Season 3 finale of Home. Enjoy and please tell me what you think :)
It hurts sometimes, accepting what you want the most. Accepting what you have to give up in order to get it. Accepting that your whole life may have been a lie...
But there's something that feels right about it as you do. As you turn around, wave your tail, and march off into the unknown, what you want to make the known. There is a pleasant, good ring to it. You wonder if you're making a mistake, but you know you can't be.
You know this is your destiny.
I watch in mild fascination as all of the elders and queens lie down and begin to rest. A part of me wishes I had been elected one of the temporary medicine cats but it's fun looking after the kits as well. They remind me of when I was one... of when everything was just the big bad FireClan and the heroic WaterClan...
But now-now FireClan was both the enemy and the ally, the real bad guys were us but we were also the real heroes at the same time... I wasn't sure what to think, I didn't know how to think it.
All I knew was that ever since I had that dream all those moons ago, everything had been different. Completely different. And I was no longer sure of what the Clan would be, what I would be within it...
I wasn't even sure I cared.
"Hey kits," I murmur, as I turn away from the queens and elders, to find four bundles of fur staring up at me, eyes wide, their pelts soft and fuzzier than I can ever remember mine being.
"How are you doing today?" I ask them, as I begin to direct them towards the nursery where I have been told to watch over them. Mistypaw should be joining me soon.
"Why is mommy sleeping in the clearing?" Rosepaw questions, frowning. Goldenkit seems curious a little bit of worried, but more than anything else I can see she's excited.
"Are they gonna go on an adventure?" She squeals, "Are we gonna go with them?"
"Sorry, Goldenkit, this is their adventure," I whisper, patting her head gently with my tail, "But soon you'll get to go on an adventure too. You will get to defeat the bad guy show him what we-what you-are made of. I promise one of these days you-"
"You mean FireClan?" Her eyes widen, "I'll send that scum back to the DarkForest they came from!"
Something about that moment... It felt off. I couldn't quite place my tail on it, but as I watch Goldenkit getting herself into a playfight with Yarrowkit, her words echo through my mind.
I shake my head, knowing now is not the time. Now I have to watch over these kits while my Clan faces the greatest danger they have ever had to put up against in a long time. Now is not the time to think about me.
It's the time to think about the Clan.
"Mistypaw, Aquapaw," I whirl around, Mistypaw at my side, to find Rainpaw glancing down at us. There is a curious look in her eyes as I inhale slowly.
"Something wrong, Aquapaw?"
"You just scared me," I reply, pushing myself up to my paws. The look in her eyes is enough for me realize what's going on, and the sight of the medicine cats and queens slowly wandering about the clearing is enough to confirm my doubts. It's our turn.
I nod slowly at her, before quickly turning around to wave at the kits.
"We'll see you later," I promise, hoping it's not a lie. I'm old enough to acknowledge that this could be my end. That I might be falling into an endless sleep.
As Rainpaw, Mistypaw and I head to the clearing I take in a shaky breath.
"If I don't wake up..." I frown slowly, "You should know you were both fantastic friends, all of you were; Ivypaw, Featherpaw, Snowpaw, Fuzzypaw, Brightpaw, Gingerpaw, Darkpaw, Ashpaw, Silverpaw, Secretpaw, Eclipsepaw, Driftpaw, Nightpaw..."
"And," I continue, seeing the curious looks on their faces, "And, if I don't make it out, could I get a warrior name during my vigil... I don't like the name of Aquapaw and I don't want it to be my name as I go to StarClan."
Rainpaw blinks, "Of course," She whispers, and then gives me a quick lick, "But that's nothing to worry about, you'll make it out of this, we all will."
I wasn't so sure.
There aren't any inner conscious I feel as I attempt falling asleep and end up failing at it. There is something else though, something... unsettling?
I try to fall asleep again, thinking of something dull, boring. I decide to try on hunting. I take myself underneath the forest, leaves over my head, little specks of sunlight scattered over the ground. There is a squirrel a little further off from me and...
I blink heavily, falling into a deep sleep I hope isn't my last.
There I was with Rainpaw, traveling into the MoonPool. And then there we were watching out warrior ceremony. I recognize all of our friends in the crowd, it's a pure, perfect feeling. And then there was Ivypaw as she entered camp, as all of the apprentices competed for her attention. Wetstream as we gathered around her, beyond excited to hear the story she had to tell us. Listening as she explained WaterClan, FireClan, Saur and all of the others... loving our Clan for everything it was. And then Silverpaw. We're going off to greet an old friend, to meet her to try to bring back what was once our what we still believe is ours. There we are, and there she is and then she's running off and I'm chasing after her, panting as I try to catch up to her, deciding not to leave her alone. Rainheart is waiting by the time she's decided to come back to us. My assessment with Sapphireshine which is cut off by a loud shriek. Nightpaw is shaking back and forth, her face dull, tears streaming down them. We're sneaking off to help save Riverclaw but then he's dying. And then he's the one saving Nightpaw-the opposite of what she ever thought would happen.
And now FireClan has taken our prey. The big bad FireClan. Always the enemy. Always that to avoid. The apprentices are angered; we're all excited for a fight. We want to destroy what has been rude to us as of later. We want respect, prey and, of course, a fight. We've all been looking for a fight. But Mistypaw doesn't and she makes it clear. Birdwing is standing right by her, backing my friend. They are heading off but then they aren't returning. Bramblestar sends a patrol but I don't get to be a part of it. Featherpaw drags me aside, teaches me how to wait and during that moment we were closer than we had ever been before. Then I ever knew I could be with any given being. After that the senior warriors and planning. I make a mistake, give up our element of surprise, but Snowpaw uses that to her advantage. She comes up with a plan not even the wisest, most experienced of the Clan could. And then we're behind the bushes, watching as a battle erupts before slipping into FireClan territory. Fighting Hawkstar. Saving Mistypaw. Paddling off and fearing that Ashpaw could end up dead. Being relieved when she wasn't, Nightpaw joking about actually seeing Hawkstar's kit whisker collection when we all know she didn't.
Secretpaw and I are heading off to meet Star. We're doubtful and as soon as we see her we decide it's not a good idea. It isn't long before we are engaged in a battle. And then there's a patrol jumping in to save us. Star makes it clear she's stronger than we think and we try to chase after her, only to be ambushed and we have to choice but to hand over the brave Driftpaw who sacrifices herself for us. Birdwing is sent off as a spy, and a moon later she returns with Driftpaw and information... information we'd rather not hear. We are told how much stronger Star is than we really thought and we are all rather distraught at the news. Next we are being ambushed. Redpoppy is resisting the urge to fight and she finally defeats Star-not in a battle of claws but of resistance. We cheer as StarClan retreats but we know it's only for now... Eclipsepaw and I are sneaking into FireClan territory to discover something curious... Very curious indeed.
We're meeting Scar. He says he wants to help but I'm not willing to trust him. I'm no longer the naive apprentice I once was. I've grown a good bit since we first met Star. But Mintpaw, she's trusting. She convinces me to let Scar into WaterClan. WaterClan is like me, however, and they reject Scar. At least until Star threatens to kill him, and we-with some persuasion from Cinderdapple-pick nobility over victory. We save Scar but StarClan, in return, takes some of our territory. I can feel the disgust at having to refer to them as StarClan. And we're all in confusion as we don't know to turn to FireClan or not... I see the challenges Bramblestar has to face, how lucky we are to have her... I'm being shown Tanglepaw and I as we wait in camp. And then we're ambushed. Not by StarClan alone-FireClan as well. We've been betrayed-again. No one has the heart to kill a cat but Forestheart, always putting the Clan before everything else, strikes her down, likely ruining the peaceful sleep of her nights. We've won... but I've changed. I'm not the same cat I once was and I almost wish I could go back, still be naive, goofy and dork-like Aquapaw.
Then Hawkpaw and I are having these dreams. We console each other and decide it's certainly a bad idea to tell anyone else. Nightpaw's missing by then, and when I have a dream of her, my remaining innocence is shattered. I didn't even realize how much I was changing but as I watch over myself I can see it. It's clear, it hurts me but makes me proud at the same time. A mouse with a familiar voice is giving the Clan an omen. Things aren't looking too sharp. And then FireClan. We're helping FireClan. And there's Gorsepaw-likely the handsomest tom I'll ever meet. And then we're helping FireClan and.. I'm confused. But I can finally accept they weren't what I took them to be. They weren't really the enemies this whole time.
Brightpaw has to break up a fight between Thornpaw and Willowpaw over Scarpaw. The same Scarpaw who I am on a midnight stroll with only two sunrises later. We get a visit from Saur and he tells us to be careful. He talks about dangerous games. He talks about these moments-when I have to fight my inner consigns. And we listen, awed. Shimmerbreeze is murdered in her sleep, and the Clan doesn't know what to think. I eventually talk about the dreams I got and Sunmark helps calming the Clan; temporarily, at least. In the meanwhile, Bramblestar leads a patrol which I am chosen for to the MoonPool. There Stargaze cusses out a voice which finally claims that she has exemplified the way to win. By facing what has been eating us fromt he insides. And then Bramblestar's telling us to keep a secret and to keep sleep away. Darkpaw can't stand it-she fights the monster within-and she reveals the truth to the other apprentices. I'm watching over the kits, Rainpaw and calling Mistypaw and I over, I tell them what to do if I die and I lay down and...
I wasn't sure why but something about that moment made it feel so right to cry. To just let out everything that had been bothering me these past moons. The struggles, the fun, the joy and laughter, the misery and pain...
And then I knew. I knew it, I knew it, and I had won. I had finally won, but I wasn't sure how much I had won because I was already missing everything and it was still hurting but I had won.
"I always wanted my warrior ceremony to be happy," Rainpaw-Rainsplash, I remind myself, whispers to me. Her eyes are dull and the apprentices who cheer our names beneath us aren't as celebratory as I had always imagined.
I'm leaving the Clan tonight. The memories are all precious, they are all magnificent, they all carry so much meaning to me but something makes me sure this is where a chapter has to end. This is where my story ends in the Clan and begins somewhere else. This is where I move on.
"Rainsplash! Aquasplash! Rainsplash! Aquasplash! Rainsplash! Aquasplash!"
Each cheer is both a miracle and a blow to the heart. I'm doing the right thing, I know I am. There was no other way to win against my inner conscious. Because it was always right-because I was ignoring it and that only brings pain and pain and more pain. It killed Shimmerbreeze.
I like my name, it reminds me a lot of my life in the Clan. I always created a splash, and to share 'splash' with the cat I will always know as Rainpaw, I will always know as a best friend, as a sister, as someone who has always been there for me no matter what, is an honor.
Glancing up at Bramblestar who has a sad smile on her face, I feel proud of my leader. Of everything she's gone through, put up with. Her position isn't as coveted as it seems. I wouldn't want to be her, I know. Not anymore.
And it's too soon, when I have to bid my friends farewell. When I'm waving them all bye, when I feel tears reaching my face but they are both happy and sad and proud. I'm proud to have been a part of this Clan.
"I love you all," I found myself whispering as I turned around and began to head out of camp. I don't feel empty, or hollow. I feel full like never before. I feel complete. Adventure, freedom... I'm about to have it all. But I'll miss WaterClan. I'll miss my home.
"Farewell," I find myself whispering. To the trees, the birds, the breeze. The prey I've spent so many moons trying to learn how to hunt. The places I trained, laughed, had adventures. The air I breathed, the water I swam in, the soil on which my pads walked over so many, countless times. The laughs, and fear, and memories dangling in the air, striking me with every step I take. It's painful but it's good. It's sweet and I can't regret any of them.
"Farewell, WaterClan. My true, and only, home."