This story is rated extreme.
Let the sky fall,
When it crumbles,
We will stand tall.
Let the sky fall.
-Adele in Skyfall
A/N: In this book, Skyfall knows about human things, like crackers or boats. Don't ask how I know- you'll just have to find out. :) --Nighty
My past is a confusing place. In it lives a multitude of cats, young and old. they are all different now though- living in StarClan, meeting their loved ones. I don't have that choice.
I was different then too. Today, as you read this, I am different. I have no name. You cannot see me, hear me, smell me, touch me. I am simply there- like the wind, or the trees, or the grass. I am a part of life.
I do not live in a physical form- I am a sort of spirit, if you must. I live in your emotions- love, joy, hate, fear. I can see everything you do. I can see everything everyone does.
Again, I have no name- but I used to. My old name? A millenium ago, it was Maple, although I am not best known for that. I shall give you my most common name.
You may call me Skyfall.
Before you ask why my name was Skyfall, living in SkyClan, let me tell you this- my mother was a loner. It had always been her dream to join- living in a Clan was the best thing that could ever happen to a cat, was what she said. Every time, though, she was rejected by Sharpstar. She kept coming back, and asking. Every time was a different excuse from him. The first time it was the Clan was recovering from the death of Leafstar- the second the Clan was in famine and didn't need anymore mouths to feed- the third time they were greatly wounded from a battle- the fourth time just a flat out "no".
Mother was a very determined cat, though. She kept coming back and asking. She was rejected by Sharpstar eight times- yes, I counted. Finally, my poor mother was on her deathbed, having been rejected the final time.
"Maple,"-that was my name then-"go ask Sharpstar if you can join SkyClan."
I was worried, but not suprised. "I can't leave you mother! You're... you're..."
She smiled, her lips at the end of her muzzle grayed with age turning up faintly. "About to die? Yes, I am." The smile disappeared. "Please, Maple. I'm an old cat. Take it as my last wish?"
I felt a lump appear in my throat. I wasn't really much of a crier, but me and Mother had a closeness unnatural for two loners. She was my world, but she wanted me to go, so I would do that. "I'll do it. Try not to die on me though, please." She actually smiled at my joke attempt. A tear trickled down her wrinkled, grayed with age face, and she gave a weak lick.
"Go, my little maple tree. But first.." I, already on my way out, turned back towards her.
She smiled at me. "If they accept you... tell them your name is Skyfall."
"Why should we let in a loner? For all we know you could be plotting to kill us all." The lithe deep gray tom glared at me hostilly. I held his gaze.
"Can I at least talk to your leader?" I asked, fighting to keep down my frustration.
The tom kept glaring at me, but waved his tail for me to come to him. "Fine. But if you try any funny buisiness I'll-"
"- kill me before I can say 'thrush'? I know. You already said that four times." He kept glaring at me, but, nonetheless, led me into camp.
Inside, it was bustling with cats weaving in and out of caves. The was at the bottom of a cliff face, by the river below. Kits played near the water, older cats sat on the boulders sunning themselves, and younger cats, a bit older than the kits, play-fought and chatted.
The warrior noticed me looking at everyone. "Come on," he meowed gruffly, nudging me forward uncerimoniously. I shot him a glare, but he ignored my and kept padding towards one of the largest caves. He stood outside and poked his head in. "Sharpstar?"
"Come in," meowed a gruff voice from inside the cave- Sharpstar. The warrior padded in, me on his tail.
"Sharpstar, this"-he shot me a glare-"loner wants to join our Clan." The tom flicked his tail towards me.
Sharpstar shot me a glance. "I know you. Aren't the kit of that loner who keeps asking to join our Clan?"
I fought down my anger at his dissmissiveness of my mother. "Yes, that would be me."
His brown tabby tail flicked back and forth. "So you're asking to join?"
No, I'm asking you to grant me wings, I thought sarcastically. This leader was getting on my nerves, big-time. Think of Mother. Think of Mother. "Yes, I am, in fact."
Sharpstar studied me for a moment more. "What is your name?"
"Huh. Skyfall. Ironic." He thought for a moment, staring at me. Finally, he made a decision. "You can join, but you'll be sleeping in an abandoned cave instead of the warriors den for tonight." He got up from his laying position and shouldered past me and the warrior.
"Let all cats old enough to leap in the trees gather for a Clan meeting!" He leapt upon a large boulder in the center of the central area near all of the caves. Caves pricked their ears and gathered beneath him. A long-furred white tom leapt up on the boulder beside him- probably his deputy.
"Today I have an announcement. A cat, by the name of Skyfall, has asked to join our Clan." The cats murmured at this- who was this strange cat. "Skyfall, come up to the Boulder."
Swallowing nervously, I padded up to Sharpstar and his deputy. Sharpstar looked down at me. "Am I correct that you know how to hunt and fight?"
"To learn the rules of the Clan, your temporary mentor will be Stormflight. Stormflight, come up here please."
The lithe gray tom who I had first seen, with a sulky expression on his face, padded up, glaring at me. I glared right back at him. Sharpstar pretended not to notice.
"Stormflight, you will teach Skyfall about this Clan. Is that clear?"
Expression growing sulkier by the second, Stormflight nodded, still glaring at me.
"Clan dismissed." Sharpstar leapt down from the Boulder, and padded back into his den. Me and Stormflight just continued to glare at eachother.
Perfect. The one cat who hates me most is my mentor. Thanks, Sharpstar-the-idiot.
I half-heartedly reprimanded myself. Think of Mother. Think of Mother.
"Please tell me you're not so useless you don't know how to hunt."
I glared at Stormflight. "I'm a loner, not a kit." He glared at me.
"If you're so good," he meowed, "let's see you climb that tree." He gestured to a huge pine with his tail.
I sized up the tree. It was big, all right- but I could climb it. I would climb it just to spite that idiot. Crouching down, I summoned all of my strength and leapt upward onto the trunk, my claws digging into the rough pine bark. A branch was just up ahead- I leapt, again, with all my might and caught it with my two front paws. Gripping the limb, I hoisted myself up. Stormflight sneered up at me.
"Try not to fall," he hissed. I growled, deep in my throat, and ignored him. Crouching down on the limb, I leapt upward, grasping the next one up. Gradually, I made my way to the topmost branches. Pine needles pricked my fur, and the tree swayed slightly.
"Happy?" I yowled down at him. I couldn't see him- the pine needles were so thick up here- but I could hear him growling in frustration.
"Have fun getting down," he spat back. I hissed, and lightly leapt off of onto the branch below- except my claws only grazed the branch. I free-falled towards the ground below, and possibly my death.
Now, whichever cat might be reading this, let me tell you- do you think I really died? It's allright, there is no right or wrong to an opinion. Well, did you? Let me tell you- I did not die, though looking back it might've been better if I had. But, nonetheless, I survived. And you will find that out once you keep reading. So do that, please.
Paralized in fear, I lashed out a paw to grab a surrounding limb. A jolt flew up my leg as my paw caught brutally on a limb. Grimacing, I hoisted myself onto the branch and tediously made my way down, limping as I was. Finally, I was on the branch closest to the ground. But it was a long leap, and I wasn't sure if I could make it. I was stupid then- I'm not afraid to mention that. Of course, I did not have the wisdom that a millenium gives you, but that comes later in the story.
I decided to leap and hope for the best. It was a primitive plan, but seemed good at the time- land on three paws, the other tucked under me. So I did, hoping for the best- unfortunately, Fate had something else in mind for me.
I landed as planned- the hurt leg tucked under me, my back and front right paw hitting the ground. A sickly crrrrrack sounded, and I looked down. I, as much as it pains me to say, retched on myself. My right leg was twisted at an unnatural angle, paralel to my body with the paw-pads facing the sky. The first few seconds I just stared at it in horror. it could have been seconds -- hours -- minutes before I started to feel pain. At first it was just a throbbing sensation- almost like losing a claw in a fight or getting a thorn in your paw. Then real pain came. I gritted my teeth, feeling like my head would explode. It blurred my sight, my brain- I couldn't think. it's the scariest feeling, not being able to think- you can feel your consciousness in the back of your head, but can't reach it, and just sit there, helpless, submitting to the pain. I think I screamed- I don't quite remember what, though. Black and red spots danced before my vision. Finally, I was granted the gift of unconsciousness.
I blinked sleepily. "Wha-?" Echosong, SkyClan's gentle, but now quite elderly, medicine cat looked down at me. She flicked her glance to someone out of my vision.
"Sharpstar, would you like to-"
"No, I think you'd best do it."
Echosong mustered a weary smile. "Skyfall... I'm afraid something bad has happened to you?"
I sat bolt upright, squeaking with pain that coursed down my right leg- the one twisted oddly. Echosong couldn't hide her grimace. "You...might want to take a look at your leg," she meowed quietly.
I looked down at my left leg- it looked normal. "I don't see what the-oh."
I looked down at my right leg. It was twisted completely backwards.
"I'm sorry Skyfall. There was nothing we could do about it." Echosong looked truly sorry- of course, I was too busy staring at myself in horror.
I nodded mutely, half-hearing her words. I was a cripple, an outcast. Mother had wanted me to have a good life in SkyClan, and I had failed her.
All because of Stormflight's dumb sneer.
I got to my paws, ignoring Echosong's mews of protest, and limped out of the medicine cat den. Cats were going about their business, chatting and playing, sunning themselves, coming back from patrols. As soon as they saw me, they stopped dead. Half-a-second later, they resumed their tasks, trying not to flash curious glances at me. The kits just stared, not caring who saw them.
It was true. I was a complete outcast.
Those first few weeks were easily the most painful in my life (or at least my physical one). I had to comstantly keep a salve on my crippled leg, and could only move it barely a mouselength. Everyone would flash me glances momentarily- they were curious, but I can't blame them. I would be too. the kits were the worst part though.
I love kits. They are the saints of innocence, the patrons of gentleness. Of course they didn't understand about my injury. Some would come up and ask about it- if it hurt, if it looked weird. They were trying to be nice.
I tried to be kind back to them- I really did. Sometimes I just couldn't though. They thought of it as like a thorn in your pad- I thought of it like an injury that would haunt you forever.
The Clan wanted me to join the elders- I refused, obviously. I told them that I didn't want to be a burden to them. What everyone thought I meant was that I wasn't letting go of my pride. What I really meant was that they all reminded my too much of my Mother- frail, helpless, submitting to the plundering of time. I slept in the same abandoned cave that I did the first night and stayed in camp, sometimes laying in my little fortress of solitude for days on end. What did it matter? I could barely move anyways.
When I did venture into camp, I did it silently, and as quickly as I could manage. My twisted leg didn't help- the paw faced backward, which was near impossible to walk on. The apprentices would try not to stare, the warriors petending not to notice, the kits huddling quietly around their mothers' legs. I tried not to dwell on the fact that I was different- the damge had been done, and the only way now was forward.
Sometimes though I wished I could go back to that fateful day that Mother died and asked me to join SkyClan, and tell her "no" and stay by her side as she took her last breath. But time has no "rewind" button, and I would never refuse my Mother anyways, no matter how much I had wanted to. A cat can dream, can't she?
I lived out most of my life like that, at least until Falconpaw became Falconstrike. Then it started to get complicated- at least moreso than it already was.
I can clearly remember the day that I met Falconpaw. His brown-and-golden tabby fur shone with the patches of sunlight, and his green eyes sparkled with mischeif. He was an apprentice then- I barely noticed him at the time.
That day, I was making a quick trip at the river for a drink of water when he accidentally bumped into me. He apologized embarassedly, the prey in his mouth making his voice muffled. Falconpaw told me his name- I told him mine.
His mother gave me a nervous look, and told her son to come back to camp. He looked at her, then me, then her, and back to me. "No," he responded. "I'm fine."
That was when I knew he was different. He didn't shy away at sight of my disfigurity, but didn't gape at it either. Falconpaw was perfectly okay with my injury.
I quickly excused myself and scurried back up to my den, my thirst forgotten.
A moon- or was it two? - later he became Falconstrike, warrior of SkyClan. He was so proud of it. By then all of the she-cats flocked to him like birds would do to a scattering of sunflower seeds. I'll admit, he was handsome. And with a cool name like Falconstrike- he was irresistable.
Falconstrike sat vigil perfectly still that night. I know because I ventured quietly from my cave and sat beside him. He flashed me a glance, but otherwise said nothing. So we sat there all night- a handsome chick magnet and a disheveled cripple- sitting vigil together.
The second day after his warriorship I talked to him. I asked him how he was doing- he said alright. The she-cats flocked around him, watching our every more, flashing us glances. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Stormflight, talking to an elder. I focused back on Falconstrike.
His head turned to see Cloudbloom looking at him, her soft, creme-white fur waving gently. "Yeah? What is it, Cloudbloom?"
She crossed her paws. "I'm on an errand for Echosong to go to the Whispering Cave. Can you help me reach some of he moss?"
He got up from his sitting position. "Sure." Falconstrike padded away from her.
I didn't know what I was feeling- like a mixture of anger, hate, and some sadness. Now I know that feeling was called jealousy. I hadn't realized it yet, but I like-liked Falconstrike. Maybe even loved.
And about the time i realized that, I also realized I would go to the ends of the earth for him.
Things went on like that for several moons. Me and Falconstrike talked a lot, the she-cats always watched us jealously, I stayed away from everyone else (besides him, of course). That was actually a pretty nice period of time for me. Of course, all good things must eventually come to an end.
I remember it was a cold, leaf-bare morning when Sharpstar died.
Watery dawnlight filtered into the cave that I slept in as I heard the cats' cries from the camp. My ears pricked and I got up to see what the commotion was.
The cats in camp were going almost berserk. Some ran around, yowling, others wept, and some just stood there, dumbfounded.
My ears finally picked up the cries.
"Sharpstar is dead!"
I wasn't suprised, honestly- he was growing old and had come down with a case of whitecough. He was on his last life, anyway. Now his deputy was ready to take over.
The same white tom I had seen when I joined SkyClan leapt onto the Boulder. "Cats of SkyClan!" he yowled. "Our leader, Sharpstar, is dead, and I, Whitewater, will take over to become leader."
The cats, still weary from the loss of their leader, chanted half-heartedly. "Whitestar! Whitestar! Whitestar!"
"Today I will go to the Whispering Cave to recieve my nine lives. While I am gone Rockshade and Honeytail will be in charge of the camp." He padded off towards the Whispering Cave as Sharpstar's body was dragged out of his den into the center of camp.
The cats grieved him almost silently, pressing their noses to his fur and murmuring quietly. Cherrytail's wails were muffled by his fur, and their kits, Hawkpaw and Gorgepaw, sat beside him quietly, their eyes filled with tears. I saw Falconstrike venture over and briefly bury his nose in the former leader's pelt, then swiftly get up and walk away. I didn't move to his body. All I could see was the corpse of my mother, lying like he was. I turned away and swiftly headed back to my den, eyes brimming with tears.
A couple hours later, Whitewater (now Whitestar) emerged from the Whispering Cave with Echosong's apprentice, Rainpaw(did I mention that she had an apprentice?). He padded solemnly up to Sharpstar and buried his nose in the former leader's pelt, murmuring something that I couldn't make out. I now know that he said to him, "I will fulfill your last wish." He quickly retracted his nose and made his way back to the Boulder.
"Waspwhisker, Shrewtooth, and Clovertail, will you be the burial party?" The three nodded solemnly, and slung the leader's body over their shoulders, padding out of camp. Whitestar cleared his throat and focused back on the gatherred Clan.
"Cats of SkyClan," he yowled, "I have recieved my nine lives and name from StarClan. Sharpstar has passed on to join our anscestors, and now I will lead SkyClan!"
"Whitestar! Whitestar! Whitestar!" they chorused.
"It is time for me to chose a deputy. My deputy will be Rockshade." Everyone chanted Rockshade's name as he padded up to the boulder. The choice was obvious- the black-furred tom had been Whitestar's favorite since the day he had layed eyes on him.
"I will serve the Clan with my all," Rockshade meowed solemnly. Boucefire and Tinycloud, his siblings, smiled. Birdwing, Honeytail, and Sandyfoot, his half-siblings, cheered and whooped.
The Clan was happy, despite the death of their much-beloved leader. They were unaware, though, of the turbulent times ahead. At least, for me.
It's amazing, really, what love can do. By now I had realized that I had an insane crush on Falconstrike, even if he didn't have one on me. Even so, I stayed by his side almost all the time. Calling me social was a bit of a stretch, but at least I was around cats instead of sulking in my den the whole day. I would've done that but I wanted to be near Falconstrike.
As cliche as it seems, he was the total package. Falconstrike was strong, smart, sweet, cracked jokes, and had a beautiful pelt that any she-cat would die for. The fluffy tabby fur he had as an apprentice had become sleek and shined in the watery dawnlight. His light green eyes that had sparkled with an apprentice's mischeif now gave way to a deep green that displayed the cunning strategist he was. Could you blame me for being hopelessly, irreversably in love with him?
When Whitestar became leader, something in the back of my head kept nagging he'd do something horribly wrong. Again, not trying to sound a tad cliche, but it was just... there. And soon I would figure out why.
Whitestar was battle-hungry, you could say. After Sharpstar ridded the Clan of the Daylight Warriors, SkyClan had always been very touchy with rogues, loners, and kittypets. Whitestar took that to a new level. He ordered patrols to go to Twolegplace and mark the fences with kittypets, and check everyday to see if there any loners in the territory. And if he found any on SkyClan soil, Whitestar ordered them killed.
Lots of cats died during Whitestar's leadership. I once learned that a traveling loner, pregnant with kits, was found on SkyClan territory and killed. I would've said something to him but was too scared to show my face in camp. Cats were still touchy about my injury, still shied away even though it was almost a year later. If I wanted something badly enough, I'd send a message through Falconstrike. Honestly, though, Whitestar scared me quite a bit. I deliberately didn't come near him because I was once a loner.
When Whitestar had his first Telling, which was what he called when the Clan congregated on a big flat rock at the top of the gorge and told StarClan about what was happening in the Clan, he had lots of deaths to report. Of course, I wasn't there in person to witness them. I didn't leave my cave much those days and didn't believe in StarClan anyways.
Rockshade had a hard job as deputy. He had always been a kind-hearted tom to me, even if he was respected amongst the Clan and a fierce warrior in battle. When Whitestar counseled with him, he was very against killing the loners and kittypets, since he, his siblings, and his mother were once the same. But the leader's word is law, and Whitestar overruled him. Looking back, Whitestar wasn't bloodthirsty like Tigerstar or Brokenstar that you will see in the lore of the four original Clans. He sincerely thought that was the way for his Clan to survive, and it was- just not to his extent.
The only time I left my little Fortress of Solitude was to get a drink or a piece of prey. Whitestar didn't like seeing me. In his eyes, I was "useless"- I didn't hunt, fight, help the elders, or help Rainsplash (Echosong had died a couple days after Whitestar's first Telling). I was pretty useless, looking back. Before you chide me, think about this- if you were crippled beyond repair, would you want to walk around helping cats that were afraid of you just for something wrong with your body? Cats are shallow creatures at heart- hating others because something is different about them, different eyes, fur, body parts, or lineage. This world makes me sick sometimes.
Anyways, back to Whitestar and SkyClan. Leaf-bare had slinked past, and new-leaf had just begun to emerge from the frost. A young loner, about apprentice-aged, was found on the SkyClan border, half-starved and out cold. Even Whitestar had the compassion to let him into the Clan for a while to nurse him back to health. Stormflight was growing a bit less social, but still was as arrogant as ever. Falconstrike went on leaving the she-cats swooning. Everything was normal.
Until Whitestar found out the young loner rescued from the border was a traitor.
He was from a group of rogues that had been stealing SkyClan's prey since the day Sharpstar died. Whitestar forced all of the information from him he could get, gave him traveling herbs to "get as far away as possible from here", as he put it, and kicked him out of camp where the tom set off at a mad dash.
And then Whitestar declared war.
Patrols were sent out; spies were sent to the places targeted most for prey; the camp was barricaded with anything cats could find. All cats, warriors, apprentices, medicine cat, kits, queens, battle-trained at least a little bit. Of course, not me. Whitestar didn't care if they killed me.
Falconstrike led pretty much all of the battle patrols- he was the best fighter in the Clan by far. Even Whitestar knew that. I stayed in my cave chipping boredly away at the stone floor with one claw. Nothing was unusual except for the fact that everyone was getting prepared for some kind of massacre while I counted the ridges on my cave ceiling. One day, one of the rogues were caught and dragged into camp half-concious and bleeding badly from the head. Whitestar made everycat come up and watch as he was interrogated. He included me, for once.
The rogue looked pitiful, his eyes wide and scared, his gaunt body scarred and bleeding. He never gave away any information except his name. On the third day he was held prisoner in camp the rogue told Whitestar where the group of his partners-in-crime were. He was led outside and killed that day as the sun slipped from sunset to twilight.
"Tonight is the night we drive away those prey-stealing mongrels!"
The Clan cheered at Whitestar's rallying cry. Everyone had been called to the central camp area, even me, and forced to listen to Whitestar's speech. He stood on the Boulder, his long white fur ruffling in the slight breeze and his amber eyes flashing with the light of a future battle.
I sat in the very back, craning my neck to see what Falconstrike was doing. He was sitting beside Whitestar on the Boulder. Rockshade sat at the Boulder's base, flicking malicious glances at Falconstrike who had seemingly stolen his position as deputy. The tom sitting beside Whitestar himself looked cool and collected, his ears pricked and eyes stony, as if he was already in war.
"Tonight is the night we reclaim our prey from those scumbags!" More cheers from the pepped-up cats listening to Whitestar's speech. I stretched my neck to see what falconstrike was doing. His stony gaze stared straight ahead at his Clanmates. It flicked to me once, then returned to the cats.
"Who will volunteer for the battle party?"
"Me!" "Over here!" "I'm ready!" The yowls of several cats rang through the air like the tolling bells of war. Whitestar surveyed the Clan.
"Bouncefire, Honeytail, Floatingsun, Aquatail, Mistybird, Icefeather, Nightbreeze, and Falconstrike will be my battle party.Named cats, please gather at the base of the Boulder."
The named cats congregated excitedly at the foot of the Boulder. Flaconstrike leapt down to join him, keeping cool and collected.
"We will leave in a little bit. Go practice battle or something," Whitestar meowed with a shrug. "Clan dismissed!"
The cats filtered away, talking excitedly to family members or having practice-scuffles with each other. Falconstrike started to pad off towards Whitestar--about to discuss battle tactics, no less--when I noticed him walking away.
"Hey! Hey Falconstrike!" I limped over to him as quickly as I could, trying my best not to stumble, my tail swishing the air for balance. "Wait up!"
He stopped and turned back towards me. "Yeah? What is it, Skyfall?"
I blinked. Being the Falconstrike fangirl I am (or was, at least) I was automatically paranoid that he'd go into battle and not come back. Was it the time to tell him?
He blinked at me, those piercing green eyes displaying concern.
It was the time to tell him.
"Falconstrike...I...kinda..." I paused. "have a crush on you."
He smirked, but not in a cocky sort of way. "I know. I think you're sweet."
About a second, though it felt like a week, later I realized my mouth was gaping open. I clamped it shut and embarrassedly licked my chestfur. "Urm...thanks."
The two green eyes seemed to drill into my soul. "I'll come back from battle," he whispered. I paused. Could he read my mind or something?
Nodding, I murmured, "That'd be helpful."
Falconstrike laughed, and turned away to walk back towards Whitestar, leaving me with a heart to seemed to almost burst out of my chest.
About five minutes later, the battle party congregated at the camp entrance, with cheering Clanmates surrounding the beaming warriors. Falconstrike's brown tabby tail flicked cooly out behind him, his face displaying no emotion.
"Today we fight! Today we reclaim what we have lost--our prey!" Whitestar yowled.
"Yeah!" the Clan chorused back.
With a long yowl, the battle party surged out of the entrance with every Clan member from the oldest elder to the youngest kit cheering. Everyone except me and, I would later know, Stormflight.
I'll come back from battle. I'll come back from battle. Falconstrike's words pulsated in my brain all day, sending waves of it into every thought I had. It seemed at the time the battle lasted all day, but now I know it only lasted about half an hour. It was the longest half-hour of my existance.
Finally, Mistybird, Aquatail, and Bouncefire trooped in, bloody and panting. The three collapsed on the ground, panting and closing their eyes. I had sat in camp all day, waiting for the battle party to return. Excited, I limped over to them. "Are you the only three? Where's everyone else?"
Aquatail opened her eyes long enough to shoot me a glare, then closed them again. Mistybird mumbled, "More coming." Bouncefire exhaled slowly and started panting again.
Panic welled in my throat as two more cats filed in--Floatingsun and Nightbreeze. They were bloody and panting also but didn't immediately collapse like the first three. "Where is everyone else? Are they okay?" I bombarded the two with questions until Nightmask silenced me with a yowl.
"More are coming! Just shut up!" she snarled. Floatingsun just looked at me mournfully, and sat down, beggining to clean the blood of one of her paws.
My throat closed as I saw Honeytail stumble in, bleeding badly from her neck. Rainsplash immediately rushed over to her, soothing her gently with her gentle voice and a wad of spiderweds clutched between her teeth. Honeytail slumped to the ground as Rainsplash tried to support her and apply cobwebs at the same time.
I snarled and turned to Nightmask. "Where's Icefeather and Falconstrike?"
The she-cat's gaze softened and momentarily turned to one of pain. "Dead," she murmured.
My eyes widened. "Both of them?" Nightmask barely nodded, sighing and staring at the ground.
My mouth gaped in horror, but this time I didn't bother to close it. He promised. He promised that he would come back. Falconstrike promised, for StarClan's sake.
"You idiot!" I suddenly screeched at Whitestar, who had just limped into camp with a minor leg wound, limping like he'd broken it or something. His ears flattened and eyes widened as he saw me--I was in a complete rage. my fur was puffed out and my eyes burned with an undousable fire. The leader stepped backward one step involuntarily.
I tried to hurl myself at him but lost my balance and fell, scrablling towards him with my three good legs. "You could've saved him! You could've saved Falconstrike!"
Whitestar blinked and his claws slid out like he thought I was going to tackle him. "There was nothing I could do. With my leg wound I-"
"Leg wound? Leg wound?!" I screeched, rage making my vision blink red. I felt like I had a raging fire ripping through my soul. "You don't know the MEANING of leg wound! You're just a sorry excuse for a leader who only cares for HIMSELF!" I tried to throw myself at him again but fell once more on my face, my claws scrabbling the dirt. The inferno ripped through my heart and I almost managed to reach him about the time they carried Falconstrike's body in.
Time seemed to stop. The fire stopped burning as I saw his brown tabby tail--the same tail that had swished with so much life just a little while before--dragging across the ground. The party of cats set him down gently. Nobody moved.
I broke the stillness. Tears brimming from my eyes, I crept towards him. I honestly can say I didn't recognize him at first. Scratches criss-crossed his flank, up and down his leg. Not one square inch wasn't covered in a bloody wound of some sort. And then I noticed it--his right-front leg was twisted at an odd angle, like someone had broken it. I looked down at mine. It was twisted on the same leg except the white tip of a bone jutted from Falconstrike's fur.
I turned away, the tears leaving my eyes, and stumbled down towards my cave. I slipped inside and collapsed on the ground, the tears silently running down my face. Eventually I saw a furry outline fill the entrance to my little abode. Not caring who it was, I closed my eyes and wrapped my tail around my body until it touched my nose. The cat slipped inside the cave with me, curling up at my side, our flanks touching.
When I awoke the next morning I saw that that cat was Stormflight.
The next day passed uneventfully. I got up early, got a drink at the river and a small mouse, and returned back to my cave. Stormflight was gone. I tried to convince myself that I was happier alone to brood.
I stayed in my little den all day. The rest of the Clan was in camp moaning about Falconstrike's death and feeling sorry for themselves.
The funny part is, when I was wounded I felt so sorry for myself. I sulked and brooded and wouldn't show my face, feeling like the world had already ended. Now, I just didn't know what to do. I was backed against a wall and there was only one solution. One solution that would suit me for all eternity.
And, the next day, I decided that solution was the only way to escape.
The morning was beautiful; clear, late newleaf morning. Leaves had just started to return to the trees above the gorge and a pleasant warm wind blew lazily. I almost changed my mind. I almost forgot the purpose I had gone into camp.
I hadn't been in camp since Falconstrike was brought back. When the cats saw me, they weren't exactly shocked, just a bit confused. I guess to them I would look more disheveled. No, I had taken the time to groom myself until my pelt shined. I even tried to groom my injured leg--it was hard, but I did it. I wanted to look my best.
As I tried to pad gracefully through camp, I noticed Stormflight padding by my side. I shot him a curious glance, but didn't push him away. For once his company was welcome.
I exited camp, Stormflight flanking me. He glanced at me, and I glanced at him. We stopped at the base of a giant pine--the same that had cursed me with being the most useless cat in the Clan, the tree that took my ability to do anything without getting stared at. The tree that I had fallen off and broken my leg on.
And I started to climb.
I clawed the trunk, trying to get to the first branch, at least. No use. I had failed.
Stormflight's eyes were wide as I slid down the trunk, breathing heavily. "Skyfall.." he started. "You can't... you just.."
I tried to glare at him. "Can't what? Just what?"
He blinked rapidly as I noticed tears on his face. "No, Skyfall. I won't let you." He stepped towards me, blocking my path to the tree.
"Who says I can't?" I threw myself under his legs but he grabbed my paws.
"No! I won't let you!" he hissed.
"Why do you care?! I thought you hated me!" I screeched.
That last comment seemed to strike him. The fire in his eyes died and more tears rolled down. Stormflight slumped to the ground.
"Because," he meowed, his voice breaching a whisper, "I love you."
Silence. That was the only sound I heard after his words. Well, not total silence--the birds still called to eachother, and the pines still rustled, and the squirrels still chitterred. But we were silent.
Suddenly, it all hit me. That time I was talking to Falconstrike and all the she-cats were fawning over him and I saw Stormflight out of the corner of my eye. The time I woke up to get a piece of prey and found it already at my cave entrance bearing Stormflight's scent. The time he followed me to the river when I got a drink. Countless other memories flooded back, each one with Stormflight just standing in the background, watching.
"I.... Stormflight, I..." Stormflight, that's sweet. Stormflight, I think you're kinda cute. Stormflight, I had no idea. Each sat on my tongue but was quickly discarded. I had nothing to say. "Stormflight... I still have to do this."
Stormflight cocked his head, and looked between me and the tree. "Wha--oh." He stopped.
I started towards the tree, limping pathetically. "I won't let you," he meowed quietly.
I froze. "What?"
"You're not going to do this, Skyfall."
"I have no other options," I said tiredly.
"Yes, you do! You have me. And I have you," Stormflight retorted fiercely.
"No, I don't! I'm an outcast." The words came out more bitter than I had intended, but it was true.
"Skyfall." Stormflight was obviously fighting to keep his voice steady and strong, but it cracked a bit. "No. You can't You won't."