Red

The Last Time | The Lucky One | All Too Well | Red | State of Grace | Everything Has Changed | Starlight | I Almost Do | Twenty-Two | Treacherous | I Knew You Were Trouble | We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together | Stay Stay Stay | Holy Ground | Sad Beautiful Tragic | Begin Again

Part of the Songfic Series

OA is Taylor Swift

Written by Red

I Almost Do

I bet this time of night you're still up

I bet you're tired from a long hard week

The moon had reached its apex by the time the last patrol entered the camp, dragging themselves through the tunnel in a haggled litle line. Their pelts were clumped and knotted, their fur bushed out against the wind that buffetted them around like leaves. Every pair of eyes was trained on the ground, but I knew that should they lift their heads, every set would be just as lifeless as the scraps of prey on the scant heap in the center of camp. Leaf-bare was taking its toll on all of us - a toll that every single cat was doing his or her best to evade. 

But still, as I sat on the outer fringes of the warriors' den with my patchy pelt puffed up against the breeze that threatened to tear me straight out of my nest, I saw him file in behind our Clanmates. He looked just as hard-hit as everyone else: golden fur limp and sullied with mud. Blue eyes downcast and not a hint of mirth present. 

I bet you're sitting in your chair by the window looking out at the city

And I bet sometimes you wonder about me

The head of the patrol - Wetstream - dragged herself to Eustar's den to make the nightly report. Her pelt was just as bedraggled as the rest of ours, her yellow eyes gazing absently at the swinging curtain shielding Eustar from the rest of the camp. Stormfall cast one forlorn look after her as she disappeared into the warm cave allotted to our leader, before trooping towards the warriors' den with the rest of the patrol. 

I quickly feigned sleep, wrapping my one white paw over my nose and squeezing my eyes tightly shut. The wind still spiked my fur, but a covert scan of the rest of the den assured me that the rest of my Clanmates were curled up upon themselves in similar positions. There was a rustle as the others began to settle down, circling their nests and pawing rough pieces out of the way. Stormfall settled into the nest he'd erected for himself on the opposite side of the den; at the mouth of the cave. Instead of closing his eyes and collapsing like the rest of his Clanmates, though, his eyes remained open. The pale shaft of moonlight that made it into the camp reflected off of the wide, blue pools of his eyes. 

And I just wanna tell you

It takes everything in me not to call you

I could feel his gaze lingering on my pelt. Piercing eyes focused on russet fur; a sharp inhale every few seconds at my unmoving form. He wanted a reaction, that much I knew - but I wouldn't give one to him. As much as I wanted to lift my head, meet his eyes and gesture back towards the forest, I couldn't bring myself to do so. 

I nestled my head between my paws and focused on my breathing. In...and out. In...and out. I knew Stormfall wouldn't have shifted his eyes from me yet; he wasn't one to give up chase just after sighting his prey. He would stalk it, follow it, then jump out at the perfect moment. He was so, so close to getting me to say something, to getting me to call out to him and welcome him back into my life. And I know that he knew that. He knew what sort of effect he had on me, and he knew how much I still appreciated his comfort, and his warm words, and the faith he had in me. But after everything we'd been through, and everything we'd done, and StarClan-forsaken Sunleaf, I couldn't do it anymore.

And I think he knew that too.

And I wish I could run to you

And I hope you know that every time I don't

Part of me wanted someone to talk to. Part of me wanted to get up and trot across the camp towards the exit tunnel, pad into the forest, and disappear amongst the trees and the leaves and the whispered conversations. Part of me wished I had a confidant. And the rest of me knew that that confidant would have been Stormfall. 

Because all of the moons we'd been together, he'd been there for me. He'd sat by my side at the edge of the river, waiting and listening, with all of the patience in the forest, to whatever StarClan-forsaken tale I'd spun. He sat still, with his ears twitching sympathetically and his tail wrapped comfortingly around mine, his eyes focused on my face. His muzzle brushing against my cheek once I'd finished, his pacifying advice falling around me like sunlight: soft, warm, just right.

And as sappy as that sounds, I missed it. Because I wanted to be able to go to him. I wanted to get up, and walk across the den, and nudge him over to the edge of his nest and take up the space he wasn't occupying. I wanted his tail to wrap around mine again, and I wanted his breath to stir my ear, and I wanted to hear that it was going to be okay. 

I almost do,

I almost do

And, that long, sleepless night, I almost did. I almost stood up and padded across the den towards Stormfall. I almost squeezed between him and Sunleaf, and I almost wrapped my tail around his. I almost did it, but I know that if I had, I would have regretted it. 

So I stayed in my nest. I stared at the oak branches that waved in the gentle breeze coming in off of the lake. i listened to the quiet patter of tiny paws through the undergrowth surrounding the camp. I tasted the scent of prey in the air around me, but I was too preoccupied to give up sleep and give chase. I just lay there -- silent. Watching. Waiting for the sun to rise just east of camp, waiting for Clan life to resume after hours of respite. And eventually, it did. And I'd stayed away from Stormfall for the entire night, no matter how much I'd wanted to go to him. 

I bet you think I either moved on or hate you

'Cause each time you reach out there's no reply

"Redpoppy?"

I ignored him. I couldn't bring myself to turn my head, because I knew I'd fall into the milky depths of his stormy blue eyes and get lost in that stupid, toothy smile. I knew I'd fall under his spell and that I wouldn't be able to resurface.

I bet it never ever occurred to you that I can't say "Hello" to you

And risk another goodbye

And I just wanna tell you

It takes everything in me not to call you

And I wish I could run to you

And I hope you know that every time I don't

I almost do,

I almost do

Oh, we made quite a mess, babe

It's probably better off this way

And I confess, babe,

In my dreams you're touching my face

And asking me if I wanna try again with you

And I almost do

And I just wanna tell you

It takes everything in me not to call you

And I wish I could run to you

And I hope you know that every time I don't

I almost do,

I almost do

I bet this time of night you're still up

I bet you're tired from a long hard week

I bet you're sitting in your chair by the window looking out at the city

And I hope sometimes you wonder about me

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