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Inner Demons

A/N

This is a what-if story about Leafpool and Crowfeather. After the fight with the badgers, Crowfeather joined ThunderClan, choosing to be renamed as Crowtuft, and Leafpool was renamed Leaffrost and stepped down from the medicine cat position. Brightheart took her place. However, Crowtuft's descision led to a change in the prophecy: Not three, but two, and one would choose a path of darkness.

Prologue

Mosskit gazed at her adoptive mother eagerly. "Can I play now?" She chirped.

Snowfur smiled. "Yes, but be careful. You might catch cold."

Mosskit grinned. "I promise!" She mewed, scurrying away.

Promise that I'll enjoy myself, she added inwardly.

"Hey, Snowkit!" The gray-and-silver she-kit purred, catching sight of the white tom.

His ear flicked and he smiled at her.

"Ready?" He asked her, and was met with an overeager nod.

The two kits began to run through the forest, content with the knowledge that anywhere in StarClan's grounds, they were safe.

Mosskit felt a sudden jerk in the back of her mind and she hesitated, falling behind her friend.

The words started spilling out of her mouth, confusing her and Snowkit, who had stopped and gazed at her impatiently.

"No longer three, alas, just two, cats of Stars have no clue, one a path of darkness shall tread, one must face them or end up dead."

Snowkit blinked. "Uh, Mosskit? What-"

"I don't know..." Mosskit mumbled, shifting her paws.

"D-do you think that was a prophecy?" The once-deaf kit asked.

Mosskit shook her head, but then hesitated.

What if it was?

She lifted her chin. "No."

One (Lyric)

Owlkit shivered as a frosty breeze swept into the nursery, chilling her pawpads. "Owlkit!" Someone mewed. The tawny she-kit turned her head in the direction of the call for attention. "Yes?" She mewed.

Her mother, Leaffrost, was beckoning her over with her brown tabby tail. Owlkit slowly made her way towards her, the nursery's cold stone floor oddly warming her paws as she passed by.

"Flamekit's opened her eyes!" Leaffrost trilled, eyes lighting up with excitement. Even though it had only been less than a day since Owlkit had opened hers, she felt so much older than her rust-colored sister.

Their father, Crowtuft, poked his head into the chilling nursery. "She has?" He asked, delightedly purring. Leaffrost nodded, purring as well. Owlkit frowned. What made Flamekit so special?

The tawny kit shivered with cold, and Crowtuft gave her a nod, extending his paw to her. She hooked her small claws into his sleek fur and allowed him to drag her close, warming her body with his heat. She let out a cracked purr of appreciation, and Crowtuft licked her swiftly between the ears.

Flamekit's eyes were green. A pale, frosty green that reflected Firestar in every way. But there was something unsettling in her earnest gaze. "Ah," She mewed. Owlkit padded forward, missing her father's heat.

"Hello," Owlkit mewed. Flamekit cocked her head, fur damp from Leaffrost's vigorous grooming. "Ah," She said again. "I'm your sister, Flamekit. My name is Owlkit." Flamekit hesitated, then squeaked, "Olkt?" "Owelkitt." Owlkit drawled, dragging out each syllable. "Owelkitt!" Flamekit mewed.

Owlkit sighed. "That's a start. Your name is-" "Flamekit!" She enthused. Owlkit frowned. "Good. OWLKIT." "Owlkit." Flamekit squeaked. "Yeah. That's-"

"I'm your mother, Leaffrost." Leaffrost cut in. "And I'm Crowtuft, your father." Crowtuft added, wide blye eyes shining. Leaffrost purred, sweeping the rust-colored kit towards her belly to suckle. Owlkit sighed. Her name wasn't as complicated as Flamekit, and yet her sister stumbled on it.

She felt her stomach churn with displeasure as a thought came to her: had she been given an odd name on purpose? Owls were uncommon in this part of the forest, and they were famed for snatching up kits. She shivered. Was this an omen?

Two (Obscure)

Flamekit yawned widely, her soft pink gums exposed to the world. Her mother stared at her delightedly, a happy purr erupting from the she-cat's throat. Flamekit felt unease stir inside of her as she met Owlkit's gaze, which was darkened with something... something else.

It wasn't me, was it? The rust-coloured she-kit thought anxiously, I didn't do anything!

Crowtuft, her father, made to move towards her, but Flamekit wriggled backward until she was tucked in the folds of her mother's stomach.

He smells wrong, her thoughts whispered, He smells like... wide open spaces. Like the wind on a moor.

She jolted into the present and gasped. How did I know what moor is? I saw it. In his mind!

Flamekit shuddered, ripples breaking her thoughts.

"What is it?" Leaffrost asked, her eyes reflecting Flamekit's worry, "Are you okay?"

Flamekit meowed helplessly, "I don't know. It doesn't matter."

Owlkit's eyes narrowed, She couldn't even say my name, and now she's speaking in full sentences?

The rusty she-kit blinked, "Sorry, your name was weird on my tongue."

Owlkit's eyes widened, and something in her gaze became lost, "I didn't say anything."

Flamekit, remembering the sour taste of Owlkit's name, said, "You did so!"

Leaffrost frowned, "Don't fight! Flamekit, Owlkit didn't say anything."

Crowtuft moved closer, "It's okay, kits."

Flamekit's eyes widened with indignation, "She did so!" Anger stirred in the pit of her stomach, unsaid words tumbling around and around.

I wish Owlkit wouldn't be so grumpy, Crowtuft's mouth didn't seem to move with the words, Then again, she's like me! And Flamekit is so like her name. It's a bit of a pity they don't reflect Leafpo- I mean, Leaffrost, much.

Flamekit frowned, her eyes narrowing, as Owlkit gave her a triumphant smirk.

Something's wrong.

Three (Lyric)

Owlkit shook her head at Flamekit. Please don't do anything irritating, she thought.

Flamekit seemed to read her thoughts, and she flinched, her wide green eyes welling with remorseful tears that were quickly blinked away.

She felt a pain in her cerebrum and a memory crashed over her.

"Owlflight, you will be the new deputy of ThunderClan." Alderstar mewed solemnly.

She felt a bubble of pride in her chest, mixed with something else: glee and triumph. Triumph at her ambition.

"Owlkit? Are you okay?" Flamekit asked.

Owlkit stared at her sister coldly. She inhaled sharply. "Yes." She growled. "I'm fine."

At that moment, Alderstar called the clan to attention.

"Today, two kits will become apprentices."

"Owlpaw, your mentor will be Frostedfox." Alderstar announced.

"Flamepaw, your mentor will be Fishfin."

"Owlpaw, your mentor will be Frostedfox." Alderstar mewed.

Owlpaw, furrowed her brow. Hadn't Alderstar just said this?

She stepped forward, brushing her muzzle with the white-and-gray tabby she-cat who would serve as her mentor.

She soon heard Alderstar add, "Flamepaw, your mentor will be Fishfin."

Owlpaw shivered. Had she just had a premonition, or was she sick?

She sighed, most likely the latter.

"Meeting dismissed." Alderstar announced, padding into his den.

"You and your sister going to explore the territory first!" Frostedfox announced. "Oh, I'm so jealous of you, Owlpaw! You get to become an apprentice for the first time!"

She froze as an image played out behind her eyes.

War.

Crying, screaming, blood.

Death.

A limp body.

A RiverClan warrior's limp body.

The body lying at Owlpaw's feet, Flamepaw standing grimly beside her.

"Owlpaw?" Frostedfox asked concernedly.

She snapped out of her trance. "Huh- Oh, yeah. I'm fine," She reassured her mentor.

But inwardly, her stomach was churning.

What was going on?

And why was Flamepaw involved?

Four (Obscure)

Pride lit up Flamepaw's stomach as she faced her mentor. Fishfin purred, his eyes determined.

"You'll be the best warrior that ever lived," her mentor promised.

Flamepaw gazed at him in delight, "I will. I'll make you proud!"

No matter what it takes, I will make you proud.

Flamepaw followed Fishfin as him and Frostedfox followed. Owlpaw padded slightly behind her, eyes narrowed. Despite the happiness of the occasion, Flamepaw felt a chill run down her spine.

There's something coming, a voice said. It was Owlpaw.

"What? What's coming?" she asked, confused. It was such a random statement that Flamepaw had no idea what to do.

Owlpaw's gaze swept hers and she growled, "I didn't say anything. Stop lying!"

Flamepaw reeled, propelled by the blunt force of her aggressive accusation, "I heard you, Owlpaw."

Owlpaw turned away, her nose stuck up as if to dismiss Flamepaw, who hissed, "Don't ignore me!" she snarled.

Owlpaw sniffed, "I'm not."

Frostedfox looked back at them and said, "Quiet, you two."

"Quiet!" Flamepaw hissed, outraged, "Tell her that! I heard her say something, and she denies it!"

Fishfin frowned, "Flamepaw," he began evenly, "Lying is not tolerated here."

Flamepaw stared at him, open-jawed, and gasped, "But- it's the truth!"

Frostedfox broke in, "Are you saying our ears are failing?" she asked.

"No!" Flamepaw wailed, "I'm just saying, it's what I heard!"

Fishfin snorted, "I think we need to clear this up, Flamepaw. How 'bout a while cleaning up after the elders?"

A flame burned in the red apprentice's stomach and she hissed, "Fine!"

Flamepaw marched away, feeling rather extinguished.

She said something, and I'll find out what it is, she vowed.

Even if I have to make some sacrifices.

Five (Lyric)

There was war coming.

Owlpaw could sense it as they drew closer to the border.

Her eyes were wide.

War coming. She thought, hoping for once, Flamepaw's weird 'talent' would shine through.

And it seemed to happen, as her eyes widened, and she raised an eyebrow.

Can you hear me?

Flamepaw hesitated, then nodded.

How? Owlpaw asked, confused.

Flamepaw shook her head, it seemed she had no idea.

"How do you know?" Flamepaw asked, voice barely a whisper.

I saw it. In a vision. It was weird. But that's not the point! She snapped inwardly. Can we stop it?

Flamepaw whispered back, "I can hear them thinking. WindClan and RiverClan. They're across the border, planning a sneak attack."

Will we win?

"That depends on what strategy we use."

Which one will let us win?

"I - I'm not sure," She whispered morosely.

Owlpaw shivered. That's what I'm worried about.

Six (Obscure)

Flamepaw tensed. She didn't like this at all. She could suddenly hear voices? Thoughts even? She grimaced. Maybe not suddenly.

"I'll warn the patrol," Flamepaw told Owlpaw quickly.

Frostedfox turned, eyes questioning, "Why're you two so secretive? One moment you're snapping at each other's heels, the other you're whispering like foxes!"

Flamepaw felt a flicker of annoyance, "Just because we-"

"We what?" Fishfin asked, grinning.

"Nothing," Flamepaw grouched, "Alright... Anyway, RiverClan and WindClan's coming!"

Frostedfox whipped around again, "I don't smell anything... Oh!" The mentor turned back, eyes wide.

"I smell them," Fishfin growled, hackles rising. Flamepaw skittered to her mentors' side.

"They're planning a sneak attack," Flamepaw whispered, eyes wide.

"They are?"

"Um... yes," Flamepaw tried for a convincing grin.

"How do you know?" Fishfin growled.

"Uhm..." The rusty-coloured apprentice seemed to shrink, "JUst trust me on this."

Fishfin glared, "If this is a prank, you'll be in serious trouble."

Owlpaw watched all this with narrowed eyes.

What's going on with her, and why is her mind so... suspicious?

Seven (Lyric)

Fishfin. That evil traitor.

Turning on them to fight with WindClan.

Owlpaw glared at his turned back, his oddly splotchy coat, with short sleek fur and dark brown patches splattered everywhere. His fur was glossy, smooth, exactly like a RiverClan cat. And his long legs were, she assumed, speedy. The sign of a WindClan cat.

"What's wrong with Fishfin?" Flamepaw muttered.

TrHe's a traitor! That fox-heart, I'll kill him myself! She roared inwardly, her breath beginning to speed up.

Another vision.

Bodies littering the border. Mostly ThunderClan.

In fact, all ThunderClan.

They had lost the battle.

"What do you mean?"

He's a WindClan spy!

Her sister froze, her eyes widened. "What?" She snarled quietly, bristling angrily

Owlpaw bounded forward, the border growing ever closer. She could see the reeds where the WindClan cats were hiding, almost all of the clan. The RiverClanners were crouching in the water.

Get Alderstar! She hissed inwardly at Flamepaw. She had always disliked her sister, but she couldn't remember why. Blocking these thoughts from her mind, she made it clear that Flamepaw was the only cat who could help them.

"Why me?" She murmured, her paws shuffling. The hackles rose on her back as she began to pick up the WindClan and RiverClan cats' thoughts.

You're... different. I need to be here. There's something about Fishfin that I need to check out. She replied, glaring once again at Flamepaw's young mentor.

"Um, okay." She muttered. "Frostedfox, I'll go get Alderstar." She said uncertainly. Her pale gray-and-white tabby mentor nodded, her eyes slits as the scent grew closer.

Flamepaw turned, running as fast as her paws would carry her, Owlpaw gazing after her. She would make it. Owlpaw knew that, at least.

But Alderstar wouldn't help them. He too, was a spy. Over half of the ThunderClan cats were spies. Crowtuft was a spy for WindClan, Leaffrost was a spy for RiverClan.

Bramblestar's death hadn't been an accident, Alderheart, his own son, had pushed him off the ravine for him stripping him of his medicine cat rank for failing to treat Squirrelflight. He had not yet named a new deputy, as Squirrelflight had been fatally injured in a skirmish with ShadowClan a few hours before, and Alderheart couldn't save her.

Alderheart was named leader, and soon he allowed "rogues" and former "kittypets" into the clan. Spies is what they were.

She knew Alderstar wouldn't help them. Only Sparkpelt, his still-loyal sister, would help them, after overhearing Flamepaw. That would have to do.

Owlpaw didn't know how she could be so certain of these, for lack of a better word, assumptions. One thing was clear, clear as crystal: Fishfin would die. Her eyes flickered to the brown spy, the half-breed in their midst. Fishfin would die at her paws.

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