She's beautiful, the cat that lies so serenely on the moss-coated ground. Her glossy white coat is windswept but perfect. Her beautiful blue eyes are wide open, the moonlight reflecting off the azure colour. Her breath is ragged but a trace of her own voice is detectable in her deep gasps. Three tiny kits lie mewling by her side, nothing more than frightened scraps of fur. They voice the ancient, instinctive language that only a newborn kit could produce. The beautiful she-cat's eyes are fixed on them, and although she is weak, I can see love burning in her gaze. That love is echoed in my heart as I watch the tiny creatures nuzzle their mother expectantly.

"You're... so... beautiful..." she chokes out, each word an effort.

"What will we name them?" I whisper. The she-cat sends me a warm, loving look. My heart feels like it is going to split in two. I am living the last moments that I have left with the cat I love.

"You... you... can name two. But... I'm... I'm naming the gray kit Smokekit."

"After... me?" I feel the fiery, consuming emotion of love surging through my veins, digging deeper into my heart than I ever knew possible. In this moment, there is no cat in the world but she and I, lost in our own sweet, oblivious paradise. But that world is soon to be torn apart, and we both know it. Why am I not yowling with grief at out fate? Because I cannot accept that she is leaving. No cat so beautiful and pure could face such an ugly fate. I cannot comprehend life without her.

She doesn't reply. We gaze into each other's eyes for moments, then the tiny infants begin to grovel again. The she-cat sighs deeply. I lick her ear.

"You promise you'll love them and raise him in ShadowClan? Especially Smokekit. He... he reminds me of you so much," she murmurs.

"Of course," I choke out. She purrs.

"I love you. Nothing can ever change that. I might be in RiverClan, and you might be in ShadowClan, but I don't think I've loved anyone more in my life." she whispers. And with that, the beautiful white she-cat lies down her head onto the soft, damp floor, and the life leaves her eyes for the last time.

And I am left alone.

Chapter 1

It's warm today. The sky is a warm shade of blue, streaked with wispy white. The scent of plants and herbs combined makes the air slightly thick. There's an ever-lasting chatter from the cats of ShadowClan as huddle beneath the Jutting Ledge. I'm lodged inbetween Frostpaw and Dustpaw, my two best friends. Smokestar, the Clan leader, is perched on the end of the ledge, his eyes frosty.

"Look, Smoke, it's Smoke!" Dustpaw exclaims. His eyes widen, expecting a reaction. Frostpaw's huge blue eyes roll.

"That isn't funny," she explained in a slightly bored tone. Although I couldn't agree more, I don't say anything. That would hurt Dustpaw's feelings.

"Don't you get it? Smokepaw and Smokestar!" he repeats. Frostpaw shakes her head in mock disappointment. The ends of my mouth twitch in a tiny smile.

"Hey, I just realized! I'm not going to be Smokepaw for much longer. We're nearly old enough to be warriors!" I blurt out. Frostpaw sniggers.

"You just realized?" she says sourly. This makes me purr out loud, because it's such a typical thing for Frostpaw to say. Dustpaw's eyes drift towards mine, and I can see in his amused expression that he's thinking the same thing as me. But neither of us have a chance to comment before a deep, resonant voice interupts us.

"Cats of ShadowClan, please settle down!" it's Smokestar, my namesake. His bright green eyes sweep across the clearing.


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