Less than Perfect is originally by BladeOfHope; it has since been adopted by Peaceheart.
Prologue: An Unwanted Kit
The dark gray she-cat wailed as she crouched over her nest. The Clan medicine cat stood next to her, and her mate was nearby. The other queen had considerately taken her kits outside to play while the dark gray she-cat gave birth.
The medicine cat, a small but intelligent silver tabby she-cat, gently felt the kitting queen's side. "I think there's only one," she said. "It shouldn't be long now. You're doing great, Stormcloud."
Stormcloud's mate spoke up. "Our kit will be strong and intelligent," he assured the she-cat.
Stormcloud trembled as a spasm shook her. She yowled with pain as a small, wet white bundle slid out into the nest. The medicine cat rushed to the kit as its mother collapsed. She vigorously licked its fur the wrong way to warm it up. The kit let out a hungry wail, and the medicine cat nudged it closer to the exhausted queen's belly.
The brown tom padded up to them. "Thank you, Silverpetal," he meowed to the medicine cat. He looked warmly down at his new kit, but hesitated. "What's wrong with it?"
The white she-kit was much smaller than even other newborn kits, and both of her front paws were twisted at odd angles. She was crying feebly as she tried to snuggle closer to Stormcloud, but her twisted paws were making it very difficult.
"Her paws are just twisted," Silverpetal meowed briskly. "If you work with her and help her become stronger, I don't think it should be too much of a problem."
Stormcloud helped her kit move closer with one gentle paw. "I think she's beautiful," she murmured. "What should we name her, Thistlefur?"
Her mate curled his lip. "Halfkit," he snarled. "She'll never be a full warrior." He turned and left the nursery.
Silverpetal looked at the retreating tom for a few heartbeats, then leaned close to Stormcloud's ear. "The Clan will reject her," she said in a strained, haunted voice. "She will not be accepted by many of her Clanmates, and even those who are friendly to her will look at her with pity."
Stormcloud licked Halfkit's white fur. "I'll always love her."
"I know," Silverpetal sighed, her voice returning to normal. "I just hope some of the others will think the same way..."
Chapter One: Life As Usual
I wake up in the apprentices' den the morning after the Gathering. Not that I was allowed to go, of course. I'd slow them down too much.
I begin the annoying process of standing up. I plant my hind legs firmly underneath me, then push upward and force my twisted paws to stay balanced. Digging them into the ground, they stay put, although it's still incredibly difficult.
I've learned how to compensate for these two paws that set me apart from the other cats in the Clans, but that doesn't mean I don't notice the way the others look at me with pity as I stumble by. It's not like I'm an abnormal cat. I still look like them, except for my paws.
It's really awkward meeting their gazes. They sort of start talking to me, saying hello and all, but they do it too fast, like they hope I didn't notice them staring.
I'm more observant than they think...
I notice a lot of things. I notice when the wind changes directions. I notice when pebbles fall from the top of the hollow that is the ThunderClan camp. I certainly notice when cats stare at me.
But most of all, I notice the colors.
There are colors everywhere. They come when cats talk, and prey runs, and wind blows. They dance through my head and make the world oh so much more vivid.
Although I'm fairly certain I'm the only one who sees the colors, sometimes I like to drop hints, just in case. I'll casually say to some cat, "Does that birdcall remind you of the color green?" Some of them think I'm weird because of it, but others just think it's my imagination. Oh, well. It's always worth a try.
If they can't see the colors, they don't know what they're missing.
I see that Frostpaw, Foxpaw, and Leafpaw have already woken up. They're probably out in the clearing gossipping with the younger warriors and the elders again.
I walk awkwardly out of the apprentices' den and into the camp clearing. Sleepy-eyed warriors are gathered there, although many are out on patrol already. I hear the different colors of each cat's voice: the icy blue of my mother, Stormcloud; the bright berry red of my mentor, Snowfall; the orange, green, and gray mish-mash of my denmates. Our Clan is full of normal, strong, healthy cats.
They're all like that... all except me.
Foxpaw is telling Frostpaw and Leafpaw some story about chasing a real fox. I don't know how they stand to listen to her. She makes so many things up, I don't ever know when she's being truthful. She's also quite a braggart.
Leafpaw looks at me with a smile on her face.
"Hey, Halfpaw! Do you want to come over here with us?" I'm about to say sure when she interrupts. "That is if you can walk that far!" Leafpaw and her littermates start laughing and I stumble out to find wherever Snowfall is. Mabye he can show me somthing new.
Snowfall approaches me and tells me, "Today we are going on a patrol. We were hoping you were up for it" When he said were I could hear him say under his breath "not"
I put a huge smile on my face. "Sure! Where to?"
"ShadowClan border. The patrols have told us there is a fox there. This might be dangerous. Are you sure you want to come?" He asks me. So what? I'm up for it. Maybe it is the same fox Foxpaw was talking about.
"Im ready! Let's go."
Chapter two: The Fox
When we get there there is a scent of fox. I look around. Then I feel a Great Wall of anxiety build up in me. Snowfall's voice was the color of blood. Then a fox appears out of nowhere. The Warriors are all fighting it. I ran up to it and started clawing at it.
"Halfpaw! Get back!" Yelles Stormcloud, who was on the patrol.
"But I want to help! Imm the same as all of the other apprentices! I'm not a kit anymore!"
Just then the fox leaps out and scratches both of my eyes. Stormcloud leaps over to me. She grabs me by the scruff and carries me away into camp leaving the other two warriors to fight the fox alone. Mother quicky goes in to Silverpetal's den.
"Silverpetal! It's Halfpaw! She's been injured by a fox! Please help her!" Stormcloud ran out and picks me up again.
I try to open my eyes but they hurt so much I give up on that.