Episode 7, Season 2, of War.
"We're going to get so fat," Silverflower frets.
Gorsefur nods, looking at the remains of what we had for dinner. "In retrospect, we should probably be exercising or something."
"Oh well," Oakclaw meows cheerily, "So what'll it be tonight? Sparring? The random game? Spin the squirrel?"
"Actually," Silverflower meows, looking at Shadwsong and I, "I was thinking we could have a girls night tonight."
"Kill me," Shadowsong mutters, but she doesn't argue.
"Come on!" Oakclaw meows, "We're six young soldiers alone in the woods and the commander's gone. Anything could happen."
"You're disgusting," Shadowsong tells him, standing up.
"Hey-I didn't mean it like that!" he protests. Purring, I get up as well and stretch. "Night guys!"
There's a general grumbling of 'night' and us girls pad off to the grove Silverflower instantly claimed as our camp. It sits right on a tributary to the Silver River and we sit on the bank.
"So what's up?" I ask.
"Well," Silverflower begins and I instantly regret not asking a more narrow question, "In general stuff is pretty good. I mean, besides being stuck here for days while Badgerstrike goes off and does his thing because Waterstar is too lazy to do it for us. But really why I called the meeting is because I wanted to talk to you guys about Adderscar."
"Did he hurt you, because if he did I'll gut him-"
"No!" Silverflower meows, looking horrified. "No- wait, what kind of an abusive cat do you think he is?"
"I really don't think he is, but he's annoying, so any excuse to pulverize him is welcome." Shadowsong shrugs.
"What is it Silverflower?" I ask. Because, can I be honest? I really like gossip. I know, I'm terrible. But it's so much fun and....I'm so pathetic.
"It's just..." Silverflower heaves a sigh only she could be worthy of, "I don't know if we've still got 'it' anymore. Like...there used to be all this flirting and I thought we had something, but lately he's been ignoring me..."
"Oh, Silverflower..." I feel a rush of sympathy for her. Silverflower might seem shallow to some....most cats, but she just loves too much, sometimes too quickly. "You know he's just busy with all the...everything."
"I know," she sniffles. Oh, StarClan, she's crying. "I just...I dunno."
"Toms are jerks," Shadowsong meows, "He probably doesn't even think he's being mean."
"What about you and Oakclaw?" I can't help but asking, "Don't even try telling me that's any different."
"That," Shadowsong meows flintily, "Is very different."
Oakclaw stretched, "What should we do since the girls are off on their own?"
"What do you think they're talking about?" Gorsefur asked, his eyes off in the woods.
"Probably us," Adderscar muttered.
"What makes you say that?" Oakclaw asked, turning over. His amber eyes reflected the stars and he looked unusually serious.
"They're girls," Adderscar scoffed, then realizing Oakclaw would relay this back to Shadowsong, added, "Plus Silverflower is mad at me."
"Trouble in paradise?" Gorsefur asked, whiskers twitching.
"Hah, hah," Adderscar grumbled. "But she's so...needy. I have to be with her all the time and-"
"Do you know how many toms would kill you to spend half the time you do with her?" Oakclaw asked, "Sure, she's supper annoying, but she's pretty."
"She's not annoying and she's not just pretty," Adderscar bristles. "She's sweet and caring and smart and-"
"Relax," Gorsefur meowed. "Silverflower's great for you. So why is she mad at you?"
Adderscar shrugged wildly, "Who knows?"
"Maybe she finally realized she was dating the youngest cat on the squad who also happened to be super annoying?" Oakclaw muttered.
"Want to talk about super annoying?" Adderscar spat back, "How about the two thick headed warriors who decide to get together, annoying cliché that is."
Gorsefur leapt on Oakclaw at the exact right moment, preventing him from pulverizing Adderscar. "Can we please talk about something else?" he asked.
Oakclaw narrows his eyes, "No, I'm good with this." Gorsefur let him up, watching the golden tom carefully. "You think Shadowsong and I are together?"
Adderscar looks at Gorsefur, "I don't think I'm the only one." Gorsefur let out an apologetic purr and nodded.
Oakclaw looked at the stars, "Why would you think that?"
"You two are inseparable, you went through a weird brooding phase when she got captured," Adderscar looked at Gorsefur, "Back me up here.
"She's a great she-cat," Gorsefur added.
Oakclaw sighed, "I know, but ever since...what happened to you two, she doesn't want to talk to me." He looked at Gorsefur.
Gorsefur shook his head, "You weren't there, you don't..." he trailed off, "She doesn't want to get hurt. And she doesn't want you to get hurt."
Oakclaw grumbled something and glared at the moon.
"How is it different?" I ask.
Shadowsong rolled her eyes, "Well, obviously..." she pauses for a moment too long, "Erm, we're not actually together."
Silverflower chokes out a laugh and I purr, "You like him, it's so obvious."
"There's a difference between liking someone and loving them," Shadowsong growls, her eyes unusually misty.
"Well, do you love him?" Silverflower asks, "Because that would be terribly romantic."
Shadowsong looks at her paws, "I don't think I like this conversation anymore."
"Oh come on Shadowsong!" I beg.
"Please?" Silverflower asks.
Shadowsong rolls her eyes. "We've been through a lot." she meows. "We were together on our first squad and I-" her meow chokes off, "I thought I loved him. But he wasn't interested. And now, he just...we're best friends."
"Doesn't seem that way," I meow, Silverflower nodding, "I mean, he took you out of the battle at the camp by the river and after the FireClan attack he was comforting you."
"Did you miss the part where I ran off into the woods afterwards?" Shadowsong meows drily.
"I think you like him," I meow, "And you're just scared to admit it."
"Do you know me at all?" Shadowsong asks haughtily, "When have I ever been afraid of anything?" she flinches slightly as if remembering the last two battles we've been in, but neither Silverflower or I acknowledges it. My eyes wander back to the clearing.
I wonder what the toms are doing.
"Love is ridiculous anyways," Adderscar meowed. "It isn't real. You're just looking for the cat who will give your kits the best attributes to survive."
"Well that's not disheartening," Oakclaw muttered.
"You can't believe that," Gorsefur looked incredulous.
Adderscar shrugged, "It's science."
"But...love is real too." Gorsefur meowed, "You can feel it, even if it isn't tangible."
"And how would you know?" Adderscar asked, smirking.
Oakclaw laughed, "Gorsefur used to be quite the she-cat's tom," he purred, "He's settled quite a bit."
Gorsefur looked uncomfortable, "Can we please no talk about that?"
But Oakclaw was on a roll, "Oh, remember that one time, at Icefall when-"
"Stop it!" Gorsefur yelped. Adderscar snorted.
"Honestly, this isn't how I expected for us all to pair off." Silverflower meows matter of factly.
Shadowsong chokes on the water she had been drinking. She coughs, "How did you expect us to pair up?"
"Well, Oakclaw would stay single, for obvious reasons. And I figured you and Adderscar would get together since you have that whole smart-alecky thing going on and maybe me and Gorsefur," she looks at me, "No offense."
"Why would I be offended?" I ask, even though I know full well why.
"Oh please," Shadowsong rolls her eyes, "You and Gorsefur are together every bit as much as Oakclaw and I are."
"Well..." I blink, "We were. Or, I think we were. He told me...well, the point is he got captured and I freaked out, but when he came back he..."
"He might just need some time," Silverflower meows, looking at Shadowsong for backup. But the dark she-cat just stares at her paws with haunted eyes.
"Seriously though," Oakclaw meows. "You like Brookfall, don't you?"
Gorsefur hesitated then nods, "Yeah."
Oakclaw rolled his eyes, "Well don't talk so much. Seriously though," he narrowed his eyes.
"Where is this coming from?" asked Gorsefur blinking, "You don't like her."
"No! I lo-like Shadowsong." Oakclaw meowed, "But Brookfall and I got to be all buddy buddy when you and Shadowsong were MIA. I don't want her hurt."
"This is stupid," Adderscar rolled his eyes. "You're acting like kits. 'I think I like Brookfall' 'I like Shadowsong'. You two got all up in arms when I said love isn't real and yet you refuse to accept it yourselves."
Oakclaw blinked, "Say that in an easier way."
"You ever wonder what your kits will look like?" Silverflower asks dreamily.
"That's it, I'm leaving," Shadowsong gets up, but I pull her back down, laughing.
"Do you?" I ask.
Silverflower shrugs, "I used to. But I don't know."
"Tell her the names you picked out." Shadowsong meows.
"What?" I look from Shadowsong to Silverflower. Silverflower looks embarrassed, "Nope."
"The last time we were on a squad together, we had a girls night very similar to this," Shadowsong meowed gleefully, "And Silverflower revealed that her kits names were going to be-"
"Oh fine!" Silverflower explodes. She composes herself, "Sparklekit and Lovekit."
I struggle to keep a straight face and Shadowsong explodes with laughter. "Those are...lovely names. But...erm, what if they were toms?"
Silverflower rolls her eyes, "I obviously won't have toms."
I can't contain myself any longer and I burst out laughing. Silverflower huffs, then her whiskers twitch slightly, so I know she's not too angry.
"Who ever said we did love them?" Gorsefur asked, then winced. "That sounded harsh. But it doesn't have to be love."
"Well is it?" Adderscar asked.
Oakclaw, looking uncomfortable, nodded, "I think I love Shadowsong. Maybe. Probably not."
"And I love Silverflower." Adderscar added, "I don't go getting my throat torn open for just anyone."
They looked at Gorsefur.
"I still don't know what to do about Adderscar though," Silverflower meowed.
"He loves you," I meow softly, "You can tell. You two will be fine."
Silverflower looks uncertain, but she nods, "Thanks Brookfall."
"If you're giving love advice, maybe you can tell me how to tell if Oakclaw likes me or not," Shadowsong meows. Her tone is light, but I can sense the tension. She honestly doesn't know and it terrifies her because she pours so much into this tom. It makes my heart ache.
"If you had seen him when you and Gorsefur were...." I trail off. "Every day he would try to do something to help you. He would try to hide how much it was hurting him, but...he was broken."
Shadowsong meows, looking both smug and sad, "I'd hate to think no one missed me."
"What about you?" Silverflower asks me.
"What about me?" I ask, slightly uncomfortable because I know where this is going.
"Do you still like Gorsefur?" Silverflower asked. Shadowsong leaned slightly forward.
"Well?" Adderscar asked impatiently, "What about you? Do you love Brookfall?"
The cats in both camps leaned forward to hear the answers, each barely a whisper, a broken dream on the wind.
"I don't know."
"I don't think so."