The Last Time | The Lucky One | All Too Well | Red | State of Grace | Everything Has Changed | Starlight | I Almost Do | Twenty-Two | Treacherous | I Knew You Were Trouble | We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together | Stay Stay Stay | Holy Ground | Sad Beautiful Tragic | Begin Again

Part of the Songfic Series

OA is Taylor Swift feat. Ed Sheeran

Written by Red

Everything Has Changed

All I knew this morning when I woke

Is I know something now, know something now I didn't before

Padding tiredly from the den, I reflected upon the previous sunrise; my last day as an apprentice.

The day had been a flurry of excitement, what with assessments - which all apprentices automatically passed, regardless of talent or lack thereof - and obsessive mothers and Earthstar's frazzled deameanor upon hearing the abundance of names she had to come up with and apprentices she had to name. It was strange, looking back on it, how smoothly the day went with the number of possible blips and burps dotting the day's schedule. But Bramblepath and Forestheart kept it running smoothly with the added assistance of Wetstream and Sunmark, so by the day's end, no one was lying trampled in Coldfoot's den.

I was surprised at the magnitude of apprentices lined up for ceremonies. Sure, we were perhaps one of the largest Clans in the forest, but I was stunned at how many faces I couldn't match with names. An apprentice who still had a while to go before her own naming ceremony - black-and-gray she-cat - was hovering near the side and I was sure I'd never seen before, nor her slightly older black-furred companion.

And all I've seen since eighteen hours ago

Is green eyes and freckles in your smile

As I stretched my weary limbs and padded to the fresh-kill pile, my pelt warmed by the watery dawn light, I caught sight of a small golden kit - likely one of Bramblepath's lot; the older she-cat had given birth a few sunrises before the smattering of ceremonies and had to restrain her kits from being trampled in the eager throng of warriors and apprentices - and was reminded of a similarly-colored tom whose name and existence I had been deprived of my entire apprenticeship.

Stormwhatsit, I recalled, grabbing a couple of shrews and trotting over to the sunning elders. Previously Stormpaw, obviously.

For some reason, as I had climbed into my newly-made nest between Bramblepath and Stargaze, I hadn't been able to keep Stormwhatsit from my head. It was more than just a lack of name that bothered me; I kept seeing his face, blue eys glowing as Earthstar bestowed upon him a name he would keep until death. He had radiated positivity, as though earning a name would not only benefit him, but impact the entire Clan. And he just seemed so happy about it as well, almost contagiously so.

In the back of my mind making me feel like

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

"Hey, Redpoppy," Forestheart called from his perch by Earthstar's den. "Sunmark's leading a hunting patrol with Mistypaw and Stargaze. Think you're up to join her? If you bring back enough prey, you might be able to have some fresh breakfast." He tipped me a heavy wink and I grinned, kicking up dust as I trotted after Sunmark's pale, disappearing pelt. 

Stargaze slowed down for me to catch up to her, and we walked side by side until Sunmark demanded we halt. She parted her jaws to taste the air, and then signaled with our tail for us to hang back. Modeling for her apprentice, she slunk forward on silent paws. I had to scour the forest floor by sight to even sense the prey Sunmark was stalking, my gaze finally landing on a well-camouflaged gray squirrel nibbling on an acorn at the base of an oak tree. Sunmark was downwind, the squirrel's sent being blown towards her instead of vice versa. With a mighty leap once she got within a tail length, the tabby she-cat slammed her paw on the back of the rodent's neck and dragged it towards us, grinning triumphantly.

"That, my friends," Sunmark purred, "is how you catch a squirrel." 

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

While Sunmark and Stargaze bickered lightheartedly over who was a better hunter and Mistypaw shuffled along the ground with her nose pressed to the debris-smattered forest floor, I found myself reminded of the golden-brown tom. Every golden leaf drifting from the trees reminded me of his sunny-colored pelt, and every glimpse of the azure sky between the verdant trees was reminiscent of his eyes.

No matter how sappy it sounded, I couldn't keep the tom from my mind.

"Redpoppy," Sunmark said disapprovingly, "you haven't been hunting at all. This is your first hunt as a warrior, go see if you can catch a couple voles or something." She gave me a push with her tail and sent me reeling - jerked out of my thoughts - towards a patch of bushes. Once I regained my paws, I parted my jaws; I could detect the faint scent of shrew. It only took moments before I confirmed my first catch of warriorhood. The shrew hanging from my mouth was startlingly colored; bright golden instead of its usual rusty brown. Frowning, I dropped the shrew off at Sunmark's feet and trundled off through the forest.

I just wanna know you, know you, know you

'Cause all I know is we said, "Hello."

With our jaws full of prey, our small hunting patrol padded through the tunnel, emerging victorious on the other side. We were greeted by hungry bellies and joyful cheers, and so it was with pride that we added our prey to the somewhat meager pile. Sunmark was boasting of her apprentice's skill to Wetstream and Bramblepath, while Stargaze was chatting quietly with Forestheart, the pair conversing in low, serious tones that didn't seem too fitting with the current atmosphere. 

"Hello!" I was startled by the voice in my ear; so much so that I dropped the hare I was preparing to drag to Coldfoot and her charges. My fur unconsciously fluffed out and I had to keep a blush from heating my cheeks as I picked the hare back up and turned to look at the cat beside me.

It was him - the golden-brown tom who I hadn't been able to keep off of my mind. It was a bit sappy that I referred to him as such, but I'd assume he would prefer that over 'Stormwhatsit'. The tom in question smiled apologetically.

And your eyes look like coming home

All I know is a simple name

"Stormfall," he said brightly, shouldering the hare. "Where do you want me to take this?"

Still blushing and trying to avoid the gooey eyes and catcalls of my friends, I began to pad towards the medicine den with Stormfall staggering beneath the weight of the prey, looking back every few tail-lengths to make sure he was still there and not leading me on. Chuckling at the absurd position of the fresh-kill on his back, I called Coldfoot out to receive her dinner. The she-cat emerged, bursting into quiet laughter at the sight of the struggling tom. She hurried to help him, and began to tear apart the food for her ill or injured patients. Stormfall hung back, looking a bit wary, and I smiled at him.

Trotting back towards my friends and ignoring the suggestive smile Bramblepath was giving me, I flicked her ear with my tail and settled down beside them. Sunmark pushed a half-eaten sparrow towards me and winked, and I narrowed my eyes at her. Smirking, Stargaze wrapped her tail around my shoulders and pressed her face up next to mine before whispering, "So. What's his name?"

Everything has changed

All I know is you held the door

Frowning at the trio and accepting the prey, I paused a moment before answering, taking time to inspect the bird. All I could think of was the smile in his eyes as he took the hare from my jaws and slung it onto his shoulders; his grin as he lumbered towards the medicine den; the perk of his ears as he laughed at Coldfoot's expression of amusement. I hadn't even asked, yet he'd taken the hare - a rather obese one, if I do say so myself - and put it on his own back to drag to the medicine den. And then he hadn't even taken credit for it (if there's one thing that gets me miffed, it's others claiming the credit for another's work). 

"Stormfall," I replied shortly, taking a bite of the sparrow. It was a little bit stale and carried Sunmark's scent, but the she-cat was looking a little queasy. Wrinkling my nose, I pushed it away and forced a smile at the light tabby. "Thanks, but I'm not...hungry..."

"I'm starving," Stargaze declared and scooped the prey towards herself. Through a mouseful of sparrow, she crossed her eyes in an awful imitation of a lovestruck queen and cooed, "So, someone's so in love they can't even eat?" She turned to Bramblepath and Sunmark. "Seriously. Who's too infatuated to eat? That is literally the question I've been asking myself my entire life."

You'll be mine and I'll be yours

All I know since yesterday is everything has changed

"Y-yeah," I replied absently. "I dunno, I'm just not hungry is all. I was starving when we were hunting but I guess I'm just...good now. Anyways, I'm a bit tired; I think I might go take a nap or something..." I could hear Bramblepath and Sunmark snickering while Stargaze continued to inhale the sparrow. It wasn't that I wasn't hungry - except I honestly wasn't - but I had seen a flicker of golden-brown fur over by the sunning rocks and, well, impulse had taken control of my tongue.

"Hey, Redpoppy, right?" He popped up behind me, grinning.

Nodding and trying to keep my cheeks from flushing, I sat on the sun-baked rocks and wrapped my tail around my paws. It must have been an awful season for the black-furred cats like Aquapaw and Coldfoot; everyone knew that black pelts absorbed the sun faster and made those cats sweat the most. "How've you been?" I asked him abruptly, turning and smiling slightly. "Shoulders a bit sore, I presume?"

And all my walls stood tall painted blue

And I'll take them down, take them down and open up the door for you

He laughed loudly, and I couldn't help but grin wider. It was odd, being around toms; I had always preferred the company of she-cats over our male counterparts but this new was nice. I didn't have to be on my guard all of the time, watching what I said to make sure I didn't offend anyone. I could already tell Stormfall was one of the toms who purred often and joked about a lot, just from the glow in his eyes when he let out a chuckle. "Eh, I've been worse," is all he replied with, though his blue eyes sparkled mischievously. 

"Gotten a couple of nasty battle scars? I swear, that hare was a nuisance to chase after," I told him lightly, "those hindlegs were an atrocity to drag too. Thank goodness Sunmark was in a generous mood and offered to carry them back to camp, otherwise you wouldn't have--"

"Come to help you?" he teased. "We both know you couldn't live without me in your life, could you? I don't know how you managed before we became warriors." Stormfall's voice took on a tone of mock arrogance, deepening an octave until he sounded like Forestheart or one of the other senior warriors. "I'm clearly the most good-looking tom in ThunderClan. Your life must have been positively pitiful before, without me in it. I'm a right ray of sunshine - no, scratch that, I am the sun! Your poor life must have been dim, and dark, but here I am now!"

And all I feel in my stomach is butterflies

The beautiful kind, making up for lost time,

Though I purred along with him, I couldn't keep the fluttering feeling from my stomach. He did have a bit of an inflated ego, but it was all a joke, I knew that much. I couldn't keep the smile from my face as Stormfall continued, magnifying his sense of importance until he was positively declaring that he would be made deputy the following sunrise and then every she-cat and tom alike would bow before his feet and force him to become the leader of the entire forest.

"You're so full of yourself," I giggled, and he smiled in response, replying only with a simple, "I know." We both laughed - which was starting to hurt my jaw, in all honesty - and I caught my friends' eyes from across the clearing. Wetstream had joined them, and she was batting her eyelids suggestively while Stargaze purred, rubbing up against Bramblepath in an imitation of me and the golden tom beside me. I glared at them and turned back to Stormfall, who had been watching the entire exchange with an amused look on his face. 

"Some friends you've got there," he commented, the corner of his lips twitching.

Taking flight, making me feel like

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

"I know," I grumbled, purposefully turning my back on the quartet of she-cats. "They bother me about every single thing - 'Ooh, Redpoppy,'" I mimicked, raising my voice a few octaves in an exaggerated impersonation of my friends' voices, "'Is that a tom you're hanging out with? Is he cute? Is he funny? Is he sweet? Does he have a lot of scars from battles? How old is he? I bet he's too old for you, he even looks like it from here. Don't bring shame to our generation, Redpoppy!'" 

Looking jokingly aghast, Stormfall gazed down at his ruffled golden pelt. "I don't look that old from a distance, do I? I'm practically fresh out of kithood! Ah, not really. Regardless of my frighteningly old age," he faked a limp around one of the rocks, "I think we should get to know you better." He sat down, his tail flicking excitedly behind him. "You're Redpoppy, and I'm Stormfall. We're both born in ThunderClan and both have recently been made warriors. Other than that, I know absolutely zero about you. What are your hobbies?"

"I like to hunt," I offered weakly. "And running. It's been something I've loved to do since I was an apprentice. I s'pose it's more of a WindClan sort of thing, but it's something I enjoy. The rush, the wind in your fur, that's the sort of thing that attracts me."

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

"Rushes, right," Stormfall said to himself, just loud enough so that I could hear him. "I've got to wrap rushes around myself and blow on my fur to make it windy. Then it'll attract her. Got it. Oh, you heard that? Whoops. There goes my brilliant plan to make you fall for me." He feigns smacking his head with his front paw and I have to stifle a chuckle. "Running and hunting then. Got it. Maybe we can go out for a run sometime. Granted, we all know who will come out the winner, but..." Stormfall smirked.

I nodded nonchalantly. "Glad you've come to terms with a she-cat beating you. What do you like to do in your spare time? Shred your enemies? Flay birds? Climb trees and cut them down at the trunks? Swim, like a RiverClan cat or marsh-hop like a ShadowClan one?"

"All of the above, actually. In all seriousness, hunting is honestly the equivalent of running for you. It's just something that I feel really good doing; I'm benefiting the entire Clan by supplying them with food while I'm training myself to become faster and stronger. It's a win-win for everyone, really," Stormfall replied seriously, eyes almost glowing now. As much as Stargaze and Bramblepath would tease me for it later, the tom's bigheadedness was starting to grow on me. 

I just wanna know you, know you, know you

'Cause all I know is we said, "Hello."

"Moving on," he continued, clearing his throat awkwardly as if he had noticed me staring and was a bit uncomfortable with it. I forced my glance to my paws. "What's your favorite sort of prey to hunt? I imagine rabbits - the monstrosity you dragged in earlier shows clear perseverance. You must be pretty fast to catch that thing, I might have to watch myself. Either that, or that hare was too insanely overweight to move quickly enough. Honestly, who knows what our prey even eats to get this large?"

"Way to answer my question for me," I quipped, nudging him in the shoulder. "Rabbits are my favorite though, yeah. They're more suited to WindClan so more often than not they're darting off onto the moors and eluding me, but when the obese one does come along it's always a nice treat for the Clan. I'm not too big on the taste, but they're fun to chase. What is yours?" He opened his mouth to reply, but I cut him off. "Hm, let me guess. Big, lean tom like yourself, more likely to catch something your size. The large birds? Eagles and ravens and crows and things? We rarely get them but they must be a real ball for you to try and catch."

Stormfall grinned. Honest to StarClan, if he smiled any broader I swear his face would rip in half. "You guessed it."

And your eyes look like coming home

All I know is a simple name

We sat in silence for a little bit, staring curiously at each other. His blue eyes met my own, wide with intrigue, and I felt a frown creasing my forehead. Stormfall's own eyes instantly darkened in concern - which I found cute, but also a bit frightening; commitment was something I envisioned far in the future, a considerable time after my apprentice ceremony instead of just a single sunrise - and he flicked my ear with his tail in an attempt to coax a smile onto my face. Weakly, I forced a grin, but it dissipated as soon as he swiveled his head back to face the Clan, the majority of which was sprawled throughout the camp before us.

In all honesty, it was strange. It was a bit disconcerting too, and almost sickeningly cliche. Traditional she-cat-meets-tom sort of story, though I was unwilling to admit I'd already fallen in love with the golden-brown tom.

I'd known him for a half of a sunrise. I knew his name, his Clan, his hobbies, and his favorite sort of prey to catch. I didn't know his favorite food, or whose child he was - for all I know, he could have been a younger sibling of Stargaze's or Sunmark's, a nephew of Bramblepath or second cousin of Wetstream. Suffice to say, it was nearly impossible that whatever this feeling was - love, infatuation, obsession-at-first-sight, mutual attraction, whatever - was undoubtedly not genuine.

Everything has changed

All I know is you held the door

"I suppose I'd best get off to bed," I said hesitantly, glancing nervously at the tom beside me. "I'm a bit tuckered out. Nice first day as a warrior though, and it was great getting to know you. I hope we can find time to talk more pretty soon." Stormfall gave me an encouraging smile as I leapt from the rocks and bounded towards the warriors' den where Stargaze, Bramblepath, Sunmark and Wetstream were already waiting eagerly, enthusiasm painted on very face. A couple of the apprentices - Nightpaw, Rainpaw, Aquapaw - sat behind them, grinning rather creepily as I padded towards them.

"Well?" Bramblepath was the first to speak, her voice coming out in a demanding hiss. I padded meekly past them into the den, where I curled up in my nest and waited for them to all get settled around me - I was loath to repeat myself - before beginning.

I cleared my throat. "Erm, well, I don't know him all that much. His name is Stormfall, he's obviously a ThunderClan cat; you all know I'm not one for forbidden romance. He likes to hunt and climb trees and swim and - how did I phrase it? Oh! - marsh-hop. His favorite sort of prey to catch are those massive birds, eagles and the like. Crows and things too."

And you'll be mine and I'll be yours

All I know since yesterday is everything has changed

Rainpaw smiled suggestively, quirking her dark eyebrows. Her blue eyes flashed with excitement as she asked, "So, do you..." she looked discreetly both ways, checking to make sure the tom in question wasn't present, "like him?"

In the few moments it took me to respond - though an answer had already formulated on my tongue - I realized how odd the entire day had been. First, I go hunting, still not behaving quite myself after catching a glimpse of the said tom last night. I had to be told to catch prey, something that usually never happens. Then in the process of dragging the largest piece of prey, the very tom whose presence had been lingering in my mind popped up to help me. A laugh-filled conversation ensued, and then here I was, my first full day as a warrior in the warriors' den. I was surrounded by she-cats both older and younger than me as though I was the center for the juicest gossip, and to be quite honest, it was a bit unnerving. I didn't want to be known as that she-cat, the one grabbing all of the toms and forever in the nursery nursing kits whose fathers changed with the seasons.

"I don't know yet," I admitted. "I've known him for a little less than a day. It's not like we've been lifelong friends as I am with you lot. I'm stuck with you, but I've got plenty of time to get Stormfall off of my back. I can still give him the slip for a while yet."

Come back and tell me why

I'm feeling like I've missed you all this time, oh, oh, oh.

"We should be getting to sleep though," Bramblepath concluded after everyone had recovered from stunned silence. "Forestheart is going to be getting us all up early in the morning and you apprentices had best be ready. You know how his temper flares when you lot sleep in or don't respond to your mentors. Quite the funk he sinks into for the day. A grumpy deputy makes for a miserable sunrise," she warned. It was with a lot of moaning and grumbling that Aquapaw, Nightpaw, and Rainpaw trooped back into the apprentices' den, tails leaving trails in the dust.

I curled up in my nest, wrapping my tail around my nose. Stargaze, Sunmark, Wetstream and Bramblepath settled around me. I was faintly surprised; older warriors usually slept closer to the center of the den while the newer ones - and there were plenty of those - slept towards the outer fringes. It was nice to have company regardless.

Having nearly drifted off, I was startled when Stargaze hissed suddenly, "Redpoppy." I perked my ears, raising my head tiredly. "Redpoppy, I've got to ask you something." I frowned at her, my mouth still stuck together with spit, a disgusting film, and I was just altogether not too willing to talk. I sent her a look I hoped clearly said Go on, I'm listening. It must have, for she continued, "I don't...I don't want you to fall head over heels for Stormfall so soon. You don't know what he's like, you've just got a brief snapshot into his life. He could be an obsessive Casanova for all you know, you didn't even know him as an apprentice."

And meet me there tonight

And let me know that it's not all in my mind.

I was about to reply when another voice cut me off. "Redpoppy?"

Stargaze stiffened, then promptly rolled over onto her side, curling her tail and her hindlegs up near her belly and rolling into the tightest possible ball a she-cat could manage without completely distorting or mangling her body to the point of unrecognizability. Ignoring one of my best friends, I turned back to Stormfall and forced a smile onto my face; I still wasn't sure if I was quite ready for this commit-to-me thing, though he'd never said anything explicitly so how should I know whether or not he actually wants to, you know, mate, but in the event that he did I wasn't sure if I was ready for it and I didn't want--

"Redpoppy," Stormfall reiterated, more softly this time. "I hope I didn't wake you up or scare you. I just wanted to know if you could meet me somewhere tonight? I know we don't have to sneak out but I wanted to talk to you again. Not in a creepy way," he was beginning to grow flustered, "but I just...I know this isn't the best time but I wanted to talk to you. Get to know you better. If you will, meet me by the stream before moonhigh. If not, just...don't come, I suppose."

I just wanna know you better, know you better, know you better now

I just wanna know you, know you, know you

It was stupid, in retrospect. Going off with a tom - granted, one from the same Clan - in the middle of the night, to the outer reaches of the territories. Getting to know him better, he had said, but who was I to judge how much he wanted to know? How much he had to know before he could do whatever he liked with what information he'd gotten, traded the gossip for prey and small talk.

But I ignored that voice in my head and I ignored Stargaze's disaproving eyes on my back and I padded from the den, squinting in the gloom blanketing the camp. I paused to listen for footsteps and snores, sneaking past the sentry into the wide, open forest. I slowed to a crawl, my pawsteps cushioned by the dry leaves littering the forest floor. The birds called to each other, still chirping warnings or cawing their luck at finding prey to the rest of their brethren. A crow let out an indignant squawk before taking flight from its perch on one of the trees, a single black feather drifting down to rest in front of me.

When I reached the stream, he was already seated there. The faint sliver of moonlight cast a silvery glow on his golden-brown pelt, and though his ears were perked he didn't turn at the sound of crackling leaves beneath my feet. He let me take a seat beside him and in silence, we watched fish flickering through the water, their small scales catching the light from the moon as they whipped past.

All I know is we said, "Hello."

And your eyes look like coming home

"Hi," he said in a small voice. "Sorry about, erm, this. I know it's stupid - shady, even, kind of sketchy - just sitting by the stream. But I couldn't sleep. And I wanted to--StarClan, I'm such an idiot. You probably don't even like me, this is the most awful idea I've had in seasons. I've let my ego inflate and now I'm trying to convince a she-cat that I can't get her off my mind in the few sunrises I've actually known her. StarClan, I'm thick."

I purred in spite of myself, flicking his ear with my tail and mewing lightly, "You are such a furball. I'll admit, it is a bit odd, but it's nice to have someone to talk to too. I wasn't really able to sleep myself, if we're being completely honest here."

Stormfall's eyes brightened considerably. It was funny - an initial glow in my stomach, fluttering, as if I had fallen in love link in all of the fables the elders passed on; but then I'd grown wary of him, convinced myself he was a bad idea and that love at first sight didn't exist and you needed a reason, you needed to know the cat...and now here I was. For the love of StarClan, Stargaze was right. Our emotions can really make a mess of us - our brains, our hearts, our decisions.

All I know is a simple name

Everything has changed

We sat quietly for a few moments. "So you're friends with Stargaze, huh? And Bramblepath and Wetstream and Sunmark? They're all senior warriors, how'd you get up with 'em? Not that I'm - you know - doubting your...charisma or anything, but--" Stormfall flushed; it was apparent that with the sunlight came his inflated ego, but when the sun sank in the sky and there was only one cat to impress, all that bravado went sailing downstream with the fish and the moonlight.

"I dunno, to be honest," I replied truthfully, deciding to accept his ice-breaker. "When I was an apprentice - a younger apprentice, I mean - they were all really friendly and Bramblepath and Wetstream helped me to train when I couldn't get anything right. They were really helpful, and I was already in awe of both Sunmark and Stargaze, but after a bit of an incident with Stargaze and Wetstream," I paused to let out a purr at the memory of Stargaze's cackling laughter as I trembled, terrified at the words tumbling from her mouth, "Stargaze deemed me all right enough to be a friend." 

Stormfall laughed. "I think I remember that. Bramblepath demanded Coldfoot give you something for shock in the medicine den, that was pretty hilarious, that was. And then Sunmark was furious at Stargaze and Wetstream, but she made both apologize."

All I know is you held the door

You'll be mine and I'll be yours

"She did make Wetstream apologize," I corrected, still smiling, "Stargaze hasn't to this day because she is a mouse-brain."

The purr that rumbled from Stormfall's throat sounded genuine, as though those vocal cords hadn't been used in quite some time. He sounded happy, cheerful, grateful to have some company a little after moonhigh with a she-cat he'd seen but never taken the time to know. And in a way, so was I. It was nice, a bit refreshing, to get a new point of view on things that weren't from the perspective of the same she-cats infatuated with every aspect of my potential love life (just as I was with theirs). I was grateful to have someone to talk to, where I didn't have to worry about offending someone or earning judgmental glares for my preferences. 

"Perhaps we can elicit one from her," mewed Stormfall. "You never know, she might be another one to fall for my over-inflated ego and bigheadedness. I can never really tell." He added the last part earnestly, as though he'd long since accepted he was a bit of a pompous mousebrain and wasn't too perturbed when people labeled him as such. 

All I know since yesterday is everything has changed

All I know is we said, "Hello."

I shot him a toothy grin. "Right. Stargaze is definitely one to fall for those feline charms of yours, there's no denying it." I had to suppress yet another laugh as the image of the dark-furred she-cat filled my head, her light blue eyes flashing dangerously, almost as though my mental image of her was daring me to continue. I imagined back in the den, she was likely mumbling to herself - or else having woken up Bramblepath and the others to talk about the situation I was getting myself into - about my irresponsibility. But that's what friends are for: to look out for you, even when you insist you don't need it.

The silence we shared was comfortable, almost as though we had shared many similar to this in previous times. We both sat in front of the river, my paws already beginning to sink into the soggy banks, my eyes trained on the flickering fish whose scales were catching the moonlight. It was oddly peaceful, in retrospect, and only nostalgia-inducing. The sort where you'll look back and smile, thinking about how many memories would blossom from that very seed of a relationship.

As we sat there, in quietude, I let my mind drift. To the future, at least - I could already envision myself, in a very far-off fantasy land, in the nursery with a couple of kits at my belly and Stormfall standing behind me as a proud father. I was never - never had been, promised I mself I never would be - one of the lovesick she-cats to dream about toms, but here I was. Already planning a life with the tom I'd fallen hard for.

So dust off your highest hopes

All I know is pouring rain and everything has changed

I turned to him just then, a laugh already bubbling in my throat and ready to explain my horrendously embarrassing fantasy, when a drop of water hit me squarely in the forehead. Stormfall continued to gaze into the water, looking slightly troubled, as I glared up at the bristling trees above me. Another drop landed - right in my eye, so perfectly placed that I had to blink away the tears that welled up upon contact with a foriegn substance. The trees seemed almost completely dry - but there were dark, ominious clouds beginning to pull together over the forest, foretelling of rain.

"It's going to rain," I told Stormfall, poking him in the side with one paw. I gestured to the sky with my tail. "It's going to storm, Stormfall." We both grinned at my - ableit lame - un as the raindrops began to fall thicker and faster, coming down like small pebbles at an increasingly rapid pace.

It was full-out pouring by the time we decided to return to camp. There was no way we'd be able to hide the fact that we'd been out - and the fact that we'd been out together. We were both nearly soaking wet, the rain sliding through our pelts until it rested against our skin, leaving me chilled to the bone and all together really, truly very uncomfortably soggy. 

All I know is the new found grace

All my days I know your face

Speeding through the forest, still laughing, I turned to look at Stormfall. His blue eyes, which had come to reflect the dark, blue-gray of the storm unleashing its fury above us, were locked on my own, his golden fur darkened by the splatters of rain that had met his sleek pelt. His muscles were pulled taut as we ran, bounding towards camp with the gait and the speed of a champion hare. I had to keep myself from tripping over a few roots as we ambled along, caught in the moment.

"Watch out," Stormfall warned cheerfully, wrapping a tail around my shoulders and slowing as I was sent sprawling, tripped up by an overhanging tendril of bramble. I already felt my face beginning to sting as the sharp, thorny lacerations began to swell. Screwing up my face I lurched ahead, Stormfall by my side with his tail still wrapped around my shoulders.

We hobbled into camp and towards the warriors' den. Once inside, we made our separate ways - Stormfall to his band of athletic toms in one corner and me opposite Bramblepath, Stargaze, Wetstream, and Sunmark. All four were wide awake, eager grins pasted on every face. Stargaze looked a bit skeptical, but joined in the hushed excitement nonetheless, positively clamoring to hear a detailed description of all that had happened in Stormfall's and my stormy debut. 

All I know since yesterday is everything has changed

And though I began to digress, I couldn't keep Stormwhatsit's face from my mind.

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