SEVENTEEN//ARTIC

Now I'm taking back my life today

Nothing left that you can say

I find myself just on the edge of the Raiders’ border. I stare across it and feel a strange twinge of guilt and I find myself staring at the familiar landmarks longingly. Did I really want that life back? A life where I had one best friend, and I where I was living a lie?

Part of me says yes. I wouldn’t have lost Gwyn the way I did and Ravenflight wouldn’t have lost Aspenpelt.

But the rest of me says no. I don’t want to live with the group of cats who had murdered my mother for loving an IceClan tom. Enero’s last words chill me to the bone and I find myself turning away from the border, feeling a prickle of fear run through me. I hurry away, feeling as though someone was watching me.

I think back to Ravenflight. I loved her, that was something I couldn’t change. But...I shouldn’t have lashed out to her like that.

I head back towards the tiny camp and find the fly warriors sitting in a circle, looking as if they had just woken up. Ravenflight is nowhere to be seen. I frown and nudge Sootflight. “Where’s Ravenflight,” I grunt.

“We don’t know,” the gray tom tells me, “she must have gone out in the morning.”

I hiss in frustration and head back out without another word.

The sound of quiet sobbing reaches my ears. I head for the sound and when I emerge near the Raiders’ border, I find myself gazing at Ravenflight. The black she-cat gives a choked sound and tries to step away.

I grab her and turn her around. “Ravenflight,” I tell her, “I’m sorry.”

Her eyes are wide with fear and some sort of pain I can’t decipher. Her eyes are watery for the tears she had been shedding and she shakes her head and tries again to wrench away from me.

“Tell me what’s wrong,” I manage to stop her, “what’s wrong?”

“Nothing!” She rips herself away from me, racing back towards camp. I stare after in her utter shock and sink my claws into the dirt.

I knew Gwyn like the back of my paw. Like she was apart of me. We were best friends. But Ravenflight is the she-cat I love. She’s everything to me and if I had to choose, I would choose the black she-cat over my own best friend.

So why don’t I know her?

I walk slowly towards the camp and then change my mind. I would have to just look for Gwyn alone. No point in bringing more pain towards Ravenflight. I don’t the gray she-cat would allow us to draw near as an entire group anyways.

I choose a random direction and starts towards it, trying to ignore a terrifying feeling that something was terribly wrong.

~

I can barely remember my mother. There are bits in my memory of the kind, gentle she-cat that I now know as Shiver. She was a gray she-cat with white spots. She was medium-sized, and her blue eyes were warm and soft. She had a soothing voice whenever I needed comfort, something I couldn’t get from Gwyn.

The memory painted in my mind is a cold, frosty morning when Gwyn and I had fought. “Shiver!” I cried out, “Shiver!”

My mother was there in an instant, her tail wrapped around me. “What is it, dear?”

“Gwyn was being mean today!” I bury my tiny head into her soft fur, “Tell Gwyn to stop being mean.”

Shiver looked faintly amused but she stroked her tail along my flank. “I’m sure Gwyn didn’t mean anything,” she assures me, “You know she never really means anything that she says.”

My little dream self sniffled but I stopped crying. Lifting my head, I murmured, “Well, when she does say something mean and she means it, will you tell her to stop?”

The gray she-cat purred and licked the top of my head, “Of course I will.” A shadow entered her eyes but it was gone before I could question it.

In a flash, I wake up and I blink back sudden tears when I realize that Gwyn’s last words to me would hurt forever. And my words to Ravenflight would hurt unless I could heal them up, be the cat who would soothe the wounds and make the scars go away.

Standing, I head towards the fly warriors’ camp once more, knowing I had to face something I had been dreading to do since I left the Raiders: swallow my own pride.

~

It takes awhile for me to find the camp, since last night I had wandered from the Raider border to who knows where. When I do find it, the camp is utterly empty. I scowl and I’m about to turn around when someone flattens me. I groan in surprise and roll over, finding Sootflight’s claws digging into my back.

“Artic-! I thought you were an intruder-” He wheezes out.

“Well I’m not,” I say crossly, “so get your claws out of my back.”

“I think you’re making it worse by not getting of him,” Ravenflight’s quiet and caln voice cuts in. I scramble off to face her, shaking off Sootflight, who staggers off.

“I’m sorry,” I say it first, “I’m really sorry.”

Ravenflight purses her lips. “I don’t get many sorrys in my life,” she looks away.

I draw closer, but she pulls away. “Artic, I don’t want it to keep hurting. All this excitement and happiness of being with you is shattered each time we’re apart. I don’t like the feeling. I want it to stop.”

My heart pulls towards her anyways. “Life has its risks,” I tell her, “death will happen even without war. Even though you fear for the worst, you can ease the fear by being with someone you love. It’s worth it.”

She meets my gaze. “Promise?”

I exhale and touch my nose to hers. “I promise.”

Cause you are never gonna take the blame anyway

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