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Dying Inside

For Blayde's contest. By Firey

"Why are you doing this?"

"You betrayed me!"

"I...I made a mistake."

"And that mistake is going to cost your life."

"I... I still love you though."

Blurb

Hazelheart and Sunflight have been mates for a long time. At least they should have been mates. Sunflight gave up on Hazelheart and decided to go for Echosong. Feeling betrayed and emptied, Hazelheart tries to make it up herself. But without Sunflight, who does she have? In the end, is it her fault that things turned out worse than it was before?

Prologue

A light brown tabby she-cat was seated by the river, her gaze trailing towards the MoonClan camp, her home. It did feel at home from time to time, but only one thing in there, other than her mother, made her feel at home there.

"Hazelpaw?"

She glanced back, and saw Sunpaw sitting behind her, his glowing green eyes watching her. "Sunpaw!" She purred, "You came."

The tom nodded, "Of course I came."

Hazelpaw fell silent at that. Sunpaw made her feel more at home than any of her Clanmates. Some were just plain mean. Hazelpaw had a disability; she had a twisted hindleg, so she walks in a limp. She could still hunt, but it was harder.

Sunpaw didn't care about all that. All he did was act like she was a normal she-cat who could walk, hunt, and fight just like him.

"Isn't the sunset beautiful?" Sunpaw murmured, coming closer to sit next to her beside the edge of MoonClan territory.

"Yes."

"Just like you."

Hazelpaw blushed, averting her eyes from his sharp, green gaze. Sunpaw curled his tail around her, and sighing, "Sometimes, I wish we could be together forever."

That made her turn to look at him. "Can't we?"

Sunpaw stared at her, "We have duties, and other obligations to deal with, don't we? We can't spend every moment together, and others will look at you and just think you don't deserve a mate." That stung. Hazelpaw looked away again.

"Do I?"

There was a pause, and Hazelpaw swallowed nervously.

"Yes."

Hazelpaw didn't mention his hesitation, and tried to meet his gaze evenly, "Then why does everyone treat me like a kit? Someone who can't be a warrior?"

Sunpaw made no reply, and he looked away, staring into the crystal, clear stream.

"Why must we talk about this?" he suddenly changed the subject, "I love you, Hazelpaw, and I want to spend every moment I can with you."

But I can't. Hazlepaw could hear his words almost as if he spoke them out loud. "I...I love you too." Hazelpaw tried out those words on her tongue.

All her life she wanted a tom to love her, a mate that would treat her as an equal, someone who would look at her as more than a friend.

It didn't feel right, but it was right enough for Hazelpaw. The two sat side by side, their worries forgotten, and Hazelpaw enjoyed the moment, wrapped in a cocoon of peace without any troubles ahead of them.

But it wouldn't last forever. Hazelpaw had more than just some heartbreaks and injuries to deal with. She would feel betrayal, hurt, anger, and every that would lead to one action that she would regret forever. Perhaps it would have been best for her to just stay in the cocoon, and never come out.

But alas...

...that is impossible.

...when things look perfect...

Chapter One

I stretched, trying to keep myself from flinching as Echosong bustled past. "Move kit, some of us are trying to be useful and go on patrol."

The gray she-cat brushed past me, her beautiful glossy pelt glowing in the sunlight. I scowled at her, knowing that she was just merely jealous about something in my life.

"Hey, don't be so mean, Echosong." I heard him sigh, "She's a warrior, just like you and me."

I turned around gratefully to look at Sunflight, and the golden tom's green eyes remained unfathomable. Echosong gave him a glare, before stalking away.

"Thanks."

This time he did smile and purr, "You're welcome, Hazelheart, we are mates after all." I purred at his statement. I never forgot that night at the stream.

He curled his tail around mine briefly before padding out to hear the patrols.

I started to groom my fur, and I winced as my tongue went stiffly over my mangled foot. I sighed as I gazed at it, my disability made others look at me in a different way. I could still hunt, but they looked at me like I only had three legs.

For some cats, that meant pitying me. For others like Echosong, it meant being cruel and treating me like something I wasn't.

Only Sunflight treated me as an equal.

When I finished my grooming, I popped my head outside and trotted over to the deputy, Fernpelt, who was issuing the last hunting patrol. "Hazelheart, do you want to join Cherryleaf's patrol?"

I nodded, and the red she-cat didn't pause to glance at me before padding outside.

Silverflight walked next to me, and I relaxed at my sister's touch. She was the first-born, so naturally she looked down at me because I was her little sister. But she was a good replacement for our mother.

"How's Sunflight?" Silverflight whispered, indicating to the golden tom ahead of us.

I purred slightly, "He's great! But sometimes I find him distant... Echosong's still being a burr in my pelt though."

"Ignore her," my sister rolled her eyes, "She obviously doesn't know how much you've achieved to reach where you are."

Her eyes glowed proudly, and I gave her a sad smile.

Our mother died five days after giving birth to us, so another queen, Leafwhisper, fed us until we were old enough to be alone in the Nursery ourselves.

Silverflight, Silverkit then, had become the "mother". She took care of me, especially with my disability, and she made sure I was well-fed and away from trouble. It had been like that since then. Whenever I did something Silverflight, as the mother, would be proud of, she would have this slight sparkle in her eyes. I sighed.

"Thanks, Silverflight."

She licked my ear and gave me a smile before flouncing off to talk with Hawkswoop. I let out a soft purr when I saw Silverflight blushing as she chatted with Hawkswoop. Obviously she had more going on in her life.

I caught up with Sunflight and leaned against him, "Hey."

He barely glanced over at me, "Hey, Hazelheart."

"You look troubled."

This time he did glance at me for a moment, then he heaved out a sigh, "It's none of your business. Even if I told you, you wouldn't care."

"I'm sure I'd care."

He bit his lip, "Okay, you would care, I take that back, but you wouldn't do anything good about it." His green eyes flashed.

I blinked, "What do you mean?"

He stared at me with those sketchy green eyes. "I told you, you wouldn't understand." He turned away and I bit my own lip.

"Alright then." I sighed before he could get into one of those fits.

He had his mood swings. Sometimes he was the caring tom I knew from my apprenticeship, but other times he was closed up and cold.

I didn't understand at all.

He didn't talk for the rest of the hunting trip, and I ended up partnering up with Cherryleaf and hunting with her.

~

I was eating a sparrow outside of the warriors' den, and I saw Sunflight pad in with Echosong following. The silver she-cat looked flushed, and she didn't seem too happy with the golden tom. He trotted over, pausing the drop his prey at the fresh-kill pile, before reaching me with a thrush. "Sorry about what I said earlier," Sunflight purred, "I was just upset."

"It's fine," I reassured him, "But you could tell me now." I ventured.

He immediately closed up, "No can do, sorry, Hazelheart."

We ate in silence, and I wished that he would just be the loving mate I wanted as an apprentice, not this kind of mate that didn't care.

...when you should have noticed...

Chapter Two

I woke up the next day to the sound of shrieks. Rogues were attacking. I leaped out of my nest, only to stumble on my bad leg. Sunflight brushed past me without even glancing at me, and leaped in front of our den as if to protect me.

Muttering, I quickly shot out of the den, pushing past Sunflight to fight the rogues. My mate saw me and yowled, "Hazelheart, stay in the den!"

I paid him no attention and continued to fight. The rogues were pouring in relentlessly, and I recognized them as the rogues that had been invading us for more than five moons already.

Echosong streaked past me, sneering, "You should be cowering in your nest instead of fighting outside with us warriors."

I bared my teeth at her before dispatching the rogue I had been fighting.

Sunflight paused next to me, "Get in the den," he hissed, "I don't want you to get hurt, and I need to focus on protecting my Clan too."

His words hurt. He obviously wanted me to be safe, but it was a blunt way to say it, "I'm not a kit! I can fight too."

He didn't pause to see if I went back into the warriors' den, and left me in the dust. Another rogue found me standing there, and I threw myself back into the fray.

I could still fight.

Before long,  the battle had ended and we were all breathing heavily in the camp. Sunflight picked his way back to me, his green eyes worried. "Are you alright, Hazelheart? I'm sorry for being so blunt, but I didn't want you to get hurt."

"I'm fine, but you shouldn't act as though I can't defend myself." I muttered.

He curled his tail around me, "I know, I was just worried."

And I believed him.

He released me and stalked off to join a patrol.

Fernpelt saw me licking my wounds, and she called out, "Hey, Hazelheart? Can you go on the border patrol with Echosong, Silverflight, and Sunflight?"

I sighed inwardly and nodded curtly to the deputy before joining them. Echosong was talking with Sunflight, who seemed to be leading the patrol. "Why are you here?" she mewed rudely, "You should be in the Nursery hiding so you don't get yourself hurt."

I glared back at her, "I don't see why I have to when I can beat you in a fight anyday."

Sunflight snarled, "Be quiet, both of you, let's go." He stalked away, without a second glance at me. I gritted my teeth and started after them.

Silverflight padded next to me for a bit, and after awhile, Sunflight dropped back to join me, "Sometimes, I hate Echosong." He sighed.

"So do I." I agreed.

He glanced at me with those piercing green eyes, "She's a bit...complicated. She only hates you because you're a cripple, and you do better than her at everything. You excel at everything, Hazelheart. I'm glad to have you as a mate."

"I'm glad to have you too."

He licked my cheek tenderly, then headed to the front of the patrol when Echosong let out an irritated hiss. He briefly glanced at the silver she-cat, and I felt as though there was something else in the reason why Echosong hated me.

Something I perhaps don't want to know.

Sunflight ended up padding next to me for the rest of the patrol, and had Silverflight lead the way. The two silver she-cats did the markings, while Sunflight and I just...hung out I guess. We hadn't been so close since that night by the river.

"I miss you, Hazelheart, I've been neglecting you so much, but I regret it."

I looked away for a moment, "No, I was pretty rude too sometimes." But I knew it was only because I felt as though Sunflight was lashing out at me.

"Meet me by the river tonight." He breathed in my ear as we reached camp, "I want to be with you again, like that night as apprentices."

"Alright."

He flashed me a small smile, and lead the way into camp.

I was still entranced by the words he had spoken.

~

That night at the river, I trotted quickly so I wouldn't be late. I arrived earlier than he did, and I sat down, waiting for the golden tom to show up.

When he did, I saw him coming. His golden pelt glowed in the moonlight, and his green eyes gleamed as his eyes met mine. He had a confident skip in his step, and when he reached me, he touched noses with me, "You're here!"

"Faster than you too." I teased.

He laughed, "I suppose I settled into my nest way to early before I realized that I had a meeting with you, my dear."

"I've missed these nights we had as an apprentice." I whispered.

"It makes me feel like we're breaking the warrior code, like if we were from different Clans." Sunflight snorted. I gave him a smile.

I gazed up at the moon, "It does, doesn't it?"

"You're right, I've missed these nights too." Sunflight breathed out, his green gaze one me, "I've missed being alone with you."

We talked for a long time, until Sunflight sighed and stood up, "We should go back and get our sleep before dawn comes. Fernpelt will be cranky if we're not ready for the dawn patrol."

I purred, "I'm sure you'll sleep right through her yowling."

His whiskers twitched, "You're right, but I'll be sleeping on you, so you can't go either." I laughed with him. We padded back to camp, our tails linked together.

"I love you, Hazelheart."

"I love you too, Sunflight."

He was everything I wanted, and perhaps, just perhaps, I could have him for myself forever. I don't want this to end, StarClan, this peace and happiness with Sunflight.

Please don't take this from me...

...when everything is right for you...

Chapter Three

"Hazelheart! Can you go hunting with Echosong, Silverflight, and Hawkswoop?" Fernpelt stuck her head in the warriors' den. "You can lead it too."

Immediately, Echosong groaned, "I have to go hunting with the cripple? She'll never be able to catch any prey, nevertheless lead the patrol!"

Fernpelt glared at the haughty she-cat, "Echosong, be quiet," the deputy snapped, obviously irked, "Hazelheart is much better than you at hunting, and all you do is mope around complaining. I'm sick of your comments! Just go and follow directions!"

Echosong's eyes went wide, and she turned around to murmur something in Sunflight's ear. The golden tom's ear twitched, and he looked faintly amused.

"Let's go," I growled, before Echosong could make another snide remark.

Silverflight was chatting with Hawkswoop the entire time, which left me with Echosong. The snarky she-cat refused to have a normal chat with me, but she also refused to leave me alone. "How does it feel to need other cats to defend you?" She purred without mirth.

I kept walking, determined to catch more prey than she could.

"Oh come on, leave the hunting for the warriors. You should be in the Nursery or the Elders' Den, with a leg like yours!"

I had spotted a thrush, and I was already creeping up on it, checking my position so the thrush wouldn't notice me.

Right when I was about to leap, Echosong's paw came down on a twig. It snapped, and the thrush let out an alarmed call, and it flew towards the nearest tree.

"Wow! You couldn't even catch that easy little piece of prey." Echosong mewed snobbily.

"And who stepped on the twig to cause it to fly away?" I retorted, "Just lay off, at least I want to help feed my Clan!"

Echosong looked wounded, and she sniffed loudly and stalked off.

Multiple times after that, I found her scaring away the prey I could have caught. I was so fed up, I snarled, "Just leave me alone! It's not like you can catch anything!"

Silverflight and Hawkswoop came back laden with prey, and my sister eyed the two of us. "What's going on?" Her voice was full of quiet authority.

"Hazelheart can't catch anything! She's scaring off all the prey!" Echosong simpered. I let out a low growl, but Hawkswoop rolled his eyes.

"From what I see, you've been scaring off all the prey with your jealous remarks." Hawkswoop's smirk grew wider when Echosong turned on him angrily.

Silverflight sighed, "Stop bickering you two. We're trying to feed MoonClan, not scare off the prey so the other can't hunt! StarClan knows why Fernpelt put you on the same patrol."

I managed to catch a rabbit after that, only because Hawkswoop had restrained Echosong before she could find something to scare the rabbit away. Silverflight ended up pushing her aside, fed up with Echosong's antics.

When we finally returned to camp with our prey, Echosong still had nothing. Her pretty silver fur was bushed up angrily, and Silverflight stomped towards Bramblestar's den. Echosong sighed loudly, and floundered off to groom her fur.

Sunflight's green eyes followed Echosong, then he looked back at me, "What happened?" He asked, looking quite concerned.

"Echosong's being a thorn in my pelt and we lost five pieces of prey due to her trampling. I barely managed to catch this rabbit!" I kicked the prey mutinously, "I'm sick of her teasing, it's bad enough to have a mangled leg, but she doens't have to taunt me about it!"

Sunflight curled his tail around me, "It's okay, Hazelheart," he whispered, "Echosong's a prickly she-cat." But I noticed he never said anything bad about the she-cat.

"Yeah, but I wish she would stop."

The golden tom's breath stirred in my ear, "Oh, she will, don't you worry."

But I knew she wouldn't.

~

The next morning, I found Echosong cleaning out all the nests but mine. She would have skipped mine if Fernpelt wasn't watching over her and making her do mine too. I was amused at the sight of the deputy watching over Echosong as she did apprentice duties as her punishment.

I scooted outside, and joined Sunflight outside of the den. "I heard Echosong's doing the apprentice duties for a moon." Sunflight purred, "Maybe she'll stop teasing you now."

"Maybe." I wasn't very convinced that she would.

"Sunflight! You're leading the next hunting patrol!"

Sunflight leaned over to whisper in my ear, "Believe in something you don't see, Hazelheart, believe." Then he was gone.

I wasn't sent on any patrols, so I lounged in the camp, watching Echosong dart back and forth, finishing off the nests. She huffed, and stalked out of camp. Fernpelt was watching, but she shrugged and let the steaming warrior go.

Believe?

I sat up suddenly when I heard yowls and screams. Fernpelt instantly shot to her paws, her green eyes wild with worry, "Hazelheart, go find five warriors that aren't in that fight, and go help the cats."

I nodded and ran out of camp, tracking the latest hunting patrol. I found Sunflight's patrol, but I couldn't find Sunflight himself.

Together, we pounded over to where the fighting had started. Rogues were surrounding the Clan patrol, and outnumbered them heavily. I let out a fierce battle cry and leaped out to help my Clanmates. The rogues' whirled around, their eyes wide.

"MoonClan, attack!" The battle cry of Bramblestar caught the attention of the rogues.

"Blood Claws, forward!"

It was a ferocious battle.

I leaped into the fray, my claws outstretched, catching one of the rogues by his ear. He let out a shriek of pain, and whirled around to face me.

He was about seven moons old, his eyes pale blue and wide, his white pelt fluffed up in fear. He was barely an apprentice. But the young rogue flattened his ears and peeled back his lips, his teeth bared as he let out a low growl.

Before I could react, he had lunged for me, his front leg sweeping my legs out from below me. I let out a yowl as I fell over, his claws flashing over me.

Quickly, I rolled over, and his claws were driven into the ground next to me. Surging upwards, I crashed into the white tom, causing him to flinch backwards.

His eyes rolled over as his head collided with a tree, and I stared in shock at the vicious tom that now lay unconscious in front of me.

He shouldn't be fighting like that, he's only seven moons old.

I shook the thought out of my head and hurried back into the battle. The tom would fight himself home sooner or later.

~

Finchwing was fidgeting with my poultice, and she applied it tightly over my wounds. The battle had been tiring and draining, and I had received a long scar along my flank.

The rogues had fled after the battle raged on for a long time. They were not outnumbered, but in the end, the Clan cats had more skill than they did.

"You're good, try to rest a lot, but I guess you could still do patrols and go hunting." The medicine cat huffed, "Just make sure Whitepaw checks your wounds before you sleep tonight and tomorrow morning." I nodded in reply and slid out of her den.

Sunflight still had not returned since his patrol this morning, nor had Echosong.

I decided I would look for the golden tom.

Trotting out slowly, I padded out into the woods, my nose sniffing the air for any scent of the tom. When I caught a scent-trail, I eagerly followed it along.

"You know, I'm glad you're here." I stiffened, that was Sunflight's voice.

"I'm glad you chose me over that mangy cripple." I bared my teeth as I heard Echosong's rich and honey-filled voice.

"Of course, you mean more to me than she does."

"After all..."

"...she is a cripple."

I stiffled a shocked gasp, and drew back. My heart felt cold. I knew Sunflight had always been distant, nothing like the apprentice that I cared for, but this was ridiculous.

His next words broke my heart.

"I never loved her anyways."

...when tragedy befalls you...

Chapter Four

I turned and ran. I blundered through the forest, not even certain where I was going. When I finally burst into camp, a desolate cry rang from the medicine cat's den. "Silverflight!"

Panic settled in my heart. Silverflight? That was Hawkswoop calling. I rushed into the den, where there was already a crowd forming. Pushing everyone aside, I padded forward until I was shoulder to shoulder with Hawkswoop.

The brown tom was holding back tears, his golden eyes staring down at my sister.

I looked down.

I nearly retched at the gruesome sight. There were wounds covering my sister's once beautiful silver pelt, and her once glowing eyes were dull and almost pale. "Silverflight." I whispered, "I'll avenge you, I promise."

She didn't seem to respond, and I was only reassured by the fact that her chest was still moving, and her eyes fluttered close.

Finchwing ushered us away from my sister's body, "She'll live," the medicine cat mewed quietly, "I swear by StarClan I'll try my hardest to make sure she stays alive."

Hawkswoop was allowed to stay with his mate for the night, but everyone else was told to evacuate the den. I turned and plodded out of the den, only to see Sunflight and Echosong pad into camp, laden with prey. I glared at the golden tom, rage welling in my stomach.

He wasn't with his patrol when I went to call for help.

He had spent the time with Echosong instead of coming to aid his Clanmates.

Because of him, Silverflight could be dying.

I gritted my teeth and closed my eyes as Bramblestar bounded down from the High Ledge to question the golden tom. "Where were you?"

Sunflight stared at the commotion going on in the camp, "I was out hunting, what do you mean 'Where were you'? Was there something bad going on?"

I stiffened and bristled. Bramblestar narrowed his eyes, "There was a battle between the rogues and MoonClan. Your hunting patrol was called to come help, but you were not there. Please explain your absense."

"I was out hunting, and I saw Echosong out there, looking hurt. I was tending to her, until she was well enough to walk back." Sure enough, there was a gash on Echosong's leg. Sunflight continued nonchalantly, "We were far away from where you must have fought, and I couldn't hear the screeches of the fight. I apologize for not being there."

Bramblestar didn't reply for a moment, and then he dipped his head and nodded stiffly, "Alright."

I snarled softly, and I felt someone's soft pelt and a sweet scent wreath around me. It was Smokestep. He and I never talked much, but there was something in his eyes that comforted me that he was here now, "Are you alright, Hazelheart?"

"Yeah."

His eyes flickered over to my foot, and I involuntarily flinched. Smokestep was one of those warriors who looked down at me because of my leg. But he was still a kind tom through and through. I thought he was sweet with Flareleap, but the two had stopped talking for a moon now.

"You worried about your sister?"

I glanced back at him. "If I wasn't worried, what kind of sister would I be?"

He gave him a crooked grin, and I found myself grinning back, "Do you think Sunflight could have saved Silverflight if he was there?"

Something in his gaze flashed away, and I instantly regretted bringing up my mate in this conversation, "I supposed he could have," Smokestep mewed quickly, "But it's not Silverflight he loves is it?"

Before I could question the dark gray tom about his words, he ambled away. I stared after him, then thought. Could Sunflight have?

But he should have come to our aid, I know he could have heard our screams from where they were sitting. Either he didn't know what it was, or...

...he didn't care.

~

I was utterly distraught when Smokestep came over to chat with me, and Sunflight whisked me away by asking me to join him by the river again tonight.

Smokestep had visibly stiffened, and mumbled about leaving us to our antics and stalked away. Sunflight didn't even blink at his departure, and smiled sweetly at me about the proposal.

Out of stupidity or out of my foolish love for him, I said yes.

StarClan, why couldn't I learn my lesson?

I went to see Silverflight before I decided to head off to the river. My sister was sleeping rather soundly, but her breathing was labored, and she looked haggard and almost...dead.

I licked her cheek, and her breathing quickened, and she whispered, "Hawkswoop?" I flinched away, realizing now that my sister wanted her mate to comfort her, not her poor little sister that couldn't even do things right anymore.

Turning away, I padded quickly out of the camp and headed for the river Sunflight and I used to hang out by. When I reached there, I heard murmuring.

"You should go now, she'll be here any time now."

"Why did you ask her out tonight?" A voice I knew too well whined, "You shouldn't even be with her anymore, you love me remember?"

"You don't let me forget," his rich and elegant voice followed, "Plus, I'm still technically her mate, I ought to act like one."

I heard rustling, and crouched down as Echosong bustled by. Sunflight was sitting alone by the river, his tail curled neatly around his paws like he had been waiting for me all this time.

I bit my lip.

I didn't want to go, but I had promised him that I would come tonight. Maybe he would tell me that everything he was saying to Echosong was a joke, and he truly still loved me.

Despite my malevolent thoughts about him streaking through my brain, my stubborn heart made me step forward, and I called out to him.

"Sunflight!"

The golden tom turned around, a smile breaking out on his face, "Hazelheart! You came!" He purred, nuzzling my cheek with his muzzle.

His breath was warm and delicate against my cheek, and I breathed in his soothing scent. Everything I had been thinking about before died, and it was replaced with the feeling of excitement I had when Sunflight was around.

"Of course I came," I purred back, pushing the sight of Echosong and Sunflight sitting next to each other to the back of my mind.

"I'm so glad you came, for a second, I thought you were mad at me," Sunflight confessed, his warm green gaze pinning me down.

"Why would I be mad at you?" I mewed dizzily, I was aware that I was indeed mad at Sunflight, but him knowing would be disastrous. He would leave me in the dust for Echosong forever after that. Not that I was sure he wouldn't already.

"Well, you just seem moody when I'm around."

His eyes immediately caught mine, and I fought the urge to flinch and avert my gaze. I ended up doing so anyways, only because he had leaned so close that we were practically touching. "You're everything I want, Hazelheart."

I stared back at him, "I am?"

"Whatever you think...I still love you, Hazelheart."

Then he was gone.

And I was aware of the fact that he knew, and he didn't try to acknowledge it.

He knew.

He knew what he was doing.

And he knew that I knew, and yet...

...he was still doing it.

StarClan, why is love so cruel?

...when everything seems to be going wrong...

Chapter Five

When I stomped back to camp, somebody was making a keening wail. I ducked my head into the medicine cat's den, and saw Hawkswoop sobbing on the ground.

My feet went cold, and my heart stopped beating for a second.

Then I rushed over to Hawkswoop's side and whispered, "What's wrong?" But I had an inkling of what was wrong.

The brown tom looked up, his eyes wet with tears, and his face somber, "She's dead, Hazelheart, she's dead and she's never coming back."

I stared at him, "Who?"

I didn't want him to say it.

He stared back at me, his eyes drooping, and his gaze teary and forlorn. "Oh, you know who, Hazelheart," he whispered...

I turned away, and was shut in a memory before he finished saying what he wanted to say.

"Hazelkit, are you alright?" Silverkit crouched next to me, licking my ears as I cried. "Oh come on, sister, I'm sure it's not too bad. Come on, we'll go to Finchwing's together."

She helped me up, and led me to the medicine cat's den slowly. "Almost there," she encouraged, "You're not too far now."

When we went inside, Finchwing patched me up, and Silverkit purred, "It's all better now, right? Let's go back and play Mouse!"

~

"Oh Hazelpaw!" Silverpaw called out to me, her voice full of affection, "I heard Sunpaw asked you out today!" She purred.

I smiled too, "Yeah, we met by the Stream like we always do, and he told me that he loved me and that he wanted to me by mate when we became warriors." I purred with her.

Hawkpaw was sitting next to my sister, "That's wonderful! Sunpaw's a really nice tom." The tom smirked, and Silverpaw gave him a look that I couldn't decipher.

Silverpaw continued to coo over my new interest, and I realized that Silverpaw and Hawkpaw were getting real close.

In the distance, sat Smokepaw, who was watching me. When I caught his gaze, he gave me a tentative smile. I smiled back, and he looked away quickly.

Shrugging, I let my sister take care of me for the day.

~

"Hazelheart!" Silverflight called out, and I waved my tail at her. Sunflight and I were having a conversation, mostly about kits and such.

"Will you be my mate, Hazelheart?" Sunflight mewed softly, his voice delicate and soothing to my ears. I leaned against him.

"Yes." I breathed out.

Sunflight let out a deep-throated purr. "I'm so glad you're here, Hazelheart, I've waited for this day for so long..."

"I have too."

But his eyes were somewhere else, but they flitted back to mine, "One day, we're going to have beautiful kits, and they'll be golden or light brown."

"And if they're silver, we'll wonder where that came from." I laughed.

He gave me the smile that he always gave me, sweet and full of meaning. Then he looked up as Silverflight and Hawkswoop approached us.

"Oh StarClan Hazelheart, did I miss the proposal?"

I snorted, "No, we were just breaking up, what are you talking about?"

But I was still leaning against Sunflight, and his tail was still curled around me, although his eyes were focused on something else.

Silverflight gave me a knowing purr, "Oh, I'm so glad you and Sunflight got together! You two are going to have wonderful kits!"

"Excuse me." Sunflight stood up, "I must go."

I said goodbye to my mate, and Silverflight sighed dreamily, "If only Hawkswoop and I were like that." She gazed at her own mate playfully.

But sometimes... I wished my mate was like hers.

The memories disappeared, and Hawkswoop's distraught eyes were staring at me, "It's..." he stuttered slightly, and paused.

I wanted to turn away, to push past the ferns in front of Finchwing's den and run away from here and never come back.

"...it's Silverflight."

...when you can't see past your grief...

Chapter Six

I turned and bolted out of the den. I didn't stop even though I heard Sunflight shout my name. There was no way I was going to stop by to chat with him aimlessly about the love that he probably didn't feel. There was no way-

"Hazelheart."

I breathed out slowly and stopped. I was halfway through our territory already, and the trees felt like they were closing in on me.

It was Bramblestar. His clear amber gaze soothed me a bit, but tears were fighting to stream down my cheeks. "It's okay to cry," my leader said softly, "It's okay to grief."

"But it's not okay to lose your sister."

Bramblestar didn't respond to that, "You feel as though she was your responsibility, just like she felt that you were her responsibility."

I merely nodded.

"But she has a mind of her own, and a caring mate. She doesn't need you to try to take care of her too. Especially when you're constantly troubled yourself these days." Bramblestar stretched, his amber eyes unfathomable. "You should try to solve your own problems first, Hazelheart."

By the time my leader had padded away, I was staring at the spot he had been in. Slowly, I allowed myself to walk back to camp, and immediately Sunflight's scent washed over me.

He led me over to the warriors' den, and I realized that I was trying to contain my anger for Sunflight. I closed my eyes, and promptly ignored him.

He hadn't been in the battle against the rogues.

He heard the battle happen.

He didn't come.

He was with Echosong.

Silverflight died because of him.

I pulled away instantly, pushing my way into the warriors' den and curling up, tears still wet on my cheeks. I could almost hear Echosong telling Sunflight he shouldn't bother with me, and that he should just focus on her.

As I fell asleep, the only thing I saw was Silverflight dying over and over.

~

The next morning, I was excused from duties, and so was Hawkswoop. The two of us were curled outside of the warriors' den, our eyes misty with tears and our hearts heavy with grief and sorrow. We began to talk more, and it wasn't until the sunset when I finally hauled myself up for a walk outside.

The greenery was overwhelming. It was as if there were more trees since Silverflight died, and there were more bushes to block my way as I stumbled out of camp.

Everything felt different.

I tried to hunt, but the hunting spots weren't where I wanted to go, and I couldn't find any of the prey that were normally situated in the areas.

Next, I tried to fish instead, I just had to sit by the river and look for fish.

But there were barely any fish in the river, and when one flashed by, my paw was too clumsy to actually catch one.

After scattering sparkling water all over my fur, I sat back with an irritated sigh. Nothing was going right anymore.

Not after...

...him.

Soon, Smokestep had came to join me by the river. "You're still thinking about her, aren't you?" He whispered softly, scooping up a fish from the river and dropping it next to me.

I nodded.

He pushed the fish towards me and mewed, "Don't let the grief overwhelm you."

His dark gray tail reached out, and I felt it brush against mine. I was searching for comfort, so my tail reached out for his too.

We sat there in silence, until I heard a someone start to talk.

"Come on, let's just sit by the river."

I exchanged terrified glances with Smokestep, and we quickly backed into a bush. Sunflight and Echosong emerged soon after, and Echosong sighed, "Isn't this where you hang out with her?"

Sunflight shrugged, then sniffed the air, "Oh huh, Hazelheart and Smokestep were here earlier, oh well, it seems they've left now."

I stiffened at his ignorance.

Echosong leaned against Sunflight, "I'm so glad you've chosen me now."

"Well, you were the better choice."

"Oh, Sunflight, I hope you never care about that mangy she-cat again."

"I just don't care about her."

He doesn't care...

...when you want it all to end...

Chapter Seven

The next thing I knew, Smokestep was dragging me back, his tail over my mouth. "Don't scream," he whispered, "Let's just go before Sunflight realizes we've been here the entire time."

I nodded, and he let go of me as we turned silently and raced back to camp.

I was sobbing the entire way, and Smokestep curled his tail around me, "Perhaps its best for you to let him go. It's obvious he doens't care."

"I..." I stuttered, "I don't know."

"You don't know?" the gray tom stepped back, "Hazelheart, he's been so cruel to you, how could you not know?"

I looked away, "I don't want to talk about this, Smokestep."

The gray tom sighed, "Hazelheart, I want you to know that I want you to be safe. I..." He turned away and didn't finish.

"You what?"

Smokestep was already walking down the path, "I just want you to know that I...care." Then he was gone.

I stared at the spot where he had been, and whispered softly, "That's what Sunflight said too."

~

When Sunflight and Echosong came back to camp, I avoided the golden tom. He shot me a look, but I avoided staring at those luminous green eyes and darted out again.

I breathed in the scent of trees and sighed deeply.

I knew that Smokestep was right, and that I should just stop caring for the tom who didn't love me, but he was still my mate.

"Hazelheart?"

I stiffened, "What do you want, Sunflight?"

"I want to know why you're ignoring me..." the golden tom looked distraught, "I want to be with you, but you keep running away."

"You don't even love me!"

Sunflight opened his mouth to answer, but I snapped, "All you do is hang out with Echosong and you just pretend to be my mate! Have you ever asked for kits? Have you ever told me you really loved me? Have you spent every single moment you can with me? No!"

"Have you?"

"Well obviously I can't, since you're too busy hanging out with Echosong!"

Sunflight blinked, "Hazelheart, I don't think you understnad what's going on." He started, "It's more complicated than that."

"It looks pretty simple to me." I hissed.

"I do love you, Hazelheart, you just-"

"No you don't!"

The golden tom sighed, his green eyes flashing with annoyance, "I'm trying to fix things between us, and you're just going to push me away?"

"It's not like you ever cared for me. I heard all your conversations with Echosong," I whispered, "You don't care at all."

"I do-"

"And that day of the battle, you were just hanging out with Echosong, and you didn't even bother to come help us. If you were there, Silverflight might not have died! You let her die, Sunflight, you...you...just don't bother coming after me!"

I turned and ran off into the forest.

And I could hear his reply, soft but clear.

"You don't understand either..."

~

I was sobbing quietly at the river, and I wished Sunflight would be the tom he was when we were apprentices. I started to groom my fur, only to stop when I washed over my mangled paw. It constantly slowed me down, and so many cats looked down at me because of my paw.

All except Sunflight...

...and Smokestep.

I had to choose, one of them would be a better choice for me I reckoned. But I felt as though something was pulling me away from that choice.

He wants me to give him another chance, I know he does.

That's what he would want...

But does he deserve another chance?

...when you just want love to embrace you...

Chapter Eight

I missed Silverflight so much.

She used to be there to comfort me, but now she wasn't. Hawkswoop was fiddling with his nest beside me, and he whispered, "Why isn't she here?"

I didn't have a response for the heartbroken tom.

In some ways, I was just like Hawkswoop. I had a future mate and life. It was taken away from me. But in other ways, my situation was a lot worse.

"Hawkswoop?"

The brown tom looked up in surprise, "Yeah, Hazelheart?"

"Do you think Sunflight would be a good mate?" He stared at me for a moment, and I mewed, "He's always with Echosong now."

Hawkswoop closed his yellow eyes, and breathed in slowly. I was afraid I had upset him, but he mewed, "Well, if he's not being the mate he should be, no." He opened his eyes, and I was drawn into his gaze, "But does he really love you?"

My breath caught in my throat. "I don't know." I admitted.

The brown tom smiled wryly, but there was still sadness in his eyes, "Embrace love if you can, Hazelheart, or you may never get the chance like me."

"But is having Sunflight better than having nobody?"

"Of course!" Hawkswoop exclaimed, "Having somebody is always better than having nobody, Hazelheart, you don't understand yet, but you will when he's gone."

"When he's...gone?"

"I mean when he really does stop loving you and he just becomes Echosong's mate instead." Hawswoop sighed.

I flinched, "He says he still loves me, but I don't believe him." I confessed.

The brown tom looked away, "Sometimes love is hard, Hazelheart," he whispered, brushing by me, "Just...believe."

~

I ended up avoiding Sunflight all day and decided to hang out with Smokestep instead. He was kind to me, more than I could wish for with Sunflight.

Hawkswoop's words echoed in my head, and I was desperate to find the truth behind Sunflight's cunning praises and his hidden lies.

"You seem troubled, Hazelheart." Smokestep sighed, brushing his tail along my side, "Is something wrong?" His yellow eyes were worried.

"Yes," I confessed to him, the words tumbling out of my mouth now, "You know how Sunflight is my mate right? Well he's always with Echosong now, just like you saw, and I don't know if he's still my mate or not. And you've been so kind to me, I don't know what to do." I stared into his clear, unfazed yellow eyes. They soothed me.

Smokestep blinked, his eyes darkening with every word I said, "Do you think he's your mate, Hazelheart?" I could feel my heart pounding at his accusing words.

"No."

"Then why do you still believe in him?"

I took a step back. "What do you mean?"

Smokestep didn't back away, "You still flounder toward him, you still lean on him, you still need him, Hazelheart. You're not ready to give up on him. Without Sunflight, you'd be nothing, Hazelheart." His words stung.

"So you're saying I should go and be his mate, despite all I have to suffer with him because he loves Echosong, not me?" I snapped.

The gray tom didn't flinch, "Yes, if it makes you whole again. Like I said, without him, you're nothing, Hazelheart, whether you like it or not, you depend on him."

"Can't I depend on someone else?" I said quietly, my voice dropping.

Smokestep stared back at me, his yellow eyes meeting my green eyes. "Yes," he answered back, "I suppose you could."

"How?"

This time, he stepped closer. His scent wreathed around me, and I wanted him to keep coming closer, until I could lean on him physically, "I suppose...you could love another tom."

I breathed in sharply, my mouth filling up with Smokestep's sweet scent. "Love someone else?" I echoed, rapidly blinking.

"Yes," he let out a breath, closing his eyes as his tail wrapped around me, "Then you wouldn't need Sunflight, would you?"

I could tell his heartbeat was accelerating.

"I think I could do that."

Smokestep sighed heavily, and he whispered, "I wish you would."

"Why would you want that?" I asked, brushing closer until we were right in front of one another. I rested my head on his shoulder, his breath warm on my cheek.

"Because..."

I didn't dare look up. I didn't want to see the pain in his eyes. Or perhaps the cruelity as he announced something I didn't want to hear.

But I wanted to see the joy.

The...

"I love you, Hazelheart."

...love.

...when love is finally at your side...

Chapter Nine

I don't know what happened next, but the next moment I was laying against Smokestep, the next I was thrown aside.

My mangled foot stumbled under my weight, and I let out a strangled cry. Smokestep was breathing heavily, his eyes darting around.

"What was that for?" I spluttered, hopping on three legs, my green eyes wide as I stared at the gray tom. He didn't respond right away.

"Something, someone was there, Hazelheart."

There was something else in his eyes. He knew who the attacker was. "Who was it, Smokestep?" I growled, stepping forward, then wincing as my back leg crumbled underneath me. Instead of replying, Smokestep looked down at me pityingly.

"I don't think you want to know." There was a dangerous glint in his eyes.

I wanted to know. I tried to stand back up, but Smokestep pushed my back down. "Stay there," he barked, "Don't move."

"Why?" I spat, "What's going on?"

His yellow eyes darted back and forth, then he avoided my gaze, "Nothing important, just stay there." He instructed.

"I'm not going to stay here so you can cover up another cat's tracks!" I snarled, pushing myself up once more.

This time Smokestep shouldered me down, and I whimpered in pain as my back foot got caught in a tiny dip in the ground.

It twisted underneath me, and I plopped onto the ground, my legs tangling up with each other. Smokestep watched with blank eyes.

Only moments ago, Smokestep was admitting his love to me. Now, he was trying to keep me prisoner here. "Smokestep, what is going on?"

Again, the gray tom wouldn't meet my gaze, "Just please, stay down," he begged, "I don't want to hurt you."

"Why would you need to hurt me?"

I could tell Smokestep wanted to glance to the side, so I peered into the darkening forest, trying to spot someone that Smokestep was covering for. "It's a bit complicated," Smokestep muttered, "But if you try to get back up, I will push you back down."

Not like this leg will support me now.

Finally, I relaxed, letting Smokestep pace in nervous circles around me. "If you're not going to tell me what's going on, can you at least get me back to camp so Finchwing can fix my leg? I'm almost certain its sprained." I winced as I tried to test it out.

Instead of coming over to help me, Smokestep gave me a look of something I couldn't comprehend, and he darted away.

I yowled after him, "Coward! I thought you loved me!"

It took moments for someone to find me, and when they did, it was Sunflight. The golden tom was carrying a rabbit, and he yelped in surprise when he saw me. "Hazelheart! Who did this to you?"

"Smokestep."

Sunflight's green eyes darkened, "That traitor, always trying to get near you just to hurt you and push you down. You shouldn't be near him, Hazelheart, you'll get hurt."

"I'm not a kit." I snapped back.

Instantly, Sunflight stepped back, "Of course not," he responded evenly, "I just worry about your safety, honestly, you ought to stay away from that tom though."

"I'm sure Smokestep had a reason to do what he did," I mewed, lifting my head in defiance, "He's a noble tom." But even I didn't believe in my own words.

Sunflight helped me up, and with his aid, I managed to limp back to camp before collapsing in front of Finchwing. The golden tom gently built a small nest around me, his paws tender, and his tongue occasionally rasping over my ear. I relaxed, closing my eyes for the sleep I desperately needed. For now, everything was okay.

But my dreams were all about Smokestep, and his terrible betrayal.

~

The next morning, Finchwing told me that I could start to do light exercises that would help stretch my legs. I could go hunting and patrolling, but I had to go easy on my mangled leg. I settled for hunting, for I didn't want to meet any rogues and start a nasty fight I couldn't possibly win.

Of course, I was paired with Sunflight and Smokestep. Echosong had been put on a border patrol, and she was giving Sunflight longingly looks.

Smokestep kept trying to hound me to the side to talk to me, but I didn't allow him to. I stuck to Sunflight's side, keeping a light conversation with the golden tom in order to drive off Smokestep. I had been naive enough to believe that Smokestep cared, and look where that got me.

"I realize that I haven't been spending much time with you, and I apologize for that," Sunflight mewed smoothly, his tail looped around mine, "I hope you haven't decided that I wasn't worth your attention." I stared at him.

All I could remember was my accusations, and the way he acted when he tried to push aside the fact that his love for Echosong was stronger than his love for me.

"Someone was watching me yesterday when I was out with Smokestep," I mewed easily, pretending as though it was just a simple matter I wanted to talk about with him.

The golden tom stiffened, "Was it a rogue?"

"No, I'm almost certain it was a MoonClan cat. Perhaps..."

"Perhaps it was Smokestep." Sunflight reckoned. He was replying too quickly, as if he wanted me to blame the gray tom.

I glance over to see Smokestep's yellow eyes bearing into mine. I bit my lip and looked away. He couldn't be the tom I depended on, but I knew Sunflight couldn't be either.

He killed my sister.

I shook the thought off. That was kit-ish thinking, and I was his mate after all. He would do nothing of those sorts to hurt me.

If only love was that simple.

"Perhaps it was," I sighed, "But he was right next to me, I don't think it was him. Maybe someone else?"

"No I'm positive it's him." Sunflight snapped, his reply coming right after my statement. He looked agitated, so I tried again.

"Were you there?"

"Absolutely not."

"You look uncertain, Sunflight." I edged, wanting to get the reaction I needed to assure myself that Smokestep wasn't a traitor.

A traitor to me.

Sunflight's eyes flashed, and he snapped, "Why would you think I was there, trying to hurt you?" Instantly he reeled back, his green eyes hurt and astonished at the same time.

"You knew," I whispered, stopping short, the patrol moving ahead, "You knew that I nearly got hurt, and I never mentioned it to you."

"You most certainly did, how else did you get a sprained paw?" Sunflight's eyes were unreadable now, and he was more cautious.

"Just admit it," I sighed tiredly, "Why would you try to hurt me, or possibly kill me? And why blame it on Smokestep?"

Sunflight turned away.

"Why would you accuse me of loving Echosong?"

...when you realize your troubles are far from over...

Chapter Ten

As Sunflight padded away, I acknowledged what he was trying to tell me. All my accusations of Sunflight loving Echosong instead of me. And my last accusation of him trying to hurt me.

Were they all true?

"Why would you accuse me of loving Echosong?"

"Why blame it on Smokestep?"

"I love you, Hazelheart."

All of the conversations came back to me. How Sunflight acted as though he and Echosong didn't exist. How Smokestep and Sunflight never got along and how they never were in the same place at the same time. I sat there pondering the words.

Perhaps I would find out soon. I had a feeling I would.

Smokestep doubled back and saw me just sitting there, "Are you okay?" he asked softly, cautiously, "Did you hurt your foot again?"

"No, I'm just...thinking."

"About what?"

I instantly drew back, "Why do you care?" I asked coldly, "You obvious like to keep your own secrets." Smokestep didn't even flinch.

"I think you know already."

"Yes, I do," I sighed, "You were trying to protect me right?"

"Why would I do anything differently?" He asked, his yellow eyes questioning, "I would never wish to harm you, but someone else would just to have you by their side."

StarClan, how stupid can I get?

"I don't think this will blow over until I'm gone from your life," Smokestep admitted, "Perhaps its best we say goodbye now."

"Are you going to leave?"

Smokestep shook his head, "Just...you and I won't...exist anymore. I'm glad to say that I loved the times I spent with you."

"Stop," I whispered, "Don't say goodbye to this yet, I'll find away to stop this."

"How?" He said brokenly, "There's no way you can stop this from disappearing forever, not if you want both of us to make it out alive."

Then he leaned forward, his muzzle touching my cheek. It felt so soft, so warm. I closed my eyes, breathing in his scent for the last real time. When I took in another breath, Smokestep was gone. I let out a gusty sigh, and decided to go back to camp to rest my legs.

It was hard not to hear them arguing.

"I told you to stay away," that was Sunflight's voice.

"I won't let you harm her," Smokestep's strong voice replied, "You're just going to berate her until she's nothing but your servant."

"I care more about her than you do."

Smokestep sneered, "Of course you do, that's why you tried to maim her, in hopes that she would accuse me instead."

I could see them now, the two toms snarling at one another. Smokestep looked calmer, his fur flat, his tail flicking back and forth, showing his agitation. Sunflight's fur was bushed up, and his ears were flattened. He bared his teeth, his tail lashing, sweeping the leaves away around him. He was obviously annoyed.

"I did it for her good, you'll never be a good mate for her."

"I'll always be better than you."

Sunflight hissed and leaped for Smokestep. I let out a shriek and burst from behind the tree. "Stop!" I begged, Sunflight's claws digging into Smokestep's belly. "Stop it right now, Sunflight!" I kicked him off the gray tom.

The golden tom drew back, his eyes wide. He turned, and fled into the night. Smokestep was keeled over, clutching his bleeding stomach.

"Here, let me get you back to camp."

Smokestep leaned heavily on me, and I stumbled to support his weight. Another scent washed over me, and I could hear Silverflight whispering, Here let me help you.

Together, we helped Smokestep limp to camp, where he succumbed to tiredness in Finchwing's nest. The medicine cat's eyes were wide, and she hurriedly calld for Whitepaw to fetch the herbs needed. The young apprentice scurried to the back of the den, and I started to pace around Smokestep's nest. "Stop moving!" Finchwing barked, ushering me to the side, "Just stay still so I can treat my patient."

I tried to stay as still as I could, and I saw Sunflight stalk into the camp, walking right past Echosong, who looked miffed.

His gaze flickered towards me, and I stiffly turned away.

Smokestep let out a groan, and Finchwing barred my way as I moved to his side, "You need to leave, I'm afraid you'll be a distraction if you stay here." She mewed firmly.

At first, I struggled against her, not willing to let Smokestep be alone. Whitepaw's soft tail brushed against me, and I heard the soft voice of Finchwing's apprentice, "Please, let my mentor have her space, you'll see Smokestep soon."

I allowed Whitepaw to usher me out the entrance, and I stood numbly outside, fear and overwhelming love making me nauseous.

Darting outside, I allowed myself to drift off into my own thoughts, breaking apart barriers that I had set up to avoid thinking about things.

"Hazelheart."

I whirled around, only to see Sunflight's familiar golden pelt standing there. Before, I would have hurled myself at him, grateful for his presence. Now, I wanted to walk away.

Forcing myself to stand still, I snarled, "What do you want?"

"I want to explain everything to you. I see that Smokestep may not have enough strength to tell you himself." Sunflight tipped his head, "I hope you're willing to hear it."

"Spit it out."

"Okay well, what you may have heard is right," Sunflight sighed, "I tried to attack you in order to blame it on Smokestep, in hopes of getting you for myself."

I stared at him, my hopes for a good life shattering, "How could you?" I gasped, taking a step back. Sudden impulse raged through me, and I crouched down low.

"I-"

I lunged, my anger overflowing now, "I can't believe you."

"Why are you doing this?" Sunflight asked softly, barely struggling against my blows. My claws dug into his side, and he flinched.

"You betrayed me!"

Sunflight's haunted eyes found mine, and he stuttered, "I...I made a mistake."

I breathed in heavily, then dug my claws in harder, "And that mistake is going to cost your life."

"I...I still love you though."

...when love takes over...

Epilogue

It happened too quickly, the flash of claws, and Hazelheart backing away from the body. She was shaking, and she whispered. "I'm so sorry."

With some quick handiwork, Hazelheart covered up the scene and the scents with fox dung, and quickly discarded Sunflight's body and hurried back to camp. She was unscathed, the blood already washed away. She slipped into camp, and hurried to the medicine cat den, desperate to see Smokestep again before she decided her next move.

Smokestep wasn't moving much, and Finchwing was near the back of the den, washing off her paws and putting away the herbs she didn't use.

"How is he?"

Finchwing looked up and sighed, "Not any better."

She sank down next to the gray tom, and watched his flank rise and fall. His breathing looked labored, and eventually, Smokestep opened his eyes.

"Hazelheart," he breathed out.

The light brown tabby licked his cheek, "Get better, Smokestep."

A small chuckle escaped his lips, and he sighed, "I don't think that'll happen, Hazelheart, Sunflight did some serious damage."

"He's dead now anyways," Hazelheart dismissed quietly.

Smokestep stared at her with piercing yellow eyes, "What did you do, Hazelheart?" He questioned softly, careful not to let Finchwing or Whitepaw hear them.

"I told you, he's dead." The light brown tabby growled.

"Did you...?" Smokestep closed his eyes.

"Yes."

"Hazelheart, I want you to know that Sunflight meant well. He made an attempt to make you love him again. An atrocious attempt maybe, but he tried," Smokestep let out a difficult breath, "Don't judge him too harshly for what he's done."

"He's not worth it."

Smokestep smiled wryly, "I know what you're thinking. That he had me cover up for him with threats that he would harm you. But it's my own fault, not being the best friend I should have been when we were apprentices."

Hazelheart remembered those times, but she hadn't really known what was going on. "He threatened you." She spat.

Smokestep smiled slightly, "Indeed he did, but be leniant Hazelheart."

"I don't love him anymore."

"Who do you love?"

"You."

Smokestep gave her a small smile, his chest already failing him. "I'm glad you and I got together though, Hazelheart, I love you."

"Goodbye Smokestep, may StarClan light your path."

"And yours."

...when love makes you feel like you're dying inside...

Author's Note

I loved this story to bits :D

Okay so originally, I was going to end it with Hazel and Smoke living happily together somewhere else away from MoonClan.

But then I got caught up in the part where Sunflight attacked Smokestep and then I decided to end the story with this ending :P

Yes, Smokestep died, and Hazelheart left the Clan to begin her own rogue life c: There won't be any sequel about Hazelheart and her separate life, but there should be a prequel about Sunflight and Smokestep.

If you don't get the part where Sunflight asked a twist question when Hazelheart asked why he was blaming Smokestep, I was trying to do a puzzle thing where Sunflight meant that he really did love Hazel, so he was doing the unthinkable to say it, just like she loved him, so she did the unthinkable by accusing him of loving Echosong.

I hoped you liked it, please comment and sign the fans! <3

Fans! (Did you feel like dying inside?)

I has a sad


So Realize There's Chaos In The Air Tonight

This story be amazing, you have already read my comment so that is what I think of the story. But, Oh my gosh, I can't believe that Sunflight still loved Hazelheart and then she killed him! And Smokestep dies too! Amazing!!

I am Fuzzywing! You will follow me on my quest for power! 22:32, September 25, 2015 (UTC)05:29, October 30, 2014 (UTC)

Twist endingssssss :D weeee --Happy Halloween 06:02, October 30, 2014 (UTC)

This is so AWESOME! I loved it so much I cried! XD --The wind is f a l l i n g 03:34, November 15, 2014 (UTC)

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