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A tribute to the victims of the Boston bombing.

America.jpg

OA is Imagine Dragons


America will never be destroyed from the outside.

If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.

~ Abraham Lincoln


Enjoy, read, and remember. Rainy

America

Is this just an illusion

That I made inside my head to get me by?

20 years in debt

20 years in the government

20 years can never get me by

Tired, weary, and broken, Squirrelstar stood in the bloodied field, her green eyes - those eyes that had once shone brighter then the stars in the heavens - filled with sorrow and regret. Another attack. Another long vigil. Another round around the camp, murmuring words into the ears of her dead Clanmates. Words that would never be enough into ears that would never hear again.

It was all she could do.

And after all she had gone through. The quest to the Sun-Drown Place to save the Clans from losing their place in the world. Hiding Leafpool's secret and taking in her sister's kits as her own. All that to finally become leader of ThunderClan, losing Bramblestar along the way, her trusted mate. 

She'd tried oh so hard, given her Clan her all.

And still it wasn't enough.


Then I feel you close

Feel you close like you wanted me to

Feel you close like you wanted me to

Believe in you

The damp leaf-fall breeze blew around her, eclipsing her in the whispers of a bygone era. She could hear the laughter of long-dead apprentices, the murmurs of lovers as they strolled through the woods in moonlit nights past, the wishes and dreams and hopes that had been birthed on this very territory.

But above that, she could smell blood, and hear the dying screeches of her Clanmates as they fell to enemy claws one by one. Little by little. Slipping away.

No. If she kept remembering that, she'd go insane with helpless grief. She needed to focus. Needed to be strong.

Closing her eyes, Squirrelstar felt the gentle touch of her ancestors in StarClan. Faint, but ever-present. Reassuring her. Wishing they could do more.

She wished they could do more too.

But she believed that they would try.


Rise to the top of the world, America

America, don't you cry

ShadowClan had attacked them when they were weak, still reeling from a WindClan raid. The WindClan cats had killed three kits, a blow to the very heart of what ThunderClan stood for.

No one mentioned the warrior code, except in laments and tears. Everyone knew the warrior code as they had once known it was dead.

A single tear slipped down Squirrelstar's cheek. She couldn't stop it. More then anything, she wanted to wrap her arms around her Clan and hold them. Tell them everything would be okay. Protect them till everything just went away. Save them from the horrors of what was happening all around them.

Restore them to what they had once been.

Lift me up

Give me strength to press on

Squirrelstar felt her legs shaking. She couldn't handle this. No one had told her it would be this hard to lead ThunderClan. There was no warning. Just... a sudden decline. It had started within the Clan itself. Warriors not giving prey first to the queens and elders. Disrespect towards her and Lionblaze, her deputy. Apparently, the same had been happening in the other Clans.

But instead of growing weak because of it, they became vicious. And ThunderClan, the Clan that had stood in the middle and planned countless treaties and life-saving agreements, was the victim of their brutality.

StarClan... Bramblestar... Give me strength. I can't keep this up by myself. Please...

Rise to the top of the world, America

America, don't you cry

Lift me up

Give me strength to press on

Silently, Squirrelstar began to walk. She didn't know where she was going. Somehow, she couldn't leave the clearing. The horror of what had happened bound her to this place. After Lionblaze had led the defeated troops back to the camp, she had come back to grieve. To writhe in emotional anguish.

Near her paws, the limp body of an apprentice was stretched out. Fully-formed tears streamed down her cheeks as she recognized Streampaw, a beautiful young she-cat who had been nothing but kindness and love since the moment she was born. A loss like this struck her to the very core and knocked the breath from her.

"She was so young. Why did she have to go?"

Echoing words from the echoing chambers of her empty heart. 

This would have never happened before. ThunderClan had been great - perhaps the greatest - once upon a time, in the days of her father. But that was long gone now. And she was left standing in the ruins, wondering where they had gone wrong.


From farmers in the fields

To the tallest of the towers that fall and rise

1-7-7-6

The names upon the list

For all the ones that gave until they died

Remember, she told herself. Remember everything that has been put into ThunderClan. You can't throw it all away.

Thunder, their original leader. And all the other brave-hearted cats that had gone down into history along with him. Lionheart, Whitestorm, Ravenpaw... all names she had heard about in the treasury of ThunderClan's memories.

Even the cats unspoken of, forgotten even in the ranks of StarClan, fading away. They had once existed too. Breathed and laughed and cried and poured out their lives into the earth. Built things and torn them down. Mates had confessed their love for each other and screamed their hatred among the wrinkled, dog-eared pages of ThunderClan history. Warriors, groomed and poised, with the light of battle in their eyes, had started out for fights they would never return from. Queens had watched their children become apprentices and put on brave faces as they left for war, only to collapse into sobs as soon as the battle patrol returned with a limp, slender body perched on their shoulders. 

It had been like this forever. But now, this, this was just too much. This was hell.

Don't you hold back

I can see in your mind, and your mind will set you free

"Please," Squirrelstar whispered. "Hold on, my Clan. Hold on... freedom is waiting around the corner. We need only to reach it."

Clasping her paws together, she faced into the evening breeze, tears dampening her cheeks and dripping off her chin. Again she tried to encourage her Clan, knowing they couldn't hear her. Knowing they couldn't believe it even if they did hear. They were far away from her, and not just physically. "You can do it. Freedom is in your minds and in your hearts. Give it all you have.. and it will come back to you."

If only she believed that herself.


And I feel you close

Feel you close like you wanted me to

Feel you close like you wanted me to

Believe in you

Her memories cast her back in time to a moonlit night spent with Bramblestar. She had been his deputy then, and they had been as in love as they had ever been. Resting his head on her chin, Bramblestar had murmured, "Squirrelflight, remember that no matter what, I'll always be with you. Promise me you'll remember."

And she had promised, not knowing that he was on his last life, not knowing or suspecting anything. 

Now, Squirrelstar longed to keep her promise. Desperately, she drew on Bramblestar's love, the love she kept like a burning coal inside her heart. Her last resort, her last claim to a reason for living. "I believe in you," she whispered, knowing he was listening. "I believe in us."

I believe in ThunderClan. Our Clan.


Rise to the top of the world, America

America, don't you cry

Lift me up

Give me strength to press on

ThunderClan, the Clan they had nurtured and raised and taken care of for all those happy moons together. They didn't need to have kits. The Clan was their family, and they gave all they had to it. There had been a beauty to that sacrifice. But not this sacrifice. This was mindless, horrible slaughter of innocence and joy and peace.

Comfort. Someone to hold her when the world was falling in pieces around her. Someone to catch the broken shards of her heart, treasure them, and give them back to her in a beautiful new creation. 

There was no one like that in the world for ThunderClan. No one but her.

She had to be that someone for her Clanmates. Had to hold them up, be their shoulder to cry on and their crutch to lean on. Their child to laugh with and their mother to talk with. If she didn't do it, didn't hold them together, who else would? 

But she needed strength to do it too. Or else she would crumble with them.

Rise to the top of the world, America

America, don't you cry

Lift me up

Give me strength to press on

A long time ago, Sandstorm, her mother, had told her, "No matter where you go, never forget the past. Never forget where you came from, for it will give you strength to get where you're going."

That was the quote that stuck in her mind right now, surrounded by the death that threatened to overwhelm her. Her mind went back over ThunderClan's past, and all they had overcome. From foxes to rogues to badgers, they had stood firm and unmoving. Not now. Now, they were being destroyed from the inside out. Besieged on all fronts by enemy Clans. Trapped. Ensnared. 

And still they couldn't give in. Because where they had come from wouldn't allow it. Squirrelstar knew she needed to hold on. She couldn't throw her leadership away. Couldn't waste away, like Bluestar had, once upon a time. ThunderClan needed her to show them how they could press on and get on with their lives.

Then, despite the fact that she was more alone then she had ever been, with no mate or kits of her own, Squirrelstar felt a faint reassurance that there were helpers. Unseen, her ancestors were by her side. And she made a vow to them. "I will carry ThunderClan. I won't let them fall. I'll wipe away their tears and give them the courage to go on."


Rise to the top of the world, America

America, don't you cry

Lift me up

Give me strength to press on

Wrapping her tail around herself as if she were a little kit, a shiver ran through Squirrelstar's slender body. Invisible pelts brushed against hers for a split second. Looking to her left, she saw a ginger tom, his green eyes bright and courageous as ever. "Firestar." 

Her father nodded at her, love shining from his face. "I'm proud of you," he whispered.

Before she could reply, another pelt touched hers. Another tom, this one a brown tabby with starling amber eyes, touched his muzzle to her hear and whispered, "I love you Squirrelstar. I'm with you."

I love you too, she wanted to say. But she couldn't get the words out over the lump in her throat, and by the time she managed to, the StarClan cats were gone.

But they had made their point. A steady resolve, like a blooming fire, had budded in Squirrelstar's heart. She could do this. ThunderClan would be great again, as it had once been. It was their destiny.

Her destiny.

Rise to the top of the world, America

America, don't you cry

Lift me up

Stiffly, regally, the old she-cat turned and walked out of the clearing. Her back was to the destruction and devastation of the evening. Behind her, the sun set on the blood and death. She faced East. Towards the sunrise of a new era for ThunderClan.

We will rise out of the ashes. We will spread a phoenix's wings. We will cry our tears, but they will bring healing to all they touch. And we will be great once again.

Squirrelstar lifted her head to the sky. "And we will soar among the clouds."

Give me strength to press on

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