"Snowstorm was a brave warrior—we will miss him dearly." said Ravenstar before jumping down off the Highrock, ending the Clan meeting. Rainpaw watched as the elders carried Snowstorm's body out of camp, his head low. It had only been a few hours since he'd woken up, and everyone wanted to know what had happened. He wouldn't tell anyone, however, unless it was Ravenstar, Thorntail, Robinpaw or Shadowpaw that asked. Too much had happened that day to recite it to just anyone.
"Hey, Rainpaw," said Robinpaw softly as she sat down next to him. "Are you okay?" Rainpaw sighed at this question, not knowing really how to answer it. He felt fine, but his mind was swarming with memories that he would rather not bring up.
"Mentally or physically?" Rainpaw asked, his eyes still fixed on his paws. Robinpaw licked his shoulder, making Rainpaw feel a little more comfortable. He sighed, continuing to answer her question.
"I would understand if you don't want to talk to me about it," Robinpaw said kindly. "No one should go through what you had to the other day." Rainpaw smiled at this, though he wasn't really all that happy. She'd brought back the dull memories he kept replaying in his mind.
"I've been through it twice." said Rainpaw darkly. "And neither time did I manage to save the victim." Robinpaw, now curious, tilted her head to the side.
"What do you mean, 'you've been through it twice'?" she asked. "You've actually been in that situation before?" Rainpaw nodded slowly, still looking at his paws.
"I was younger—probably around three moons—when it happened last time," Rainpaw explained, trying hard not to tell her that he was human. "My brother, Alfie, was with me. We were merely hunting—more like playing—in the forest like we usually did at that point of the day. Neither of us were really paying attention to our surroundings, we were too busy having fun. However, it would have been nice to know that we were surrounded. Too many to count, but that didn't really matter. They killed him first, and I think I know why now. They wanted to hurt me physically and mentally for whatever reason. They did, and that's how I got the scar. After that, however, I don't know what happened. All I know is that, because of what happened, I went nearly insane yesterday. I didn't believe that remembering would affect me that much. . ."
"Sometimes it's the memories that help us," said Robinpaw. "And sometimes it's the memories that kill us. Either way, memories are good. They might have made you crazy the other day, but maybe in the future they'll make you stronger." Rainpaw looked up to Robinpaw and smiled.
"Thank you." said Rainpaw. Robinpaw nodded, then left as her name was called by Grassfur. Rainpaw thought some more, happy that everyone seemed to be leaving him alone.
Most of them were still a bit scared of him, probably afraid that he was going to change at any second. However, they didn't really matter. The few that did matter were the few who were convinced that Rainpaw had killed Snowstorm, and that the rogues were just a myth. Of course, with Thorntail as an eye witness, Ravenstar didn't even think of exiling him.
"Hey, Rainpaw!" A very familiar voice called him. Rainpaw looked up to Sharpfang, to his surprise. The tom was standing a few feet away from him. After walking up to Rainpaw, Sharpfang smiled. Did this cat even remember what had happened? Rainpaw nearly killed him, and yet Sharpfang was talking to him?
"Um, hi," said Rainpaw with a confused look. "Did Ravenstar send you to tell me something?"
"No, why do you ask?" asked Sharpfang curiously. Sharpfang's jaw would have dropped had he not forced it to stay up. Sharpfang, a cat he still considered an enemy, was talking to him like there wasn't a care in the world. This was too weird.
"In case you've forgotten, I nearly killed you!" Rainpaw exclaimed. "Why are you talking to me as if that never happened? You're acting as if I were born in this Clan..." Sharpfang shrugged.
"Maybe because you're actually a really good fighter," Sharpfang replied. "Look, I know this may sound strange, but I actually respect those who are above me. Oh, and I definitely respect those who nearly kill me. Also, I have it in my mind that, because of your special ability to be good once your scar is bitten or scratched, you are the prefect battle monster." Rainpaw, still trying to get over the fact that Sharpfang was talking to him, shook his head.
"That's just it," he said. "I'm a monster."
"Not really," Sharpfang said. "From what I've heard, you were actually rejecting the strength and speed once you were finished with the enemy. Of course, if Thorntail or anyone were anywhere near you, you probably would have killed them. That doesn't mean that you can't train. I mean, think about it: if you can control your mind while still using the strength and speed, you'll be nearly invincible. Like I said, the perfect battle monster. Neither ShadowClan nor WindClan will want to battle us any more, or complain that we take in too many loners for that matter." Rainpaw shrugged, figuring that Sharpfang he had a fair point.
"Maybe I was wrong about you, Sharpfang," said Rainpaw then, standing up as he heard his name being called. "You may be a little hostile and judgemental, but when you're nice you are a very good friend." Sharpfang smiled in response, and after smiling back, Rainpaw padded off toward the den in which his name was called from.
It didn't take long for Rainpaw to realize that it was the medicine den that he was entering, and that it was Snowdrift who had called his name. He could smell Ravenstar, Snowdrift and Thorntail. Why they were all there was a question that he intended to have answered.
"Rainpaw, there you are," said Thorntail. The tone of her voice let Rainpaw know that she was worried and panicked. Rainpaw was now alert, ready for the news in which was making everyone in the room worried and afraid. "There's something you should know. . ." she said, quietly.
"Yes?" asked Rainpaw curiously, his eyes looking into her green ones. Thorntail seemed to calm down a bit, as if Rainpaw had really calmed her down by just looking into her eyes.
"I'm. . ." Thorntail drifted off, her head low with uncertainty. "I'm having kits."
Rainpaw found himself in shock after that, frozen except for the every second breath that he took. Thorntail was having kits that no doubt belonged to Wolfheart, the RiverClan tom she had been seeing for more than two moons.
"She's told me who the father is," said Ravenstar then, breaking the eerie silence. "It is against the Warrior Code, yes, but that's not the problem. The kits are the real problem. Everyone will want to know who the father is, and once the kits are born, many problems may sprout up."
"I'm sorry if I'm interrupting," said Rainpaw then. "But why couldn't she just keep the kits and just tell everyone she doesn't know who the father is?"
"We don't know if we can trust Wolfheart," Ravenstar replied. "Once they are born I'm going to have to announce it at the next Clan gathering, meaning Wolfheart will then know that Thorntail had kits. He'll probably figure out that they're his and demand to know why they stayed with Thorntail and was never told about them. The whole thing could end up with every Clan knowing that we let half-Clan cats be born right underneath our noses." Rainpaw sighed, but then thought of something.
"What if Thorntail and I just tell him tomorrow or something?" asked Rainpaw curiously. Ravenstar, obviously confused yet thinking if that was a possibility, tilted his head a bit. Thorntail seemed hopeful, yet worried. What she was worried about was beyond Rainpaw's recognition.
"Are you mouse-brained?" asked Ravenstar suddenly. "You can't go back to RiverClan territory! What if another patrol sees you?"
"W-well, I know it's dangerous," said Rainpaw, at a loss for words. He hadn't really expected his answer, really he'd just expected Ravenstar to say no. "but what other choice do we—I-I mean you—have?" Ravenstar pondered on that for a while, and then sighed.
"I will grant you permission, but only this once," Ravenstar said then. "if it weren't for the conditions, I wouldn't be letting you go. Thorntail, you will go as well." Thorntail nodded at this.
"Wolfheart was going to meet me tomorrow anyway," said Thorntail. "We'll wait until then." Ravenstar nodded and then stood, but, as he looked at Rainpaw, he seemed to realize something.
"Hmm," said Ravenstar. "Thorntail will have to go into the nursery today, since she is quite pregnant. It seems you'll need a new mentor for the time being. . ." and with that, the tom left, leaving Rainpaw confused. He needed a new mentor? Who on earth was he going to get along with? Nobody even cared to look at him after Snowstorm's death!
Rainpaw followed Ravenstar after hearing the leader call a Clan meeting, knowing what it was going to be about. He was curious and scared about who was going to be his mentor, yet nervous, worried, and still a little bit shocked that Thorntail was going to have kits. Rainpaw then sat near Flamepaw and Amberpaw, who were both ready to become Warriors.
"Do you know what this is about?" asked Shadowpaw as she came up and sat next to Rainpaw, smiling as usual.
"Is it our warrior ceremony?" asked Amberpaw hopefully.
"No, Ravenstar would have told us if that was happening," said Flamepaw. "Wouldn't he?"
"Guys, it's not your warrior ceremony," growled Rainpaw, getting their attention. "I'm getting a new mentor." Everyone stared, absolutely confused.
"What?" Said Amberpaw.
"Why?" asked Robinpaw, who had come to sit by them.
"You'll know in a moment," said Rainpaw quickly. "Now be quiet and listen!" Ravenstar flicked his tail to silence the murmurs that were going around.
"Cats of ThunderClan," Ravenstar began. "It gives me great pleasure to announce that Thorntail, a brave and loyal warrior of ours, is expecting to have kits soon, and with that she is going to be welcomed into the nursery today." Ravenstar then watched as Thorntail's family and friends congratulated her, but then flicked his tail for them to be quiet again. "As I am sure some of you are wondering, Rainpaw, Thorntail's apprentice, needs a new mentor. I therefore am appointing Sharpfang as his new mentor, in hopes of passing on his strength and cunning mind down to Rainpaw. The Clan meeting is now dismissed."
As expected, the murmuring began. Rainpaw was too shocked to notice Robinpaw looking at him with worry, and also too shocked to notice Sharpfang arrive. Robinpaw noticed, however, and then left, alerting Rainpaw that Sharpfang was near. Rainpaw looked up to his new mentor, shaking a bit with shock. Sharpfang seemed to understand the shock that was going through Rainpaw because he didn't say anything until Rainpaw blinked.
"I understand if this is a surprise to you," said Sharpfang kindly, still smiling. "But it wasn't to me. Not only because Ravenstar had told me this just a few moments ago, but also because I think I could help you."
"So you've said," Rainpaw muttered, remembering the conversation Sharpfang had with him just a little while ago. He sighed then, his mind ready to explode with so many things going through his head. "I don't know, maybe you can help, but it's just. . .odd." Sharpfang looked confused now, and curious. He tilted his large head to the left, asking with his body language as to why it was odd.
"I nearly killed you!" Rainpaw reminded Sharpfang lightly. "How in the name of StarClan am I expected to train with you when that could very well happen again? I know that I'm able to control that urge to kill a bit now, but even then. I knew it was going to happen while fighting the rogues—I wanted it to happen. What if it happens accidentally when I'm training with you?" Sharpfang, who seemed to be listening to him rant, nodded with nothing but a smile on his face.
"Rainpaw," said Sharpfang. "I know that you're afraid of what might happen, but you can't be. Out here in the forest, your fears only bring you down. That, Rainpaw, is why I want to train the fear out of you. Once your mind has settled down, since I can obviously see that there are way too many things going on right now, I will begin training the fear of killing out of you."
"But killing isn't good!" Rainpaw argued. Sharpfang nodded.
"No, it isn't," Sharpfang agreed. "However, if you are scared of killing, then you are scared of fighting. And if you are scared of fighting, then you will no longer belong in this Clan. By training that urge to kill, you will be stronger than any of our senior warriors, and controlled. Isn't that what you want?"
"I guess so. . ." Rainpaw murmured. "but I'm still not sure." Sharpfang smiled and nodded in understanding.
"It's your decision, Rainpaw," said Sharpfang as he stood up to leave. "I'm leaving it up to you." With that, the large tom left, leaving Rainpaw with his thoughts.
Rainpaw just couldn't put his finger—well, paw— on it. Sharpfang hadn't talked to him since the day Rainpaw almost murdered him, and now he was Rainpaw's mentor? Sharpfang seemed to hate Rainpaw ever since he'd arrived, and now he wanted to train Rainpaw specially so that he could be stronger than any other cat around the lake? It just didn't make sense! Cats—nor humans, for that matter—could not change their personalities from judgemental to helpful within only a few weeks' time. It was just impossible. Either Sharpfang was pretending to like Rainpaw just because they were stuck together as mentor and apprentice, or Sharpfang was pretending to get something from him. If that was the case, Rainpaw just wished that Sharpfang would ask him soon.