This is an AU where it takes place at the same time as ITW. Firepaw joins ThunderClan like normal, except he joins a day before the battle of sunningrocks where Redtail died. He and Tigerclaw grow close, and that causes a new evil that was never present in the real series, to rise.
Chapter 1: Tigerclaw's POV
Tigerclaw followed Bluestar out of ThunderClan camp and into the twolegplace. I have no idea why she picked me to go with her. The tabby warrior thought as they neared the open area between the forest and the twoleg dens. Bluestar, Tigerclaw, and Graypaw, all waited for the kittypet to leave his den. Then from the shadows of the night, appeared the small orange kittypet began heading towards the location the clan cats were hiding. Tigerclaw braced forward ready to attack, but Bluestar stopped him and sent out Graypaw instead. Bewildered and angered by Bluestar’s decision, Tigerclaw whispered harshly, “Why did you pick an apprentice instead of me?”
“Because this is not supposed to be an attack, it is to see if the kittypet runs or fights,” Bluestar replied calmly. Well, that is just plain fox dung, why did I even come out here in the first place? Tigerclaw thought to himself. Out of anger, he began to head back to camp. But before he was even a fox-length from Bluestar, he stopped himself, knowing that he needs Bluestar’s trust for many reasons. Tigerclaw then decided to watch Graypaw with her. He watched intently as the young apprentice approached the kittypet, who was hunting. He needs to be punished for hunting on ThunderClan land. Tigerclaw thought. Soon, Graypaw reached the kittypet and he began to attack. Tigerclaw thought the kittypet was going to go run away but to his surprise, the kittypet fought back. They fought for a little while and eventually, Graypaw pinned the kittypet down. They talked for a little while and Graypaw brought the kittypet to Tigerclaw and Bluestar. For the first time, Tigerclaw got to see the kittypet up close. He was a fiery ginger tabby tom with bright, leaf green eyes. When the kittypet saw him, he shrank back in fear. Typical kittypets, they always cower in fear at the great warriors. Tigerclaw thought.
“Don't worry I won't harm you,” Tigerclaw meowed calmly to the kittypet. The flame-colored tom relaxed a bit and sat down near Graypaw. “What’s your name?”
“I-I’m Rusty,” he replied. Bluestar then spoke up and lectured him for a little bit about hunting in ThunderClan territory. “I’m sorry! I didn’t know…” Rusty stopped for a moment and thought. Then he suddenly spoke up again. “Can I join your clan?!” he asked excitedly.
“He can’t join the clan!” yowled Graypaw, “he doesn't have warrior blood!”
“Warrior blood,” Bluestar echoed. “We have already lost too much of it,”
"But that means I can be in the clan, because of the loss of warriors,” meowed Rusty.
“Then we will see if you want to join our clan tomorrow,” replied Bluestar. Tigerclaw’s thought that Bluestar was going crazy inviting a kittypet into the clan.
“Are you mad?! Inviting a kittypet into the clan? What’s next, inviting badgers?” Tigerclaw hissed quietly to Bluestar.
“Tigerclaw please calm down, he will do no harm to you, and he will make a great addition to the clan,” replied Bluestar.
“Fine,” grumbled Tigerclaw, Bluestar then turned back to Rusty.
“Meet Tigerclaw in this spot at sunhigh tomorrow for your answer,” she meowed. Rusty nodded his head in agreement and dashed back to his nest without looking back.
“Well, I bet he’ll say no,” meowed Tigerclaw.
“I think he will say yes!” mewed Graypaw. “It would be nice to have something different go on in ThunderClan,”
“All the clans too,” Bluestar added. “Brokenstar needs to go,”
“Yes he does,” Tigerclaw meowed with a faint glint of hunger in his eye, “they all need to go.”
Chapter 2: Rusty's POV
Rusty awoke to a bright and sunny morning, songbirds were chirping outside singing a song that only they could understand. Rusty stretched out his legs and padded over to his food dish. He chomped on it, and unsurprisingly, it was dry and bland, just like every other day. Rusty disliked it, but there was nothing else to eat. When he finished, he leaped through the cat-sized door to greet his friend, Smudge. Like always, Smudge was on the fence waiting for him. “Hey Rusty, what did you say to the wild cats?”
“They invited me to their Clan, and they told me to meet one of their cats at sunhigh to see if I want to go,” Rusty responded, glancing at the forest.
“Well I bet your answer is no, because you would never go th-” Smudge paused for a moment. “...Would you?”
“Actually I was thinking of going,” meowed Rusty calmly. “Think of all the more possibilities my life can have if I leave my nest!”
Smudge looked down, and away from Rusty. “Well if you are really leaving, can you spend your last hours as a house cat with me?”
“Why wouldn’t I Smudge?” meowed Rusty. “You’re the closest friend I have.”
So Smudge and Rusty played together until sunhigh. When it was time for him to leave, Rusty said his final farewell to his best friend and leaped over his fence and into the wild woods the clan cat call their home. The ginger kittypet sat and looked around for Tigerclaw. Soon, his eyes locked with another pair which were amber. They seemed to glow in the dark, which gave Rusty the chills. The owner of those peepers then stepped towards Rusty, it was Tigerclaw. “Well I guess you decided to come after all,” he meowed with a hint of surprise. “Very well, follow me,” and without another word, he dashed away. Rusty had to run all of his might to keep up with the tabby warrior.
“Could you slow down?” Rusty yowled through the trees.
“Don’t you want to meet the clan as fast as possible?” Tigerclaw said with a snicker. Rusty ignored him, knowing it was useless to try and convince him, so he pushed on. Tigerclaw stopped abruptly in front of a gorse bush, and Rusty skidded to a halt beside him. “We’re here,” he meowed curtly. “Enter that bush kit, it is the entrance.” Rusty obeyed the brown tabby tom and entered through the gorse tunnel. When he got to the other side, he was astonished at the sight of so many cats.
“This is so cool!” Rusty yowled in excitement. Every cat that was in the camp stopped what they were doing and stared at him.
“Okay who in the name of StarClan is this?” a dusky brown she-cat meowed. Bluestar exited her den and smiled brightly at Rusty.
“Welcome to ThunderClan Rusty!” she meowed. “Would you like a tour?” Rusty nodded his head quickly in agreement. Bluestar then took him on a brief tour, talking about clan life, the warrior code, and what cats’ jobs were.
“Woah that’s a lot to remember!” Rusty meowed, eyes glittering in excitement. “Didn’t you say there were more clans?”
“Yes actually there ar-”
“Woah woah woah! Shouldn’t we test his battle skills before letting him join?!” Bluestar was interrupted by a jarring sneer. Rusty looked across the camp to see a pale brown tabby tom with black stripes approach the ThunderClan leader.
“Longtail, not everything has to be a battle,” meowed Bluestar calmly.
“Actually I think we need to do that!” Tigerclaw meowed. “He must know how it feels to be a member of the clans.”
“Tigerclaw is right! He needs to know what it’s like to be a real forest warrior!” Longtail meowed, lashing his tail and glaring at Rusty. Then without warning, Longtail leaped at Rusty, causing him to collapse. Everyone’s attention was soon on the two cats wrestling at the center of the camp. Longtail clawed at his belly, and Rusty tried to kick him off, but he was too small for the full grown warrior so he scratched at his muzzle, and that seemed to do the trick. Longtail stopped scratching and licked his muzzle, his sky-blue gaze burned with fury at Rusty, and without any second thought, Longtail angrily scored a long scar across Rusty’s eye, almost blinding him.
“LONGTAIL THAT’S ENOUGH!” Bluestar hissed with rage. Soon, the warrior was off Rusty and he was able to stand up again. The ginger tom’s wound throbbed with pain as blood trickled down his cheek. “You are to clean the elder’s den for the next half moon!” Bluestar hissed once again. Her gaze then softened when her eye’s locked with Rusty’s good eye. “Let me take you to the medicine cat’s den,” she meowed in a calm way. She then guided the former kittypet to a leaf-covered den which was close to a very tall stone. When he got inside, he saw a dappled calico she-cat sorting out plants. The she-cat turned towards them when she sensed their presence. Her cheerful gaze grew into shock when she glanced at Rusty's eye wound.
"Oh dear!" her voice called out like a melody. "How did this happen?!"
"One of our warriors decided to attack our new recruit," Bluestar meowed. "Can you help him, Spottedleaf?"
"Of course!" she meowed, as she nodded her head quickly. Spottedleaf then shifted her gaze onto Rusty as Bluestar left the den. The orange kitten could hear her angry yowls that were directed at Longtail get quieter as she padded away. "Was it Longtail that did this?" she said with a hint of annoyance in her mew.
"Yeah," Rusty replied.
"Of course it was him!" she hissed. "He will get any chance to attack anything!" She picked up some white fuzzy strings with her jaws and placed it over Rusty's eye. He didn't flinch because he was too distracted by her honey-colored eyes. "There we go, all better," she smiled at him.
"Thank you!" he said happily, he then exited the den to go look for Bluestar. He found her sitting on top of a very tall rock.
"You're finished? Okay then now we can start the ceremony!" she meowed. "All cats old enough to catch their own prey gather around the Highrock for a clan meeting!" Rusty watched as many cats grouped up below where Bluestar was. He spotted Longtail and Tigerclaw whispering to each other and casting glances at him. I think I should avoid them from now on.
"This kittypet has proven himself to have the bravery of a warrior by fighting back against Longtail, and deserves to become one of our own!" Bluestar turned her gaze towards Rusty. "From this day forward, you shall be known as Firepaw, in honor of your flame-colored pelt!"
"Firepaw Firepaw Firepaw!!" some of the cats called out.
Firepaw spun around in circles because he now was a warrior of ThunderClan "This is so cool! Now I can hunt outside all day long!"
"No not yet Firepaw," Bluestar's voice stopped him in his tracks. "You still have to get trained by an older warrior before you can become a a true warrior,"
"Okay who is training me?" asked Firepaw curiously.
"Your mentor shall be Tigerclaw," she glanced at the tabby tom. "Please train him well."
"WHAT?!" Firepaw and Tigerclaw both meowed in disbelief.
Chapter 3 Tigerclaw's POV
Tigerclaw remained silent in surprise and anger. Why did she make me the mouse-brained kittypet's mentor?!
"He doesn't like me!" Tigerclaw could hear the distress in the former kittypet's voice.
"Well, this could be a bonding experience for both of you!" Bluestar meowed. "How about you two go on a duo hunting patrol,"
"Okay," meowed Firepaw mournfully. Tigerstar only made a slight grunt in reply, as he was rising to his paws. The tabby warrior flicked his tail to tell Firepaw to follow, which he did.
They had been walking around for a while, and neither of them had mewed a word to each other the entire time. Tigerclaw really wanted to get out of this awkward situation, but Bluestar would be furious if she found out he left his "apprentice" in the woods. So, he pushed that thought away and padded onward.
Suddenly, a rustle came from nearby, and Tigerclaw turned his ears in the direction the sound came from. The warrior felt the ugly gaze of Firepaw burning into his eyes. "Why are you looking over there?" he said curiously. Tigerclaw only responded with a small growl, and that seemed to silence the kittypet. After a few moments of silence, Tigerclaw began creeping like a shadow, closer and closer to the prey. Every step he took, the scurrying got louder and louder. Soon, he was only about a fox-length away from the rodent, and had his hind legs in a pounce position. 3...2...1-
"Hey Tigerclaw look at that cool bird!!"
Firepaw's loud mrow echoed around the clearing causing all the prey nearby to run away. Tigerclaw had never felt as much anger as he had ever felt before. Why did Bluestar every think bringing a kittypet here was a good idea!? Tigerclaw slowly turned his head to look at Firepaw, and the kittypet's pupils quickly grew to slits once he saw his expression. "Do you realize what you have done?!"
"I-I'm sorry Tigerclaw," he meowed his voice shaky from fear.
"Sorry does not catch prey! You better remember to keep your jaw shut next time!" If there is a next time...
The two cats traveled back to camp empty pawed, which made Tigerclaw think that this whole trip was a big waste of time. I hate that Bluestar made me this kittypet's mentor, I wish I could just get rid of him! As they were both padding through the gorse tunnel, the voices of many concerned cats could be heard.
"What are we going to do? RiverClan just doesn't stop!" Brindleface's voice could be heard from the nursery.
"We must show them that we own the Sunningrocks, by fighting for them!" Redtail announced to everyone. He looked around and spotted Tigerclaw walking towards the discussion circle. "You have arrived right on time! I want you to participate in the battle tonight."
"Very well," responded Tigerclaw. He was happy that they were planning to fight, it has been a good few days since he had sunk his teeth into an enemy cat. As Redtail was gathering up the participants, Bluestar went up towards Tigerclaw and Firepaw and nudged the tabby warrior over to a place more quiet.
"How did it go?" she whispered, a hint of concern in her voice.
"He caught nothing, he was far too distracted by his surroundings," Tigerclaw responded with fake sadness.
"Oh," the disappointment on her face almost made Tigerclaw laugh, but he held it in. "Well, apprentices usually don't catch prey on their first try." The leader got to her feet and stretched her legs. "I guess we have to train him a little harder than a regular warrior, so he can get acclimated with warrior life." After finishing that sentence, the blue-gray cat had begun to retreat to her den.
Tigerclaw watched her go, and thought of ways to get rid of the kittypet.
Killing him? No.
Have a fox or a dog kill him? Nope.
Have an enemy clan kill him? Wait, this one may actually work!
"I know how we can get him used to being a clan member," Tigerclaw meowed. Bluestar turned around and took a few steps back towards the powerful tabby.
"How so?" she asked with curiosity.
"I can take him to the battle tonight! There he will get to know the experience of a true warrior!" Tigerclaw mrowed with a little too much excitement. All of Bluestar's warmth faded into nothing as her face went from mildly happy to disbelief.
"Do you have bees in your brain? There is no way I am going to allow you to bring an apprentice who has been training for less than a day to a dangerous battle," she growled. Then without another word, she turned around and padded to her den. Tigerclaw felt anger burn throughout his body. Who cares what you think, I am going to do it anyway! He looked around and found Firepaw chatting with Graypaw and Ravenpaw, and he walked towards the fiery tom.
"Firepaw!" Tigerclaw growled. Ravenpaw whipped his head in the direction of him and backed away when he realized he was approaching.
"Y-yes Tigerclaw?" Firepaw's voice shook when he spoke.
"I would like you to participate in the battle tonight, are you willing to fight?" Tigerclaw asked. Firepaw's eyes lit up in excitement and he had begun to hop around.
"Yes of course!" he responded with joy.
"Lucky!" shouted Graypaw as they both danced around together. Tigerclaw kept his vision on them while walking away, and as he was going into the warriors den he could only think of them as one thing. Foolish idiots
Chapter 4 Firepaw's POV
Firepaw was so happy to hear that Tigerclaw was allowing him to fight in a battle. Maybe he isn't so bad after all! He thought as he was play-fighting with his new friend, Graypaw.
“I cannot believe that Tigerclaw out of all cats is letting you go to the battle tonight!” the gray tom exclaimed as he swatted a paw at Firepaw’s face.
“Hey! Not so close to the wound!” Firepaw shouted while flinching away.
“Sorry!” Graypaw apologized looking a little embarrassed, but that emotion quickly left and was replaced with cheerfulness. “Hey, once that heals, it’s gonna look like an awesome battle scar!”
“Yeah you’re right!” Firepaw agreed. “Everyone will think I’m so cool!”
“Are you sure about that?” a she-cat’s snickering voice called out from behind him. The flame-colored tom turned around and saw two other cats around his age approaching him. One was sandy colored, and the other was a brown tabby.
“That’s Sandpaw and Dustpaw,” Graypaw whispered in his ear. “Ignore them, they are obviously not very nice.” Sandpaw and Dustpaw reached where they were sitting, and the she-cat was so close to Firepaw that he could smell her scent, which to him, surprisingly smelled nice.
“You’re never going to be cool, kittypet,” she sneered. “You don’t know anything about life out here.”
“Once a kittypet, always a kittypet!” Dustpaw teased. The words that left their mouths clawed at Firepaw’s insides, making him feel like an idiot, and his head and ears drooped in shame.
“Heh, can’t even handle a few harsh words, what a loser!” Sandpaw laughed as she and Dustpaw padded off into the apprentice’s den. As Firepaw remained hunched over, he felt the tail of Graypaw rest on his back.
“Ignore them, Firepaw, they are just losers looking for attention,” he said in a comforting tone. After Graypaw said those words, the orange apprentice felt a little better.
“Thank you Graypaw,” Firepaw mewed as he stood up. “Well, I think I should take a nice nap.” He then headed into the apprentice’s den without looking back.
Firepaw woke up in a strange starry world, one that contained wonders Firepaw had never seen before. Thousands of stars glistened in the night sky above, while the moon, looking like a cat’s claw, laid among them. The world around him looked just like the forest, except more vibrant and full of life. He began walking though this amazing world, but soon stopped dead when he spotted a shadowy figure sitting on the border of this forest. Firepaw glanced behind it and only saw more forest, except everything within it was dying. The shadowy cat started to speak in this low bone-chilling voice that shook Firepaw to his core.
“Make the right decision,” is what it said, and that is all that it said, for Firepaw had awoken with a start. He looked around at his surroundings and found that he was back in ThunderClan, and in the apprentice’s den. The apprentice let out a long sigh of relief, but once again froze when he spotted two amber eyes looking at him in the dark.
“Come along now, the battle is about to begin,” Tigerclaw whispered. Firepaw once again relaxed when he realized who it was, and he got up from his nest and followed him into the forest.
He, Tigerclaw, and the rest of the patrol had finally reached the Sunningrocks. Everything around them was absolutely silent, not even the wind was blowing through the trees. A half-moon hung far above the cats sitting in the dark, turning all that it’s light to silver. Firepaw looked past the river, and thought he saw shadows approaching the river bank. Redtail suddenly flicked his tail and the once quiet area was filled with the noises of angry, fighting cats. Firepaw looked around for Tigerclaw, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“Tigerclaw!” the apprentice called out into the battle. The only thing that replied was the continuous noise of cats screaming in either anger or pain. Oh well, I guess I have to fight on my own. He thought. Firepaw padded out of the reeds he was hiding in and entered the battlefield. Looking for RiverClan warriors, he spotted a dark cat attacking Ravenpaw, who looked like he didn’t want to be there. “Ravenpaw I will help you!” The ginger tom yowled loudly. The two cats stopped fighting while Firepaw began charging towards them. He was about to lunge at the RiverClan apprentice when a much larger cat pushed Firepaw in another direction and down a rocky slope.
When he reached the bottom, he struggled to get back up due to him being covered in many bruises.