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This is a story for Red's contest! Hope you enjoy :) -Cinderstar



Oakflight was sitting his vigil. He and his brothers, Volewhisker and Birchclaw, had just been made warriors. It was greenleaf, so the night was quite warm, and Oakflight had been allowed a long nap in the afternoon, so he was ready to spend the whole night awake and silent.

The only problem with staying up all night was there was too much time to think. He knew his mind would wander to the mystery that he constantly thought of: Who was his father? 

Oakflight's mother, Sunpetal, had raised he and his littermates without telling them who their father was. They had constantly pondered about it together, but there was to way to be sure, and Sunpetal was reluctant to tell them. He and his brothers had two guesses about their father, and who he was. Each of them were equally as likely.

Their first guess was that their father had died, and that Sunpetal was too Griefstriken about it to tell them, either that or he was from a different clan. Oakflight shuddered at the thought that he and his borthers were half clan, it seemed so unlikely to him. He didn't feel any connection to any of the other clans. He was ThunderClan through and through.

The second guess was that their father was Redfeather, a tom who'd always been very nice and caring towards he, his littermates and their mother. But if that was so, why would it be kept secret? Redfeather had no mate, or admirerers, at least as far as Oakflight and his brothers knew, so there was nothing that conflicted with the knowladge that he might be their father.

Oakflight turned these thoughts over in his head until dawn. Once he had been relieved of his vigil, he sighed and shook out his pelt. He was tired, and all he wanted to do was curl up in his new nest in the warriors den and sleep for a moon.

As he padded towards the den, he caught sight of Sunpetal padding out on patrol. He waved his tail in greeting, then curled up next to his brothers in the den. Soon sleep washed over him.

...

Oakflight was awoken by yowls of grief. He groggily rose to his paws and shook the clumps of moss from his pelt. It was sunhigh. He padded out into the camp to see what the commotion was.

"I'll rip that fox to sheads!" Birchclaw's voice rose out of the jumble of voices.

Oakflight stared at a lump of golden fur at the center of the camp. It was his mother. Sunpetal was dead. And by the sounds of it, she'd been killed by a fox.

Greif threatened to overwhelm him. How could Sunpetal be dead? Now all hope of finding out who his father is was gone. "No..." He whispers. He rushed over to his mother's body.

He lay by his mother's body until the sun set. Every cat could see how geifstriken he was, and didn't try to move him. "Now we'll never find out who our father is." He whispered to his brothers.

"Does it matter?" Volewhisker meowed. "We're here today and the behalf of some tom who we know nothing about and never will. It's not important who our father is, only for us to be the best warriors we can be."

"Yeah." Birchclaw nodded in agreement to Volewhisker. "It was fun to imagine who our father might be as apprentices, but we're warriors now. It's not important."

"I'll never give up wondering and trying to figure out who our father is, even if you do." Oakflight told his brothers, and he turned away so they wouldn't see his tears.

...

When dawn came, Oakflight had to admit it was time to leave the side of his mother's body. when the elders came to bury her body, Oakflight thought he couldn't bear the grief anymore. He turned to head towards the warriors den, so he could catch up on sleep, but Redfeather was standing in his way.

"Oakflight, I'd like to talk to you, come into the forest with me." Redfeather told him.

Oakflight was suprised. Dispide how tired he was, he turned and followed the senior warrior into the forest.

"I am sorry about your loss." Redfeather told him. "Sunpetal was a great cat, and it causes me so much grief to know that she is dead. I loved her so much."

"Are you going to tell me about my father?" Oakflight asked. "Are you my father."

"I am not your father, but yes, I will tell you who was. I heard you talking to your brothers last night, and saw your tears. Sit down." Redfeather told him.

"Ever since we were kits together, I loved your mother. I felt drawn to her, and when we became warriors, I clung to the hope that she would choose me as a mate." Redfeather began. "But Sunpetal loved another. You've heard of Thornheart, I gather?"

Oakflight nodded. Every cat knew of Thornheart. He was the biggest traitor in clan history. As the clan leader's younger brother, he had been made deputy, and had secretly killed many cats for moons, and tried to blame it on other clans to start a war. Then he attempted to kill his own sister, the clan leader. There he was unmasked, a couple moons before he was born, and exiled on the spot. Thunderclan later found his body torn and bloody, and they assumed he'd been savaged by a fox. "What does Thornheart have to do with my father?" He meowed. "Was my father killed by Thornheart?"

"No, your father was Thornheart." Redfeather meowed, and looked at Oakflight with sympathy. "She was so madly in love with him she didn't notice the signs, even when she walked in on him stooping over my sister, her best friend's, body, with her blood staining his filthy paws and dripping from his jaws." Redfeather's voice began to quaver. "I saw right through him, and I tried to warn her, but she wouldn't listen. I had proof, i saw him kill my own apprentice, right in front of me, but Sunpetal just called me a liar, and told me I was making up stories because I was jelous she'd chosen him. She apologized to me later that day. I think she was just scared to admit, even to herself, that she'd become mates with a murderer. She his all the evidence even from herself. On the day she discovered she was expecting kits, she was so happy, she ran to tell the good news to Thornheart, but found him trying to kill our leader. She was heartbroken. She vowed she would never tell her kits who the father was. I offered to pretend to be the father, but she refused. She was one of those cats who only love one in their whole livetime, and Thornheart was the one. I still loved her though, and I still treated you and your brothers like I would my own kits. In my mind, I consider you my kits."

Oakflight stared at him in shock. He didn't even consider the thought that Thornheart was their father, but it seemed so clear to him now. After all, hadn't Sunpetal cried until there were no tears left when they'd found his body? He had only been a kit then. Whenever a cat mentioned his name, which they'd rarely done in Sunpetal's presense, a look of great grief and betrayel washed over her face like a shadow. She still loved Thornheart, even after all he did. But ever since he'd first been told the tale of Thornheart, he'd hated him. He couldn't understand how a cat could kill just for the fun of it. To him, Redfeather seemed more like a father to him than Thornheart ever could, even if he'd known the truth from the start.

"If it helps, I consider you my father, or at least the closest thing to a father I have, I always have." As Oakflight said the words, he realized they were true. To him, a father didn't have to be by blood, it was whoever had been the the best father figure in his life. and that was how it could be, it was how it could be for any cat. 

Redfeather smiled. Oakflight felt an immense feeling of satisefaction, He knew who his father was, and it wasn't Thornheart, it was Redfeather.

THE END

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