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This is a songfic by Rainy for Robo's contest. The song is called "A Little Faster" and I think it's pretty cool; you guys should definitely check it out if you read this. The OA is There For Tomorrow. Basically, the story covers the lives of two brothers, Nightclaw and Talonpaw, who don't understand each other till it's too late. Hope you enjoy!
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You keep calling it a crash and burn

Just wait your turn

You might have time to speak

"... and that's why we should engage ShadowClan in battle. They're idiots, and we'd do well to teach them a lesson."

Inwardly, Nightclaw groaned. If he could've pounded Talonpaw into the ground, he would have seized the chance. With the wind ruffling his short fur and a fire lighting his golden eyes - those eyes that were so like their mother's - he cut an imposing figure. But he was only an apprentice. And it showed.

Up on the High Ledge, Oakstar was watching with equal parts amusement and irritation. "I see, Talonpaw. Thank you for contributing, but it is not your place to speak at this Clan meeting. I've talked with Sleetsnow and the senior warriors; we all agree that a peaceful option would be much better for ThunderClan. Being a warrior is not all about fighting."  A severe glint came into his eyes. "You would do well to learn that."

If the Clan leader had told him something like that in front of the entire Clan, Nightclaw would have died of mortal embarrassment. Talonpaw just rolled his eyes, muttered, "Whatever," and turned away.

As the rest of the cats dispersed around him, Nightclaw tried to make for his younger brother. He was seething with fury. Yes, Talonpaw was his only living family left on this earth. But that didn't make him any less annoying. Seriously, his brother couldn't ever play by the rules. Was it really that hard to hold your tongue? He could have voiced his opinion later, but no, he had to spew it out to Oakstar himself. As if the leader of ThunderClan cared what an apprentice had to say.

Goldnight, their mother, had told Nightclaw to protect and take care of his brother the night she died. Nightclaw desperately wanted to please her...

But he just wasn't sure he was up to it. Talonpaw was more then a handful, and he constantly evaded authority. Sometimes Nightclaw wondered if anything could tame him at all. 

"I guess Oakstar was just having a bad day," Talonpaw was saying loudly as Nightclaw approached. "Poor guy. It happens to the best of us."

"It was not Oakstar's fault, it was- Talonpaw! Are you listening?" Why me? he wondered.

There barely was a lesson learned

'Cause in return, your fame is dead to me

"Yeah, yeah I'm listening, Nightclaw." Casually, Talonpaw wove through the throng of apprentices around him. One of them, a pretty dappled apprentice Nightclaw knew to be Featherpaw, brushed her fur against his and smiled at him. Rolling his eyes at the grin on Talonpaw's face, Nightclaw dragged his brother away.

Facing him, he said, "You think you're pretty cool, huh?"

In response, Talonpaw gestured with his tail at the other apprentices, who were still throwing glances over their shoulders and giggling. Nightclaw fought the urge to throttle both them and his brother. "It's not just me. They think I'm cool too."

Instead of screaming - which was what he would have liked to do - Nightclaw took a deep breath and waited till the red cleared from his vision. "That doesn't matter. What you did was wrong, and-"

"Talonpaw! We're going hunting!"

"Coming!" 

A blast of cool air and dust hit Nightclaw as his brother sped off in pursuit of his friends. Being the mature, responsible older brother that he was, Nightclaw did the obvious thing. He screamed.


I'm sure it tasted oh so sweet

But it was never good enough for me

Oh no you don't. Gritting his teeth, Nightclaw spit dust out of his mouth and raced after Talonpaw- only to slam into Sleetsnow, the ThunderClan deputy.

"Sorry!" he yelped, helping her to her paws.

Her blue eyes widened. "Where are you off to in such a hurry Nightclaw?" Then she seemed to realize who he was. "Oh. Talonpaw's in trouble again."

"Yep."

The instant she moved aside, he was off again, charging up the side of the quarry; the apprentices had already vanished from view. He knew Talonpaw was a good runner, but he wasn't getting away scott-free this time. He was going to get hit with at least two moons of elders' bedding duty, if not more. And that was just the beginning of it. Just thinking about the look on Oakstar's face when the apprentice had spoken out drove Nightclaw to insane speeds of running.

With a sigh, he realized how pathetic he must seem to everyone else, always chasing down his brother. But he couldn't help it. He was the older one; he had to be more responsible. Had to be the caretaker.

Someday, maybe he would get to kick back and relax. But Nightclaw doubted he'd be able to anyway. Sure, it must be nice to always have someone else watching your back. To be able to do whatever you wanted. But he just couldn't do that. It was in his blood to achieve a higher standard, to do what was right. He was a goody-two-paws to the bitter end.

I bit the tongue behind my teeth

It was never good enough for me

The one thing Nightclaw had inherited - besides a control-freak streak a mile long - that he was grateful for was his running ability. His long legs pumped over the ground effortlessly; maybe he did have a chance of finding Talonpaw and chewing him out. 

Meanwhile, thoughts swarmed through his mind relentlessly. Throughout their lives, Nightclaw had always been the more mature one, much more then their ages requested. It was like Talonpaw lacked the common sense it took to take care of himself properly, and Nightclaw always had to do it for him. Always had to clean up his messes. But that was kind of his job, his place in the world, and he took it seriously.

It was how he was wired; he couldn't let things go. Couldn't release a problem or let it deal with himself. He would hold on and tug and rip and try and exhaust himself, but he never gave up.

Up ahead, he spotted Talonpaw running at the front of a group of apprentices. "Hey! Wait up!"


You say you always keep your word

Show me what you're after

Giving an overly-dramatic sigh, Talonpaw signaled to his friends - Featherpaw, her brother Gorsepaw, and Talonpaw's best friend Sticklepaw - to wait as he padded towards Nightclaw. "Yes?"

As he caught his breath, Nightclaw tried to sort out his thoughts, which were coming in an angry swirl. If he exploded, he'd end up looking like a fool, and his brother would just laugh.

"You're in big trouble," he said when he could speak.

Talonpaw didn't seem surprised. His eyes twinkled merrily, like Goldnight's always had. Nightclaw swallowed as he remembered his mother, but he reminded himself to stay strong. "Not only did you disrupt a Gathering, but you openly challenged ThunderClan's leader. ShadowClan scent my have been found on our border, but that's no reason to wage war on them."

Apparently exasperated, Talonpaw lashed his tail. "Oh please, Nightclaw. If we give them an inch, they'll own our territory within days."

"And that's not your problem. Nettlestar is a reasonable cat; she'll listen if we talk to her, instead of barging into her territory and attacking her Clan."

In retaliation, Talonpaw gave Nightclaw his most charming smile, that smile that could convince almost anyone that he was innocent and sweet as a kit. Nightclaw wouldn't fall for it this time, though sometimes he did. His brother just didn't want to get in trouble. What really puzzled him was why Talonpaw wanted to attack ShadowClan. Sure, his brother was spirited, but bloodthirsty? Not so much. Maybe he was just trying to show off for his "friends".

I thought you promised me the world

Tell me what you're after

"You said you'd behave the last time you got in trouble. What happened to that?"

Thoughtfully, Talonpaw mused, "That was after the time I threw mouse-bile at the elders, wasn't it? I don't see what the big deal was about that; barely any actually hit them."

From behind him, Featherpaw let loose with a girlish giggle. Gorsepaw and Sticklepaw were grinning like idiots. Nightclaw wondered if he was the only cat in the world who wasn't the least bit amused with his brother's schemes and misbehavior. "That's not the point. The point is, you lied to me."

Now Talonpaw looked almost sorry. "Oops. I was just telling Oakstar that he was wrong."

Intently, Nightclaw studied him. "And why is attacking ShadowClan so important?"

Suddenly, he was all baleful glances and shifting eyes. "No reason. I just thought..."

Nightclaw arched his eyebrows. He knew his brother better then this. Something was up.

Go on and take it way too far

'Cause here we are, waiting once again

"I just think we need to stand up for ourselves. Make sure we establish ourselves as the strongest Clan." Talonpaw flicked his tail impatiently. "If you're done with your interrogation, Dad, I have to go hunt. That is, if you haven't scared away all the prey already." He nodded to his friends, and the apprentices raced away.

"Fine! Fight every cat who crosses your path! Disrespect your elders! What do I care?" Nightclaw yowled after him in a slightly childish manner.

Feeling stupid, he let out a gusty sigh, as, for the hundredth time, he was left in his brother's dust.

He could go back to camp now; he wouldn't be needed again till Talonpaw's next scrape with trouble, which should be in about an hour, if he stayed on schedule. Nightclaw hunched his shoulders and began the way back home.

You say you always keep your word

Show me what you're after

Just a little faster

I just don't know how to handle him. What does he want from me? No matter what he says, I really can't be Dad or Mom to him. So... why can't he just accept me as I am?

Back in the ThunderClan camp, Nightclaw could feel a tiny bit more at ease; hopefully the other apprentices wouldn't let Talonpaw get too out of control, and anyway, his brother was probably too busy trying to impress Featherpaw to pull one of his signature moves. Right?

Even his own mind couldn't respond to that question. But he had a bad feeling about the actual answer.

Maybe it was just a phase Talonpaw would grow out of. All apprentices goofed off didn't they?

Of course, he himself had never done so, and most apprentices never came close to Talonpaw's level of tomfoolery and misbehavior. But... that couldn't mean much, could it? Talonpaw was a great hunter, fighter, and athlete. He tended to do everything a little more then everyone else; perhaps it was just in his blood to stand out in a crowd. Whether that was a good thing or bad thing... Nightclaw couldn't tell.

Still, he couldn't help but wish that he could understand his sibling a little better. Maybe then he could solve the puzzle that was Talonpaw and figure out what made him tick. Surely that would help their relationship. He didn't know what else to do.


Are mine the only eyes that see, so subtly

This cut and dry routine

When Talonpaw and his friends did come in, Talonpaw was in the center of the group and had the biggest catch of prey. Proudly, with his nose at a haughty angle, the apprentice paraded over to the fresh-kill pile and dropped a fat squirrel and several smaller pieces of prey onto the stash. "Wow, Talonpaw!" Featherpaw exclaimed daintily. "You're such a great hunter!" Nightclaw felt like retching.

"Thanks, but it's no big deal," Talonpaw responded in that usual easy-going way of his. Nightclaw knew the pretty she-cat's praise had pleased him, but he did a good job of hiding it and pretending to be the modest good guy.

No one else seemed to sense that it was an act. From where they were sharing tongues nearby, both Skyshine and Tornadofur congratulated Talonpaw, oohing and ahhing over his hunting skills. As he watched, Nightclaw couldn't help but roll his eyes.

It wasn't that he resented his brother's skills, or that he was jealous of him. It was more... no one else seemed to get that his abilities didn't cover up all his blatant wrongdoings. It further irrritated Nightclaw when everyone took Talonpaw's side in a fight, despite the fact that they themselves had been screaming at the young tom just a moment ago. Somehow, he was able to win over cats in the nick of time, and Nightclaw couldn't do anything about it if the whole Clan thought he was a mean, bossy older brother just trying to punish "sweet little Talonpaw." It was so aggravating, but he couldn't do anything about it; the rest of his Clan was blind to Talonpaw's faults when he wanted them to be.

Other times, however, Talonpaw seemed to enjoy getting screamed at. His eyes would twinkle in amusement, as if he was participating in a universal joke, and it drove Nightclaw crazy. 

But that was just how his brother rolled.

Even when you're by my side

I still need time to feel the company

Once he was done soaking up the adoration of his Clanmates, Talonpaw waved them off, picked up a squirrel, and padded towards Nightclaw.

"Hey," he greeted Talonpaw, knowing he couldn't stay mad at his good-natured sibling, no matter how much he messed up.

"Hey Nightclaw," came the response. "Want to share this squirrel? I caught it."

"I'll bet you did," Nightclaw commented as he took a bite. "Your hunting skills are excellent."

A flush of pleasure appeared against Talonpaw's dark brown tabby coat, and his eyes shone with a kit-like warmth. It was this side of his personality that made Nightclaw so protective of him; no matter how tough Talonpaw acted, Nightclaw could always see the little kit he used to be, clinging to Goldnight's cold body and sobbing his tiny heart out. The image got him every time. "You really think so?"

"I know so," he affirmed confidently. With Talonpaw next to him, he felt a companiable amity with his brother; gone was the irritation and vexation of the morning. That was just the way Talonpaw made cats feel. He could make them want to strangle him, then make them love him, and he did it all without any effort at all. Nightclaw suspected he enjoyed the entire thing a bit too much.

With a soft sigh, Talonpaw leaned his head against Nightclaw's shoulder. "You're the best brother in the world."


I'm sure it tasted oh so sweet

But it was never good enough for me

Stiffening in surprise, he smiled and licked Talonpaw's forehead, the way he had when they were younger. "Thanks, and so are you." 

In a quiet, small voice - one that no ThunderClan cat would associate with boisterous, self-confident Talonpaw - he said, "Promise you'll never leave me?"

"We'll be brothers forever. I'll protect you." As he made the promise, Nightclaw felt a sudden determination to stop anything from ever harming Talonpaw. Sure, their relationship had had its ups and downs, but that didn't matter. Their bond was built on something much deeper than others; it ran blood-deep. Sitting there with Talonpaw's head against his shoulder - which was an unexpected show of sensitivity for his brother - Nightclaw knew he would die to protect him. 

Stroking Talonpaw's back with his tail, he murmured, "You can sleep now. I'll take care of you."

Slowly, the tabby tom's eyes drooped closed. Nightclaw smiled to himself. Yes, it would be fun to be the younger sibling and run wild all the time. But then he would never have the pure satisfaction of taking care of another cat, of having someone else depend on him. Of course, he needed Talonpaw too, just in a different way. Not in the way Talonpaw needed him. Talonpaw needed him to be a steady rock, a dependable protector. And Nightclaw was up to the challenge. This was what he was made for, not galavanting around like an idiot(not that Talonpaw was an idiot). This was what made him proud.

I bit the tongue behind my teeth

It was never good enough for me

Gently, Nightclaw took Talonpaw's scruff in his mouth and began making his way towards the apprentices' den. His sibling's eyes flew open, and he scrambled to his paws. "Thanks Nightclaw."

"No problem," he responded kindly. He touched his nose to Talonpaw's. "You were snoring like a hedgehog anyway, so-"

"As if!" laughed Talonpaw. Then his face grew serious, and his eyes traveled up to the darkening sky. "Do you think Goldnight's watching us tonight?"

"She's always watching us," he promised. "She loves us. Good night, Talonpaw."

A peaceful look entered his brother's face. "Good night, Nightclaw."

As the sun slipped below the horizon, they padded off their different ways.


You say you always keep your word

Show me what you're after

Though Nightclaw knew he was dreaming, he didn't want it to ever end. Talonpaw and Goldnight were standing in front of him, their eyes shimmering with gold dust, their faces shining. Nightclaw glanced at his own black pelt, but it wasn't glowing at all. Odd.

"Mom," he whispered, burying his face in her fur.

"Nightclaw." Her voice was loving and tender, but also filled with sadness. When he looked into her face, he saw that she was holding something back. She knew something that he didn't.

"What's going on Mom?" he asked, in dread of the answer.

She shook her head. "I wish I could tell you, but I can't. You'll find out soon enough. Stay strong, both of you. I know you can do it." With that, she turned and vanished in a burst of stardust.

Nightclaw thought the dream was over, but then Talonpaw turned to him. His fur had stopped glowing - Nightclaw guessed it had just been the reflection of Goldnight's StarClan aura - and he looked back to normal. "I'll never leave you either Nightclaw. We'll always stay together. Okay?"

"Okay," he repeated, slightly confused, but firm.

Looking satisfied, Talonpaw nuzzled him gently. Nightclaw remained rigid, wondering why Talonpaw had asked him such a question. He knew it was a dream, but what was going on here? What did Talonpaw want? Or... maybe it wasn't Talonpaw he should be worried about at all.

I thought you promised me the world

Tell me what you're after

Suddenly, a lightning bolt of energy zapped between him and Talonpaw. He was thrown back and blinded by the light, and when he reopened his eyes, it was to a scream of pain.

Talonpaw lay writhing on the ground, blood welling like a scarlet lake around him. There was blood everywhere, sticky under Nightclaw's paws, much too much blood for one apprentice. 

Screaming in confusion and fear, Nightclaw dropped to his knees in front of his brother. "No! You said... you said you'd always stay with me. Talonpaw!"

His cry was lost in the darkness that overwhelmed him just then.

Go on and take it way too far

'Cause here we are, waiting once again

Nightclaw awoke to Talonpaw's screams, but they were screams of anger, not pain. What now?

Scrabbling to his paws, he dashed out into the ThunderClan camp, scattering flakes of bedding in his wake.

"I told you so, Oakstar!" Talonpaw yelled. "I told you we needed to attack ShadowClan! Let me go on the battle patrol!"

"Wait!" Nightclaw screamed, but his voice was dry from sleep, and it came out as more of a half-croak, half-grunt. "What's going on?"

A panic-stricken Skyshine answered, "ShadowClan attacked the dawn patrol by the border! They really need help." She gestured to Gorsepaw, who was lying in the middle of the camp with the medicine cat tending to him. "Gorsepaw came back to get help, but then he fainted."

A strange sense of numbness flowed over Nightclaw. He was so in shock that the next few events didn't register in his brain till it was too late.

"Snowsleet, Patchfur, Tornadofur, Featherpaw, and Talonpaw, go to the ShadowClan border!" ordered Oakstar.

Sparks flared in Talonpaw's golden eyes, turning them to a fiery bronze. "Yes! Finally I get to fight for my Clan! This'll prove my loyalty." He turned and raced out after the battle patrol. 

His words broke through Nightclaw's trance. "What? No!" Charging towards Oakstar, he said, "Are you crazy? You can't send my brother out there!"

The ThunderClan leader stared at him, stunned. Nightclaw couldn't blame him; normally he wouldn't dream of treating Oakstar this way. But panic was slowly setting in. All this to prove a point? No, no, no... This was all wrong. Talonpaw didn't need to go this far just to show they needed to fight ShadowClan. 

He had been wrong. And his brother might have to pay for it. 

Not this time. He wouldn't be left behind this time.

Calling on all his energy, Nightclaw turned and fled the camp, out into the bloody dawn. 

You say you always keep your word

Show me what you're after

Just a little faster

I promised Talonpaw I'd always stay with him, and he promised me. What he's doing, fighting ShadowClan, is just to prove he can. And I have to stop him.

Pushing himself as far and fast as his legs could go, he shot through ThunderClan territory. Already his keen ears could pick up the sounds of red-hot battle up ahead. Determination was his fuel; he knew every second counted in a serious battle like this. He would worry about what Oakstar had to say about his sudden departure later. Right now, time was everything. All he had to do was run, run like the wind.


Just a little faster...



Hold your breath now

The bad blood's wearing thin

From the pain that settles in

When we learn too much too soon

Talonpaw sucked in his breath with a gasp. Hot blood spilled from the gash in his forehead, trickling into his eyes and blurring his vision. So this was what it was like to be in a real fight. Sure, he had been right about ShadowClan needing a thrashing. But it did no good now. Not when he was practically fighting for his life.

When he had entered the fight, his warrior blood had been hot and ready. He had been full of notions about "fighting for your Clan" and "a warrior's true calling". Now, all he wanted to do was stagger back home and fall asleep.

All this time, Nightclaw had been right. Peace was the better option. If only he had realized that sooner, maybe he'd be in a better position. 

And that hurt more then the wounds being inflicted on him by the ShadowClan cats. The knowledge that his older brother was right, and that he had been too hotheaded and stupid to see it. Then again, he had been right about the ShadowClan cats being evil. He would just rather he hadn't have been. 

Fighting wasn't fun at all. Fighting was destroying both your body and your emotions.

But it was too late to go back now.

Hold your breath now

The bad blood's wearing thin

From the pain that settles in

When we learn too much too soon

Too soon

Just then, a giant ShadowClan tom leaped on Talonpaw, pinning him to the ground. Long, wickedly sharp claws fastened into his neck-scruff, pricking through his skin and letting loose a stream of blood. Struggling wildly, Talonpaw lashed out at his opponent, and was rewarded by a yowl of pain as the tom staggered backwards.

It cost Talonpaw everything he had to get back on his paws and stumble away from the tom. He felt dizzy, every muscle and part of his body was on fire, and he could hardly hear the loudness of the battle above the roar of blood in his ears. Panting, he let his head droop between his shoulder blades as he fought for oxygen. Each of his wounds screamed for his attention, and together the pain was enough to make him faint.

I can't handle this... It's too much...

Talonpaw found himself wishing desperately for Nightclaw. Sure, his brother could be a stickler sometimes, but he was everything to Talonpaw; he didn't know what he'd do without him. This knowledge, this horrific discovery of what war truly was, was about to crush him. 

Closing his eyes, he tried to block out the images of torn flesh and blood dripping from his claws, but it was impossible.

A numbness fell over him like a cloak as he staggered back into the fray, swiping and clawing at any cat with a trace of ShadowClan scent on them. A part of him couldn't help thinking, It's not fair. I'm just an apprentice; I shouldn't have to fight like this. But he knew Featherpaw was facing the same thing, and that this would just be part of his life as a warrior. He needed to be brave. Needed to make Nightclaw proud. No matter how hard it seemed.


You say you always keep your word

Show me what you're after

"Talonpaw!"

Stopping in his tracks, the apprentice whirled. Astonishment coursed through him. "Nightclaw!"

His older brother began pushing through the group of fighting cats; Talonpaw could see it was a hard task. Every few seconds a pair of rolling, screeching cats would cross Nightclaw's path, but he never stopped advancing. Talonpaw tried to stumble towards him, but his legs felt like lead, and they wouldn't listen to his commands. 

Instead, he sat down heavily, fighting back nausea at the swells of pain washing over him. Nightclaw was coming. Everything was going to be all right. His brother would never leave him. They had made a promise to each other. And then he saw Featherpaw.

I thought you promised me the world

Tell me what you're after

She was pinned down by the ShadowClan deputy. The ginger she-cat had her claws against Featherpaw's throat, and dark red blood was spurting out, staining the apprentice's pale silver fur. 

New energy flowed through Talonpaw. He turned and met Nightclaw's eyes across the battlefield. His brother was wrestling with a ShadowClan she-cat, but as Talonpaw looked at him, he glanced up and locked gazes with him. His message was written clearly on his face: I'm sorry. I should've listened to you.

"It's okay," Talonpaw mouthed back. He gave his brother a brave smile, and closed his eyes, willing him to understand. There was no time to waste explaining. 

"No!" Nightclaw screamed, as if reading Talonpaw's expression. He began scrambling towards him. Talonpaw turned away; if he saw the pain he was causing his brother, he would break down. Nightclaw had a lot of potential, even though Talonpaw had never been able to fully understand his older brother. Maybe someday, ThunderClan would find a way to truly make his brother happy, because Talonpaw wasn't sure he would ever have figured it out.

As he tensed his muscles and pivoted towards Featherpaw, he beamed one last thought back at his sibling.

I know I promised to stay with you forever. And I really meant it. But I also want to live a life that both you and I can be proud of. And that's not going to happen sitting on the sidelines. 

I have to do this. 

Go on and take it way too far

'Cause here we are, waiting once again

Everything seemed to happen in slow motion and yet all at once. Talonpaw unsheathed his claws, channeled all his energy, and leaped into the air.

He landed squarely in the middle of the ShadowClan deputy's back. The ginger cat squalled like a siren and bucked wildly, trying to shake him off, but he refused to let go. Digging in deeper, feeling his claw pierce through her flesh, he closed his eyes and hung on.

She twisted in midair, flipping them over and slamming him to the ground. His ribcage rattled and burned; he was pretty sure he'd broken a solid number of ribs in that move, as well as his right foreleg, which was throbbing like someone had smashed it with a ton of boulders. It was all he could do to flail wildly at the ShadowClan deputy's throat, scraping through her torn fur and reaching his target. 

Maybe this was way too extreme for what should have been a "border skirmish". Maybe it was crossing the line.

But ShadowClan had already crossed the line by letting the battle get this far. The cat he was fighting had clearly been about to kill Featherpaw. And he would never let that happen. 

As he clung desperately to his clawhold in the she-cat's neck, his glazing-over vision caught Nightclaw. The black tom was running towards him, jaw hanging open, face slack with despair and anguish. Talonpaw's eyelids fluttered as he fought to stay conscious. Why did this scene seem so familiar? Him in trouble, Nightclaw running to save him. Except this time, dear brother, you can't save me.

You say you always keep your word

Show me what you're after

"I'll never leave you, Nightclaw. I made a promise." Every word hurt, and he knew his brother couldn't hear him yet, but he didn't care. The life was ebbing away from each of his dozens of wounds, staining the grass below him. No longer did he have the strength to even check to see if he had killed the ShadowClan deputy.

Two faces appeared above him. One was Nightclaw, the other was Featherpaw. The silver she-cat couldn't speak over her crying; she lay next to him and sobbed. He gritted his teeth against the pain as her fur brushed his.

Meanwhile, Nightclaw whispered softly, "Oh Talonpaw. Why? We... You promised to never leave me."


It was never good enough for me

Show me what you're after

"And I won't leave you, Nightclaw. When you love someone, you never truly leave. I love you. I'll always be with you. But it's time for me to walk among the stars."

As he surrendered himself to the darkness lapping at his vision, Talonpaw felt a certain peace flow through his limbs. Maybe this was the reason he had never been fully content in the world, never learned to acclimatize to rules and boundaries and authority. He had always thought that Nightclaw was the only one ever destined for something great, but perhaps this, this "warrior's death", was a great thing in itself. 

The things that cats cared about here, like appearances and manners, had never meant anything to him. He had always seen a fresher purpose to life, but never knew why he was wired like that. Finally, he understood what StarClan wanted from him. 

"Goldnight... I'm coming home."

And then, with the final bit of energy at the dregs of his reserve, he mewed into the fuzziness that was his vision, "Good bye, Nightclaw."


Stunned, Nightclaw watched the light die from his brother's eyes. He dropped to his knees, heedless of Featherpaw and the slick grass - wet with blood - beneath him. "No. Talonpaw, please."

It was no use. His little brother, the brother he had promised Goldnight he would take care of, was gone. He had failed.

"If only I had been..."

Just a little faster
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