- 1 Prologue
- 2 Chapter 1
- 3 Chapter 2
- 4 Chapter 3
- 5 Chapter 4
- 6 Chapter 5
- 7 Chapter 6
- 8 Chapter 7
- 9 Epliogue
Waterpaw sent Breezepaw a long look. She just couldn't control herself. They had just met; they were only together for a few seconds, but she couldn't stop gazing at the gray tabby tom's deep green eyes. She didn't know why but she loved his sharp tongue and attitude.
As Breezepaw stared at Waterpaw, he wondered what was going through his mind. She was from HoneyClan, the soft cowards who were constantly on their territory. But yet, her sweet smile and behavior was all it took for his eyes to be locked onto her blue-grey pelt. Her scent was sweet and she actually seemed to care about him.
Waterpaw felt her gaze lock with Breezepaw's. They stared into each other's eyes for a while. What has gotten into me? she thought, I have so many cats that care for me in my Clan. As if the prove her point, Flamepaw came and sat down next to her. He brushed against her pelt, and she breathed in his soft scent. "Hey, Waterpaw," he purred, "How is your gathering?" Flamepaw is sweet, but he just doesn't make me feel the way Breezepaw did within seconds...
Breezepaw didn't pull his eyes away from hers. Her blue eyes dragged him into them, and didn't let him go. What am I thinking? he thought to himself Nobody likes me, not even from my own Clan. Why should I think that she would be any different. She feels nothing for you. He pulled is eyes away from hers, he had managed to hurt himself enough to get some sense into his body. His heart burned for the apprentice that he had only met.
"Oh, hey Flamepaw," Waterpaw meowed, nonchalantly. She couldn't stop thinking about him; even with a sweet tom like Flamepaw standing right by her side. The leaders of the two Clans; HoneyClan and BerryClan began to speak with each other. As always, the tension arose but Waterpaw was too busy thinking about the gray apprentice to pay any attention.
Breezepaw rolled his eyes at the clan leaders as they argued over pointless things. As hard as he tried to fight them, his eyes turned back to Waterpaw and locked on her. She was just so sweet and kind, too kind or sweet for you. Nobody even likes you. He was hurting himself, but if he went after Waterpaw it would only hurt more when she turned him down. He sighed realizing that nothing he did, would stop his heart from beating for her.
As the gathering was dismissed, Flamepaw looked at her curiously, "Waterpaw?" he said, "You seem a little lost," Waterpaw waved him away, and ran off, behind the tree. Flamepaw didn't follow, he walked in the other direction; but his eyes stung with hurt. Waterpaw sighed; she hadn't meant to hurt his feelings, but she just didn't feel that way about him.
Nobody talked with Breezepaw after the gathering was over; and he couldn't understand why. He had no friends, and he had nothing to show he didn't deserve friends. As his clan began to walk in the opposite direction of HoneyClan he paddled behind the large tree the clans were addressed from. He just had a feeling she would be there; maybe they could exchange a word or two.
Both cats were delighted to see each other again, but they didn't approach each other; they just stared into their eyes. As they heard their clans paddling away, they whispered three words to each other at the same time.
"Let's meet tomorrow."
What am I thinking? Going off to see an apprentice from BerryClan. I hardly even know him, and he isn't the kindest of cats as even most HoneyClan cats know. I looked back into the apprentice's den, where five other cats slept. Flamepaw's ginger fur shined as he slept, and I couldn't help wishing that it gave me the same queasy feeling that Breezepaw did.
I turned my head away from the den and continued to paddle out of camp. The moon was at its highest, making my pelt a silver color, unlike its usual blue. Why can't you like someone from HoneyClan? There are many cats to pick from and they all like you, I thought to myself with frustration.
I pushed myself to carry onward, anyways. I couldn't fight the urge to be by his side. As I reached the border, I noticed the blood on the ground, and I sighed. So many battles had taken place between the two clans, that the ground was now tainted red, from all the bloodshed.
I continued to gaze at the ground as I paddled onward, until I reached the fine line that divided our territory with that of BerryClan. BerryClan were the only enemies my Clan had ever had; except for badgers and foxes, and for that reason the two clans never got along well. I had come to realize that many of the battles were unnecessary, but I knew that when I finally got to participate in my first battle as an apprentice that I would not back down from the fight. No matter what I would stand by my clan; all I could have towards them was loyalty. They were my family, my friends and my life.
I wonder what they would have thought if they knew what I was doing now.
"Hey," I look up to see the gray apprentice standing before me. "I wasn't expecting you to show up."
"Of course I would!" I claimed, slightly surprised. "Isn't that what I said I would do?" then add, "I stick to my promises." A weird look enters his eyes.
"I know that you keep your promises," he confesses a little slowly. "You seem too sweet not to but..." he chokes on his words for a second before continuing, "But I thought I might have imagined seeing you there. I thought I might have imagined the whole thing. After all it was only a few seconds that we exchanged."
I licked his face; I couldn't help myself. He had such a bossy tone at the gathering, but now he is so calm. Glum, yes, but he seemed to show that he really cared. I couldn't help feeling happy about it.
He didn't pull back when I leaned closer to him. Our pelts brushed against each other as we gazed up at the night sky.
"My Clan would kill me if they found out," I muttered as the moon shined over our pelts.
"Why should I care?" he grumbled. "I have no friends, and no cat that likes me. I don't get why," he sighs. "They just stay away from me and look at me like I am a rude jerk!"
I honestly didn't wonder why, but I leaned into his shoulder. His tense muscles loosened and my head sunk into his pelt. It felt so perfect, just the fact that I was with him. If we could be together like this, even a badger den would be ideal.
And yet, I find it a little hard to believe I will throw all of my dreams away for this cat. I always wanted a mate and kits; they would contribute to the Clan and help it grow, but I couldn't do that with him. We might end up being mates; and I couldn't help hoping for it, but I wouldn't be able to be open about it, which would make things so much more difficult.
And I knew that it could be challenging to grow up without a father. I would never want to put my kits through that, because I had been through it myself. It was hard for my mother, and it felt as if I didn't have somethings that other cats did, like I was missing a part of my life.
But I still couldn't stop looking at him, hoping for him, loving him.
We sat in silence the rest of the night, comforting each other with our presence. We didn't mind that our scents rubbed onto each other. We could momentarily put our lives behind, put the universe behind and just let it be us. Me and him. Him and I.
It's strange how sometimes one look is all it takes to know that you belong with a someone.
It wasn't long before I had to tear myself away from her. As the sun began to rise, we knew that it was time for us to depart. I had to drag myself away from her, and her beautiful pelt; as I realized that it would be the only thing I thought about all day.
I saw sadness in her eyes. I wanted to smack myself and claw my whole life. It was making her sad to be around me, just like it did for all other cats. But I can't control myself from making an offer, as much as I don't want to hurt her. "Let's meet again tomorrow."
She nodded and her eyes get more dull. A part of me wants to pull back from the offer, it hurts her to meet me like this as a secret from her Clan, but I just can't as I gaze into her blue eyes, so sweet like the name of the Clan which she comes from.
"Good bye," she whispers and I see pure love in her eyes. I want to follow her back to her clan, to stay with her for the rest of my life, but I can't. She belongs in HoneycCan, and I in BerryClan. Not that they give a mouse tail about you in BerryClan, I thought darkly to myself.
Waterpaw paddled away, her head was turned around and gazing at me as she walked. I remained in the same place, watching her slowly paddled away, wishing I was still by her side. I convinced myself to be grateful that she even looked twice at me.
Only when her pretty blue pelt was completely out of sight did I turn around to head back to my camp. I had no friends in camp, which was something I never managed to understand. I viewed myself as a fair amount good-looking, I could be funny and maybe I had a tongue that could turn out to be a little too sharp, but it was just a personality, there was nothing I could do to change it.
Before I walked into camp I rolled in a pile of fox dung, to get rid of Waterpaw's scent, and it was disgusting. If it was up to me, I would have left it on my pelt the whole day so I could have something left of her, but the Clan would easily smell HoneyClan on me and I would be kicked out for betrayal.
I didn't know how things worked in HoneyClan, but BerryClan was the tougher Clan that went by the rules much more strictly and the punishment for being even the slightest bit close to a HoneyClan cat was exile. Sometimes they scared you first, to remember your crimes, but there was no room in BerryClan for cats who had the slightest doubt of their loyalty.
I could be kicked out of my Clan if they knew; a risk I was not willing to take.
When I reached the camp, most of the cats were sleeping except for those on guard. I had to use the back entrance to camp, so that they didn't question me about where I had been. I wouldn't want to make them suspicious.
I easily fell asleep when I reached the apprentice den. I felt like a could sleep a moon, but unfortunately I was not given that opportunity. Soon after I drifted away I hear a loud voice right over my ear.
"Wake up Breezepaw! Bluetail wants to train with you a bit today if you aren't feeling to lazy to bother." It was Turtlepaw, standing over me.
"I'm up," I grunted as I pulled myself to my feet. "Seriously, though, Turtlepaw you should mind your own business. I don't get why you have to be such a bug." I rolled my eyes and with an annoyed tone asked, "Where is Bluetail? Thinks I'm too lazy to bother training."
She observed me a little closely. "Well," she finally decided, "you must have woke up on the wrong side of the nest because you are even ruder than usual." Her eyes showed no hurt but just frustration. "I don't get what your problem is, Breezepaw," she sighed.
I wanted to shake her and ask her what her problem was, messing with my problems, but instead I grunted and said, "Nothing but you, Turtlepaw."
She glared at me, her face red with anger as I paddled outside of the den, feeling proud of myself for being so smart. Bluetail obviously didn't agree, because when she saw me paddling out of the den, she walked up to me with a stern look on her face.
"You should be nicer to Turtlepaw," she warned me and I resisted the urge to roll my eyes, "She just wants to be friends."
"Then maybe she should get off my pelt," I snap, "Besides, I don't want to be friends with her."
"And then you are so upset that you make no friends." She seems annoyed with me and I can't bring myself to care. "I seriously don't get you, Breezepaw."
I ignore her comment. "Do you want to train me or not?"
She sighed, "I suppose I must." She sniffed for a moment before turning to me, "But first get that disgusting scent off you."
I continued to meet Breezepaw, despite the risks I knew that I was taking. Every piece of prey I caught for my Clan made me feel slightly more loyal. I couldn't control myself, he seemed like the thing that made me happy and I couldn't feel like I belonged with anybody else.
Unfortunately, many of the apprentices, Flamepaw more than any of the others, couldn't seem to understand that I had no interest in them. I could see them trying time after time to impress me, and win my love and I tried to drop hints that I didn't want a mate or that I didn't feel that way about them, but they never seemed to pick it up.
The thought of breaking Flamepaw hurt me. He was so kind and sweet and he really did care, but I just couldn't be with him, seeing Breezepaw night after night. It was worth the exhaustion I faced every morning just to sit there silently by his side, and know that he cared just as much as I did.
I tried not to break Flamepaw's heart but it was harder than it seemed. I could tell that every night Flamepaw went to bed disappointed, but still persevering, hopeful that the next day might be the one. I knew that the more he tried, the more it would hurt when he realized I never had any interest in him, and I never could feel anything more than friendship for him while Breezepaw was around.
But I couldn't just tell him that.
So I stayed silent and hoped that all of the apprentices might wake up and realize that I was not worth any of the trouble. I still didn't understand what they all see in me. I am not pretty, or very capable, nor was I witty. But they still wouldn't stop following me.
One night while sitting with Breezepaw I asked, "Have you ever considered taking a mate from your Clan," and hesitated, "I would never hold it against you if you chose them over me."
He had laughed. "No one in my Clan looks twice at me as a possibility for a friend. They all think I am a horrible, rude cat who they should best be avoiding," his eyes softened. "I can only feel this way about you, Waterpaw. Even if I was the most popular cat in HoneyClan, my heart would never beat the same way had I never looked into your beautiful eyes.
The next day we came across trouble. A BerryClan patrol came to HoneyClan, demanding why their scent was on BerryClan territory. HoneyClan had denied it, of course, and claimed that they had scented BerryClan on their side of the border. The BerryClan cats were lucky to make it out with their pelts.
But before BerryClan left, they had a warning. They claimed that if they continued to get scents, the Clans wouldn't stay peaceful for very long.
I met with Breezepaw that night anyways, I couldn't bring my guilt to make me stop.
The Clans got hostile quickly. Both Clans were smelling each other on their territory, and it was obviously me and Waterpaw. I couldn't think of any other explanation. I felt guilty all over for the war I would start, until I realized that it wasn't really me and Waterpaw causing the scents.
Right after we sent a patrol to HoneyClan they sent one back, and they were mad. They were carrying a dead squirrel that did smell of BerryClan and they claimed to have found it on their territory. Waterpaw and I didn't touch a piece of prey, it was far too dark when we met to go hunting, so it was obviously someone from our Clan hunting on HoneyClan territory.
Or it could have been HoneyClan lying.
Either way, I was relived to find that we hadn't been caught, I had no idea what I would do without Waterpaw. There was no other cat I knew who even cared for me. They were nice, at least they tried to be, but I never got affection from cats. At least not until a couple days later.
There were some loners living near our territory, and they were chased away by twolegs. There were two of them, a mother and a daughter, and the mother decided to leave her daughter in the clan, while she tried to find a new place to settle. The Clan was hesitant but they took the she-cat in and began to train her as an apprentice.
Her name was Heatherpaw, and she was a pretty she-cat, the type that could pick whichever tom she liked, but, still, she just wasn't Waterpaw. Looking at her made me feel like my surroundings feel so much sharper, but with Waterpaw it was nothing else but her and I. Me and her.
I was eating my squirrel that day, and of course no one was sitting next to me. Other cats had come before but they wouldn't come back again until a long time later, by which time they would forget how horrible I was to sit by. Heatherpaw was new, so she didn't know that the Clan didn't like me, and when she picked out her mouse, she plopped down next to me.
"Hello," she introduced herself. "I am Heatherpaw, what's your name?"
"Breezepaw," I replied curtly, not wanting to get close with the cat. She wasn't going to sit by me next time anyways, so I didn't see the point.
"Oh," she replied brightly. "Hello, Breezepaw. I don't really know this place that well so I was wondering if you could show me around the camp. Blackstripe, my mentor, is going to show me the territory but I need someone to show me the camp."
I flicked my tail towards Turtlepaw, "She knows this place well. You should ask her to show you around."
But Heatherpaw was doubtful. "I wanted a cat who I knew to show me around," she slowly began. "And I don't know her. I'm afraid she might not like me because I am not clan-born."
I resisted the urge to snort. Everybody likes a pretty she-cat. But instead I said, "Well you can't tell until you meet her. And then you will know her. I am a little tired so I want to rest a bit."
Her eyes gleamed mischievously. "Liar," she purred. "I saw you telling your mentor that you were excited to begin training today!" Her gaze softened a bit, "Why are you trying to avoid me? It almost makes me feel like you are scared," she teased.
What she didn't understand was that I was scared. Scared that she would lose interest in me as well. And I was scared that Waterpaw would be angry if she found out I was friends with a she-cat, because my heart can only beat for her that way. Not even a funny, caring cat like Heatherpaw.
"Come on," she finally said, "At least try to look like you care," she added playfully seeing the sour look on my face and I gaze in. I would show her around the camp, get her out of my pelt, and she wouldn't want to be near me again after spending a fair amount of time with me.
I showed her around, hoping that she would drop out of my lame tour as soon as she liked, but she managed to stick with me. She even followed me out of camp that night when I was going to meet Waterpaw. I shoved her away telling her I needed to do something that didn't concern her.
Of course, she began to follow me anyways, and since she had just started training her stalking wasn't that good. I caught her and escorted her back to camp before running back out to meet Waterpaw.
I had kept her waiting but she wasn't mad. She was never mad, and I don't think she ever could be. One of the things I loved the most about her.
As I sat with her that night, I left the universe again and Heatherpaw along with it. But as I felt myself floating away, Waterpaw at my side, I thought I could hear Heatherpaw screaming my name. Calling for me, begging me to come back.
"Hey, Waterpaw!" Flamepaw called to me. "Want to go hunting together? Flowerscent told me I could have the day off!"
I shrugged. "Sure," I replied. "I think my mentor won't mind. Where do you want to hunt?" I asked, hoping it wasn't near our border with BerryClan.
He thought for a moment. "Why don't we go near the sycamore tree?" he suggested. "I like that place, it is nice and quiet; the perfect place for a beautiful hunt with a beautiful cat," he purred, and I pretended not to notice the compliment at the end.
"Sure," I replied. "I would love that!"
He purred. "Let's go now!" he claimed.
"Sure," I responded. "I guess there's no point in waiting. We might as well go while the sun is at its highest!" He nodded happily and with relief; and I realized that he had been scared I might turn down the opportunity to go hunting with him.
We did very well while hunting that day, and since we weren't on a patrol, when we were done, we stopped to eat one of our catches. Flamepaw seemed thoughtful for a moment before picking out the thrush which I had been eyeing.
Noticing the look in my face, he handed it to me. "Here," he pushed it in front of me. "Why don't you have it, I don't mind."
"No, it's okay," I responded, pulling a mouse out of our small pile.,"You caught more, you should get to pick first. Besides," I added, "I love mice too, and since that is your catch you should get to eat it."
He shook his head. "No," he insisted, "you should have it." Teasingly he added, "Don't make me shove it down your throat. You wouldn't get to enjoy my brilliant catch quite as much then. It would taste far too much like my paw."
I laughed, "So tell me Flamepaw, which was the brilliant part of that catch you were talking about? The part where you tripped on the twig and had to chase it, or the part where right after you caught it you slammed into a tree?"
His ginger face went red, "How did you know about that?" he questioned me.
"It was hard not to hear with the thumps you made," I teased him. "It could have been a badger!"
He snorted, but I could almost see some disappointment in his face, like he was expecting a different answer. I inwardly sighed, realizing it will be tough for him when he understood that I had no interest. I never had one, but then I met Breezepaw and I couldn't help myself.
Flamepaw and I ate in silence for a while, enjoying the presence of each other. We had soon cleaned the bones off our food and decided to head back into camp. As we shoved the prey into our mouths, to carry it back, Flamepaw shot a longing glance at a mouse.
"If I didn't have any respect for the warrior code I would be shoving that thing in my mouth right now," he admitted. "With leaf-bare approaching I already feel my bones poking through."
He sucked in his breath to show me and I purred, "What would the Clan do without your appetite?"
He shrugged, "You need me to finish up your prey, Waterpaw." He grinned, "Otherwise it would be wasted and that's against the warrior code!"
That day when I was sitting in the apprentice den, with Flamepaw away, my best friend Mintpaw approached.
"So," she began, her whiskers twitching with amusement, "How was your stroll with Flamepaw? I heard that you two were out hunting today!"
"It was fine," I replied calmly, "How was your day?"
She didn't answer my question. "Flamepaw is a kind tom," she remarked, "but even he is lucky to end up with your pretty pelt!"
"What are you talking about?" I asked my friend, feeling myself going slightly red, "Flamepaw and I are only friends, and I feel for as him if he is only a friend. I don't know what he thinks but that was just a friendly hunt, nothing special."
Seeing that I was being serious, Mintpaw leaned into my ear. "You can tell me," she claimed, "I promise it will stay in between us."
I actually considered telling her about Breezepaw before I shook it out of my head and simply replied. "I do fear the thought of hurting him, and I feel guilty about it sometimes, but he is nothing more than a friend.
She sighed, "That's too bad. But don't worry about hurting his feelings," she assured me. "Toms are like that. They follow one she-cat for a while, before they get bored and run after another one."
I couldn't help thinking that Breezepaw would never do that, even if I murdered his best friend. Not that he really had many friends, from what I understood.
"So what did you do today?" My friend seemed to become uncomfortable at the question.
"I was out," she replied.
"With Sandstorm?" I asked, and she shook her head.
"Just out on my own," she trailed off a little nervously. A little suspicious, I licked her cheek, and tried to detect the scent on her, without making her realize.
It was all I could do not to gasp as she managed a smile and leaves the den to get a piece of prey. I would recognize the scent on Mintpaw everyday as I smelled it every night, by Breezepaw's side.
Mintpaw was meeting someone from BerryClan.
Heatherpaw never seemed to be able to get bored of me. No matter how many hints I dropped that she should go hang out with more popular cats like Turtlepaw she never seemed to pick them up. Instead she would just laugh and say, "Are you trying to avoid me?"
Of course, I never told her that I was trying to do just that.
And soon the other apprentices came to welcome Heatherpaw when they realized she wasn't going to them. Turtlepaw bounded up to us one day while we were eating and smiled at her.
"Hello, I am Turtlepaw," she purred. "How had the Clan been going for you so far?" And she just sat down, right beside us, without an invitation.
It had been what I was waiting for the whole time, but all of a sudden I felt myself getting protective over Heatherpaw. I felt tempted to tell Turtlepaw to go away, and that I had become friends with her first. I couldn't control the wave of fear that swept me at the thought that Heatherpaw might not sit with me anymore.
Heatherpaw introduced herself and soon the she-cats were deep in discussion, talking about life in BerryClan. I had to resist the urge to scare Turtlepaw away for with every friendly word they spoke to each other I only became more worried.
Eventually, Turtlepaw left, leaving me relieved.
Heatherpaw turned on me right after that, "Why do you keep trying to avoid me?" she hissed.
I looked at her confused, and feeling it was random, "What are you talking about, Heatherpaw? I didn't do anything."
She stared at me with anger and pain visible in her eyes, "You always do. There was nothing to Turtlepaw that I couldn't see in you. Tell me, what is wrong with me? Am I ugly, or is my hunting too shabby for your liking? You never seemed to like me ever since I joined the clan."
Her eyes widened with anger as she continued to look at me. "It's because I'm not Clanborn isn't it?" she hisses before turning around. "Forget it, Breezepaw. I still don't understand why I ever tried to be friends with you," and she stormed away, with tears in her eyes.
I turned to look beside me and found Turtlepaw staring disapprovingly at me. I turned away from her, angry at myself for dismissing the pretty she-cat too much. I had never even thought about the fact that she wasn't Clanborn, but she seemed to think that was why I avoided her.
The next day, I thought things would be fixed in between us, but she still avoided me. And she did so the day after too.
Instead of sitting by me, Heatherpaw began to sit by Turtlepaw, and totally ignored me. She stopped asking her mentor if she could train or hunt beside me, and I missed her.
I still met Waterpaw every night and I could forget about her then, but once I left the gorgeous she-cat's side, my whole life returned to me and I was forced to deal with it.
I couldn't deal with Heatherpaw hating me.
So four days after she stormed away, I sat down next to her, when I noticed that she was eating alone. She turned her head away from me but she couldn't block out my voice.
"Heatherpaw I wanted you to know that I am sorry," I slowly began, realizing how little it sounded like me. "I never even looked at the fact that you weren't clan-born."
"Then why did you ignore me like that?" she demanded and I looked down to my feet, collecting all of my strength so that I could muster my next words.
"Because I fear that if I cling onto something I care about too much, that it will lose interest in me," I admitted. "I had never had a friend in BerryClan before; a cat that cared for me, and was willing to spend as much time with me as you. And it was something I feared to lose. I couldn't stand the thought of losing your friendship. But my fear of the idea only made it happen."
She looked at me, "Are you serious?" she asked and I nodded.
"I can't stand the thought of losing you."
"Me neither," she admitted. "Though you weren't the kindest, you were a friend to me, something I feared I might not be able to find."
"So are we friends again?" I asked her, but an answer wasn't needed. The look in her eyes was enough to tell.
I sighed as I noticed Mintpaw sneaking out of camp. She was acting no less suspicious then she had the day I came back from the hunt with Flamepaw. She mysteriously disappeared and was incredibly tired in the mornings. I often caught a sniff of either Berryclan or some kind of foul material that she had used to wipe the scent off. I tried to hint that I knew what she was doing, but if she let on, she didn't show it and even would sometimes leave right after I dropped these hints.
And the worst part was I couldn't come out and tell her to stop, because I was no less guilty than her. I didn't stop seeing Breezepaw, and now I had to be extra careful that Mintpaw didn't catch me sneaking off to see him.
"Is something wrong?" Flamepaw asked, sitting down next to me with a large vole. "You've been seeming a little worried lately."
"It's nothing," I murmured, feeling a little annoyed with him for being so nosy.
"You can't fool me," he responded seriously. "If something is a problem for you, it is a problem for me, and I want to solve whatever the matter is." He gazed deep into my eyes, but I didn't looking back; instead I watched Mintpaw as she finally left my sight, going to the border, I assumed. Looking back down, I saw that Flamepaw was still staring at me, and although I knew he was trying to be sweet, I couldn't help getting frustrated at him for being so nosy about everything.
Why can't he see that I am not interested?
"Look Flamepaw, I am just fine," I snapped, unable to control my temper. I was too worried right now, to put a lot of time into his feelings. "Maybe you should start following a she-cat that actually wants all of the attention."
His eyes softened. "But that's one of the reasons I like you," he admitted. "Because you aren't fighting for attention, when so many cats would give you that if you asked for it."
I ignored his comment, and pulled myself up. "Do you hear that?" I asked, as a feel a thumping noise coming from I direction I can't locate. I didn't tell him I thought it was my heart, scared to hurt him beyond repair. "I'm going to go see what it is," I informed him, before dashing off.
I was glad to finally be free.
It turned out, however, that it wasn't my heart, making all the noise, instead it was a BerryClan patrol, heading straight towards camp.
For a moment I was confused, and had to make a quick decision in between returning to camp and warning the cats as opposed to confronting them. Realizing I wouldn't get there quickly enough, I confronted the pack of cats, by coming out of the bushes I had been walking behind.
They all stopped quickly at the sight of me. "You are trespassing," I warned them, and was relieved to see that Breezepaw was not among the cats. I couldn't help wondering what I might have done if he were there, as a part of the raiding patrol.
"We are not here to attack," Greeneye, the deputy responded, although I could detect anger in her voice, "We would just like to speak with your leader about some issues."
I hesitated for a moment before sighing, realizing that there was no way I could put up with them if I told them they couldn't pass.
I led them into camp, where I felt gazes turning me with curiosity. I ignored them as I noticed Mintpaw entering camp from another entrance. She froze when she saw me entering the camp with enemies.
Bushstar glanced at me. "Waterpaw, why did you bring these enemies into our camp?" Hostility was available in her gaze.
"They wanted to speak to you about something," I replied, my heart beating like lightning.
Bushstar flicked her tail at them, "Let's speak in my den."
"What we have to say is for the whole Clan to hear," Greeneye claimed, before signaling for a warrior behind him to drop a piece of prey that they had been carrying when I first saw them. "We found this squirrel on our territory, with your scent on it!"
There were yowls of protest from the cats, but Bushstar stepped in front of the cats. "I can assure you that none of our warriors would have ever set foot on your territory!" she bristled.
"But they did," Greeneye insisted over the hissing cat, "And if it happens again, we will be at war!" anger was not missing from his gaze as he turned around stomping out of camp, with his warriors right behind him; leaving the Clan stunned and angry.
I stayed quiet, feared the approaching war.
Oh StarClan, please don't make a war start because of Breezepaw and I.
"Our Clans have declared war against each other," she whispered to me. "I don't want to be responsible for lives." Her eyes widen and I find myself staring into a hole I can't crawl out of. "But I can't bring myself to stop seeing you. I feel so torn!"
"It's not our fault," I whispered to her, and she looked at me, surprised.
"Of course it is, they keep finding our scent on the territories."
I shook my head. "They also found prey though. We didn't go near any food at all, Waterpaw. Someone is doing some trespassing."
"It must be BerrycCan." She bared her teeth, not at me, but at the camp in my direction.
"Can we not argue about Clan issues?" I whispered, surprised it is coming from my mouth and not hers. "I just want to be by your side."
"Me too," she agreed gently, "Me too."
We sat throughout the whole night, like we did every other night, enjoying our company. Nothing else could make me feel this way, nothing else in the world. This was what I yearn for in the days, and what I lived for during the nights. I didn't need my sleep when she stood beside me.
Half way into the night, she turned to me, her eyes wide, and I could see worry in them. "I just remembered," she whispered, "I forgot to ask you before, but I have a friend, Mintpaw, and I think she is meeting a BerryClan cat. She always sneaks out and I get funny scents on her."
"I don't think so," I replied. "I think I would notice if a cat sneak out of camp, and I haven't seen any other cat do that. Besides, unless she goes deep into the territory, we should be able to smell her here. I have a feeling that whatever she is doing is not what you think it is."
She sighed, "I'm just worried for my friend," then leaned into my shoulder.
Enjoying her comfort I replied, "It wouldn't be fair to tell her to stop when you are no less guilty yourself," I informed her. "I'm sure she'll be fine."
"I get worried when I meet you sometimes," she admitted. "That someone will know, and we will never be able to see each other again. I can't stand the thought of not being able to see you again. I would be broken and I don't want that happening to Mintpaw. She is my best friend, and I can't think of anyone worse to lose," she thought for a moment. "Except for you."
"I agree," I replied. "And we will have to be careful now that the battle is approaching."
"I don't want to face you in battle," she shuddered. "But I don't know if I will have a choice. What would I do if you came my way; I couldn't just stand there."
"We will watch out for each other," I responded. "I know that I could never attack you."
"Me neither," she responded as we gaze up at the stars above us, and I notice two bright stars, standing side by side, shimmering wonderfully. It's Waterpaw and I, fighting the light reflected by all the other stars, making out way out as the brightest of them all. No battle could tear us apart.
It would always be us; against whatever obstacle our life presented. Our love could do nothing but survive.
I was woken up from my sleep by the sound of heavy footsteps followed by the arrival of a frantic patrol. "BerryClan is in our territory!" they cried. "They are heading straight towards camp!"
I shot up straight away, as the Clan spent no time stirring. Bushstar was immediately shouting out for a group of cats to go stop them, as I shivered.
Flamepaw put his flank against mine. "Don't worry," he soothed. "I will skin anyone who lays a claw on your precious pelt."
It took me a moment to get over my shock before I shrugged him away, "I am not a kit, Flamepaw. I can look after myself!"
Hurt entered his eyes before he shook his head. "You're right," he apologized with a dip of the head. "I shouldn't be treating you like a kit. I just care about you that is all."
I ignored his comment again as the first patrol leaves to stop BerryClan. The whole of HoneyClan waited in silence for a short while before a cat returns. "We need more cats!" he yowled. "There are too many of them!"
Bushstar looked around for a couple moments before asking, "How many of them?"
"Almost all of the Clan is there! They really want to teach us a lesson because they think we hunted on their territory!" he cried.
"But we didn't!" A cat protested.
"I know," Bushstar sighed. "But we have to fight back."
I looked around for a moment, as I tried to spot Mintpaw among the apprentices unsuccessfully. Not now, I felt myself groaning inwardly, Where on earth could Mintpaw have gone?
Flamepaw looked at me, worried, "Is something bothering you, Waterpaw? You look like you misplaced something.
Yeah, my best friend, I thought but didn't say anything. Instead I sighed, and Flamepaw seemed to understand because he stayed quiet as Bushstar finally flicked her tail.
"All of us are going!" she announced, "The elders, queens and kits will stay behind, but I must send the rest of the Clan."
There was a battle cry from the cats around her and within moments all of the HoneyClan warriors were streaming out of camp, with the apprentices at their tails.
They didn't need to run for long before they ran into a muster of blood, claws fur and teeth. I took a slow step back in horror, and for once found myself appreciating the comfort that Flamepaw had to offer as he pressed his flank against mine.
Bushstar took a look at his Clan for a moment before nodding and flicking his tail at HoneyClan to jump into action, as cats started springing into the battle.
This isn't training and fun anymore; I thought, This is the real thing.
It was the worst battle I had ever seen in my life. Not that I had seen any battles, but from the way the cats fought this battle seemed like one that would become a tale for elders to tell.
My training seemed totally worthless once I was put against the vicious HoneyClan cats. I found myself leaping from cat to cat, trying to avoid the claws and teeth which were lashing out at me from all directions. I was careful to make sure I didn't go near Waterpaw, as her blue pelt was easy to spot among the several brown and black ones in the battle field.
I noticed that Heatherpaw tried to stick close to me during the battle and at one point we were fighting side by side, as we tried to take down a HoneyClan warrior.
We soon had him running away, and Heatherpaw ran off to fight another HoneyClan cat with new found confidence. As I turned around I noticed a HoneyClan apprentice sitting far off, watching the battle with a look of content. I saw Waterpaw turning around to notice her, before she slowly slipped out of the battle to speak with the cat.
I found myself following her as she walked up to the cat.
Soon the both of us had slid out of the battle, I was hiding behind a bush while Waterpaw walked up to the pretty she-cat, a curious but worried look in her eyes.
So this must be Mintpaw.
"Hello, Waterpaw." Her voice was dull yet I could detect some menace in it as well as a trace of anger in her eyes, "Are you enjoying your first battle?"
"What are you doing out here?" she asked her, bewildered. "You should be out there in the battle, helping us fight, not watching like this is a show!"
"But it is."
"What are you talking about?" Waterpaw asked bewildered, "Why are you acting so strange, Mintpaw?"
"I'm tired of being your shadow," she whispered darkly. "I'm always known as your friend, and frankly the Clans have been sickening me lately."
"So you are going to stand here and watch them battle as if you set the whole thing up, enjoying every drop of blood spilled."
"I did set this battle up," the apprentice replied in a cool tone, as I watched in growing horror. "All that prey, lying around, caught by the other Clan, was me."
Waterpaw backed away in horror. "I refuse to believe my best friend would do such a thing!" Tears welled around her eyes and I felt the urge to rip the throat of the cat who was putting her through this pain, as she put on a smug smile.
"It won't matter whether or not you believe it anyways," she responded lifting her paw up as Waterpaw winced. "I'm going to kill you to destroy the only living cat who knows anyways."
"I know you wouldn't!" she exclaimed as tears pounded down her cheeks and my heart began to beat in horror at the future of the cat I loved so much.
"Try me," she snarled as she pulled down her unsheathed claws aiming for Waterpaw's throat.
I shut my eyes preparing to finally reach StarClan. There was no way I could hurt the cat I had come to trust as my best friend, even if they were willing to kill me.
But before I felt the claws at my throat I heard an ear piercing yowl coming from my mate, and I looked up to see Mintpaw being hurled out of my way by Breezepaw who had an angry but worried look on his face; as he pummeled my old friend to the ground.
She let out a little squeak. "Let me go you filthy BerryClan cat!" she hissed. "I have business I need to finish, and you should know better than to get in my way!"
"Leave Waterpaw alone. " His eyes were threatening and they scared me although I knew that he could never do me any harm.
"Why should that concern you?" she spat out struggling under his weight. "She's just a dumb apprentice who thinks the clans should live in peace!"
"They should, and they would be if you weren't messing with them, and putting lives at stake, without a reason to do so!"
"The clans are weak and pathetic!" she spat out, and with a small twirl she escaped his grasp and sent a pair of claws flying at his throat.
I let out a high pitched scream as the claws barely missed Breezepaw and thanked StarClan that he was still alive. Snarling with rage, Breezepaw tried to swipe back at her, but she nimbly dodged all of his blows before turning around and sending a paw at him, knocking him down temporarily, with a small gash in his shoulder, as she sneered with victory.
She leaned over my mate, and realizing that she was about to kill him a started running up to her. "Mintpaw, please stop!" I begged her.
"Give me one good reason," she claimed with her claws held straight over his throat.
I stutter for a moment, and I can't think of anything that the monster will actually listen to.
"Well then," she claims, "Looks like it's going to be off with his throat!"
Before I can yowl and before Mintpaw can even pull her claws down him, he leaps to his feet and send a blow down Mintpaw's throat catching her by surprise.
Suddenly, but yet so slowly, my old best friend coughs out blood, before it starts leaking out of her throat, accumulating over the floor. I can't tell if it takes moments or seconds or minutes for Mintpaw to slowly fall to the ground and hit the floor with a soft thud.
"Mintpaw, No!" I scream, suddenly frantic, running up to her now weak and injured body, as it lies lifeless on the cold ground, but it was far to late.
Mintpaw was dead.
I stared at the cold body and then my claws in growing horror.
I was a murderer.
The battle suddenly seemed to pause, as all cats turned around to see where the scream of terror had came from. When they saw Mintpaw's body, the cats slowly left the battle to gather around the young apprentice, Waterpaw looking down at her old friend sadly, leaving me feeling like a monster.
I was just trying to save Waterpaw's life, but yet in the process I had managed to kill another cat; Mintpaw, who happened to be the cat closest to Waterpaw.
Bushstar turned around angrily at the sight of one of his dead clan mates. "Who did this?" he demanded. "Who had the nerve to kill an apprentice?"
I slowly felt myself stepping out of the crowd of cats. I heard Heatherpaw gasp as I dipped my head. "It was in self-defense," I replied. "She was about to kill Waterpaw."
"Why would Mintpaw want to kill her best friend?" Bushstar asked angrily not seeming to believe a word that came out of my mouth.
"Because Mintpaw was the one who set this battle up," I responded aware that no cat believed me. "She was the one who made it look like we were hunting on each others territory, and when Waterpaw became aware of that she needed to kill her."
Bushstar turned to the blue apprentice, "Is this true Waterpaw?"
For a moment I thought she would deny it, even though she knew it was the truth, because I could tell that she was mad at me for killing Mintpaw, but she didn't, "It's true."
There were murmurs among the cats as Waterpaw confirmed my statements.
"Well then I would like to apologize," he claimed. "Both to you and BerryClan," he still appeared to be recovering from the shock, "for thinking that you were thieves."
Our leader nodded as well. "I guess sometimes we fail to locate the real enemy."
Waterpaw seemed to bristle at the prospect that the Clans had thought her best friend was the enemy of the two Clans.
Slowly the cats began to separate, but Waterpaw and I remained there in a mutual silence. I finally broke it by asking, "Will you be able to forgive me?"
She looked down at her feet. "I really don't know," she confessed. "I can't be mad at you for saving my life, and I am aware that Mintpaw was horrible, but I can't help thinking of the cat who killed Mintpaw when I look at you..." she sighed. "I still love you as much as my heart can manage to do so, but I need some time to think on what just happened."
"Do you want to meet tomorrow night?" I asked her. "So that you can give me your decision then?"
She nodded, "That sounds good," she claimed. She leaned forward to lick my head, before slowly pulling back, finding herself unable to do it.
I pretended not to notice as I paddled away from her, darkness deep inside my heart; hating Mintpaw for ever existing.
And for the first time in my life I was not looking forward to meeting with Waterpaw.
I couldn't fall asleep that night. And I couldn't catch any prey or properly preform any battle moves right the next day. My Clan seemed to understand, after all my best friend had revealed herself to be a traitor, right before dying because she tried to kill me, but what they didn't understand was that my best friend had been killed by my mate; however right he might have been to do it.
Flamepaw tried to offer comfort to me, and I didn't push him away for once. I suddenly felt so vulnerable to the dangers of the world, both physically and emotionally. I didn't want to lose Breezepaw because I chose to do so, but I couldn't help remembering how he killed Mintpaw when I looked at him.
The day was long and painful, as I was forced to make a choice on whether or not I wanted to stay together with Breezepaw.
I remember when he said that he would still be my mate even if I killed his best friend, and I had agreed; but suddenly it didn't seem nearly as possible as I had imagined. It almost felt like StarClan was trying to prove us wrong; and show us how foolish we were.
Were we foolish or was it really true love?
That is not a question I have to ask myself. Whatever I might feel now the only thing that ever existed between Breezepaw and I was love. We could never have felt anything else.
And yet... It almost feels like I can let him go so easily.
That night, I still had not made my decision. But I sneaked out of camp to meet Breezepaw anyways. I had to make an excuse for Flamepaw who realized that I had woken up, and was constantly worried for my well-being. He was a sweet tom, and I might have been his by now, had I never met Breezepaw.
When I arrived, Breezepaw was there waiting for me, with a worried expression on his face.
And the moment I saw him, I knew that I still loved him, I still would love him, no matter what happened to tear us apart, my heart would always belong with him.
But just because I loved him that didn't mean I should be with him.
I remember Mintpaw; her cold body lying on the grass which had been stained red by her own blood, as Breezepaw backed away in horror, realizing what he had just been responsible for. It didn't matter how or why, but he had killed Mintpaw.
I know that I shouldn't let that change our relationship to something it wasn't before, but there are some battles inside of you just can't win.
He was waiting for my answer and I open my mouth, dreading the words that will come out.
"We can't meet each other anymore."
I can't really say I was surprised at her answer, I had already accepted the fact that Waterpaw and I could remain no more.
But still, it hurt to hear the words finally coming from her mouth.
"Can we at least spend this one last night together?" I asked. "As something for me to remember by? I want to cherish you for a few moments."
She nods and I can tell the same thoughts passed through her mind too. She doesn't want to leave me, but she couldn't help seeing a murderer. Who would have thought that it would be this that teared us apart.
We sit in silence the whole night; and as always no needs need to be spoken in between us. I look down at the universe for the last time that night, realizing that I will never get this feeling again.
But I could get the next best thing.
I shake the thought out of my head, as my pelt brushes against that of Waterpaw.
Although it is hours, it feels like merely a few seconds later when we finally have to pull away.
"The next time we meet might be in battle," she claimed, her head bowed down sadly, as a small tear slides off the edge of it.
I wipe it off with my paw. "I know, Waterpaw. And I want you to remember that no matter what happens, I will always love you. No matter what I do, I have never forgotten you, and no matter what life throws my way you will always rest in my heart."
She nodded. "That goes for me too, Breezepaw," she paused for a few moments, "I will miss you."
"Me too." We touch noses for one last time, our eyes gleaming with love and pain, which we can see reflected in each other before we pull away, to walk back to our clans.
Heatherpaw is waiting for me when I come back to camp, as I remind myself that Waterpaw is an obstacle no more. Heatherpaw might not make me feel the same way, but I could learn to love her; and she would be the next best thing. I also wouldn't be betraying my Clan.
I love Waterpaw, and I always will, but sometimes you just have to move on, and face the fact that you still have something brilliant waiting for you.
"Hey Heatherpaw?" I begin. "Can I ask you a question?"
Waterstream felt a sharp pain seizing her body, and she clung desperately to the soft moss on the floor. Who would have though that this could be so painful? The medicine cat was at her side, quickly feeding herbs as she felt her stomach trying to kill her. She noticed Flamespirit desperately pacing the clearing, and for a moment she almost felt Breezepelt standing by her side.
Breezepelt nervously felt his pace getting quicker. Some cats watched him with amusement and he wanted to snap to them, about how this was not funny. He heard panting from inside the nursery as he waited with excitement and anxiety. He couldn't bear to lose Heatherwing.
Suddenly Waterstream felt the pressure being released as a small bundle of fur came rolling out of her stomach. The other queens watched nervously as she felt another blow of pain hitting her stomach.
Breezepelt heard a gasp of relief coming from Heatherwing before she drew her breath in with pain. He told himself to calm down; everything would be alright.
Soon Flamespirit had entered the den with a proud look on his face, looking down at his two kits. They stared at them for a whole, their eyes full of love before he asked, "What should we name them?" Waterstream had to think for a moment; she wanted their names to be special, it was the only thing about them she would get to choose after all.
Suddenly, Blackstripe, the medicine cat, moved aside as Breezepelt dashed into the den. Heatherwing was staring proudly over three kits. He licked her affectionalty looking down at the cute bundles of fur, one was a blue-gray she-cat, and both of the toms were black with gray stripes, "What do you think for names?" she asked him.
"Spiritkit," she decided pointing at the dark ginger tom. "And this one can be Breezekit," she decided, indicating towards the gray one. They may not be Breezepelt's kits, but they almost felt like it to her.
"How about, Wingkit, for this black and white tom, then Blackkit, for the other one?" Heatherwimg nodded approvingly and they looked at the blue-gray one. Suddenly Breezepelt knew what to call her. "Waterkit?" he suggested hopefully, and looked at Heatherwing who nodded, pleased.
Flamespirit eventually left her alone with her kits and her thoughts. As they sucked her milk she wondered what Breezepelt was up to right now, and if he was thinking of her.
Breezepelt waited patiently outside the nursery, glancing towards the exit of camp. He would always remember Waterstream, but he had Heatherwing now, and he could still love two cats.
They would always rest in each others hearts, but sometimes you just have to move on.
That didn't mean you didn't love someone.