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Hold Your Breath

Story for Vee's contest, by Firey.

"What do you mean you're dying?"

"I mean that I'm going to surrender for the Clan."

"Why though?"

"For you, for the kits, for my home."

Blurb

What happens when Firesong loves a tom who loves her back? Encased in love and encased in a raging war, someone has to realize that there's more to love than just being happy with a mate. There's the risk of dying, the kits, the feeling of love. The feeling of death. Firesong realizes that her Clan is dying while she's being with Eagleflight, and she knows, that she has to do something to help her Clan.

Prologue

...when you don't know the change...

"Firesong, let's go hunting!" Eagleflight called out to the pretty fire-red she-cat. He found her mesmerizing, pretty, and just utterly amazing.

There was nothing wrong with mooning over a she-cat right?

Gorgeous amber eyes met his bright green ones, "Okay!"

Purring, Eagleflight twined his tail around Firesong's. As apprentices, they had been close, but now they were going to be mates.

Firesong led the way to the entrance, and Eagleflight followed, entranced by her. She purred as she saw the dumbfounded look on Eagleflight's face.

"Oh come on!" She laughed, "It's hard to be your mate and you friend when all you do is stare at me like I grew a second head!"

Eagleflight licked his chest, looking embarrassed, "I'm sorry," he mumbled, "The feeling to stare at you is irresistible."

"The feeling to strangle you is irresistible." Firesong rolled her eyes.

They ended up laughing and tumbling on the ground, and Eagleflight felt like the world could end now, and it wouldn't even matter because he would be with Firesong.

...when things seem to never go wrong...

"Firesong, do you want to be my mate?" Eagleflight waited for the fiery she-cat's response. At first, Firesong gazed at the sunset, her eyes distant, but then, she turned and purred.

"Oh, of course, Eagleflight, will you be mine?"

Eagleflight was exuberant. He rubbed his cheek against Firesong, his purr rumbling in his throat. This had to be the best day of his life.

"I love you, Firesong, I'll love you forever."

"I love you too, Eagleflight, never forget that."

As the two allowed themselves to be encased in their love, there was more going on for the Clan, for them, and for their kits, if they have them.

The sunset was an explosion of red, orange, yellow, and bits of purple and blue. Firesong was leaning against Eagleflight, and the tom let out a rusty purr as he gazed at something that he could relate to someone like Firesong.

A ball of fire.

A symbol of friendship.

Something that would be his if he embraced the blues of it.

...you would think it would never end...

Chapter One

...a start of a new day brings new life...

I love being out at dawn, the feeling of the wind blowing past me and the sun just coming up the hill. Eagleflight says I'm crazy to love being up so early, but I think it's normal.

Today, I'm sitting out on the Basking Rocks, staring at the new world. I could see everything, all the way to the mountains.

The view was amazing on the Basking Rocks, and every morning, I would sit on the rocks, gazing out into the fields of...everything.

There were Twolegs walking their dogs, other cats darting in and out of the Twolegplace, sheep and horses grazing around the fields far away. And the mountains that glittered in the horizon. Farther to the east, I saw the marshy lands that held SmokeClan. My Clan, IceClan, had been in war against them for too long. I could see sleek forms of the cats that lived there.

"Firesong?"

I looked behind me and purred when I saw Eagleflight emerging from the bracken. "Still waking up before dawn?" He teased.

"Still unable to get up when the sun rises?" I shot back.

His whiskers twitched, and he mewed, "Brackenwing wants you on the dawn patrol. She figured you'd like an early duty."

"Why are you up so early?" I purred, curling my tail around his.

He purred alongside me, "I was called to call you back," he laughed, "I was just 'unlucky' I guess to be the one to come after you."

"I bet you called yourself up."

I followed him back to camp, where Sunstep, Willowleaf, and Shadowflicker were waiting for Eagleflight and me. He was joining the patrol because he was up anyways, and Whitefoot was sleeping in. Willowleaf, who was leading the patrol, spun around and led the way out.

Sunstep was chatting with Eagleflight, his golden pelt bushed up against the cold. Shadowflicker slid in next to me.

"What's going on between you and Eagleflight?" Shadowflicker's yellow eyes glowed with pleasure.

I let out a snort, "Eagleflight's a great cat."

Shadowflicker brushed against me, "A great cat indeed," she purred, "You two are going to be a great pair! I can't wait to see your kits, oh, they'll be so cute!"

I laughed, amused by her enthusiasm. "What about you and Thorntail?" I referred to the black she-cat's obsession with the dark brown tabby tom.

My friend slapped me playfully and sighed, "He is handsome though, and you have to admit that. Plus, he's taking a liking in me!"

I secretly admitted that he was handsome, but I thought his good looks didn't cover up the mischievious look in his eyes. "It's probably because you moon over him too much."

Shadowflicker shot me an amused look and started to bound after Willowleaf, "Race you to the SmokeClan border!"

~

I was lying outside the warriors' den, grooming my sleek, orange fur. Eagleflight had gone out hunting, and Shadowflicker, not surprisingly, had trotted over to go talk to Thorntail. My sister, Amberheart had stretched out next to me, her eyes following mine to where Shadowflicker and Thorntail were socializing.

"It seems like next season a lot of she-cats are going to be bearing kits." My sister mewed wryly.

I stopped grooming and stared at her, "What do you mean?"

She snorted. "I've seen the way Shadowflicker followed Thorntail around like a fox. Perhaps he doesn't like her back, but it sure does look like they enjoy each other's company." I emitted a tiny laugh at the thought of that, "Plus," my sister continued, "I've seen the way you and Eagleflight look at one another. You two have been best friends since apprenticeship!"

I laughed, "You don't miss anything do you, Amberheart?"

My sister gave me an amused look. "You certainly don't care if others see you hanging out with Eagleflight." She pointed out.

Smiling slightly, my gaze slid to where Eagleflight emerged at the head of a hunting patrol, a sparrow in his mouth. He trotted over to my side and dropped his prey, "Do you want to share?" He offered.

Amberheart stood up, and she purred, "I'll leave you two be then."

I smacked her with my tail, but Eagleflight slipped in next to me, and I purred as his warm body pressed against mine.

"You take the first bite."

Reaching over tentatively, I took a bite of the sparrow; it's warm and tantalizing flavor seeping into my mouth. I quickly pushed the prey over to Eagleflight, who eagerly dug in.

We stayed like that for a few moments, just sharing the prey he brought back from his hunting patrol, then Eagleflight leaned over, and started to groom my fur.

Once he was finished, I began with his head, then moved down his body. I felt his muscles relax as I pressed over him, sharing tongues with him until I was feeling too drowsy. "I'm going to my nest." I told him, yawning.

He led me there himself, his tail lingering close to mine before I pulled away, curling up the in the feathered lined nest to rest for the night.

...a new way two look at new things...

Chapter Two

...it only takes one to love another...

"Firesong, can you lead the sunhigh patrol?" I heard Brackenwing call to me. I pulled myself out of my den, nodding to the deputy.

Swiftwind, Eagleflight, and Amberheart were on my patrol. My sister smiled warmly at me as I fell in step with Eagleflight, and I merely shot her an affable look. I was elated that Eagleflight was patrolling with me, and I could feel his warmth next to mine as we trotted towards the SmokeClan border.

Amberheart went to mark the border, and I heard a startled shriek from another she-cat. I rushed forward, my patrol flanking out behind me in a formation we practiced often.

My sister had pinned down a SmokeClan she-cat, who was struggling and spitting vehemently. "Let go of me, IceClan scum!"

"Emberwing, would you kindly explain why you're on IceClan territory?" I mewed coldly, my amber gaze piercing her green ones.

"It's none of your business what I do!"

I stalked closer, and I felt her flinch away. "Oh really, but you happen to be on our territory. I'm sure you don't take kindly towards trespassers either."

Amberheart still had a strong grip over Emberwing, and the SmokeClan she-cat hissed, "I don't care what you do to me; I'll never reveal SmokeClan's secrets!"

I secretly thought that she was giving away secrets already by telling us that she was doing something for SmokeClan. "Well, Redstar can decide what happens to you." Amberheart hauled the she-cat up while Swiftwind marked the border with strong scents.

"Come on."

Eagleflight pulled up the rear, his eyes watching behind them and making sure Emberwing didn't try to escape.

Swiftwind and Amberheart flanked Emberwing, while I took the lead back. Tensions were high, and Emberwing's hostile hissing didn't help.

Redstar's head shot up when she saw us haul in a spitting she-cat. "Firesong? Why is there a SmokeClan cat in our camp?"

I quickly relayed the incident at the border, and Redstar's eyes narrowed at Emberwing, who stared back without flinching.

"We'll keep you prisoner until SmokeClan does something to get you back," Redstar mused, "How much would Snakestar want for a warrior of his? What do you think, Emberwing?" The ginger she-cat tried to claw the IceClan leader when he got closer.

"Sacrifices are necessary in being loyal to your Clan." She replied stoutly, "Keeping me prisoner won't stop Snakestar from waging a war against IceClan, even if you kill me."

She sounded brave, but there was fear in her eyes, and she looked a bit scared. I didn't blame her; I wouldn't want to die for a cause like this.

"Take her away."

I watched with Eagleflight next to me as Shadowflicker and Willowleaf pushed Emberwing into a small stone cave with a bramble screen shielding her from escaping. All the bramble thorns were pointing in, so any IceClan warrior could easily pull aside the screen to feed the prisoner, but the prisoner couldn't risk tearing herself apart trying to get out. The back of the cave was a stone wall, with a roof sheltering over them. There was no escape.

Eagleflight whispered, "I'm going to go hunting, do you want to come?"

I wanted to, but I felt as though I needed to rest, "I'm going to take a nap," I told him, "See you later?"

Something flashed in his eyes at my words, but I tried not to worry about it, "Alright, see you later." He agreed.

~

There were terrified yowls when I woke up.

I sat up straight and nudged Amberheart awake, "What's going on?" I whispered. My sister lifted her head, then flattened her ears.

"Sounds like an invasion."

Together, we rushed outside in time to see our cats bursting in, followed closely by SmokeClan cats. "Redstar, we're under attack!" Willowleaf shouted as she lunged for the nearest SmokeClan cat. I rushed over to help them, and I gasped.

"Why did you lead them into our camp?"

Willowleaf huffed, "We had no choice, they were overwhelming us."

"Where's Eagleflight?"

The gray she-cat merely shrugged, then plunged into the battle. With my heart in my throat, I pushed through the cats, desperate to see if I could find the brown tom. Shadowflicker fought next to me step by step, knowing the reason for my anxiety.

"He's not in the camp." I whispered, my eyes wide as I surveyed the camp.

Shadowflicker shook her head, "No, there's nothing we can do, Firesong, we have to help IceClan drive off the attackers."

I glared at her, "No! What if Thorntail was out there, and I told you to stay in camp? Would you stay here, knowing that he might be dying?"

The black she-cat looked away, "I guess not."

Before she could say any more, I barged through the ranks of SmokeClan cats, breaking out of the camp and charged towards the forest.

"Eagleflight!"

There was no reply from the forest. I sobbed out, "Eagleflight!"

"Are you looking for him?"

Just ahead of me, Eagleflight was lying on the ground, with the SmokeClan leader, Snakestar standing over him.

...love makes one vulnerable...

Chapter Three

...tears are hard to hold back in times of need...

I couldn't move. Snakestar was purring without mirth, and all I could do was stare at Eagleflight's beautiful green eyes. He was mouthing something, but I was too stricken by fear to even bother to try to tell what he was saying.

Seconds later, Eagleflight was on top of Snakestar, and there were SmokeClan warriors screeching around him.

In the next fraction of a second, I found myself struggling against three warriors, and fending them off as I moved towards where Eagleflight and Snakestar were grappling.

Our shrieks and yowls must have brought attention from the fighting warriors at camp, because soon, Redstar appeared with a patrol of warriors to help drive off the SmokeClan ambush patrol.

My breath was coming in gasps and my paws were whirling in front of me for who knows how long. I didn't know what took hold of me, but I knew I had one mission in mind: save Eagleflight and don't let him die. Before long, Redstar was pulling me back firmly, and the battle was over.

I sank to the ground, my pelt stained more red than the color should have been, and I heard shocked exclaims coming from my Clanmates.

It's not my blood... I wanted to reassure them, but I was too tired to.

"Firesong!" I heard a panicked voice before I slipped into unconsciousness, "Firesong, you can't die!" Eagleflight, he's alright.

Relief flowed through me, and then I couldn't feel or see anything.

Darkness overwhelmed me, and I welcomed its shelter.

~

When I woke up, I felt at peace. Well almost at peace, because one thing was different from the peace I thought I would wake up to.

A face was hovering over mine.

I let out a shriek and there was a responding shriek as Eagleflight jumped back. "Firesong, you're alive!" He then exclaimed, rushing forward to nose me.

"Back off." Minnowleaf muttered, nosing Eagleflight aside, "Give her some space, and by sunhigh, she'll be grooming her fur next to you."

I was grateful for the medicine cat as Eagleflight hurriedly backed off, though he remained at a distance, his eyes watching me.

Soon, Minnowleaf had me all patched up, and she ushered me out of her den. Eagleflight accompanied me with every step, and he purred, "I thought you died for a moment."

I didn't respond, my eyes drifting to where Shadowflicker and Thorntail were sitting. Is fighting for who you love worth it, or is it just something that simulates you to do so? Shadowflicker and Thorntail looked so perfect together.

Eagleflight had a worried look on his face, and I almost wished I could bring back our playful times. His eyes were dark, and he mewed, "You didn't have to almost die for me."

Still, I didn't speak, and Eagleflight sighed, "I don't want you to get hurt for me, it's...I'm not worth it, Firesong."

My heart broke a little, maybe he didn't think our love was strong enough to save each other from demise, "If you're not worth it, what is?"

~

Amberheart looked sympathetic when I stumbled up to her at sunset. "You look like someone killed you, or Eagleflight." She sighed.

I flinched visibly, and she stroked me with her tail, "What's wrong, Firesong?"

"Everything!" I burst out, "Eagleflight acts like I shouldn't try to die for him, and he says he's not worth it. If dying for him isn't the love he wants, what is?"

My sister was silent for a moment, "Firesong...love is a complicated thing," she started slowly, "Sometimes, you think you love them, but then...it never happens. Or you think you hate them, but in the end, you could die for them. It's a hidden thing that takes time to reach. Maybe it'll take time for Eagleflight to admit that you are the cat he needs."

"What if he's not what I need?"

Amberheart's clear gaze didn't falter, "Then...maybe your love isn't real."

And that made me realize how much I was holding in. I buried my head in her shoulder and started to cry. "I don't know what to do, Amberheart."

"Do what your heart tells you to."

...love can possess you when you need it the least...

Chapter Four

...when love no longer supports you...

I bumped into Eagleflight as I rushed towards the entrance of the camp. His gaze passed over me, and I flinched again.

This was the fifth time he had looked at me this morning, and every single time I couldn't meet his gaze, or resist the heat of his gaze when he looked at me.

I could almost hear his question buzzing in his head, and I wanted to burst out my response. You made me feel as though our love isn't worth it, but I know you are worth dying for. What can I do to make you see? Suddenly, he was at my side.

It took all my strength just to stop myself from jerking away from his touch, "Firesong, Brackenwing told me to go hunting with you."

"O-oh, okay."

Stumbling after the light brown tom, I walked slowly, trying to stay away from him.

When we were out in the woods, Eagleflight stared at me, "Why do you act like I've killed everything we had?" He mewed softly.

"Because you did!"

His startling green gaze meets mine, "What do you mean, Firesong?"

"If you truly love me, you'd know that love is something you could die for. You..." I didn't know what I was trying to say anymore.

"Firesong, I-"

"No! You let me believe that all you want to do is keep me safe, but if you loved me, you'd know that I know that you'd sacrifice yourself to save me. You are worth dying for, and love tells you that even though you don't want the other to die, sometimes you have to accept that if she was in your place, you would save her from demise."

The silence was welcoming, but when I realized that Eagleflight's eyes had darkened, I started to back away, "I'm sorry, I was just angry that you didn't want me to even try to do what you would do. I really love you, I'd die for you if necessary, and I-"

I didn't finish.

I ran.

The pounding in my heart and the roaring in my ears drowned out all the other noises. I lurched away from where Eagleflight had been standing, and I rushed towards...nowhere.

Finally, I crashed into Shadowflicker, who let out a shriek as I tumbled out of the undergrowth. "Firesong, what in the name of StarClan happened to you?"

I must have looked hideous, running out in hysterics.

"N-nothing happened."

Her eyes narrowed, "Firesong, you looked like everyone you loved died, and the world is about to end. Something happened, now what?"

I averted my gaze, unwilling the replay the scene. My friend sighed, then mewed, "You can always tell me if something is wrong."

Only after I've told Amberheart...

But the unwillingness to leave told me to stay, and I ended up sobbing out everything that happened between me and Eagleflight to Shadowflicker.

My best friend pressed against me, whispering words of encouragement as she soothed the aching feeling from my chest.

Maybe there was more to love than being willing to die for them.

...sometimes telling someone is the only option left...

Chapter Five

...only love can tell you what to do...

The next morning, I woke up, feeling stiff and broken.

I also woke up with Eagleflight sitting in front of me, calmly grooming his paw. I flushed as memories of last night came back to me.

"Firesong, are you sure you want to tell him that?" Amberheart mewed worriedly, "I know it seems that you love him dearly, but perhaps Eagleflight doesn't love you, so he doesn't want you to waste your life for him?" My sister's words struck me.

"I want to tell him, I feel as though it could help me."

Amberheart sighed, "Remember that you have your own opinions, and if he's hurting you, you can stop being with him."

I shrugged, "I know."

My sister muttered as she paced, "I'm just afraid that he's just using you for something, I don't want you to get hurt for nothing."

"He's not nothing!"

Amberheart's bright orange gaze met mine, "Firesong, we both know that he's certainly something, but his words mean nothing if he doesn't mean them."

"What are you trying to tell me, that he loves me, or that he doesn't?" I snapped, annoyed that my sister was trying to persuade me to do something I didn't want to do.

"I'm just saying that his words may not mean what you think they mean." Amberheart cautioned, her eyes wide now.

"So everything he-"

"Everything I what?" Another voice interrupted us.

I froze as Amberheart's mouth dropped open. A cold, freezing feeling crept down my back, and it took a lot of effort to turn around.

Green eyes met my orange ones, and I visibly flinched. "Firesong," his voice was soft, but angry, "Everything I've what?"

I couldn't respond for a moment, and Eagleflight narrowed his eyes, "I feel as though you're keeping secrets from me, even after everything you told me to tell me that love was something stronger. I thought you were better than that, Firesong."

Anger exploded in me, "I was having a private conversation between me and Amberheart, mind you! And if you really want to know what we were talking about, I was going to say 'Everything he's said to me could be a lie?' Yeah, you heard me, that's what I was going to say." I snapped.

He stared at me.

Then he turned and stalked off.

I hate my life.

I sat there in my nest, watching Eagleflight groom his fur infuriatingly slowly. After what seemed like moons, Eagleflight's eyes finally lifted and met mine.

Despite my anger from last night, I felt hope sprout through me as his eyes searched mine for something I didn't know.

Then, to my disappointment, he turned and pointedly walked away.

I think I messed up everything.

Amberheart brushed by me, shooting me a pained glance. I knew that she blamed herself for letting Eagleflight sneak in on our conversation, but it wasn't her fault. I was too relaxed when I was talking about my feelings.

"Firesong, can you go on patrol with Eagleflight, Shadowflicker, and Graystorm?" Brackenwing called out to me.

StarClan, do you hate me?

I nodded to the deputy and padded towards the patrol, who was waiting for me impatiently. Shadowflicker shot me a smile, though I didn't have the energy to smile back. Eagleflight was leading the patrol, and Graystorm took up the rear.

Shadowflicker slipped in next to me, "Don't be too discouraged, Firesong, Eagleflight just looks a bit upset about...whatever. I'm sure it'll slip away and you two will be together in no time."

I let out a soft purr, but I knew that it would take more than just time for Eagleflight to forget about what I said. He was hurting.

"SmokeClan, attack!"

My head snapped up as Eagleflight rammed into me, pushing me back, "Stay back!" he barked, "Go find help."

I lunged anyways, plunging into the battle after the brown tom, trying to find him before he got himself killed, "Get back, Firesong!" I heard him shout, then felt his claws close around me and throwing me away from the battle, "Get help!"

Shadowflicker let out a cry of pain, and without hesitation, I lunged for the SmokeClan tom that was looming over my friend.

Eagleflight let out a growl, and I knew he wanted me to go back to camp and get help. I also realized he was trying to protect me, but I didn't need help.

After a moment of strangling another tom, I shouted to Graystorm, "Go back to camp and get Redstar! We need reinforcements."

The tom nodded and raced away, leaving me and Eagleflight still fighting as Shadowflicker groaned and didn't get back up.

My heart raced as I slashed and hacked, leaving the warriors shrieking, but not backing down. It was a hopeless battle until Redstar arrived with another patrol.

But at that moment, I saw Eagleflight facing a huge white tom, and a warrior I didn't quite recognize was sneaking up on him. "Watch out!" The scream erupted from my mouth as I watched in horror as Eagleflight spun around to see the warrior closing in on him.

Before I knew it, my paws were moving too, racing across the blood-stained floor and flashing in front of Eagleflight as the warrior's claws closing around me.

I was aware of a scream and Redstar appearing at the top of the hill, and then everything began to disappear to black.

"Firesong...I'm sorry."

...maybe demise makes love stronger...

Chapter Six

...when true love whispers in your ear...

Apparently I woke up six times that night, screaming about pain, eagles, and flights. The medicine cat, Minnowleaf, was exhausted, and when I woke up for the seventh time that night, she ended up choking me to keep me from screaming.

Not like I was going to.

So when I finally got my breath back, I sat up gingerly and glared at Minnowleaf, "Really? Choking your patient?"

She only glared back, "You've been keeping me up all night with your screaming, I'm sick of it. Your Clanmates are up pacing outside because they think you're going to die or something. I've finally got them to sleep, and I'm not having you waking them up again, only to fall unconscious so you don't have to deal with their worried meows."

I muttered about rude and impatient cats and curled up to sleep again. I also realized the change in my surroundings.

Last I remembered, other than being choked by Minnowleaf, was that I was in a battle against SmokeClan, and I felt fire burning in my belly.

I also happened to remember a specific voice finding me and whispering, "Firesong, I'm sorry."

StarClan, I need to do something about my life.

No more than five seconds after I closed my eyes, someone was roughly shaking me to wake up, "It's sunhigh, Firesong, I know you have a tendency of dying from bleeding wounds, but you should go and stretch or something."

Sometimes I doubt the medicine cat's intelligence.

Groaning something about food and water, I limped out of the den, slightly grateful to have fresh air, and thoroughly annoyed that I wasn't allowed to continue sleeping in my nest.

Eagleflight was the first to spot me as I wobbled out, and he seemed to tense. I tensed too, not sure if I wanted to talk to him or not.

But he did walk over, and he mewed, "I'm really sorry, Firesong."

I knew he was the one who had whispered those words when I took the blow for him, but I didn't know what to say.

Wordlessly, I step-sided him and grabbed a mouse from the prey pile and scooting towards the shade beside the medicine cat's den.

He followed me until I settled, and his eyes flickered to the mess of fur at my belly, "You took the blow for me, why?"

He sounded heartbroken.

I took in a shaky breath, and then let it out. Taking in another one, I closed my eyes. When I opened them, Eagleflight was still standing there.

"I'd take the blow for you anytime."

His stunned eyes are wide and startling, and I tried not to flinch as he said the words I dreaded, "But...why?" he whispered, "I'm not special, and I'm haven't been anywhere close to being nice to you these past few days."

My amber eyes gazed at him, "I'll always love you, Eagleflight, I've been stupid to think that I do not."

"I...I think I love you too."

...love can make one think differently...

Chapter Seven

...when love envelops you in something else...

I think I love you too.

I was sitting on the Basking Rocks, sighing. I had regained most of my health over the moon, and it was a miracle that SmokeClan hadn't been attacking the past moon. Tonight was the Gathering, but I wasn't going. Minnowleaf said tomorrow I would be able to return to my full warrior duties, but I should still take it easy because of my belly wound.

Eagleflight's words bounced back to me. He was everything I wanted, maybe even more. Sure, sometimes I hated how he acted and the way he would hold me away, but he was still my mate.

"Firesong?"

I looked back to see the medicine cat emerging, "I need to have a word with you." Minnowleaf mewed. I gave her a look of confusion, and she mewed.

"The belly wound was an extreme risk, but after examining you for the past moon, I believe you'll be fine. Hopefully those little ones will be too."

I stared at Minnowleaf, "L-little ones?"

She smiled wryly, "Didn't I mention that you're having kits?"

Oh StarClan.

~

Later that day, I watched as Eagleflight trotted into camp carrying a rabbit. He dropped it at my paws and purred, "Do you want it?"

I purred my thanks as I bent forward to sink my teeth into the delicate skin of the rabbit. After taking a bite, I passed it over to Eagleflight.

He settled down next to me, his tail carefully draped over my flank. He seemed more relaxed now, but he seemed too tense about something.

"I'm scared that you'll die one day, taking a blow for me. I mean, I know perhaps it's because of true love, but I don't want to live knowing that you died for me."

I stared at him.

His gorgeous green eyes were dark, but they took in the sun's light. His light brown pelt was smooth and unruffled, and he just felt so warm at my side.

"I don't want to know that I let you die instead of taking the blow for you." I replied softly.

He stared back.

"But..."

I leaned forward and lay my head on his shoulder, "Sometimes, life, or love, is more than just being with the other. Sometimes, you need to take the risk for them. Wouldn't you die for me?"

"Yes."

There was no hesitation in his mew. "I guess you're right," he sighed, "But I want to protect you. I promise, I'll never let you get hurt again."

But even I know that won't be true.

Because I've already been hurt inside, and some scars won't go away.

Hopefully my love for Eagleflight and his love for me won't go away.

I gazed at him for a moment longer, letting his green gaze sink into my amber ones. He smiled slightly, and I was drawn into how handsome he looked. I could probably stare at him forever, and never be harmed. But then I broke my gaze away, and I knew he was slightly hurt by the fact that I had backed away. "I...I should go."

His eyes followed me as I slowly backed away. I didn't know where I was going, but I had to get out of camp. Pushing past the ferns drooping over the entrance, I sighed as I reached my favorite spot on the Basking Rocks.

The sunset was beautiful, and I closed my eyes, imagining a better world for me and Eagleflight, a world where SmokeClan didn't exist, a world where I could raise my kits where they belong.

Suddenly, a scent washed over me, and I heard a rusty purr, "Look what I found, Darkfrost, a perfect exchange."

"Let's take her."

...when all you want is to feel the love...

Chapter Eight

...when you're no longer supported by what you need...

I'm aware that there were scents I couldn't recognize. I whirled around, and crashing into two cats that were advancing at me.

Blinking, I snarled, "What are you doing so close to camp?"

They smirked, "If you call out, we'll kill you. So really, there's no real risk of us being here." The SmokeClan cats came closer.

I glared at them, scared that I wouldn't be able to fight them off now that I was having kits. The cats were right, as soon as I called out, they would attack. My Clanmates wouldn't come fast enough to stop their brutal attack that would kill me.

"What do you want with me?" I spat.

They shrugged, "You have Emberwing, so it's only fair we have our own hostage," they laughed softly, "Now come on quietly, or something more than an 'accident' will happen you." They shoved me along the path, one of them slipping ahead to make sure there were no IceClan cats ahead to stop them from taking me to wherever we were going.

I glanced behind me, kind of frightened of what would happen in me when we left IceClan territory. What will Eagleflight do when he finds me gone?

"Come on," the one called Darkfrost nudged me forward. The other one, a warrior I believed was Frostflame trotted ahead, and then breaking into a run. Darkfrost forced me to scamper after them, his head swinging back and forth, as if he was nervous about any other cats that would spot us charging for the SmokeClan border.

When we were finally across, the two warriors relaxed, and they led to a side area that I didn't recognize as the camp.

"Get in." Darkfrost muttered, shoving me none too gently inside. I slipped into the den, and a screen of brambles closed behind me.

"We'll bring you some prey later." Frostflame called out from outside before I heard the pattering of paws that indicated that the two SmokeClan warriors were gone.

Sighing, I closed my eyes, willing sleep to come quick for me.

~*~

"Eagleflight, I know you're worried about Firesong, but she's probably out hunting. Now you really need to prepare for the Gathering, or would you rather not go?" Redstar glared pointedly at the brown tom, who was pacing in her den.

"I'm sorry." He muttered.

"So you should be," the leader sighed, "Now go on and quickly eat, I'm sure Firesong is fine."

Eagleflight was almost certain that she was not fine, but he backed out anyways and went to grab a quick mouse.

"Redstar!"

Eagleflight looked up as Shadowflicker burst into camp, "There are scents of SmokeClan cats near the Basking Rocks mixed with Firesong's scent!"

Restar's eyes darkened, "We'll see what Snakestar has to say in the Gathering tonight, let's go, IceClan." She whirled around and stalked out of the camp, the warriors filing out behind her.

Oh Firesong, where are you now?

...when love takes you away...

Chapter Nine

...when the need to reach out is irresistible...

I missed Eagleflight already. I wanted him to be at my side, pressing against me, and telling me that it would be okay. His emerald green eyes would draw me in, and I'd be safe with him next to me, oblivious of the world around me. His tail would loop around mine, and I'd be wrapped in his protection, with no need to worry about being captured by SmokeClan cats, or dying.

But he wasn't here.

Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, trying to think of ways to escape. I didn't recognize this area of the territory, then of course, I didn't know any part of SmokeClan territory.

The door slid open, and I flinched as the harsh sunlight filtered into the den. "Here's your prey." A gruff voice growled before I was swallowed in darkness once more.

The stone walls were smooth, and as I ran my paw along them, I couldn't feel any openings, or even cracks that would allow me to break through. I was on dirt floor, but it was dry and hard, and with no rain to soften it, I wouldn't be able to dig my way out.

I was stuck.

I sighed and dragged myself back to the rabbit, which I began to eat from. I was starving, and I knew I should try to save the rabbit; they only brought prey in once a day.

The darkness made me nervous, and I wished I could be in my nest in the warriors' den, away from all this danger.

I finished the rabbit quickly, and sighed again as my stomach growled. My kits required more prey than I usually ate, and now I had a limited supply of prey that the SmokeClan cats controlled.

I curled up in the back of the den, trying to get comfortable. There were stale scents, and I just wished that the SmokeClan cats would hurry and make the exchange of prisoners.

Even I knew that Emberwing wasn't being treated so harshly.

I fell asleep once more, exhaustion taking over every limb of my body.

~

Eagleflight was pacing outside of the warriors' den, his eyes darting around. He needed more clues, but Redstar hadn't placed him on any search patrol that was sent out.

And he desperately wanted to find Firesong.

Shadowflicker hissed from inside the den, "Eagleflight, stop pacing! You're keeping us all awake, we're trying to sleep."

It was sunset, and some of the cats were taking a nap because they were on the night patrol. Eagleflight was too, but he was too nervous to sleep.

"Eagleflight!"

The light brown tabby tom's head shot up when Redstar called him over, "Willowleaf's patrol found some evidence that Firesong was taken over the border to SmokeClan."

"Do we know where she's being held?"

Redstar shook her head, "It must be in the camp or somewhere, but they also met a SmokeClan patrol that said that they wanted Emberwing in exchange for Firesong."

"Then do it!"

Redstar's gaze didn't waver, "I want her back as much as you do, but I don't want to give away something that could have earned more than just an exchange of prisoners."

"You can't risk Firesong! She's expecting kits." Eagleflight glared at his leader.

The IceClan leader didn't flinch, "This isn't why I asked you to talk with me, Eagleflight. I've already made my decision, and you need to help me do it."

"What is it?"

"You need to take a patrol to SmokeClan and try to break Firesong out of prison." Redstar mewed grimly.

"What if she's killed in the process?" Eagleflight growled.

"Make sure she isn't."

..love is worth risking for...

Chapter Ten

...in times of need...

The routine became familiar to me, and several days had now passed since I had been captured. The cats who fed me were the same, Frostflame and Darkfrost. Every minute felt like an hour to me, and the days ticked by as I paced around in my prison and slept the hours away.

They did check often though, and they started to give me more prey. Not too much, but enough so that I wouldn't complain about my empty stomach every single time they checked on me.

I just wished that Eagleflight would hurry and rescue me already; or that Redstar would hurry and make the deal.

The bramble screen opened again, and I hungrily looked up. Darkfrost was carrying prey, but Snakestar was behind the SmokeClan cat.

"Let's talk, shall we, Firesong?" He purred.

I glared at him as he slipped into the den they had me confined in, "Now I know you're probably desperate to get back to IceClan, but Redstar has yet to make an attempt to save you. Obviously you won't be harmed; they don't even know that you're not being confined in the camp, which I know they will attack soon."

"And?"

"And I thought I would just let you know that you'll probably be released soon. Though I did hear that you're expecting kits." His eyes glittered, "Which means you're much more valuable than just Emberwing, I think an exchange for a Clanmate of yours and Emberwing would be a suitable price for you."

Mouse-dung.

I glared at him and hissed, "You're a sadistic cat, do you know that?"

Snakestar only purred, "I'm doing what is necessary, and that's what counts."

As he walked away, Darkfrost threw the mouse and a vole into the den, and the bramble screen closed the hole once more.

As I nibbled on the prey, I tried to think about what was going to happen. There was going to be an attack on the camp, and Snakestar would tell Redstar about his new proposal in exchange of me. Eagleflight will hear the news, and he'll volunteer to be the warrior that will mean the release of me. I couldn't allow him to do that.

I finished off the meal they had given me, and I focused on the bramble wall that was my only obstacle to freedom.

I slashed at it, then hissed as a bolt of pain shot through my paw. It was bleeding quite a bit, but I could risk it to get back to IceClan.

Crashing into the bramble wall, I felt hot fire flare oh my flank as I tored through the brambles. I clamped my jaws shut to stifle a scream of pain, then waltzed towards the IceClan border, half blind from the pain.

My left flank was on fire, and I knew I was dripping blood behind. But the border was just ahead.

I limped across, then heard shouts. I didn't know if it were the SmokeClan cats, or if it were my Clanmates. I sank and fell to the floor as black spots danced in front of my eyes.

Now I knew why the SmokeClan cats were okay with just having a bramble wall there, it did enough damage to secure that the prisoner either bled out trying to escape, or that they wouldn't risk it.

And I was bleeding out, hopefully on IceClan territory where they would find me.

~

Eagleflight was terrified to find Firesong passed out at the edge of IceClan territory while he was leading the battle patrol to the SmokeClan border.

"Firesong!"

He rushed to her side, but her eyes were closed and there were deep wounds on her left flank. She was bleeding heavily, and her flank was barely moving.

Amberheart let out a startled shriek, then quickly had Eagleflight go get Minnowleaf. The brown tabby whirled around and raced towards the camp.

He burst in, and yowled, "Firesong's hurt on the IceClan border!"

Minnowleaf was by his side in an instant, and she hurried over with cobwebs and herbs Eagleflight hoped would save his mate's life.

Oh StarClan, please let her be okay.

...when love makes everything better...

Chapter Eleven

...when life makes love harder to accept...

When I woke up, I knew everything was wrong.

My left flank was throbbing, and I released my breath through gritted teeth. Eagleflight was talking with Minnowleaf outside, and I felt some kind of profound love for the tom.

I sat up slowly, and Eagleflight walked in, and he said the words I was expecting him to say. "Snakestar confronted Redstar and gave her a proposal."

He's going to say something about a Clanmate...

"He said that he would stop the war if IceClan sacrificed one warrior willingly, and gave back Emberwing. If not, he would lay siege on the camp, and probably kill most of us before they stopped." Eagleflight sighed, "I want to go."

I stared at him, "You can't."

Eagleflight looked away, "I saw what they did to you, or what they wanted to do to you. I don't want you or the kits to die in the siege."

"How long before he does it?" Minnowleaf told me I was kitting soon.

"Five days."

I took in a breath, "You can't leave me," I mewed brokenly. Because I won't let you leave me. I had already guessed that this was going to happen. Snakestar couldn't have been clearer about his intentions, with or without me.

"I must if it means that you'll be safe." Eagleflight purred without mirth, "Plus, weren't you the one who told me about sacrifices in true love?"

"But...this is different."

The brown tom shook his head, "I don't think so, Firesong, but I promise I'll spend the next five days with you before I...go."

No, you can't go.

I leaned forward to curl my tail around his, "Please, Eagleflight, you can't be the one to do it."

"I have to, Firesong."

~

It turns out that Robinfeather, who had been in the Nursery for quite a while now since I was an apprentice, had kitted tonight.

Minnowleaf kept running in and out of the medicine cat den, muttering about difficult kits. There were yowls of pain that sounded from the Nursery, and I shuddered.

Finally, Minnowleaf broke into the den, looking exhausted, "Two kits, both healthy and suckling. Tomorrow you can move to the Nursery, and you can prepare for your kitting there."

I was sympathetic for the medicine cat, "You should get an apprentice." I joked, "You're working your paws off."

"It's a little too late to get an apprentice since you're kitting soon, and there's no kits for me to grab." She laughed.

"Did Robinfeather name the kits?"

"Tigerkit and Sagekit."

They sounded cute.

~

Forgetting about Eagleflight's love for me facilitated my decision. I didn't want to tell him, but he had to know sooner or later.

"You really should stop pacing, those poor kits are going to be exhausted by the time they're ready to be born." Minnowleaf sighed.

It was now four days since Eagleflight told me about Snakestar's proposal, and I was glad he hadn't left yet. He told Redstar his plan, and the IceClan leader was reluctant to agree.

Emberwing was a whole different story. Redstar refused to allow the SmokeClan warrior to go free when one of her warriors was already sacrifices himself for the Clan. She and Snakestar met frequently to discuss the matter, and they hadn't gotten a solution yet.

I was in the Nursery, but Minnowleaf was doing her daily checkups on me. Eagleflight poked his head inside, "They came to a conclusion."

His eyes were bloodshot, and he looked ready to drop. "What was it?"

"Emberwing would be handed back to SmokeClan along with the chosen 'sacrifice'." Eagleflight didn't look thrilled.

"Isn't this good?"

"Well, it would be if Snakestar hadn't taken Amberheart and threatened to kill her if the 'sacrifice' and Emberwing weren't delivered on time."

Amberheart?

~

I stared blankly at the vole in my paws. Eagleflight was curled around me, urging me to eat. "Minnowleaf says you're kitting soon, like tonight. You need to keep your strength up."

I reluctantly bent down to take a bite, and then I felt a ripple through my stomach. "I think they're coming!" I whispered.

Eagleflight immediately shot to his paws, racing over to Minnowleaf's den. He poked his head in, and moments later Minnowleaf was helping me in my nest and the kitting began.

The time flew by fast, and I only registered Minnowleaf shouting, Eagleflight's concerned yowls, and just pain in general.

"Three kits!"

I sighed and craned my neck to glance at my kits. One of them was pure black (StarClan knows how she got that pelt), and one was ginger like me. The last one...was a mirror image of Eagleflight. His light brown pelt and darker brown stripes was just like his father's.

I licked them each once, then murmured. "I'll name him Nightkit, the she-cat Flamekit, and... Eagleflight can name the last one."

When my mate came in, he cooed, "They're beautiful, Firesong, just like you."

I purred, "The black tom is Nightkit, and the ginger she-cat is Flamekit."

"And...the last she-cat will be Leafkit."

"Nightkit, Flamekit, Leafkit... they're lovely."

~

I loved my kits, I really did, but...alas I already made my choice.

"Firesong, why are you sitting out here?"

I turned to see Eagleflight. "Today's the last day," I whispered, "The choice must me made." I stared at his beautiful green eyes, the eyes that Leafkit didn't have.

"I'll miss our kits, Eagleflight."

Panic flared in his eyes. "Firesong?"

"I'm dying, Eagleflight."

He moved closer, "What do you mean 'you're dying'?" He looked terrified, and his eyes darted around, trying to see what was wrong.

"I mean that I'm going to surrender for the Clan."

"Why though?"

"For you, for the kits, for my home."

...when one choice ends all...

Epilogue

...when love makes you hold your breath...

Eagleflight stared at his three kits as they tumbled in the snow. It was leaf-bare now, and they were six moons old.

"Eagleflight?" The spitting image of Firesong padded up to him, "Are you going to be watching our apprentice ceremony?"

"Of course."

Flamekit smiled, and Eagleflight felt the raw pain of seeing his mate on his daughter's face and features hit him again. "I'm glad you are."

"I'm glad I am too."

He watched as the three of them tumbled in the snow again with Tigerkit and Sagekit. The five of them were becoming apprentices today, and Robinfeather was watching them all fondly.

She had become the foster mother for Nightkit, Flamekit, and Leafkit, but when they were three moons old, Robinfeather had me tell them what happened to Firesong.

Amberheart was back, but she was always desolate and she never forgave herself for the death of her sister. Nor did she ever talk to Eagleflight again.

He knew part of it was his fault.

He had let Firesong walk away after she told him she was leaving the kits in his care, and how much she would miss him.

But he didn't know what to do.

"Eagleflight?" He looked down and saw Nightkit gazing up at him with bright green eyes like his own.

"I want to be a medicine cat! If I was a medicine cat, Firesong wouldn't have died the way she did." He boasted.

Eagleflight stared at him, "You know there's no way you could have saved her." They didn't quite understand that Firesong had died away from IceClan territory.

"No, I would save her." Nightkit insisted.

Minnowleaf padded up to the two of them and purred, "I'd be glad to have you as an apprentice." Nightkit's eyes lit up.

"Really?"

"Sure, I'll go tell Redstar." Minnowleaf slipped away.

"All cats who are old enough to catch their own prey, please gather around the HighRock for a Clan meeting!" Redstar's delicate voice rang around the camp.

Immediately Eagleflight gathered his three kits and had them line up carefully, while he groomed their fur. He purred in amusement when Flamekit wriggled away from him, squealing in protest that she could groom herself.

"Today, we have five fortunate kits that are going to become apprentices today. Nightkit, Flamekit, Leafkit, Tigerkit, and Sagekit, please step forward."

The excited squeals from the five kittens lit up the clearing as they tumbled forward. Robinfeather was sitting with her mate, Gorsefeather, and Eagleflight closed his eyes and thought, Firesong, are you watching over us now?

And he thought he heard her:

Always, Eagleflight, I'll always be watching over you.

Redstar purred, "Nightkit, from this moment on, until you receive your medicine cat name, you'll be known as Nightpaw. Minnowleaf, you've served your Clan well, and I know you'll be able to teach Nightpaw the ways of healing."

"Flamekit, from this moment on, until you receive your warrior name, you'll be known as Flamepaw. Shadowflicker, you've been a great friend of Firesong, and I know you'll teach Flamepaw what she needs to know."

"Leafkit, from this moment on, until you receive your warrior name, you will be known as Leafpaw. Amberheart, I know you are still grieving, but you are still one of the best hunters, and I know you'll help Leafpaw become one too."

Eagleflight purred as his kits bounced affably up to their mentors, and he thought, Firesong, I love you... His eyes closed again.

Oh, I love you too, Eagleflight.

...when love makes everything whole...

...just hold your breath...

The End.

Author's Note

I really did like Hold Your Breath, it was something I enjoyed writing, and I definitely never got writer's block on this story.

I shipped FireXEagle, and then of course the curse of me shipping them caused them to die. (I always end up shipping the couple that dies)

Just to let you know, I was having a lot of struggle between killing Firesong, and killing Eagleflight. The original cat was Firesong (if you read the first prologue it told you) but I wanted to kill Eagleflight instead. After a lot of thinking, I decided I would let Firesong die.

I hoped you liked this, if so, sign the fans, and PLEASE COMMENT!

<3

I've been thinking about doing a sequel, one about the three kits :) I may or may not do it! Please, PLEASE comment below! <33333

Fans! (Don't hold your breath c:)

OH YES YES YESSS --Wit beyond measure is man's greatest treasure 02:34, October 9, 2014 (UTC)

<3


So Realize There's Chaos In The Air Tonight

a one-way trip to Feeladelphia. tore the curtains down, windows open now

Fiery! This made me cry!

Hear It Sing...

It's Her Son

This was so beautifully sad! I <3 Lava X Inferna Two cats on fire 05:22, January 18, 2015 (UTC)

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