This is my WHAT IF Feathertail had survived Fanfiction
Feathertail gave her brother what she knew would be her last glance, and leaped of the rock, and clung onto the pointy rock hanging from the ceiling. She had planned not to scream as she fell as to give Crowpaw and Stormfur, the two cats she loved the best, the knowledge that she was not scared.
But she couldn't help it. As she plunged from the roof of the cave, she let out a high-pitched caterwaul. Then everything went black. "No, NO! Feathertail, no! Don't leave me!" murmured a familiar voice. It was obviously in pain, and it hurt her to the core. She slowly blinked open her eyes to look into the sparkling blue eyes of her beloved, Crowpaw. The gray tom was crouching beside her, and the grief and shock was raw in his eyes. She could hear a group of cats a few foxlengths away, but she couldn't make out what they were saying. But she didn't care. What mattered was now, with Crowpaw.
"I love you." she said, simply.
"Please don't go, Feathertail. We need you. I need you." he replied. Desperation entering his cries.
She blinked. A gray tom heard her voice, and scrambled over to stand on her other side. It was her brother, Stormfur.
"Feathertail... " he managed to choke out.
She wanted to comfort him, but she knew there was nothing she could do. There was nothing she could tell him, as anything at all would only make his pain worse. She couldn't do that to him, if she could help it. But she had to say something, she realised. He would think she was angry at him in her last moments of life if she said nothing. Staring into the depths of her brother's gaze, and then after a moment, Crowpaw's, she murmured one word.
Darkness overwhelmed her, and she shut her eyes for the last time.
A familiar scent came to Feathertail's attention. It was something she had not smelt in seasons, yet she would recognise it if she had never scented it before.
"Silverstream, Mother!" She opened her eyes in shock, but as she looked around, a realization dawned on her. She was on the other side of the stars, yet still in the rocky cave were the Tribe of Rushing Water had chosen for their home. The silver tabby whom her father had fallen in love with approached the young warrior from the waterfall. "Silverstream! I miss you so much! So does Graystripe. I remember when he lived in RiverClan with us. He has never gotten over losing you." Pain filled her mother's eyes. "But please, I don't want to join you yet! The others need me. I can't leave them like this. Look at them! I love you, but...I'm not ready to join you yet." She gazed around at the cats that filled the cave. Tawnypelt seemed to be in shock, Squirrelpaw was quiet for the first time in moons, while Bramleclaw was trying to comfort her. Stormfur and Crowpaw remained by her side, overwhelmed with grief.
"You love Crowpaw." Silverstream said simply, gazing upon the gray tom with sympathy in her eyes. He was resting his head into Feathertail's body nearby. It was not an accusation, nor was it angry. It was just a simple statement. To Feathertail, however, it was the first time she had heard her mother's voice, and she quivered with excitement, and couldn't help but let out a small squeak.
"Yes, more than anything." She replied.
Warmth filled her mother's gaze, although it had not been lacking in it before. "You shall not join the ranks of the starry warriors tonight, my special one. I am so proud of you, you have done so much."
Everthing began to fade black as Feathertail returned to those who loved her most.
Everything was quiet, except the distant roar of the waterfall in the background. Feathertail drowsily opened her eyes, still in shock. She didn't notice the weight crushing her until some of it disappeared. She turned her head in order to see what was happening.
"Feathertail!" Crowpaw dropped the rock he was holding as his eyes lit up.
"OWWWWW!" She yelled, as the weight suddenly landed on her. It wasn't incredibly heavy, but she was weak and very sore from the fall, or as she saw it, her jump.
"Sorry!" He scrambled to pick it up with his teeth, awkwardly, and placed it a bit away. "We though you were... you were..."
"I'm not dead," she replied weakly, understanding the gray tom's troubles and grief perfectly. The two of them were meant to be together, they knew and loved each other so well.
She shut her eyes again. She was exhausted, and just the energy used to keep her eyes open was already beginning to take it's toll. Crowpaw seemed both shocked and so happy he couldn't stop moving at the same time. He chose to keep quiet. He didn't want to disturb the beautiful cat nearby, but he couldn't leave her side either. He just simply gazed upon his love whom he thought he had lost forever.
Many moments passed before anything happened at all. Footsteps began to be audible above the noise of the water falling, and a familiar scent became stronger and stronger until it was right beside him. A dark ginger she-cat spoke softly in Crowpaw's ear, "She really loved you, you know. I know her spirit is watching us now, as we speak!"
"Feathertail!"she exclaimed. Feathertail had turned to look at her as she spoke. "You're alive!"
"I know..." she replied softly.
Squirrelpaw paused, and then gently attempted to lift another rock. "Help me, will you, you stupid furball!" she teased Crowpaw when she was unable to lift the rock by herself. The gray tom came to life immediately, realising that the dark she-cat next to him had a point. Surely Feathertail would be much more comfortable if they could get all of the rocks off of her. Earlier they had been digging her out as to move her for her burial, but now the reasons were much more urgent. The apprentices, although together, hardly managed to move the weight of that one rock, even the few foxlengths Squirrelpaw forced Crowpaw to. "The further we move it, the more room we have to place other rocks nearer by, and so as we get more tired, we move them shorter distances."
Crowpaw could see the logic although he didn't want to admit it. Grumbling, he accepted, and helped the fiery young cat drag the heavy stone.
Once that rock was safely out of the way, the two young cats moved onto another. They were staring to move the fourth one when Feathertail spoke again, without moving.
"That feels much better..." she mumbled.
Crowpaw let go of the rock, and left Squirrelpaw to mutter something about 'stupid tom cats', rushing to Feathertail's side. Their gazes met, and Crowpaw spoke first, after a short pause.
"You're going to be alright." he spoke, with conviction, and although he was uncertain he didn't let it show in his voice.
"Of course I will. I know."
The moment was disrupted by a loud voice from the other side of the cave.
"What are you doing? We agreed to take the rocks outside, remember?"
"Yeah, we were. That was until we realised that Feathertail is alive!" shot the arrogant Squirrelpaw back at the voice.
"Feathertail's alive!? She can't be!" said another voice, growing rapidly nearer even as it sounded.
Feathertail let out a groan. "You lot have no imagination!".
Dawn shards shone through the waterfall, making dazzling flashing lights on the walls of the caves. Everything was still except the torrent of water at the mouth of the cave.
Stormfur stirred from his sleep, where he was curled up next to his sister. Quietly and carefully, he stood up and stretched, trying to get the cramps he had picked up in the cold night air out of his muscles and joints. A huge yawn escaped his lips, as he started to pad towards the mouth of the cave.
With no emotion which he could distinguish, he reflected back on the last few days. Feathertail had been freed and carryed back to a sleeping place before dawn had arrived the day before. She was recovering fast, as she had spirit, and she was already up and walking on her own four paws by moonfall.
Stormfur was feeling mixed emotions. He wanted to leave these acursed mountains, and get back to the clans so they could finish their quest. But he didn't want to leave his true love behind, Brook. They had been growing closer everyday, and although they had only been together for a few weeks, they knew each other well. Brook was amazing, he reflected. But how could he stay with her, like he so desperatly wanted to, while she couldn't leave her tibe and he couldn't leave his clan?
He put these thoughts out of his mind. Feathertail was alive, and nearly recovered. That is surely all that mattered? Stormfur sighed. He would have to make the decision later. He still had time, Feathertail needed at least three more sunrises before she was recovered enough to get out of the cave, let alone walk home to the Clans.
As if she could tell what he was thinking, Feathertail's eyes fluttered open, "Stormfur?" she said groggily. Even when she was exhausted from recovery and just waking up, her voice was pretty. Stormfur smiled. Feathertail purred when she saw him and even more when she saw Crowpaw padding over anxiously as he always had when he heard Feathertail talk. To Stormfur it had grown quite annoying but it just seemed to make Feathertail love the pesky apprentice more.
"Are you ok?" Crowpaw asked in fear, his eyes showing the same frightened cat he had been when he had almost lost his love forever. Feathertail nodded and the smoky gray apprentice let out a sigh. Stormfur would've liked to stay and chat, but he had just spotted Brook across the cave. He hurried a good bye to Crowpaw and licked Feathertail's head before running to join Brook.
I've got lots of time...
Feathertail stretched her legs. She hated being inside all the time feeling so useless. But she figured that she was alive and with her friends so surely she could survive a few days of boredom? She had been so sure then...now she was just bored. She batted at a crinkled brown leaf that blew past her.
"Hey, stop it!" Feathertail turned ever so slightly to see Crowpaw running at her. She sighed. She loved Crowpaw so much but every time he saw her doing something he stopped her. She would always be angry but once she saw the love and worry in his eyes she relented. He could worry over her, she had almost died for him, hadn't she? So she sighed and relaxed into her nest. Finally! Feathertail burst out of the cave.
"Now be careful and don't-" Crowpaw was saying. But she was so happy she couldn't listen. After a few more days, both Crowpaw and Stoneteller deemed her fine to travel. So with a few good byes, they were going. Feathertail looked at the group. Squirrelpaw was already arguing with Brambleclaw, no surprise there. Feathertail purred. Crowpaw was pressed against her, nervously telling her over and over to be carefuly and watch out. Feathertail scanned the group. Stormfur wasn't with them. "Where's Stormfur?" she asked Crowpaw.
"And make sure to - huh? Oh. I think he was talking with that mountain cat Brook..."
Feathertail raced back inside the cave, enjoying the luxorious feeling of running and skidded to a halt when she saw Stormfur and Brook padding towards her. "Hey!" she purred. Then she saw neither of them was smiling. She felt scared. What happened? "What's wrong?" she whispered.
"I'm staying here." Stormfur told her flatly. Feathertail stared at him, shock slicing through her. No, she can't have survived death only to have her brother snatched away by the Tribe....
"No..." she murmured.
"Yes, I am. But save the Clans, sister. When you pass through to go to our new home, I'll be waiting for you." he licked the top of her head. "Now go."
In a daze, she stumbled out of the cave to were the group was waiting.
"Where's Stormfur?" asked Brambleclaw cheerfully.
Feathertail felt tears pricking at her eyes. "He's staying." she said as she brushed past them, padding alone down the rock trail.
Half a moon later...
Feathertail breathed out in relief. We were home. She stood with my friends, in between Crowpaw and Tawnypelt, looking at the territories and forest below us in relief. Then, as one, they raced down the hill we were standing on, into their home.
Squirrelpaw and Brambleclaw called good bye to them, and raced to ThunderClan. Tawnypelt broke off in the other direction, waving her tail good bye. Crowpaw and Feathertail raced together, across the moor, side by side.
They broke as he saw a patrol running towards them.
"I'll see you soon." she told him.
His blue eyes were serious, "I love you Feathertail. Meet me at Fourtrees tonight. Or whatever's left of it." Feathertail remembered the horrible sight of the wrecked oaks from the top of the hill and shuddered, nodding, her heart filling with love.
Crowpaw raced off towards the patrol and Feathertail ran back to RiverClan. Feathertail raced into camp, smiling. Leopardstar and Mistyfoot were in the center of the clearing, talking. Mistyfoot looked up and saw her, her face spasming with happiness and confusion and even some anger. "Feathertail!"
Pretty soon heads were poking out of the dens, everyone crowded around Feathertail."
"Where were you?"
"Did the Twolegs get you?"
The voices clamored and Leopardstar waved her tail for silence. "I will speak to Feathertail alone. Then she can tell you all her story." The RiverClan leader narrowed her eyes at Feathertail. "Come." The RiverClan leader's den was truly a pretty place. Blossoms burst around the tree, which stretched tall in the sky, branches spreading apart, holding out bright green leaves to the sun. She lead me inside a spacious holllow between the roots where a rabbit lay, probably brought in by an apprentice, and a comfy looking nest sat,
"Now," Leopardstar sat down on the floor, Feathertail followed her lead. "Tell me everything."
The moon shone brightly on Fourtrees. The leafs shimmered, reminding Feathertail of the mountains where the sunlight danced in the cave. Where her brother was staying.
Her heart felt heavy. Then she saw Crowpaw and ran over to him. "Crowpaw!"
He spun around and saw her, and grinned, eyes alive with happiness.
"Feathertail!" he ran over to her and touched his nose to hers. Then he pulled away,. eyes shining, "Guess what!"
"What?" The excitement from his eyes was making her feel happy and lively too.
"I'm not Crowpaw anymore!" his eyes shone in the moonlight and she stared at him, wondering what he meant. Then something clicked in her brain and she let out a purr.
"That's amazing Crow...what's your name now?" "Crowfeather." he said, giving her a look. "I'm Crowfeather now."
Feathertail's eyes widened, "Does Tallstar know..?"
Crowfeather shook his head. "No. He just gave me the name. But do you think it means something?" his blue eyes shone like the sky. "Do you think it's a sign from StarClan? That we're meant to be together?"
Feathertail nodded, smiling, "I guess so."
Crowfeather wrapped his tail around her, "I don't need a sign to know we belong together." he murmered.
Feathertail pressed against him, relizing that he was getting bigger then her now.
She looked up at the moon, never wanting the night to end.
"It's time to go!"
Feathertail opened her eyes. Leopardstar was strolling around camp yowling the words into each of the dens. Feathertail blinked and stretched, the sunlight warming her fur.
She had completely forgotten that the Clans were leaving their homes today. It didn't seem fair. The Twolegs hadn't worked so hard to make camps and defend their boundaries. And they still won. And they always would because they were bigger and stronger. Feathertail sighed and poked Swallowtail next to her awake. Then she padded out, still yawning.
The camp was in chaos. Queens ran around, collecting kits. Mothwing was yowling something to Leopardstar, not even trying to gather the traveling herbs. Mistyfoot was looking extremely stressed as she ran over to Feathertail.
"Mudfur is dying." she told the silver she-cat.
"Oh no!" Feathertail felt her heart sink. That's why Mothwing had been so distracted.
"Yes, well we need you to go get another medicine cat. And after that can you go to each Clan and check that their ready to go?"
Feathertail nodded, thinking this would be easy since all three other Clans were in ThunderClan's new camp at Sunningrocks. Mistyfoot gave her a look.
Feathertail nodded and raced out of camp towards the ThunderClan border.
Trees flew by and she easily leaped over a small part of the river. She enjoyed the feeling of supplness in her legs and let out a laugh, running as fast as she could.
She was so far into her joy and happiness that she failed to see the root in front of her. Failed to slow down or leap over it. She didn't even notice until she felt the snsation of herself flying into the air, landing hard on her back. And then there was only blackness.
A world of blackness swam in front of Feathertail, she couldn't move, couldn't get up. She just lay and hoped someone would find her.
"Is she dead?"
"Lucky we found her!"
"Please don't die Feathertail! Stay with me!"
The voices surronded her, she recognized one. Don't be afraid, Crowfeather...it's ok, I'm not dead.
She wanted to press against him and comfort him, but she was so tired...she gave way to dizzying blackness.
(A/N: Sorry for the short chapter!)
Feathertail woke up to see startled blue eyes staring back at her. She let out a small yowl of shock and tried to move back. But all she could do was stare at Crowfeather as he pulled away. She lifted her head a little and looked at him.
"I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to frighten you! Really! I was just so worried, they said the concussion was really bad!"
"What?" All the new infromation and things Crowfeather was saying made her head hurt and she let her head fall back into the soft moss.
"Oh yeah, Cinderpelt said you'd be confused."
"Where are we?" Feathertail asked, wondering why Cinderpelt was treating her and not Barkface or Mothwing.
"We're in ThunderClan camp. They found you over the border, passed out under a huge oak tree, a bumb the size of a goose egg on the back of your head!"
Feathertail tried to feel the bump, but her legs didn't respond to her thoughts.
Crowfeather looked at her nervously. "Cinderpelt said it will take a while for the concussion to go away. Until then your legs and tail might not respond to your thoughts."
Feathertail's eyes widened, "So...how are we going to get to our new home?"
Crowfeather bit his lip. "Their all waiting until you get better."
Feathertail struggled to sit up, eyes frantic, "No! They have to go! More cats will die unless they leave!"
Crowfeather watched her worriedly, then called someone's name. Cinderpelt, the ThunderClan medicine came in and look that Feathertail, then to Crowfeather. "She's getting emotional. I'm going to give her some poppy seeds." She dissappeared into a small crevice and returned, hopping on three paws with small black seeds in one.
Feathertail shook her head, "No! You have to get them all out of here! You have to-"
Cinderpelt tok the chance and threw the seeds into Feathertail's mouth. Feathertail struggled for another moment, then fell fast asleep.
When Feathertail came to, the ThunderClan medicine den swam in front of her eyes. She groaned and tried to stand up, but once again, she couldn't move. So it hadn't been a week yet. She could still move her head, so she looked around.
The medicine den was much the same, but it looked different too. The herbs scent wasn't as strong. Cinderpelt was there, but she looked flustered and upset and she was talking to some cats. Feathertail looked around desperately for some cat to talk to, for someone to answer her many questions. Specifically Crowfeather.
Cinderpelt turned and saw the silver tabby, "Oh, you're awake." she padded away from the other cats and over to Feathertail, "How're you feeling?"
"Where is everyone?" Feathertail knew it was rude to be so abrupt, but she couldn't help it. "Did they leave?"
Cinderpelt said nothing but Feathertail caught a hint of reluctence in her eyes. The ThunderClan medicine cat began to fuss over the cobwebs and herbs smeared on Feathertail's pelt.
The gray she-cat sighed and sat down, looking at the other cats. The one in the lead nodded and led the others into the herb storage. Feathertail wondered vaugely whether there was anywhere safe left.
Cinderpelt sighed again, looking at her paitent. Then she spoke. "No one wanted to leave like you said. They were all willing to wait for you."
Feathertail nodded, "And?"
Cinderpelt gulped, "But then....then the Twolegs killed...they killed..Runningnose."
"Oh no!" Feathertail meowed sadly. She knew the old ShadowClan medicine cat, she hoped he was happy in StarClan now.
"Well at least he's happy now in StarClan." meowed Cinderpelt sadly, echoing Feathertail's thoughts. "Anyways, they decided they had to get out. So they did."
"That's great!" Feathertail exclaimed, purring. But that didn't explain the reluctence she had seen n Cinderpelt's eyes earlier. Or the way she was looking at her now. "Why? What else? And where's Crowfeather?"
"He wanted to stay, he really did, he tried to....it wasn't...they needed to...him..."
"Where is he?!" Feathertail hissed.
"He's gone." Cinderpelt said mournfully. "He left with the Clans."
Feathertail sank in and out of sleep but one word always haunted her. Crowfeather, Crowfeather, Crowfeather...
When she was awake she tried not to think about it, when she was asleep she tried not to dream about it. But she always did.
He's gone, he already gone and he's not coming back...what if he gets hurt? I wish he were here, why can't he be here.... Tears and nightmares and Cinderpelt iving her herbs blended in her mind and she heard Cinderpelt murmering to another cat but she didn't know why or what or who it was. She didn't care anymore.
She knew she'd probably see him again. But the risks of him getting hurt or killed or lost...she fought tears. Why hadn't he waited? Why hadn't they let him stay? She lost the battle agaisnt her tears. I didn't even get to say good bye...
Finally she woke up and was able to stay awake without drifting back into the nightmares of Crowfeather dying and her not being able to save him.
Cinderpelt was watching her. "Finally."
Feathertail let out a groan and turned away from the medicine cat. Cinderpelt looked at her in amusement. "You've been out for four sunrises. You're almost healed, we can start out after the Clans tommorrow. Hopefully."
Once again there was something being held back in the medicine cats tone. Does this cat always keep secrets?
"What is it?" she asked.
Cinderpelt looked away. "It's probably nothing..."
Feathertail struggled to sit up, and she could. But it didn't seem as easy as she thought it'd be. She had almost ten sunrises of recovery. And she'd eaten hardly anything. But her stomach seemed to have grown. She payed no heed though.
"What?! Tell me!"
Cinderpelt sighed and looked at her. "I know you've had so much to take in the last few days but....but....we think you're expecting kits."
Am I happy? Am I scared?
Feathertail stared at Cinderpelt. "I-I..."
Cinderpelt gave a her a sympathetic look. "I know, it's a lot to take in. But it's true. You're actually pretty far along, I'm not sure how you haven't noticed yet. They'll be born soon."
"Of course! And anyways," she continued, "You'll be able to make the journey. It might be hard, but you'll be ok. So, tommorrow we're leaving. And when we get to our new home, your kits will be born in about a moon maybe. They might even be the first to use the new RiverClan nursery!"
Feathertail purred. It was a very pretty picture that Cinderpelt had painted. It was nice, thinking of her kits and her, settled in a comfy nest...but there was something that would never let it be as perfect as she was thinking: Crowfeather.
Up until this point, Feathertail had never thought about what would happen when they got home. Now, when they got to their new home....what would happen then? Clan cats in different Clans still couldn't be mates.
She closed her eyes and before she could fall asleep, Cinderpelt said, "Don't you want to know how many?"
Her eyes jolted open. "What? You know?"
"Not genders, but I do know how many there are." Cinderpelt said proudly. "Do you want to know? Or leave it a surprise?"
Feathertail thought. It didn't really matter, right? But Crowfeather wouldn't know eather way..."I want to wait. I'll find out the same time Crowfeather does."
Cinderpelt nodded, "Okay. That's perfectly fine. Now, tomorrow I'll mix in some other herbs in with your traveling herbs for the kits, but for now the best thing you can do is sleep."
Feathertail nodded and closed her eyes, drifting off to sleep.
Feathertail awoke to Cinderpelt shaking her awake. "Time to go," the medicine cat whispered. Feathertail looked outside. The gray dawn sky was being split apart by the orange and yellow warming rays of the sun. She groaned and got up. Cinderpelt purred and gave the other she-cat some room.
She saw her other denmates for the first time. There was a white queen and a speckled she-cat, and Shadepelt and Loudbelly from RiverClan. Feathertail looked at her Clanmates. "Why are you all here?"
"We're staying." the ThunderClan speckled she-cat said. "We're so old, we can't make it. And I was born in this camp, I'll die in this camp!"
"Actually we'll be staying at the RiverClan camp Speckletail." the white queen said drily, "But yes, we are staying."
"You too?" Feathertail said mournfully turning to the Riverclan elders.
They both nodded sadly. Feathertail turned to Cinderpelt. "So it's just the two of us?"
Cinderpelt shook her head. "No, a few others who were to sick or weak to go the first time round. Brightheart, Talonpaw, Webfoot, Morningflower, and Dawnflower and her kits."
Feathertail nodded then relized she would be the only one of the original 6 cats to be in this group so she would be in charge. The thought made her very nervous and she tried not to think about it.
"Here, can you eat these?" Cinderpelt asked, nudging a pile of dark herbs to her. Feathertail nodded and scarfed them up quickly, trying not to wince at the taste.
"You ready to go?" Cinderpelt asked.
"Where're the other cats?"
"In the nursery. It's the best place to be protected beside in here."
Feathertail nodded. "Let's go, then."
Feathertail padded out of camp along with the other members of her group. She smelled the familiar scent of the forest one last time, took a deep breath and padded forword, walking faster and faster.
The other cats ran after her and she speeded up, running as fast as she could. The traveling herbs and the pain she knew she would feel if she looked back kept her going. They ran until they were out of the territory, right next to the Moonstone when they hit a problem.
"Where do we go now?" asked Talonpaw curiously.
Feathertail thought for a moment. Hadn't Midnight told them...oh no. She had said to look for the fallen warrior. And if that had been a sign, then StarClan would've shown it when the majority of the Clans went. So there was no way to know...
Webfoot, a disagreeable WindClan warrior seemed to sense her discomfort and smiled, "So, you know, right? Or do you?"
Feathertail looked at him, half angry, half wishing someone else was in charge.
Cinderpelt was a little ways away from everyone else and she looked back at them. "The scent goes this way." the others all blinked at her. "Well, are you coming?"
Feathertail padded forword gratefully and whispered to Cinderpelt, "Thanks."
The she-cat blinked and dipped her head, hissing back, '"Anytime."
Feathertail followed their scent trail, it led over the hill. She ran to the top of the hill and stood. The scent was strong here, she could almost see them walking with her. She felt her traveling group pad next to her, then pass her.
Feathertail willed herself. Don't look back...never look back, never look back again...But she couldn't help it. She turned, looking once more at the place she had called home.
The rising sun was painting the dark forest. Up here, Feathertail could see the rise and fall of the land, a blue snake that was the river, the mass of darkness that was the forests, and the occassional peppering of trees on the moor.
She turned back. It wasn't her home anymore. And it never would be again. She saw Webfoot waiting for her. "You coming?" the WindClan cat asked her.
She nodded and ran to catch up to the rest of the cats.
Cinderpelt looked at her, "Which way now?"
Feathertail took a deep breath, her scent glands picking up the strong scents of fear and excitement of the traveling Clan cats. "They stopped here....But why?"
Cinderpelt tipped her head and Talonpaw piped up, "Isn't that where Barely and Ravenpaw live?" the older cats all looked at him. "Well it is! When I went to the Moonstone, Blackstar let us stay there before we went on."
"But why would they stop there?" mused Feathertail.
"For food maybe?" said Dawnflower. "And a rest? It will be a long trip so they'd get any food and sleep they can. Plus, most of the Clans were half starving, right?"
Feathertail nodded at the queen and Dawnflower smiled back at her. "We should stop there too." she decided.
The other cats gave nods and murmers of agreements. Feathertail felt guilty about leading the way, she hadn't thought up any of the answers. But the other cats followed her wordlessly. She padded up a steep grassy slope that waved in the gentle New-leaf wind. A big red barn stood in front of her, a Twoleg nest stood next to it and some big animals grazed outside.
"What are those things?" whispered one of Dawnflower's kittens. Feathertail was grateful she knew the answer this time.
"Cows. And chickens."
The kittens all stared at the animals. "Woah..."
Feathertail purred and meowed, "You want to come with me? Maybe the rest of them should stay here so we don't overwhelm the animals..." She looked at Dawnflower who nodded nervously, but trust shone in her eyes. Feathertail felt honored. Queens were very protective of their kits.
The three kits followed Feathertail, eyes bright. "What're your names?" she asked, knowing full well what their names were, but knowing they'd love to tell her.
"I'm Minnowkit!" the black kit stepped forword, eyes shining like her mother's. "That's Pebblekit," she said, flicking her tail at a gray tom, "And Mousekit." she cuffed the ear of the last kit, a delicate looking, small, dusky brown she-kit who let out a mew.
"Minnowkit, Pebblekit, and Mousekit are beautiful names!" Feathertail told them. Minnowkit's tail shot up in pride and Pebblekit's eyes shone. Even Mousekit let out an excited meow.
"OK, now we have a very important mission." she said, noticing Talonpaw giving her an impaitent look. The kits stared at her in awe. "We have to find Barely and Ravenpaw and ask them for their help. We'll have to pass these animals," she flicked her tail at the cows and chickens. "And possibly dodge obsticals. Are you ready? Warriors?"
"Yessssss!" Minnowkit's shrill meow of excitement. Pebblekit nodded and Mousekit let out a little yowl, then closed her mouth looking scared.
Feathertail purred, "Then let's go." she bounded off, the kits skidding after her. Feathertail watched the cows. They didn't seem deadly, and everyone who had seen one said they were nice. She slipped a little closer and the kits followed. She let out a deep breath, her nervousness gone. These animals weren't going to attack.
Just then, there was a loud bark. Then another one. The cows farthest away from the cats started to shuffle uncomfortably, then clsoer and closer until the cats two foxlengths away from the cats were making nervous sounds. Feathertail took another step forword, forgetting she wasn't alone, thinking it would be best to hurry through the cows. After all, she could dodge and run quickly.
She took another step forword and then the cows were in a complete frenzy. The unseen dogs were still barking, herding the cows around. Withen moments, she was caught in the swirl of hooves. She heard the other cats terrified wails and there were soft whimpers behind her. She remembered the kits were with her and silently cursed herself for forgetting them.
She looked at the movement around her, searching for a way out. But there was none. They were trapped. And the cows were probably going to stomp on one of them eventually. She closer her eyes wishing there was some way out.
"Feathertail! Minnowkit! Pebblekit! Mousekit!"
Someone was screaming their names, Feathertail was too busy looking for a way to get out to know, or care, who it was. Her eyes zoomed in on the big block like, stone like hooves they had. One crashed down only a mouse-length from Feathertail and she jumped.
They were getting closer...they had to get out.
Suddenly the dogs stopped barking and the cows slowly began to settle. Soon, Feathertail could hear more, enough to hear a cat yowling, "Leave them alone! Stop barking, friends!"
She quickly led the kits over towards the voice, finally she was close enough to see a small black cat with a white tail tip calling to the dogs and flicking at the cows with his tail.
Ravenpaw! Feathertail padded over. "Ravenpaw!"
He turned to her and smiled. "Feathertail! And..." he looked at the kits. "Are these yours?"
She shook her head, "Nope." Then she realized soon she would have little ones of her own.
"We need to stay here please." she said. "There are a few more cats over there..."
Ravenpaw nodded, "Of course! Here, I'll show the kits the barn, you can get the others." he bounded off and the kits followed him, meowing with excitement.
Feathertail ran off, skirting the edge of the group of cows, not eager to be among them again. Finally she arrived back to where the other cats where. Dawnflower's eyes were filled with worry. "Are you all ok?"
"Yes! And we found Ravenpaw." seeing the queen's still worried look, she hurriedly said, "The kits are with him exploring the barn."
Her worried expression melted a little, "Well, they'll enjoy that."
Webfoot hissed, "Can we just go now?"
Feathertail nodded and Dawnflower shot the WindClan cat a glare and then they padded to the barn.
Inside, Ravenpaw waited for him while the kits stood on bales of hay.
"I LOVE this place!" Minnowkit yowled to the entering cats. Her siblings nodded in agreement. Dawnflower purred.
Ravenpaw ran over. "Welcome, welcome! There's plenty of mice, I can hunt for you-"
"We can hunt for ourselves, I don't want a loner hunting for me!" hissed Talonpaw.
"Sure, fine." Ravenpaw retorted, sighing. "Anyways, the hay is great for bed and the Twolegs come in at morning...the dogs never come in. Oh, and keep away from the hens." he said with a flicker of fear in his eyes. The barn cat noticed Webfoot and Talonpaw's looks of scorn and he growled. "If you know what's good for you."
Cinderpelt nodded, "Thanks, Ravenpaw."
The black cat nodded and the Clan cats all spread out to explore and hunt. Feathertail sank in a pile of hay, exhausted. She was hungry but didn't feel like hunting. Suddenly a mouse dropped in fornt of her. She looked up to see Ravenpaw smiling down at her.
"Thanks." she meowed, blinking gratefully. He nodded.
"No problem. And you're doing a good job of leading them." he gave her a friendly smile and padded off to watch the kits.
Feathertail ate the mouse quickly, cherishing the delicious taste and curled into the hay. Moss was comfier, but this was nice and warm too. Good night, my kits. She thought before giving in to the engulfing blackness.
The cool dawn air filtered sunlight into holes in the barn roof as Feathertail awoke. She shivered in the cool air, but she could scent a warmer day. She looked around.
The kittens were already up, jumping off haystacks while Dawnflower watched them, anxiously telling them to be careful. Ravenpaw stood nearby, calling to the kits where the hay was deepest. Brightheart and Cinderpelt were talking while Morningflower still slept. Webtfoot and Talonpaw were watching the barn cats susiciously as they sulked in the shadows. Barely was watching the whole barn from the ground, looking surprised and taken aback at the hustle and bustle of his usually quiet barn.
Feathertail purred and stretched. Then she nimbly jumped down from her nest and landed lightly on the floor. She felt a small twinge in her stomach and with slight sorrow realized she wouldn't be able to jump or run very well anymore. At least until the kits were born.
She shook the thought away and padded over to where Barely was. He smiled briefly at her, then turned back to the carnage in the barn. She gave a sympathetic purr. "I'm so sorry. We'll be out soon, I promise."
He gave her a weary smile. "No, it's the least I can do for the Clans since they gave me my best friend." He looked over to Ravenpaw briefly and then back to Feathertail. Feathertail nodded and looked around for some mice to hunt.
"We were going to catch something for you," Barley explained watching her. "But Dawnflower said you'd want to catch as much prey as you could before...you know....you can't."
Feathertail nodded, trying not to let her whiskers twitch at the awkwardness in the tom's voice. She turned and almost immediatly caught a mice. She caught another one after that and ate them, savoring the taste, not sure when she would eat next.
She felt a shadow fall over her and blinked up, seeing Talonpaw standing in front of her looking bored. "Can we get out of this dump already?"
She nodded and scarfed down the rest of the mice in a hurry, then stood up. Dawnflower saw and began to heard her kits together. Cinderpelt poked Brightheart awake and the other cats all gathered near Feathertail.
"Thank you so much for everything guys." she said to Ravenpaw and Barley. They nodded and each licked her on the shoulder.
"I'll miss you." Ravenpaw said, eyes sad. "All of you." he added, turning to the other cats. Talonpaw snorted but the older cats each licked the barn cat's shoulder. Feathertail felt bad for him, these were the last Clan cats. After this, there was no one for Ravenpaw to reminisce about old times with. The Clan cats would be gone.
She nudged him softly with her head, "If you ever need us...if you ever want to visit or anything...just...StarClan will show you the way."
Ravenpaw nodded and meowed softly, "Thanks. I-I'll see you later. Bye."
He and Bareley stepped aside and the group pressed ahead.
Feathertail led them to the top of the hill, opposite of highstones. The others pushed ahead but she looked back. The forest seemed so small. How had four Clans lived there for so many seasons? She shook her head sadly and turned away, padding after her traveling companions.
The journey had really begun.
Feathertail panted. It was a few days into the journey and she was exhausted. They were still on the Clans' trail, but the scents were growing staler and staler instead of fresher. They were moving too slow. And there was still a long way to go.
Feathertail recognized some of the things along the way, a cave they had sheltered under, a big rock...the original journey was still haunting her pawsteps. Which meant every night she dreamt of Stormfur. Was he even still alive? Sharptooth was dead but the mountains held many dangers.
But she was scared for her little group too now. They were moving slow and they had already faced many troubles. And more were coming. and Feathertail knew her kits would be born soon.
Cinderpelt padded over to her, eyes sympathetic. Her pelt was as matted as Feathertail’s and her paws were muddy. Feathertail knew the only reason this was happening was because she was expecting kits.
“What’s going to happen Cinderpelt?” she said quickly. “If we don’t make it in time or if something happens…”
“We’ll make it.” the medicine cat said with determination. “And if not we can stay with those cats…what’d you call them? The…Tribe? The Tribe, yes.”
Feathertail nodded, her heart lifting as she remembered she’d be seeing her brother again.
“You just have to be strong.” said Cinderpelt softly.
Talonpaw had come up behind them and he sneered. “Be strong? Her kits are gonna be born any day now! And she’s practically keeling over. And we’ve only been traveling for a day!” he hissed at Feathertail. “She’s not fit to lead us!”
Feathertail opened her mouth to retort but her eyes stung. Everything the apprentice said was true. As she looked at his eyes, gleaming with spite and triumph, she knew that he knew it too.
“Shut up.” Brightheart hissed at the apprentice. Her ears were flat and she had stopped, turning. The scarred side of her face was prominent.
Talonpaw growled and turned away.
They moved for a while in silence, but Feathertail was afraid they wouldn’t make it. Not just because of her kits, but because the group was breaking apart.
She stared at the horizon. Would they make it to the Clans’ new homes? Or would they squabble and break apart. And even if they did, what would happen then?
Cinderpelt watched Feathertail struggle up the hill. She was worried about the pale gray she-cat. Not just because she was pregnant. But because she was sweet and had done so much for the Clans. Cinderpelt was sure Feathertail counted her as a friend.
They started down the hill and Cindepelt looked around. The place was barren except for a few rocks jutting out of the flat landscape every few foxlengths. There was one big one with another stone jutting out of it, forming a kind of cave. It reminded Cinderpelt so much of Sunning Rocks she felt a stab of grief hit her heart for a moment.
They walked down the hill and all the cats stared around in awe. It was a breathtaking place.
Then everything went wrong. Feathertail suddenly spasmed, her face twisted with pain. Then she crumpled to the ground. Cinderpelt rushed over.
"What-What's happening?" Feathertail gasped.
Cinderpelt gulped. She had no herbs, there was no good shelter....and now this. But Feathertail needed to hear an answer.
"You're kits are coming."
Feathertail's eyes widen. "Kits?" she squeaked, trying to struggle up, "No, they can't be coming now-" she stopped as a nother spasm of pain hit her.
"Well this is just great!" hissed Talonpaw.
"Shush!" scolded Dawnflower. "It's hard having kits!"
"Well we can't go on." scowled Webfoot. "So we're stuck in this dump for like a half moon."
"Not that long!" growled Brightheart. "Just until the kits are born and Feathertail feels better. Then we can just carry them."
Feathertail closed her eyes and leaned back, not listening to any of them. All she was thinking was...
Crowfeather...please come...please hurry....