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surrender


a songfic by stork


oa is walk the moon, off their album "what if nothing"


enjoy, y'all <3

note: this deals with deathly serious topics like suicide, abuse, and depression. read at your own discretion.


surrender

Another night in my new skin

Throw emotion to the wind

Just trying to find a face to make me feel something

I've never been accepted for who I am.

Nobody ever asks how I feel.

Nobody ever lets me be me.

I'm alone. But I still feel something. Something... cold. It's lonely.

Who am I kidding? I have to stop lying to myself.

I stand and stretch. My fur's all wet - it must've rained while I was passed out from my two-day all-nighter. I feel tired. I feel pretty much dead.

I'm not dead. But sometimes it feels like it, and sometimes I wish it were so. There is nobody who understands how I feel.

I can hear something nearby. The bushes twitch, and I immediately perk to my senses. I hide myself before I hear them come.

My stomach roars. Aaaagh. Why now?

"Who's there?" A voice calls. She's young. "I heard you. You're hungry, at least. Where are you?"

Oh no.

And for all the pretty mouths and pretty words that turned me out

I just end up at your house

20 thousand leagues beneath the ocean

She knows I'm here.

I regretfully step out. She turns towards me, and I can feel my heart start to pound with nervousness.

She's got golden tabby fur, and her eyes are an amber color, like autumn leaves with a flare of fire. Her ears are curved on the sides but pointed on the end, and she's got a little scar above her eye. Her whiskers are pale silver, and her nose is topped with pink. "Hey, loner, you good?"

She's beautiful. I shake my head to rid of the thoughts. She's so pretty... oh no... "I'm fine."

She cocks her head. "You don't look fine. You're so thin! I can see your ribs!"

That's a little rude. But she's still pretty. "Do you want me to catch you something? I don't really like the idea of letting someone starve, e-even if I don't know them." Oh my. She cares about cats even if she doesn't know them.

Like me.

"S-S-Sure." She smiles and turns to hunt, and returns with a mouse.

"Eat up."

She tosses it to me. "Go on...Eat it."

I'm actually too overtaken by her beauty to immediately start eating.

And I've been trying to keep my distance

(I still need it, I still need it)

So hard to keep my distance

(I still need it, I still need it)

She watches me eat. "What's your name, loner?"

My name? "You're asking for it? Why?"

"Because." She shrugs. "I dunno. You seem kind, I guess, and you also look really sad. I don't like seeing cats sad."

"Well..." I stare at the ground for a minute in silence. "My name is Ummu."

"Ummu." She closes her eyes. It makes me a little nervous. "Okay. Mine's Leopardpaw."

Paw. She's an apprentice with the Clans. "You're a Clan cat?"

"Yeah. Not very far from my warriorhood, though." She stares at the sky and smiles. "Just a few days actually."

"Sounds good."

And you make me wanna stay

'Cause you look so good

But I know you babe and this can't wait

Not one more touch, one more drink

One more minute, one more night

"So, what about you?" she asks. "You're clearly out on your own. And you're not taking care of yourself?" She's sat down now.

"Well..." I'm wondering what I should tell her. "My mother died when I was four moons old. I never had a father, and that haunted me a lot." I remember my mother's death. "After I witnessed her death, I lost it. I had no family left." The experiences haunt me. "And I treated myself, but not well. I've been living by myself." I turn my gaze to her. "I've been doing this for six moons. I'm so tired from this."

"You're not much older than I am." She sighs. "One of my siblings became pregnant last moon. Their father is a fellow apprentice - Wrenpaw, pregnant during her apprenticeship. That's what my apprenticeship will be scarred by." She closes her eyes. "She's not the first, unfortunately, in my Clan, but I wish so many young apprentices didn't become parents."

"That sounds awful." I hate the thought of kits. Some cats might enjoy it, but... Don't think about it. The thought makes me shiver. "I hope things go well."

She nods. "Well, Ummu." She smiles. "I better go. You have things to do, I assume. And I need to check on Wrenpaw." She turns. "I'll see you at some point soon?"

"Y-y-y-yeah." She nods, and her eyes glance back. I can see a message in them. I think you're cool. And you're kind. I want to see you again.

I want to see her again soon as well. She trots off.

So I surrender
This is the moment I surrender

So, that's it, then.

She won't come back. They never do, when they meet me. She doesn't trust me or anything, so she won't be coming back.

Weird how I can be so kind to others and they still leave. It's so odd that cats just avoid me like this.

What about me makes them avoid me?

Leopardpaw won't be coming back, because there'll be something she doesn't like about me. Or I'll do something, and she'll know about it.

I wish it was easier for me to interact with her and others.

She's nice. And her appearance is smokin'. What a perfect cat, even though she's probably got some awful thing that makes her not think as highly of herself.

Like me.

Oh Leopardpaw, I hope you return.

Now all the shapes I know are gone

Charts and maps I've drawn just get me lost

And I'm falling off the edge

I wake. I can hear something.

Is it Leopardpaw?

I stand and emerge from the bushes. I can smell the pine trees, like the one near me. I can see the small clearing I'm in, almost like a hollow. I can see someone. I don't think it's Leopardpaw.

"Excuse me!" It's a she-cat. She looks up as she hears me, and her ears flatten with fear, but her eyes are slowly boiling. "Do you know someone named Leopardpaw?"

She approaches me, slowly. "Leopardpaw? Do you mean Leopardshade? She's my daughter - or one of them, in that litter." I listen to her scoff. "...Sorry, I'm sure you don't want to hear about that."

"Oh... Oh." I don't really know what to ask. "Where is she?"

"She's in our camp." She sighs. "Probably with the tom she likes." My heart cracks as the emotion weighs me down, and if I could cry, I probably would be. "You're not someone she's friends with, are you?"

"Well..." How do I explain this?? "I'm her friend. We met a few months ago." She cocks her head. "Just - can I see her? She said she'd come talk to me again, and I really want to talk to her again."

She stares at me for a minute. "You're thin enough for me to see your ribs. A difference, compared to me, fattened up." She blinks. "I'll take you to her."

Oh, well... I wasn't expecting that. "Thank you."

And you make me wanna change

With the look on your face

'Cause I miss you babe but I can't stay

Not one more kiss, not one more fix

Not one more minute, one more night

The gray-black she-cat leads me to their camp. I can feel the blood roaring in my ears and my heart pounding in my chest, the anxiety in seeing her again.

I will never make that impression on her.

As soon as we step in, I spot her. She's talking across the camp with a ginger tabby tom. Oh no. She's gonna want to talk with him more. I can almost imagine the conversation. It hurts.

Do you know what it feels like, Leopardshade?

She looks up as the thought solidifies. "Ummu!" She says something to the tom next to her. "Hey, welcome! Are you staying here? What are you doing here?" She looks almost overjoyed, and my heart warms.

"I'm here temporarily." She cocks her head in confusion, and then glances over at the gray-black she-cat next to me.

"You found her on your walk?" The queen nods, and it's clear that she's Leopardshade's mother. Those amber eyes... they're on both of them. "Did she hurt you?"

She scoffs. "I'm fine. Why don't you introduce me to Ummu?"

Leopardshade nods. "So, Ummu. This is my mother, Nightwhisker." I nod, and I can still feel my heart shivering. "She must have found you when she was out for her walk." She leans and whispers in my ear, "She doesn't like not being able to help her Clan. Once she can't do work with the warriors, she takes walks out by herself until she can't take it anymore." Her tone changes. "I know this because she did it before I was born."

Nightwhisker shoves her, and she crashes into me. "Stop telling Ummu things, and just show her around. She won't be here long." She glances at me. "Isn't that right, Ummu?"

"Absolutely."

So I surrender

This is the moment I surrender

Leopardshade takes me around the camp. "So, this is the nursery, where Wrenpaw is." She pokes her head in. "Hey, Wrenpaw!"

I peer in, slowly. I can see one queen in here, who's got to be Wrenpaw. She has her mother's gray-black fur, but her eyes are a different, more blue color. She has two kits at her stomach and stares at me when Leopardshade calls her name. "Oh, Leopardshade. And..."

"Ummu."

"Right." She still looks nervous. "Ummu." Her ears flick nervously as one of the kits, a white one, starts coughing. "Snowkit's gotten the cold that the other two had."

Other two, huh? She must've had four kits. "I'm so sorry, Wrenpaw. I know you cared about all of them." Wrenpaw nods.

Leopardshade sighs and glances over her shoulder. "We should go. I can already see Wavebreeze heading over, and I think Flarefeather wants to talk to me more. Bye, Wrenpaw. I'll visit you again later."

Is Flarefeather the tom?

I don't want to be left alone...

Leopardshade keeps walking.

Even now I let it in

Oh lord, I surrender

(I still need it, I can't stay

I still need it, I still can't stay)

I'm still trying to keep my distance

(Send me back in time, love me again)

Keep my distance

(I still need it, I still need it)

When I speak will you listen?

She doesn't walk anywhere else, and instead, takes me to a corner of camp. "Hey, Ummu. I think we need to talk about things."

She sits down gently. "Ummu. You're so amazing, even though we've only talked like this, just the two of us." She looks nervous now. "How do you feel?"

How do I feel?! "Uh..." I can only hear her voice and the ringing in my ears. "I feel... nervous. And yet, I feel so passionately about someone, someone who's right under my view."

She stares. It feels weird. I don't like it, but then she stands and wraps her tail around me. "Ummu, what if we could fly?"

"Fly?"

She chuckles to herself. "If we could fly, I'd take you up. And then passionately confess in the sky. Nobody would hear us besides us."

"What does that mean, Leopardshade?" She's slightly shorter than me, but I still shift closer to her, and she pushes her head under mine, purring. "It probably doesn't mean anything important, does it?"

She presses against me. "I have a lot to say to you, Ummu. There are bright colors when I think of you, and my heart just burns." She scoffs. "I can say I love you, but I'd be lying to Flarefeather. I could say I love you to him, and I'd be lying to you." Her tail moves up my back. "I know I like toms. I've had feelings for Flarefeather since my kithood. But you..." Her voice cracks. "Oh Ummu, you're the first she-cat I've ever enjoyed. Like I enjoy Flarefeather."

Leopardshade...

I don't know how to respond. "Leopardshade. I don't want you to lie to yourself, okay? If you like toms and she-cats, that's fine. But, Leopardshade." She stares at me. "I prefer that you figure yourself out first before-"

Before-

So send me back a thousand days

That first night at your old place

And tell me how it ends

I'd do it all again

For one more minute, one more night

I wake.

Aaaaaagh. Every good dream ends before I get what I want. I can feel my stomach roaring, begging me to hunt. That's the roaring in my ears. It's the roaring of my stomach.

It's late morning, and I recall, quietly, the previous day. I stayed awake late into the night thinking about her, and I stared at the moon for a little while and thought about my parents, and...

Oh.

Flarefeather was like that tom.

That tom.

That one who...

I can remember him. His name was Flash, and was ginger, like Flarefeather was. I haven't seen Flash in a long time, several moons, but... today feels weird and different.

I stand and make a dash. I need to hunt, I need to not think about him. Leave me alone, Flash.

If all that I could ever be

If all that I could ever be

Was the best ex lover of your life

Stop thinking about him.

Leopardpaw - or is she actually Leopardshade? - isn't like him.

Don't think of him.

I can't stop thinking of his ginger tabby fur, and I shouldn't, I know, I should be thinking about Leopardpaw. Who probably doesn't even go by Leopardpaw anymore.

I struggle to focus on hunting until the wafty scent of crow reaches my senses. Perfect. I just need to eat so I can get my mind together.

After a moment, I can smell someone else. I feel a pang of worry in my throat - I don't want to be found. Focus on the crow.

I can see them leap the same moment I do. Neither of us gets the crow, and if I'm honest, I'm pretty upset about that. I need to eat, but this cat just ruined my chances!

"Hey, what's the big idea, sneaking up on my prey like that?" The way he rolls the word irritates me further. "You're a rogue. I deserve that over you."

I can't even see him before I leap.

This is entirely out of character for me, but I haven't eaten well at all. I deserve to live. I deserve to eat. And I have every right to be over you."

I'm clawing so aggressively. I'm not sure where this came from - this heaping pile of rage and hunger and anger - but it serves me well in defending myself.

He's pleading for me to stop, so I pause for a minute, my claws on his throat. "Listen up, haredung. I haven't eaten well in the last few moons, which is why I'm so thin. And if you think you have the right to dictate me to stay away from your prey, well..." I scoff. "...You're in for a bad time."

Kill him.

Spare him.

If all that I could ever be

If all that I could ever be

Was the best ex lover of your life

He's still begging me to stop. "Hey, buddy."

He stops. "I'll let you go. But you might die, simply because I clawed you up quite a bit."

I take my claws off his throat. He stands, barely taller than me, and gives me a terrified look before running away.

After it's done, all the adrenaline rushes out and is replaced with an aching in my bones. Hunt. And then take a nap.

I take my time, but after catching a few mice, I have a nice meal before I curl up in the curved tree roots of my home.

(I still need it, I still need it)

So I surrender

(I still need it, I still need it)

This is the moment I surrender

(I still need it, I still need it)

I wake up a few hours later, still sore. I feel better, though. That's good. I'm still feeling a little guilty about the tom from earlier. But he said that crow was his. Prey isn't owned by anyone, so he had no right to say that. Especially not to me.

I can hear worried steps through the woods. Whoever it is has a brisk pace and is walking towards me. "Ummu!"

It's her - of course, it's her.

"Ummu!" She's grown, which makes her taller than me. "Oh Ummu, something awful happened." She flattens her ears, and her next statement comes out slowly. "A close friend of mine was heavily injured by a rogue."

I haven't seen her in six moons. "Leopard-" I pause. "What's your name now?"

"Leopardshade." I was right! "Named after my mentor, Shadefeather, who passed away very tragically just a few days before I became a warrior."

Poor Leopardshade. "What else is new?"

"Well..." She lets out a gentle sigh. "Wrenpaw's kits were all stillborn. The tom injured said he'd seen someone similar to you." She shakes her head. "I'd never believe him, though. I don't think you'd do that."

Even now I let it in

(I still need it, I still need it)

Oh lord, I surrender

(I still need it, I can't stay

I still need it, I still can't stay)

This is the moment I surrender

I don't particularly know how to respond to her. One, I'm not telling her. She doesn't deserve to know I did that. Two, I want to tell her... but I don't want to face that rejection. I know she won't say yes. But do I know if she'll say no?

My breath hesitates. "L-Leopardshade?"

She blinks. "Everything okay, Ummu?"

Nothing is okay because you're really attractive and I really like you. The thought enters, but I bite the words back. "Are you seeing anyone?" It's all I can say without my voice shaking.

She shrugs. "If you count seeing someone as being in a relationship with them, yeah, I guess." She stares into the distance. "The tom who was injured... I'm seeing him, I guess."

Oh no. Of course this would happen. "Before you ask, he's a bit older than me, and he's... well, he came from a rogue family. Like you." She looks nervous, and I think she's not telling me something.

"Leopardshade." I'm not letting this happen again. "Is something wrong with him?"

"Nothing's wrong with him," she murmurs gently. "He's just... he obsesses over me. He won't let any other tom look at me. I can't do anything without him being there."

"Oh... oh." I can't really relate - I don't really have a thing for toms like I do for she-cats. Besides him.

Stop thinking about him.

(Send me back in time, love me again

I still need it, I still need it)

She sighs. "I don't want to have to be his slave."

You don't deserve to be his slave. "Leave him, if he's like that." I'm not usually this brave, but I need to be honest with her. "There are better cats."

She stares me in the eye and looks... sad. "Oh... well. I might."

Silence. It terrifies me.

"H-H-Hey, L-Leopardshade?" Confess to her. "C-C-Can we... can we talk?"

She settles down, but her eyes are wide. "You okay?"

And all that I could ever be

"Leopardshade... I like you, a lot." She looks shocked, but also... no.

She stands. Her body presses against mine and I can feel my heart pounding, my ears burning, my body shivering. "Ummu." I crane my head towards her. "I can't say I love you - I might, but I don't know." She hesitates. "But, Ummu... That tom's too much. So, for now..." She starts to purr. "You and I are... more than friends."

My heart is pounding as her head rests on mine. That did not just happen. No way did that just happen. Ohmygoshshe'sprobablylyingtonothurtmyfeelingsbecausesomanycatsaren'tlikeme.

"Are you okay, Ummu?" I'm shocked back into consciousness. "You stared out into space."

(I still need it, I still need it

I still need it, I still need it)

"Yeah... I'm okay, Leopardshade."

And all that I could ever be

(I still need it, I still need it)

She and I don't meet again until nearly two moons later.

"Ummu." She pokes her head out of the bushes in front of me. "Hey." She steps out, looking the slightest bit nervous. "You remember that tom, right? The one you almost killed?"

"Of course I remember him." I stand and start to purr. "I'm so happy to see you again, Leopardshade."

She lets me slip near her again. She rests her head on my shoulder and shifts her paws. "He recovered, but barely... and he still didn't let me even talk about you, because he knows it was you." She sighs. "Anyway, I know he doesn't want me looking at someone else right now... especially right now."

"Oh?" I turn my eyes to try to see her. "What's going on?"

She scoffs. "I'm shocked you haven't felt it yet... I'm pregnant with his kits." She sighs. "Because of course this would happen. I seriously wish this hadn't happened, but... it is what it is."

I'm honestly shocked. "When did you discover this?"

She lifts her head and sits down. "About three weeks ago."

Oh no. "Hey, Leopardshade." She stares. "This wasn't... intended, was it?"

Was the best ex-lover of your life

(I still need it, I still need it)

She nods. "Unintentional?" She nods again, her ears flattening.

Oh no. She stands. "I don't know how. I can't-"

"Hey." She looks shocked. "You're still carrying kits. And they still need you as their mother."

"I don't want to be a mother!" she cries. "I hate it!"

She looks nervous. I can feel it radiating off of her. I hope-

Wait. Wait. Oh. I approach her. "What did he look like, Leopardshade? The tom?"

"Dark orange tabby. White paws." No. It can't be him. "Said he was once a rogue."

It's him. "I know who he is." She gasps. All of my anxiety, anger, and awful thoughts rush to my mind, pounding in my mind. It hurts, and I can't feel my head. "Stay away from him."

She looks sad. And upset. I can't look at her like this, so I spin on my back paws, and she screams, following me through the bushes. "Ummu! Where are you going?!" She follows me right to the river.

I have one thing on my mind. "He hurt you. And I can't stand this anymore."

She looks shocked. "What do you mean?!"

"You lied, didn't you? About you having feelings for me." The emotion's too much... but it's already been in me for a long, painful time. "And I've been unable to keep myself healthy and this and that and all. I've been hurt by him. I have been hurt by you now."

She waits. "Ummu. I did lie." Her face crumbles more, and my heart hurts, both sadly and angrily. "I don't want you to feel bad." I can't take it. "But please don't drown yourself..."

"I may as well end my own suffering."

(Keep my distance

So hard to keep my distance

I'm still trying to keep my distance)

I can feel Leopardshade beside me. I can't hear anything. I can't see anything but raging water.

She drags me out later, barely conscious. "Ummu. I'm sorry." My eyes are closed; I'm barely breathing. "I'm so sorry." Her voice breaks, and my barely alive heart shatters. "I'm so terribly sorry you're dying in front of me."

She starts licking my fur dry with her energy. The warmth of her fur makes me feel better. "Ummu. I'm so sorry, Ummu." She settles near me. "Your breathing is slowing down... I can hear it." She sighs. "I can feel the small bites of pain in my abdomen, like Wrenpaw told me." Her voice struggles, but cracks halfway through. "I'm trying to not be so sad about you. Ever since you and I met, I've tried to not feel bad for you, but here I am a year and a half after we met the first time and I'm about to give birth and you're dying." She sobs. "I hate that."

I barely open my eyes. I need to say goodbye to her. "You're the best ex-lover of my life, Leopardshade..."

"I'm sorry, Ummu..."

"Stop being sorry." I can barely manage it... it's calling me. "You made me happy in my otherwise dark and abusive life. I only have thanks. Thank you for being the best lover of my life..."

I lose it. My ears hear her start to scream before she leaves me.

fin

author's note

it's done.

it's finally done.

Ummu's a very sad character. She's dealt with depression her whole life after the abusive relationship she had with Leopardshade's own mate. All of her immediate family is dead. Not just that, few things made her happy. And she ended up committing suicide.

These are things that I never want anyone to experience, and yet, I have heard stories of things like this happening. I hate that it happens. It has nearly taken away friends of mine, and continues to take countless lives around the world.

My point here was not to portray someone whose life is horribly awful; that was not the intent at all. My point here was to show how impactful suicide is, especially if someone who cares about you learns of it. Ummu's suicide destroyed Leopardshade; the latter just lost her best friend and someone she was in a romantic relationship with.

I wrote this over the course of a few weeks, all the while worried that one of my friends was considering suicide. They're doing better now, but I can't help but think of how impactful it would've been.

If this affected you, I hope it taught a lesson, not harmed you. I would hate if the latter happened. This is to promote awareness about those who are mentally ill and suicidal, not to make you, the reader, scared that someone in your life is hiding their symptoms.

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please call your country's suicide hotline. Americans can call 1-800-273-8255, and to locate your country's, just type the terms into your search bar.

Thanks for reading, everyone.

-- fine, electrify mine



can't look at those eyes

22:56, April 24, 2018 (UTC)
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