Firestar peered closer into the hollow beneath the ferns. Brambleclaw had been right: he could smell kits, and for a good reason. Four young kits were huddled beneath the ferns. They looked as if their eyes had been open for about a moon, old enough to start talking. As Firestar watched, the biggest kit, a storm grey tom, thrust himself in front of his sisters, defending them. The others were smaller than he, but a beautiful pale yellow kit with amber coloured eyes thrust herself beside her brother. Then, they argued in mewling voices. Firestar grinned, but he was worried. The kits were here, all four of them, but where was their mother? Cinderheart had been horrified when she found out she was having kits. She had only recently become Ivypaw's mentor, and she didn't want to give up her mentorship. Firestar also suspected it had something to do with the father of these kits, as no cat had claimed them, which was odd. Cinderheart had tried to disguise her pregnancy, and succeeded for a moon, yet then Leafpool had told her not to be stupid, and to rest. Shortly before she was due to give birth, Cinderheart had disappeared. All the patrols had been searching the forest for her, and now, they had found her kits. The kits were so small, Firestar was almost certain they could never have survived by themselves, so maybe if he waited, Cinderheart would come back. Looking down at the kits, Firestar hoped so.
"So, you found me, Firestar." Cinderheart mewed behind him.
Firestar whirled around, then dipped his head.
"Cinderheart, every cat wants you and your kits back."
Cinderheart nodded. "We will come."
Stormkit was in the nursery, curled up beside his three sisters. His mother was nearby, but all of them were asleep. The nursery was crowded at the moment, even though Ferncloud had gone back to the warriors den. As Stormkit stretched, his friend Swiftkit awoke also. The two of them were the only toms in the nursery, and only a moon apart, and great friends. Swiftkit padded over to Stormkit, and brushed his cream-coloured pelt against his friend's grey one. The two had identical shining eyes, and looked like a cloud when they stood next to each other. Swiftkit's sister, tortoiseshell Nettlekit, was still asleep next to their mother Poppyfrost.
"Come on Stormkit, lets go outside!" Swiftkit urged. Everyone said he had inherited his cheeky and mischevious spirit from his father Berrynose. The two of them clambered over Rosepetal, who was sleeping nearest the entrance, her belly swollen with her unborn kits, and bounced out the entrance. The first cat they saw was Lionblaze. Running over, Swiftkit squeaked greetings, but Stormkit hung back. He had always been a bit nervous of Lionblaze, and Lionblaze had never seemed to like him. Even though Lionblaze had admitted to being the father of the kits shortly after Cinderheart had come back to Thunderclan, he had never been comfortable around his kits. Stormkit wasn't even sure if his parents liked each other. Swiftkit had finished talking to Lionblaze. He bounded away, and Stormkit turned to follow, when Lionblaze called him back.
"Good morning, Stormkit!"
"Good morning!" Stormkit answered. In an instant all his worries were swept away, and he ran to greet his father before hastening over to the elder's den with his friend. Bouncing inside, Stormkit saw Longtail, Mousefur and Purdy all talking to Swiftkit. Happy that Swiftkit had been the one to wake them up, Stormkit leapt inside with a jump that scattered a lot of moss, sending it flying all over Swiftkit and Mousefur.
Stormkit's eyes opened wide with horror, and he gulped anxiously. Mousefur glared at him, and Stormkit squeaked in terror, and scrambled behind Longtail. The blind tabby twisted his head to give Stormkit an amused lick on the head, then settled himself back down. Regaining courage, Stormkit crept a little further away from Longtail's side, and settled himself comfortably in the moss.
"Ah, there you are." Poppyfrost meowed, sticking her head into the den. "You're supposed to ask before you leave the nursery." she scolded. Picking up her kit by his scruff, she carried him unceremoniously back to the nursery, jerking her head for Stormkit to follow. He was only to glad to escape from Mousefur's accusing glare as she washed bits of moss off her pelt. Stormkit hastened into the nursery, then ran to his mother's side. Luckily, none of the queens were very angry, and the only punishment was a thorough washing for each of them, especially Swiftkit, who had bits of moss all over him. Stormkit wriggled away from his mother's tongue, and bounded over to Rosepetal.
"Have you had your kits yet?" he asked curiously. '
Rosepetal shook her head solemnly. Stormkit nodded just as solemnly. Cinderheart was suddenly overcome by a coughing fit, and Stormkit hurried back to her.
"Can we go out and play, Mother?" he asked.
"Why don't we all go." Poppyfrost said, letting Swiftkit escape.
Swiftkit was first out, followed closely by Stormkit, then Nettlekit, then everyone else.
"Let's play Scourge. I'll be Firestar, and you can be Scourge." Swiftkit said to Stormkit.
Without pausing to agree, Stormkit launched himself at Swiftkit.
"The forest belongs to BloodClan!" he yowled triumphantly.
Cloudtail, sharing tongues with his mate nearby, looked up anxiously, then relaxed with a sigh.
"Why is it always me who gets taken in when people say things like that." he grumbled.
Stormkit wasn't listening. He was being flattened to the ground by Swiftkit, who was a moon bigger, after all.
Lightkit watched her brother being flattened. She never liked Stormkit trying to protect her, in fact she had been the kit who had stood beside her brother when Firestar found them. Now, Lightkit launched herself at Swiftkit, bowling him off her brother.
"Take that, Firestar!" she yowled.
"Ouch!" Swiftkit complained. He rolled back onto his paws, and scrambled away.
"Does this mean I win?" Stormkit asked hopefully.
"No." Swiftkit replied grumpily.
"Oh." Stormkit looked crestfallen for a second, then he brightened up. He hurried over to the fresh-kill pile and grabbed out a mouse.
Lightkit watched her brother go, then hurried up to her sisters, Frostkit and Moonkit. They were standing together, their white and silver pelts blending. Moonkit's big silver eyes glowed with excitement.
"What should we play?" Lightkit asked them. She hoped someone would want to play a fighting game, or even a sneaky one. Lightkit wanted to do something, to be active. She hated hanging around in the nursery all day.
"You shouldn't play anything." Berrynose interrupted, walking past. "You should clean yourselves up, then watch the apprentice ceremony."
What apprentice ceremony? Lightkit wondered. Then she saw the excited looks of her denmates, and realised that Swiftkit and Nettlekit were six moons old.
Only another moon for me! Lightkit thought, but she was jealous inside.
"Why can't it be our apprentice ceremony?" Lightkit whined to Cinderheart.
Not waiting around to hear the explanation, Lightkit stomped over to the other side of the clearing in a huff. She stuck her head into the apprentice den. Briarpaw and Blossompaw were in there. They and their brother Bumblepaw were the oldest apprentices, and would be made warriors soon. Dovepaw and Ivypaw were younger by quite a lot, but they still seemed very big to Lightkit. Maybe not having her apprentice ceremony yet wasn't such a bad thing.
Lightkit sat in the doorway of the nursery with her mother and littermates. Nearby, Rosepetal sat beside her mate, Foxleap.
"Let all cats old enough to catch their own prey gather here beneath the Highrock for a Clan meeting." Firestar yowled. It was unnecessary really, as almost the whole Clan was there already. Nettlekit and Swiftkit padded up to the rock, hardly able to contain their excitement.
"Swiftkit, from now on until you recieve your warrior name, you will be known as Swiftpaw."
"Swiftpaw!" Lightkit yowled as loudly as she could.
"Graystripe, you have served ThunderClan long and faithfully. You will be mentor to Swiftpaw. I know that you will pass on your patience and your determination, and teach him to be a true warrior of ThunderClan."
Now only Nettlekit was left alone.
"Nettlekit, from this moment until you have earned your warrior name you shall be known as Nettlepaw. Berrynose, you are ready for your first apprentice. I know that you will pass on your courage and determination to Nettlepaw, and help her become the best warrior she can be."
Lightkit watched as her former denmates said goodbye, then scampered off to the apprentices den. The den seemed mepty without Swiftpaw, Nettlepaw and Poppyfrost. Lightkit felt sad as she watched them go.
Frostkit sat washing her white pelt in the nursery. She was excited to have the big nursery all to herself and her littermates, but at the same time sad that Swiftpaw, Nettlepaw and Poppyfrost were gone. Her brother and sisters had gone with her mother to play outside, but Frostkit hadn't felt like playing, so she had stayed with Rosepetal looking after her.
"Frostkit." Rosepetal rasped suddenly.
"Yes?" Frostkit wondered what Rosepetal wanted.
"Can you go and get Jayfeather please?"
Frostkit frowned curiously, but she bounded into the hollow, and over to the medecine cat's den.
"Jayfeather, Rosepetal wants you." she called, then went to tell Rosepetal that he was coming.
After talking to Rosepetal, Frostkit went to find her mother.
"Mother's gone out hunting." Stormkit said. He, Lightkit and Moonkit were sitting outside the apprentice's den with Swiftpaw and Bumblepaw, learning the hunter's crouch. Frostkit watched for a while, but her heart wasn't really in it. Suddenly, she stiffened, hearing a patrol crashing through the trees outside the camp.
"Brambleclaw's patrol is back." she said happily.
"No they aren't." Swiftpaw retorted.
"Oh." Frostkit said. She could still hear them, and it sounded like everything in the territory was ok. Peering through the thorn tunnel, Frostkit soon saw them, Brambleclaw's tabby fur showing through the trees near the camp.
"See, I told you they were coming." she said smugly.
"What? Oh yes, you're right Frostkit." Swiftpaw said distractedly.
See. I am right.
"That's a great crouch, Lightkit. Moonkit, Stormkit, you need to crouch down more. Even your tail"
Frostkit continued watching, but she thought there was time enough for hunting when she was an apprentice. Trotting off to the fresh-kill pile, Frostkit snatched a mouse and tottered over to the elder's den, hoping for a story.
Crouching in front of Swiftpaw and Bumblepaw, Moonkit looked on as her sister Lightkit did a perfect hunting leap onto Swiftpaw. He prentend rolled under her impact, then staggered to his paws with Lightkit clinging to his back.
"Great!" Bumblepaw purred, watching. "If Swiftpaw was a mouse, he's have no chance."
"Huh." Swiftpaw muttered, shaking Lightkit off. He glared grumpily. Moonkit almost laughed, but held it back just in time. She could hardly wait until she was an apprentice, and could learn how to fight. Hunting, she wasn't so interested in. She knew Lightkit was though, and Stormkit seemed to like both. Frostkit didn't seem very keen on anything rough, but Moonkit hoped her sister would get over that in time. Stormkit, despite his keeness to learn apprentice skills, was a thinker at heart. Everyone knew that, even Cinderheart called him 'her little thinker'. He was sturdy and dependable, and very logical. Moonkit was glad she had such a good brother. She could feel safe with Stormkit now, when she was only a kit, and when she was an apprentice, she would be able to fight for herself.
"Bumblepaw, we're going hunting. Come on." Mousewhisker called from across the hollow. Bumblepaw scrabbled to his paws, and followed his mentor out of camp.
"Where's Nettlepaw?" Stormkit asked him.
"Out with Berrynose, I guess."
"Well, where's Graystripe?"
"I don't know."
"Oh." Stormkit looked sad, Moonkit thought. She wondered why.
"Stormkit, Moonkit, Lightkit, Frostkit." Cinderheart's voice echoed around the hollow. "Come and see Rosepetal's new kits!"
As Moonkit followed Frostkit towards the nursery, she heard her sister mutter "Oh, so that's what she was mewing about."
Stormkit was staring at Redkit and Dawnkit, the two newest members of ThunderClan, and thinking how lucky they were. Stormkit and his sisters had been born outside the hollow. No cat had been there to welcome them. Maybe no cat even wanted them. Their father certainly didn't. Stormkit lay down in his nest and huffed grumpily.
Soft fur brushed his pelt as Moonkit settled into her nest beside him.
"Don't be sad, Stormkit. Only two moons until we can be apprentices." she said loudly.
Stormkit sighed. Even his sensitive sister, who always seemed to understand why he was sad, thought he was missing Swiftpaw.
"Yeah, it's ok, Stormkit." Frostkit called.
In a softer voice, Moonkit continued. "I know why you're sad. But Lionblaze does want us. We are his children, and he loves us, and sooner or later he will understand that."
Stormkit shuddered. His sister could be really creepy sometimes. But her words comforted him, and he drifted off into a light sleep.
Two whole moons had passed since Swiftpaw and Nettlepaw had been made apprentices, and it was finally Lightkit's turn. She and her littermates wer so excited, they hardly knew what to do. Even Redkit and Dawnkit, though they were only two moons old, had picked up on the excitement.
"You promise that you won't be a medecine cat apprentice?" Lightkit asked Frostkit for the fifth time. She loved both her sisters and her brother, and didn't think she could bear it if any of them were not in the same den as her, even if the apprentices den was a bit crowded.
"Yes, whatever." Frostkit muttered. She was busy washing her beautiful white pelt so that it shone. Frostkit had always wanted to be beautiful.
It wasn't long before Firestar gave them all their apprentice names. The ceremony passed in a blur for Lightkit, as her sisters and brother were given their mentors and names, then she became Lightpaw, and touched noses with Foxleap. Stormpaw's mentor was Berrynose, Frostpaw's mentor was Icecloud, and Moonpaw's mentor was Toadstep.
Since Zaffie is no longer on school holidays, this will only be continued on weekends. I will only have time to write two chapters per weekend, so I will write a chapter each of the series voted most highly on my talk page. Vote for The Storm Kits series there if you want this story to continue. If it gets no votes, no more will be written. Each week I will reset the poll. On Saturday, the two series with the most votes will have a chapter each written.
Zaffie 22:17, February 1, 2010 (UTC)