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Peach Colored Moon is by IcewrathXFeatherswirlXCraneheart for Rainsplash's contest. This story also won an honorable mention in Roboflight's December reads.

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Chapter 1: Peachpaw

A paw prodded Peachpaw's side.

She growled at the paw and turned over.

"Peachpaw!"

Peachpaw stretched her hazel eyes open reluctantly and stared into the annoyed face of Lightpaw.

"Get up!" Lightpaw snarled.

"Ok," she meowed quickly. Lightpaw was the prettiest she-cat in the Clan and every tom liked her. She was Mallowstar's daughter and since SkyClan was uniting with a group of cats that had come up out of the blue called BloodClan, Lightpaw was expected to fall in love with the BloodClan leader's son. The unision of the Clans had been Peachpaw's mother's idea. Her mother was deputy and was a very peaceful cat, and she didn't like to fight. Peachpaw didn't like to fight either, but she didn't like the prospect of being united with a Clan called BloodClan, which could potentially bring more fighting.

Lightpaw also had an everlasting grudge against Peachpaw.

"Your mentor wants you," Lightpaw growled.

Peachpaw shrugged, "Ok." She started padding from the den.

"What's wrong with you?" Lightpaw hissed.

Peachpaw cocked her head, "What do you mean?"

"You don't even retort, but I like that because nobody would dare defy me. I'm the leader's daughter."

Peachpaw rolled her eyes and continued out. She had heard that story countless times and she was not as intimidated by her than when they were kits.

Her mentor, Dawnfur, came up and meowed, "Get some fresh-kill. You, I, Rockclaw, Flowerfur, and Mallowstar are going to BloodClan territory to decide on the future Clan decisions."

Peachpaw's eyes opened wide with excitement. This was quite an honor and she was really surprised that Lightpaw wasn't going to meet her future mate.

She gave her peach colored fur a quick grooming and turned to Lightpaw for a friendly, light revenge for what had happened that morning.

"Bye, Lightpaw! I'm off to meet BloodClan cats. Have fun hunting!" Peachpaw smiled at Lightpaw and marched out of camp, waving her tail after the leader, her mother, a senior warrior, and her mentor.

I'm so lucky to be meeting future Clanmates with some of the most elite cats in the Clan! she thought, bouncing on her toes as they made their way to unfamiliar territory.

I like that song about this wonderful world.

It's got a sunny point of view.

And sometimes I feel it's true.

At least for a few of us.

Chapter 2: Eclipsepaw

Eclipsepaw groomed his dark brown fur an took special care to get any grime off of the white crescent on his forehead. Today, he, his father, Clawstar, the deputy, Shreddedfur, and his mentor were supposed to meet SkyClan cats.

He was well into apprenticeship and would become a warrior very soon. As Clawstar's son, he was supposed to fall in love with the SkyClan leader's daughter. Today, he was hoping to meet her and see what she looked like and what her personality was right, even though Eclipsepaw was quick to judge. His dark past showed evidence of that.

Eclipsepaw shuddered as he thought of his past. It had left a bloody stain on who he was and he resented who he was brought up to be. Hopefully, uniting with SkyClan would push it all away. He pushed all thoughts of his past inside and composed himself for the SkyClan cats, who would arrive at any given moment.

"Eclipsepaw!" Clawstar called, "The SkyClan cats are here!"

Eclipsepaw took a deep breath and padded out of the den where he saw five cats pad into BloodClan camp. There was a tall, skinny light brown she-cat, a ginger she-cat, a gray tom, a silver she-cat, and a younger peach colored she-cat.

He nodded a greeting to each of the cats and went over to the apprentice, dipping his head and meowing, "You must be the leader's daughter. I am Eclipsepaw and it is an honor to meet you at last."

The ginger warrior with her laughed and meowed, "She's my daughter, and I am the deputy, but it's a simple mistake. You were probably expecting to meet Lightpaw today."

Eclipsepaw's pelt grew hot and he ducked his head, "I am so so so so sorry!"

This time the apprentice laughed a laugh that was warm-hearted that bubbled up in her throat and came like a song from her mouth, "Don't be sorry. I am Peachpaw, the deputy's daughter."

Eclipsepaw stood awestruck as the sun touched her pelt. It was like a soft, flowing dawn sky standing right in front of him with shimmering hazel eyes. He snapped out of his trance. His fur prickled and it felt like lightning bolts were crawling through his fur.

You're supposed to like the leader's daughter, not the deputy's daughter! he scolded himself.

Well, nobody can make me like who I don't want to like! he argued to himself.

He realized that Peachpaw was staring at him because he self-consciouslly started murmuring his thoughts.

"Oh, errrrr... sorry."

Peachpaw nodded as Eclipsepaw swept his tail around her and started showing her BloodClan territory as the warriors talked about future plans.

When dusk fell, the SkyClan warriors assembled to leave and Eclipsepaw's heart wrenched.

He nudged Peachpaw with his shoulder and meowed, "Today was fun, Peachpaw. Can you meet me here at moonhigh tonight?"

Peachpaw nodded and meowed, "Sure, BloodClan is really interesting." Then Eclipsepaw watched as she padded out of his sight to go back to her own camp.

Love is born with lightning bolts.

Electro magnetic force.

Burning skin and fireworks.

A storm on a raging course.

Chapter 3: Peachpaw

Peachpaw bounded toward BloodClan territory around moonhigh, excited to see her friend again, but an odd guilt tugged at her fur.

What harm am I doing by meeting Eclipsepaw? He's going to be a Clanmate soon, and it's not like he's going to choose me over Lightpaw. We will only be best friends, at most, nothing more.

She pushed away those thoughts and skipped through the moon lit forest happily.

She caught sight of her brown-furred friend in a clearing not far from the BloodClan camp.

"Hi, Eclipsepaw!" she meowed, padding over to him.

Eclipsepaw's eyes darted around nervously, as if Clawstar would pop out of the bushes any minute.

That was one thing that made her nervous about this Clan: the names. They sounded so violent, except for Eclipsepaw.

"It's cool to finally have a friend!" Peachpaw meowed.

That's when Eclipsepaw started singing something, "Take yourself a friend. Keep 'em 'till the end. Whether she-cat or tom it makes you feel so good. So good!"

Eclipsepaw shouted the last bit to the stars and it echoed around the forest.

Peachpaw sucked in her breath, worried BloodClan warriors would come and find them, but they didn't.

"I keep screwing up," Eclipsepaw fretted.

"How?" Peachpaw felt concerned for him.

"I keep trying to impress you..." Eclipsepaw said, then quickly added, "...r Clan." He coughed nervously.

"Don't worry the Clan is already going crazy over that ceremony you and Lightpaw will have as warriors when you become mates. They appreciate you already," Peachpaw smiled. Then she added, "That was a lovely song? Where did you hear it?"

"Oh, ummm... My mother taught it to me when I was little." He ducked his head.

Peachpaw guessed his thoughts and meowed, "Oh, your mother is..."

"Yes," Eclipsepaw nodded.

"I'm sorry, Eclipsepaw," she padded over to him and touched her muzzle to his ear. She felt his muscles tense, then relax.

"So, tell me about your past? What was your kithood like?" she meowed curiously.

Take yourself a friend,

Keep 'em 'till the end.

Whether woman or man

It feels so good.

Chapter 4: Eclipsepaw

Eclipsepaw shifted uncomfortably in his nest.

Last night was a total failure!

Eclipsepaw was angry at himself because the whole night had gone bad in the flick of a tail. He had been enjoying being in her presence, but he had kept tripping over his toungue. Then she had gotten him tangled in his past. A past he didn't want to recognize as his. Of course, he couldn't tell her if he wanted to have a good reputation.

Queens screaming for their mates and kits screaming for their mothers. Yowls of agony. The scent of death.

Eclipsepaw shivered as part of his past came up in his mind, but he pushed it away quickly.

You have tonight to make it alright, Eclipsepaw, he told himself.

He groomed himself and padded up to his father, Clawstar, "What should I do today, Clawstar?"

The dark tabby meowed immediately, "You can go over to SkyClan and learn more about it, like how they act, what they do. Our routines are not like theirs and we need to learn quickly if we are to join them. Talk to Lightpaw if you can."

A spark of excitement flared in Eclipsepaw as he thought about getting to see Peachpaw again, but with a sick feeling he also realized he would have to meet Lightpaw, his mate-to-be. Or so everyone thought.

I will find a way to be with Peachpaw, he decided.

He padded out of BloodClan territory and into SkyClan's territory. A warrior padding into camp with fresh-kill meowed, "Hello, Eclipsepaw. Your father said we should expect you to come this morning to learn our ways. I am Nightpelt. Come on. I'll take you to Mallowstar." The black tom escorted him into the rocky gorge and Eclipsepaw looked awestruck at all the caves and rocks. BloodClan territory was so much different.

"There you are, Eclipsepaw!" Mallowstar meowed, taking him to her den. He sat and it was surprisingly comfortable for a stone floor. The SkyClan leader beckoned with her tail and a sleek golden she-cat apprentice padded out of the shadows. He could see that she was done up with flowers and leaves to make her look better.

"Hello, Eclipsepaw. My name is Lightpaw," the apprentice purred. She padded over and gave him a friendly sniff.

Eclipsepaw shuffled his paws nervously as Lightpaw started staring at him, as if sizing him up.

"I trust you two will get to know each other well," Mallowstar nodded.

Lightpaw nodded enthusiastically. Eclipsepaw nodded just to make everyone happy. There were three things that he didn't like about her already.

1. She decorated herself in flowers and leaves and she still doesn't look as pretty as Peachpaw.

2. From Peachpaw's stories that he had heard yesterday, she was incredibly bossy

3. She was already sizing him up and he just arrived.

She's a pushy cat, he decided.

"What should I do, Mallowstar?" he asked.

"Well, I suppose you could chat with Lightpaw and she can tell you what we do here in SkyClan. Her eyes gleamed, "And you both and a few others become warriors tonight. In one moon, you and Lightpaw will have a special ceremony."

Eclipsepaw felt the blood draining from is head, "What does that mean?"

"It's when we become mates, silly!" Lightpaw meowed.

Eclipsepaw groaned inwardly, here he was having to spend the day with his "mate-to-be". He had one moon to impress Peachpaw.

"Come on, let's go!" Lightpaw purred, bounding out of the den.

I've got a livin' that's rough

A future that's tough

You know what I mean

Chapter 5: Peachpaw

"Lightpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and protect SkyClan at the cost of your life if necessary?" Mallowstar asked.

"I do!" Lightpaw meowed, shaking out her golden fur.

"Then by the powers of StarClan, you are now Lightwing. StarClan honors your courage and beauty and we welcome you as a full member of SkyClan."

"Lightwing! Lightwing! Lightwing!" Even Peachpaw chanted, despite their spats.

"Peachpaw, come forward," Mallowstar ordered.

Excitement flowed through her veins as the unexpected words met her ears and she slowly came forward, awestruck.

"Peachpaw, do you promise to uphold the warrior code and protect SkyClan at the cost of your life, if necessary?"

"I do!" Peachpaw meowed boldly.

"Then by the powers of StarClan, you are now Peachheart. StarClan honors your skill and bravery and we welcome you as a full member of SkyClan."

"Peachheart! Peachheart! Peachheart!" the Clan chanted.

Peachheart stared out at her chanting Clanmates and smiled. She had never imagined her warrior cermony would be like this. Her name was even better than she had imagined it. As she watched the sun sink, she thought of Eclipsepaw. He would certainly be getting his name soon, then in a moon, he and Lightwing would be together as the official joining of the Clans.

I wonder what his name is!

Peachheart padded off to the fresh-kill pile as the cats disbanded and started going about their evening activities. She thought about Lightwing, Eclipsepaw, BloodClan, the joining: anything that crossed her mind as she ate.

I'm going to go see Eclipsepaw tomorrow, she decided.

She finished her prey and started sitting vigil in the warm newleaf air.

Celebrate the moment,

As it turns into one more

Another chance at victory.

Another chance to score.

Chapter 6: Eclipsepaw

"Let all cats old enough to catch prey gather for a Clan meeting!" Clawstar yowled, standing on a heap of twoleg trash.

Eclipsepaw stood, formally groomed for his warrior ceremony. He took a deep breath and stood beside his father.

"Cats of BloodClan. We are gathered for a warrior ceremony!"

Eclipsepaw winced, he couldn't wait until they became SkyClan. His memories started to sprout in his brain, but he grounded them back down, not wanting to lose his mind for his ceremony.

"Eclipsepaw, do you promise to defend BloodClan at the cost of your life and serve your Clan?" Clawstar asked. He was still working on proper ceremony conducting.

"I do," he meowed, anticipating what his name would be.

"Fromt his day on, he will now be known as Eclipsenight."

"Eclipsenight! Eclipsenight! Eclipsenight!" the Clan chanted.

Eclipsenight padded out of camp when the meeting was ajourned. In BloodClan, there was no need for vigil.

"I desperately need to see Peachpaw!" he said aloud.

He snuck into SkyClan territory and saw Peachpaw sitting vigil at the entrance to the camp.

I guess she got her name, too, he thought, hanging his head in realization that he couldn't see her tonight. Defeated he snuck back into his own territory and back into his den, settling down.

Tomorrow night, I will tell her how I feel, he decided, There's no point in hiding it much longer.

He sat in his den, composing a little speech for Peachpaw. He didn't want to trip over his toungue again and mess up.

Clawstar came into his den and meowed, "What's happening, Eclipsenight?"

"Oh, nothing, just.... thinking," he lied.

"About what?" Clawstar asked.

"Lightpaw," he coughed. He felt a pain in his heart, lying to his father, and hiding his love for Peachpaw.

Clawstar smiled, "I can see you are just crazy about her. I can't wait until you and her make SkyClan and BloodClan unite." Eclipsenight saw a faint smirk on his father's lips.

Clawstar left then, and Eclipsenight settled down, confident that he had gotten his speech right and that everything would be perfect.

You can never break the chain

There is never love without pain

A gentle hand, a secret touch on the heart

Chapter 7: Peachheart

Peachheart padded through the forest and into the clearing where Eclipsepaw and she usually met up, and waited for her friend.

Eclipsepaw came into the clearing just then, the moon illuminating the crescent shaped mark on his forehead.

"Hi, Peachpaw," he purred.

"It's Peachheart now," she smiled warmly, "And your name is?"

"It's Eclipsenight." Eclipsenight padded over and meowed, "Your name suits you. You have a kind heart and you are pure beauty. I can't hide it much longer, Peachheart." His voice grew desperate, "I love you, Peachheart! I really love you! You are like the dawn sky, beautiful and graceful. You are like the sun, warm and kind. I cannot live my life without you flanking me. Please, will you be my mate."

Peachheart felt a rush of several different emotions. The first was shock.

She gasped speechless, then she felt a rush of fear, "What about you and Lightpaw?"

"I don't care about her! I care about you! She can find some other tom, but not me."

"B-but..." Peachheart gasped, still awestruck.

"'But' nothing. I want to know how you feel." Eclipsenight wrapped his tail around her and she breathed in his soothing scent.

Then the last emotion came: love. She realized it all now. This deep friendship she and Eclipsenight had was really love. She knew in her heart that she wanted him beside her, and that she loved him, too.

"Ok. I will be your mate," she meowed, smiling.

Eclipsenight looked relieved, "Thank you, Peachheart."

"Thank you," he whispered.

Dawn came too soon and they parted, knowing they would see each other the next night and even more. A warm feeling filled her up to the tips of her claws. She was happy, she had a mate finally, and their Clans were only a moon away from joining together.

Her blood froze as she met the hostile face of Lightwing in the entrance of the camp.

"Tell me, Peachheart: where were you?" she purred venomously.

"Nowhere, Lightwing, just taking a stroll," she meowed.

"Strolls don't take from moonhigh to dawn," she hissed.

"I lost myself by the stream. It's quite soothing, you know."

Lightwing growled and stalked off. She turned back and glared at Peachheart. "I will be watching you, Peachheart. Very closely."

One night we are bathed in light.

One day carried away in the storms.

Chapter 8: Eclipsenight

Eclipsenight breathed deeply. His world seemed so much better since the night a half moon ago when he had found out that Peachheart loved him back. Now all he needed to do was plan to stop he and Lightwing from joining the Clans and find another way to join them instead.

If you killed Mallowstar, Lightwing wouldn't be "the leader's daughter" anymore. Peachheart would. Or if you killed Lightwing, the next best thing would be Peachheart.

Eclipsenight shook those thoughts away. They reminded him too much of his past.

Agony. Death. Blood. Bones. Guts. Scars.

Eclipsenight shivered and thought, There must be a way to be known as Peachheart's mate without hurting anybody.

There was always the choice of leaving the Clans. Or Eclipsenight's brother, Blackstripe could take his place as Lightwing's mate.

"Eclipsenight, come with me to SkyClan camp. We have some business to do there. Get groomed, get ready we have so much to do! The Clan is already at SkyClan camp." Clawstar sounded frantic.

Eclipsenight was confused. What was the Clan doing at SkyClan camp? And why was his father frantic? He started grooming himself and he and his father made their way to the SkyClan camp. They padded through the entrance, cheers meeting their arrival.

SkyClan and BloodClan were lined up on seperate sides of the camp and Lightwing was standing in the middle, waiting for him to join her.

"What's going on?" he asked.

"The Clans are uniting tonight," Clawstar said.

"Tonight? But, it is supposed to be in a half-moon from now!" he cried. Worry filled him up. He didn't know how he was going to bust up this cermony before it was too late.

"We decided to unite the Clans a bit sooner," Clawstar meowed, and once again, Eclipsenight thought he saw a smirk on his face.

He looked into the sea of SkyClan cats and spotted Peachheart, shuffling her paws nervously. He could see she was as nervous as he was.

"Well, come forth, young Eclipsenight." Mallowstar meowed.

Eclipsenight swallowed and padded over to Lightwing.

Mallowstar smiled and yowled to the Clans, "Tonight is the joining of two cats and the official joining of two Clans for the better!"

"Touch noses!" Clawstar hissed in his ear.

Eclipsenight stretched his head forward in attempt to meet Lightwing's nose. Her eyes were sparkling with love. Eclipsenight couldn't take it. He turned away.

"No," he murmured.

Shocked gasps came from Clawstar, Mallowstar, and Lightwing.

"What do you mean 'No'? This is your destiny!" Clawstar growled.

"No!" he said even louder, "My destiny is with Peachheart!"

Trust in your instincts,

If it's safely restrained.

Chapter 9: Peachheart

Peachheart's pelt grew hot as both Clans stared straight at her in shock. She ducked her head shyly.

"How could you ruin the linking of the Clans?" Mallowstar growled at her.

"She didn't!" Eclipsenight snapped, "I did!" His blue eyes swelled with tears.

The Clans turned to look at Eclipsenight. Clawstar growled and the whole clearing flew into yowls and snarls.

Peachheart started to sob quietly. She hated all this fighting. And it was caused by her. Her and Eclipsenight.

Lightwing was simmering with anger, "How could you ruin this for me, Peachheart!" She stalked up to her and murmured so nobody else could hear, "I will get vengeance."

Peachheart stared in shock. Now Lightwing was jealous of her and was howling for her blood. This was enough.

She hopped up onto the rock that Eclipsenight was standing on.

"Enough!" she yowled.

The whole clearing quieted down immediately and turned to her.

"There are other ways to unite Clans. We have choices. Choices that we want to make and if Eclipsenight chose me, then so be it. Nobody can change his choice. He has freewill. And so do I. If you all accept, the Clans will be joined by me and Eclipsenight. Our choices."

Her words fell upon the Clans and they started nodding in approval. Nobody could change their choices. Only they could. Peachheart had chosen Eclipsenight, and he had chosen her.

Lightwing was the only one that disapproved. She was sitting in the middle of a crowd of young warrior and apprentice toms, showing off, now that she wasn't taking a mate.

The sun was low and the moon was bright and in the last flash of the sun, the moon turned a cream-ginger color, similar to Peachheart's fur.

"It's a sign!" the medicine cat Cloudpelt yowled, "Peachheart belongs with Eclipsenight!"

The cats nodded and Fireflower whispered, "Touch noses now."

"Link the Clans!" Clawstar yowled.

A warm feeling spread through her as his nose touched hers and she stared into his blue eyes.

Reflected light

To another's sight

And the moon tells a lover's story

Chapter 10: Eclipsenight

Eclipsenight settled into the warriors' den beside Peachheart, happy to be united at last. He drifted off quickly to the rhythmic thump of his heart beat.

He woke around moonhigh to screeches and yowls of agony. He shot awake panting. What was happening? He and Peachheart hurried outside to see shadowy cats inside a bloody scene. Cats lay dead and dying on their sides yowling their last words to their family or friends.

Cautiously, he padded around. So many cats were bloody, dirty, laying on the ground. He watched in horror as one cat ripped another's guts out.

He could hear kits wailing for their mother, who was laying dead. Bones, blood, and guts splashed the clearing and just then, he realized that none of the BloodClan cats were dead or dying. And he realized why the scene looked so familiar. It was his own. It was his past.

"Kill them all! Leave no cat alive!" Clawstar yowled.

"Father, why are you doing this?" he shouted.

"Don't you see?" Clawstar hissed, "This will make us the most powerful Clan!"

"No! I don't see!" he growled.

Clawstar chuckled and Eclipsenight knew just then that Clawstar had been planning this all along.

He shook his head, "No! You can't kill them!"

"Yes, I can!" Clawstar spat, "And just to get you off my back, I'll let Peachheart live."

"You can't kill these cats!" Eclipsenight repeated.

"Soft-hearted mange-pelt!" Clawstar hissed, "For that Peachheart will die!"

His eyes widened as his past came flying back. Younger he had killed kits and queens and elders too weak to defend themselves on their own. He had killed them and he no longer wanted to call that past his own, but now it was claiming him.

He growled and blindly lunged at his father.

All that we can do is stay alive.

All that we can do to help ourselves is stay alive.

Chapter 11: Peachheart

Peachheart watched as her mate sank his teeth into his father's throat and the life spilled out of him. All nine of his lives. Eclipsenight backed away, sobbing.

"Peachheart, I was hiding something. I...I....I....killed cats in my past."

Peachheart was shocked. Eclipsenight had always seemed so gentle and sweet.

"You... I understand if you want to sink your claws into me now, b-but I never wanted that past to happen. I was trained in those ways." Eclipsenight broke off, at loss for words

Peachheart meowed, "No, Eclipsenight. That doesn't change now, and it doesn't change us. That's what matters."

Peachheart ran off to try and stop the fighting while Eclipsenight went to protect SkyClan.

"Stop!" Peachheart yowled, "Stop!"

"Well..." a voice hissed, filled with venom and anger, "I have found you alone!"

A weight crashed into her side and she went flying with the cat. It was Lightwing.

"Lightwing! What are you doing?" she demanded.

"Getting my vengeance! You snatched my destiny! Now I will snatch yours!" she spat.

A yowl broke through the dying moans of SkyClan and Eclipsenight bowled Lightwing off of her. Lightwing turned away from him and ran back to Peachheart, fury blazing in her eyes.

And once... just once... she unsheathed her claws and let go with a lethal swipe.

Lightwing fell to the ground dead as BloodClan ran for their lives. Clawstar was dead, and now they were powerless.

"We did it, but at the price of so much," Peachheart murmured.

"The important thing is, is that BloodClan is gone and we have our whole lives ahead of us," Eclipsenight meowed.

We will pay the price,

But we will not count the cost.


The End

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