20+ chapters), so of course there will have to be some filler. I promise you, it will get more interesting.)

Chapter Eleven: Sneaking

Mudkit was three moons old. The queens were finally letting her play with the older kits.

It was a chilly night. Goldenkit was in her nest when a small tabby came over and poked her.

"What is it?" she asked.

"Goldenkit," meowed Mudkit. "Do you want to play with me?"

Goldenkit nodded happily.

"I'm bored of this game," Mudkit told her after a little while. "Let's play...attack Goldenkit!"

Mudkit leaped on the golden she-cat. They wrestled each other.

"Goldenkit and Mudkit," snapped Hazeltail. "The others are trying to sleep."

They groaned. While Hazeltail wasn't looking, they snuck out.

Goldenkit knew better than to sneak out. She had been told so many times not to. She knew that she'd get in trouble.

But still, Goldenkit snuck out.

Mudkit, on the other hand, didn't know better. She was younger and much more naive and vulnerable than Goldenkit was.

The older kit knew that what she and her friend were doing was wrong. But they still did it.

Soon they found themselves far away from camp. They could smell a strange scent.

"I'm kind of scared," whispered Mudkit. "This doesn't look at all like ThunderClan. It's much too open...I don't see any trees to hide under."

"Do you think we wandered too far?"

"Yes."

The two kits were trying to find their way back when they heard a voice.

"What are you doing here, ThunderClanners?" hissed the voice.

They turned around slowly and found themselves face-to-face with a mottled tabby tom.

"Nothing," squeaked Mudkit.

"Nothing," mocked the mottled tabby. "This is WindClan territory, you know."

"Who are you?"

"I am Onestar."

"Hi, Onestar," meowed Goldenkit. "Our names are Goldenkit and Mudkit. We were just leaving."

Some cats came rushing over. Goldenkit and Mudkit turned around and saw Jayfeather, Hazeltail, and Bramblestar.

Hazeltail angrily grabbed Mudkit by the scruff. Jayfeather didn't have to grab Goldenkit; she knew to come over.

"We're sorry," apologized Bramblestar.

With that they returned to the ThunderClan camp without speaking a word to one another.

"You!" snapped the queen once they were there. "I can't believe you did that. You know better!"

Bramblestar looked upset.

"I'm extremely disappointed in both of you," he growled. "You may not leave the nursery for a quarter-moon. You're lucky I'm not delaying your apprenticeship, too."

Goldenkit sneered under her breath. She knew Bramblestar was biased because Mudkit was his daughter.

"I can't believe you snuck out," commented Brook. "You know better."

She laid down in her nest and sighed.

"Well, this is a major bummer."

Chapter Twelve: A Quarter-Moon

Goldenkit felt extremely bored. She couldn't go out to play, or grab a meal from the fresh-kill pile, or even just take a walk.

She noticed that the queens all either had their backs turned to her or weren't in the nursery.

Now's my chance! she almost said out loud.

She bolted and almost got out.

"Get back here!" Brook shouted.

The kit sighed and went back inside.

"We just had to sneak out, didn't we?" she complained to Mudkit.

"Well, I didn't know any better!" her friend exclaimed.

With that she trotted as far away from Goldenkit as possible while still being in the nursery.

Goldenkit was not happy. Not only was she not allowed to leave the nursery until she was almost an apprentice, she had just upset Mudkit.

Have I ruined our friendship? she wondered.

Eventually, a quarter-moon passed. Goldenkit and Mudkit couldn't believe they were finally free!

"I really wanna be an apprentice," she whined to Darkkit.

"Go ask Brook when that's gonna happen," he told her, cleaning his paw.

"Brook, when do we get to be apprentices?" asked Goldenkit.

"In a half-moon," answered Brook.

"That's too long," whined Goldenkit.

Brook sighed.

"Maybe if you stop whining, it'll come quicker."

Later, Hazeltail was going out. Brook and Brightheart were both asleep, as were their kits.

"Daisy, normally I wouldn't trust you to do this," she meowed. "But Sandstorm, Longtail, and Dustpelt all have ticks, and Jayfeather and Toadpaw need help so...would you mind watching Patchkit, Ravenkit, Gingerkit, and Mudkit for a heartbeat or two?"

Daisy nodded. (A/N: That queen falling asleep while she's supposed to be looking after kits has become a running gag! That's why Hazeltail was worried about having Daisy watch her litter.)

When the grey-and-white cat came back, she was sure to make sure her mother had listened to her instructions.

Let's see... she thought. Patchkit, Ravenkit, and Gingerkit are still here, thank StarClan. That's a good sign. Oh, no. There's Daisy sleeping on the job.

"DAIIIIISSYYYYYYYY!" she screamed into the cream-colored cat's ear.

"Ahh!" exclaimed Daisy, jerking awake. "Oh, hello, Hazeltail."

"You wouldn't happen to know where Mudkit is, would you?" asked Hazeltail.

Daisy looked at the nest where Hazeltail's litter was. She nervously shook her head.

"When I rested my eyes, she was over there playing with her brother."

"Ravenkit, do you know where Mudkit is?" Hazeltail questioned.

"No," her son told her. "She said she was going somewhere, though."

Hazeltail and Daisy exchanged a glance. Then they left the nursery.

"Bramblestar," said Hazeltail.

"Yes?"

"Looks like Mudkit didn't learn, even after being grounded for a quarter-moon. She's gone on one of her adventures again."

Chapter Thirteen: Finding Mudkit

A search party was about to be sent out for Mudkit. It consisted of Lionblaze, Icecloud, Blossomdapple, Bumblestripe, Thornclaw, Tansypaw, Whitewing, Birchpelt, Millie, Brackenfur, and Stormfur.

"Can I come, too?" asked Tawnypelt. "My daughter is going. Besides, Mudkit is my niece..."

The leader nodded.

"The more cats who are out looking for her, the better."

"Bramblestar, are you sure this is fair?" asked Dovewing. "You have about half the warriors in the Clan searching for that kit."

It's all my fault, thought Goldenkit. I'm a bad influence. If it weren't for me, Mudkit wouldn't think it was ok to run away.

"Dovewing," said Birchpelt. "She's his daughter and we have no clue how long she's been missing or how far away she is. She could be halfway to the mountains for all we know."

"You're absolutely sure that no cat saw her leaving?" Brackenfur questioned.

Bramblestar nodded.

"Now go look for her."

Bramblestar was completely freaking out. His Mudkit, who reminded him so much of Squirrelflight, was missing. She could be anywhere.

He had wanted to go with the search party, but the other cats talked him out of it. After all, if both the leader and the deputy were out...

I must say, thought Icecloud. This is the hugest search party I've ever seen. It looks more like a large raiding party.

It was dawn when the search party returned. Mudkit's fur was quite messy and she looked guilty.

When Bramblestar saw her, he screamed, ran over, and licked the top of her head. (A/N: In case it's not obvious, he screamed because he was so happy to see her.)

"She was pretty far away when we found her," Blossomdapple told him. "In the middle of this big Twolegplace, in fact. And she had been playing in a mud puddle."

Bramblestar glanced at his daughter.

"Go back to the nursery."

She obeyed.

Chapter Fourteen: Surprise

(A/N: Sorry for taking forever and a day to update. Anyway, according to a poll on the talk page Mudkit has stolen the spotlight from Goldenkit, Smokekit, and Mistykit too much. I'll try not to do that anymore. In fact, Little Miss Spotlight-Stealer won't even be mentioned in this chapter.)

Goldenkit woke up one morning. It had been a long time since the day she snuck out.

"Brook," she began. "When do we get to be apprentices?"

"Surprise!" exclaimed Brook. "You're six moons old. You get to be apprentices...today!"

Goldenkit jumped up in her nest. She screamed at the top of her lungs and ran to wake up her littermates.

"Heronkit! Heronkit!" she yelled, shaking her silver sibling. "We're gonna be apprenticed!"

Heronkit sighed and got up.

Goldenkit ran over and woke up Darkkit in the same way. Then she woke up Smokekit and Mistykit.

"Have you had too much catnip?" sneered Smokekit.

In response to the teasing, Goldenkit pushed her brother. He pushed her back.

"Hey!" she snapped.

Pretty soon Goldenkit and Smokekit were on the ground fighting loud enough to wake up half the forest.

"Keep it down!" screeched Longtail.

"Who do you think will be your mentor?" whispered Heronkit.

Mistykit shrugged.

"I don't know."

"I hope I get Brackenfur," Heronkit told her. "It would be cool to have the deputy as my mentor."

"May all cats old enough to catch their own prey come to the Highrock for a Clan meeting!" Bramblestar yelled.

Of course, everyone went over to the Highrock.

Goldenpaw was the last kit to become an apprentice. She was so excited as she went to the side with Cinderheart, her new mentor. (A/N: XD I didn't feel like typing up their apprentice ceremonies.)

The grey she-cat looked somewhat worried, and she kept staring at Goldenpaw.

Why is Cinderheart looking at me like that? she wondered. It...it reminds me of the way a queen would look at her kit.

"Hey, Mistypaw," Smokepaw asked his sister.

She looked up.

"Yes?"

"What do you want your warrior name to be?"

Mistypaw paused for a moment. (A/N: It's weird; I'm so used to calling them by their kit names that I keep forgetting. I almost called her Mistykit again there.)

"I don't think it's that important, really," she answered. "Being a good cat is more imporatnt. I guess a plain old ordinary name like Mistytail or Mistyface. Yeah, I'd be satisfied with something like that. You?"

Smokepaw looked surprised.

"I'd like to get something cool, like Smokethorn."

The she-cat wasn't really paying attention.

Mistypaw was outside when elderly Mousefur make a startling announcement. Something no cat would have ever thought they'd hear come out of her mouth.

"I'm pregnant," Mousefur said.

(A/N: Any name suggestions for the kits? Or guesses as to who the father is?)

Chapter Fifteen: Determination

(A/N: Leafwhisker was the first to guess who the father was. As such, she gets to name one of the kits!)

Everyone gasped.

Great StarClan! Mistypaw exclaimed in her head. Mousefur having kits?! But...but elders don't have kits! She's old, it's dangerous!

"I'm pretty sure that makes you the oldest she-cat to get pregnant," said Toadpaw, trying to keep calm.

Mousefur glared at him.

"I'm not that old!" she snapped.

"Mousefur...are they mine?" Longtail quietly asked.

The elderly she-cat nodded.

"How long have you been...pregnant?" asked Jayfeather cautiously.

"Almost two moons," she answered.

"That means they're almost due!" cried Jayfeather. "Mousefur, you really shouldn't have waited this long. You'll have to move to the nursery immediately."

Mousefur nodded and went to the nursery. She didn't quite seem to realize how shocking and risky it was.

Her old age must be getting to her brain, Goldenpaw thought, giggling.

Then Goldenpaw had to go train with Cinderheart.

While they were training, the warrior couldn't seem to focus.

"Cinderheart?" asked Goldenpaw. "What are you thinking about?"

"N-nothing!" cried Cinderheart, quickly returning to training.

There was something that Cinderheart wasn't telling Goldenpaw. And she was determined to find out what that may be.

So after they were done training, she went to talk to her siblings.

Heronpaw looked up at Goldenpaw through pretty river-blue eyes. (A/N: She has Silverstream's eyes.)

"What?" she questioned.

"I think," Goldenpaw whispered. "That Cinderheart has a secret. She kept spacing out during our training session, and she wouldn't tell me what was wrong."

Mistypaw nodded.

"I think so, too," the grey tabby stated. "Have you seen the way she stares at us all the time?"

"It's almost like...almost like..."

The golden brown she-cat was unable to finish that sentence.

"I just realized something!" cried Smokepaw.

His brother and sisters turned to look at him.

"Goldenpaw, Mistypaw and I look nothing like Stormfur or Brook!"

"Well, you and I are grey like Stormfur."

"But my fur is darker and fluffier than his and yours is a lot brighter," argued Smokepaw.

Mistypaw hesitated before speaking again.

"Stormfur's mother was silver, just like Heronpaw. I could have gotten her pelt, too, only darker."

She didn't want to be adopted. No, Stormfur and Brook were her mother and father. They had to be!

"Still, though," Smokepaw replied. "I wouldn't call you silver. And what about your amber eyes?"

"I have Stormfur's eyes!" defended Mistypaw.

"But yours are bigger and darker. And plenty of cats have amber eyes. What about my eyes?"

"I have blue eyes, too," Heronpaw pointed out.

"True, true. But what about Goldenpaw?"

"I'm a brown tabby, like Brook. But she's light brown."

Stormfur and Brook had been lying to them the whole time. They weren't their parents.

Chapter Sixteen: The Three Kits

(A/N: Ugh, I'm really sick of writing (non-graphic, of course!) birth scenes. They get boring after a while. So, in case it isn't obvious...

Mousefurhadherkitsalready.

I am soo not repeating that :D.)

Smokepaw was in the nursery. He and several other cats were looking at their new Clanmates. Mousefur and Longtail gazed down at their offspring with pride in their eyes.

The first kit was Robinkit, a dusky brown she-cat like Mousefur. Her eyes hadn't opened yet.

The old queen bent down and licked Rootkit, a tom with a long tail like his father and a brown-and-white pelt. He looked a bit like her.

Duskkit was a she-kit who bore a startling resemblance to Longtail. Her fur was a pale brown rippling with dark stripes, and her tail was just as long as his.

"They're gorgeous," meowed Hazeltail, who had just left the nursery.

"May I play with them?" asked Morningkit.

"No, no," scolded Brightheart. "They aren't old enough yet."

Morningkit pouted and went to play with her sister.

Honestly, Smokepaw missed being in the nursery. Back when Brook was his mother, Darkpaw and Heronpaw were his littermates, and he was always warm and safe.

"Smokepaw!" his mentor called.

"Coming, Berrynose!" yelled Smokepaw.

Goldenpaw lay in apprentice den, feeling betrayed. The cats she thought were her mother and father lied to her.

"Hey, Goldenpaw!" meowed Gingerpaw. "Don't just sit there. You've been in the apprentice den for forever!"

"I don't have anything to do," sighed Goldenpaw.

"I'm going on patrol with Cloudtail. You can come, too, if Cinderheart is ok with it."

Goldenpaw nodded. She and Gingerpaw had gotten closer since they were apprentices together, and there was no way she was missing out on an opportunity to hang out with her new friend.

While they were patrolling, Cinderheart once again seemed distant and sad somehow. She wasn't even meeting Goldenpaw's eyes.

Goldenpaw exchanged a glance with Gingerpaw. She, too, seemed to notice Cinderheart's odd behaviour. She shrugged, as if to say 'I dunno.'

Later, the golden apprentice was outside when she saw her mentor walking away all by herself.

Now's my chance! she thought.

She ran over and stopped the grey she-cat.

Cinderheart nervously tried to move out of the way, but Goldenpaw blocked her path.

"Cinderheart," she growled. "I know you have a secret. Tell me what it is."

"Gold--"

"Tell me!" she angrily hissed.

Cinderheart sighed.

"Alright, Goldenpaw, I give in," she began. "I have a secret."

"Tell me," Goldenpaw repeated, getting agitated.

"I...I can't. I'm sorry, but I can't. It would really be better if you didn't know."

She glared up at her mentor and ran back to the apprentice den. She went to her nest between Smokepaw and Patchpaw, curled up in a ball, and shut her eyes tightly.

"What's the matter?" asked Tansypaw.

Goldenpaw looked up at the older apprentice.

"Nothing. Leave me alone, Tansypaw."

Tansypaw backed away and went to her own nest.

Why can't Cinderheart tell me her secret? the golden brown tabby thought, tears welling up in her eyes. First I find out that Stormfur and Brook aren't my parents and Darkpaw and Heronpaw aren't my siblings. Then...this! Just tell me already!

Those were her last thoughts before crying herself to sleep.

(A/N: Aww, poor Goldenpaw! Hmm, I wonder what's up with Cinderheart? Oh, yeah, and any suggestions for Gingerpaw's warrior name are welcome *hint hint*.)

Chapter Seventeen: Something Very Important

(A/N: Hey, guys, this story will probably be longer than I thought. It could end up being 30+ chapters. Just thought I'd let you know. Oh, and sorry for so many A/Ns.)

It was early in the morning. Smokepaw had called a secret meeting with his siblings, both real and adoptive, to discuss something very important.

"Just what are you so concerned about?" asked Heronpaw, who was crankier than usual. She wasn't a morning cat.

Smokepaw took a deep breath.

"Our parents. Who do you think are our parents?"

"You, Goldenpaw, and Mistypaw?" asked Darkpaw.

Smokepaw nodded.

"Who do you guys think we look like?"

"Well...let's see," Darkpaw began. "Goldenpaw, you kinda look like Brackenfur and Thornclaw."

Goldenpaw paused for a minute, then nodded.

"I guess I do," she said.

"What about Mistypaw and I?" Smokepaw asked.

"I think you look like--" Heronpaw was cut off.

"Hey, guys!" exclaimed the newly-named Mudpaw. "Whatcha doin'?"

"Trying to have a private conversation," growled Darkpaw. "Without you."

"Oh. Umm...okay."

She quickly walked away.

"Sorry, Heronpaw. Where were you?" questioned Smokepaw.

Just as Heronpaw was about to reply, her mentor Foxclaw called her over to hunt with him. (A/N: I'm switching POVs now. Sorry if Goldenpaw sounds a bit OOC.)

Goldenpaw couldn't seem to focus on what they were discussing. She couldn't help but think about something else. Or rather, someone.

Tigerheart. Sweet, kind Tigerheart. She found herself obsessing over the tabby warrior.

Goldenpaw tried hard to quit thinking about Tigerheart. But when Mudpaw came over and interrupted them, she thought of him again because of the family resemblance.

She couldn't get him out of her head. His warm amber eyes, his brown pelt...she hardly knew him, but he was all she could think about.

Have I got a...crush?! she wondered. Is this...could this be...love?

"GOL-DEN-PAW!" screeched Darkpaw. "Snap out of it already!"

"Sorry!" cried Goldenpaw as she most definitely snapped out of it.

(A/N: Goldenpaw and Tigerheart, sitting in a tree...LOL! Three guesses who her ma--*Quickly covers mouth* Oops, I wasn't supposed to say that! Tee hee hee.)

Chapter Eighteen: Smoke

It was late at night. The camp was quiet, aside from the occasional cool breeze rustling the tree branches. Even the loudest kits and the grumpiest elders were quiet.

Mistypaw lay in her nest of moss, sleeping. Suddenly, she was woken up.

She moaned, sleepily opened her amber eyes, and looked over at a nearby nest. There was the source of the noise.

It was her brother, Smokepaw. He was tossing and turning while mumbling something in his sleep.

That's odd, she thought. Smokepaw doesn't usually sleeptalk.

Tansypaw groggily opened a forest-green eye.

"Who's doin' that?" she asked, her ginger body barely visible in the shadows.

The other apprentices began to stir.

"Smokepaw!" hissed Poppypaw. "Shut up! How can you expect us to sleep when you're talking so loud?"

"Get up," growled Mudpaw. "You'd better have a good excuse for disturbing my beauty sleep." (A/N: I've decided that Mudpaw needs more character development, so I'm giving her a temper like Sandstorm, Tigerstar, and *sob* SQUIRRELFLIGHT...)

Smokepaw opened an eye.

"Mistypaw! Mistypaw!" he cried. "I need to talk to you. You, Goldenpaw, Darkpaw, and Heronpaw. Behind the apprentice den."

"Can't it wait?"

"No way. It has to be now."

"I wish you would just wait until tomorrow," complained Ravenpaw. "Let us get some rest for once." (A/N: I know, I know, he normally wouldn't act like that. But they're all grumpy from being woken up in the middle of the night. How would you feel if your annoying classmate/sibling/friend/whatever woke you up at 4:00 AM?)

Smokepaw ran over and shook Goldenpaw, Darkpaw, and Heronpaw awake. They then went outside.

"I had a dream," Smokepaw panted, his voice shaking. "I saw smoke in the sky. There was mist too, but it was golden brown instead of grey."

"Golden, smoke, and mist?" gasped Heronpaw.

Smokepaw nodded.

"Then a cat with stars in her pelt appeared. I didn't know her name, but she smelled like ThunderClan. She told me that the secret of our parentage 'lies with mysterious cinders.'"

"It must be Cinderheart!" cried Goldenpaw. "She must know who our real parents are!"

"That would explain why she's been acting so strange," Heronpaw pointed out.

"Yes, definitely. Smokepaw? What do you think?"

"I think we should confront Cinderheart tomorrow and make her tell us about our parents. If we go in the warrior den at this time of night, they won't be happy with us."

They all agreed on that, then went back to bed.

The next morning, they got up early when they heard the dawn patrol, which Cinderheart conveniently happened to be on.

Goldenpaw, Smokepaw, Mistypaw, Darkpaw, and Heronpaw followed the patrol through the forest. They hid in the bushes and were extra quiet.

After following the patrol for a long time, they finally found an opportunity to get Cinderheart alone.

"Alright, Cinderheart!" exclaimed Goldenpaw. "We know why you've been acting so funny. We know that we're not Stormfur and Brook's kits - at least, Smokepaw, Mistypaw and I aren't."

Cinderheart was suddenly incredibly interested in the forest floor.

Then, Smokepaw realized something. He looked at Cinderheart, then Mistypaw, then back again.

Mistypaw looked just like Cinderheart, only her eyes were amber instead of blue. His own eyes were exactly the same shade of blue as the tabby warrior. Meanwhile, Goldenpaw's face looked a lot like Cinderheart's, although her fur was brown and her eyes were lighter blue.

"You're our mother," gasped Smokepaw. "That's what you've been hiding."

(A/N: ...ZOMG!!)

Chapter Nineteen: You're Mine

There was a long and awkward silence. Finally, Cinderheart broke it.

"Yes," she nodded, looking asthough she might cry. "Goldenpaw, Smokepaw, Mistypaw...you're mine."

"How...why did you keep this secret from us?!" cried Smokepaw.

"It's a long story," she replied. "You really would be better off not knowing."

"Who's our father?" demanded Goldenpaw, so angry her voice was getting shrill.

"That's why I can't tell you," Cinderheart quickly replied. "I wasn't supposed to love him. Your father, as in."

"So, what? We're halfClan now?!" cried Goldenpaw. "Alright, you liar, where's our father from? ShadowClan? WindClan? RiverClan? Or are we half-kittypet or something?!"

"No, no. Your father is..."

Nobody said anything for a minute.

"What?" Goldenpaw finally said.

"I'm sorry, but I just cannot tell you."

At that, Goldenpaw stormed off. The other apprentices all ran after her.

"Goldenpaw, we have to get Cinderheart to tell us who our father is!" pleaded Mistypaw.

The golden she-cat just kept running away.

"That's it!" Mistypaw shrieked. Everyone turned around and looked at her.

"I'm sick of being the weak one," she growled. "I don't want to be bossed around anymore. I'm done with begging and crying all the time. I am not going to be the weakling anymore, understand?!"

Smokepaw backed away and then nodded. He really wasn't used to his little sister raising her voice. She was always so docile.

"Goldenpaw," she began. "We are going back there and we are making Cinderheart tell us about our father."

"Why should I listen to you?"

This was where Mistypaw drew the line. She had reached her limit. She couldn't take it anymore.

She clawed Goldenpaw across the face.

"Ouch!" her sister wailed as she ran off. "Help, my crazy sister just attacked me!"

Mistypaw felt guilty. She had just had an epiphany (A/N: Hopefully I spelled that right. I strongly doubt it, though.) - she really, truly no longer wanted to be the cat everyone could pick on. But was that an excuse to lash out at her sibling?

A long time after that, Goldenpaw padded into the apprentice den with a scratch on her face. Mistypaw winced; there would probably be a permanent scar under her pale blue eye.

"Hey...I'm sorry."

Goldenpaw hardly acknowledged that.

"I've figured it out."

"What?" asked Heronpaw, looking up. Thankfully there were no other apprentices in the den besides her (Heronpaw), Goldenpaw, Smokepaw, and Mistypaw.

"Why Cinderheart can't tell us about our father. I...I figured out who he is."

"Who is it?" asked Smokepaw.

(A/N: Another cliffhanger! And in case it's unclear, Mistypaw is the kind of person (err...cat) that bottles up their emotions until they just can't take it anymore and blow up. All that time, she had been hiding her feelings - she felt insecure, sad, vulnerable, and left out by her littermates. I know people who are a lot like her...)

Chapter Twenty: Father

(A/N: Forestpaw, Leafwhisker: Thank you for your name suggestions. One of them will definitely be used. Dawnfeather: Nope! Good guess, but it's not Firestar.)

Mistypaw anxiously waited while Goldenpaw was silent. Then her sister spoke up.

"Jayfeather. Jayfeather is our father."

"What?!" cried Heronpaw, her head jerking up.

"Jayfeather is our father," repeated Goldenpaw. "I have his eyes. Smokepaw acts like him. As for you, Mistypaw...you seem to take after Cinderheart."

(A/N: Sorry, Jay/Cinder haters! Please don't chase me with pitchforks and torches!)

To say that it was a lot to take in was an extreme understatement. There were no words for how Mistypaw felt, except, perhaps, for 'shocked like you wouldn't believe' or 'unimaginably surprised.'

All she could do was stand there and stare at her sister with wide eyes.

"You're right," Smokepaw finally breathed.

"I realized it while he was treating me. We're going to talk to him."

Before they could protest, Goldenpaw was dragging them to the medicine den.

"Jayfeather," she began. "We need to talk to you. Alone."

Toadpaw nodded and left.

"Why didn't you tell us that you were our father?!" she cried.

Jayfeather gasped and took a step back. His eyes were wide.

"What?"

Mistypaw realized why Jayfeather was so surprised.

"Cinderheart never told you. That...that she had your kits. It was because you're a medicine cat."

Now it all made sense.

Chapter Twenty-One: Promise

Smokepaw had gotten Cinderheart, who was now in the medicine cat den talking to Jayfeather.

"I'm sorry," she apologized.

"Why didn't you tell me about the kits?"

"Well, it's because you're a medicine cat and all..."

"Oh, it's ok. I just wish you would have told me."

Jayfeather and Cinderheart turned to their offspring.

"Goldenpaw, Smokepaw, Mistypaw," meowed Cinderheart. "We're proud of you and we love you, but your father is a medicine cat. You can't tell anyone that we're your parents. Do you promise?"

They nodded.

"We promise," Goldenpaw said. "But first, you have to tell us."

Cinderheart sighed and began to tell them the story.

"Long ago, I fell in love with Jayfeather. But as you know, medicine cats aren't supposed to have mates. So, we had to mate in secret.

When I got pregnant with you, I didn't know what to do. I was worried that I'd be banished, or your father wouldn't want you, or you wouldn't be accepted...so I had to make it look like you'd been abandoned. Sorreltail found you and brought you to camp, where Brook agreed to pretend to be your mother."

"My mother was a medicine cat," Jayfeather quietly said. "And my father was a WindClan warrior."

Cinderheart nodded.

"Leafpool and Crowfeather."

Mistypaw couldn't help thinking that she had heard those names before.

"Mistypaw, you have her amber eyes," mentioned Jayfeather.

She just couldn't shake off the feeling that she knew who Leafpool was somehow.

Chapter Twenty-Two: Unknown

Goldenpaw looked at Brook Where Small Fish Swim. It felt strange, seeing her and knowing that she wasn't her mother, yet having to pretend that she was.

Will I ever tell her? she wondered. That I know she's not my mother?

She was still not quite over the shock of finding out that she and her siblings were really the kits of Jayfeather and Cinderheart.

A medicine cat and a warrior... she thought. Absolutely against the warrior code. I shouldn't exist...

Goldenpaw was then called to go on patrol with her mentor and Tigerheart. While she knew it would be slightly tense between her and Cinderheart, she was still glad to go with Tigerheart.

I'll admit that I have a crush on him. But is it more than that? Could this be love?

While they were on hunting patrol, she caught two rabbits. Her mentor was thrilled for her, but she had to admit that she had mostly done it to impress her crush.

Am I really part WindClan? No wonder I've always been able to run faster than the other apprentices.

Later, she was in the apprentice den when her brother came in.

"I still can't believe that we finally found our real parents," he quietly said.

"I know," nodded Goldenpaw. "It's hard for me to believe that we're part WindClan, though."

They may have solved one secret. But there were still more unknown ones, more that weren't solved yet.

They would just have to find those out.

The End

(A/N: Wow, I totally can't believe Secret is over already. I'm a bit sad; I really didn't want it to end. Anyway, just because I feel like it...here's some character theme songs!

Mistypaw - Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.

Goldenpaw - She's A Rebel by Green Day.

Smokepaw - Dirty Little Secret by All American Rejects.

Mudpaw - Innocence by Avril Lavigne.

Tansypaw - Bring Me To Life by Evanesence.

Poppypaw - Best Day Ever by SpongeBob Squarepants.

If you have any comments or suggestions on the theme songs, feel free to let me know! =D)

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