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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by Firey.
This page contains the opinions of the original author(s), and is not patrolled for factual accuracy.
Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
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This is a short story for Ginger's contest. Enjoy~ It won me second! (again lol :3)

Love is a hard thing to control

Loved ones are hard to gain

It's never too easy to love

But it's easy to hate

Prologue

"Brackenpaw, Snowpaw, do you promise to uphold the warriors code and fight to protect your Clan, even with your life?" Flamestar mewed.

Brackenpaw's eyes glowed with happiness. "Yes."

Snowpaw nodded solemnly. "Yes, I do."

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Brackenpaw, from this moment on, you shall be known as Brackenheart. StarClan honors you for your courage and loyalty. And we welcome you as a full warrior of ShadowClan."

The brown tom purred as he licked his Clan leader's shoulder. "Thank you, Flamestar."

"Snowpaw, from this moment on, you shall be known as Snowbreeze. StarClan honors your loyalty and strength, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ShadowClan."

Brackenheart embraced Snowbreeze after she licked Flamestar's shoulder, and the two smiled happily at each other. "Warriors at last..."

Snowbreeze purred. "It's been so long, now we can be mates!"

Brackheart nodded. "Yes, yes we can." He let out a long purr and the two cats lay down to rest, one next to another.

Vixenfoot walked over to Flamestar and purred. "Those two seem to be getting to know each other. We'll have new kits soon." She whispered fondly.

Flamestar wrapped his tail around his mate. "We will have gorgeous kits too." He embraced Vixenfoot and whispered. "You better go rest, your stomach is getting awfully big. Frostwing says those kits will come any day now."

His mate sighed and touched noses with him. "Alright. I'll see you later, Flamestar."

"See you."

The ShadowClan leader watched the two new warriors play and scuffle on the camp floor. They giggled and purred as they rolled until they reached Flamestar.

"Sorry!" Snowbreeze squeaked. And they dashed away like kits. Flamestar remembered when Brackenheart and Snowbreeze were kittens...

"Come on, Snowkit! Come and get me!" Brackenkit's eyes were alight with amusement.

Snowkit popped out of the snow ditch. "It's not fair! I'm shorter and smaller than you so its easier for me to get stuck in the snow!"

Brackenkit purred. "That's your problem, not mine." He danced away as Snowkit came charging after him.

The two kittens had been born in leaf-bare, and their mothers, Robinwing and Windflight were best friends. Brackenkit and Snowkit then became best friends, and were inseparable.

"Brackenkit! I'm coming!" Snowkit was dashing across the snowy grounds. Brackenkit lowered himself down and yowled. "Come at me!"

Snowkit nearly reached Brackenkit when the snow fell apart underneath her. "Ahh!" She wailed as she was buried in the snow. Brackenkit snorted and dug open the hole. "You're never going to get me!"

The white kitten dragged herself out and bowled Brackenkit over. "I just did!" She crowed.

Flamestar watched the two warriors tussle, just like they did when they were kittens. "You have to sit vigil, you do know that right?" The ShadowClan leader purred.

Snowbreeze nodded. "I know, but I'm going to beat Brackenheart first."

Brackenheart purred. "You never beat me, and you won't beat me this time!"

The she-cat flattened her ears. "Who says?"

"I do!" Brackenheart declared as he was bowled over by Snowbreeze. She snorted and swiped at him playfully. "Oh, its on!"

Flamestar watched them until the sun went down, and the two warriors obediently padded over to the camp entrance to guard it for the night. As the ShadowClan leader went to his den, he could see that the two new warriors were still shoving each other and smiling playfully.

The new warriors never get old. Flamestar thought as he went to sleep that night.

~*~

Snowbreeze watched the stars, thinking about Brackenheart. He was so sweet, and did everything for her. He wasn't ever strict, and always playful. He was perfect.

The tom was seated across from Snowbreeze, and occasionally he would swipe at her playfully with twinkling eyes. It never got old. Snowbreeze smacked him back, and glared at him, though her eyes were glowing with happiness.

Warriors! They were warriors at last! Snowbreeze had been waiting with Brackenheart for six moons as kits, then six more moons as apprentices, and now, they were warriors of ShadowClan.

ThunderClan, RiverClan, WindClan, you better watch out! We're going to drive you guys back and prove that ShadowClan is the best!

Brackenheart watched her closely, and smiled. His tail laid over Snowbreeze's and hers under his. She nuzzled him softly, then returned to her post.

~*~

Brackenheart watched Snowbreeze. She's like an angel that came down from StarClan. She's so perfect... I can never let her go. Never.

Her white fur glowed in the moonlight, and he was dazzled by it. Her blue eyes shone with happiness and she looked at him occasionally with love. I'm never going to let her go...

He heard a rustle and his head snapped to the right. Snowbreeze slowly moved forward, then she grabbed something out. A kit. Brackenheart sighed with relief. He thought a fox or badger was invading the camp.

Snowbreeze let out a soft purr as she nudged the kit back to the nursery. The kit pouted and stumbled back stubbornly. Brackenheart watched the two cats walk across the camp, he couldn't help but purr too.

She never stops working her magic.

Chapter One

Snowbreeze purred as dawn came and she stretched, nudging Brackenheart awake. "Wake up, lazybones! It's dawn."

He struggled to awaken, and he groaned. "I'm off to sleep."

"How can you sleep in such a cheerful day?" Snowbreeze teased as she followed him to the apprentice den. "Where are you going, silly? We're warriors now."

Brackenheart shoved her away. "Oh, I was just checking on the apprentices." He muttered, embarrassed. Snowbreeze snorted and nudged him into the warriors den. "I'm going hunting, I hope you enjoy your nap." Brackenheart batted her away, and Snowbreeze ducked out of the warriors den.

"How's the newest warrior?" Windflight mewed as she watched Snowbreeze pad out.

"Fresh and new!" Snowbreeze purred as she greeted her mother. "Where's Fireclaw?" She mewed, looking about for her father.

Windflight washed her belly fur. "Out on dawn patrol, how's your mate, Snowbreeze?" When the white she-cat looked at her mother strangely, she saw that Windflight's eyes were twinkling. "So?"

"Oh.." Snowbreeze blushed. "He's sleeping. Long night I guess. I'm going hunting." Snowbreeze muttered, ears hot. Windflight laughed and licked her daughter's shoulder. "I'm glad Robinwing's son is getting along with you. I was her best friend while she lived.

Robinwing had died last leaf-bare, or last season, and Brackenheart still mourned her. She died in the battle against ThunderClan, and he still hates them for killing Robinwing.

Tanglefur, the deputy smiled as she approached him. "Ready for patrol, Snowbreeze?"

"Yup." She purred. "Fresh and ready as ever."

"No need for sleep eh?" Clawheart laughed as he joined them. "I remembered when I became a warrior, I was ready to take on every Clan! After I slept though."

Snowbreeze smiled and laughed along and mewed. "For some reason, I'm too excited to sleep. I want to go hunting, has the patrol gone out yet?"

Tanglefur shook his head. "Nope, but they're heading out now." He pointed his tail at the leaving patrol.

"Thanks!" Snowbreeze called over her shoulder as she bounded after the patrol. "Can I join you guys?" She mewed as she reached them.

Willowheart looked back and nodded. "Sure, more paws, the better hunting." Snowbreeze fell in step with Heathersnow. The pale she-cat looked over at Snowbreeze and purred.

"You look happy to be a warrior, Snowbreeze. Glad to take a break of my training?" Heathersnow had been Snowbreeze's mentor, and she had worked her hard.

"Yes, but you taught me a lot." Snowbreeze mewed back. Heathersnow flicked her tail. "Every warriors earns something special from their mentors."

"Yours was very special." Snowbreeze purred as she bounded along the shore of the lake. Snowbreeze gazed at the calm surface, and inside, she saw herself with three kittens. But her face was stormy, and there was a shadow of a cat walking away...

She shook her head and thought about Brackenheart. The two of them had been together since kit-hood, and ever since that snowy day when they had began playing together, she had been his love.

It'll be okay. Snowbreeze told herself, she wanted to believe it, and wanted it to happen. I'm going to be Brackenheart's mate, and we're going to have gorgeous kits.

~*~

Brackenheart's dream was about Robinwing and the moment she died. He writhed on the floor, seeing the horrible scene unfold in front of his eyes.

Robinwing was whirling about, slashing at the oncoming ThunderClan warriors. Her ears were flattened and her teeth were bared. "Back off, ThunderClan scum!"

But they kept coming, and Brackenpaw rushed to his mother's side to help. "Robinwing, why are these cats attacking us?"

"Oh, they want our territory that's why. ShadowClan has the best hunting grounds, the best warriors, and the other Clans, especially ThunderClan are jealous of us." Robinwing replied, her tail swishing. "Quickly, go around and pick off some of those ThunderClan warriors."

Brackenpaw nodded and dashed into the forest, weaving through the pine trees in order to reach the edge of the ThunderClan patrol. Snowpaw dashed in and out, swiping at the invading patrol.

He reared up and lashed out at a tawny apprentice. "No one invades ShadowClan!" He yowled.

The she-cat hissed and smacked him back. "ThunderClan will show ShadowClan who's better!"

"Yeah right... ShadowClan is must stronger!" Brackenpaw hissed as he clawed at the ThunderClan apprentice's stomach.

She snorted and kicked him back. "No one beats ThunderClan!"

Then Brackenpaw heard a yowl of horror and he dashed off to see what was wrong. "Robinwing!" He wailed when he saw his fallen mother.

Rushing over, he lapped at her wound. "Robinwing... You can make it!" He encouraged.

She opened her eyes and whispered. "I can't... I'm so sorry Brackenpaw. Tell Rockheart I'm sorry..." Her breath died to a whisper and she gasped for breath. "I love you, Brackenpaw..."

Brackenheart woke up suddenly, gasping for his breath. He remembered every moment of that battle, from when he was battling that tawny apprentice to the moment he saw Robinwing fall. It was imprinted in his mind, and he hated it.

Meadering outside, he saw Snowbreeze return from hunting. She was carrying a squirrel and she dropped it by the other prey. "Oh hey, Brackenheart! You've finished your nap, eh?" She purred as she padded over. Brackenheart sighed in relief as she curled around him. "I haven't stopped thinking about me and you.." He whispered.

"Me neither."

Oh... I'm never going to stop dreaming about me and you, Snowbreeze. Never.

Chapter Two

Snowbreeze sat down at the shore next to Brackenheart, feeling her heart melt as he whispered. "I love you, Snowbreeze. Always have. Since the moment we were born."

She smiled. "Oh, you're so sweet, Brackenheart. I love you too."

They came together, side by side. "Let's go for a walk, shall we?" Brackenheart purred.

Together, they stood up and Snowbreeze felt a tingle of anticipation as Brackenheart looped his tail with hers. "No one's going to separate us, Snowbreeze. We are going to be together, have kits together, stay together..." His green eyes met hers, and she shivered with pride.

Snowbreeze bounded along the forest path, glancing back at Brackenheart. "Let's hunt."

"I bet I'll catch more prey." He purred.

Snowbreeze snorted. "I bet you you won't even be able to catch one!" She growled playfully.

Brackenheart pretended to look offended. "Oh, its on!" He sniffed the air, and so did Snowbreeze. She spotted a crow perching on the tree cawing.

She slid forward, and sank her claws into the tree. She moved her paws one by one until she nearly reached the crow. Darting forward, she smacked the crow down and it landed in front of Brackenheart. He killed it with one blow and mewed cheekily.

"Does this count as my prey? I caught it."

Snowbreeze rolled her eyes. "Of course not! I stalked it and knocked down, and all you did was kill it! It's mine." She mewed proudly.

Brackenheart's eyes twinkled. "But you wouldn't have caught it if I didn't kill it. It wouldn't have flown away." His tail flicked back and forth and his eyes shone with amusement.

Snowbreeze huffed. "Well, I would have caught it!"

"Oh, but we don't know that." Brackenheart laughed as she smacked him. They padded back towards camp, sniffing for more prey as they went. Snowbreeze's tail linked with Brackenheart's and she never felt anymore happier than she was.

"Shall we hunt for some mice?"

"Mice are fine." Snowbreeze agreed, sniffing the air once more. The newleaf air freshened her senses, and she saw the little green plants budding and starting to grow. The frost had melted now, and as the sun rose, the birds started to sing.

It's beautiful... Snowbreeze could see that Brackenheart was also astonished by the beauty of nature. "I've never seen anything more beautiful.." She breathed.

Brackenheart then mewed. "I have, you."

Snowbreeze purred and rubbed her cheek against his. "I've never known a better tom than you." She wished the moment could have lasted forever, but the two warriors had to get back to camp for the evening patrols.

She picked up the crow and swung it along. "I was right." She mumbled around the prey. "You didn't catch anything."

Brackenheart rolled his eyes and sniffed the air. He dropped into a low crouch and slid forward. His paws slid smoothly on the lush green, forest floor and his ears were perked. He tightened his back legs and sprung high into the air. He knocked the bird out of the tree and landed beside it, killing it quickly.

"I think my catch was more impressive than yours." He boasted as he came back to her side. "Don't you agree?"

She batted at him softly and purred. "Fine, you win, Brackenheart." They stayed like that for a little longer, and Snowbreeze heard the birds chirping their evening songs as the squirrels ran through the high trees.

The moment couldn't have been more perfect...

~

That evening, Snowbreeze had been sent on the border patrol. She padded alongside Brackenheart, feeling thankful that Tanglefur had put the two of them on the same patrol. He saw them walk in, side by side, tails entwined, and he allowed the two to patrol the RiverClan border with Mistheart, Leafwhisker, and Stormflower.

Stormflower took the lead, hopping through the boggy swamps. "There's frogs there if you must hunt." She called back to us.

Snowbreeze wrinkled her nose as Brackenheart went over to sniff around. "It's filthy and the frogs are slimy, Brackenheart. How can you even think about eating them?" She hissed as the mud stuck to her belly fur. "I knew I hated patrolling these areas as an apprentice."

There weren't many apprentices in the Clan now, only Rushpaw and Thornpaw. But the kits, Acornkit, Needlekit, Frogkit, and Mudkit, were almost six moons old. Maybe I'll get to mentor one! Snowbreeze thought excitedly.

Mistheart sniffed the border. "Stale. RiverClan hasn't been here for a long time."

Brackenheart's ears pricked. "Maybe we can invade their territory for some prey!" He mewed, eyes glowing. Snowbreeze glanced at him in confusion.

"What would we want there? Fish?"

"Just to make them weaker!" Brackenheart purred. "Then ShadowClan will have to be the strongest Clan."

Leafwhisker shook her head. "We gain nothing but dark pride from attacking RiverClan. ShadowClan does not attack for no reason, and we shouldn't start doing that now."

Stormflower nodded. "Come on, let's go on to the edge of this border to make sure they haven't been invading themselves."

Snowbreeze drifted along, thinking about what Brackenheart just said. She had always admired his courage and the way he always thought of clever battle plans to protect ShadowClan, but this time... he had gone a little too far.

"Why did you think about attacking RiverClan? They haven't done anything to us." Snowbreeze pointed out as she chatted with Brackenheart.

The tom shrugged. "We should be prepared to do anything, including attacking a Clan to show them our strength."

Brackenheart was always planning things, trying to help ShadowClan. But this time, he was talking about attacking RiverClan for no reason. Snowbreeze shrugged and kept walking, trying to convince herself that Brackenheart was only saying this because he wanted what was best for ShadowClan.

But in her heart, she wasn't so sure he was just doing it because he cared about ShadowClan... Maybe he was being brutal because he wanted to strike down the other Clans.

~*~

Brackenheart bounded alongside Snowbreeze, feeling unwanted tension form between the two of them. Why is she so worriedly about me planning? I'll be fine.

He knew she was just worried about his safety, but he felt irritation prick in his pelt. Snowbreeze had always admired him, and he knew that. He wanted to attack RiverClan because he felt they were being ignored for too long.

We should take this chance to strike them down! Though Stormflower and Leafwhisker didn't agree either, and Flamestar probably wouldn't either.

I'll talk with Flamestar about battle plans. Brackenheart decided as he patrolled the RiverClan border. "There's no scent here. They don't even patrol here anymore. Invading them would surely be easy, no one would get hurt!"

Mistheart glared at him. "We've gone over this before, Brackenheart. We are not going to attack RiverClan for no reason."

Brackenheart turned to Stormflower. She shook her head. "I've explained to you that ShadowClan aren't cold-hearted warriors. We only fight because we have to."

Leafwhisker nodded. "I don't know why you're so intent on invading RiverClan, but ShadowClan never attacks without a reason."

"We have a reason!" Brackenheart hissed. "They have been ignored for too long. We shouldn't let them relax, thinking ShadowClan only wants to fight with ThunderClan. What if they attack us because we think they're lazy?"

"They are lazy." Snowbreeze pointed out. She shrank away when Brackenheart turned his glare to her. He felt sorry that she was taking his wrath, but he couldn't stand it anymore. "You guys don't get it!" He growled.

Stormflower shook her head. "We don't. Now why don't we head back to camp and cool off, shall we?"

Leafwhisker nodded, shooting Brackenheart a look. He glared back, feeling his temper rising. Snowbreeze nudged him. "What's going on with you? You're never this fierce." Her eyes were worried, and he muttered.

"Nothing, I'm just trying to help ShadowClan."

Snowbreeze looked at him for a moment longer, then padded away. Brackenheart sighed and padded into camp, ready to talk to Flamestar.

"Come in!" The leader called.

He entered and mewed. "Flamestar, on the border patrol, we saw that RiverClan hadn't been around their border for days. I thought we should attack them, warning them not to cross the border for any reason."

Flamestar interrupted him. "And why would they attack if they haven't even come close?"

"Well maybe they're trying to make us think that they don't want to attack us, then they'll attack!"

Flamestar shook his head. "ShadowClan is always ready, and we don't need to attack them for such a reason. They haven't done a thing, and I expect better of you, Brackenheart."

He sighed and dipped his head to his leader. "Yes, Flamestar." Then he ducked out, thinking about how unfair it was just because he was a plain, new warrior with 'no' experience.

I'll earn my way to deputy, and now I've realized how foolish I was to just play with Snowbreeze. She's great, but my priority should be my Clan, not my mate.

Chapter Three

Snowbreeze knew Brackenheart was still upset over the fact that even Flamestar had declined Brackenheart's offer to help organize battle patrols to invade RiverClan.

The sad part Snowbreeze knew was the fact that Brackenheart stopped hanging out with her, stopped letting go of warrior duties to love her, to tell her that he loved her.

He was pacing about in the ShadowClan camp, and muttering under his breath. She stopped next to him and whispered. "Why are you so agitated? What happened to the happy, playful Brackenheart that was my mate?"

He looked at her with those green, malevolent eyes. "I'm thinking for the better of ShadowClan. I should be able to help Flamestar with his duties and make sure ShadowClan is strong."

"Do you love me?" Snowbreeze challenged.

"Of course." He mewed, starting to pace again. "I'm just worried about our Clan's safety."

Snowbreeze sighed. "Come take a break with me, Brackenheart, where we can talk about our kits and how we can spend the rest of our day."

"No."

"What?" Snowbreeze looked at her mate in shock. "You aren't really Brackenheart. I don't know what's controlling you, but my mate wasn't a battle-hungry warrior who only cared about being strong and making his Clan the dominant Clan.

Brackenheart shook his head. "I'm sorry, Snowbreeze, but I have realized that spending time with you has made me a soft warrior. I must think for my Clan, and make sure ShadowClan is strong."

"No, that's not what Brackenheart used to be like." Snowbreeze growled.

Brackenheart glared at her. "I have changed, and you must too. We shall remain mates, but I cannot spend so much time fooling around."

Snowbreeze shook her head, disgusted with her mate. "Robinwing wouldn't have wanted you to become like this, Brackenheart. You better think about you and me, because you aren't going to be my mate like this." She could tell he was watching her closely.

"Robinwing is in StarClan, and her choices aren't mine!" He hissed after her.

Snowbreeze sighed. "At least she knew what was best at some times." Then she left the camp.

~

She was sitting at the lake shore, thinking about Brackenheart. He used to be the tom who would do everything to make me laugh, the tom who cared about me, not the tom who only cared about his Clan. ShadowClan is already strong, and we don't need to keep fighting to prove it. Fighting battles is what made us lose Robinwing...

Snowbreeze knew Brackenheart was probably just upset about that day they had patrolled the RiverClan border, but she wanted to return back to normal, she abhorred the way he only cared about the Clan. He wasn't the mate she cared about.

Looking down, she gazed at her belly. She knew what was going to happen, but she couldn't stand the fact that she was having it for him, and he didn't even want to spend time with her.

Her belly moved a bit, and she remembered Frostwing telling her about it.

"Oh, you know about it, don't you, Snowbreeze?"

"Yeah.. I've been expecting it too." Snowbreeze blushed. "It's been bothering me as I hunt and do the patrols."

"Does Brackenheart know?"

"No, I haven't told him yet, I was, but he started muttering about organizing patrols and all that garbage."

Frostwing shrugged. "Oh, he's a loyal warrior, you know him. Once he knows about your news, he'll be a kit coming out of the nursery for the first time." She smiled reassuringly.

Snowbreeze sighed and mewed. "I'll tell him soon..."

She hadn't bother telling him yet, knowing that he was still ranting about helping ShadowClan be the best, and about helping the Clan was his first priority. She had never seen him so fired up about something.

Brackenheart slid in beside her and sighed. "I'm sorry about my behavior, but I just think ShadowClan should prove their strength in defending their borders and fighting. We are the best after all."

"Yes, but RiverClan hasn't done a thing to us and you've been suggesting that we attack them." Snowbreeze pointed out.

The tom's eyes darkened. "Maybe, but they will soon."

Snowbreeze rolled her eyes. "I have some news that might cheer you up."

"You support me?" He mewed hopefully.

"No!" Snowbreeze was on the verge of crying. "Stop worrying about ShadowClan and just listen to me! I'm your mate after all, and the happiest news that mates could share is..."

"That you support them for their cause." Brackenheart interrupted.

Snowbreeze shoved him away, her love for him vanishing. "No! Forget it, I'll raise them myself, without the help of their StarClan-forsaken father! If you don't care, then don't bother trying."

She stomped away, yowling over her shoulder. "I'll raise my kits without you!"

~*~

Brackenheart sat where he was, pondering whether or not he should go apologize to Snowbreeze. She hadn't cooled down since the morning, and he feared she would never cool down.

Maybe I should take care of my family first. He thought, then shook his head. No, ShadowClan is my first priority, and if she can't handle me being loyal to my Clan, then so be it.

He couldn't help but feel that his decision was wrong. Snowbreeze didn't even look at him while she passed by, stopping by Fireclaw to sit down beside him and eat. Brackenheart's ears grew hot as she began to share tongues with the russet tom.

I'm your mate, frog-brain! He wanted to yowl at her. What was she thinking? Mistheart slid in next to him. "You shouldn't get so fired up over her." She mewed. "She's only angry because your putting your Clan before her."

"Shouldn't we all do that?" Brackenheart asked.

Mistheart shrugged. "Depends, are you loving a she-cat from another Clan? No, so you should care for your family too. The Clan is important, but family is too. She's your mate, frog-brain." He watched as the she-cat padded away to Tanglefur's side.

Brackenheart sighed and laid down, placing his head on his paws. I'll never understand she-cats. Then he remembered the way he used to look at Snowbreeze. Was she still an angel working her magic? The white she-cat continued to chat with Redpelt, laughing and giggling with the russet tom. I wonder what her news was.

But the Clan was more important to him, and Snowbreeze had already broken up with him. There's nothing more I can do anyways. He growled to himself.

Then he felt the rush of adrenaline and he meandered over to Snowbreeze. "I'm sorry for my harsh words, I believe we should be mates, loving mates."

Redpelt purred as he watched them, and he told Snowbreeze. "Sincere apologies help, maybe you should accept."

Snowbreeze looked up at him, her eyes still full of love. "Of course I accept, but you must promise to me that you will never put something over your family. Something that isn't as important as loving your family."

Brackenheart glanced up at the sky, then he looked down. "I promise... I love you, Snowbreeze, I was the foolish one."

"You've always been foolish." Snowbreeze whispered, her eyes full of love. "And you'll never change. You and me..."

Chapter Four

When the stars glow bright

Love will be in the sky

When the stars go out

Love will find its way up high

Snowbreeze watched the stars that night. It's the Gathering! And I'm going with Brackenheart as warriors!"

She had made up with him, and one night, she whispered in his ears.

"Oh, Brackenheart. I was meaning to tell you this days ago, but we had our little conflict and I decided not to. Shall I tell you now?"

"I insist." Brackenheart whispered back. "And I hope you haven't decided to say you support my foolish cause."

Snowbreeze laughed softly. "I told you you're foolish. I'll never admit that, even if it costs me my life!"

"Oh, don't say that." Brackenheart breathed, "I couldn't bear to lost you, my angel."

"I'll tell you." Snowbreeze whispered. "I'm having kits."

She remembered the way he danced, he way he shrieked like a kitten playing in first snow. "Frostwing was right," Snowbreeze laughed. "You're acting like a kitten walking out of the nursery."

Brackenheart's eyes twinkled. "I can't help it. It's not everyday I'll get to be a father."

"You aren't a father yet." Snowbreeze corrected. "You will be in five moons."

"Oh, that's so far away." He sighed. "I can't wait to see our kits grow into fine wariors. They'll be so gorgeous that everyone will love them."

"You're a dreamer." Snowbreeze smiled. "I hope they grow into fine warriors. The Gathering's tonight, Brackenheart! We'll be warriors there now!"

Brackenheart purred. "I've been waiting for this moment..."

"So have I..." Snowbreeze smiled, licking him on the cheek. "This moment, you and me, has been my dream come true."

Brackenheart purred and brushed against her. "I'm going to go hunting, care to join me?"

Snowbreeze shook her head. "Sorry, I'm a bit tired, and I'm going to rest. If you can, catch me a crow like that day. Remember?"

"Oh," Brackenheart snorted. "I remember. I'll try, my angel."

~

The Gathering began as Shadestar announced ThunderClan's achievements in hunting and the news of new kits and warriors.

"We have two new warriors today, Pineheart and Shadowfur!"

"Pineheart! Shadowfur! Pineheart! Shadowfur!"

WindClan went next. "One of our elders, Thornstrike, has died due to greencough. We have one new apprentice and three new warriors! Welcome, Ryepaw, Rabbitheart, Meadowslip, and Flamespirit!"

"Ryepaw! Rabbitheart! Meadowslip! Flamespirit!" The Clans cheered for the new warriors and apprentice.

Then Flamestar himself stepped forward. "Today, we have two new warriors! Snowbreeze!  Brackenheart!"

"Snowbreeze! Brackenheart!" She puffed in pride as the Clans cheered for them. Brackenheart pressed against her. "This moment... is my dream."

Snowbreeze purred and scooted closer to Brackenheart. "I never thought we'd spend this moment together..."

"Neither did I."

The two embraced each other, and just stayed there. There was no need to listen to the Gathering when they had each other. This was love.

~*~

Brackenheart sighed as he nestled into his nest. Yes, he had to keep his promise to Snowbreeze, but he also wanted to be the best warrior he could be. One day, he wanted to be leader.

She was a gorgeous she-cat, and she was having his kits. Flamestar had stopped by the congratulate the two of them, and told Snowbreeze she would have company because Vixenfoot was having kits too.

His ambition seem to take over him at some points, and he wouldn't be able to stand just sitting with Snowbreeze.

I have to do something!

He got up, and sniffed the air. Something's not right. Brackenheart slid forward, and grabbed the nearest cat. "ShadowClan! We're under attack!"

His Clanmates came out of their dens yowling in terror as ThunderClan cats poured in. "It's time ThunderClan shows ShadowClan who's better!"

"Shadestar! I would have thought you would have better things to do than attack ShadowClan." Flamestar stepped forward. "In the middle of the night too! Have you got nothing better to do?"

Shadestar hissed. "ThunderClan is strong, and we are ready to strike ShadowClan back down. You fox-hearts think you're so strong, but the truth lies in this battle!"

Flamestar flattened his ears. "Attacking a Clan in their own camp is cowardly. You know there are queens and kits here."

Shadestar smiled cruelly. "Our intention matters more, Flamestar, even if we harm queens and kits, we must prove our strength."

Flamestar's eyes glittered with hatred. "Then ShadowClan shall prove you wrong! ShadowClan, attack!"

"ThunderClan, attack!"

Brackenheart plunged into the battle, with Snowbreeze at her side. "Together, eh?" Brackenheart purred. "We're battling side by side."

"Yeah, side by side, like it should be." Snowbreeze purred back. Together, they plunged into battle.

Chapter Five

Plunging into battle next to Brackenheart felt good. This is how is should be. Me and Brackenheart fighitng together, eating together, doing everything together.

She smacked a warrior back, then twirled around to claw at another. "Brakenheart!" She yowled. "Take this one!"

He came like a whirlwind, lashing out at the tawny warrior. "Back off!" He hissed.

She hissed in pain as his claws made contact with her shoulder, and bright red blood shot out. Her black pelt was stained red now, and her eyes were wild.

Snowbreeze leaped away and dashed to help her Clanmate, Willowheart. The gray she-cat howled as a tom ended her with a quick blow. "Willowheart!" Snowbreeze screamed.

The ThunderClan tom sneered in her face, "Look's like it's one on one now, huh?"

"You murdered her!" Snowbreeze hissed, her claws sliding out. "Doesn't ThunderClan know the warrior code?" The ThunderClan tom only snorted.

"ShadowClan never follows the warrior code anyways! ThunderClan has the right to kill off ShadowClan." He hissed back.

Snowbreeze gasped as he plunged forward, swiping at her in rage. She heard a roar of anger and saw Brackenheart fly across, batting the tom away. "You idiot!" He hissed in the tom's ear. "No one messes with ShadowClan!"

It's a wonder how Brackenheart got the courage, because his next move was to kill the tom. Snowbreeze leaped forward, and stopped him. "Brackenheart, warriors don't kill to win a battle." Brackenheart slumped back, and allowed the warrior to get up.

"You hear that?" Brackenheart hissed. "Warriors shouldn't kill."

The tom sneered. "ShadowClan aren't warriors."

Snowbreeze flattened her ears. "Scuttle off to wherever you live! You aren't welcome here."

The tom glared at them one last time, then darted away, through the camp tunnel, and away from ShadowClan camp.

Brackenheart touched noses with Snowbreeze. "You take care of yourself, I don't want those kits getting hurt."

Snowbreeze nodded. "I will, but I want to drive off ThunderClan with you." She gazed at him fondly. His tail touched her cheek, and then he whisked away.

She dashed after him, feeling her blood pump as she charged at ThunderClan. No one overruns ShadowClan. We are the strongest!

She lunged forward, clawing at a lithe she-cat who was snarling at Tawnypaw. "Back off! Pick on a cat you're on size!"

"Like you?" She hissed back, lunging for Snowbreeze.

Snowbreeze dodged the blow and smacked the warrior back. "You fox-hearts! Always targetting the apprentices because they're weaker. Isn't ThunderClan supposed to be the better Clan?" She taunted.

The warrior hissed. "We are! ShadowClan are a bunch of weaklings!"

"Then why are we winning?" Snowbreeze hissed back, batting the ThunderClan warrior's attempts at swiping. "You don't seem like much of a warrior."

"I'm the ThunderClan deputy you fool!"

Oh... "Leafshine huh? Where's all your warrior strength?" Snowbreeze bribed, dancing away from her blows.

Leafshine let out a growl and darted forward at lightning speed. Snowbreeze gasped as Leafshine's claws dug into Snowbreeze's belly, and she lurched forward in pain.

Brackenheart came roaring by and he stabbed Leafshine in the shoulder and dragged her away. Snowbreeze was gasping for her own breath and her life was ebbing away. "Brackenheart!" She gasped.

He was at her side. "You're not going to die, I know it. I'm taking you to the medicine den, you'll make it."

She didn't doubt him, but the pain was flaring in her belly, and she feared for her kits. They aren't squirming like they used to...

~*~

Brackenheart hissed in frustration as he sent another warrior spinning away. Snowbreeze had gotten hurt, and now she might be dying in the medicine cat's den. He feared for her life, the kitten's lives.

The last ThunderClan warrior reeled away, and Brackenheart glared at the retreating warriors. Those scumbags! Brackenheart had sent Leafshine into the river, hoping that she would drown. She should pay for what's she done to Snowbreeze.

He bounded into the medicind cat's den, and asked. "How's she doing?"

The apprentice, Littlepaw glanced at Snowbreeze worriedly. "I don't know hen she'll recover. But she's not going to die."

Brackenheart purred in relief, though she could see her breath was going in gasps. "Oh, Snowbreeze, please get well soon."

The white she-cat didn't stir as Brackenheart brushed by her. "I'm going to check in with Flamestar and see if he needs help with the rebuilding. ThunderClan really took it down." He growled.

Turning away from the sleeping she-cat, he felt his heart turn cold. She's not going to return soon, I must make ShadowClan stronger than ever as she recovers. ShadowClan will not suffer like this again! He knew he should care more abotu Snowbreeze, but right now, she was hurt, and he had to continue with his duty as a warrior.

Brackenheart padded to Flamestar's den, and entered. He saw the deputy, Tanglefur, was coughing and choking.

"What's going on..."

Flamestar looked up, his eyes fierce. "Oh, you're not going to say a word, Brackenheart. Not a word."

Brackenheart backed up. "You know I can run out and tell everyone right?"

"Who would believe you, over me?" Flamestar hissed. "Nobody. Not even Snowbreeze. Now if I give you want you want the most, then I want you to be quiet about this."

Brackenheart breathed heavily. He didn't want this crime to turn against him, so he said. "Give me deputyship."

Flamestar nodded, his yellow eyes burning his. "You better not say a word about this, Brackenheart. If you do, you die. Got that?"

Brackenheart stiffened, then nodded. "Alright. I won't tell. But why did you kill him."

"Right now, you just keep in mind that I didn't kill Tanglefur. He died when he broke down with a mysterious cough." Flamestar hissed. "Got that?"

The tom panted slowly. "Fine."

Flamestar smirked. "Come on, your deputy ceremony awaits."

Chapter Six

Snowbreeze felt her breath come in gasps, as she tried to keep still. Windflight had been fussing over her for the entire day, and now she was hot and fussy. "Windflight, I'm going to be fine, Frostwing said so too."

Fireclaw had come in too. "She may had said that, but that doesn't mean you'll be up and going by the end of this moon."

She sighed. "I know, but she said I'll be better by the time the kits are going to be born." There was worry in her mew, and her parents looked uncertain.

Frostwing entered her den, shooing Snowbreeze's parents out. "Go, go! She needs space, and rest. Plenty of it. Or she won't be ready to kit when she recovers."

Windflight cast a strange look at Frostwing, and the medicine cat ushered her out. Snowbreeze watched them leave, feeling a bit of dread creeping up behind her.

"Why do you sound uncertain whether or not I'll be able to kit?" She mewed, slightly afraid of the answer.

Frostwing sighed softly. "Oh, you'll be fine, Snowbreeze. It's just that you were stabbed in your stomach, where the kits are. They're still trying to recover from the blow and the wound."

"So they're okay?" She asked anxiously.

Frostwing was bustling out, but she seemed to stop, then hurried on. Snowbreeze felt that something was going to go wrong with her kitting.

Oh, Brackenheart, what will happen between us now?

She was lonely was no one visited, and she tried to peer outside. She glanced down at her belly, and saw the huge gash that went across her stomach. She shuddered as she remembered herself lying on the floor, with the bright red blood oozing out of the wound. The feeling where her kits stopped squirming.

Snowbreeze didn't want to think about this, she wanted to be outside, with Brackenheart, hunting and having fun together. But that wasn't going to happen now...

He was so devoted, and she knew she should have been proud of him, but she felt that he was too devoted. His "cause" for the Clan involved fighting back against the two neighboring Clans in order to "solve" ShadowClan's problems.

It didn't fit together, how Brackenheart only cared about the Clan, and he didn't seem to care about the fact the Snowbreeze had been stabbed in the stomach yesterday during the battle.

She peered out the den, desperate to catch a glimpse of Brackenheart. Her heart sank when she saw him chatting with Morningflower, his face alighted with a grin, and his tail wrapped around her.

Snowbreeze's heart dropped as he caught her gaze, and he immediately dropped his tail, and hastily excused himself from Morningflower. The bright colored she-cat watched him leave, seeming to look down as Brackenheart hurried away.

"Oh, you're awake!" he exclaimed. "I was waiting for you to awaken so we can plan ahead for our kits!"

Snowbreeze smiled forcefully, "Yeah, I really wanted to do that too." She mewed flatly, though she was staring at Morningflower, who was padding towards the medicine cat's den.

"Brackenheart," she whined, "You promised that we could go hunting together!"

His smiled widened, and he purred. "Of course, Morningflower, but right now, I'm discussing things with my mate."

The word didn't sound right to Snowbreeze. It sounded like he had forced it out, and she glared at him with disgust. Who is this tom? Where is the kind and caring tom that I mated?

Morningflower stared at Snowbreeze with distaste, and she mewed in sympathy. "Oh, you poor thing! Getting stabbed in the stomach when you were pregnant too! How sad..."

Snowbreeze muttered a thanks, and Brackenheart stood up. He nuzzled her gently, then pulled away fast. "I'll be going, Snowbreeze. You take a good rest and we'll think more about names later, alright?"

She nodded dully, not sure how to respond. Brackenheart padded away with Morningflower at his side, his tail high, his voice cheery.

This wasn't the tom I mated. Was this all worth it?

~*~

Brackenheart smiled as he padded off with Morningflower at his side. "Where shall we hunt?" He purred. The brown and white she-cat shrugged, then suggested.

"How about near the stream?"

Brackenheart nodded in approval. "Maybe we can catch some RiverClan warriors and beat them off!" His eyes gleamed with anticipitation.

"Do you really love her?" Morningflower blurted out suddenly, her eyes shining with love.

Brackenheart paused at this, not knowing what to say. "I-i'm not sure..." He stuttered. "I don't know how I feel about her."

"What about me?" She whispered softly.

He glanced at her, looking into her glimmering brown eyes, her glossy, sleek, brown and white pelt, and her long, flowing tail. The one ShadowClan she-cat that stood out to him.

"I don't know either." He mewed softly, so softly that she almost didn't catch it. Her gaze dropped, and she seemed crestfallen.

She ended the conversation by starting a new one. "I remember when I was an apprentice, and you were a warrior, I would always come to you to ask questions, remember?" She purred, but this time, it was forced.

He put on a sad smile, and nodded. "Yes, I remember, you were the lively, young apprentice who had come over everyday just to ask me the special questions you had in your mind."

She nodded, though her eyes weren't gleaming anymore. "I did it because I loved you." She whispered, then she turned and raced through the forest, heading for the river.

"Wait!" Brackenheart yowled after her, chasing her to the RiverClan border. Her tears were flowing down now, and her breath was coming in gasps.

"Morningflower!" He panted. "You don't have to be upset, you're still a great friend."

"I want to be more than just a friend!" She yowled, turning away. "You always talk and play with that Snowbreeze, who can't even defend herself!"

He started to defend his mate. "She's not a bad fighter, she just wasn't prepared for the move when the twisted ThunderClan warrior-"

Morningflower started to sob. "See? You love her more than you love me."

Brackenheart lowered his gaze. "She had caught my eye since we were kits, Morningflower. How do you expect me to let her go?"

"Don't I make you feel anything?"

"Yes, you make me feel like I'm the tom that should be here. The tom that should be deputy. You make me feel like my goal isn't a complete waste of time, like Snowbreeze does."

He realized that those were all true. Morningflower never failed to make him feel like the best warrior, the warrior that should be leader, be the best of the best. But when he was with Snowbreeze... he felt like a tom that was caring, a tom the should have a mate and was loyal to his Clan. So which she-cat was better for him?

Brackenheart knew that in his heart, he was in love with Snowbreeze. He always had been, though right now... he felt that his duty to the Clan was mroe important, especially since she was resting in the medicine cat's den now.

Morningflower scooted closer. "How do you like being a deputy?"

He closed his eyes, replaying that moment when Tanglefur died. "It's... great." He lied, though he knew this was only Flamestar's part of the bargain. His part was to keep his leader's secret, and never let it out again. He shuddered at the thought of what Flamestar would do to him, to Snowbreeze.

The brown and white she-cat sighed as she leaned against him, "I always loved being with you. You always make my heart flutter, and I feel like I'm in the sky, flying alongside you."

Brackenheart let out a small purr. "You're a great she-cat, Morningflower, and I'm glad you're here with me now." That seemed to satisfy her, though one thought bounced in Brackenheart's mind.

Do I really want her here instead of Snowbreeze? Do I?

Chapter Seven

Snowbreeze watched Brackenheart as he tried to organize the patrols. "Alright, Snow- I mean Leafwhisker, you'll lead a hunting patrol with Rushpaw and Thornpaw."

"Two apprentices?" Leafwhisker mewed, sounding concerned. "Are you sure?"

"I... er... yeah, take those two to test their skills."

Leafwhisker sighed and nodded, though she looked uncertain as she led the three apprentices out. Snowbreeze could see that Morningflower was standing beside Brackenheart, purring as he laid his tail on her flank. Snowbreeze felt anger rise in her belly, and she started to question which she-cat did Brackenheart truly love.

Brackenheart continued to organize the patrols, obviously looking distraught with all the cats. His gaze flickered over to Snowbreeze, and she waved her tail in greeting. He returned it, but Morningflower interrupted him with a whine about going hunting.

He rolled his eyes, and gave Snowbreeze an apologic look. Then he mewed. "Alright, Fireclaw, you take Breezeclaw, Shineflutter, and Heathersnow to check the ThunderClan border."

"Featherheart, you take Windflight, Mistheart and Stormflower to check the RiverClan border. The rest of you can go hunt alone, or stay in camp."

Brackenheart then turned to Morningflower, and the two of them sauntered out of the camp, towards the entrance. Snowbreeze watched them go, her heart sinking in sadness. Why doesn't he ever visit?

Then her gaze flickered to Flamestar who padded out of his den. There was something about Flamestar she didn't like, and she suspected no one else knew about it.

Vixenfoot padded towards her mate, oblivious of Flamestar's behavior. Snowbreeze watched him closely, remembering the day when Tanglefur had died...

"Cats of ShadowClan, I have come with bad news." Flamestar announced.

Everyone in ShadowClan had gathered to listen to this "bad news" and Snowbreeze was staring at Brackenheart, who was shifting uncomfortably beside his leader.

"Tanglefur died mysteriously while in my den. He had entered, looking fine, but then broke down with a severe case of coughing, and then fainted on the ground. He didn't get back up, and Brackenheart himself entered after that, witnessing Tanglefur's death."

The Clan was roaring with grief. Mistheart looked shock, and her eyes were misting with tears. Tanglefur had been her mate, and this news had shocked her terribly.

Brackenheart stepped forward, quieting the crowd. "It is true, I had entered right after Tanglefur had gone in, and saw him convulsing on the ground. Flamestar couldn't do anything to save him, nor did he harm him. I do not know how Tanglefur died though."

The ShadowClan warriors sighed and nodded slowly. They had believed the story, but Snowbreeze didn't. She watched Flamestar closely, seeing a flare of triumph flash through his eyes.

Flamestar glanced around, and he made eye contact with Snowbreeze. She remained calm, trying not to show her fear. The red-orange tom just nodded to her, then looked away. What was that about? she asked herself.

Brackenheart was weaving through the crowd, explaining the little details about Tanglefur's death. Mistheart was crouched down, tears streaming down from her eyes. "I'm having his kits..." She whispered softly.

Snowbreeze wanted to drag herself over to Mistheart to cnmfort her, but Frostwing had warned her not to move too quickly in case she opened the wound again.

Laying in front of the den, she saw Flamestar call the Clan back together.

"Cats of ShadowClan, I have decided who shall be my new deputy." Excited murmurs rippled through the clearing as cats guessed who it would be. "With the consent of Tanglefur, my faithful deputy, I name Brackenheart the new deputy of ShadowClan!"

Cheers erupted from the crowd, and Snowbreeze smiled. She gazed at her mate with pride, but her heart was sinking. What really happened to Tanglefur that made Brackenheart deputy? Did he... She shook her head, trying to keep herself from thinking ill thoughts.

Brackenheart lifted his head, and met Snowbreeze's gaze. There was something in his gaze, a hardness that scared her. What if he had gone beyond the borderline of respect just to be deputy?

Flamestar seemed to be satisfied with what had happened, and he started to pad away. Snowbreeze was watching Brackenheart carefully, watching as her mate padded from cat to cat, accepting their congratulations.

He never came near her, and she felt like she was forgotten. Dragging herself back into the medicine cat's den, she heard the squeal of Morningpaw as she scampered around Brackenheart, sharing her success about her assessment.

Snowbreeze remembered every part of that moment very clearly, and she had always feared what Brackenheart would do next to achieve this "goal" of his.

She remembered dreaming about mentoring one of the four kits that were due to become apprentices soon. She still had hope, but then she would have to recover quickly. Frostwing wasn't sure if Snowbreeze would return to being a warrior soon, nontheless have kits.

Then Snowbreeze also remembered Morningpaw's ceremony, where she had happily stood beside Brackenheart after she earned her warrior name, rubbing against him.

"Today, we shall have one new warrior!"

The whole Clan cheered with enthusiasm, and Morningpaw's eyes gleamed with excitement. She paced impatiently, and glanced back at Brackenheart every few seconds. Brackenheart nodded to her reasurringly, making Snowbreeze wince.

"Marshpelt, is Morningpaw ready to become a warrior?"

"Yes, she is." Replied the brown tom.

Flamestar smiled down at Morningpaw. "Do you promise to uphold the warrior code, and protect and defend the Clan, even with your life?"

"I do." She mewed solemnly, her eyes glittering with loyalty.

"Then by the powers of StarClan, I give you your warrior name. Morningpaw, from this moment on, you shall be known as Morningflower. StarClan honors you for your bravery and intelligence, and we welcome you as a full warrior of ShadowClan!"

"Morningflower! Morningflower!"

Snowbreeze cheered along, though she had been growing a slight distaste for the cream-colored she-cat. Morningflower was standing beside Brackenheart, purring loudly.

Brackenheart's eyes softened as he gazed at Morningflower, and Snowbreeze's neck fur rose. She watched as he led her away, murmuring to her. She seemed to agree, and they sat down with a mouse to share.

Back in the medicine cat's den, Snowbreeze was sitting glumly, watching her own mate share prey with another she-cat. It wasn't what she wanted to see...

Snowbreeze hated it when she saw Brackenheart with Morningflower. Ever since he saw the chance to invade RiverClan, he had been more distant, more like a fierce warrior instead of being the kind and caring tom he had been.

Morningflower loved to fight, and she encouraged him to fight alongside her. His fiery side occured when she was nearby, and Snowbreeze didn't like it.

~*~


Brackenheart padded through the forest, with Morningflower beside him. He felt a tug in his belly, and he pushed it away. Morningflower was chattering about how she loved to be with him, and how he made her happy beyond measures. He just nodded along with her, padding beside her as she sighed happily.

"I can't believe I'm actually getting this chance to be with you.." She murmured in love.

Brackenheart gazed down at her, and mewed, "Me too..." He had certain feelings for the she-cat, and he didn't know what to think of it.

"Oh! I smell ThunderClan scent..." Her eyes narrowed angrily, and the passive she-cat that was here before, transformed into a battle machine. This was the side that Brackenheart adored about Morningflower. Her love for fighting equaled his, and she easily became the fierce she-cat in battle.

"You smell ThunderClan," quoted a brown tom who had a scar on half on his face. "I wonder why." He snarked, sliding closer.

Morningflower bared her teeth and hissed. "Oh, you're not going anywhere with us here."

"Ha!" The tom laughed. "Not going anywhere huh?"

Then more ThunderClan warriors began to pour out of the forest, and Brackenheart hissed in frustration. How did so many ThunderClan warriors get into our forest without being spotted?

It ended as fast as it started. Brackenheart and Morningflower were no match for the massive ThunderClan warriors. There were about five of them, and only Brackenheart and Morningflower there to help themselves.

"Let's take them back to Leafstar."

Leafstar? Brackenheart thought curiously. Did their leader die?

Pushed into the ThunderClan camp, Brackenheart observed his surroundings. The camp walls were enforced with brambles, and all the dens were torn down.

Leafstar slid out of her own little den, and her narrow eyes pinpointed Brackenheart down. "Hm... what have you got there? Mice to be eaten?"

Morningflower glared defiantly at Leafstar. "No, we're ShadowClan warriors who caught your warriors trespassing."

"Caught my warriors huh? Then explain why you're in my camp, as my prisoners?" Leafstar glared at the cream-colored she-cat with distaste. "Take this one to the dump, and make her work."

They took Morningflower away as she struggled and yowled. What is this place? Brackenheart thought to himself, watching as ThunderClan warriors worked everywhere, some even beating others harshly.

"And you," Leafstar snarled. "I want you, to work on the camp reenforcements, all the dens, and I want you to be kept in the dump with your little girlfriend there."

Brackenheart hissed in frustration as he struggled to break free from his guards. "Move it, you lazy bum!" One snarled in his ear as they dragged them across the camp floor. "Get in."

He stumbled in, his eyes adjusting to the dim light. There was a rustle, and the warrior behind me shut the bramble door. We're stuck in here...

"Oh hey, you must be one of the new arrivals..." Whispered a faint voice in the back of the den.

Brackenheart jumped, and saw a white she-cat hunched down on the floor. "Aren't you Frostflower from ThunderClan? Why are you in here?"

"Leafstar chose the best warriors, and the most 'loyal' ones. She shoved the rest of us in little 'dumps', or bramble dens to keep us in, and make us work from dawn to dusk."

Brackenheart sighed, and looked around for Morningflower. "So my other companion, a cream-colored she-cat wasn't placed in here?"

Frostflower shook her head. "If she's a strong she-cat, unlike me, she was probably put in for hunting duty. They have to feed all the lazy warriors while they go out to check the borders, and just eat. It's a disgrace, what ThunderClan have turned into..."

Brackenheart shook his head, and whispered softly. "Isn't there a way we can get out?"

"I'm not sure, and no one's brave enough to try..."

Chapter Eight

Morningflower rememebered every moment on her life, from heing a kit to her apprentice ceremony, to her recent warrior ceremony.

Her apprentice ceremony had been the sweetest thing she had ever exprienced, and she remembered her excitement in joining Brackenheart in the apprentice den.

"... you shall be known as Morningpaw."

She had bounded over to Brackenpaw's side, purring. "Hey, I get to train with you now!" He had purred too. "I bet you'll be a wonderful warrior."

Smiling at Brackenpaw, she mewed in joy. "Now I can beat you in battle training all I want!"

"Oh," he mewed, amused, "You'll have to be good enough first." Snowpaw, his companion glared at her icily. "I bet you can't even beat a mouse!"

Morningpaw eyed the white she-cat angrily. "Why are you always against me? It's not a crime to like Brackenpaw."

But the love in Snowpaw's eyes were unmistakenable, "It is to me!" Snowpaw hissed. Brackenpaw laid his tail on Snowpaw's shoulder, murmured something in her ear, then nodded farewell to Morningpaw.

Since that day, Morningpaw had started to like Brackenepaw, even through Snowpaw and Brackenpaw were obviously meant for each other.

She hadn't given up, no matter how much she hated seeing Snowpaw with him. Now, as she was stuck in these "dumps" she would have given anything to have Brackenheart at her side.

Morningflower also remembered one training session where she had been paired up with Brackenheart.

"Okay, Morningpaw, you'll be with Brackenpaw. Remember, claws sheathed, but hard blows." Marshpelt, her mentor instructed.

Morningpaw nodded, eyeing Brackenpaw with glowing eyes. "Now's my chance to beat you in battle training!"

Brackenpaw laughed, "Not if I beat you first!"

They leaped at each other, claws sheathed. Morningpaw batted at him, and landed a couple of good blows on his shoulders. He rolled away hissing, kicking Morningpaw away.

She gasped in pain and doubled over. Brackenpaw quickly bounded over, obviously worried. She took this opportunity to smack him back, making him rear in pain.

"Okay, that's enough!" Marshpelt yowled. "You both did great, and it's time you go hunt and then rest."

Morningpaw padded alongside Brackenpaw, teasing him. "Oh, I would've beaten you if Marshpelt hadn't stopped me."

"What are you talking about?" He purred, "I would've gotten you!"

They laughed on their way back, joking about who would have won that fight in the end...

Morningflower's tears were dripping onto the ground, and she desperately wanted Brackenheart beside her now.

She wanted to feel his warm, reasurring pelt brush against hers, telling her that it would be okay. That they would make it out of the camp. But he was in another dump, and he was probably working his pelt off right about now.

The guards shoved their way in, and growled gruffly. "Get to sleep. At dawn, you're all to wake up and go out hunting. No exceptions, and you must catch at least five pieces of prey in order to return to camp. You may catch more to help others, but it is not required. You may not eat until every warrior in this camp has eaten. Am I understood?"

Morningflower and the others nodded, though she felt remorse flash through her. If only we hadn't gotten so close to the ThunderClan border...

By now, the Clan was probably wondering where they had gone, but Morningflower's sadness and grief grasped at her belly. Brackenheart...

She curled up, ready to sleep, but in her dreams, she saw Brackenheart over and over, being beat by the "ThunderClan" warriors and killed in his sleep.

~*~

"Wake up!"

Morningflower jerked awake, and groggily sat up. She quickly groomed her pelt, then padded outside after the others. The guards glared at the haggarded cats, and herded them to the camp entrance. "Go on," a gruff voice hissed. "You haven't got all day."

She bounded deep into the forest, heading straight for the ShadowClan border. I need to warn ShadowClan! But then, and ginger and white she-cat bloted out from the trees and landed heavily on Morningflower. "Oh, you trouble-maker." She hissed. "You aren't going anywhere."

Morningflower struggled to get free, but the other she-cat was heavy. "Now you go back into the forest and hunt like a good little kitten, and no one will get hurt, and there may be a possiblity that ShadowClan won't be wiped out."

Hissing softly under her breath, Morningflower stumbled back into the forest, sniffing the air for mice or squirrels. She instantly spotted a sparrow pecking at seeds beneath a beech tree, and she crouched low and waited. Sliding forward, she leaped high in the air. I'm going to get it!

But then, a russet tom streaked out and swiped the sparrow away. "Mine now!" He crowed. Morningflower snarled in frustration, and turned on the tom.

"Hey! That was my prey!" She hissed at him, bowling him over."

The tom shook out his pelt. "Sorry, though I needed to catch something. I've been out since the sun came out."

"Oh..." Morningflower rued her actions, and apologized. "Sorry I got cranky. It's just...they took me from my home yesterday, and I miss ShadowClan terribly."

Padding over, the tom sighed. "I'm Redclaw, and I'll help you with prey when I've got my five, okay?"

She glanced at him gracefully. "Thank you, are you from WindClan?"

"Yes," he sighed. "They took me here about a moon ago, and I miss WindClan terribly. I'm not even sure if my Clan is going to come and get me out."

Morningflower laid her tail on Redclaw's shoulder. "I'm sure they'll come. They just need time to prepare, and get enough info about this 'ThunderClan'"

He shrugged. "Yeah... Maybe you're right." Though he sounded uncertain.

"Get moving!" Yowled a voice. "You don't have time to stand around and talk! There are hungry mouths waiting for the prey!"

Redclaw pulled away, and whispered. "I'll see you later, though I didn't catch your name."

She smiled slightly, feeling a small bond form between them. "It's Morningflower."

"That's a beautiful name."

Chapter Nine

Snowbreeze felt panic shoot through her as she heard the warriors yelling outside. "They're both gone, and their scents lead to ThunderClan!"

"Yes, but how do we know they didn't go on their own?"

"There was ThunderClan scent everywhere, it had to be ThunderClan."

"Brackenheart and Morningflower went on a stroll this morning, and they shouldn't have trodded over so close to the ThunderClan border."

"I told you before, the border wasn't so close to the camp! It was much farther away, around that empty clearing that has no real prey."

"No, I'm sure it was this close. Why else would it be drenched in ThunderClan scent?"

"Silence!" Yowled Flamestar, "Let's calm down and think through this properly."

Kinkfur shuffled her paws. "I think we should do something about ThunderClan. They don't seem like the true warriors they were a few moons ago. That vicious attack last time might have been the change that started inside of them. If we don't hurry, Brackenheart and Morningflower might get seriously hurt."

Snowbreeze screwed her eyes shut. I can't lose Brackenheart now, oh, why did I have to hurt myself? Snowbreeze sighed softly as she listened to the conversation outside. She wanted to help them so badly, wanted to be able to go across the border and save Brackenheart. But she couldn't. Not with her wound that was still bleeding.

With her eyes squeezed shut, the noises of the forest became more alive, and she shuddered as she could hear the crunches of footsteps coming towards her. "Snowbreeze, you must rest," the medicine cat mewed, "It is better for you."

She nodded slowly, and opened her eyes slightly. The wind whisked by, and Snowbreeze shook a little as she stumbled back into the den. Under Frostwing's guidance, Snowbreeze curled up in her nest with Windflight stroking her flank softly, soothing her.

"Snowbreeze, you must run!" Brackenheart was screaming.

"No," she mewed fiercely back, "I will not abandon you! I must find a way to get you back from ThunderClan, and I won't give up until I do."

Brackeneheart shook his head, eyes down. "No, I do not wish for you to save me. Stay in ShadowClan."

Snowbreeze took a step forward. "But Brackenheart, you are my mate. I cannot abandon you to those mangy warrior. I love you!"

"I don't love you, Snowbreeze. I'm sorry, but Morningflower will be my mate."

"No!" Snowbreeze shrieked, waking up. "It can't be true..." She whispered to herself. I can't believe it... But she knew in her heart she had seen Brackenheart in her dreams, and she knew that he meant to say that to her.

He loves Morningflower... The thought clung to Snowbreeze, making her cringe. How can I live a life without Brackenheart?

Then she realized she had already lived a life without him. He had disappeared to ThunderClan without a trace, only showing that he had gone with Morningflower. There hadn't been any other news, and Snowbreeze had been worried sick for Brackenheart.

But now, I can life a normal life... Especially since the kits died in that blow...

~*~

Brackenheart crumbled a piece of moss with his paw, angrily swiping at the brambles. "What are you doing?" Whispered Morningflower softly. Today was a rest day, so Morningflower got to hang out with Brackenheart for the day.

"I'm just...angry." He muttered.

Morningflower scooted closer. "At least we're here together, not you with...her."

He shivered a bit, remembering contacting her in her dreams. Snowbreeze, I hope you can accept my choice, and realize why it was made. "Brackenheart?"

"Yes?" he mewed, wrapping his tail around the cream-colored she-cat.

"I'm just worried," she mewed, "You look so confused and angry today." She cuddles closer to him, her breath warm on his cheek. He raised his head, gazing at the stars.

"I miss ShadowClan, I wish we were home..."

Morningflower sighed too, obviously home sick too. "We've got to escape." She whispered. "Even if it costs our lives, I would give anything to be out of here."

Brackenheart nodded. "But I wouldn't give up you for my escape. Never." But I wouldn't give up Snowbreeze's life either, I hope she stays at home...

~_~_~_~_~_~_~

"Okay, rally up!" The warriors growled. "It's feeding time, and I'm sure you don't want to be left out. Go on, pass through those bramble gates and pick up whatever prey you want. Only get one, and you may not leave with it. You must eat inside, and don't try to sneak in two."

Brackenheart padded in with Morningflower next to him, and he cast his gaze down to avoid the warrior's gaze. "What prey will you get?" Morningflower muttered.

He shrugged, and sighed as he saw the rows of scrawny prey. "Sorry we couldn't catch much." Brackenheart heard a red tom mutter. "Prey's poor in that forest."

Morningflower greeted the tom with a smile, and Brackenheart eyed him carefully. "Who are you?" He mewed suspiciously.

"Redclaw's the name."

"Brackenheart."

The three strolled through, and Brackenheart leaned down to take a mouse. "Hey you! I saw you take a piece already, you aren't allowed to take another. You here me? Get out before I claw your nose out!"

Brackenheart faced the warrior. "I didn't take anything yet." He protested, his belly rumbling in agreement.

The she-cat glared at him with suspicion, but she flicked her tail, letting him pick up his mouse and pad out. Morningflower joined him minutes later with a sparrow, and Redclaw came out with a rabbit.

"You're WindClan, aren't you?" Brackenheart mewed as the tom sat down.

Redclaw glanced over. "Yeah, you're ShadowClan with Morningflower, correct?"

Brackenheart nodded. "How do you know her?" He mewed, indicating to Morningflower, who was tearing the sparrow into pieces.

"I met her while hunting. We're both on hunting duty, and we both tried to catch the same prey. We talked, and I got to know her like a friend." Redclaw purred, digging into his rabbit.

Morningflower glanced over, her eyes twinkling. "How are you doing with your work, Brackenheart?"

"Oh," he muttered, "It's hard work, weaving the brambles into all the dens, making sure all the dens are clean and ready each day. We technically didn't even get today off because of the cleaning parts." He sighed as he dug into his mouse.

Redclaw shrugged. "They're moving me around. Some days I've been working on the dens, other days I'm working on the hunting. I'm not sure if they'll move you two around. This your second day?"

"Yeah," Brackenheart muttered. "Though I miss ShadowClan already..."

"I miss WindClan with all my heart."

Chapter Ten

Snowbreeze listened to the birds chirping, feeling alone and bored. "Are you sure there's nothing I can do?" She persisted.

Frostwing shook her head. "It's either clean out the dens, or stay here. You cannot afford to move too much, or else the wound will open again."

Snowbreeze sighed. "I'll clean the dens..."

She slowly padded outside, careful not to swing her belly too much. Trodding over to the apprentice den, she peered inside. "Thornpaw, is that you?"

The dark brown tom looked up and mewed. "Yes, Snowbreeze, are you here to do something?" His mew was curious, though his eyes were bleary.

"No," she mewed, backing away from the sleeping tom. "I was just going to clean the den."

"I'll help you." Before she could protest, Thornpaw leaped out of his nest and started to clean the apprentices' den. "I'll do this one, you go do the warriors."

Snowbreeze nodded numbly, and kept on going. She peeked inside the warriors' den, and saw Honeytail sleeping in her nest. I'll work around her. Shuffling around, Snowbreeze managed to fetch all the dirty moss and drag it outside. Thornpaw came rushing past, obviously going out to fetch the moss. I hope he can get some for me too... I'm not sure if I'll be able to climb up there to get the moss.

Soon after, Thornpaw came back, wads of moss in his jaws. "Here, Snowbreeze!" His muffled mew sounded as he dropped a few mouthfuls of them beside her. "Thanks, Thornpaw." She purred back as she picked them up.

Working her paws quickly, Snowbreeze managed to finish the nests when Honeytail woke up. "Oh hey, Snowbreeze," the golden she-cat murmured sleepily, "I didn't hear you come in.." Her head drooped down, and the she-cat struggled to get out of her nest.

"Are you okay?" Snowbreeze mewed worriedly, seeing Honeytail's tail sroop low and her paws didn't seem to be working properly.

"Fine, just really tired, I'm not sure why though. I just took a long nap too..."

Snowbreeze padded over and pressed against her friend. "Maybe you should go see Frostwing, you may be getting a fever."

The golden she-cat nodded, and stumbled out of the den. It's feels all sick in here! Snowbreeze stumbled out after Honeytail, breathing in gulps of fresh air.

Is Honeytail sick?

~*~

"Alright, today you're on hunting duty too." The pale ThunderClan warrior hissed at Brackenheart. "Be sure to bring back five pieces of prey, and you're allowed to hunt for others too."

Brackenheart nodded and filed out with the others, catching Morningflower's eyes. She watched him from beside Redclaw and watched him trod out of camp with the first group. Her gruop followed after, and everyone was released into the forest.

This may be our chance to escape ThunderClan!

But Brackenheart remembered Morningflower's warning. There were guards stationed everywhere to ensure that no prisoner escaped. He turned, and waited for Morningflower and Redclaw.

"What you standing there for?" Another tom growled. "You've got prey to catch!"

"Of course, of course," Brackenheart muttered, padding away.

Meeting up with Morningflower took awhile, and the three discussed plans. "We can all charge the ShadowClan border, fighting off the guards together. What do you say?"

Redclaw sighed. "I'll come with you two, it'll be safer this way, and I can get back to WindClan by RiverClan."

"Are you sure?" Brackenheart mewed. "You don't have to risk your life for us." The red tom shrugged, and glanced at the brown tom.

"But it means I get freedom too. And I like the sound of that."

Brackenheart nodded to Redclaw. "Of course, you deserve your freedom too." The two toms glanced at each other, their bonds of friendship tightening.

Morningflower spotted an opening. "Let's go!"

Together, the three cats charged out into the open, whirling and slashing at the oncoming cats. "Don't let them escape!" They heard one cat yowl.

Steps before reaching the border, Redclaw tripped and fell. Brackenheart whirled around, ready to help the WindClan tom get up. The red tom shook his head yowling for Brackenheart to continue with Morningflower. "Go on! I'll stop them, you two deserve your chance!"

Morningflower turned around and shrieked. "Brackenheart, come on!" Tears were streaming from her eyes, and even she knew Redclaw wasn't going to be saved. Brackenheart stared at his friend for a moment longer, then plunged over the ShadowClan border.

Redclaw's eyes met Morningflower's, and in them, showed his love for her. She bit her lip, tears still flowing down, and Brackenheart could tell they were good friends.

I'm so sorry Redclaw....

Chapter Eleven

Snowbreeze glanced at Brackenheart, seeing him with Morningflower. Her heart ached with joy, but it also ached with sorrow. Why does he love her more?

Her head drooped down, and she glanced at her belly. My wound is getting better... Which means I'll be able to hunt with Brackenheart again. Then she berated herself. Would Brackenheart even want to hunt with her if he had Morningflower?

Snowbreeze sat down near the medicine den, watching Brackenheart and Morningflower. They had been imprisoned for over three days, and now they had returned. Morningflower was still crying over this "Redclaw", and Brackenheart was reasurring her.

The brown tom glanced up and saw Snowbreeze watching them. He excused himself, and padded over to Snowbreeze. The white she-cat shook her head, and turned away to walk inside. "Snow-"

"No." She mewed, "You've done too much to me."

Brackenheart stood there, watching Snowbreeze walk away. He doesn't love me... He loves Morningflower a lot more..

Lying down in her nest, Snowbreeze started to dream:

"Snowbreeze, what were you thinking?"

"Robin...wing?" Snowbreeze glanced up at the red she-cat in awe. "Are you really here?" She let Brackenheart's mother wrap around her.

"Yes, I am." The russet she-cat purred. "But you and Brackenheart shouldn't be so seperate. From your childhood, you two were destined to meet as mates. But the only obstacle was being warriors..."

Snowbreeze shook her head. "He loves Morningflower more than he loves me. What can I do?"

Robinwing sighed. "You are mistaken, Snowbreeze. His love for one she-cat is deep in his heart, and he didn't want her to get hurt, so he decided to shut her out."

"No," Snowbreeze cried, "He loves Morningflower, I know it. Three days ago he even gave me a dream...saying that...he loved Morningflower and told me to...stay away."

"Believe, Snowbreeze. Believe..."

~*~

Brackenheart purred as Morningflower scooted closer to him. He was still staring at Snowbreeze who had gone into the medicine den to sleep. Honeytail was sick in there, and he feared for her safety. Why doesn't she believe me...?

Then it hit him. The dream he had asked StarClan to send her, telling her to stay away and that he loved Morningflower more. I'm so sorry, Snowbreeze, I put this obstacle between us...

"Shall we go hunt?" Morningflower offered.

Brackenheart shook his head. "I don't really feel like doing anything right now." Except being with Snowbreeze.

Morningflower nodded, though she seemed to be down today. "What's wrong?"

"Redclaw, I wonder what happened to him..."

Fresh grief welled in Brackenheart's mind, and he stifled a sob. "I don't think ThunderClan will keep him now that he's so rebellious..."

Morningflower glanced at him with tears in her eyes. "You think they killed him?"

"Yes," Brackenheart murmured. "I think he's in StarClan now."

The sobs that came afterwards proved their bonds with Redclaw, and Brackenheart himself wondered how everything went wrong, from his love with Snowbreeze, to his realtionship with Morningflower, and now, losing a good friend. Why did everything have to go wrong?

Redclaw hadn't deserved the fate he had received, he probably had a life ahead of him, a mate, a litter of kits, but after ThunderClan, everything feel apart for him too.

Morningflower was always destined to have a mate from another Clan, and that was Redclaw. But for her, that had broken down when Redclaw was left behind, and was killed in the process.

In his heart, Brackenheart knew that he had caused most of this, and his love for Snowbreeze was still carried in his heart. He wanted to be with her, but he didn't know how to tell her.

Oh Snowbreeze, can we ever fix what went wrong between us?

The End

Author's Note

Many mysteries in this story make this story more interesting, but yes, Morningflower was an apprentice at first, but was made a warrior during the story, not shown though. Brackenheart and Snowbreeze don't know what to do now, so this is how the story ends.

Ah yes, the kits died when the ThunderClan tom struck Snowbreeze, so she won't have the kits we were all yearning for D:

I hope you like it :)

Oh and there's going to be a sequel/prequel or a related story, whatever you call it xD It'll be called What Life Became. Stay tuned for it~ (It'll answer all the questions you have, hopefully)

Fans! Please Sign If You Loved the Story!

You~can~count~on~me~like 1-2-3 I’ll~be~there and-I-know-when-I-need-it  12:32, May 25, 2014 (UTC) '''''Mist+Sun =Forever '''''~Mist/Madi  

MEEEEEEEEEEE The Cold Never Bothered Me Anyway

(: Wetstream

It is awesome! And the day came...  when the  risk to remain tigh t  in a bud was more   painful than the risk it took to blossom.

BEST STORY EVA!!! Assassin's Creed For Life 20:10, January 18, 2014 (UTC)

Meeeee We are the fallen angels 05:30, January 20, 2014 (UTC)

Ooh ooh Breezeh signs because this story is awesome :D Beep Beep Meow 17:04, January 20, 2014 (UTC)

Me like :) SnowxBracken and MorningxDEATH ~ SilentwishJust another daydreamer... ☁ 01:33, January 23, 2014 (UTC)

This story is FREAKING FANTSTIC!!!! Bookwormicus (talk) 02:18, February 15, 2014 (UTC)

♥♥♥x100,0000000!!! IT IS AWESOME!When it rainsI feel sad ☂

DDDD Hope is the only thing stronger than Fear 01:55, September 28, 2015 (UTC)
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