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Essay
This page contains a fan fiction written by User: Artimas Hunter.
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Remember that this story is non-canon. It may contain false characters, plots, or locations.
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For Wetty's story contest. A little thing I did. Genre is drama but you guys could probably figure that out. This is kinda sorta based off of the whole thing with Forest...how she might have cancer (but someone upstairs is gonna get hurt by me if she does) Yes, I am pathetic. Thanks and here's the story....oh yeah, and if this freaks you out Forest, then I'll delete it. ;) --ArtiLook Wetty! It's Not Pink!! 23:26, May 14, 2010 (UTC)


Prologue

The sickness swept through the forest. It invaded kits, elders, apprentices, warriors. The medicine cats coughed as they tried to heal their many sick Clanmates and leaders were too weak to announce it when someone either got better...or worse. This sickness was a killer and all the cats knew it.

ShadowClan had the worst of it, the rats in their fresh-kill pile certainly didn't help. Even RiverClan who usually never felt the brunt of green cough was dying slowly. Cats were getting desperate and, for those who could still make it, journeys to the Moonpool were getting more and more frequent. But StarClan stayed silent.

With all the medicine cats' attentions focused on the sickness in their Clans, wounds from thorns and small scars were left unattended and got infected. The Clans were desperate.

This is a story about some friends. One of them becomes dangerously ill with the disease. What happens? I can't tell you. You'll have to find out yourself.

A/N- In case you couldn't figure that out, it means READ MORE! XD


Chapter 1

Bramblepath stretched. She was used to her paws bumping into Dusksky in front of her or Moonbeam behind her. But today her paws scrabbled at thin air. She opened her eyes wide. Faint sunlight streamed into the den. Bramblepath looked around and felt her heart sink as she looked at all the empty nests. Moonbeam and Dusksky were sisters and they always did everything together. One must have gotten sick and passed it to the other.

Bramblepath felt panicked as she looked around the den again. But she was happy when she saw her own sister, Spottedhorse was still there, sound asleep. As well as her best friends, Wetstream, Hiddensun, Leafwhisker, Icestorm, Sunmark, and of course, Forestheart.

Bramblepath got up and padded over to where Forestheart slept, only a few nests over. Usually there were more cats to swerve around, not today. And usually all the friends slept in a tight cluster, together. But Shistar had said that the sickness might spread that way. The friend slept apart.

Bramblepath nudged her best friend. "Forestheart..." the gray cat didn't stir. Bramblepath leaned in. "Forestheart..." Forestheart jerked in her sleep. Bramblepath rolled her eyes and leaned in and yowled, "FORESTHEART!" in her friends ear.

Forestheart jumped awake as well as the others in the den. Bramblepath purred.

"Come on. We need to train with Leopardpaw, Shinepaw, and Rainpaw." Forestheart nodded.

Hiddensun joined them as they padded over to the apprentices den. Bramblepath could hear the coughing and low moans from the medicine den. Her heart ached as she picked out a few of the cats making them. She hurried to the den so she could get away from them. She burst into the apprentices den to find a sad scene.

Her own apprentice, Shinepaw was slowly waking up. Her sister, Leopardpaw was bent over Rainpaw. They were the only three apprentices who hadn't gotten sick yet. Hiddensun looked at her apprentice. "Leopardpaw, what's wrong?" Leopardpaw looked up at Rainpaw's mentor with sad eyes.

"She's....she's...." Hiddensun let out a wail and Forestheart and Bramblepath pressed against her. Hiddensun gave a muffled cry and buried her nose in Forestheart's fur. Then, she picked up her apprentice and took her to Mapleleaf. Bramblepath watched sadly. Forestheart was watching the other two apprentices.

"You guys feel okay, right?" Leopardpaw and Shinepaw nodded. Forestheart let out a sigh. "Come on, let's go hunt." Bramblepath and the apprentices followed Forestheart. As the exited the camp, Bramblepath tried to ignore the sounds from the medicine den and Hiddensun's muffled sobs.


Chapter 2

Bramblepath stumbled into her nest. It had been a productive day. Shinepaw was doing well. For such a young apprentice, she was an exceptional hunter and she was well adapted to the ThunderClan territory. But she was having some trouble with fighting, she was good but just not aggressive. Bramblepath purred. Her apprentice was always happy. Leopardpaw was just the opposite. She excelled at fighting but hated to hunt.

Forestheart padded in with her tail drooping. "What's up?" Bramblepath asked. Forestheart looked at her with wide green eyes. Bramblepath remembered when they were kits, their mother's would tell them why they had given them their names. Forestkit was named because of her forest-green eyes, how she would protect and comfort ThunderClan, just as the forest did, and that she would grow as big and strong as the forest and live to a ripe old age as well. Bramblekit was named for her tabby markings, her sometimes sharp tongue, the way she would protect things.

Bramblepath shook off the cobwebs of the pas. "What is it?" she asked again.

"Hiddensun....she..." Bramblepath gasped. Hiddensun couldn't have gotten sick. No way...no... Forestheart obviously realized what her friend was thinking. "No! Hiddensun is okay. But Rainpaw has the sickness. Adderpaw and Hiddensun are with her now." Adderpaw was Rainpaw's brother. He was Brightshadow's apprentice.

"And..." Forestheart wasn't done with the bad news. Her eyes watered. "Leopardpaw...she was sitting with Rainpaw...and....she has it too!" Bramblepath nuzzled her friend.

"I'm so sorry!" Wetstream poked her head out of her nest.

"Whatzuh?" she asked groggily. Quickly, the others filled her in. By nightfall, the remainder of the healthy cats ion camp knew about the latest victims.

That night, as she lay down in her nest, Bramblepath looked around. Almost every warrior was gone. She had heard from Frostflower that Leafwhisker and Sparrowsong had fallen ill as well. Bramblepath looked up at a few stars that were visible through the den wall.

StarClan...whatever you're punishing us for...whatever this sickness is...let it end soon... she prayed before falling into an uneasy sleep, disturbed several times by the rasping coughs in the night.


Chapter 3

Bramblepath woke in the morning to a hacking cough. She had grown accustomed to the sound, the whole Clan had. But this time, it wasn't coming from the medicine den. It was coming from inside their den!

Bramblepath spun around. Forestheart was still asleep. Spottedhorse was still snoring as was Wetstream and Hiddensun. The sound was coming from Icestorm's nest. Bramblepath jumped up and ran to her friend's side.

"Icestorm!" her shriek woke up most of the others in the den. They began circling Icestorm in a nervous tangle. Forestheart was the first to move. Grabbing Icestorm's scruff, she dragged the silver she-cat to the entrance of the den and the others could hear the distant sound of Forestheart dragging their diseased friend to the medicine den.

Bramblepath turned to look at the other cats. Each wore a similar expression of shock on their face. Bramblepath slowly counted. Out of the 17 original warriors, 8 remained.

Bramblepath cringed as a crackling noise outside the den, looking sad and exhausted. All the cats crowded together, pressing against each other.

"Oh guys..." Bramblepath murmured, "What are we going to do?"


The next morning was sunny and bright, completely the opposite of the feelings and moods at camp. Icestorm's sickness had spread quickly and now hardly any cat would come out of their den. Bramblepath wondered if StarClan was taunting them. Teasing them. They were safe and happy in the stars while ThunderClan struggled with uncertainty and fear. Or perhaps they were punishing them. Bramblepath wondered if things would be clearer to her when she was older. She had after all only been a warrior for a little less then a moon.

Shistar was in her den and Heartfall, the deputy, was assigning patrols. Bramblepath was to go on a hunting patrol first with Leafwhisker and Forestheart. Then a border patrol with Wetstream, Sunmark, and Shinepaw. Finally, training with Shinepaw. A busy day indeed.

As the hunting patrol bounded out of the den, Leafwhisker in the lead, Bramblepath fell in beside a lagging Forestheart. "Forestheart? You okay?" she asked, voice full of worry. Forestheart looked at her with big green eyes.

"I-I'm OK. Just a little...cold. Come on." Forestheart sped up with a painful breath leaving Bramblepath behind with a head full of worries and a sinking heart as she realized what must have happened.


Chapter 4

Bramblepath woke in the darkness of the night to a familiar sounding cough. She turned, trying to locate the sound. It was coming from Forestheart's nest. She got up and padded over. She'd had a sinking suspicion that her friend had caught the sickness. She poked the sleepy warrior awake. "Forestheart!" she whispered.

"'m fine....go way....." Forestheart mumbled. she gave a few coughs and turned over in her nest so she was facing away from Bramblepath. Bramblepath rolled her eyes and looked at the sky. It was almost morning, she'd let her friend sleep and then take her to the medicine den when it was morning. Bramblepath curled back up in her nest.


"Forestheart! Forestheart!" Bramblepath awoke to frightened cries. She jumped out of her nest. Leafwhisker, Wetstream, and a few other warriors were gathered around Forestheart's nest. Bramblepath felt a horrible feeling in her stomach. She leaped over to her best friend.

"Forestheart, Forestheart, you okay?" the gray she-cat didn't answer, her eyes were still closed and her breathing was shallow. Bramblepath felt a crazed fear well up inside her.

Gently, she lifted the sleeping Forestheart and carried her softly to the medicine den. Mapleleaf watched in shocked silence as Bramblepath sadly lay Forestheart down in one of the few remaining nests. Bramblepath turned to Mapleleaf who was already beginning to recover and was now hurriedly mixing herbs.

While the medicine cat worked on her newest patient, ?Bramblepath looked around. The medicine den was a hot, painful, sickly mess. No wonder Mapleleaf had seemed so stressed. Sick cats covered every space. Bramblepath reliazed she had been shielded from the sickness, her friends protected her, they were all okay. But not know.

Reality struck as Bramblepath looked at every one of her sick Clanmates. This was real. Very real.


Chapter 5

Bramblepath opened her eyes to a steady rainfall. It had been almost four sunrises since Forestheart had gotten sick. And things weren't looking good.

"You can't see here! She's very contagious, very sick! We need to treat her!" that was what Mapleleaf had told Bramblepaw when she had tried to visit her sick friend yesterday. She had picked some pretty flowers, she hoped they would cheer up the gloomy medicine den.

She padded across the clearing and nodded at Birdpaw. The newest apprentice was one of the only ones happy, Bramblepath wondered if the speckled gray cat even knew what was going on. Probably, it was hard not to notice all the sick cats, the empty nests, the crowded medicine den....

Not sure where she was going, Bramblepath just wandered out into the woods. She had no clue what she was looking for or what she was doing. Her head was up in the stars, she wasn't thinking about anything and then-

THUMP!!!!

Bramblepath fell flat on her face into a clump of plants. The stalks were hard but the leaves were lush and good smelling. Bramblepath pushed herself up and got a deep breath of the plants. She looked at the sky.

The sun was already setting and the sky was getting dark. Bramblepath hadn't realized how late it was until she had looked up. Time to head back to camp.

Bramblepath pushed through the dense undergrowth. As she padded into her den, she decided to visit Forestheart the next day, medicine cat or not.


Chapter 6

Bramblepath awoke bright and early the next morning. While, maybe not bright. It was that time of day exactly between dawn and the end of the night. Bramblepath walked out of the den. Normally she would have had to creep. But hardly anyone was there to hear her. She made her way to the medicine den, pausing every few steps to sneeze. The plant she had fallen onto had made her sneeze a lot during the past night.

Bramblepath paused at the entrance of the medicine den. She hadn't thought about it before, but what if Mapleleaf had been right? What if Forestheart needed to be alone? What if this was a bad idea? Bramblepath shook those thoughts away. Forestheart was like her sister. They had been friends forever. Bramblepath needed to see her. Just once, she told herself, just once.

Trying to be quiet so the sick cats didn't wake up, Mapleleaf would've had her pelt then, Bramblepath padded into the den. She sniffed the air, unsure of where Forestheart's nest was. She couldn't find the familiar scent that she would have recognized any where. Bramblepath felt panic over take her. What had happened? She swung her head around and padded around the den. She was about to give up when she almost stumbled over a gray body. Forestheart!

Bramblepath smelled her friend, wondering why she hadn't sniffed her out earlier. She recoiled in horror. Her friend smelled like crowfood. Bramblepath stumbled backwards in fear. Forestheart was really sick. Very sick. She seemed worse then the rest. Bramblepath remembered what Mapleleaf had told her when she'd brought Forestheart in.

'It looks like she's had it for a while. She's already very sick. I have no idea how to stop the mildest form of this condition. Forestheart....Forestheart is out of my reach.' the saddened medicine cat had told Bramblepath.

Bramblepath vowed that she would make her friend better, no matter what it took. No matter how long. She began to back out towards the back of the den. But suddenly she gave a very loud sneeze. None of the sick cats woke up and Bramblepath turned and tried to get to the entrance unnoticed.

She almost made it too.


Chapter 7

Mapleleaf.

Bramblepath stared at the angry medicine cat and possible excuses raced through her mind.

Sleepwalking, didn't feel good, wanted some catnip...

"What exactly are you doing in my den?" asked Mapleleaf coldly. The usually friendly cat would turn instantly mean if someone disturbed her patients.

"I...uh...catnip...wanted some..." Bramblepath trailed off at the look on Mapleleaf's face. "I wanted to visit Forestheart." she said softly looking at her sleeping friend. Mapleleaf's expression softened then hardened again.

"And why did you sneeze so loud, disturbing me and my patients?" she asked. Bramblepath rolled her eyes. Dumb plant.

"That wasn't my fault! I fell into this plant!" Mapleleaf looked at her disbelievingly. "Really! I did! It had really tough stalks and big lush leaves and it smelled very good but it made me sneeze...."

Mapleleaf was looking at her with hope. "What?" Bramlepath asked confused.

"Nothing....just...go back to your den..." said Mapleleaf, turning away.

Bramblepath shrugged and wandered back to her nest.


Chapter 8

It felt like it had only been a few minutes when Wetstream was waking Bramblepath up.

"Come on, we're gonna miss patrol!" she hissed.

"I don't CARE! I need to SLEEP!" Bramblepath yowled and then she snuggled deeper into her nest. Wetstream sighed and grasped Bramblepath's tail between her teeth and started to pull.

"OW! StarClan's kits that hurts! Mother of a badger what are you doing to my tail?!" Wetstream was laughing so hard she almost choked on Bramblepath's tail. She started to drag the warrior towards the exit of the den.

"For StarClan's sake have MERCY!!!! MERCY!!!!!" Bramblepath yowled as she as dragged away. After a bit of sunlight in her face and a few slaps from Wetstream was already for patrol.

Unfortunately, they had missed it.

"Scourge's fleas." hissed Wetstream as she sat down. She cuffed Bramblepath over the ear. In turn, Bramblepath knocked her over. A play fight broke out. Soon, both she-cats were scuffling and laughing as they rolled around the dusty camp.

"Bramblepath?" Bramblepath looked up from pummeling Wetstream to see a grim faced Mapleleaf.

"Uh...yeah?" she said, sure the medicine cat was going to chew her out for sneaking in the den the night before.

"Come with me." Mapleleaf's face betrayed no expression or feeling as she headed up the ravine to the woods. Bramblepath called out a good bye to Wetstream and then hurried up the slope to follow the medicine cat.


Chapter 9

Bramblepath had to run a few times to keep up with the grim Mapleleaf. Bramblepath had no idea where the medicine cat was going or what they were doing. Finally, Bramblepath sat down in a huff.

"Where are we going? What are we doing?" she demanded. Mapleleaf turned to Bramblepath and the young warrior was shocked. The medicine cats eyes were drooping and tired. Her pelt was filthy and matted with sweat. She smelled of sickness. Her eyes were full of tears.

"Oh Bramblepath...I just don't know what to do any more." Bramblepath wrapped her tail around the dismayed cat. Mapleleaf looked sad, "With Jayfeather gone..." Jayfeather had been one of the first cats to die in the start of the sickness. He had been old and weak but he died fighting and trying to find a cure. Mapleleaf seemed lost without her mentor.

"...I'm running low on herbs...and...." she lowered her head. "Last night, we lost Ruinstone, Blossomkit, Heartpaw, and Mistysun." Bramblepath gasped, her own eyes filling with tears. "But.." Mapleleaf looked so pained that Bramblepath felt a dagger of sorrow pierce through her own heart. "And Forestheart is in critical condition."

Bramblepath began to cry so hard it felt like all the streams in ThunderClan poured from her eyes. Mapleleaf comforted her.

"But there is good news!" Bramblepath stared at her. How could there be god news? Four cats dead, one almost there! Mapleleaf spotted the look.

"Take me to the plant." she said. Bramblepath lead the medicine cat to the plant she had fallen into earlier.

"You mean this one?" she asked.

Mapleleaf sniffed around and turned to Bramblepath, her eyes glowing.

"Yes." she murmured. "It's just as I thought! This is the antidote!"


Chapter 10

Bramblepath grabbed as much of the plant as she could and, Mapleleaf following, thundered back to camp. She rushed to the medicine den and dropped the herbs on the floor.

The image saddened her. Several nests were now empty, the smell of passed Clanmates till clung to them like the last threads of a spiders ruined web. The few cats that remained were breathing heavily, chests heaving as they fought for air. Forestheart was among them.

Bramblepath immediately rushed to her friend and opened her mouth and pushed in the herbs. Forestheart offered no resistance. She closed her eyes and Bramblepath watched her in worry. After a few moments, Forestheart gave a loud sneeze.

"YOU'RE ALIVE!" Bramblepath yowled.

"While of course I-" Forestheart's eyes widened. "Great STARCLAN I stink!" she yowled. Bramblepath burst out laughing.

Then she fell silent. "I thought I'd lost you."

Forestheart bowed her head and licked the other warrior. "you know I'll never leave you behind. And I'll be your best friend from now til the end of our days. You and I will stick together forever. forever, right?"

Bramblepath nodded, to chocked up to speak. Forestheart sneezed. They stayed that way for a long time.

"A-hem." Mapleleaf looked at them. "If you two are done, we have LOTS of patients to heal."

Forestheart and Bramblepath smiled at each other and got to work.


Epilogue

One moon later...

"Are you okay?" Forestheart rolled her eyes at Bramblepath as her mother, Moonbeam sniffed her. Forestheart had recovered several weeks ago but her mother was still worried. Bramblepath felt a dull pang in her heart. If Dusksky had lived, Bramblepath would have been the same way. but her mother hunted with StarClan now.

ThunderClan was healthier, not at full strength, but the sick cats were better. But there had been losses. But almost every cat had completely recovered. Sparrowsong and Leafwhisker joked as they walked to their den while Icestorm showed a fighting move to Leopardpaw and Shinepaw.

Bramblepath stood up and walked over to Forestheart. "Wanna go into the forest?" she asked. Forestheart nodded, eager to get away form her mother.

They started walking towards the exit to the forest.

Almost simultaneously, Icestorm, Leafwhisker, Hiddensun, Sunmark, Spottedhrose, and Wetstream joined them.

They walked into the forest almost silently, like one cat. Bramblepath felt comforted by being around her friends. She looked around and realized what her friends meant to her.

She never wanted to loose them. She wanted them to stay by her side, grow with her, play with her, grieve and celebrate with her, be her friends.

Forever.

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