autumnbreeze*epilogue

i was very lost at first

but then you found me

and became my best friend

and made me the best i could be

~

"Autumnbreeze! Autumnbreeze!" It's Swanheart who manages to pull me out of the seemingly endless flashbacks that decide to keep coming.

They were a mix of happy and sad - happy memories of playing with Snake, Pipes, and Owl. And the sad ones - thunderstorms which brought back memories of leaving, and soon, they just turned to nightmares.

Pipes dying, Owl dying, Snake dying - just horror upon horror being thrown at me, and I felt like giving up. But I knew I shouldn't, because hanging on is what I do. I've learned to deal with the pain all these moons - and I can bear it again one more time.

"Autumn?" I open my eyes to see five cats crowded around me. Swanheart on my left, with Roseblossom, Owlmoon, Skymist, and Duskshimmer all on her right. Swanheart's dark blue eyes are shimmering. "We were so scared. We thought you were gone. Forever."

I manage a shaky laugh. "Well, I'm not gonna ditch you guys just yet." I smile at Swanheart, and that seems to relieve her.

"Autumnbreeze." This time, it's Roseblossom. Her light reddish fur is clean as usual, but her dark amber eyes are blazing. "Are you stupid? Why did you do that?"

"I wasn't going to risk Skymist's life for a huntinf jackpot!"

"But you don't go and risk your own, idiot!" Roseblossom shakes her head in a disappointment, but I catch a flash of her smile as she turns her head. "Tell her, Skymist!"

"Yeah, Autumnbreeze. That was stupid." Skymist waves her tail angrily. "And I just learned - twice - that I should never race against you."

I laugh, which brings a smile to her face. "But that was a good one, though. You have to admit it." Skymist shrugs, and Owlmoon speaks.

"I've seen better, Autumn." Her eyes are sparkling mischievously. "I thought that, perhaps, a murderer should've passed by last night, don't you think." She winks at me, and I can feel all the stares on us, but I don't care. It feels wonderful to have Owlmoon back.

"Autumnbreeze -" Duskshimmer starts, and I smile at her. "Even I'm not that stupid. What in the world were you thinking?"

"I was thinking about the hunting jackpot. Duh." She rolls her eyes while I laugh.

"But hunting jackpots aren't all that worth it. I'm not letting you hunt in the forest for a moon." Owlmoon sticks her tongue out at me when Skymist speaks, and I shake my head.

"And who's going to stop me?" I challenge, but Skymist points to Roseblossom.

"Roseblossom could probably annoy you to death. It works." Skymist laughs while Swanheart opens her mouth to speak.

"Autumnbreeze, seriously. Why did you really do it?"

I sigh. "To see if you guys would actually miss me?"

"What?!" Owlmoon nearly falls on top of me, and her eyes are wide with horror. "Are you out of your mind?"

"Well, what's a few broken limbs worth?" I shrug good heartedly.

"But it's your life!"

"Yeah, and how much is my life worth?"

Roseblossom shakes her head. "You're an absolute knucklehead, you know that right? I've met my share of stupid cats -" she glances at Swanheart and Owlmoon before coming back to me. "- but that won the prize of 'Most idiotic Move in History'. Congrats, Autumnbreeze."

"Autumnbreeze..." Skymist whispers, and I sort of feel guilty for joking with them I know it was a bad joke - and it wasn't true at all - but I want to see their honest reactions. I guess I kinda have the right to know.

"Skymist. You know I'm joking right?" She looks immensely relieved.

"Okay, Autumnbreeze, enough." Owlmoon says. "So what you should be learning from this experience, is that you shouldn't climb high trees because of prey, that you shouldn't go and catch prey jackpots in high trees, and that you should never have a running race with Autumnbreeze because she's a cheater." She gives me a long look before continuing.

"But seriously, Autumnbreeze. Don't be stupid, alright? Alright."

Skymist, Swanheart, Roseblossom, and Duskshimmer walk out of the den, leaving me with Owlmoon.

~

big mistakes are made

and very terrible ones too

but no one can ever stop

ever stop me from loving you

~

"Autumn..." She whispers, closing her eyes. I watch as she opens them awhile later, her eyes glistening with tears.

"Owlmoon. Why so sad?"

"I shouldn't have left you guys, I'm sorry." The tears start rolling down her cheeks.

"It's alright, Owlmoon. I forgive you."

"But what about them? Pipes and Snake?"

"Snake left us after you did, Owl. And Piper forced me to leave."

"That's why she didn't come right? I miss her."

"I miss them both everyday."

"I can't stop missing them."

"It just hurts, doesn't it?"

"The pain can become unbearable sometimes, Autumnbreeze."

"You should've told me."

"But I felt guilty - that I left you guys."

"You didn't have to, Owlmoon. You didn't have to."

"Yes I did. You shouldn't be burdened with my problems."

"Being burdened with your problems will help me forget my own."

"I should've been a better friend."

"I shouldn't have kept to myself so much."

"I shouldn't have left you in the first place."

"But then where would we be?"

"Back at home, right?"

"But someone would've left - and we would've been alone again."

"But we were destined to stay together weren't we?"

"Problems were bound to come our way."

"Like all of yours?' Owlmoon teases, before becoming solemn again.

"No, both of ours." I shake my head.

"It's time for amends to be made, I guess."

"Weren't they already made?"

"But formality makes it professional."

"Sure, sure." She says dryly.

"But imagine what would have happened if you didn't leave, Owlmoon."

"We would all be happy."

"But we wouldn't have met new friends."

"We wouldn't have helped each other."

"We wouldn't be who we are now."

"I guess that's true. But then, we'd have Pipes back."

"And Snake."

"But I guess that there's some things you can't change.

"Maybe. But the future is always changeable."

"The past isn't. And I regret many things I did in the past."

"But the past shapes who you become, Owl. It's who you are."

"Maybe for you - but my past is full of mistakes."

"Then you're probably just a bad person."

Owlmoon swats me with her tail. "Oh, shut up Autumnbreeze." I grin.

"I'm terrible too, if that makes you feel any better."

"Autumn - remember the night I left?"

"Of course." I say a little wistfully.

"Well, something I said wasn't true."

"What was it?"

"We're family, Autumnbreeze. You and I, we're forever."

~

i can see all the good times

right around the bend

for my sad story

has now come to an end

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