NINETEEN//ARTIC

And my armor, is made of steel, you can't get in

I'm a warrior

I feel a little stupid declaring my undying love (again, stars what is wrong with me?) to Ravenflight after she asked if I wanted to have kits with her. (Of course I do...I want her to be my mate for stars sake.)

I can tell she feels a little sheepish too, and I give her a rather shy smile. “Oh StarClan,” I hear her breathe out, “I love you so much.”

Nuzzling her neck, I breathe in her wonderful scent. Her fur tickles my nose and I bury my head in her neck instead. “I love you,” I remind her, “I love only you.”

“How about Gwyn?” Ravenflight suddenly asks.

I pull away, puzzled. “I never loved her,” I furrow my brow, “she was merely my best friend.”

“I think she loved you,” Ravenflight admits.

My eyes widen but I dismiss the idea. “Let’s not talk about Gwyn,” I murmur, running my tongue along her flank. “I’ll love you until my last day.”

Now it’s the black she-cat’s turn to give me a funny look. “You’re not going to die,” she says seriously, “we’re going to live forever and... I don’t know after that,” she laughs nervously.

I purr too and touch my nose to hers. “Obviously not yet,” I tease, though my words lodge in my throat, “we’re going to grow up and have kits, right?”

Ravenflight nods fervently and she leans forward to touch her nose to mine. “We’ll need our rest,” she mutters. In response, I lay her down and playfully flick my tail on hers.

“Oh, we’ll rest,” I say, amused, “but not yet.”

The black she-cat gave a sharp laugh, but then she was purring along with me.

“Oh Artic,” I hear his whisper as I begin to fall asleep, “I can’t believe how much I love you.”

~

We wake up, entangled with each other and with the rest of the team staring at us. Sootflight coughs and I flail my paws, trying to roll away from Ravenflight. She curses as she gets caught up with it and nearly flies off me. She steps carefully away and smooths down her fur.

“Yes?” She asks them, her eyes narrowed.

Mintsplash scowls deeply but Whiteflame calms her down. Sootflight twitches his whiskers. “I thought it was time we headed out.”

I groom my fur quickly and stand, just as Ravenflight reluctantly nods. “We should go,” she says, mostly to me than the rest of them.

I give her a quick nod, though I sneak a look at our nest, feeling the tug in my heart whenever I think about Ravenflight.

We all head outside and it turns out Whiteflame and Sootflight went hunting before dawn broke. They pass us some prey and I scarf it down, feeling energized already. Despite my needs to not have Gwyn in my life while I had Ravenflight, I did miss my best friend. She deserves someone to be there for her too.

Light banter fills the clearing as we try to stay relaxed and enjoy our meal. The heat from last night with Ravenflight lingers in the back of my mind, and I smile to myself despite the pit of dread forming in my stomach.

After breaking down camp, Ravenflight leads the way and I pad next to her. We’re careful to stay apart, as I can feel Mintsplash’s intent gaze on me.

“Should we just head for the border?” Ravenflight tips her head at me, her yellow eyes glowing with warmth and care.

I nod, though I don’t break my gaze from her. (When I do, it’s because I promptly walked into a tree…) We walk in silence for a few moments once the laughter died and I feel a sense of dread.

Ravenflight presses into me, regardless of Mintsplash watching.

“Do you feel a menace here?” She whispers, her breath coming in ragged gasps of fear, “I feel like someone is watching us, waiting to kill us.”

I soothe her for a moment, but I feel it too. My eyes scan our surroundings and the other fly warriors tense. Something is amiss for sure.

Ravenflight pulls away from me and straightens, her intelligent eyes trying to spot whatever danger is here.

Where is Gwyn? I frown, trying to find out where I get the feeling from.

Sudden movement to my left surprises me. Ravenflight looks up in surprise just as a gray she-cat leaps at her, her face contorted in a snarl and her claws extended.

Not Ravenflight, fear runs through me, not the she-cat I love.

My paws move before I can stop them and suddenly pain blossoms in my stomach and I let out a tiny gasp before collapsing on the floor.

All I can hear is Ravenflight’s scream of horror and Gwyn’s terrified gasp.

And you can never hurt me again

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